Every year several wordsmiths are awarded with one of the most prestigious Sahitya Akademi and not very often do we get to hear about their story. This year, a tribal writer from Jamshedpur, the steel city, has bagged the award for writing short stories with morals for children.
Meet Joba Murmu, a teacher and the author of a collection of twenty-one short stories Olon Baha (Imaginary Bloom). She is a teaching staff of Bal Vikas primary school in Karandih. This recognition has taken her aback as she wasn’t expecting the book to be selected by Sahitya Akademi. Her husband, Pitambar Hansdah also is a recipient of the prestigious award. Joba has a flair for writing and has been penning down books since 2009. She has five titles to her name including Baha Umul (2009), Bevra (2010) and Olon Baha (2014). She also has translated Munshi Premchand’s Saras and Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Her father Chote Ram Majhi is a revered figure in the arena of Santhali art and literature. Drawing her inspiration from her father, Joba has been writing actively since her college days. As quoted by Times of India, Joba said, “My husband has been encouraging me to write for the past eight years.” Joba will continue to write on socio-economic issues like empowerment of tribal women as well entertaining short stories for children that come with blend of morals.
Joba is an active member of All India Santhali Writers’ Association and also possesses a post-graduate degree on Santhali as a subject. Her upcoming book is based on the importance of education. Santhali is spoken by about six million people in India. A new script has been invented by Pandit Raghunath Murmu named Ol Chiki and Santhali is one of the twenty-two registered languages in the country. A list of Bal Sahitya Akademi award recipients have been attached below.
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