Modi: Nemade’s works will inspire generations

Prime Minister NarendraModi presents the Jnanpith Award to BhalchandraNemade in New Delhi on Saturday.

Prime Minister NarendraModi presents the Jnanpith Award to BhalchandraNemade in New Delhi on Saturday.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday presented the prestigious Jnanpith Award for 2014 to Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade at a ceremony in Parliament House. The highest literary honour in India carries a purse of Rs. 11 lakh.

“I shall always abide by my commitment to write what is right. Writing is what binds me to my readers and to humanity,” 76-year-old Mr. Nemade, whose 1963 novel Kosala (cocoon) changed the dimensions of Marathi novel, said after accepting the award at a ceremony in Parliament House on Saturday evening.

Creative writing had the capacity to touch the lives of several generations, Mr. Modi said, adding that Mr. Nemade’s works would inspire future generations. Referring to the richness of Indian culture, the Prime Minister said solutions to problems such as global warming, which the world is debating today, could be found in the Vedas.

‘Encourage reading’

Regretting the declining interest in books and the reading habit, Mr. Modi urged people to ensure a special place for books in their homes. He said as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he had launched the “Vaanche Gujarat” to encourage the reading habit.

“When Nemadeji was receiving the award, he was happy to receive the Saraswati statuette, the coconut and the shawl, but when it came to accepting the Rs. 11 lakh prize money, he was uncomfortable and hesitant,” Mr. Modi said. “That is not correct. It is necessary that Saraswati [goddess of wisdom] and Lakshmi [goddess of prosperity] come together,” Mr. Modi said evoking applause from the audience.

Mr. Nemade was chosen for the honour by a 10-member selection board headed by noted scholar, writer and critic Namar Singh of the Bhartiya Jnanpith on February 7.

He is the fourth Marathi writer to win the honour after novelist V.S. Khandekar (1974), and poets V.V. Shirwadkar, aka Kusumagraj (1988), and Govind Karandikar, aka Vinda Karandikar (2003).

Mr. Nemade’s 2010 novel, Hindu, had won critical acclaim.

“Traversing an expansive timeline, the manner in which Hindu leaps through space and time — wielding language and experimenting with structure — is unprecedented in Marathi letters. Hindu prominently showcases Nemade’s linguistic scholarship, his creative dexterity with words and an encyclopaedic civilisational consciousness,” a statement from the Jnanpith’s selection committee said.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 12:11:05 AM |

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