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Saraswati Samman conferred on Gangopadhyay, Paniker

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Apr 07 (UNI) The prestigious Saraswati Samman, instituted by the K K Birla Foundation for outstanding literary work in Indian languages, was conferred on eminent writers Sunil Gangopadhyay and K Ayyappa Paniker today.

Foundation Chairman Mr Justice (Retd) G B Patnaik gave away the award, for years 2004 and 2005, at a simple function here. Prof Paniker's nephew Amrit Paniker accepted the award on behalf of his ailing uncle who received the award for 2005 for the 4th volume of ''Ayyappa Panikerude Kritikal''.

The citation hailed the septuagenarian Malayalam author as having written poems that are unique in ''diction, style, syntax, imagery and perspective''.

''In his portrayal of divergent emotions, 'bhavas' and 'rasas', one can see an unparalleled methodology of his own in the perception of, and the variety of attitudes towards life and in the mental improvisations that he attributes to the events and the agony of living and dead situations'', it said.

Life reflected art outside the awards function venue with riot police on standby to keep away Vishwa Hindu Parishad activists protesting the honour to Mr Gangopadhyay.

VHP State President Om Prakash Singhal accused the Bengali author of having denigrated Goddess Saraswati in his autobiography 'Ardhek Jeeban'. ''We do not tolerate such artistic licence,'' he said.

In a brief comment after the function, Mr Gangopadhyay, scorned at the protest. ''What can I do if someone does not have a sense of humour. It is our tradition to jest with our Gods and Goddesses,'' he said when reached for comments.

Earlier, in his acceptance speech, Mr Gangopadhyay spoke of how writers should always be prepared to be ''showered by praise and assailed by criticism'' for what they do.

In its citation, the Foundation praised the Bengali writer for his novel 'Pratham Alo' (First Light). ''Recording the spirit of an age and a people with unerring vision, it encompasses the sublime as well as the ridiculous and caresses the edges of time even as it gazes into the timelessness of every walking dawn''.

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, who was to preside over the function, could not make it to the ceremony because of slight indisposition, an aide to the Vice-President said.


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