THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Moortidevi Award, instituted by the Jnanpith Trust, was presented to poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri at a function here on Saturday which was in stark contrast to another function hosted by the same Trust barely 24 hours ago attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The award was conferred on Akkitham by novelist M T Vasudevan Nair, who said that the award was being given to Akkitham at a time when poetry was being celebrated.
“This comes at a time when we are celebrating 150th birth centenary of Tagore and birth centenaries of Changampuzha and Vyloppilli,” M T Vasudevan Nair said. He also recalled his longstanding brotherly relation with Akkitham.
Jnanpith laureate O N V Kurup said that he did not have the scholarship to interpret the poems and prose of Akkitham. He recalled reading the poems of Akkitham during his student days in Prabhatam magazine published from Kollam.
On Friday, the Jnanpith Award was conferred on poet O N V Kurup by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a glittering function co-hosted by the state. The function was attended by Governor R S Gavai, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, Defence Minister A K Antony, Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, Opposition Leader Oommen Chandy, Shashi Tharoor MP, among other dignitaries.
Interestingly, Saturday’s function to confer Moortidevi Award on Akkitham was feebly studded by the presence of VIPs compared to the Friday’s function. Interestingly, Akkitham was among the audience for the Jnanpith function.
While there was no presence of Union Ministers to felicitate Akkitham, the state representation was limited to Education Minister M A Baby who left the venue while the poet was delivering his speech after receiving the award.
“The Prime Minister’s Office did not allot time for two functions to be held together.
We were allotted only 40 minutes for the Jnanpith Award ceremony,” Ravindra Kalia, director of Bharatiya Jnanpith, told Express, when asked about why two separate functions were conducted.