Anuj Lugun, a young novelist and poet from Simdega has been awarded this year’s Yuva Sahitya Akademi Award. His poem, ‘Bagh aur Sugna Munda ki Beti’ (‘The Tiger and the Daughter of Sugna Munda’) is selected for the Hindi category of the national award that is given each year to notable works in 24 languages of the country.
Lugun was born in Jaldega block, Simdega, and studied at Ranchi College and Banaras Hindu University. He was awarded the Muktibodh Rashtriya Kavya Sammaan in 2009 and Bharat Bhushan Agrawal Sammaan in 2011.He is currently an assistant professor at the Central University of South Bihar, Gaya.
Lugun’s poetry carries the themes of naturalism, loss of tribal life and identity, the commoditisation of natural resources, loss of habitat of animals, the politics of hegemony and oppression, among others. In his own words, his poetry carries forward the ‘philosophy of resistance’.
His award winning poem talks about the effects of deforestation on tigers and other animals, and how the man versus animal conflict plays out as more tigers attack villages. In another poem, titled ‘Sheher ke Dost ke Naam Patra’ (‘A Letter to My Friend in the City’), he talks about the loss of valleys and rivers due to mining and dams, and urges his city friend to take care of the displaced tribal people who will have to migrate to the cities. In his poem ‘Adivasi’, he attacks the opportunistic and appropriated uses of the word ‘Adivasi’, often misused by various sects of the country.
Talking to The Pioneer over phone, Lugun said that he is happy that his poetry is getting recognised, and admitted that this recognition only increases his responsibility as a poet of his people. “It is both pleasing and discomforting that my work is getting recognised on a national level.