Padma Shri Current Affairs - 2019

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Amitav Ghosh conferred 54th Jnanpith Award

Renowned author Amitav Ghosh was felicitated with 54th Jnanpith Award for his outstanding contribution to enrichment of Indian Literature in English. He was presented the award by Gopalkrishna Gandhi, former Governor of West Bengal who was the chief guest at a function held at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Key Highlights

Author Ghosh is 1st English language writer to become a Jnanpith laureate as all previous winners of prestigiuous award have been writers in Indian languages.

The 62 years old Kolkata-born author was described as a path-breaking novelist by the awarding body Bharatiya Jnanpith.

He was acknowledged for in his novels which treads through historical settings to modern era and weaves a space where past connects with present in relevant ways.

About Amitav Ghosh

Even though he is a social anthropologist by academic training, he has written extensively in both fiction and non-fiction sphere of literature.

Till date his works has been translated in over 30 languages. He also holds four honourary doctrates.

Awards: He has been awarded Sahitya Akademi Award (1990) for his book The Shadow Lines and Padma Shri (2007) for his services to literature and education.

Literary Themes: The major thematic concerns in is literature includes migration and interconnections across places, cultures and races, as well as human distress and suffering caused by historical turbulences, especially at level of girmitiyas, coolies and lascars.

About Jnanpith award

It is the highest literary award in India, presented annually by Bharatiya Jnanpith (a literary and research organization). It can only be conferred upon a citizen of India but with no posthumous conferral.

Prize: The award consists of a citation, shawl, goddess Saraswati statue and cah prize of cash prize of Rs.11 lakh.

Initially English language was not considered for the Award but after 49th Jnanpith Award, English language was added to the list of languages for consideration.

Background: It was instituted on 22 May 1961 and is given for best creative literary writing by any Indian citizen in any of the 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule 8 of Indian Constitution. After 1982 onwards, the award is given for overall contribution to literature as prior to that a specific work used to be cited.

1st winner of Jnanpith award was G.S. Kurup, famous Malyalam writer.

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Fact Box: Girish Karnad

The renowned playwright, actor and Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad died at the age of 81 at his residence in Bengaluru, Karnataka. He succumbed to multiple-organ failure.

To honour the well-known writer who brought 7th Jnanpith to Kannada, Karnataka Government declared a holiday for schools and colleges and a 3-day State mourning as a tribute.

About Girish Karnad

  • He was born in May 1938. He became one of the most prominent theatre personalities in priod of 1960s and 1970s, which was regarded as Renaissance of Indian theatre.
  • Playwright: He wrote his first play Yayati in 1961 when he was a Rhodes scholar (world’s oldest fellowship program) in England, UK. He worked with mythology, history and gave them a contemporary resonance in plays like Tughlaq and Hayavadana. He translated most of his plays himself. His last play was Rakshasa Tangadi, (a Kannada play on the Battle of Talikota) which was published in 2018.
  • Director and Actor: he made his acting debut in the classic movie- Samskara. He made his name not only in parallel cinema but was also celebrated for his roles in mainstream films in multiple languages. He directed around 12 films and documentaries in Kannada and Hindi.
  • Awards: He was recipient of Padma Shri (1974) for his contributions to theatre and Padma Bhushan (1992) in recognition of his contributions to arts. He was also conferred Jnanpith Award in 1998.

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