Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday handed over the prestigious Jnanpith Award to O.N.V. Kurup.
"This award has established itself as the most prestigious literary award. The works of great authors from all languages in our country should be made available to all through translations," Manmohan Singh said in his address at the Government Women's College here.
The 79-year-old poet was named for the award for the year 2007.
O.N.V., as he is popularly known in Kerala and literary circles, is the fifth Malayalee writer and the second poet from Kerala after late G. Sankara Kurup to be named for Jnanpith.
The other awardees from Kerala were S.K. Pottekad, Thakazhi Siva Sankara Pillai and M.T. Vasudevan Nair.
O.N.V., among the great living poets of the country besides being a hugely popular lyricist, was also named for the Padma Shri in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2011.
Speaking at the function, the poet said: "Anyone who writes in any Indian language is an Indian poet and I am more happy that my language has got this award. I am honoured that this has come through me."
Earlier, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan said the award once again brought Malayalam language to the limelight.
The chief minister also referred to Kurup's strong stand against excluding Malayalam from the status of classic languages.
He urged the prime minister to help make study of the language compulsory in all schools in the state following any curriculum.