The Sahitya Academy has declared its prestigious annual awards today. This year’s winners include playwright and novelist Cyrus Mistry and the Malayalam novelist K. R. Meera. Mistry’s “Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer” and Meera’s “Aarachar” are the works for which the award has been conferred upon. These are amonge four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs that have won.
The award comprises of a cheque of Rs one lakh, a shawl and an engraved plaque. It will be presented on 16th February 2016 during the festival of Letters, which is the annual festival of the Academy. Along with this, the Bhasha Samman has been conferred on writer and scholar Shrikant Bahulkar in recognition of his contribution to classical and medieval literature (western region). However the award in Bengali will be announced later, according to the academy sources.
Akademi’s Secretary K Sreenivasarao said,”The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 23 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Akademi which met today under the Chairmanship of President, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.”
This year’s academy award holds significance on the backdrop of awards being returned by eminent writers and scholars against the growing issue of intolerance in the country. The protest was triggered by the murder of eminent writer M.M. Kalburgi by fundamentalist elements in Karnataka.
Mr. Rao said though the academy has received cheques by 35 authors, they have decided not to deposit the amount. No institute thinks about taking back awards while conferring them. If they do, then there is no point of giving them awards in the first place. Giving awards is a celebration, he added.