Saurav Kumar Chaliha, always known by his readers as this pen name, won the hearts of millions of fans in Assam with his unique writing style and modern outlook.
Born in 1930, son to prominent author of Assam Kaliram Medhi who presided over the prestigious
'Asom Sahitya Sabha' in 1919, he was named as Surendra Medhi by his family. He started his studies in
Guwahati St. Mary's school, but later shifted to cotton collegiate school.
Saurav Kumar Chaliha's journey as a writer started as early as his school days. His travel experience
with his father to Calcutta was published in Cotton Collegiate's magazine 'Pragati' while he was just studying there.
His first short story 'Punjab Ximantar Xahajatree' was published in 1944 in the 'Parijat' magazine. In this story
itself the writer emerged with his pen name 'Saurav Kumar Chaliha'. Later next year, another story was published
In 1946 Chaliha joined Cotton college for studying ISc. He was a brilliant science student and passed the exam
with flying colors standing 5th in the state in 1948. Chaliha then opted for Bsc in physics in Cotton College only.
However he got attracted towards communist and Marxisn during those days, and got actively involved into RCPI.
This ended up with arrest and jail term for the writer. He had wrtie the Bsc final examination from the jail.
Saurav Kumar Chaliha - An Era in Assamese Literature
Saurav Kumar Chaliha brought the attention of the mainstream Assamese readers in 1952 when he won first in
a short story writing contest organized by then popular magazine 'Ramdhenu'. The story 'Ashanta Electron' is a landmark
creation in Assamese literature and a completely new outlook and modern writing style.
But Chaliha's conflict with the government due to his marxist activities took a turn and he was sent to London
by his family for higher studies to avoid these conflicts. He completed his Msc in physics from London University
and started teaching in a few educational institutes in Germany.
Home called Chaliha again in 1960, when he joined Assam Enginnering College in Guwahati in 1960. His writing took a full swing
from here. In 1962 his first short story collection book 'Ashanta Electron' was published. The book took the readers
to a storm. His innovative yet modern writing and expression mesmerized both critics and readers. The next year another
short story collection "Duporiya aaru anyanya galpa" was published.
In 1974, Saurav Chaliha's short story collection 'Gulam' won the prestigious National Sahitya Academy Award. In 1995
he was awarded with Assam Valley Literary Award for his contributions towards Assamese literature. In 1990 he was
awarded 'Lifetime Associate' by Assam Engineering College.
Chaliha's literary work mostly confined around powerful short stories. But he had some other significant contribution too.
He has translated various western classics into Assamese. Ehat Daba (1972),
Galpa Nohoy (1988), Aji Sukrabar (1992), Bhal Khabar (1998), Kabi (1999), Janmadin Aru Annanya Galpa (2005),
Druna Aru Goethe (2007), Nabajanma (2008) are his some of prominent short stories and article collection.
Abaruddha Sahar (1994) is a drama written by him. Chaliha's stories are published in almost all major Assamese magazine's of his time.
He has also written two books on science 'Chintaar Beg kimaan?' and 'Mahakaaxot Pranor Xondhan'. Strangely he wrote
these two books in his real name Surendranath Medhi.
Saurabh Kumar Chaliha was a media silent author whose contribution towards assamese literature is humongous. His
literary standards are comparable to high standard of world literature. Many works of him are transalted into english which
are applauded in the internation communities.
He was known to his fans and readers as only Saurav Kumar Chaliha for more than six decades. He carefully kept his
identity in low profile. When he was awarded Sahitya Academy, he accpete it via post only. The Assam Valley literary award was received by his niece,
on his behalf. In both the events the award acceptance speeches were read out by some one else. No photograph of him ever
published in his books. No official biography of the great author ever published. He always avoided public limelight and
liked to do his job in the backdrop.
|Bhal Khobor - Written and Narrated by Saurav Chaliha
25th June, 2011 will be considered as a black day in Assamese Literature, as this day marks end of life of a ground-breaking
author and a modern writing style of Assamese literature. Saurav Kumar Chaliha's fans stayed numb on that very day as he
left for his heavenly abode.