Novelist Sharankumar Limbale selected for Saraswati Samman ’20
Marathi novelist, poet, critic and short story writer Sharankumar Limbale was selected for the 2020 Saraswati Samman, a prestigious literary recognition conferred annually by the KK Birla Foundation.
The 30th edition of the prize, the highest recognition in the field of Indian literature in the country, was given to Limbale for his 2018 Marathi novel, Sanatan. Apart from the citation, the award carries a plaque and an award money of ₹15 lakh.
Sanatan is an important social and historical document of the Dalit struggle, said the KK Birla Foundation, a literary and cultural organisation.
“The author has written this novel using many imaginative characters and space. He brilliantly weaved the story of novel with history,” said the foundation in a press statement.
Born on June 1, 1956 in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, Limbale obtained his masters degree in Marathi literature and did a Ph.D. in comparative study of Marathi Dalit literature and American Black literature from Shivaji University, Kolhapur. He joined as an assistant editor in the department of publication in the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, Nashik, from where he retired as a professor and director.
Limbale has authored 40 books of novel, poetry, stories and criticism. He has also written critical essays and papers for many seminars.
“Sanatan is a first novel of this style which told the story of socio-cultural struggles of untouchables. The author had read many books to write this novel,” said the foundation in its statement. The work was selected by a committee of scholars and writers headed by former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, Subhash C Kashyap. The selection process was three-tiered and involved deep and intense comparative study to find an outstanding work from 22 languages.
Instituted in 1991, the Saraswati Samman is given every year to an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII to the Constitution by an Indian citizen published during the 10 years preceding the specified year. Previous recipients include poet Harivansh Rai Bachchan, playwright Vijay Tendulkar and novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay.
Besides the Saraswati Samman, two other awards – the Vyas Samman (for Hindi works by Indian citizens) and Bihari Puraskar (for Hindi/Rajasthani works by Rajasthani writers) — have been instituted by the KK Birla Foundation.