Sahitya Akademi

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Rabindra Bhawan, Delhi which houses the Sangeet Natak Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi and Sahitya Akademi.

The Sahitya Akademi (साहित्य अकादमी), India's National Academy of Letters, is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India.[1] Founded on March 1954, it is supported by, though independent of, the Indian government and situated at Rabindra Bhavan near Mandi House area.

The Sahitya Akademi organises national and regional workshops and seminars; provides research and travel grants to authors; publishes books and journals, including the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature; and presents the annual Sahitya Akademi Award of Rs. 100,000 (approx. USD 1,500 (as in year 2013)) in each of the 24 languages it supports, as well as the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement. The Sahitya Akademi Library is one of the largest multi-lingual libraries in India, with a rich collection of books on literature and allied subjects. Also it publishes two bimonthly literary journals -- Indian Literature in English and Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya in Hindi.[1][2]

Controversies and Parliamentary Committee Reviews[edit]

There have been widespread allegations of corruption and controversial appointments[3] under the Presidency of Gopi Chand Narang who headed Sahitya Akademi from 2003 to 2007 and the current President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari.[4][5] Agrahara Krishnamurthy, appointed as the Secretary of Sahitya Akademi by Narang, had undergone a CBI probe in a paper purchase scam at the time of his appointment,[6] and was censured and forced to retire after being accused of financial irregularities in 2012.[7][8] Agrahara Krishnamurthy who has been granted relief by the High Court[9] has alleged a conspiracy against him by a cabal of writers and officials.[10] The appointment by a committee comprising of Narang, Tiwari and others of the current Secretary K.Sreenivasa Rao, is also controversial as Rao’s academic credentials for the top job, who had joined the Akademi as a lower division clerk (LDC), are said to be insufficient and extremely dubious.
The 171st Parliamentary Standing Committee on the functioning of Sahitya Akademi and three other institutions chaired by Sitaram Yechury and tabled at the Loksabha in August 2011 states, "It was felt that most of these institutions were not able to live upto the original mandates set out by their founding fathers. Controversies of different kind involving these institutions that keep cropping up from time to time, had caught this Committee’s attention. Questions were also raised about the indifference and helplessness shown by the Ministry of Culture to do anything in the face of autonomy enjoyed by these institutions." The Committee also urged Sahitya Akademi to adopt the recommendation of Haksar Committee (1988) of having its head appointed by the President of India, a practice followed by Sangeet Natak and Lalit Kala Akademies, to avoid "the inevitable complications of the existing system of elections."[11]

Controversial Appointments[edit]

Many controversial appointments of unqualified candidates to key positions at the Sahitya Akademi, done during Gopi Chand Narang's time, continue unchallenged to this day. Khurshid Alam and Mrignayani Gupta, both dismissed in 2004 for presenting counterfeit degree certificates, have made a backdoor entry and have been subsequently promoted to higher positions.[12] There have been widespread allegations in the Hindi press that the certificates of the current Secretary, K.Sreenivasa Rao, who completed his M.Phil and PhD degrees while being employed as Deputy Secretary (Administration) at the Sahitya Akademi without availing a single day's leave, are fake and fraudulent.[13] Appeals by the writers community to the Ministry of Culture to launch an inquiry into this have not yielded any result.

Sahitya Akademi Awards Controversy[edit]

It has been alleged time and again that the procedure of nomination of litterateurs for the coveted Sahitya Akademi Awards is not transparent. The ground-list of books (from which the jury members make two short-lists and the final selection for the award) is supposed to made by the General Council but the books are provided to this council by the bureaucrats and employees of the Akademi who are unqualified to make any kind of literary selection.[14] Though the Award regulations makes the recommendations of the Language Advisory Board mandatory the recommendations of the board are often dismissed and ignored by the officials without citing any reason. This lack of transparency and rigour in the selection process has resulted in a lot of controversy. It has even resulted in writers being forced to return the award when it has been proven that the selection procedure was fraudulent, as was the case with the Sahitya Akademi award for translation into Odia in 1999.[15] [16] Sahitya Akademi is also highly criticized, by writers like Khushwant Singh, for ignoring eminent writers and awarding below-par writers[17] and sub-standard literary works. [18] [19]

Supported languages[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hota, AK (2000). Encyclopaedia of New Media and Educational Planning. `. pp. 310–12. ISBN 978-81-7625-170-9. 
  2. ^ "National Academies: Sahitya Akademi". Government of India. Retrieved 1 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Balakrishnan, Deepa (June 9, 2006). "Sahitya Akademi in Ruins Literally". IBN Live. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Nandakumar, Pratibha (Jul 25, 2014). "Truth prevails". Bangalore Mirror. 
  10. ^ "Conspiracy behind my ouster: Agrahara Krishnamurthy". Matrubhumi News. 
  11. ^ "171st Report of Parliamentary Committee". Rajya Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi. 
  12. ^ Srivastava, Mihir (October 30, 2004). "Scam charges cloud Sahitya Akademi". Tehelka. 
  13. ^ Thakur, Sunderchand. "साहित्य अकादमी में फिर विवादास्पद नियुक्ति". Nav Bharat Times. 
  14. ^ Y.P. Rajesh, Amit Prakash, (Nov 1, 1995). "The Literary Mafia". Outlook Magazine. 
  15. ^ "Probe sought into Sahitya Akademi affairs". The Hindu. March 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Writer's plan to return Sahitya Akademi award sparks row". The Hindu. August 19, 2010. 
  17. ^ Singh, Khushwant (January 2, 2013). "Prize manipulators: Sahitya Akademi under fire for awarding 'below par' authors". India Today. 
  18. ^ Mrunalini, C (Jan 23, 2010). "Draupadi’s unending circle of suffering". The New Indian Express. 
  19. ^ Lulla, Anil Budur (6 February 2010). "Disrobing Draupadi". Open Magazine. 

External links[edit]