By IPA Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI: The Jnanpith Selection Board has announced the recipients of the 56th & 57th Jnanpith Awards for the year 2021 and 2022 on Tuesday in a meeting. The 56th Jnanpith Award for the year 2021 went to NILMANI PHOOKAN, eminent Indian poet writing in Assamese and the 57th Jnanpith Award for the year 2022 went to DAMODAR MAUZO, eminent Indian author writing in Konkani.
The decision was taken in a meeting of Jnanpith Selection Board chaired by eminent novelist, scholar and Jnanpith laureate Smt. Pratibha Ray. Other eminent persons of the selection board are Shri Madhav Kaushik, Shri Syed Muhammad Ashraf, Prof. Harish Trivedi, Prof. Suranjan Das, Prof. Purushothama Bilimale, Shri Chandrakant Patil, Dr. S. Mani Valan, Shri Prabha Varma, Prof. Asghar Wajahat and Shri Madhusudan Anand. Jnanpith Award was constituted by Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain and Smt Rama Jain and the first award went to G. Sankara Kurup in 1965.
Born in 1933, Nilmani Phookan, is the most revered name in Assamese poetry. Phookan has been described as a “sage-like presence” in Assamese literature. His canvas is vast, his imagination mythopoeic, his voice bardic, his concerns ranging from the political to the cosmic, from the contemporary to the primeval. The landscapes he evokes are epic and elemental: he speaks of fire and water, planet and star, forest and desert, man and rock, time and space, war and peace, life and death.
And yet, one finds not merely a sage’s reflective detachment here, but urgency as well as anguish and a deep sense of loss. He has written thirteen volumes of poetry. Some of his immortal creations include Surya Heno Nami Ahe Ei Nadiyedi, Manas-pratima and Phuli Thaka Suryamukhi Phultor Phale.
Padamshri Phookan is the recipient of many coveted awards that include Sahitya Akademi Award (1981), Assam Valley Literary Award (1997), Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (2002) and many more. His works have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages.
Born in 1944, Damodar Mauzo, is the most prolific contemporary Konkani writer. Writing for more than last fifty years, he has footprints in many genres that include short stories, novels, criticism and children literature. However, short stories remained his forte and love.
The themes of Mauzo’s stories are bold and many are women-centric; his narratives are unconventional and even philosophical at times. He speaks about human relations, social change, male chauvinism, caste, religion and other facets of humanity in his creations. Although his creations are mostly set in Konkani frames, the ideas gained him pan-Indian appreciation.
Damodar Mauzo has penned six short story collections, four novels, two biographical sketches besides literature for children. His works have been translated into many Indian and foreign languages. Some of his important creations include Angvaan, Khilli, Karmelin, Sood, Goembab and Tsunami Simon.
Recipient of many coveted awards that include Sahitya Akademi Award, Goa Kala Academy Literary Award, Konkani Basha Mandal Literary Award and many more, Damodar Mauzo remains a doyen of Konkani literature even today. (IPA)