Arun Sarma

Arun Sarma  (1931 –2017) is a renowned playwright and dramatist from Assam. A Padmashree awardee, Arun Sarma is one of the acclaimed contemporary dramatists from the state.


Arun Sarma

Arun Sarma’s birthplace was Dibrugarh, where Tilak Chandra Sarma, his father worked as the Editor of The Times of Assam. The family however, very soon migrated near the tea hamlet of Halem, where his father got inspired by Gandhian ideals and got involved in social work and farming. 

Arun Sarma then completed his school from Tezpur High school and matriculation in the year 1948. He started writing drama and poetry during the days of his Graduation from Cotton College, which he completed in the year 1954 with Honours in Education.

Literary Career:

His twelve full length and three one act plays differ from each other and is best in the individual way. Of his plays, Sri Nibaran Bhattacharyya in the year 1967, Purush or Man in 1972, Kukurnechia Manuh and Abar or Food is the landmarks in modern Assamese literature. His plays depict traces of mental and physical violence. 

He also wrote plays based on politics and having terrorism undertones. Plays like ‘Buranjipath’ in 1980, ‘Baghjal’ and ‘Chinyor’ in 1984 follow the Marxist path whereas ‘Anya Ek Adhyay’ of 1995 is a criticism of terrorism. The dialogues of Arun Sarma’s plays establish their quality as literature. 

He has the ability to choose expressive and resonant vocabulary which may be directly related to his twenty nine year long career in broadcasting. Initially Arun Sarma was a producer and later a station director. Arun Sarma has written forty two radio plays including translations and adaptations.

Arun Sarma has 17 published plays and five published novels to his credit, besides editing several volumes of plays, written scripts for telefilms and radio documentaries. He has also written twenty major documentaries which attracted national and international recognition. 

His translation of Sudraka’s Sanskrit Mricchakatika, which was staged by a Bhramyaman Mancha troupe in the year 1983, was a remarkable event for its kind of mobile commercial theatre. 

It was through Arun Sarma’s drama that Assamese theatre attained variety with world trends in the 1960s. His plays were performed widely by different artists and are highly praised for their value.

He died on 27 March 2017 at the Medanta medical institute.


Arun Sarma won the prestigious Padma Shri award from the Indian Government in the year 2010. He also won the Assam Sahitya Sabha’s Best Playwright Award for two consecutive years. 

Apart from that, he also won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for his contributions to drama in the year 2003 and the Sahitya Akademi Award in the year 1998 in the field of literature. He was also the honorary recipient of the Assam Valley Literary Award in the year 2005.

Awards and Achievement :

For literature

Asam Sahitya Sabha (Drama) Award – 1967
Asom Natya Sanmilan Award – 2001
Sahitya Akademi Award – 1998 for the Novel 'Aashirbador Rong' (translated into English titled as 'On a Wing and a Prayer')
Sangeet Natak Akademi Award – 2004
Assam Valley Literary Award – 2005
Padma Shri – 2010
Sankaracharyya Avatar Award Literature – 2010

For radio broadcasting

Japan Prize (1980) International for the radio documentary "All Buds to bloom".
ABU (Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union) Award (1982) for the radio documentary "Caution : Danger Ahead".
Prix Futura Berlin Commendation certificate (1983) for the radio documentary "All Lips to Smile".
Akashvani Award (Second best radio play in India) for the play titled "Kukurnechia Manuh".

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