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Ravindra Kelekar presented Jnanpith Award

Panaji: Noted Konkani writer Ravindra Kelekar was today presented the coveted Jnanpith Award for his contribution to the world of literature.

The ailing writer was brought in an ambulance for the the 42nd Jnanpith Award Ceremony here, which was attended by leading personalties from various walks of life.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar presented the highest literary award in India for the year 2006 to the 85-year-old legend, who has authored 32 books in Konkani, Hindi and Marathi.

The award carries a cheque for Rs 7 lakh, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Vagdevi (Goddess Saraswati).

"Mhaka ekdum khoshi dista tumcheshi yeopak (I feel happy to speak to you)," Kumar said in Konkani, Goa`s official language, while beginning her 30-minute long speech.

The award for the years 2005 and 2006 were announced in late 2008.

Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat, noted writer Namwar Singh and Sitakant Mahapatra, Chairman of Selection Board of Jnanpith, were among those present at the function.

Kelekar, whose speech was read out by Singh, rued the state of regional languages.

"People have stopped reading books in regional languages. On the other hand, through English, we have created Bonsai intellectuals, Bonsai writers and Bonsai readers."

PTI

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