Eminent Malayalam poet Sugathakumari was conferred the ‘Saraswati Samman 2012’ for her collection of 27 poems in book “Manalezhuthu” (Writings on the sand) at a function New Delhi on Friday.
The prestigious award — instituted by the KK Birla Foundation — carries a citation and a plaque, apart from R10 lakh as prize money. It is given annually to an outstanding literary work published during the last 10 years in any of the Indian languages.
Human resource development minister MM Pallam Raju, who presented the award, said Sugathakumari’s life and writings were a true reflection of the humanitarian spirit and value systems intrinsic to the Indian culture.
Sugathakumari said it was a matter of pride and joy for her to be chosen as the 22nd recipient of the award for her work published in 2006. Past recipients include Dr Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Vijay Tendulkar, Dr Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Dr Dharam Veer Bharati and Srilal Shukla.
KK Birla Foundation president Shobhana Bhartia said literature and language were the “bedrock of Indian civilization”, adding that greater efforts were needed to showcase the huge repertoire of talent in Indian languages.
“This task cannot be left to the government alone,” she said.