Sugathakumari, the Malayalam poetess on 2 August 2013 won the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2012 for Manalezhuthu (the Writings on the Sand), a collection of poems in Malayalam. Manalezhuthu was published in the year 2006. The award was instituted by KK Birla Foundation. This is the 22nd Samman, conferred in the history of the Award.
Manalezhuthu, the poetry collection for which she was chosen for the samman in March 2013 is actually a collection of 27 different poems. The poetry collection is said to be a representation of best of contemporary Malayalam poetry.
• Sugathakumari has 15 volumes of poetry credited to her.
• She also has six collections of prose. Her career spans over a duration of five decades.
• The themes of her poems revolve around moral alertness, emotional empathy as well as humanist sensitivity. Her poems also include social themes such as women oppression, failures of the ideals which inspired India as well as ecological crisis.
• Sugathakumari is also the passionate environmentalist.
• She was also the head of Kerala’s State Women’s Commission.
About the Award Saraswati Samman
• Saraswati Samman was constituted by K. K. Birla Foundation in 1991
• The award carries cash prize of 10 lakh Rupees, a plaque as well as a citation.
• This award is given every year to the literary work in any Indian language which is the part of Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
• Apart from this award, K. K. Birla Foundation also constituted other two awards that include Bihari Puraskar for Hindi and Rajasthani writers and Vyas Samman for Hindi.
• Saraswati Samman is awarded annually for outstanding literary work in any Indian language in past 10 years.
• The Samman is recognised as the most prestigious and the highest literary honour in the country.
Earlier, in March 2013 a 13-member jury selected, the 79-year-old Sugathakumari for Saraswati Samman. The jury was headed by the former Chief Justice of India, R. C. Lahoti. She was chosen for the award after the jury considered works of the artists published in 22 different languages from 2002 to 2011.
The first recipient of the Samman was Ismat Chughtai. He won the award for his work in Urdu Literature.
Recipients of the Saraswati Samman for last three years include:
• In 2009, Surjit Paatar won the samman for Lafzan Di Dargah
• In 2010, S. L. Bhyrappa won the samman for Mandra
• In 2011, A.A. Manavalan won the samman for Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalum