Eight authors from Indian languages were honoured with the first Tagore Literature Award at a star-studded ceremony recently.
An initiative of the Korean government, the ceremony saw the first lady of South Korea, Kim Yoon Ok, as the chief guest.
The award, which was instituted by Samsung Electronics and the Sahitya Akademi, recognised the literary contribution of authors in eight languages this year - Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Punjabi, Telegu and Bodo.
Amongst the awardees were Alok Sarkar for Apapabhumi (Bengali), Brajendra Kumar Brahma for Raithaihala (Bodo), Bhagwandas Patel for Mari Lokyatra (Gujarati), Rajee Seth for Ghame-Hayat Ne Mara (Hindi), Naseem Shafai for Na Thsay Na Akas (Kashmiri), Chandrasekhar Kambar for Shikara Soorya (Kannada), Jaswant Singh Kanwal for Punya Daa Chanan (Punjabi) and Kovela Suprasannacharya for Antharangam (Telugu).
J.S. Shin, president of Samsung, south west Asia said: "Rabindranath Tagore is as revered in Korea as he is in India. This award, therefore, seeks to celebrate the power of literature to unify people across religions, regions and cultures".
Agrahara Krishna Murthy, secretary of the Sahitya Akademi, said: "The initiative to institute the Tagore Literature Award was taken by the Korean government and the Korean embassy in Delhi. It is a fine gesture which leads to promotion of Indian literature as well as cultural and literary bonds between the two countries."
The ceremony saw the recitation of Tagore's poetry by an Indian and a Korean child as well as a spectacular rendition of Rabindra Sangeet on sarod by Aman and Ayan Ali Khan.
Every year, the award will recognise the literary contribution of writers in eight Indian languages - thus covering all the 24 official languages of the country at the end of the third year. The same pattern will follow annually.