(Written by Aggam Walia)
The Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi presents awards of recognition to veteran authors from Chandigarh, who write in English, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and Sanskrit, every year. The award is given for their lifelong contribution in the field of literature, along with a cash prize.
At an event held at Punjab Kala Bhawan, these awards were distributed Saturday. The awardees were Dr Om Prakash Vasishta (Punjabi), Dr Chaman Ahuja (Urdu), Dr Prasoon Prasad (Hindi), Professor Tejwant Singh Gill (English) and Professor Virender Kumar Alankar (Sanskrit).
The Akademi also awarded the ‘Best Book Award in English’ to writer, Masha Kaur (Novel), in same category in Hindi language, Shashi Prabha (novel) won the award and Amarjeet Amar won it in the field of poetry. Awards were handed out to Pragya Sharda for ‘best story’, Anita Surbhi for ‘best children’s literature’ and Jang Bahadur Goyal for ‘best translation’.
In Punjabi, the awards were given to Daljit Kaur Saini (children’s literature), Narender Pal Singh Komal (novel), Subhash Sharma (poetry), Arvinder Nihal (translation) and in Urdu to Professor S S Bhatti (poetry).
The Akademi also granted publishing aid worth Rs 15,000 to a few local authors. The event was presided by Professor Vishwanath Tewari, eminent author and former president of National Sahitya Akademi.
“I try to convey a critical belief about life that is universal in nature and which transcends cultural barriers. The themes of my poems are varied and hidden. Through them, I relate my experiences and observations of human life”, says Dr Prasad, who has been recognised for her work in Hindi literature and as an Associate Professor in the Department of Hindi, MCM DAV College for Women, Chandigarh.
“My poetry is not what you generally expect from Urdu poetry. It is not romantic or lyrical. I like to write about thoughtful and spiritual matters. I am very different in that sense from other Urdu poets,” Dr Ahuja says while talks about his work. He has been a prominent theatre citric and was at the Department of English, Panjab University.
Dr Ahuja started writing in Urdu only ten years back and has published many books since then. “I am a humanist, so I write about human evolution and thought. My main motto is ‘think and make others think’, and I believe that’s reflected in all my works. I have confronted my old age, my future death and the existence of
God through poetry”, explains Dr Ahuja.
Madhav Kaushik, the chairman of the Akademi, says, “The awards are given to propagate literature and contribute to society. We are trying to encourage a new generation of authors and give them a platform”.