O.N.V. Kurup for 2007; Akhlaq Khan Shahryar for 2008
Malayalam litterateur O.N.V. Kurup and Urdu poet Akhlaq Khan Shahryar were on Friday chosen for the Jnanpith Award for 2007 and 2008 respectively. The selection board chaired by Oriya writer and Jnanpith winner Sitakant Mahapatra made the choices for the top literary awards.
Kurup, popularly known as “ONV”, is a leading voice among contemporary Malayalam poets. As a statement issued by Bharatiya Jnanpith, the trust that presents the award, noted, he began his career as a “progressive writer and matured into a humanist though he never gave up his commitment to socialist ideology.” ONV has 20 collections of poetry and six works of prose to his credit.
Born in 1936 in a Muslim Rajput family in Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly district, Shahryar shaped himself as an “intellectual poet”, whose poetry strongly expresses an “ideological non-commitment.”
His roots, according to the statement, lie in a desire for self-realisation and his attempt to understand modern problems. “Shahryar is not concerned in his poetry with messages or conclusions. Rather, he expresses the spiritual suffering and psychological anguish of what he regards as the wounded modern man,” it said.
Shahryar, who played a major role in shaping Urdu poetry as it is today, has received many awards including the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Akademi award, the Sahitya Akademi award, the Delhi Urdu Akademi award and the Firaq Sammaan.