A tribal woman from Jamshedpur has been awarded the 2017 Sahitya Akademi award for her collection of short stories for children.
Titled ‘Olon Baha’, which means imaginary bloom in Santhali, Joba Murmu’s award winning collection is laced with moral values for little ones.
A schoolteacher at Bal Vikas primary school in Karandih, the author who has been writing books since 2009 was completely taken by surprise upon been bestowed with the literary honour.
“Although the book is interesting, I was not very sure it would be selected by the Akademi, Joba told TOI.
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In the last eight years, Joba has authored five pieces, including translations of works by two iconic literary figures in India—Munshi Premchand and Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
A thrilled Joba attributes her recognition to her father, Chote Ram Majhi, who himself is a renowned figure in the field of Santhali art and literature and had inspired her to write during her college days.
She also thanked her husband Pitambar Hansdah for being the guiding light during the past eight years when she had taken up writing seriously. “My husband also received the Sahitya Adademi award in 2012 for writing a book of short stories for children,” she said.
A postgraduate in Santhali literature, Joba stated that she will continue to contribute towards tribal literature by writing on socio-economic issues aimed at empowerment of tribal women along with informative and entertaining stories for children.
Upon being asked about future plans, Joba added that her upcoming book will lay its focus on the importance of education.