Sara Joseph elated at getting akademi award

THRISSUR DEC. 24. The noted writer and women's activist, Sara Joseph, expressed happiness over the announcement of the Central Sahitya Akademi's award for Malayalam literature for her novel `Aalahayude Penmakkal'.

``I am certainly happy. The Akademi awards still have a credibility in the literary world. This is one of the most important recognitions that a writer in India can receive. It has made me proud,'' she told here.

On the theme of her novel she said, ``It is about the people who have been marginalised because of the colonisation by the forces of urbanisation. The question of colonisation has become more acute and critical in the present day and the relevance of theme of the novel has also increased. Look at the plight of the people who had to flee from their homes because of wars and other forms of aggressions.''

``Here we have not faced wars or such direct aggressions, and therefore our experiential world has that limitation. This novel is about the people who were driven away from the land which was originally made habitable by them,'' she said. Asked whether she would make any restructuring of the novel in case she were to revisit that theme in the wake of the experiences and insights gained by her during the last four years after its release, Prof. Sara Joseph said, ``There can be some embellishments here and there. Barring that I don't think I have any more work to be done on the novel. I have worked on it to the maximum perfection possible.''

``This is a novel from the perspective of a girl who is just nine years old. That novel contains the maximum that a girl of that age can see and discern. I have written the second novel `Maattathi' which is the probably the next phase of development. I am now writing the third phase of it. Each of these three novels are independent, but I had planned them as a trilogy also and there is an evolution of the theme among them''.

When her attention was drawn to her earlier decision to return the award given to the novel by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi in the wake of the police atrocities against the tribals at Muthanga last year, she said, ``As I said my novel was about the people who have been marginalised by the mainstream society. The Government seems to have found the plight of castaway people acceptable in literature and had honoured me. But it is the same Government which had brutally attacked the marginalised people in real life- the tribals. I found this highly objectionable and that is why I decided to return the award.''

``I have great regard for the jury of the Central Sahitya Akademi which has found the plight of the marginalised people worthy of recognition even after my rejecting the State Government's award. It is not a recognition for me, but it is vindication of the tribals of Muthanga,'' she said.

M. T. Vasudevan Nair, Sukumar Azhikode, O. N. V. Kurup and K. G. Sankarappillai were among the jury members for Malayalam.

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