Sahitya Akademi Awards

Current Affairs, Art & Culture

Why in News

The recent news revolves around the Sahitya Akademi Awards, where members of the Akademi are opposing the government’s involvement in literary awards.

Important Points:-

  • The Union Ministry of Culture has expressed its intention to alter the nomination process for the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award, which is presented to writers in 24 languages. Furthermore, the government plans to combine awards given to writers for children and youth into a single category.
  • According to the government’s suggestion, in the new format, any writer can self-nominate and also recommend other candidates for the awards. This move has stirred controversy within the literary community, with many asserting that the government’s actions amount to direct interference in the institution’s operations. There are concerns that if left unchallenged, this precedent may be replicated in other similar institutions across the country.
  • The ministry has asked the Akademi to respond to the notice issued after internal consultation with committee members. Subsequently, the Akademi members will convene to discuss the government’s proposal, and their concerns will be articulated in a letter following the meeting.

About Sahitya Akademi Awards :

  • The Sahitya Akademi Awards are given annually with the aim of preserving the country’s literary heritage and promoting independent and translated literary works. These awards honor the contributions of writers in various regional languages. With four awards for each language, the Akademi plays a crucial role in recognizing excellence in literature.
  • The selection process for the main award, known as the Bhasha Samman, is conducted through a rigorous and confidential process overseen by experts, comprising one writer from each of the 24 regional languages.

Selection Procedure :

  • A member of the Akademi’s general council has expressed concerns about the rigorous selection process, which they fear may be compromised in the future.
  • The process involves each member suggesting 200 names, which are then narrowed down to 50 by an expert committee in the first phase.
  • The shortlisted candidates go through another round of scrutiny, and eventually, five names are chosen as finalists. Finally, two confidential juries select the ultimate winner from the five.
  • Fear of Political Interference : The fear of political interference arises with the introduction of an open nomination process, potentially leading to distractions from the Akademi’s qualitative work. Around 80 members, representing the 24 languages, will discuss the government’s notice and its implications.

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