In its 59 years of literary journey, Sahitya Akademi, for the first time, celebrated its Foundation Day here on Tuesday.
Sahitya Akademi, an organisation to promote literature, was started in 1954 during Jawaharlal Nehru’s regime and publishes literary works of various authors of 24 languages. The Foundation Day was celebrated in other regional offices in Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and the head office at New Delhi as well.
Rama Gurunathan, member of General Council, Sahitya Akademi, said, “Only in Tamil, there are more number of monograph titles on various litterateurs and have been published as Indhiya Ilakkiya Sirpigal series.”
Poet Abdul Rahman, who was recognised by Sahitya Akademi with an award for his poetry collection, Aalapanai, in 1999, said, “Whenever politics stagger, it is the duty of literature to guide it properly. Literature has no barriers. Even during the time of the India-Pakistan war, poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz from Pakistan came to India on the invitation of Indian citizens. Similarly, poet Ali Sardar Jafri from India has earned many fans in Pakistan”.
He added, “Today, books from other languages are translated into Tamil immediately. But works in Tamil hardly get translated into English or other languages. More translators should come forward to change this situation.”
Writer Ashokamitran, who won the Akademi award for his short story collection, Appavin Snegidhar, in 1996, said, “Though the Sahitya Akademi was founded during Jawaharlal Nehru’s regime, it was Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the then Union Minister of Education, who actuated the initiative.
Poet Mu Metha, whose Aakayathukku Aduthaveedu, a poetry collection that fetched him an Akademi award in 2006, said, “Akademi’s policies such as ‘the award should be presented only to those authors who published their works within three years before of time set by Akademi’ would miss some very best litterateurs. These kinds of policies must be changed. The award should be given only for the author’s work and not for the year of publishing.”
Poet Erode Tamilanban, novelist Sa Kandasamy, Malathi Chendur also spoke at the event.