Veteran poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri had his first poem, Tagore, published in a little magazine when he was just an 11-year-old. It seems he won an award for that debut published work 75 years later, as the humanist poet received the Tagore Literature Award instituted by Samsung and the Central Sahitya Akademi at a ceremony here on Tuesday.

“This recognition is for my first poem,” he said after receiving the award from Union Minister for Corporate Affairs M. Veerappa Moily and recited the English rendering of the short poem.

Besides Akkitham, who was selected for the award for his anthology of poems, Anthimahakaalan in Malayalam, six more writers —Amitav Ghosh for Sea of Poppies (English); Sheela Kolambkar for Geera (Konkani); Jagdish Prasad Mandal for Gaamak Jingi (Maithili); N. Kunjamohan Singh for Eina Kenge Kenba Natte (Manipuri); Indramani Darnal for Krishna Krishna (Nepali) and Arjan Hasid for Na Ien Na (Sindhi) — won the award for works published between 2007 and 2009. Speaking on the occasion, Janpith awardee ONV Kurup said that the universal humanism of Tagore poetry was all the more relevant today.

A multi-faceted personality who rose to be the champion of the freedom and love, Gurudev Tagore was a saint-poet of modern India and belonged to the Arsha Kavi tradition that traced its roots back to Valmiki, he said.

Sahitya Akademi secretary Agrahara Krishna Murthy and Samsung South West Asia President and CEO B.D. Park spoke.

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