New Delhi: Author, politician and diplomat Shashi Tharoor was among the 23 named on Wednesday for the Sahitya Akademi Award 2019 for his book “An Era of Darkness: The British Empire in India” in the creative non-fiction section in English category.
Sahitya Akademi Secretary K. Sreenivasa Rao made the announcement in a press release. The awards, comprising an engraved copper plaque, a shawl and Rs 100,000 in cash, will be given away on Feburary 25, 2020, during the Akademi’s Festival of Letters.
They relate to books first published during the five years immediately preceeding the year of award — between the period January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017. Tharoor’s book appeared in 2016. Its British edition, titled “Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India”, appeared a year later.
The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 23 Indian languages and approved by the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi, which met on Wednesday under the Chairmanship of its President, Chandrashekhar Kambiar, the release said.
Seven books of poetry by Phukan Ch. Basumatary (Bodo), Nand Kishore Acharya (Hindi), Nilba A. Khandekar (Konkani), Kumar Manish Arvind (Maithili), V. Madhusoodanan Nair (Malayalam), Anuradha Patil (Marathi) and Penna Madhusudan (Sanskrit) have been awarded.
Four novelists — Joysree Goswami Mahanta (Assamese), L. Birmangol Singh (Beryl Thanga) (Manipuri), Cho Dharman (Tamil) and Bandi Narayana Swamy (Telugu) — feature in the list.
Awards have also been given to six books of short stories by Abdul Ahad Hajini (Kashmiri), Tarun Kanti Mishra (Odia), Kirpal Kazak (Punjabi), Ramsawroop Kisan (Rajasthani), Kali Charan Hembram (Santali) and Ishwar Moorjani (Sindhi).
Vijaya (Kannada) and Shafey Kidwai (Urdu) have been cited for an autobiography and a biography.
Three essayists, Chinmoy Guha (Bengali), Om Sharma Jandriari (Dogri) and Ratilal Borisagar (Gujarati), also figure in the list of awardees.
Tharoor, 63, who represents the Thiruvananthapuram constituency in the Lok Sabha and is also the patron of the Kerala Literature Festival in Calicut next month, has authored bestsellers like “Why I Am A Hindu”, “The Hindu Way” and “The Paradoxical Prime Minister”.
He has penned three works of fiction, 13 works of non-fiction and two picture books, including “Kerala: God’s Own Country” with M.F. Husain and “Inde/ndia” (in French and English) with photographer Ferrante Ferranti.
A former Minister of State For External Affairs and a former UN Under-Secrtary General of Communications and Public Information, Tharoor has won various awards, including the Rajika Kripalani Young Journalist Award for the Best Indian Journalist under 30, the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Best Book of the Year in the Eurasian Region, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, Inspiration of the Year Award at GQ’s Man of the Year Awards, New Age Politician of the Year Award by NDTV, the first Sree Narayan Guru Global Secular and Peace Award and PETA’s Person of the Year.
In addition, he has also been conferred the Commander of the Order of Charles III by the Spanish King.