Arup Kumar Dutta is an Indian writer and journalist based out of Guwahati in Assam. He has written 17 adventure novels for young people and 14 books for adults. In 2014 he was awarded the Life Time Achievement Honour by Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, New Delhi, the Indian chapter of the International Board of Books for Young People. He has also won numerous awards including the Shankar's Award in 1979, conferred to mark The International Year of the Child.
Arup Kumar Dutta was born on 2 July 1946 to Girish and Indira Dutta. He spent his early life in Jorhat, in the tea-growing Indian state of Assam. At the age of eight, he was admitted to Lawrence School Sanawar in Himachal Pradesh, from where he passed his Senior Cambridge Examination in 1962. After school, Dutta joined Ramjas College under the University of Delhi from where he completed his bachelor of arts in English Literature in 1966. He went on to finish his post-graduation in English Literature from the University of Delhi in 1969. Dutta then returned to Assam to teach English at J.B.College, in Jorhat. Along with teaching, he also started his journalistic career writing freelance satirical columns and short stories for numerous Indian magazines and newspapers. In the course of few years he established himself as journalist of repute at the national level. His writings featured in journals such as The Illustrated Weekly of India, Caravan, Femina, JS, Eve's Weekly etc. He was a prominent writer in the famous Indian satirical magazine, Shankar's Weekly.
Dutta has so far authored 14 books for adults, 13 of which are non-fiction while one is a novel. His non-fiction books are based on a diverse range of subjects like The Bramhaputra published in 2001 by the National Book Trust; Cha Garam: The Tea Story revised and reprinted in 2013 by Orchid Publications; Unicornis: The Great Indian Rhinoceros published in 2001 by Konark; and The Roving Ministrel a biography on musician, singer and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika, published by Rupa Publications in 2002.
Anagarika's Swansong is a fictional novel by Dutta. Anagarika's Swansong is a satiric takeoff on the novel genre. This anti-novel debunks all the conventional elements that a novelist would otherwise employ, including a linear narrative, structural integrity, naturalistic characterization, emotional or situational conflict et al.
Anagarika in Sanskrit is one who renounces society and materialism in search of truth. In the book the author alludes to Prince Siddhartha who gave up his princely life to seek out in search for existential truths and to transform in to Gautama Buddha, the enlightened one. The protagonist of The Anagarika's Swansong, is nameless and undertakes journey similar to that of Prince Siddhartha in the modern age to find the meaning of existence. However, because of his inferior intellect and he lives in Kaliyuga or "the era of untruth", he first lands up in to a local lunatic asylum, but finally stumbles into "poor man's enlightenment"!
Arup Kumar Dutta is one of the best known Indian writers for young people. The Illustrated Weekly of India called him 'India's own (Enid) Blyton'. He has 17 such novels to his credit. During 1980s when children in India had only access to western adventure novels, Dutta was credited to creating a new genre of gripping fiction set in India.
In 1978, Dutta's first work of young adult fiction, a conservation oriented novel titled The Kaziranga Trail, won the first prize in an international competition conducted by Children's Book Trust, New Delhi. Acclaimed as one of the classics in Indian children's literature, at par with Anita Desai's The Village by the Sea and Ruskin Bond's Adventures of Rusty, this book not only proved to be an all time bestseller, but also won for the author the prestigious Shankar's Award in 1979, conferred to mark the International Year of the Child. It was made into a feature film, titled Rhino, by the Children's Film Society of India. The Kaziranga Trail has been translated into a number of Indian languages. The foreign language translations include German, Japanese, Russian, Hungarian and Czech. It has been made in to Braille in Japan. It is amongst one of the three Indian entries in the New York Publication 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up edited by Julia Eccleshare. The Kaziranga Trail is featured in the "Literature of the World Series" brought out by the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun on 2 October 2001, along with books of Satyajit Ray and Ruskin Bond.
This book published by the Children's Book Trust in 1983 is another award winning thriller. The Blind Witness was made into a Hindi feature film titled Netraheen Sakshi by the Children's Film Society of India. Among the languages it has been translated to are Russian and Japanese, while it has been converted to Braille for blind readers in Japan.
Books by the author (fiction)Kaziranga Trail (1978)
Trouble at Kolongijan (1982)
The Blind Witness (1983)
A Story about Tea (1985)
The Lure of Zangrila (1986)
Save the Pool (1990)
Oh Dear (1997)
The Crystal Cave (1997)
Footprints in the Sand (1999)
The Counterfeit Treasure (2001)
Adventure Stories Golden Set (2003)
The Boy Who Became King (2004)
The Anagarika's Swansong (2009)
Adventure Omnibus (2014)
Books by the author (non-fiction)Unicornis (1991)
Cha Garam, The Tea Story (1991)
Nature Quiz Book (1991)
The Khongiya Barua's of Thengal (1994)
Hammer Blow (1996)
Indian Railways, The Final Frontier (2002)
The Roving Minstrel (2002)
Jyoti Prasad, Prince of Beauty (2003)
Children's book prizes from Children's Book Trust for Kaziranga Trail (1978); Trouble at Kolongijan (1982); The Blind Witness (1983); Smack (1990)
Shankar's Award in 1979, conferred to mark The International Year of the Child
Journalist Welfare Foundation, New Delhi Award in 1982
NCERT book of the year for Revenge 1987
Siva Prasad Barooah National Award for Journalism 2004
Life Time Achievement Honour by Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children, New Delhi, the Indian chapter of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY), 2014.