Noted writer from Arunachal Pradesh Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi chosen for the Fifth Bhupen Hazarika National Award-2017. The Award is given by SARHAD, a Pune based organisation, honouring every year a person from northeast who has rendered an outstanding work at the National and International level . The Award consist of Rs 51000/–, a memento, and a certificate.
About the Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi
Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi was born on June 13, 1952 to late Tashi Phuntsu Thongchi and late Rinchin Chojom Thongchi at village Jigaon of present day West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. He first went to the Government Primary School at Jigaon, and then passed his Class X final from Government Higher Secondary School, Bomdila. He later did his BA from Cotton College, Guwahati and MA from Gauhati University.
Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi started his literary pursuit from his childhood days. Although his mother tongue is Sherdukpen, a language spoken hardly spoken by 6,000 people, he started writing in Assamese because it was then the medium of instruction in schools in North-East Frontier Agency or NEFA, as the state was earlier known. While his first poem called Jonbaai (The Moon) appeared in an Assamese children’s magazine by the same name in 1967, he tried his hand at various genres including plays, short stories and novels, excelling in all of them.
He has so far written about a dozen novels, and numerous short stories and plays, all in Assamese, a language over which he has a wonderful command. His most important novel is Mauna Onth Mukhar Hriday (Silent lips, murmuring hearts) which won the Sahitya Akademi award in 2005, and tells the story of how simple tribal people discover the outside world as they engage in construction of a road into the mountains. Another novel Sav Kata Manuh (The man who cuts corpses) vividly describes the tradition of how human bodies are ritualistically cut into over 100 pieces before disposing it off in to river.
Thongchi, whose theme is mostly about the little-known communities of Arunachal Pradesh, is said to be the first author to have actually taken their inside stories to the outside world. Many of his works have been translated into Hindi, English and other languages. Awards other than the Sahitya Akademi that have come his way so far include the Harihar Choudhury Award (Asam Sahitya Sabha, 1970), the Phulchand Khandelwal Samhati Award (Golaghat Sahitya Sabha, 2001), the Bishnu Rabha Award (Asam Sahitya Sabha, 2002), and the Bhasha Bharti Award (Central Institute of Indian Language, Mysore, 2005).
A civil servant who joined the Arunachal Pradesh Civil Service in 1977, was elevated to the IAS in 1992, and after having put in more than three decades of dedicated service, served first as State Information Commissioner and then as State Chief Information Commissioner till 2015.
Founder and president of Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society, Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi not only leads the literary movement in Arunachal Pradesh, but is also a source of inspiration for hundreds of young writers who want to tell the story of the little-known frontier state to the outside world. He lives in Itanagar.