Jnanpith Award

Jnanpith Award
Awarded by Bharatiya Jnanpith
Category Literature (Individual)
Description Literary award in India
Instituted 1961
First awarded 1965
Last awarded 2015
Total awarded 56
Cash award 11 lakh (equivalent to 12 lakh or US$17,000 in 2016)
First awardee(s) G. Sankara Kurup
Recent awardee(s) Raghuveer Chaudhari

The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English,[lower-alpha 1] with no posthumous conferral.[2]

From 1965 till 1981, the award was given to the authors for their "most outstanding work" and consisted of a citation plaque, a cash prize of 1 lakh (equivalent to 47 lakh or US$69,000 in 2016), and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.[3][4][5] The first recipient of the award was the Malayalam writer G. Sankara Kurup who received the award in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950.[6] The rules were revised in subsequent years to consider only works published during the preceding twenty years, excluding the year for which the award was to be given and the cash prize was increased to 1.5 lakh (equivalent to 21 lakh or US$32,000 in 2016) from 1981.[7]

As of 2015, the cash prize has been revised to 11 lakh (equivalent to 12 lakh or US$17,000 in 2016) and out of twenty-three eligible languages the award has been presented for works in fifteen languages: Hindi (ten), Kannada (eight), Bengali and Malayalam (five each), Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, and Urdu (four each), Telugu (three), Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil (two each), Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit (one each). The award has been conferred upon fifty-six writers including seven women authors. In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to win the award and was honoured for the 1965 novel Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), the first in a trilogy.[lower-alpha 2][8] The most recent recipient of the award is Gujarati novelist, poet and critic Raghuveer Chaudhari who was awarded for the year 2015.


The Bharatiya Jnanpith, a research and cultural institute founded in 1944 by industrialist Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain of the Sahu Jain family, conceived an idea in May 1961 to start a scheme "commanding national prestige and of international standard" to "select the best book out of the publications in Indian languages".[3][7] Later in November, Rama Jain, the Founder President of the Bharatiya Jnanpith, invited a few literary experts to discuss various aspects of the scheme. Jain along with Kaka Kalelkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jainendra Kumar, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Prabhakar Machwe, Akshaya Kumar Jain, and Lakshmi Chandra Jain presented the initial draft to the then President of India Rajendra Prasad who had shown interest in the scheme's implementation. The idea was also discussed at the 1962 annual sessions of the All India Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad.[3]

On 2 April 1962, around 300 writers of various Indian languages were invited to Delhi for the two sessions conducted by Dharamvir Bharati in which the draft was finalised and later presented to Prasad. The first award selection committee meeting was scheduled on 16 March 1963 and Prasad was appointed as its president.[3] However, Prasad died on 28 February 1963 and thus the scheduled meeting was chaired by Kalelkar and Sampurnanand acted as president of the committee.[3][9]

The first Selection Board consisted of Kalelkar, Niharranjan Ray, Karan Singh, R. R. Diwakar, V. Raghavan, B. Gopal Reddy, Harekrushna Mahatab, Rama Jain, and Lakshmi Chandra Jain and was headed by Sampurnanand. Works that were published between 1921 and 1951 were considered for the first award. The nine language committees that were formed were to submit to the board nominations along with translations of the work into Hindi or English. The final round had four authors; Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengali), D. V. Gundappa (Kannada), Viswanatha Satyanarayana (Telugu), and G. Sankara Kurup (Malayalam). On 19 November 1966, Kurup was presented with the citation, statue of Saraswati, and a cheque for prize of 1 lakh (US$1,500) at a ceremony held at Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi.[lower-alpha 3] In his acceptance speech, Kurup appreciated the concept of the new award and thanked it for bringing "integration of the diverse people of this land on a spiritual plane".[10]

Rules and selection process

The nominations for the award are received from various literary experts, teachers, critics, universities, and numerous literary and language associations. Every three years, an advisory committee is constituted for each of the languages.[3] The language of the most recent recipient's work is not eligible for consideration for the next two years.[2] Each committee consists of three literary critics and scholars of their respective languages. All the nominations are scrutinised by the committee and their recommendations are submitted to the Jnanpith Award Selection Board (Pravara Parishad).[2][3]

The Selection Board consists of between seven and eleven members of "high repute and integrity". Each member is part of the committee for a term of three years which can also be extended further for two more terms.[3] The recommendations of all language advisory committees are evaluated by the board based on complete or partial translations of the selected writings of the proposed writers into Hindi or English. The recipient for a particular year is announced by the Selection Board, which has final authority in selection.[2]

List of recipients

Indicates a joint award for the given year
G. Sankara Kurup was the first recipient of the award.
Raghuveer Chaudhari is the most recent recipient of the award.
List of award recipients, showing the year, and language(s)[11]
Year Recipient(s) Language(s) Refs./Notes
Kurup, G. SankaraG. Sankara Kurup Malayalam [lower-alpha 4][12]
Bandyopadhyay, TarasankarTarasankar Bandyopadhyay Bengali [lower-alpha 5][12]
Joshi, UmashankarUmashankar Joshi Gujarati [lower-alpha 6][12]
Puttappa 'Kuvempu', Kuppali VenkatappaKuppali Venkatappa Puttappa 'Kuvempu' Kannada [lower-alpha 7][12]
Pant, SumitranandanSumitranandan Pant Hindi [lower-alpha 8][12]
Gorakhpuri, FiraqFiraq Gorakhpuri Urdu [lower-alpha 9][12]
Satyanarayana, ViswanathaViswanatha Satyanarayana Telugu [lower-alpha 10][12]
Dey, BishnuBishnu Dey Bengali [lower-alpha 11][12]
Singh 'Dinkar', RamdhariRamdhari Singh 'Dinkar' Hindi [lower-alpha 12][12]
Bendre, D. R.D. R. Bendre Kannada [lower-alpha 13][12]
Mohanty, GopinathGopinath Mohanty Odia [lower-alpha 14][12]
Khandekar, Vishnu SakharamVishnu Sakharam Khandekar Marathi [lower-alpha 15][12]
, AkilanAkilan Tamil [lower-alpha 16][12]
Devi, AshapoornaAshapoorna Devi Bengali [lower-alpha 17][12]
Karanth, K. ShivaramK. Shivaram Karanth Kannada [lower-alpha 18][12]
Vatsyayan, SachchidanandaSachchidananda Vatsyayan Hindi [lower-alpha 19][12]
Bhattacharya, Birendra KumarBirendra Kumar Bhattacharya Assamese [lower-alpha 20][12]
Pottekkatt, S. K.S. K. Pottekkatt Malayalam [lower-alpha 21][12]
Pritam, AmritaAmrita Pritam Punjabi [lower-alpha 22][12]
Varma, MahadeviMahadevi Varma Hindi [13]
Iyengar, Masti VenkateshaMasti Venkatesha Iyengar Kannada [14]
Pillai, Thakazhi SivasankaraThakazhi Sivasankara Pillai Malayalam [15]
Patel, PannalalPannalal Patel Gujarati [16]
Routray, SachidanandaSachidananda Routray Odia [17]
Shirwadkar 'Kusumagraj', Vishnu VamanVishnu Vaman Shirwadkar 'Kusumagraj' Marathi [18]
Reddy, C. NarayanaC. Narayana Reddy Telugu [19]
Hyder, QurratulainQurratulain Hyder Urdu [20]
Gokak, Vinayaka KrishnaVinayaka Krishna Gokak Kannada [21]
Mukhopadhyay, SubhashSubhash Mukhopadhyay Bengali [22]
Mehta, NareshNaresh Mehta Hindi [23]
Mahapatra, SitakantSitakant Mahapatra Odia [24]
Ananthamurthy, U. R.U. R. Ananthamurthy Kannada [25]
Nair, M. T. VasudevanM. T. Vasudevan Nair Malayalam [26]
Devi, MahaswetaMahasweta Devi Bengali [27]
Jafri, Ali SardarAli Sardar Jafri Urdu [28]
Karnad, GirishGirish Karnad Kannada [29]
Verma, NirmalNirmal Verma Hindi [30]
Singh, GurdialGurdial Singh Punjabi [30]
Goswami, Mamoni RaisomMamoni Raisom Goswami Assamese [31]
Shah, RajendraRajendra Shah Gujarati [32]
Jayakanthan, Jayakanthan Tamil [33]
Karandikar, VindaVinda Karandikar Marathi [34]
Rahi, RehmanRehman Rahi Kashmiri [35]
Narayan, KunwarKunwar Narayan Hindi [36]
Kelekar, RavindraRavindra Kelekar Konkani [36]
Shastri, Satya VratSatya Vrat Shastri Sanskrit [36]
Kurup, O. N. V.O. N. V. Kurup Malayalam [37]
Khan 'Shahryar', Akhlaq MohammedAkhlaq Mohammed Khan 'Shahryar' Urdu [38]
Amarkant, Amarkant Hindi [39]
Sukla, Sri LalSri Lal Sukla Hindi [39]
Kambara, ChandrashekharaChandrashekhara Kambara Kannada [40]
Ray, PratibhaPratibha Ray Odia [41]
Bharadhwaja, RavuriRavuri Bharadhwaja Telugu [42]
Singh, KedarnathKedarnath Singh Hindi [43]
Nemade, BhalchandraBhalchandra Nemade Marathi [44]
Chaudhari, RaghuveerRaghuveer Chaudhari Gujarati [45]

Explanatory notes

  1. The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India consists of twenty-two languages viz. Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.[1]
  2. The trilogy consists of Pratham Pratisruti, Subarnalata, and Bakul Katha.
  3. The Malayalam language committee headed by N. V. Krishna Warrier submitted an undisputed nomination of Kurup's work Odakkuzhal although the Kerala Sahitya Akademi opined that no work in Malayalam language was worthy of the inaugural prize.[10]
  4. Awarded for Odakkuzhal.
  5. Awarded for Ganadevta.
  6. Awarded for Nishitha.
  7. Awarded for Sri Ramayana Darshanam.
  8. Awarded for Chidambara.
  9. Awarded for Gul-e-Naghma.
  10. Awarded for Ramayana Kalpavrukshamu.
  11. Awarded for Smriti Satta Bhavishyat.
  12. Awarded for Urvashi.
  13. Awarded for Nakutanti.
  14. Awarded for Matimatal.
  15. Awarded for Yayati.
  16. Awarded for Chitttrappavai.
  17. Awarded for Pratham Pratisruti.
  18. Awarded for Mookajjiya Kanasugalu.
  19. Awarded for Kitni Navon Men Kitni Bar.
  20. Awarded for Mrityunjay.
  21. Awarded for Oru Desathinte Katha.
  22. Awarded for Kagaj te Canvas.

See also


  1. "The Constitution of India: Eighth Schedule" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs (India). p. 1. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Proposal for the 52nd Jnanpith Award" (PDF). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 18 April 2016. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Jnanpith Award @ Bharatiya Jnanpith". Bharatiya Jnanpith. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  4. "Gujarati writer Raghuveer Chaudhary chosen for Jnanpith Award". The Hindu. New Delhi. 30 December 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  5. "Vasant Panchami, a celebration of Goddess Saraswati" (PDF). Government of Odisha. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  6. Natarajan, Nalini; Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath (1996). Natarajan, Nalini; Nelson, Emmanuel Sampath, eds. Handbook of Twentieth-century Literatures of India. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-313-28778-7.
  7. 1 2 Datta, Amaresh (1987). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. p. 298. ISBN 978-81-260-1803-1.
  8. Surendran, K. V. (1999). Indian Women Writers: Critical Perspectives. Sarup & Sons. p. 163. ISBN 978-81-7625-072-6.
  9. "Nation honours Dr Rajendra Prasad on his 53rd death anniversary". Rediff.com. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2016.
  10. 1 2 Krishnakumar, Bhaskaramenon (2001). Sweet, Gentle, Radiant: Selected Poems of G. Sankara Kurup. Sahitya Akademi. p. xi. ISBN 978-81-260-1341-8.
  11. "Jnanpith Laureates". Bharatiya Jnanpith. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 "The Jnanpith Award: All the past awardees from 1965 to now.". Outlook India. 25 July 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  13. Das Soumitra, Dey Sreyoshi, Chakraborty, Showli (5 May 2013). "Poet's visual expression". The Telegraph (Calcutta). Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  14. Vasudev, Chetana Divya (10 June 2015). "Literary Trust Launches Programme to Honour Masti". The New Indian Express. Gavipuram. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  15. Pillai, Sreedhar (4 January 2014). "Crowning achievement". India Today. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  16. Sabharwal 2007, p. 234.
  17. "Sachidananda Routray passes away". The Hindu. Bhubaneswar. 22 August 2004. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  18. Sabharwal 2007, p. 222.
  19. "Telugu writer Ravuri Bharadwaja honoured with Jnanpith award". Deccan Chronicle. Hyderabad. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  20. Naim, C. M. (21 August 2007). "Aini Apa (1927–2007)". Outlook India. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  21. "Jnanpith for 1990 awarded to well-known Kannada writer Vinayak Krishna Gokak". India Today. 30 November 1991. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  22. "Everyman's poet bids final farewell: Obituary [Subhas Mukhopadhyay]". The Telegraph (Calcutta). 9 July 2003. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  23. Sabharwal 2007, p. 250.
  24. Srivastava, K. K. (1 March 2015). "The Spirit of Poetry". The Pioneer. Bangalore. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  25. Rao, Sunitha. R. (22 August 2014). "UR Ananthamurthy, renowned Kannada writer, dies in Bangalore". The Times of India. Bangalore. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
  26. Sabharwal 2007, p. 262.
  27. "Mahasweta Devi and Habib Tanvir appointed as National Research Professors" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 2 March 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  28. "The Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee presenting the 33rd Jnanpith Award" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 5 June 1998. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  29. "The Prime Minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee presenting the prestigious Jnanpith Award for the year 1998" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 27 March 1999. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  30. 1 2 "Nirmal Verma, Gurdial Singh jointly get Jnanpith Award". The Hindu. New Delhi. 11 March 2000. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  31. "The Vice President Shri Krishan Kant presenting the 36th Bhartiya Jnanpith Award" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 24 February 2002. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  32. "Third Gujarati to win Jnanpith". The Hindu. New Delhi. 18 July 2003. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  33. "Jnanpith award for Jayakanthan". The Times of India. New Delhi/Chennai. 20 March 2005. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  34. "President's address at the conferment of 39th Jnanpith Award for 2003" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 10 August 2006. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  35. "40th Jnanpith Award to Eminent Kashmiri Poet Shri Rahman Rahi" (PDF) (Press release). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 9 March 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 April 2009. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  36. 1 2 3 "41st Jnanpith Award to Eminent Hindi Poet Shri Kunwar Narayan and 42nd Jnanpith Award jointly to Eminent Konkani Poet and Author Shri Ravindra Kelekar and Sanskrit Poet and Scholar Shri Satya Vrat Shastri" (PDF) (Press release). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 22 November 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 February 2010. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  37. "Prime Minister's Speech at The Conferment of 43rd Jnanpith Award at Thiruvananthapuram" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  38. "Doyen of Urdu poetry Shahryar presented Jnanpith Award". The Hindu. New Delhi. 19 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  39. 1 2 "Amar Kant, Shrilal Shukla, Kambar win Jnanpith Award". The Hindu. New Delhi. 20 September 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  40. "Address of the Hon'ble President on the Occasion of Conferring the Jnanapith Award for the Year 2010 on Dr.Chandrashekhara Kambar" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  41. "Speech by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at the presentation of 47th Jnanpith Award to Dr. Pratibha Ray" (Press release). Press Information Bureau, India. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  42. "48th Jnanpith Award to Eminent Telugu Littérateur Shri Ravuri Bharadhwaja" (PDF). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  43. "Kedarnath Singh chosen for Jnanpith". The Hindu. New Delhi. 21 June 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  44. "50th Jnanpith Award to Eminent Marathi Littérateur Shri Bhalchandra Nemade" (PDF). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.
  45. "51st Jnanpith Award to Eminent Gujarati Littérateur Shri Raghuveer Chaudhari" (PDF). Bharatiya Jnanpith. 29 December 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2016.


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