Born in Nagaon and raised in Guwahati, Mayur Bora’s humble childhood was not particularly indicative of the literary veteran he is now known to be. His love for writing precedes all other endeavours, a love he found since his school days and has nurtured ever since. Bora would then go on to make a name for himself with sixteen books to his credit and by translating the work of noted litterateur Dilip Bora’s short stories into English, published as a book titled ‘All Those Yearnings’.
Schooled at Nizarapar LP School, Guwahati, although Bora began writing in Assamese, his father’s desire that he learnt the English language was the catalyst he needed to begin his versatility in language writing. He’s now a published writer in both English and Assamese languages. His ability to convey powerful messages in a literary text is not just restricted to writing alone but is also reflected in his other career paths as a public and motivational speaker, and a social commentator.
Considering the polarity and saturation of the literary industry, that he has been able to carve his niche and etch his name on the sands of time is a noble feat. For Bora, kickstarting his journey into writing was a product of several positive influences, including his parents who made sure he was educated and got all the exposure he needed. They trained Bora to ask the tough questions in society which he admits inspire him to write.
“Parental influence played a great role in making me pick up interest in reading, in being curious and in always asking questions. My father always used to say that the edifice of human civilisation always rests on a sense of robust inquiry. My first piece appeared in the children’s magazine, ‘Xofura’ edited by Dr Bhabendra Nath Saikia. I wrote about the great scholar, Anandaram Baruah. I was in Class VI then in Cotton Collegiate School.
“During my high school days, I wrote in ‘Asom Bani’ and ‘Prohori’. But I started writing serious articles in English during my Cotton College days. I wrote an article on westernisation, casteism and the unreasonable criticism of Bhupen Hazarika when he made a TV serial for National Doordarshan titled ‘Lohit Kinare’,” Bora reveals.
So far, Bora has published 16 books, with 14 of them written in Assamese and one in English. The other one is a translation book. Not many writers can tap into their well of ideas like Bora can. He has repeatedly shown his dexterity with the pen, using well-crafted words to address the problems plaguing his state, country and the world at large. “The fact that we inhabit a world full of inequality, injustice and distress never fail to give me ideas for different topics,” he starts.
“Assam is a wonderful state with a glorious history. At the same time, the state is plagued with so many problems. All those issues make me pick up the pen and write,” he explains. And when he does decide to write, his method is a well-structured sequence that has helped him churn out timeless pieces over the years.
“Firstly, I think about the theme of the book. Once that is finalised, then comes the most difficult part, collecting all the materials, reading them, examining them and situating them in the right context. After it is done, I get down to writing which takes comparatively less time,” he says.
After writing comes to the process of editing to ensure quality is achieved. Bora makes sure to read his manuscript over and again as he edits, dotting the ‘I’s and crossing the ‘T’s and ensuring that the themes and ideas flow naturally into an interesting story. This is partly the reason his books have gained wide acceptance within and outside Assam. ‘Axomiya Swabhimanor Ruprekha’ is one great example of his works that have garnered a lot of support and admiration. He wrote this book as a way to “reignite our genuine sense of pride in knowing about our past and also serves as an effort to link up that pride with a commitment to better and brighten our future”. Other notable works include ‘Abegar Kunwari Phali’, ‘Brahmonyobador Koliwa Dawar Aru Axom’, ‘Jatived Protha Aru Sankaradeva’, ‘Hindu Dharmat Iswar Aru Nastikota’, and ‘Chetonar Spondon’ among others.
Talking about the major challenges he has faced as a writer, Bora, a former senior officer of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development), says, “During my service days, time was a constraint. Hopefully, as I am now settling down into a retired life after my VRS, this problem should be over. Writer’s block can be a challenge for any writer at any point in time. It affects me also occasionally.”
There are several other sources of inspiration for this talented writer, offering him an overflowing well of ideas and ensuring continuing success. “The love and affection of my readers are the biggest source of strength and inspiration for me. The positive comments of people after my speeches also motivate me deeply. I always try to accept constructive criticism without getting worked up, and try to pay less attention when someone trolls me on social media or attacks me personally,” he says.
Let’s not take Bora’s words for it, but instead, focus on the several awards and recognition he has garnered over the years as a result of his literary process. From the highly coveted Sahitya Sabha Award to Dr Moidul Islam Bora Xahitya award, and the Karmabir Chandranath Sharma award, his effort has truly been recognized. For the future, Bora plans to go on a thorough study of the development of the Assamese mindset during the 19th century, with his mindset on several new frontiers, including the Ambedkar study.
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