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Literature Awards | Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Award

Jnanpith Award

The Jnanpith Award is the most prestigious literary award presented by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to Indian writers for their outstanding contribution to literature.

The award was instituted in 1961 and is bestowed to writers writing in all Indian languages that are included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. Indian writers in English are given this award as well. Unlike many other civilian awards in India, this award cannot be conferred posthumously.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 11 lakh, and consists of a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati and a citation plaque. Goddess Saraswati represents knowledge and wisdom in the Hindu mythology.

The very first recipient of the Jnanpith Award was the famous Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup. He was given the prize in 1965. Seven women writers have been conferred this award. The Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to be given this prize in 1976.

So far 56 writers have been conferred the Jnanpith Awards including 10 in Hindi,  8 in Kannada, 5 each in Bengali and Malayalam, 4 each in Gujarati, Odia, Marathi, and Urdu, 3 in Telugu, 2 each in Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil and 1 each in Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit.

Nominations for the award are based on recommendations from universities, teachers, critics, literary experts, and various literary associations. All nominations are closely scrutinized by an advisory committee and the final recommendations are submitted to the Pravara Parishad or Jnanpith Award Selection Board. The Pravara Parishad consists of 11 members of high integrity, who have the final authority in the selection of the recipients for the award.

The Jnanpith Award is the highest literary award in India. The list of the Jnanpith Awardees are as follows;

1965G. Shankar KurupAuda Kujai (Malayalam Literature)
1966Tara Shankar BandyopadhyayGanadevata (Bengali Literature)
1967K.V Putappa, Uma Shankar JoshiRamayan Darshanam (Kannada Literature), Nisheeth (Gujarati Literature)
1968Sumitra Nandan PantChidambra (Hindi Literature)
1969Prof. Raghpupati Sahay ‘Firaq Gorakhpuri’Gul-e-Naghma (Urdu Literature)
1970Vishwanth SatyanarayanaShreemad Ramayan Kalpavriksham (Telugu Literature)
1971Vishnu DeySmriti Satta Bhavishyat (Bengali Literature)
1972Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’Urvashi (Hindi Literature)
1973Gopinath Mohanty, D.R. BendreMati Matal (Oriya) Naku Thanthi (Kannada Literature)
1974Vishnu Sakharam KhandekarYayati (Marathi Literature)
1975P.V. AkilandamChittirappavai (Tamil Literature)
1976Smt. Ashapurna DeviPratham Pratishruti (Bengali Literature)
1977Dr.K. Shivram KaranthMukajjiya Kanasugalu (Kannada Literature)
1978Dr Sachidananda Hiranand Vatsyayana ‘Agyeya’Kitni Nawon Mein Kitni Bar (Hindi Literature)
1979Dr. Virendra Kumar BhattacharyaMrityunjay (Assamia Literature)
1980S.K PottekatOru Dishatinate Katha (Malayalam Literature)
1981Amrita PritamKagaz te Canvas (Punjabi Literature)
1982Mahadevi VermaYama (Hindi Literature)
1983Masti Venkatesh IyengarChikaveer Rajendra (Kannada Literature)
1984T. Shiv Shankar PillaiKayar (Malayalam Literature)
1985Pannalal PatelManvini Bhavai (Gujarati Literature)
1986Sachida Nanda RoutoryOriya Literature
1987Vishnu Vaman ShirwadkarMarathi Literature
1988Dr. C.Narayana ReddyTelugu Literature
1989Qurrtul –ain-HyderUrdu Literature
1990Prof. Vinayak Krishna GokakKannada Literature
1991Subhash MukhopadhyayBengali Literature
1992Naresh MehtaHindi Literature
1993Dr. Sitakant MahapatraOriya Literature
1994Prof. U.R. AnanthamurthyKannada Literature
1995M.T. Vasudevan NairMalayalam Literature
1996Mrs. Mahashweta DeviBengali Literature
1997Ali Sardar JafriUrdu Literature
1998Girish KarnadKannada Literature
1999Nirmal Verma Gurdayal SinghHindi Literature
2000Dr.Indira GoswamiAssamese Literature
2001Rajendra Keshaval ShahGujarati Literature
2002D. JayakanthanTamil Literature
2003Vinda KarandikarMarathi Literature
2004Rehman RahiKashmiri Literature
2005Kunwar NarainHindi Literature
2006Ravindra KelekarKonkani Literature
2006Satyavrat ShastriSanskrit Literature
2007O. N. V. KurupMalayalam Literature
2008Akhlaq Khan ShahryarUrdu Literature

Sahitya Akademi Award

The Sahitya Akademi Award is a major literary honor granted to writers of the most outstanding books published in any of the major Indian languages. The award is granted by the Sahitya Akademi of New Delhi.

The Sahitya Akademi Award was instituted in 1954. It comprises of a cash prize of Rs. 1 lakh and a plaque. What’s special about the plaque is that it was designed by the legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

The award was constituted to recognize and promote outstanding works in Indian literature and to acknowledge new trends in Indian writing. While the Sahitya Akademi Awards are not considered as important as the Jnanpith Award, they still have a great amount of significance.

The Sahitya Akademi is India’s is the National Academy of Letters. It’s an important organization that promotes literature in 24 major Indian languages and in English. The organization assists writers across the country by providing them with research and travel grants.

The Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous body although it works under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India.

The awards granted by the Sahitya Akademi carry great significance for the recipients of the prize. The works of the writers conferred with this award are translated into all major Indian languages. Programs are organized to support the recipients of the prize in various Indian cities by the Sahitya Akademi.

Recently the Sahitya Akademi was the subject of a lot of controversy as many recipients of the prize returned their awards as part of a political protest against the Government of India, referred to as “#Awardwapsi” on the social media.

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