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Konkani author honoured with literary award Saraswati Samman

Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail won the award for “Hawthan”, which captures the lives of the potter community in Goa. 

india Updated: Aug 31, 2017 00:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
Konkani author,Saraswati Samman,Literary award
(From left) former CJI Adarsh Sein Anand, chairperson and editorial director of the Hindustan Times Shobhana Bhartia, minister of commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman and KK Birla Foundation director Suresh Rituparna (extreme right) with Saraswati Samman awardee Mahabaleshwar Sail in New Delhi on Wednesday.(Raj K Raj/HT)

Presenting the prestigious literary award, the Saraswati Samman for 2016 to Konkani writer Mahabaleshwar Sail, Union minister for commerce and industry Nirmala Sitharaman said it is the narrative that captures ordinary life that eventually becomes everlasting.

She was commenting on Sail’s award winning work “Hawthan” that captures the lives of the potter community in Goa.Sail, who has been a soldier, having served in the 1965 war and later was a part of a UN peace keeping mission, earned praise for his gripping storytelling in Hawthan. He was presented with a plaque and a cash purse of ₹15 lakh.

Commenting on Sail’s simplistic, yet engaging narrative, she said it is going to make us all human. “That is the kind of narrative that we have to read and appreciate in all its beauty, because that is the conflict that each one of us has to go through and address and also make sure that we are sensitive to others.”

Works such as Hawthan, she said was a means of getting back to books , to the struggle of those at the bottom levels. “...These stories are what is going to characterize this nation and we can’t afford to miss out on this writing,” she said.

The minister also praised the work of the KK Birla Foundation that has instituted the award. She said the foundation is doing great work at a time when reading is becoming very brief.

“The span of the time for reading has considerably reduced; we seem to be so engaged in so many other things. But a programme like this and the effort that has gone into the selection of books, the foundation has done extraordinarily well.”

Sail reflected on how Konkani language and literature had been subdued; and how it took a resurgence after Goa’s independence to give the language its rightful place. Literature he said can help people understand their love and responsibilities for the families and the country.

President of the Foundation Shobhana Bhartia said the main objectives of the institution were to encourage and promote Indian culture, literature, arts, science and education.

“My father set up this foundation, his vision was that it could encompass the diverse branches of knowledge. The foundation works in collaboration with the National Book Trust that produce adult literacy books.”

She said the foundation is also collaborating with the Indian Science Academy to encourage young talent. The foundation confers several awards in literature and the awardees are picked after a rigorous selection process. This year’s award was picked by a selection committee headed by Justice AS Anand.

First Published: Aug 31, 2017 00:15 IST

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