Rita Chowdhury

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Dr. Rita Chowdhury
Born (1960-08-17) 17 August 1960 (age 58)
Tirap, Arunachal Pradesh
Occupation Novelist, Poet, Director National Book Trust Of India
Nationality Indian
Citizenship Indian
Education M.A, LLB, Ph.D
Period 1981-present
Literary movement Assam Movement
Notable awards
1981: Axom Xahitya Xabha Award,
2006: Kolaguru Bishnuprasad Rabha Award,
2008: Sahitya Akademi Award
Spouse Chandra Mohan Patowary

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Rita Chowdhury (Assamese:ৰীতা চৌধুৰী) (born 17 August 1960) at Nampong of Tirap District in Arunachal Pradesh is an established poet, novelist and Sahitya Akademi Award recipient in the world of Assamese literature.[1][2] She has been working as an associate professor in Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam in Political Science Department since 2001. Prior to that, Chowdhury had worked as lecturer from 1991 to 1996 and as senior lecturer from 1996 to 2001 in the same college. She started her teaching career as lecturer in Political Science in Diphu Government College, Karbi Anglong from the year 1989 to 1991.[3] She is currently the Director of National Book Trust, India.[4] She is also the wife of minister Chandra Mohan Patowary.

Literary career[edit]

Dr Chowdhury’s first novel was Abirata Jatra (English: Incessant Journey) in 1981[3] which won the first prize in a competition held by Asom Sahitya Sabha on the contemporary Assamese situation. She wrote this novel while she had to go underground during the Assam Movement.

In 1981, her debut novel ‘Abirata Jatra’ (Incessant Journey) was published and truly reflecting the name of the novel her relentless journey into the Assamese literary world has also been started. Accolades bestowed on her and she was awarded the Asom Sahitya Sabha award in 1981 for this very first novel. Even after holding a responsible post of senior lecturer in Political Science in the historic Cotton College in Guwahati, Chowdhury, through her sheer talent, dedication and perseverance, has been able to carve a niche and establish herself as a successful litterateur.

After Abirata Jatra, Chowdhury never looked back. She wrote a series of popular novels namely Tirthabhumi (The Shrine) in 1988, Maha Jibanar Adharshila (Foundation Stone of Great Life) in 1993, Nayana Tarali Sujata in 1996, Popiya Torar Xadhu (Tale of a shooting star) in 1998, Rag-malkosh in 1999, Jala-Padma (Water-Lotus) in 1999, Hridoy Nirupai (The Helpless Heart) in 2003, Deo-Langkhui (The Divine Sword) in 2005, Makam (The Golden Horse) in 2010 and Mayabritta (The Circle of Worldly Illusion) in 2012. It is noteworthy that each of her novels is depiction of some significant aspect of the society and significantly all are best-sellers with universal appeal. Her lucid style of writing is appreciated by all.

She received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award in 2008 for her novel Deo Langkhui (published in 2005) which was based on the Tiwas of Assam. Partly history and mostly legends, the plot of this novel is constructed in a manner that can easily be demarcated as a departure from traditional one although traditions and reality merge into a complete whole.

Makam is a landmark creation in her literary career. ‘Makam’ or ‘The Golden Horse’ truly helped her literary fame run in a horse’s pace. Ten editions of Makam were published in the year it was released. It is itself a record in the history of Assamese novel.

Chowdhury’s fiction reflects the harsh reality of life and the society. Sometimes it is contemporary and sometimes it is historical. This reality takes her to the core of her reader’s heart. She never does any injustice to her characters. Although there is a subterranean flow of feminism in some of her novels, she is only reflecting the reality. She is unprejudiced. Most of her novels are research-based and outcome of her extensive study. Close observation of human nature moulded her characters making them popular among the readers barring caste, creed, gender, religion and most importantly of the age. People of all age-groups love her fiction.

She was the founder editor of Adharxila, a monthly literary magazine, published from Guwahati from 2001 to 2002.


  • Abirata Jatra (Incessant Journey) in 1981 published by Bani Mandir, Dibrugarh
  • Thirthabhumi (The Shrine) in 1988 published by Deepti Prakashan, Dibrugarh
  • Maha Jibanar Adharshila (Foundation Stone of Great Life) in 1993 published by Jyoti Prakashan, Dibrugarh
  • Nayana Tarali Sujata in (1996), published by Lawyer's Book Stall, Guwahati
  • Popiya Torar Xadhu (Tale of a Meteor) in 1998 published by Cambridge India, Guwahati

The dirty and deceitful picture of some workers of the press and journalist world is vividly presented in this book. How a budding writer, jeuti follows her dreams and reaches the city from a small village, how she is emotionally trapped and cheated by some evil, greedy person who misguide and misuse the young, innocent girl is depicted in the book. the fake emotional drama of those culprits cum head of some newspapers makes her so blind that she repeatedly ignores all the incessant warnings of her friends to stay away from them. Too much emotions makes her so weak that she lose the power to see the truth of the masked culprits. And the result was a great failure, the death of a upcoming writer and journalist who was destroyed in the bud-stage and not allowed to become a flower. A strong tragedy and a warning to stay away from such dangerous actors visualising the truth with the brain not by mind.

  • Ragmalkosh in (1999), published by Assam Book Depot, Guwahati
  • Jala Padma (Water-Lotus) in 1999 published by Assam Book Depot, Guwahati
  • Hridoy Nirupai (The Helpless Heart) in 2003 published by Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati
  • Deo Langkhui (The Divine Sword) in 2005 published by Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati

It unveils some important aspects of the contemporary Tiwa society and a series of their customs and traditions. Also depicts the life of the king jakanka.

  • Ai xomoy Xei Xomoy
  • Makam (The Golden Horse) in 2010 published by Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati

The Heart touching and sorrowful conditions of the Chinese people in Assam during the Indo China War of 1962 is clearly depicted in this book.

  • Mayabritta (The circle of Worldly Illusion) in 2012 published by Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati
  • Makam (Englishe) in 2015 published by The Pangea House, New Delhi.
  • Bibranta Bastab in 2015 published by The Jyoti Prakashan, Guwahati.

A girl Gayatri who was cheated by an ill minded man and abandoned and isolated by the society who never saw the truth. Later she became an IPS officer. A documentary was made by her on her own life to show how all the people wronged and misunderstood her.

  • Chinatown days' 'in 2018 published by Pan Macmillan, New delhi.

It is the early nineteenth century. The British East India Company has been bringing in Chinese slaves to work in the tea gardens of Assam. Amidst days of misery and toil, they slowly begin to find contentment in their day-to-day lives.In post-independence Assam, Mei Lin, descended from the slave Ho Han, lives a life of satisfaction with her husband Pulok Barua. But in 1962, as war breaks out in the high Himalayas between India and China, a close family member conspires to have Mei Lin deported to Maoist China. She and thousands of other Chinese Indians will now have to fend for themselves in a land that, despite their origins, is strangely foreign.From the horror-ridden hardships of the slave pens of Assam to the Sino-Indian war, this searing novel tells the story of the Chinese Indians, a community condemned by intolerance to obscurity and untold sorrow.


  • Xudoor Nakshatra (The Far-off Star) in 1989, published by Sofia Publishers, Guwahati
  • Banariya Batahar Xuhuri (Whistle of the Wild Wind) in 1996
  • Alop Pooharar Alop Andharar (Streaks of Light and Darkness) in 1997 published by Lawyer's Book Stall, Guwahati
  • Boga Matir Tulaxi (Black Basil on White Soil) in 1999 published by Lawyer's Book Stall, Guwahati

Recent releases[edit]

  • Rajeeb Eeshwar
  • Jahnavi

English works[edit]

  • The Divided Soul (Coffee Table Book) in 2015 published by The Pangea House [1]

Production works[edit]

  • Wars and Tears (Documentary, Director, Script Writer) produced by The Pangea House [2]


Chowdhury has been awarded with a number of literary awards and recognitions. Among those, the major awards are as follows:

  • Axom Xahitya Xabha Award (First Prize awarded in the Manuscript Competition of Novel) in 1981 for the Novel, Abirata Yatra.[3]
  • Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rabha Award by Axom Xahitya Xabha, new Delhi in 2006 for the novel Deo Langkhui.[3]
  • Sahitya Akademi Award, 2008, for the novel Deo Langkhui.[1][2][5][6]
  • Lekhika Samoroh Xahitya Bata in 2011 by Sadou Axom lekhika Samoroh Samittee.[3]
  • G.A. Kulkarni Award for Translation of the novel, Makam in Marathi Language in 2013 by Goa Hindu association, Mumbai.[3]
  • Certificate of merit Award in 2011 by IDPA, Mumbai for the Documentary, ‘The Divided Soul’.[3]
  • Award for Excellence in Best Editing for ‘The Divided Soul’ (Docu) produced by Dr Chowdhury in Mumbai International Film festival in 2011.[3]

Special felicitation[edit]

  • Felicitated by the Indian Overseas Chinese Organization on 23 May 2010.

Posts held[edit]

  • Visitor's (President of India) nominee to the Court, Rajiv Gandhi University, Arunachal.
  • Visitor's (President of India) nominee to the Court, Axom University, Silchar, Assam.
  • Member, State Commission for Women, Assam.
  • Member, Asomiya Advisory Panel, National Book Trust.
  • Chief trustee, 'Adharxila'(Honorary)


  • The Chinese Diaspora and 1962 Sino-Indian War.
  • Tea History of Assam.
  • Tea Community of Assam.
  • Tiwa Tribe of Assam.
  • The Assamese Chinese Community.
  • Forced Migration in Post Partition India.

Early days[edit]

Daughter of renowned writer late Biraja Nanda Chowdhury and Social-Worker Shri Molina Chowdhury, Rita Chowdhury was born at Nampong in Tirap District of Arunachal Pradesh. She did her schooling in Upper Haflong L.P. School and Higher Secondary in Margherita Public Higher Secondary School. She passed her B.A. in Political Science from Cotton College under Gauhati University in 1982. She is double MA in Political Science and Assamese from Gauhati University with LLB(1990) and Ph.D.. She did Ph.D. from Gauhati University on Comparative Literature in 2005. Her thesis was on Society and Women psychology depicted in Nirupama Borgohain and Ashapurna Devi's Novels: a Comparative Study.

She had joined Jatiyatabadi Juba Chatra Parishad, a leading student organization of Assam at the age of only eighteen and became one of the prominent members of it during the Assam Agitation and was imprisoned continuously in Guwahati, Dibrugarh and again in Guwahati Jail for almost three months.

Family life[edit]

She is wife of former president and senior leader of Asom Gana Parishad, Chandra Mohan Patowary, who is a former cabinet minister of Assam. She has a son and a daughter for whom she is a friend rather than a mother.


  1. ^ a b Bhattacharjee, Subhamoy (2009-01-26). "Royal allowance to community kings of Assam". Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  2. ^ a b "Literary feats lauded". The Assam Tribune. 29 December 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Chowdhury, Narzary given Akademi award". The Assam Tribune. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  4. ^ "Chowdhury new NBT Director". 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  5. ^ Editor, Assam Times (2008-12-23). "Sahitya Academy award to 2 Assamese litterateurs". Retrieved 2009-08-02.
  6. ^ "Sahitya Adademi Awards for Choudhury, Narzary". 2008-12-23. Retrieved 2009-07-08.

External links[edit]