Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity

Prantik Deka provides an insightful overview of Jitumoni Bora's career, highlighting his impactful contributions to Assamese journalism and literature.

Jun 14, 2024 - 00:35
Jun 14, 2024 - 00:40
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Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity
Jitumoni Bora : A Fearless Voice for Assam's Identity

Conscientious and dedicated to the core, the State's prominent litterateur and journalist Jitumoni Bora has been monitoring the times and society with a cautious eye and selfless responsibility for many years now. He has always been a fervent advocate of the state's causes, playing an active role in the fight to protect its identity. An astute writer and observer with a judicious vision of a journalist, his in-depth reports on various social and political issues of the day have gone a long way in raising public awareness as well as consciousness. He has for long kept a close eye on the affairs at the helm, impartially reporting the activities of the government in his characteristic lucid style in various Assamese newspapers and magazines, touching the lives of many. 

Bora started his career with the Agradoot group of newspapers, where he worked for 28 long years, diligently steering the daily to new heights. He also served as a news editor in between with the Ajit Bhuyan edited Assamese daily 'Aji' for a period of five years (2001-2005).

Since the very beginning of his journalistic career, Bora has always maintained impartiality in his assessment of various issues. He would never hesitate to swoop on anyone indulging in corruption and immoral practices. As a rational and uncompromising man of strong convictions and beliefs, he is aware of his responsibilities.

In the 90s, scams of various departments of the state government were uncompromisingly and regularly exposed in the Agradoot daily. The newspaper was unsparing and critical while covering the misdeeds of ministers, local officials, including the Chief Minister, which incurred the wrath of the government, leading to the arrest of Jitumoni Bora by the then Prafulla Kumar Mahanta-led AGP Government on February 25, 1997. The case was ultimately dismissed when the government failed to submit any document in support of the arrest in the court.

In 2012, Jitumoni Bora participated as a cultural activist in the 'India Campaign for Olympic' program, held along the sidelines of the London Olympics. Two editions of the book 'Thamesor Parat Luitor Sur' based on this London tour have been published. The following year in 2013, he participated as a cultural activist at the Ireland International Festival that marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the historic Titanic cruise ship. His travelogue 'Titanikar Janmobhumit Ejon Asomiya Sangbadik' is based on this visit to Ireland.

A prolific author, Jitumoni Bora has so far written 11 books that tackles a range of social, political and cultural issues, greatly enriched by his remarkable breadth of knowledge, research and experience.

In 2013, a timely book titled 'Mukhyamantrir Mukhor Maat Aru Hator Ronga Sutadal' was published, written in protest against the distortion of the Assamese language and blind faith. 

'Despremor Chaneki – Mark Harper Tarun Gogoi Paresh Baruah..' published in 2013, challenges the corrupt practices of politicians.

All four books have been published by Guwahati's Akhar Prakash.

In 2015, Jitumoni Bora's novel titled 'Sesh Pristha' was published by Guwahati's Bani Prakash Mandir. Bora was much inspired by the novel’s protagonist Brindaban Saikia, who is mostly influenced by leftist ideals and beliefs. The novel recounts the trauma experienced by this retired professor of Mathematics in the face of gross neglect by his own son at a very critical stage of his life. He had no choice but to take shelter in an old age home and enjoy the company of other inmates there. Growing old is an inevitable part of life. It's a stage where man faces problems socially, physically, mentally and economically. It is seen that even affluent sons leave their parents to their own fate. Jitumoni Bora’s novel with an universal appeal brings to light the plight of the elderly citizens, for whom the sunset years can be quite an ordeal. It makes us sit up and think about the social environment that we have created around us.

His novel 'Chiyahir Rong' was published in 2016. Based on his professional experiences of over 25 years, Bora's powerful and eye-opening work stirred the conscience of the readers with its dispassionate and compelling revelations of the dark truths and sleazy practices in print journalism, which has somewhat dented the reputation of this profession. The 90s period was marked by an immeasurably volatile and dangerous situation that witnessed several extremist organisations in Assam wreaking havoc upon the peace and security with their armed struggles. Journalists often found it difficult to carry out their duties as the secessionist organizations had imposed a ban on the newspapers which opposed their ideology. Despite growing adversity and hostility, a few brave journalists defying the dictates, continued to serve the readers, abiding by the constitution of India as well as upholding journalistic standards and ethics. But a few journalists have to pay a heavy price for their intrepidity.

The story drawn from actual events brings to light the terror and agony encountered by Bora and his colleagues.

Given its immediacy and depth, this relevant and thought-provoking story was even turned into a movie. Directed by Prodyut Kumar Deka, the film starring Jatin Bora, Towfiq Rehman, Alok Nath, Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan among others, was released online on the Reel Drama in 2021.

A sense of strong local fervour and identity is apparent in 'Moi Asomiya Hoiyei Thakim' – a book based on Assamese nationalism, which was published in 2017.

The novel 'Bikul', published in 2019, traces the Assam Movement from its inception to various aspects of the ten-year tumultuous tenure of the Prafulla Mahanta government, the birth and rise of the ULFA, the tenure of the BJP government, the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), etc. Meanwhile, two editions of 'Bikul' have been published to immense praise and appreciation.

Later, two novels, 'Janani' and 'Bheti' (The Land of the Indigenous People), were published. 'Bheti', based on the movement for independence, has been published by Banalata.

Banalata has also published Jitumoni Bora's latest book 'Duwar Khular Gadya' in 2023.

Jitumoni Bora's stories feature strong visual possibilities, which have been tapped by quite a few filmmakers. Bora wrote the story and lyrics of the thought-provoking and successful Assamese feature film 'Surjyasta', released in 2013. The film's theme song, written by Bora, was recorded in Assamese for the first time in the voice of Meghalaya's renowned artiste Lou Majaw. The song helped to create a cultural bridge between Assam and Meghalaya.

In 2014, Jitumani Bora penned the script of a critically acclaimed documentary made on the life and times of veteran litterateur and journalist Kanaksen Deka. Titled 'An Anti Insurgent Journey', the documentary chronicles Deka's crusade against radicalism and his attempts to bring the turbulent youths of Assam into mainstream during the early 90s when the state went through the darkest days of terror. 'Agradoot' – the newspaper that he founded and edited, then spearheaded the movement against the militant forces.  The film was selected for the Mumbai International Short Film Festival and the Bengaluru Short Film Festival.

Offlate, Jitumoni Bora has penned the stories of new Assamese movies 'The Last Honour' and 'Burkha'. Both the films are waiting to be released.

He has become a ubiquitous presence over several years in the electronic media, wielding influence with his expert opinions on matters of political and social interests. Presently engaged as the Editor of Prag Digital, Jitumoni Bora has been regularly writing a column – 'Pratipaksa', published every Friday in the daily Dainik Janambhumi.  

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