Eminent Kannada author SL Bhyrappa was on Wednesday honoured with the Saraswati Samman in literature for his epic novel 'Mandra', his musical take on the question of art against morality and other philosophies of life.
The Saraswati Samman is given away by the KK Birla Foundation to a work published in the last 10 years picked up from among the works published in 25 Indian languages.
Bhyrappa, 77, a veteran of 22 novels, many of which have been translated and have been best-sellers, had published 'Mandra' or 'the lower musical note' in 2002.
Born in Hassan district of Karnataka and orphaned at a very young age, the life of Bhyrappa, a scholar of philosophy, comes out as a tell tale of struggle and resurrection.
Describing him as a "man who had risen from the ground," Rajya Sabha MP and chairman of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR) Karan Singh lauded his dedication to education and knowledge all through his life.
"He did not leave the path of education despite such hardships and tragedies of losing all his siblings and mother at a young age. He is truly a man who has risen from the ground unlike people like us...," he said after presenting the award that carries a monetary value of Rs 7.5 lakh.
Singh also pitched for the need for greater encouragement to the multi-faceted literature in India, where it is found in many as 25 languages.
"We are in an age when old values are breaking down and no new concrete value systems are emerging. We need people of literature to put new ideas before us," he said.
Relating the story of his life and the tragedy of witnessing all his close family members pass away one by one at an early age, Bhyrappa said it was the question of death that drew him to philosophy and pushed him towards exploring the meaning of life as such.
However, he said he was against the stream of thought that forces writers and authors to revolve around the current social challenges of their society rather than leaving their creativity unbounded.
He said he had refused to give in to "ameliorists and activists (who) try to constrict the aim of creative writing to what they consider most important to the present and pressurise the writer to write only in the way they think the best".
Through his novel 'Mandra', he said, he had tried to explore the relation between art and other values of life through a musician, his surroundings and persons who come in touch with him.
The winner for the year 2010 was picked up by a committee headed by former chief justice of India GB Patnaik.