Eminent Punjabi poet Surjit Patar has been honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman-2009 for his collection Lafzan Di Dargah.

Instituted by the K. K. Birla Foundation, the award which carries prize money of Rs.7.5 lakh was conferred on Mr. Patar by Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal at a function here.

Till last year, the award carried prize money of Rs.5 lakh.

Describing Patar as one of the greatest poets in Punjabi literature, Mr. Sibal said the “unique” element in his poetry is that it is embedded in the reality of Punjab. “It is universal in nature and yet embedded in the reality of Punjab,” he observed.

‘Universal'

“It's lyrical, it's thoughtful, it's expansive and I believe hopefully the young people in Punjab will read his poetry... and people in other parts of India should read the translated version to see the depth of his passion for Punjab and for universal values,” Mr. Sibal told reporters on the sidelines of the function.

The Minister also read out a few lines from one of Patar's poems highlighting the importance of education.

The Saraswati Samman, given annually by the Foundation, recognises an outstanding literary work in any of the 22 Indian languages and published during the last 10 years.

“Patar does not write of a world that is blemish-free, where spring rides the air and birds fly free. For him, there are no utopias, no El Dorados, no dreams come true. His is the real world where communities clash, people die unnatural deaths, political mishaps cloud over peace and prosperity and where love is impossibility,” said Foundation president Shobhana Bhartia. - PTI