First Woman to Receive Sahitya Akademi Award New
First Woman to Receive Sahitya Akademi Award
First Woman to Receive Sahitya Akademi Award 2023: The Sahitya Akademi Award is one of India’s most esteemed literary accolades, presented annually by the Central Government to recognize outstanding works of literature.
Amrita Pritam was the first woman to win this prestigious award in 1956 for her collection of poems Sunshade. Since then, several female authors have followed in her footsteps.
Amrita Pritam, born in 1919 in Gujranwala, Punjab in 1919, achieved great fame for her poem ‘Sunehadey’ (Messages). This accolade led her to win both Sahitya Akademi Award in 1956 as well as Bharatiya Jnanpith and Padma Vibhushan literary awards. She wrote extensively in both Punjabi and Hindi, producing over 100 books of poetry, fiction, biographies, essays – much of which has been translated into multiple languages – making her one of India’s most prominent poets of 20th-century India.
She was an active participant of the Progressive Writers Movement and an activist against colonialism. Her 1944 poem ‘Lok Peera’ (People’s Anguish) was particularly critical of both British Raj policies and India’s Bengal famine of 1943. Additionally, she worked at a radio station prior to India’s partition in 1947.
After partition, she lived in Pakistan for a time but continued her publishing work across both countries. As an influential figure in Punjabi literature, her works were beloved by readers on both sides of the India-Pakistan border.
Her most beloved poem was ‘Aj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu’ (Today I invoke Waris Shah). In it, she implores 18th-century Punjabi poet Waris Shah to rise from his grave and listen to the pleas of thousands of women who suffered during communal riots during partition.
Amrita Pritam’s writing career resulted in a number of influential poems that tackled important social issues. She often spoke out against feminism, colonialism and India’s partition as an advocate for women’s rights. Additionally, Amrita wrote several autobiographical works detailing her difficult marriage to Sahir Ludhianvi and subsequent divorce from him.
In 1960, she divorced her husband and embarked on a new life as an independent woman. The years that separated her were documented in her autobiographical pieces Black Rose and Rasidi Ticket.
Her most renowned novel, Pinjar (The Skeleton), explores themes of fate, violence against women and loss of humanity. It was adapted into an award-winning film in 2003. Throughout her career, Amrita Pritam remained a fierce advocate for women’s rights and was actively involved with various charitable organizations. She was considered a pioneer of feminist writing in Indian literature as well as an inspiration to countless young women during her lifetime.
In 1956, Sarojini Naidu became the first woman to receive Sahitya Akademi Award for her long poem Sunehade (Messages). She was recognized both for her contribution to Indian independence and talent in poetry.
Sarojini Naidu, popularly known as the Nightingale of India, was an accomplished poet and political activist who advocated for women’s rights. She is widely credited with breaking down caste barriers and giving Indian women autonomy in their own rights.
Sarojini was born in Hyderabad, India on February 13th 1879 to a Bengali family and showed an aptitude for poetry from an early age. Her talent was recognized by the Nizam of Hyderabad who awarded her with scholarships to study at King’s College London and Girton College Cambridge.
She was an exceptionally gifted student who excelled in Urdu, Telugu, English and Bengali. Her father wanted her to pursue mathematics or science but she chose poetry instead.
Her first work was a poem of 1300 lines that captured the attention of Nizam of Hyderabad. Encouraged by her father to pursue literature, she soon embarked on studies abroad.
After finishing her studies in England, she returned to India. Despite being ill-health, she continued writing and attending political rallies and meetings. An avid supporter of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent approach to Indian freedom, she became active within his movement.
Naidu rose to prominence as a leader of the Quit India Movement in 1919 and served as President of the Indian National Congress from 1925-36. Additionally, she lectured extensively in America on issues concerning Indian independence and women’s rights.
Naidu’s work was celebrated for its poetry that captured the beauty and spirit of Indian culture. She was the first Indian English poet to gain widespread Western recognition and receive glowing reviews.
She published several collections of her poems both in England and India, becoming a well-known figure among Indian-born writers. Her style was heavily influenced by Edmund Gosse, Arthur Symons, and W. B. Yeats; as such her works are highly regarded for their literary value.
In early September, Indian writers began returning their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest at the literary academy’s indifference towards their colleagues’ deaths. Nearly three dozen authors have done so – including Hindi writer Uday Prakash and Punjabi authors Dalip Kaur Tiwana and Gagan Singh – for this reason.
These protests have led to calls for the resignation of Akademi, with estimates suggesting that more than 300 awards may be returned within the next few months. But is this movement really just a “paper rebellion against government in response to a manufactured crisis,” or simply outrage at intellectual murders?
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Anamika’s poetry embodies an ingenuous combination of political awareness and self-reflection, an inquisitive examination of socially constructed femininity, as well as a humorous appreciation for human relationships in all their many shades and textures. While raising ethical and existential questions without seeming programmatic, Anamika remains dedicated to values such as humanity care and compassion that define her work.
Her poetry has been profoundly shaped by her deep immersion in Indian, Anglo-American and European women’s literature and critical traditions. Additionally, she draws upon her understanding of the traumas experienced by Indian women due to patriarchy and its impact on their lives.
She was born in Muzaffarpur, Bihar in 1961 and spent her early years alone and surrounded by books from her father’s library. Through these experiences and those of her aunts, classmates, and women in distress she says these books taught her to deconstruct the socially constructed femininity that had been thrust upon her as a child. Through life-long study of poets such as Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Marge Piercy, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison she has come to appreciate how patriarchy impacts women worldwide.
She has earned eight national awards for her work, including the Sahitya Akademi award for Tokri mein Digant ‘Therigatha’ (2014) – making her the first woman to receive this prestigious distinction.
Her poetry has been featured in various magazines and journals around the world. Additionally, she has earned several literary awards and fellowships across America, Britain, India, and Australia for her works.
Professor of English literature at the University of Delhi, she holds a doctorate in Donne criticism throughout the ages. Her research interests encompass women’s roles in contemporary British and Hindi poetry as well as post-war American women poets’ treatment of love and death.
Her work examines the value of humor as a means for challenging patriarchy and advocating for active resistance against it. Her poetry engages with questions about femininity as socially constructed, offering humorous recognitions of women’s relationships across many hues and textures. https://www.youtube.com/embed/WVHzgyNgk8o
First American Woman in Space
Sally Ride, who passed away in 2012, was an acclaimed physicist who made history as the first American woman in space. Her accomplishments in science and education continue to have a lasting legacy today.
She joined NASA as part of the inaugural female-only astronaut class of 1978 and was assigned to two space shuttle missions.
Before she became the first American woman in space, Sally Ride was a quiet California physicist preparing for a career in science. But she noticed an ad in The Stanford Daily that NASA was looking for female astronauts – so she applied and five years later launched into orbit aboard Challenger shuttle’s STS-7 mission.
Ride was unique among other pioneering women in that she didn’t set out to become the first woman in space; rather, her goal was to encourage other girls and women to pursue careers in science.
After her historic flight, Ride served on the board of directors of NASA and served as an instructor. Additionally, she founded a nonprofit to encourage young people to pursue science careers.
On June 18, 1983, she embarked on her first space mission aboard the shuttle Challenger which lasted six days and involved the deployment of two satellites for Canada and Indonesia. Additionally, she assisted in operating the robotic arm aboard the craft as well as conducting experiments and analyzing data.
Ride was the first woman to go space, opening the door for a new generation of female scientists and engineers. She was an inspiring trailblazer who changed the world – and she continues to make waves as she ages.
Before her historic flight, she had to overcome sexism and doubt. She was asked how she would handle menstruation in space, if she’d wear makeup or a bra, and whether spaceflight could affect her ability to have children.
She approached these challenges with a clear mind and an unwavering determination, leading her to success as both an educator and champion for women in science.
Other notable women in space include Eileen Collins, who became the first American woman to pilot the space shuttle and dock with Russia’s Mir space station. Her crew also deployed the enormous Chandra X-ray Observatory.
Peggy Whitson is another pioneering figure in this field, having spent six years aboard the International Space Station before being selected as a NASA astronaut candidate. As the only woman to have completed three long-haul missions to the station, Whitson guided hundreds of scientific experiments.
Sally Ride had always had a knack for sports and an aptitude for science, so when she saw an advertisement in her college paper announcing NASA’s recruitment of women, Sally knew she wanted to apply.
She left Swarthmore and moved to Stanford University, earning both a master’s and PhD in physics. Originally intending to become a professor, NASA’s letter changed everything for her.
In 1977, while eating her breakfast in the Stanford canteen, Ride happened upon a newspaper advertisement that NASA was seeking women astronauts. She quickly responded to this ad and applied that afternoon – sparking off an incredible career path!
After completing her training with NASA, Ride joined the shuttle crew aboard Challenger on June 18, 1983. During their six-day mission, she deployed and recovered a satellite using the Space Shuttle’s robotic arm.
Ride had always wanted to be an astronaut and was thrilled when women could join the program. However, she worried about managing the physical strain of space travel. Her parents offered their assistance in getting through difficult training, while she also worked hard to remain motivated throughout each day.
Her natural athletic talent proved to be a great asset during astronaut training. She parachute-jumped and learned water survival techniques, as well as the technical and scientific abilities necessary for space flight.
She went on to teach physics at the University of California and founded several organisations dedicated to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education. Additionally, she wrote children’s books about space exploration with the goal of inspiring younger generations to get into science.
Although she passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2012, Ride remains an iconic figure within the field of space exploration. She is credited with encouraging young girls to pursue STEM-related fields, and her legacy lives on today.
Sally Ride was an extraordinary woman, and her accomplishments are largely due to her dedication to advancing women in science. She worked tirelessly to make the world a better place and provided opportunities for other women to pursue their passions. Sally is an inspiring example of how we should all strive to become our best selves and become the person we aspire to be.
Sally Ride’s historic space flight made her an inspiration and role model for generations of women and young girls. She continued advocating for women’s rights and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
On May 26, 1951, Sally Ride was born in Encino, California and earned bachelor’s degrees in both English and physics from Stanford University. Later, she went on to receive a PhD in physics as well.
She began her space career in 1978 as an astronaut candidate and went on to become the first American woman in space, flying twice on board the space shuttle Challenger and accruing more than 343 hours spent in space.
In addition to her spaceflights, Ride was involved in the investigation of two major space shuttle disasters in 1986 and 2003. She served on both the Rogers Commission that investigated Challenger explosion and Columbia Accident Investigation Panel.
Ride was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her pioneering work in space and founded Sally Ride Science to inspire young women to pursue careers in science. She wrote several children’s books on various subjects and maintains a website with information about her scientific career as well as resources for young girls and their parents.
As she left NASA, she returned to academia at the University of California, San Diego as a professor of physics and director of their Space Institute. She authored seven science books for kids including To Space and Back with Sue Okie; Voyager; The Third Planet; The Mystery of Mars; Exploring Our Solar System; Mission Planet Earth; and Mission Save the Planet with Tam O’Shaughnessy.
In 2012, she succumbed to pancreatic cancer at her home in San Diego, California. Her family and friends remember her as a brave and determined woman who revolutionized space travel as they cherish memories of this remarkable woman.
Sally Ride’s lifelong interest in science and space exploration led her to become the first American woman in space and a national hero. Additionally, she dedicated herself to encouraging others to follow their passions in an encouraging manner that promotes health and productivity.
On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride made history as the first American woman in space. At 32 years old, she ventured into outer space aboard NASA’s space shuttle Challenger and stayed aboard for six days, using its robotic arm to deploy and retrieve satellites.
Lynn Sherr’s book Sally Ride: America’s First Woman in Space describes Sally Ride as an intelligent, athletic person who was calm under pressure – which she attributes as one of the reasons she was selected as an astronaut. Additionally, Sally was an excellent listener and was able to form strong connections with other astronauts.
Sherr was immensely proud of her accomplishments and wanted to inspire others to follow in her footsteps. If she could go into space and make history, it would serve as an inspiring example for all women.
Throughout her tenure at NASA, Ride served as a leader and mentor to many other astronauts. Additionally, she championed science education by writing children’s books about her space experiences and advocating for scientific literacy.
When asked a simple question about being in space, Sally Ride replied with, “It was a mystery to me.” Her response demonstrates her dedication and enthusiasm for science – it’s more honest and open than any PR-friendly answer could possibly reveal about her personality.
Her handwritten letter to the newspaper set her on an extraordinary journey that ultimately culminated in her selection as both the first American woman in space and of color for NASA. Since then, she has become a trailblazer in space exploration, serving as an influential figure for improving science education across America.
After her retirement, Ride continued her work for NASA and ultimately served as the first director of their Office of Exploration. Furthermore, she authored the influential Ride Report regarding America’s future in space exploration.
Despite her successes, she never achieved celebrity status. She wasn’t particularly outgoing or interested in being photographed or interviewed on TV, yet she became renowned within her field and received numerous awards throughout her career. Additionally, she was inducted into both the National Women’s Hall of Fame and Astronaut Hall of Fame. https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z5GdDsaQOVc
First Woman to Receive Jnanpith Award
Jnanpith Award (known as Gyanpith Puraskar in Hindi) is India’s highest literary honour, established in 1961 and awarded to writers writing in any of India’s eight official languages listed on Schedule Eight of the Constitution.
Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to receive this honor in 1976 for her 1965 book Pratham Pritisruti. Other recipients include Amrita Pritam (1981), Mahadevi Varma (1982) and Qurratulain Hyder ( 1989).
Ashapoorna Devi was the first woman to receive the Jnanpith Award in 1976 for her work Pratham Pratisruti. Additionally, she was conferred Padma Shri by India in 1976 and Rabindra Puruskar by several universities; additionally, she received Fellowship by Sahitya Akademy in 1994.
Ashapurna was born into a traditional Bengali family at Vrindaban Basu Lane, North Kolkata – an ultra-orthodox household that did not allow women to attend school. Her paternal grandmother placed strict limitations on female children of the household and they were only allowed to study up to primary level; leaving young Ashapurna no choice but to spend her free time reading books and newspapers.
Her mother Sarala Sundari came from an enlightened home and her passion for reading classics and storybooks was passed on to Ashapurna and her sisters. In fact, it was this love of literature which led her to pen her first poem “Bairer Dak” at thirteen years old, which was sent off to Sishu Sathi in 1922.
In her lifetime, she composed more than thirty novels and poems, as well as ten volumes of collected works and 62 children’s books. Her powerful trilogy – the Satyabati Trilogy: Pratham Protisruti, Subarnalata and Bakulkatha – captured the hopes, loves and losses experienced by women around the world.
Ashapoorna Devi was an inspirational feminist and champion for women’s rights despite her lack of formal education. Her determination enabled her to overcome all obstacles and emerge as a formidable champion for liberation. She became an inspiration to many aspiring writers at the time, being regarded as India’s literary pioneer. For her efforts in Bengali language and literature, she was recognized with numerous prizes and honours including Lila Prize, Bhutan Mohini Dasi Gold Medal and Raindrop Memorial Prize.
G. Sankara Kurup
Sankara Kurup, a poet of the mystic tradition, was born on June 3, 1901 at Nayathodu near Kalady. He received an intense education from his uncle Govinda Kurup – a Sanskrit Pandit and astrologer – through which he developed an unbreakable connection to nature that is evident in his works.
He wrote more than 25 collections of poetry, including Odakkuzhal (The Flute), for which he received the Jnanpith Award in 1965. Additionally, he created verse dramas and literary essays. His works reflect an eclectic blend of romanticism, mysticism and nationalism.
Some of his notable poems include Sandhya Taram (Twilight Star), Sooryakanti (Sunflower) and Pushpa Geethi (Song of Flower). His unique interpretation of nature is unique in Malayalam literature; he draws inspiration from Tagore and Gandhi’s works with regards to humanism and nationalism respectively.
His works are distinguished by elegant language and thoughtful artistry. His extensive output has left a lasting legacy on Malayalam Literature, earning him the title of “Master of Malayalam Poetry”.
His poems showcase four phases of creativity – romanticism, mysticism or symbolism, nationalism and internationalism. Examples of such powerful nationalistic sentiment can be seen in such works as Azhimukham (Harbour Mouth), Raktabindu (Drop of Blood) and ‘Eka Lokam’ (One World).
G Kurup’s poetry has had a lasting impact on Malayalam literature. His works are widely read and have been translated into multiple languages, such as Omar Khayyam’s Persian poem Rubaiyat, Kalidas’ Sanskrit poem Meghaduta and Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali collection of verse.
On Friday, author Amitav Ghosh was presented India’s highest literary honor – the Jnanpith Award – for her “outstanding contribution to literature.” This was the first time an English writer had been honored with this distinction. According to PTI, a selection committee led by Jnanpith laureate and novelist Pratibha Ray unanimously agreed that Ghosh should receive recognition.
Born in Calcutta, Amitav Ghosh completed his education at Delhi and Oxford before earning a DPhil from Oxford University in social anthropology. He has written ten novels, including The Circle of Reason (1986), which won France’s Prix Medici Etranger and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.
His work explores themes of diaspora, displacement and our complex relationship with identity. Additionally, he writes about climate change issues and politics.
His writing has earned him many international honors, such as France’s Prix Medici Etranger, Sahitya Akademi Award and Arthur C. Clarke Award.
He is renowned for his novels, travel writing and journalism. His works have been published worldwide and translated into more than twenty languages.
He is the author of several award-winning novels such as The Circle of Reason, In an Antique Land and Dancing in Cambodia. Additionally, he has penned essays and two non-fiction books entitled The Great Derangement; Climate Change and Unthinkable and The Ibis Trilogy composed of Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke and Flood of Fire.
Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and raised across Bangladesh, India and Sri Lanka. After studying at Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria universities, he wrote numerous novels such as The Circle of Reason, Shadow Lines, In an Antique Land, Dancing in Cambodia, The Calcutta Chromosome, The Glass Palace, Hungry Tide and The Ibis Trilogy (Sea of Poppies River of Smoke & Fire). Most recently his book The Great Derangement; Climate Changeand The Unthinkable was published in 2016.
Nilmani Phookan Jr.
In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first woman to receive the Jnanpith Award – India’s oldest and highest literary honour, established in 1961 and given only to writers who demonstrate outstanding accomplishment in literature. However, this honor can only be bestowed upon those writing in one of India’s eight official languages listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India or English and not posthumously.
Nilmani Phookan Jr, an octogenarian poet and author of several volumes of Assamese poetry, has become the third Jnanpith winner from Assam after Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya and Mamoni Raisom Goswami. A widely renowned and prolific writer, Phookan’s poems have a universal appeal with a melancholy tone.
Phookan, an astute scholar and poet, has been a pioneer of modernism in Assamese poetry with works such as Surya Henu Nami Ahe Ei Nodiyedi, Manas-Pratima, Phuli Thaka Suryamukhi Phultor Phale (To a Sunflower in Bloom), Gulapi Jamur Lagna and Kobita.
He was renowned for his daring use of words, exploring various themes and imagery over decades that earned him the admiration of both his contemporaries and readers alike. Additionally, his works had a socially aware, humanistic flair which inspired a new generation of writers to follow in his footsteps.
Phookan was an accomplished poet and art critic as well as a folk music enthusiast. He translated poetry from foreign languages into Assamese and earned himself the titles of Jatiya Kabi and Sahityacharya by Assam Sahitya Sabha.
The Assam Sahitya Sabha is working to make the poet’s work more accessible to people. According to Kuladhar Saikia, president of the Sahitya Sabha, ‘his translation of Japanese poetry into Assamese has enhanced local language with images and emotions’. We plan on taking additional steps in the near future to ensure more people read his works’
Damodar Mauzo has earned the reputation as one of India’s finest writers for over five decades, creating Konkani literature in various forms: short stories, novels, children’s books, film scripts and biographies.
Mauzo was born in Majorda, a coastal village of South Goa in 1944 and married to Shaila. Together they have three daughters – Rupali, Meghana and Sobita – as well as six grandchildren.
Mauzo, a passionate Goan and active supporter of the Goan cause, has worked to secure statehood for Konkani, official language status for Konkani speakers, constitutional recognition for Konkani language rights, freedom of expression – all while serving in the Goa State Legislature and being inducted into Goa Literary Academy. He was an elected member of both organizations.
He writes about people and their lives, often emphasizing the difficulties faced by women, youth, and minorities. His work has earned Pan-Indian appreciation and been translated into various languages.
His stories often take on controversial subjects, such as male chauvinism, caste, religion and more. He has received multiple awards for his works including the Sahitya Akademi award for Karmelin from Sahitya Akademi magazine.
Mauzo’s social commentary mirrors Charles Dickens’ work, drawing attention to the plight of everyday people and inspiring writers around the world to write for their readers and speak out against injustice.
The Jnanpith Prize is India’s highest literary honour. Each year, only one writer is chosen to receive this honour and they receive a cash award, mention in the media, and a bronze replica of Vagdevi – goddess of learning – presented annually by Bharatiya Jnanpith cultural organisation. https://www.youtube.com/embed/fRsyjoXLAcI