New Delhi, February 11, 2011
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh confers the Jnanpith Award on renowned Malayalam poet O.N.V. Kurup, at Thiruvananthapuram, in Kerala on February 11, 2011. Kerala Chief Minister of Kerala V.S. Achuthanandan is also seen.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today conferred the 43rd Jnanpith Award, the most prestigious prize in Indian literature, on celebrated Malayalam poet O N V Kurup at a function in Thiruvananthapuram and called for more efforts to promote literature in Indian languages.
"Educated Indians are quite familiar with the works of famous writers of the West. But they are much less familiar with the works of outstanding litterateurs in Indian languages," he said.
He said that, in fact, in recent years, Indian writers in English had become well known and had earned a name for themselves both in India and abroad.
"The flowering of literary talent in other Indian languages needs a larger platform and greater recognition and both the State and the enterprise sector should contribute to the building of this tradition," he said.
Dr Singh said there was need to promote "cross-translation" of works in different Indian languages, pointing out that the "beautiful poems" of Kurup should be available in Bengali or Marathi or, for that matter, Punjabi.
"Promotion of such cross translations is an important task that has been taken up by the Sahitya Akademi. We have asked them to step up their efforts to propagate the richness of Indian literature, both contemporary and classical. Appreciating Indian culture should involve the understanding, acknowledgement and recognition of all the different strands and hues of our composite cultural fabric," he said.
Dr Singh noted that the first Jnanpith Award was also awarded to another worthy son of Kerala, the late G S Kurup in 1965, for his outstanding work "Otakkuzhal".
He said that, over nearly half a century, the Jnanpith Award had established itself as a very prestigious award recognizing the best of literary talent in the different languages of our country.
"Towering giants like Tara Shankar Bandopadhyaya, Uma Shankar Joshi, K.V. Puttappa, Sumitranandan Pant and Firaq Gorakhpuri are among the earlier distinguished recipients," he noted.
The Prime Minister said the State had the obligation to play a facilitating role in the development and promotion of creative arts and diverse cultural expressions of the country. But these efforts need also to be supported by private philanthropist and patronage of arts, he said, commending initiatives such as the establishment of the Jnanpith Award that recognize, nurture and promote excellence in writing in Indian languages.
He said Kurup's works reflected deep social commitment and romantic realism. "His poetry has humanistic appeal and reflects his strong belief in human dignity and freedom. The richness of his works derives from the beauty and charm of his works and lyrics and his close observation of the nature and human relationships," he said.
He said Kurup’s versatile talents had also made a mark in Kerala’s entertainment industry, where he is well known as a song writer of great repute.
Dr Singh said Kerala had all the potential to emerge as a major industrial state and destination for investment.
"Its highly educated work force makes it ideal for high technology industries. The success of the space industry in the state should be replicated in other sectors. The Government of India is making all efforts to improve the connectivity and transport infrastructure of the state so that it can become a great regional economic hub," he said.
"Kerala is gifted with some of the finest natural beauty one can see anywhere. We will support all efforts, therefore, to further expand the immense tourist potential in the state.
"It is the natural beauty and allure of Kerala’s forests, its beaches, its rivers that have inspired generations of writers, travelers and poets. I hope that Kerala’s economic progress and growth will be accompanied by a cultural awakening that promotes pride in its people, celebrates their creativity and ushers in all round and enlightened development of the state," he added.