Thiruvananthapuram: Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh on Friday said the State was obliged to play a facilitating
role in developing and promoting the creative talents and
diverse cultural expressions of the country.
In his speech after presenting the Jnanpith award for the
year 2007 to eminent Malayalam poet O N V Kurup at a function
here, the Prime Minister said the promotion of literature in
Indian languages was an area where a lot more work was
"Appreciating Indian culture should involve the
understanding, acknowledgement and recognition of all the
different strands and hues of our composite cultural fabric,"
the Prime Minister said.
Singh said while educated Indians were quite familiar
with the works of famous writers of the West, they were much
less exposed to the works of outstanding litterateurs in
"Though in recent years, Indian writers in English had
earned a name for themselves both in the country and abroad,
the flowering of literary talent in other Indian languages
needs a larger platform and greater recognition," he said.
The Prime Minister stressed the need to promote
cross-translations of works in various Indian languages. "The
beautiful poems of ONV Kurup should be available in Bengali or
Marathi. Promotion of such cross-translations is an important
task that has been taken up by the Sahitya Akademi," he said.
He said the Akademi had been asked to step up their
efforts to propagate the richness of contemporary and
classical Indian literature.
Recalling the words of British poet Shelly who said that
"poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world," the
Prime Minister lauded ONV Kurup`s poetry which reflected
social commitment and romantic idealism.
"Kurup`s 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 nature and human
relationships," he said.
He also commended Kurup`s contribution to Kerala`s
entertainment industry as a song writer of repute.
The Prime Minister said over the last five decades, the
Jnanpith award had established itself as a very prestigious
honour recongnizig the best of literary talent in the
different languages of India.
While Kerala`s own poet G Sankara Kurup won the first
Jnanpith award in 1965, other eminent writers like Tara
Shankar Bandopadhyaya, Uma Shankar Joshi, K V Puttappa,
Sumitranandan Pant and Firaq Gorakhpuri were among the other
recipients, Singh said.
The State`s efforts to promote creative talents needed to
be supported by private patronage of arts, he said, and
praised the initiatives like the establishment of the
Jnanpith award that recognised, nurtured and promoted
excellence in Indian writing.
Sitakant Mahapatra, chairman of the Jnanpith selection
board, who was also present, said the focal point of ONV
Kurup`s works was the juxtaposition of joy and sorrow.
His poems presented a progressive ideology with lyricism
and beauty. "His poems are uncomplicated, sincere, linear and
had aesthetic elegance," Mahapatra said.
In his acceptance speech, Kurup said any poet who wrote
in a language should be regarded as an Indian poet. "My mind
flies away to wherever there are human beings," he said about
"When I vacate this rented abode called earth, I leave a
vital element of my living presence here. That is my poetry,"
Governor R S Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan,
Defence Minister A K Antony, Union Minister for Civil Aviation
Vayalar Ravi, Shashi Tharoor MP were present on the dais.
Sahu Akhilesh Jain, Managing Trustee, Bharatiya Jnanpith
and Indu Jain, Jnanpith President, were also present.
The previous Jnanpith award winner M T Vasudevan Nair,
this year`s Moorthi Devi Puraskaram winner and poet Akkitham
Achuthan Namboodiri, film-maker Adoor Gopalakrishnan and poet
Sugathakumari were among the audience.