Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashaschandra presented Saraswati Samman for 2017

Published on Jan 22, 2019 11:37 PM IST

Describing Gujarati-language poet and author Sitanshu Yashaschandra as his “hero,” poet and filmmaker Gulzar on Tuesday hailed his contribution to literature and theatre and regaled the audience with a recitation of his poetry.

(From left to right) Priyavrat Bhartia, Shobhna Bhartia, KK Birla Foundation’s president and editorial director of HT Media Ltd, chief guest Gulzar, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Subhash C Kashyap and Suresh Rituparna during KK Birla Foundation’s Saraswati Samman presentation ceremony at National Museum Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
(From left to right) Priyavrat Bhartia, Shobhna Bhartia, KK Birla Foundation’s president and editorial director of HT Media Ltd, chief guest Gulzar, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Subhash C Kashyap and Suresh Rituparna during KK Birla Foundation’s Saraswati Samman presentation ceremony at National Museum Auditorium in New Delhi on Tuesday.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Describing Gujarati-language poet and author Sitanshu Yashaschandra as his “hero,” poet and filmmaker Gulzar on Tuesday hailed his contribution to literature and theatre and regaled the audience with a recitation of his poetry.

Gulzar presented the 27th Saraswati Samman awarded by the KK Birla Foundation for 2017 to Yashaschandra for his poetic work Vakhar, published in 2009.

The citation said: “...Vakhar is the pinnacle of his poetic journey where he crosses the boundaries of the real world and establishes high standards of Liberty in language and creativity by evolving a balance in the contradicting elements of human emotions and thoughts.”

Yashaschandra, a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award in 1987 and the Padma Shri in 2006, has authored 10 books of plays and three books of criticism. He was born in 1941 in Gujarat’s Bhuj and has Ph.Ds in Gujarati and Sanskrit.

Yashaschandra said on the occasion that in India no poetry is written only in one language. “A mother tongue, a regional language, be it Gujarati or Marathi, Kannanda or Kashmiri, each India language receives so much from the other Indian languages and gives so much. And from Sanskrit each Indian language derives nourishment in its own way..,” he said.

In his acceptance speech, he said Gujarati literature had learnt how to relate to the powers of the state, the marketplace and the temple.

Shobhana Bhartia, president of the KK Birla Foundation and chairperson and editorial director of HT Media Ltd, described Yashaschandra as a formidable presence in the world of Indian language poetry.

She said the Foundation’s main objective is to promote Indian culture, literature, arts and science and education.

“This was my father’s vision and it was to institutionalise this that he set up the foundation. He wanted it to bring together diverse branches of knowledge,” she said.

She described the Saraswati Samman as the most prestigious award conferred by the Foundation, owing to the “rigorous, three-tiered selection process” involving more than 70 critics, academicians and littérateurs who select the winner.

The award carries a citation, a plaque and a cash purse of 15 lakh and is conferred annually to an outstanding literary work by an Indian citizen for work published during the last 10 years in any language included in Schedule 8 of the Constitution. The awardees are selected by a 13-member Chayan Parishad, or selection committee, which includes scholars and writers, under the chairmanship of Subhash C Kashyap, former secretary general of the Lok Sabha secretariat.

Past awardees include poet and writer Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Odia poet Ramakanta Rath and Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar, among others.

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