Indian Literary Awards List

- February 1, 2021


Awards are given not only to honour the artist but also the hard work and dedication he or she has shown. Every artist uses a form of art to give an expression to his or her thoughts and ideas and also to convey the same to others.  In that context, words play an important role in impacting a person’s outlook towards life. They have the power to take a person on a journey to a world that is different from their current reality.

Literary awards are a popular way of acknowledging meritorious works of literature and their authors. They often bring talented authors into the spotlight and inspire people to read new books. The awards mentioned below are some of the most prestigious ones in India and are conferred on significant works of literature in the Indian languages.

Jnanpith Award

The Jnanpith Award is the highest literary award bestowed upon Indian authors who have contributed to Indian literature in any of the official Indian languages and made it richer. Conceived in 1961 by Sahu Shanti Prasad Jain of the Times of India group, the first recipient of the award was G. Sankara Kurup in 1965 for his Malayalam work Otakuzhal. The winner gets a statue of the Goddess Saraswati, along with a cash prize of INR eleven lakh. As of 2020, there have been sixty recipients of the award. The most recent awardee is Mr Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri for his work in Malayalam.

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Sahitya Akademi
Image: Wikipedia

The Sahitya Akademi Award honours outstanding works of literature published in any of the twenty-four Indian languages, including English. The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India in 1954, and the first award was given in 1955. The award comprises of a plaque designed by the eminent filmmaker Satyajit Ray and a cash prize of INR one lakh. The library of the Sahitya Akademi is one of the largest multilingual libraries in India as it contains a rich collection of books written by various talented authors.

Rabindra Puraskar

Established in the year 1950, the Rabindra Puraskar is the highest honorary literary award given in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is named after Rabindranath Tagore and is awarded by the Government of West Bengal under the aegis of the Paschimbanga Bangla Academy. The award is given for creative literary works, non-fiction, and books about Bengal in Bengali as well as other languages. For the first few decades, Rabindra Puraskar was bestowed upon a writer for his or her outstanding work. However, from 2006, the award committee started conferring this award based on lifetime contribution in the literary field.

Yuva Puraskar
Image: Wikipedia

Yuva Puraskar, popularly known as The Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar is a literary honour that the Sahitya Akademi confers annually on young writers with outstanding work in one of the twenty-four major Indian languages. Initiated in 2011, the award recognizes writers under the age of 35 and includes a cash prize of fifty thousand rupees and an engraved copper plaque.

JCB Prize for Literature

Established in 2018, JCB Prize for Literature recognizes distinguished works of fiction in English and also translated fiction by an Indian author. JCB Prize for Literature consists of a cash prize worth twenty-five lakh. Founded by the construction behemoth JCB, aims to enhance the prestige of literary achievement in India and also to create greater visibility for contemporary Indian writing. As of 2020, eleven authors have been honoured with this award for their work.

Hindu Literary Prize

The Hindu Best Fiction Award or The Hindu Literary Prize, as it is popularly called, is a literary award sponsored by The Hindu Literary Review. One of the most respected literary prizes in India, this prize was founded in 2010 to commemorate twenty years of The Hindu Literary Review. From 2018, a non-fiction category was included, along with the fiction category, to recognize the extraordinary works of Indian writers in English and also for the translation of literature into other regional languages into English.

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Comic of The Month

Dr Kotnis in China

In 1938, twenty-eight-year-old Dr Dwarkanath Kotnis was part of a medical mission that India sent to aid China in its war with Japan. Dr Kotnis was committed to saving lives, even in the precarious war-time situation. He remained behind to continue his work in China after the rest of his group returned. He was, and remains, a selfless and fearless hero to the people of China and India alike. 

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