Poet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra receives 5th Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award

Jaipur, Jan 23 (PTI) Poet and literary critic Arvind Krishna Mehrotra was awarded the Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia Award for poetry at the inaugural day of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) here on Thursday.

Mehrotra, whose literary works include seven collections of poetry, four edited volumes on Indian literature, three translations of Prakrit and Kabir's poetry, was selected as the winner by a jury consisting of poet Nirupama Dutt and poet-translator AJ Thomas.

'I was surprised when I found out that I am going to be awarded. In my 50 years of poetry I have never won an award, and I never thought if I'll ever be (give an award). I am, of course, very happy. And I appreciate that a family has constituted an award in the memory of a great poet,' said the 73-year-old.

The award, constituted in the memory of Rajasthani and Hindi poet Kanhaiyalal Sethia, honours one literary icon with a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh.

Known for his Rajasthani poem 'Dharti Dhoran Ri', Sethia has also given the literary world famous poetry books including the likes of 'Mayada Ro Helo', 'Pathal ar Pithal', 'Lilatamsa', and 'Leek Lakodia'.

The award, now in its 5hn edition, was given by Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot.

Speaking at the award ceremony, festival co-founder Namita Gokhale said that through the award, JLF this year also celebrates the Rajasthani poet's birth centenary.

'The award is in the memory of this great poet who was rooted in the language and landscape of Rajasthan but belonged to the world. As we celebrate his centenary, it is important to pay tribute to that legacy of 42 books in Hindi, Urdu, and Rajasthani that he left for future generations of readers,' she added.

On giving the award to Mehrotra, Gokhale said one couldn't think of a 'worthier recipient' than him who beside being a 'great Hindi translator' also has such a sound understanding of poetry, aesthetics and literature.

The present edition of JLF -- 13th -- will host over 250 speakers including authors, scholars, actors, humanitarians, business leaders, and sports persons from across the world.

Nobel laureate Abhijeet Banerjee, Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Stephen Greenblatt, Dexter Filkins and Paul Muldoon, Booker International winner Jokha Alharthi, novelists Elizabeth Gilbert, Roshan Ali, and Manoranjan Byapari will be among the speakers to participate at the JLF.

The literary extravaganza will come to a close on January 27. PTI MAH MG MG