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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;

Year Recipient Language
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.

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