Bestselling author and one of Indiaâ€™s leading contemporary writers, Amitav Ghosh has been honoured with 2018â€™s Jnanipath Award today at a ceremony in New Delhi, a literary recognition given to an author for 'outstanding contribution towards literature'. The writer was felicitated for his outstanding contribution by former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi. Ghosh is the first Indian author in English language who has been honoured with the Jnanipath Award.
After receiving the award, Ghosh said, "English is, not by any means, my only language. Nor would mine work be what it is if I had grown in a circumstance where one language pre-dominated over all others. Like even though I write in English I draw constantly from Bangla and its vast imaginative resources," he said.
He thanked the Jnanpith Selection Board and its chairman eminent novelist Pratibha Ray for the honour, and said when he started writing "many many years ago" he had never imagined that one day an award like Jnanpith would come his way.
"For me, or anyone who has grown up in the Indian literary milieu, the Jnanpith recognition is more than an award because it recognises things beyond literary achievements," Ghosh added.
Ghosh was born in Kolkata and has spent his formative years in Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. He has studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria. He has earlier won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his much-loved novel, The Shadow Lines (1988).The author, who currently lives in New York with his wife Deborah Baker, has also been feted with the Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Award in the past. His recent novel 'Gun Island' is set for its official launch on Thursday.
Some of the biggest Indian writers have been awarded with this prestigious literary recognition. Major names among the 58 recipients include literary icons Krishna Sobti, Kedarnath Singh, Shrilal Shukla, Nirmal Verma, Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam and U R Ananthamurthy. Instituted in 1961, the recipients of Jnanpith award are given a cash prize of Rs 11 lakh, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.
(With inputs from PTI)