Nilmoni Phukan was born at Dibrugarh, Assam on 22 June 1880. He was educated at Dibrugarh, Gauhati, Cooch Behar, and Calcutta. Abandoning his study of law, he came back to Dibrugarh and founded the George Institution. As founder-headmaster for 15 years, he nursed it into a flourishing institution that has done yeoman service in spreading education in the area.
In 1931 he joined the editorial staff of the Assamese weekly “The Batori”. When it became a daily “The Dainik Batori” in 1935, Phukan became the first editor of the first daily newspaper in Assamese. He jointly edited “The Alochani”, a monthly from Dibrugarh, and another monthly, “The Na-jon”.
A prolific writer and poet, he has to his credit as many as 14 published collections of poems besides innumerable unpublished poems. His contribution to the Assamese language and literature also includes 5 thought-provoking books and a dozen unpublished manuscripts. He was twice elected President of the Assam Sahitya Sabha. He was made a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi, and the Gauhati University conferred on him the degree of D. Litt Honoris Causa in recognition of his signal contribution to Assamese literature.
As a pioneer and veteran journalist, he was drawn into the vortex of the struggle for freedom. Deeply influenced by Mahatma Gandhi he forsook foreign dress and manners, and became his follower in life and thought. An active member of the Indian National Congress, at the call of Gandhiji he plunged himself head and shoulders into the Quit India Movement, as a result of which he was arrested and imprisoned in 1942.
A lifelong bachelor, his was a life of total dedication to the cause of his fellow beings and was in turn loved by all those who came in touch with him. As an unsparingly selfless servant, he spent all his earnings on the welfare of the people. During the latter part of his life, he set up, with his personal funds, “The Mitur Asram” at Nagabat on the Border
of Nagaland and Assam to foster amity between the peoples of the hills and the plains.
He breathed his last on 21 January 1978.
Source: Information Brochure of Commemorative Postage Stamp issued by Department of Posts.