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;
|1965||G. Shankar Kurup||Auda Kujai (Malayalam Literature)|
|1966||Tara Shankar Bandyopadhyay||Ganadevata (Bengali Literature)|
|1967||K.V Putappa, Uma Shankar Joshi||Ramayan Darshanam (Kannada Literature), Nisheeth (Gujarati Literature)|
|1968||Sumitra Nandan Pant||Chidambra (Hindi Literature)|
|1969||Prof. Raghpupati Sahay ‘Firaq Gorakhpuri’||Gul-e-Naghma (Urdu Literature)|
|1970||Vishwanth Satyanarayana||Shreemad Ramayan Kalpavriksham (Telugu Literature)|
|1971||Vishnu Dey||Smriti Satta Bhavishyat (Bengali Literature)|
|1972||Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’||Urvashi (Hindi Literature)|
|1973||Gopinath Mohanty, D.R. Bendre||Mati Matal (Oriya) Naku Thanthi (Kannada Literature)|
|1974||Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar||Yayati (Marathi Literature)|
|1975||P.V. Akilandam||Chittirappavai (Tamil Literature)|
|1976||Smt. Ashapurna Devi||Pratham Pratishruti (Bengali Literature)|
|1977||Dr.K. Shivram Karanth||Mukajjiya Kanasugalu (Kannada Literature)|
|1978||Dr Sachidananda Hiranand Vatsyayana ‘Agyeya’||Kitni Nawon Mein Kitni Bar (Hindi Literature)|
|1979||Dr. Virendra Kumar Bhattacharya||Mrityunjay (Assamia Literature)|
|1980||S.K Pottekat||Oru Dishatinate Katha (Malayalam Literature)|
|1981||Amrita Pritam||Kagaz te Canvas (Punjabi Literature)|
|1982||Mahadevi Verma||Yama (Hindi Literature)|
|1983||Masti Venkatesh Iyengar||Chikaveer Rajendra (Kannada Literature)|
|1984||T. Shiv Shankar Pillai||Kayar (Malayalam Literature)|
|1985||Pannalal Patel||Manvini Bhavai (Gujarati Literature)|
|1986||Sachida Nanda Routory||Oriya Literature|
|1987||Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar||Marathi Literature|
|1988||Dr. C.Narayana Reddy||Telugu Literature|
|1989||Qurrtul –ain-Hyder||Urdu Literature|
|1990||Prof. Vinayak Krishna Gokak||Kannada Literature|
|1991||Subhash Mukhopadhyay||Bengali Literature|
|1992||Naresh Mehta||Hindi Literature|
|1993||Dr. Sitakant Mahapatra||Oriya Literature|
|1994||Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy||Kannada Literature|
|1995||M.T. Vasudevan Nair||Malayalam Literature|
|1996||Mrs. Mahashweta Devi||Bengali Literature|
|1997||Ali Sardar Jafri||Urdu Literature|
|1998||Girish Karnad||Kannada Literature|
|1999||Nirmal Verma Gurdayal Singh||Hindi Literature|
|2000||Dr.Indira Goswami||Assamese Literature|
|2001||Rajendra Keshaval Shah||Gujarati Literature|
|2002||D. Jayakanthan||Tamil Literature|
|2003||Vinda Karandikar||Marathi Literature|
|2004||Rehman Rahi||Kashmiri Literature|
|2005||Kunwar Narain||Hindi Literature|
|2006||Ravindra Kelekar||Konkani Literature|
|2006||Satyavrat Shastri||Sanskrit Literature|
|2007||O. N. V. Kurup||Malayalam Literature|
|2008||Akhlaq Khan Shahryar||Urdu 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.