Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Korea's First Lady presents Tagore Literature Awards 2009

New Delhi, Jan 25 (UNI) Honouring excellence in fields of art, literature and culture, the First Lady of the Republic of Korea Kim Yoon-ok presented the first Tagore Literature Awards to eight Indian luminaries here today.

In a glittering ceremony, the experts were awarded for their contributions in eight Indian languages -- Bengali, Bodo, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Punjabi and Telugu.

In the poetry genre, Bengali poet Alok Sarkar won the award for his book 'Apapabhumi' and Kashmiri poetess Naseem Shafai won for her collection of poems 'Na Tshay Na Akas', while in the autobiography section, Gujarati author Bhagwandas Patel won for 'Mari Lokyatra' and Punjabi writer Jaswant Singh Kanwal
won for 'Punya Da Chanan'.

Similarly, there were two winners in the essay section, namely Bodo writer Brajendra Kumar Brahma, who won for his book 'Raithai Hala', and Telugu writer Kovela Suprasannacharya, who won for his book 'Antharangam'.

In the genres of short stories and novel, there was single winner each. Hindi writer Rajee Seth won for her collection of short stories 'Ghame-Hayat Ne Mara', while Kannada novelist Chandrasekhar Kambar won the award for his novel 'Shikara Soorya'.

The awards have been instituted by Sahitya Akademi in collaboration with Samsung Electronics.

Asserting that the awardees had been selected in a much democratic manner, president of Sahitya Akademi Sunil Gangopadhyaya explained the selection procedure to all present in the gathering.

''Altogether 188 scholars from different languages constituted the selection committee who chose the winners after a three-stage procedure,'' Mr Gangopadhyaya said.

The awards will recognise the best literary contributions in eight different Indian languages every year, with 24 languages being covered by the end of the third year.

The same cycle of eight languages being rewarded every year will continue thereafter.

Replying to a question that why the winners did not include any young poets and writers, Mr Gangopadhyaya stated that since it was the first year of the awards, it was decided to honour the veterans first.

''However, if any other country or a big business house offers us to give award to more poets and writers, then they are welcome,'' he quipped.

He noted that the initiative taken by the two countries was a fine gesture leading to promotion of Indian literature as well as cultural and literary bonds between the two.

Speaking on the occasion, president and CEO of Samsung South-west Asia Headquarters J S Shin said, ''The awards are celebrating the power of literature to unify people across, regions and cultures.''

The awardees were honoured with a trophy, a cash prize of Rs 91,000 and a shawl.

The ceremony was followed by a recitation of Tagore's poetry by an Indian child, Somoshree Mahapatra, and a Korean child, Jihun.

Noted actress Sharmila Tagore was also present on the occasion. As the children recited the poem, she was so overwhelmed by their performance that she ran up to the stage to kiss the 12-year-old Korean boy.

However, Jihun much later came to know that he had got a peck on his cheek by a veteran Indian actress.

The evening had a fitting finale with the rendition of a collection of Tagore music on 'sarod' by the famous duo and sons of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Aman Ali Khan and Ayan Ali Khan.

Mr Yoo In Chon, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Government of Korea; Mr Jawhar Sircar, Secretary, Indian Ministry of Culture, Prof Pabitra Sarkar, former vice-chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University and Dr Reba Som, Director, Rabindranath Tagore Center, Kolkata, also graced the function.

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