Kollam, September 17: Prof. Manoj Das, a towering figure of the English and Oriya literature, will be conferred with the 2013 Amritakeerti Puraskar National Award while eminent writer, scholar and orator Prof. Thuravoor Viswambharan will be honoured with The Kerala State-level award.
The awards will be bestowed on the two litterateurs in conjunction with the 60th birthday celebrations of internationally acclaimed spiritual and humanitarian leader Mata Amritanandamayi Devi during September 25-27.
The announcement was made today by Amritakeerti Puraskar Committee member Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice-Chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM).
Launched in 2001, the awards are presented annually to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in the fields of spirituality, philosophy, science or literature, and carry a cash prize of Rs. 1,23,456, a statuette of Goddess Saraswati created by renowned sculptor Namboodiri, and a citation from MAM.
The two awards will be presented on September 27 in Amritapuri during Amritavarsham60 -- The 60th Birthday Celebrations of Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, fondly known as Amma by the legion of her devotees across the world.
A recipient of Padma Shri award, Prof. Das is one of India's greatest living English and Oriya writers, with more than 14 volumes of his work published over the years. A resident of the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry since 1963, Manoj Das' writings have a distinct undercurrent of spiritual and mystical elements.
He is also an acclaimed novelist and poet, has published travelogues and children's books, written regular columns for various Indian newspapers and monthlies, and served as editor of a number of prominent journals. A widely travelled person, he went to London and Edinburgh to do original research on Sri Aurobindo's early work in the Indian freedom struggle, which was published in form of a book -- Sri Aurobindo in the First Decade of the Century - in 1972.
Prof. Manoj Das has earlier been honoured with India's premier award for literature, the Saraswati Samman, as well as Utkal Ratna from Odisha's oldest literary institution, the Utkal Sahitya Samaj. He is also a recipient of Sri Aurobindo Puraskar (Kolkata), the Sahitya Akademi Award (1972), the Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award (twice), the Sarala Award, the Sahitya Bharati Award, the 1998 BAPASI (Book-sellers And Publishers Association of South India) Award as the best writer in English in South India, and Rotary's ‘For the Sake of Honours', among others.
"Prof. Viswambharan's critical evaluation of the Mahabharata in the light of world philosophy has helped spread Indian culture and solidify the epic's place in the list of illustrious world literature," the Amritakeerti Puraskar committee said.
His book Bharata Darsanam Punarvayana presents the story and philosophy of the Mahabharata, providing a critical study and evaluation in the light of world philosophy.
Prof. Viswambharan has also presented lucid and compelling arguments as to why the views presented by a slew of famous Indologists - both from the West and from India - are flawed.
His discussion on the Mahabharata on the Amrita Television programme Bharata Darshanam now comprises more than 2,500 episodes.
Prof. Viswambharan, born at Thuravoor near Alappuzha in Sept 1943, is the son of eminent Sanskrit and Ayurveda scholar Shri K. Padmanabhan and K. Madhavi. He had his school education at T.D.H.S Thuravoor and college education in Maharajas College, Ernakulam
Previous winners of the Amritakeerti Puraskar include Acharya Narendra Bhushan, P. Parameswaran, M.H. Shastrikal, P. Narayana Kurup, Prof. Vasudevan Potti, Prof. K.V. Dev, Paravoor Sreedharan Tantrikal, Dr. N.P. Unni, M.P. Veerendrakumar and C. Radhakrishnan. Previous national-level awards have been bestowed to writers Dr. Shankar Abhayankar and Smt. Pratibha Ray.
Sri P. Parameswaran, Director of the Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram; Dr. N.P. Unni, former Vice-Chancellor of Kalady Sri Sankara University; poet P. Narayanakurup; Dr. Shankar Abhayankar, Smt. Pratibha Ray, Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, Vice Chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math; and Swami Thuriyamritanananda Puri of MAM comprised the selection committee.
Source: MD NICHE.