|Awarded by Bharatiya Jnanpith|
|Description||Literary award in India|
|Cash award||₹11 lakh (US$16,000)|
|First awardee(s)||G. Sankara Kurup|
|Recent awardee(s)||Raghuveer Chaudhari|
The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith and is given to an author for the "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on the Indian writers who have been writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral.[a] As of 2015[update], the award comprises a citation plaque, a cash prize of ₹11 lakh (US$16,000), and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom.
From 1965 till 1981, the award was given to the authors for their "most outstanding work". The rules were revised for the forthcoming years to consider their works during the period of last twenty years, excluding the year for which the award was to be given. As of 2015[update], out of twenty-three eligible languages, the award has been conferred upon the works in fifteen languages: Hindi (ten), Kannada (eight), Bengali and Malayalam (five each), Gujarati, Marathi, Odia, and Urdu (four each), Telugu (three), Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil (two each), Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit (one each).
The first recipient of the award was Malayalam litterateur G. Sankara Kurup who was awarded in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950. As of 2015[update], the honour has been presented to fifty-six writers including seven women authors. In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapurna Devi became the first female to win the award and was honoured for the first novel of a trilogy,[b] Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), published in 1965. The most recent recipient of the award is novelist, poet and critic Raghuveer Chaudhary who was awarded for the year 2015.
In May 1961, the founders of the Bharatiya Jnanpith conceived an idea to start a scheme in literary or cultural field, "commanding national prestige and of international standard" and to "select the best book out of the publications in Indian languages". Later in November, Rama Jain, the Founder President of the Bharatiya Jnanpith, invited a few litterateurs to discuss various aspects of the scheme. Jain along with Kaka Kalelkar, Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jainendra Kumar, Jagdish Chandra Mathur, Prabhakar Machwe, Akshaya Kumar Jain, and Lakshmi Chandra Jain presented the initial draft to the then President of India Rajendra Prasad who had shown interest in the scheme's implementation. The idea was also discussed at the 1962 annual sessions of the All India Gujarati Sahitya Parishad and the Bharatiya Bhasha Parishad. 
On 2 April 1962, around 300 writers of various Indian languages were invited in Delhi for the two sessions conducted by Dharmavir Bharati where the draft was finalised and was later presented to Rajendra Prasad. The first award selection committee meeting was scheduled on 16 March 1963 and Prasad was appointed as its president. However, Prasad died before the meeting on 28 February 1963, thus the scheduled meeting was chaired by Kaka Kalelkar and Sampurnanand presided the committee.
The first Selection Board comprised Kalelkar, Niharranjan Ray, Karan Singh, R. R. Diwakar, V. Raghavan, B. Gopal Reddy, Harekrushna Mahatab, Rama Jain, Lakshmi Chandra Jain, and was headed by Sampurnanand. Works that were published between 1921 and 1951 were considered for the first award and the nine language committees were to submit to the board nominations along with translations of the work in Hindi or English. The final round had four authors; Kazi Nazrul Islam (Bengali), D. V. Gundappa (Kannada), Viswanatha Satyanarayana (Telugu), and G. Sankara Kurup (Malayalam). The Malayalam language committee headed by N. V. Krishna Warrier submitted an undisputed nomination of Kurup's work Odakkuzhal although the Kerala Sahitya Akademi opined that no work in Malayalam language was worthy of the inaugural prize. On 19 November 1966, Kurup was presented with the citation, statue of Saraswati, and a cheque for prize of ₹1 lakh (US$1,500) at a ceremony held in Vigyan Bhavan, Delhi. In his acceptance speech Kurup appreciated the concept of the new award and thanked it for bringing "integration of the diverse people of this land on a spiritual plane".
Rules and selection process
The nominations for the award are received from various litterateurs, teachers, critics, universities, literary and language associations. Every three years, an advisory committee is constituted for all of the twenty-two Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English.[a] A language in which a recent recipient has authored their work is not eligible for consideration for the next two years. The committee consists of three literary critics and scholars for each of the languages. All the nominations are scrutinised by each of the language advisory committee and submits their recommendations to the Jnanpith Award Selection Board (Pravara Parishad).
The Selection Board consists of maximum eleven and minimum seven members of "high repute and integrity". Each member is part of the committee for a term of three years which also can be extended further for two more terms. The recommendations of all language advisory committees are evaluated by the Selection Board. The committee request the complete or partial translations of the selected writings of the proposed writers into Hindi or English. The recipient for a particular year is announced by the Selection Board with its final authority for the selection.
List of recipients
|Kurup, G. SankaraG. Sankara Kurup||Malayalam||[c]|
|Bandyopadhyay, TarasankarTarasankar Bandyopadhyay||Bengali||[d]|
|Joshi, UmashankarUmashankar Joshi||Gujarati||[e]|
|Puttappa (Kuvempu), Kuppali VenkatappaKuppali Venkatappa Puttappa (Kuvempu)||Kannada||[f]|
|Pant, SumitranandanSumitranandan Pant||Hindi||[g]|
|Gorakhpuri, FiraqFiraq Gorakhpuri||Urdu||[h]|
|Satyanarayana, ViswanathaViswanatha Satyanarayana||Telugu||[i]|
|Dey, BishnuBishnu Dey||Bengali||[j]|
|Dinkar, Ramdhari SinghRamdhari Singh Dinkar||Hindi||[k]|
|Bendre, D. R.D. R. Bendre||Kannada||[l]|
|Mohanty, GopinathGopinath Mohanty||Odia||[m]|
|Khandekar, Vishnu SakharamVishnu Sakharam Khandekar||Marathi||[n]|
|Devi, AshapoornaAshapoorna Devi||Bengali||[p]|
|Karanth, K. ShivaramK. Shivaram Karanth||Kannada||[q]|
|Vatsyayan, SachchidanandaSachchidananda Vatsyayan||Hindi||[r]|
|Bhattacharya, Birendra KumarBirendra Kumar Bhattacharya||Assamese||[s]|
|Pottekkatt, S. K.S. K. Pottekkatt||Malayalam||[t]|
|Pritam, AmritaAmrita Pritam||Punjabi||[u]|
|Varma, MahadeviMahadevi Varma||Hindi|||
|Iyengar, Masti VenkateshaMasti Venkatesha Iyengar||Kannada|||
|Pillai, Thakazhi SivasankaraThakazhi Sivasankara Pillai||Malayalam|||
|Patel, PannalalPannalal Patel||Gujarati|||
|Routray, SachidanandaSachidananda Routray||Odia|||
|Shirwadkar (Kusumagraj), Vishnu VamanVishnu Vaman Shirwadkar (Kusumagraj)||Marathi|||
|Reddy, C. NarayanaC. Narayana Reddy||Telugu|||
|Hyder, QurratulainQurratulain Hyder||Urdu|||
|Gokak, Vinayaka KrishnaVinayaka Krishna Gokak||Kannada|||
|Mukhopadhyay, SubhashSubhash Mukhopadhyay||Bengali|||
|Mehta, NareshNaresh Mehta||Hindi|||
|Mahapatra, SitakantSitakant Mahapatra||Odia|||
|Ananthamurthy, U. R.U. R. Ananthamurthy||Kannada|||
|Nair, M. T. VasudevanM. T. Vasudevan Nair||Malayalam|||
|Devi, MahaswetaMahasweta Devi||Bengali|||
|Jafri, Ali SardarAli Sardar Jafri||Urdu|||
|Karnad, GirishGirish Karnad||Kannada|||
|Verma, NirmalNirmal Verma||Hindi|||
|Singh, GurdialGurdial Singh||Punjabi|||
|Goswami, Mamoni RaisomMamoni Raisom Goswami||Assamese|||
|Shah, RajendraRajendra Shah||Gujarati|||
|Karandikar, VindaVinda Karandikar||Marathi|||
|Rahi, RehmanRehman Rahi||Kashmiri|||
|Narayan, KunwarKunwar Narayan||Hindi|||
|Kelekar, RavindraRavindra Kelekar||Konkani|||
|Shastri, Satya VratSatya Vrat Shastri||Sanskrit|||
|Kurup, O. N. V.O. N. V. Kurup||Malayalam|||
|Khan 'Shahryar', Akhlaq MohammedAkhlaq Mohammed Khan 'Shahryar'||Urdu|||
|Sukla, Sri LalSri Lal Sukla||Hindi|||
|Kambara, ChandrashekharaChandrashekhara Kambara||Kannada|||
|Ray, PratibhaPratibha Ray||Odia|||
|Bharadhwaja, RavuriRavuri Bharadhwaja||Telugu|||
|Singh, KedarnathKedarnath Singh||Hindi|||
|Nemade, BhalchandraBhalchandra Nemade||Marathi|||
|Chaudhari, RaghuveerRaghuveer Chaudhari||Gujarati|||
- The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India consists of the following twenty-two languages: Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santhali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
- The trilogy consists of; Pratham Pratisruti, Subarnalata, and Bakul Katha.
- Awarded for Odakkuzhal.
- Awarded for Ganadevta.
- Awarded for Nishitha.
- Awarded for Sri Ramayana Darshanam.
- Awarded for Chidambara.
- Awarded for Gul-e-Naghma.
- Awarded for Ramayana Kalpavrukshamu.
- Awarded for Smriti Satta Bhavishyat.
- Awarded for Urvashi.
- Awarded for Nakutanti.
- Awarded for Matimatal.
- Awarded for Yayati.
- Awarded for Chitttrappavai.
- Awarded for Pratham Pratisruti.
- Awarded for Mookajjiya Kanasugalu.
- Awarded for Kitni Navon Men Kitni Bar.
- Awarded for Mrityunjay.
- Awarded for Oru Desathinte Katha.
- Awarded for Kagaj te Canvas.
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