The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize celebrates Tagore’s literary genius and his legacy
The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2021-22 has been awarded to Shobhana Kumar, Sudeep Sen, and Sanjoy K. Roy. Each of the winners was recently presented with a Rabindranath Tagore statuette (the prize also includes a monetary award of 5000 US dollars) during a ceremony hosted by anchor and journalist Jujhar Singh at the India International Centre.
The awards ceremony was attended by Freddy Svane, Ambassador of Denmark, Mumin Chen, Deputy Ambassador of Taiwan, the renowned doctor of the stars, Dr. George Gauthier II, Simona Ivanda, President of Tagore Literary Prize, Pawan Pahwa, Project Coordinator, Tagore Literary Prize, noted Indian poet Ashok Vajpeyi, Tagore scholar and researcher Prof. Ganguly, author, presenter, and podcaster Meenu Agrawal, and the award-winning Indian filmmaker Suraj Kumar, among others.
The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize is a literary honor in India conferred annually to published works of Indian authors (residing in India or abroad) in novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, originally written in any of Indian official languages and dialects, but translated to English. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore’s towering legacy and his preeminent stature in the pantheon of giants of world literature is undeniable. The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize celebrates Tagore’s literary genius and his legacy. “The fight for freedom and peace is more important than ever. Poets and writers are often ahead of our times and express our emotions and hope eloquently and honestly. The Tagore Prize is given in this spirit,” rejoiced the Danish Ambassador Freddy Svane.
Copenhagen-based Peter Bundalo, Founder and CEO of Tagore Literary Prize fell in Tagore at a very young age and ever since he has devoted himself to the teachings and legacy of Tagore. “I feel that without social cohesion, poets, writers, professors will be nowhere. A legacy is important for a strong India and we through the Tagore prize are making our earnest efforts to recognize the positive and lasting impacts on society and in Indian Literature,” explained Bundalo who had last year made the announcement to club the awards for 2021 and 2022. The Tagore Prize for Literature has been awarded annually since 2018. The previous winners include Kailash Satyarthi, Raj Kamal Jha, Sandip Soparrkar, and His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
Sudeep Sen, who won the prize for his work ‘Anthropocene: Climate Change, Contagion, Consolation,’ strongly feels that issues of climate change need greater awareness. “This book, which coalesced during the pandemic, is essentially a plea for positivity and prayer in these fervent times. Using multiple literary genres and tropes, it endeavors to address the wider geopolitics of our time. I hope this award will serve to sensitize a greater number of people to very urgent issues that need acute and immediate attention — such as climate change, and our global need for unity and humanism,” entreated Sen.
Prof. Ganguly, during his keynote address, talked about Tagore’s global appeal. “There is continued interest in Rabindranath Tagore. The first translation of Gitajali was done in 1913 in Cuba. In 1917, Kabir poetry translated by Tagore was published in Argentina, with the aim of influencing their society which faced troubled times,” revealed Prof. Ganguly who also talked about the Indo-Argentinean film ‘Thinking of Tagore,’ produced by Suraj Kumar, which focuses on Tagore’s time in Argentina in the early 20th century and his plutonic friendship with the Argentinean writer Victoria Ocampo. On the occasion, Kumar also presented the trailer of the film.
Shobhana Kumar, who won the Tagore Prize for her work in ‘A Sky Full of Bucket Lists,’ feels the need to propagate Tagore’s teachings and vision at large. “The true purpose of us as artists are not just to become archivers of the world as we experience it, but also as thinkers who question the status quo,” opined Kumar. “Art matters began as an advocacy campaign to highlight the contribution of artists and artisans to our syncretic culture, tradition, and daily life. Since then the campaign has grown to support and sustain the Indian arts sector hugely impacted by Covid-19,” signed off Roy who has been awarded the Tagore Prize for social achievement.