Nabha-based Punjabi poet Darshan Buttar, known as the "big poet of short poems", has been chosen for this year's Sahitya Akademi Award. His anthology of poems, 'Maha Kambani' (The Ultimate Trembling), has won the national award, which is given to one book from each of the 24 Indian languages every year.
"I feel honoured that my 10 years' labour has been rewarded," said Buttar (58), a bank employee, when contacted by HT.
The book, which came out in 2009, has 44 poems in the form of question and answers between two individuals. "It touches upon the contemporary themes of despair and crisis of relationships," he said.
"This anthology of poetry was a fresh chapter in Punjabi literature. This form is a rarity in Punjabi poetry," said Susheel Dosanjh, Chandigarh-based editor of Punjabi literary magazine Hun.
Buttar has six books to his credit. He arrived on the literary scene in 1984 with 'Aud de Baddal' (The Dry Clouds). His other anthologies include 'Salaabi Hawa' (Damp Wind), 1994, and 'Shabad, Shehar te Ret' (Word, City and Dust), 1996.
His poems are short, rhythmic and often philosophical. Some of his works are part of the syllabus of graduate classes at Punjabi University, Patiala, besides being a research topic of several MPhil degrees.
The award comprises a copper plaque and cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, which will be presented to the authors on February 18 during the Festival of Letters to be organised by the Sahitya Akademi. The awards have been given to books published during the three-year period from January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2010.