Ashutosh Agnihotri, Deputy Commissioner of Kamrup (Metro) district, is an ardent reader. He is also a member of the North East Writers Forum. He tells Urmimala Bhattacharjee that Northeast literature has a promising future.
What does literature mean to you? Do you think it has any relevance in our day-to-day lives? According to you, does it have anything to do with all that is happening around us?
Literature for me is an expression of universal thoughts and feelings. These feelings transcend the barriers of language, caste and creed. It is a way to unite like-minded people. It makes you more humane and gives you deeper insight into human sentiments and emotions. Today’s world is very competitive, stressful. It spares us little time for ourselves. It is very important to sit back and reflect. Literature expresses all that is happening around us through the writer’s pen. Literature not only enhances our ability to understand people but also helps us understand ourselves better.
How close is your relation with literature in general, and with literature of the Northeast in particular?
I consider myself very closely to literature. Being a voracious reader, I read a lot and revisit the classics. I generally read northeastern literature through translations. I am a member of the North East Writers Forum which comprises of people from the region who write in English. Whenever I get the chance, I attend literary meetings. I have been greatly impressed by the sensitiveness and inner essence of human mind which gets reflected in the works of writers like DN Bezboruah. He has translated poems of Nilmoni Phukan, Nabakanta Barua, Ajit Barua and many other poets. I intend to read more of northeastern literature in the near future.
What future do you see for literature from the Northeast?
Northeast literature is picking up fast. It has a very bright and promising future. With many young people emerging as writers, the region has great literary prospects.
Name one book that had a lasting impact on you. In what way?
There are many books that have caught my mind. One of them is Shekhar – Ek Jeevani by Agyeya (Sachidanand Vatsyayana). It is the story of a boy who is extremely sensitive and too bright for his age. He tries to balance his own world and the outside without losing his innocence. I was extremely touched by the characters and ideas in the novel.
What book would you recommend for our readers and why?
I am a great fan of William Wordsworth. The poems of Wordsworth speak of the joy of simplicity, beauty of nature and the connection between human beings and nature. I would recommend his poetry any day to our readers to rejuvenate themselves in the tranquility of nature, away from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life.