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Literary Awards in India

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Like India, its literature is also popular for its multiplicity of language, culture and talent. This vibrant hybrid has significantly contributed towards enriching the canvas of Indian literature. Works of international authors are slowly getting diverted towards India owing to their translation in many languages, and consequent rise in royalty. From all perspectives, literary awards offer matchless recognition and high incentives. In addition to boosting the merit of the author, such awards also trigger speedy sales of the book.

The Republic of India has 22 officially recognised languages. And, the literature that accrues from this wonderful mix of languages is indeed seamless. Indian literary awards are means to celebrate and honour the expertise and talent of prolific Indian writers. These include the new and seasoned authors in the literary matrix of contemporary India. So, let’s take a look at all what all Indian literary awards are conferred on the deserving.

I.  Sahitya Akademi Award
This award was instituted in 1954 with the goal of promoting excellence in Indian writing. It is the highest literary honour conferred upon outstanding works in Indian languages and comprises of a plaque and a cash prize of Rs. 100,000.

II.  Jnanpith Award
This second best literary honour was instituted in 1961. Any Indian citizen who writes in any of the official languages of India is eligible for this award. It is given by the Bharatiya Jnanpith, a trust under The Times of India newspaper. Jnanpith award includes a cheque of Rs. 7 lakh, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati.

III.  Vyas Samman
This award is exclusively meant for those literary works in Hindi language that have been published in the past 10 years. It was first awarded in 1991. Given by K.K. Birla Foundation, Vyas Samman comprises of a cash payout of Rs 2.5 lakh.

IV.  Saraswati Samman
Named after the Indian goddess of learning, this annual literary award honours outstanding prose or poetry in Indian language. It was instituted in 1991 by the K. K. Birla Foundation, and includes Rs. 7.5 lakh, a citation and a plaque.

V.  Crossword Award
It is an Indian book award sponsored by The Economist and Crossword Bookstores with the larger objective of competing with the international awards like The Booker and Pulitzer Prize. It includes a cash prize of Rs. 300,000.

In addition to these major literary awards, there are multiple regional and language-centric prizes that promote literature in various languages. For instance, Ezhuthachan Puraskaram is the highest literary award for Malyalam, given by the Kerala government. Similarly, Ananda Puraskar  is for Bengali literature awarded by the ABP Group.

Collectively, all these national and state awards help boost the spirits of new authors while enriching the national readership and literary culture of India.

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