Amitav Ghosh feted with 54th Jnanpith Award for 'contribution to literature'

Ghosh, the first English writer to be honoured with the award, said he constantly draws from Bangla for his works.

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Former governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi (L) presents the Jananpith Award to writer Amitav Ghosh (R), in New Delhi.
NEW DELHI: Bestselling author and leading contemporary English writer, Amitav Ghosh, was awarded the 54th Jnanpith Award for his contribution to the enrichment of Indian literature in English at a ceremony at the India Habitat Centre on Wednesday.

He was conferred the award by former diplomat and governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi, who called him a 'craftsman' whose work comes from a 'sinews of effort no less than the strokes of inspiration'.

"Ghosh's material is drawn from the human condition. His resources are the offsprings of study. His achievements are progeny of art and his books are rich in what can only be called minerals," he added


The first English writer to be honoured with the prestigious award, the 62-year-old said, "It is an incredible moment of my life. It is a remarkable thing that I am getting this award".

The​ former governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi, while felicitating Ghosh, called him a 'craftsman' whose work comes from a 'sinews of effort no less than the strokes of inspiration'.​
The former governor of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi, while felicitating Ghosh, called him a 'craftsman' whose work comes from a 'sinews of effort no less than the strokes of inspiration'.

The author added that he constantly draws from Bangla for his works, "English is, not by any means, my only language. Nor would my work be what it is if I had grown in a circumstance where one language pre-dominated over all others.

"... Like even though I write in English I draw constantly from Bangla and its vast imaginative resources."

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Ghosh also remembered Jnanpith awardee playwright-actor Girish Karnad who passed away on Monday.

"Girish Karnad was a friend whom I so much looked up to. He was an important voice in our lives. We have lost him just a few day ago. He is very much on my mind."

The author thanked the Jnanpith Selection Board and its chairman, novelist Pratibha Ray for the honour, and said when he started writing he had never imagined that one day an award like Jnanpith would come his way.

Ghosh is the first English writer to be honoured with the prestigious award.
Ghosh is the first English writer to be honoured with the prestigious award.

Instituted in 1961, the recipients of Jnanpith award are given a cash prize of Rs 11 lakh, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.

The news of Ghosh winning the award was first announced in December, following which the author had thanked his fans on Twitter who congratulated him.
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Ghosh, who was born in Kolkata, has spent a part of his childhood and young adult life in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He has studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria.

He has earlier won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the 'Shadow Lines', 'The Glass Palace', 'The Hungry Tide', and the Ibis Trilogy - 'Sea of Poppies', 'River of Smoke', and 'Flood of Fire' - that chronicles the opium trade between India and China run by the then East India Company.
​During his speech, Ghosh also remembered Jnanpith awardee playwright-actor Girish Karnad who passed away on Monday.​
During his speech, Ghosh also remembered Jnanpith awardee playwright-actor Girish Karnad who passed away on Monday.

The author's new book, 'Gun Island', centered around a Brooklyn-based rare books dealer trying to decipher an ancient legend of the goddess of snakes, has just been released. With this, the writer returns to fiction after his 2015 work , 'Flood of Fire', from the Ibis trilogy.


The author, who currently lives in New York with his wife Deborah Baker, has also been feted with the Padma Shri.

When Murakami, Toni Morrison, J D Salinger's Books Were Banned
1/6

By Apoorva Puranik

As Haruki Murakami’s new book faces a ban in Hong Kong for being obscene, here are some other literary masterpieces that fought a hard battle to reach bookshelves.

By Apoorva PuranikAs Haruki Murakami’s new book faces a ban in Hong Kong for being obscene, here are some other literary masterpieces that fought a hard battle to reach bookshelves.

The Nobel-Prize-winning author is no stranger to censorship. Her novel 'The Bluest Eye' (1970) was ranked as the second most banned book in the United States by the American Library Association.

The book has been attacked for its ‘pornographic language’ and ‘inappropriate content’. A part of reading lists in schools across the US, it was banned after several parents’ association protested against its inclusion in the syllabus. Despite explicit sex scenes describing incest, rape, and pedophilia, the book is held as a thought-provoking literary work.

Set in 1941, it centres around the life of an African-American girl named Pecola. Morrison’s other works, 'Beloved' (1987) and 'Song of Solomon' (1977), have also met with calls to be removed from school libraries and reading lists.

The Nobel-Prize-winning author is no stranger to censorship. Her novel 'The Bluest Eye' (1970) was ranked as the second most banned book in the United States by the American Library Association. The ..
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In 1929, Norah James wrote her 'stream-of-consciousness' novel about two lovers who form a suicide pact.

Deemed obscene because of expressions such as 'b***s', 'bloody' and 'For Christ's sake give me a drink', the British Home secretary Sir William Joyson-Hicks prompted a raid on the premises of Scholartis Press, the publishing house owned by the New Zealander Eric Partridge. Copies were seized and then destroyed after the final judgement was made that the novel suggested 'thoughts of the most impure character.'

However, a clandestine French edition, published by Jack Kahane of Obelisk Press, made it to bookshelves.

In 1929, Norah James wrote her 'stream-of-consciousness' novel about two lovers who form a suicide pact. Deemed obscene because of expressions such as 'b***s', 'bloody' and 'For Christ's sake give me..
Read More

This 1857 masterpiece by the French writer caused public outcry over its sexualised content and themes of adultery when La Reveau, a French magazine, released some of its excerpts.

While Flaubert and his publishers agreed to remove certain passages, it wasn’t enough and Flaubert was charged with offending public morality. At the trial, Imperial Advocate Ernest Pinard famously said, “No gauze for him, no veils — he gives us nature in all her nudity and crudity.”

While the public opinion remained that Flaubert's work would inevitably lead to the decay of public decency, the jury acquitted him and 'Madame Bovary' was republished in its entirety and sold 15,000 copies in two months.

This 1857 masterpiece by the French writer caused public outcry over its sexualised content and themes of adultery when La Reveau, a French magazine, released some of its excerpts. While Flaubert and..
Read More

The controversial English writer’s tryst with censorship goes beyond the hotly debated Lady Chatterley’s Lover. With 'Women In Love', Lawrence once again shot to infamy, sparking controversy over its sexual content.

The book, published privately in 1920, examines the ill effects of industrialisation on the human psyche through intensity and passion.

The book was banned during Lawrence’s lifetime and after years of misunderstandings, accusations of duplicity, and hurried letters, Thomas Seltzer finally published the first edition of 'Women in Love' in New York City, on November 9, 1920.

This had come after three drawn out years of delays and revisions.

The controversial English writer’s tryst with censorship goes beyond the hotly debated Lady Chatterley’s Lover. With 'Women In Love', Lawrence once again shot to infamy, sparking controversy over its..
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Ever since J D Salinger’s 'The Catcher in the Rye' was published in 1951, it attracted the attention of the censors.

One of the earliest works of fiction exploring male teenage consciousness, the book is narrated in the first person by Holden Caulfield, who struggles with feelings of alienation and anxiety.

During 1965 to 1975, it was the most frequently banned book in American schools, with the common complaint being of obscene language and the portrayal of inappropriate adolescent behaviour.

Although challenged many times, the book remains on many reading lists, and is constantly reprinted.

Ever since J D Salinger’s 'The Catcher in the Rye' was published in 1951, it attracted the attention of the censors. One of the earliest works of fiction exploring male teenage consciousness, the boo..
Read More

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