Writers of various Indian languages were awarded the Bal Sahitya Puraskar (Children’s Literature Award) by the Sahitya Akademi at Triveni Kala Sangam, New Delhi

On Children’s Day, 23 writers of various Indian languages were awarded the Bal Sahitya Puraskar (Children’s Literature Award) by the Sahitya Akademi at Triveni Kala Sangam. The event was attended by Sahitya Akademi President Chandrashekhara Kambara and Vice-President Madhav Kaushik, with celebrated writer Prakāśa Manu as the Chief Guest, where participants discussed the difficulty of writing engaging stories for children that impart values without a preachy tone, and the importance of literature in moulding socio-cultural values in young minds.

Manu exhorted the need to stop looking for material benefits in pursuing arts and culture, saying that pleasure and learning are sufficient goals: “A child once asked me, ‘Baal sahitya ka kya fayda?’ (‘What is the use of stories for children?’) I was stumped. But then I remembered a shayari of the great Urdu poet Firaq, who said, ‘Poochte hain woh ishq se kya fayda/ poochta hoon main fayde se kya fayda?’ (People ask, what is the point of love/I ask, what is the point of having a point?). That is the answer to all who want to know the point of pursuing the arts.”

Kaushik spoke of the morals and humaneness that stories and poetry impart to children, opposing the notion that knowledge and technical education solve all societal ails: “We look back to some of our greatest writers like Rabindranath Tagore and RK Narayana, and they all wrote for children. Unfortunately, in recent times, we have regressed to terming children’s literature as childish literature.”

Among the winners, Hamidullah received the award for his Kashmiri poetry collection, Daiel, which discusses the psyche and experiences of 21st-century children. Ramchiari was awarded for his novel on Bodo society, Langwnani Bokhali Gotho, while Subba won for her Nepali poetry collection, Kopila ka Rangbaru, themed on the importance of children embracing their native cultures and traditions.

Other winners are: Diganta Oza (Assamese) for Dangor Manuhor Sadhu; Joya Mitra (Bengali) for Char Panch Jon Bondhu; Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’ (Dogri) for Sikh Matt; Arshia Sattar (English) for Mahabharata for Children; Kirit Goswami (Gujarat) for Khiskoli ne Computer Chhe Levu; Kshama Sharma (Hindi) for Kshama Sharma ki Chunina Bal Kahaniyan; Tammanna Beegar (Kannada) for Bavali Guhe; Jyoti Kunkoliekar (Konkani) for Mayuri; Birendra Jha (Maithili) for Uran Chhoo; A Sethumadhavan (Malayalam) for Chekkutty; Naorem Lokeshwore Singh (Manipuri) for Tomthin Amasung Khuji; Rajeev Barve (Marathi) for Piyuchi Wahi; Narendra Prasad Das (Odia) for Kolaahala Naa Halaahala; Vishwamitra Dadhich (Rajasthani) for Machhlyan Ra Aanshu; Kuldeep Sharma (Sanskrit) for Sachitram Prahelikasatakam; Ganesh Marandi (Santali) for Hapan Mai; Manohar Nihalani (Sindhi) for Anokhiyun Aakhaniyun; G Meenakshi (Tamil) for Malligavin Veedu; Pattipaka Mohan (Telugu) for Baalala Taata Baapuji; Zafar Kamali (Urdu) for Hauslon ki Udan.

Note: This news piece was originally published in indianexpress and used purely for non-profit/non-commercial purposes exclusively for Human Rights.

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