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Sivasankari honoured with32nd Saraswati Samman

BySaptarshi Das
Oct 13, 2023 08:30 AM IST

Former Union minister and a former recipient of the award, M Veerappa Moily, was the chief guest at the event

New Delhi

From left: HT Media board member Priyavrat Bhartia, former SC judge justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, former Union minister M Veerappa Moily presenting the Saraswati Samman to noted author and activist Sivasankari, and director of the KK Birla Foundation, Dr Suresh Rituparna in New Delhi on Thursday. (Hindustan Times)

Noted author and activist Sivasankari was honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman for the year 2022 for her memoir written in Tamil, Surya Vamsam, at the National Museum in Delhi on Thursday.

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Former Union minister and a former recipient of the award, M Veerappa Moily, who was the chief guest at the event, hailed Sivasankari as a national icon.

“Sivasankari ji has taken it as a mission in life to push the vision of India and these volumes reflect the literary heritage of various languages. She possesses unique character and scholarship, and she is the icon of India. We are proud of her. Women had the greatest role to play in the legendary literary history of India and Sivasankari ji represents that kind of a legend. I compliment justice Sikri and members of the jury for having selected a right and legendary person who truly represents the legacy of Tamil Nadu and India,” Moily said.

The Saraswati Samman, instituted by the KK Birla Foundation, carries a plaque, a citation, and a cash prize of 15 lakh. Sivasankari is the 32nd recipient of the award, joining a pantheon of writers over the years. The selection follows a rigorous three-tier process leading up to a final decision by Chayan Parishad currently headed by former Supreme Court judge, justice Arjan Kumar Sikri.

Sivasankari told the audience how her passion to write was a way of giving back to the society.

“For me writing is a lifetime process… I’m so happy that my book has been so well received not only by my readers but also by my critics. I will be very, very honest, my book is a very transparent work and I have not lied anywhere or exaggerated any incident or character or word in it and its a transparent honest narration. Some critics even said that what we all do in seven lives, Sivasankari has done in one life,” the author said.

HT Media board member Priyavrat Bhartia, speaking on behalf of HT Media chairperson and editorial director Shobhana Bhartia, who could not be present at the ceremony, congratulated Sivasankari and noted how the writer was an inspiration for generations. “The winner of this year’s award, Sivasankari ji joins a pantheon of Saraswati Samman recipients over the years that includes stalwarts across the Indian literature landscape... As all Saraswati Samman recipients are, Sivasankari ji is an inspiration for a generation of writers,” he said.

Justice Sikri underlined how each and every jury member was in favour of Sivasankari. “Genuinely, you deserve the award,” he told the author.

The director of the KK Birla Foundation, Dr Suresh Rituparna, shared a vote of thanks while concluding the event.

Sivasankari’s literary career spans over five decades. She is the author of 36 novels, 48 novellas, 150 short stories, 15 travelogues, seven collections of essays, and three biographies.Her 2019 memoir, Surya Vamsam, unfolds in two volumes -- the first is the metamorphosis from a child to a young writer, and the second is the life and times of an acclaimed author spreading her wings. At the same time, the volumes also chronicle the larger journey of a society in transformation.

The Saraswati Samman, given annually for outstanding literary works in 22 Indian languages in the last 10 years, is among the highest recognitions in the field of Indian literature.Besides the Saraswati Samman, the Vyas Samman and the Bihari Puraskar are other literary awards instituted by the foundation.

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