Born in an aristocratic family in Nazira, in Assam Eli Ahmed is a famous writer, social activists, lyricist and pioneer of women empowerment. She is someone who has touched the lives of many individuals in the Northeast region. The 83-year-old all-rounder is known for her versatility and vivaciousness. Apart from being a famous writer, poet, and musician, Eli is also known for her ability to create things out of waste products. Eli is however addressed differently by different people. For some she is a Pokhila meaning butterfly, Brajen Barua the famous filmmaker used to call her Geet (song) and Bhupen Hazarika use to refer to her as Rong meaning colors. The poet in her surfaced from a very early age since she started composing and reciting her own poems and rhymes.
Eli Ahmed- A Change Agent
A vibrant and effervescent lady Eli was the pioneer behind the only women’s magazine, ‘Orani’, to be circulated in the Northeast region since 1970. Eli Ahmed is a leader in her own right. The first all women drama group was also formed under her leadership to showcase the trials and tribulations of women in Assam. She raised her voice against atrocities imparted especially to children and women. Her play which was based on the struggles of physically challenged children, ‘Ami Abhinoy Kora Nai’ received rave reviews.
Music has always been her forte and in 1962 her first musical Bhagyor Chokory Chure was performed in a session of the Assam Sahitya Sabha. The popular song, ‘Ga Ga Aji Gai Jaa Ei Geetoke Ga’ in the film Dr. Bezbaruah helped her in establishing her position as a renowned lyricist. She has also written scripts for many awards winning Assamese films Dhrubatora, Bordoichila to name a few.
Awards and Accolades for Eli Ahmed
Accolades and awards have been pouring in since 1962. She is a life-long learner and an award just motivates her to spread her wings and fly higher. She won the National Literary Prize in 1976. Every year Eli’s birthday on March 14th is celebrated by women, artists, art lovers, musicians and lyricists in Assam as Geetar Din, a day of songs. Another aspect of Eli Ahmed is that she has been known to perform magic shows as a hobby.
This year the government of India conferred the prestigious award Padma Shri on Eli Ahmed. She is grateful and honored for being the recipient of such recognition. This award motivates her to work even harder.
Eli dreams of making the upcoming generations to be aware of the rich cultural heritage of Assam. She endeavors towards keeping Assamese people around the globe to feel connected to their roots. A hero and role model Eli Ahmed rightfully justifies the adage that the sky is no more the limit.