President Pranab Mukherjee presented the 47th Jnanpith Award for the year 2011 to Dr. Pratibha Ray at a function at Balyogi Auditorium, Parliament Library Building here on Wednesday.

Speaking on the occasion, the President called upon schools and colleges to encourage reading of the abundant prose and verse that have been published in vernacular languages.

‘Educating the young’

He said reading vernacular literature would educate our young about distant regions that they may not be aware of – and make them more sensitive to the social, religious and cultural diversities of our country.

Referring to Dr. Ray’s contribution to literature, he said the eminent Oriya litterateur, fiction writer and educationist has made outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Indian literature.