AMITAV Ghosh Bags Coveted Jnanpith Award

AMITAV Ghosh, born to a  Hindu Bong family in Kolkata, who has won international fame for writing in English, has won prestigious Jnanpith award for 2018.The 62 years old  novelist residing in New York with his wife Debora Baker, is the first creative personality to bag the award for writing  in English. In a statement issued by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, Ghosh is recalled as a “path-breaking novelist”.  The awarding body said that Ghosh, in his novels, treads through historical settings to the modern era and weaves a space where the past connects with the present in relevant ways. His fiction is endowed with extraordinary depth and substance through his academic training as a historian and a social anthropologist. His major thematic concerns include migration and interconnections across places, cultures and races, and human distress and suffering caused by historical turbulences, especially at the level of girmitiyas, coolies and lascars,” Bharatiya Jnanpith said in a statement. The decision was taken at a meeting of Jnanpith Selection Board held on Friday .Eminent novelist and scholar Pratibha Ray chaired the meet attended by Girishwar Misra, Shamim Hanfi, and Harish Trivedi among others .The statement says Ghosh has explored Indian protagonists ranging across a wide international field, including Bangladesh, England, Egypt and Myanmar in both his fictional and discursive writings. His celebrated works include “The Circle of Reason”, “The Shadow Lines”, “The Calcutta Chromosome”, “The Glass Palace”, “The Hungry Tide” and the Ibis trilogy that includes “Sea of Poppies”, “River of Smoke”, and “Flood of Fire”.Amitav Ghosh is a path-breaking novelist. In his novels, Ghosh treads through historical settings to the modern era and weaves a space where the past connects with the present in relevant ways.”His fiction is endowed with extraordinary depth and substance through his academic training as a historian and a social anthropologist,” a statement from Bharatiya Jnanpith read. He has also penned a novel about the Opium trade between India and China run by the erstwhile East India Company. The writer, in a tweet, said he feels “honoured and humbled”. Responding to a fan, he said, “this is an amazing day for me. I never thought I would find myself on this list, with some of the writers I most admire.”Ghosh, who spent his formative years in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria. Ghosh, also recipient of the Padma Shri and Sahitya Akademi Award, had worked for The Indian Express in Delhi where he had education. Instituted by Sahu Jain family, the award consists of a citation, cash award of 12 lakh INR and a statute of Goddess Saraswati revered by the Hindus as the Goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and learning. Since 1965, a total of 58  eminent literally  persons  writing in various Indian languages have bagged the award. The award remains the highest literary award bestowed upon authors .Amitav Ghosh is the 59th and the first eminent personality honoured by the Bharatiya Jnanpith for his creation in English.

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