(Last Updated on : 10-05-2012)
Sahitya Akademi Award is one of the most rarefied and distinguished literary honour in India. Founded in the year 1954, Sahitya Akademi Award is awarded annually by the Sahitya Akademi itself, India's answer to National Academy of Letters. The honour is rewarded to outstanding and exceptional literary works with merit, issued in any of the twenty-four chief languages of India. The award contains a monetary module of rupees fifty thousand, accompanied by a plaque. It is the second-highest literary honour bestowed by the Government of India
, the highest award represented by the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship.
Sahitya Akademi gives away twenty four awards to literary compositions in the languages it has acknowledged and accredited and an equivalent number to literary translations from and into the languages of India, both after a year-long course of securitisation, discussion and selection. The awards are intended to recognise, sponsor and support excellence in Indian writing and expatiating the very classification of Indian literature by admitting and recognising fresh and innovative trends and movements. The Sahitya Akademi Awards are a perfect expression and manifestation of contemporary preferences and choices and wholly is conducive to the arrangement of an 'Indian sensibility'. The Akademi also gives away special awards referred to as 'Bhasha Samman' to writers and scholars for and outstanding and substantial contribution to the languages not officially acknowledged by the Akademi, as also for contributing to classical and medieval Indian literature. The Sahitya Akademi also owns a system of hand-picking Fellows and Honorary Fellows, as also providing Anand Coomarswamy and Premchand Fellowships. The Anand Coomarswamy Fellowship was begun in 1996 and is given to scholars from Asian countries to pursue a literary project for a minimum of three months to maximum one year. The award is named after Ananda Coomarswamy, an Indian literary giant. The Premchand Fellowship was begun in 2005 and is presented to person belonging to the SAARC countries that have excelled in the field of Culture.
Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India
on 12th March 1954. The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the build-up of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work vigorously for the development of Indian letters and to determine high literary standards, to cultivate and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to uphold through them the intellectual unification of the country. Though initially set up by the Government, the Akademi now functions as an autonomous organisation. It was registered as a society on 7th January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country and also the only institution that undertakes literary activities in twenty-four Indian languages, encompassing English. The Sahitya Akademi Awards are given away in 24 Indian languages to prolific writers, comprising - Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Over the 55 years (counted till 2009) of its self-motivated existence, the Akademi has untiringly endeavoured to promote fine taste and intelligent reading habits, to keep breathing the intimate dialogue amongst the umpteen linguistic and literary zones and groups through seminars, lectures, symposia, discussions, readings and performances. Such wholesome assays additionally increases the stride of mutual translations through workshops and individual assignments, coupled with developing a serious literary culture through publication of journals, monographs, individual creative works of every genre, anthologies, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, who's who of writers and histories of literature.
These above mentioned discussions and tremendous endeavours by the Sahitya Akademi has so far brought out more than four thousand two hundred books, the present rate of publication being one book every thirty hours. Every year the Akademi holds no less than thirty seminars at regional, national and international levels, together with the workshops and literary gatherings - approximately 200 in number every year, under various heads like Meet the Author, Samvad, Kavisandhi, Kathasandhi, Loka: The Many Voices, Men and Books, Through My Window, Mulakat, Asmita, Antaral, Avishkar and Literary Forum.
The Akademi has launched Centres for Translation in Bengaluru
, including an Archive of Indian Literature in Delhi. Many more imaginative projects are in the pipeline. The Sahitya Akademi is very much alert about current cultural and linguistic differences and does not believe in coerced calibration of culture through a mass flattening of levels and attitudes. At the same time, it is also cognizant about the profound inner cultural, spiritual, historical and experiential links that unite India's miscellaneous manifestations of literature. The Sahitya Akademi Awards are primarily honoured to each meritorious individual keeping in mind these lofty sentiments. Such unification searches for an international "species-dimension" through the Akademi's Cultural Exchange Programmes with other countries on the globe.
Other Literary Honours Associated with Sahitya Akademi
Sahitya Akademi Fellowships
They form greatest honour that the Akademi confers through a system of electing Fellows and Honorary Fellows. (Sahitya Akademi Award is the second-highest literary honour next to a Sahitya Akademi Fellowship).
Sahitya Akademi gives these special awards to writers for significant contribution to Indian languages other than the above 24 major ones and also for contribution to classical and medieval Literature. Like the Sahitya Akademi Awards, Bhasha Samman too comprise a plaque and a cash prize of Rs. 1,00,000.
It was set in the year 1989, and Sahitya Akademi annually gives these awards for exceptional translations of key works in other languages into one of the 24 main Indian languages
. The awards comprise a plaque and a cash prize of Rs. 20,000.
Anand Coomarswamy Fellowships
The name of this award is given after the great Indian writer Ananda Coomaraswamy. The fellowship started in the year 1996. It is given to scholars from Asian countries to spend 3 to 12 months in India to pursue a literary project.
This award is actually named after the great writer Premchand. The fellowship began in the year 2005, and is given to people of great personality and eminence in the field of Culture from SAARC nations.