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Katha Award presented

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI JAN. 3. It was an evening to recognise those who can spin a good yarn. Honouring the "creators" of magic - the storytellers, the Katha Chudamani Award given for lifetime literary achievment to writers of exceptional merit whose works showcase creativity of a rare calibre was presented to Tamil writer Sundara Ramaswamy in the Capital today.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Ramaswamy said: "I am speaking in my mother-tongue even though I know most people here won't understand it. But I think you will appreciate the fact that I am speaking in the language that I write in, and you have read me in. This is the second award that I have got in India; the first one I got was in Chennai. I have been associated with Katha for a long time and I am honoured to receive this award.''

Starting his literary journey at the age of 20, Mr. Ramaswamy has been writing since 1951. His first literary work was a translation of Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's "Thottiyude Magan". Besides writing books, Mr. Ramaswamy also takes great interest in moulding young talent. His magazine "Kaalachuvadu" gives upcoming writers a platform to reach out to readers. While he preferred to stay true to his mother tongue and his book "Oru Puliamarathin Kathai" has been hailed as the best novels ever written in Tamil, he did not know the language till he was 18. Having dropped out of school due to juvenile arthritis, he is also self-taught.

Presenting the award, art-historian, Kapila Vatsyayan, stated: "I think Indian literature is one story written in different languages. I think these languages bring out the individual flavour of the region which cuts across boundaries. I think the tradition of cultural exchange of literature in India goes further back to the 1930's. Many of us did not understand the language, but we did read Sarat Chandra, Bankim Chandra and Tagore. The momentum of that period has carried on in the awards we have to honour writers like the Gyanpith Award."

The Katha Chudamani Award honours the writer with a citation, a cash award and with publication in English of their significant works. It also includes a lecture tour that would enable the writer to have discussions with students and teachers to introduce them to the wonderful world of literature.

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