The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English,[a] with no posthumous conferral.
|Award for individual contributions to Literature
Instituted in 1961
|Awarded for||Literary award in India|
|Sponsored by||Bharatiya Jnanpith|
|Reward(s)||₹11 lakh (equivalent to ₹12 lakh or US$18,000 in 2017)|
|Most recent winner||Krishna Sobti|
|First winner||G. Sankara Kurup|
From 1965 till 1981, the award was given to the authors for their "most outstanding work" and consisted of a citation plaque, a cash prize of ₹1 lakh (equivalent to ₹48 lakh or US$73,000 in 2017), and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom. The first recipient of the award was the Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup who received the award in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950. The rules were revised in subsequent years to consider only works published during the preceding twenty years, excluding the year for which the award was to be given and the cash prize was increased to ₹1.5 lakh (equivalent to ₹22 lakh or US$33,000 in 2017) from 1981.
As of 2015[update], the cash prize has been revised to ₹11 lakh (equivalent to ₹12 lakh or US$18,000 in 2017) and out of twenty-three eligible languages the award has been presented for works in fifteen languages: Hindi (eleven), Kannada (eight), Bengali (six), Malayalam (five), Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, and Urdu (four each), Telugu (three), Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil (two each), Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit (one each). The award has been conferred upon fifty-seven writers including seven women authors. In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to win the award and was honoured for the 1965 novel Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), the first in a trilogy.[b] The most recent recipient of the award is Hindi fiction writer and essayist Krishna Sobti who was awarded for the year 2017.
The Bharatiya Jnanpith, a research and cultural institute founded in 1944 by industrialist Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain of the Sahu Jain family, conceived an idea in May 1961 to start a scheme "commanding national prestige and of international standard" to "select the best book out of the publications in Indian languages". Later in November, Rama Jain, the Founder President of the Bharatiya Jnanpith, invited a few literary experts to discuss various aspects of the scheme. Jain along with Kaka Kalelkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jainendra Kumar, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Prabhakar Machwe, Akshaya Kumar Jain, and Lakshmi Chandra Jain presented the initial draft to the then President of India Rajendra Prasad who had shown interest in the scheme's implementation. The idea was also discussed at the 1962 annual sessions of the All India Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad.
On 2 April 1962, around 300 writers of various Indian languages were invited to Delhi for the two sessions conducted by Dharamvir Bharati in which the draft was finalised and later presented to Prasad. The first award selection committee meeting was scheduled on 16 March 1963 and Prasad was appointed as its president. However, Prasad died on 28 February 1963 and thus the scheduled meeting was chaired by Kalelkar and Sampurnanand acted as president of the committee.
The first Selection Board consisted of Kalelkar, Niharranjan Ray, Karan Singh, R. R. Diwakar, V. Raghavan, B. Gopal Reddy, Harekrushna Mahatab, Rama Jain, and Lakshmi Chandra Jain and was headed by Sampurnanand. Works that were published between 1921 and 1951 were considered for the first award. The nine language committees that were formed were to submit to the board nominations along with translations of the work into Hindi or English. The final round had four authors; Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengali), D. V. Gundappa (Kannada), Viswanatha Satyanarayana (Telugu), and G. Sankara Kurup (Malayalam). On 19 November 1966, Kurup was presented with the citation, statue of Saraswati, and a cheque for prize of ₹1 lakh (US$1,500) at a ceremony held at Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi.[c] In his acceptance speech, Kurup appreciated the concept of the new award and thanked it for bringing "integration of the diverse people of this land on a spiritual plane".
Rules and selection processEdit
The nominations for the award are received from various literary experts, teachers, critics, universities, and numerous literary and language associations. Every three years, an advisory committee is constituted for each of the languages. The language of the most recent recipient's work is not eligible for consideration for the next two years. Each committee consists of three literary critics and scholars of their respective languages. All the nominations are scrutinised by the committee and their recommendations are submitted to the Jnanpith Award Selection Board (Pravara Parishad).
The Selection Board consists of between seven and eleven members of "high repute and integrity". Each member is part of the committee for a term of three years which can also be extended further for two more terms. The recommendations of all language advisory committees are evaluated by the board based on complete or partial translations of the selected writings of the proposed writers into Hindi or English. The recipient for a particular year is announced by the Selection Board, which has final authority in selection.
List of recipientsEdit
|†||Indicates a joint award for the given year|
|Kurup, G. SankaraG. Sankara Kurup||Malayalam||[d]|
|Bandyopadhyay, TarasankarTarasankar Bandyopadhyay||Bengali||[e]|
|Joshi, UmashankarUmashankar Joshi||Gujarati||[f]|
|Puttappa 'Kuvempu', Kuppali VenkatappaKuppali Venkatappa Puttappa 'Kuvempu'||Kannada||[g]|
|Pant, SumitranandanSumitranandan Pant||Hindi||[h]|
|Gorakhpuri, FiraqFiraq Gorakhpuri||Urdu||[i]|
|Satyanarayana, ViswanathaViswanatha Satyanarayana||Telugu||[j]|
|Dey, BishnuBishnu Dey||Bengali||[k]|
|Singh 'Dinkar', RamdhariRamdhari Singh 'Dinkar'||Hindi||[l]|
|Bendre, D. R.D. R. Bendre||Kannada||[m]|
|Mohanty, GopinathGopinath Mohanty||Odia||[n]|
|Khandekar, Vishnu SakharamVishnu Sakharam Khandekar||Marathi||[o]|
|Devi, AshapoornaAshapoorna Devi||Bengali||[q]|
|Karanth, K. ShivaramK. Shivaram Karanth||Kannada||[r]|
|Vatsyayan, SachchidanandaSachchidananda Vatsyayan||Hindi||[s]|
|Bhattacharya, Birendra KumarBirendra Kumar Bhattacharya||Assamese||[t]|
|Pottekkatt, S. K.S. K. Pottekkatt||Malayalam||[u]|
|Pritam, AmritaAmrita Pritam||Punjabi||[v]|
|Varma, MahadeviMahadevi Varma||Hindi|||
|Iyengar, Masti VenkateshaMasti Venkatesha Iyengar||Kannada|||
|Pillai, Thakazhi SivasankaraThakazhi Sivasankara Pillai||Malayalam|||
|Patel, PannalalPannalal Patel||Gujarati|||
|Routray, SachidanandaSachidananda Routray||Odia|||
|Shirwadkar 'Kusumagraj', Vishnu VamanVishnu Vaman Shirwadkar 'Kusumagraj'||Marathi|||
|Reddy, C. NarayanaC. Narayana Reddy||Telugu|||
|Hyder, QurratulainQurratulain Hyder||Urdu|||
|Gokak, Vinayaka KrishnaVinayaka Krishna Gokak||Kannada|||
|Mukhopadhyay, SubhashSubhash Mukhopadhyay||Bengali|||
|Mehta, NareshNaresh Mehta||Hindi|||
|Mahapatra, SitakantSitakant Mahapatra||Odia|||
|Ananthamurthy, U. R.U. R. Ananthamurthy||Kannada|||
|Nair, M. T. VasudevanM. T. Vasudevan Nair||Malayalam|||
|Devi, MahaswetaMahasweta Devi||Bengali|||
|Jafri, Ali SardarAli Sardar Jafri||Urdu|||
|Karnad, GirishGirish Karnad||Kannada|||
|Verma, NirmalNirmal Verma||Hindi|||
|Singh, GurdialGurdial Singh||Punjabi|||
|Goswami, Mamoni RaisomMamoni Raisom Goswami||Assamese|||
|Shah, RajendraRajendra Shah||Gujarati|||
|Karandikar, VindaVinda Karandikar||Marathi|||
|Rahi, RehmanRehman Rahi||Kashmiri|||
|Narayan, KunwarKunwar Narayan||Hindi|||
|Kelekar, RavindraRavindra Kelekar||Konkani|||
|Shastri, Satya VratSatya Vrat Shastri||Sanskrit|||
|Kurup, O. N. V.O. N. V. Kurup||Malayalam|||
|Khan 'Shahryar', Akhlaq MohammedAkhlaq Mohammed Khan 'Shahryar'||Urdu|||
|Sukla, Sri LalSri Lal Sukla||Hindi|||
|Kambara, ChandrashekharaChandrashekhara Kambara||Kannada|||
|Ray, PratibhaPratibha Ray||Odia|||
|Bharadhwaja, RavuriRavuri Bharadhwaja||Telugu|||
|Singh, KedarnathKedarnath Singh||Hindi|||
|Nemade, BhalchandraBhalchandra Nemade||Marathi|||
|Chaudhari, RaghuveerRaghuveer Chaudhari||Gujarati|||
|Ghosh, ShankhaShankha Ghosh||Bengali|||
|Sobti, Krishna Krishna Sobti||Hindi|||
- The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India consists of twenty-two languages viz. Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
- The trilogy consists of Pratham Pratisruti, Subarnalata, and Bakul Katha.
- The Malayalam language committee headed by N. V. Krishna Warrier submitted an undisputed nomination of Kurup's work Odakkuzhal although the Kerala Sahitya Akademi opined that no work in Malayalam language was worthy of the inaugural prize.
- Awarded for Odakkuzhal.
- Awarded for Ganadevta.
- Awarded for Nishitha.
- Awarded for Sri Ramayana Darshanam.
- Awarded for Chidambara.
- Awarded for Gul-e-Naghma.
- Awarded for Ramayana Kalpavrukshamu.
- Awarded for Smriti Satta Bhavishyat.
- Awarded for Urvashi.
- Awarded for Nakutanti.
- Awarded for Matimatal.
- Awarded for Yayati.
- Awarded for Chitttrappavai.
- Awarded for Pratham Pratisruti.
- Awarded for Mookajjiya Kanasugalu.
- Awarded for Kitni Navon Men Kitni Bar.
- Awarded for Mrityunjay.
- Awarded for Oru Desathinte Katha.
- Awarded for Kagaj te Canvas.
- Moortidevi Award, another annual literary award conferred by the Bharatiya Jnanpith.
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