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O.N.V. Kurup gets Jnanpith Award

Special Correspondent

— Photo: C. RATHEESH KUMAR

JEWEL IN THE CROWN:O.N.V. Kurup holds the statuette of ‘Vaagdevi' and his wife, Sarojini, displays the plaque presented to the poet by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Thiruvananthapuram on Friday.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for cross-translation of more literary texts into different Indian languages to make people aware of the richness of the country's literature.

Presenting the 43 {+r} {+d} Jnanpith Award to poet O.N.V. Kurup here on Friday, Dr. Singh said that “appreciating Indian culture should involve the understanding, acknowledgement and recognition of all the different strands and hues of our composite cultural fabric.”

Kerala Governor R.S. Gavai, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan, Defence Minister A.K. Antony, Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs and Civil Aviation Vayalar Ravi, Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy and Culture Minister M.A. Baby attended the award ceremony.

Dr. Singh said a lot more work was needed in promotion of literature in Indian languages.

Educated Indians were not as familiar with those of outstanding litterateurs in Indian languages as they were with Western writers. “The flowering of literary talent in other Indian languages needs a larger platform and recognition. This would be possible only through more cross-translations of works in different Indian languages.” he said.

Earlier, offering felicitations, Mr. Achuthanandan hoped that the Prime Minister would take a favourable decision on Kerala's pleas for recognition of Malayalam as a classical language.

Accepting the award, Prof. Kurup said though “any poet who writes in a regional language is very much an Indian poet since his/her creative contributions merge into the common treasure stock of Indian poetry, unfortunately, the voice of the Indian bard does not often transcend the boundaries of his linguistic territory.” Remembering the lines of Harindranath Chattopadhyaya, whom he called a poet closest to his heart, Prof. Kurup said: “When one day I vacate this rented abode called Earth, I will leave a vital element of my living presence here — that is my poetry. ”

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