Sahitya Akademi (साहित्य अकादमी) has been set up for the development of Indian literature and to set high literary standards to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them cultural unity of the country. It is established by the government of India in 1954 at New Delhi.
Functions and powers
Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous body under the ministry of Culture. The Akademi has recognised 24 Indian languages. It has an Advisory Board for each of the languages that suggests various programmes and publications in the concerned languages.
Sahitya Akademi is the central institution in India for
- literary dialogue, publication and promotion in the country
- promoting Indian literature throughout the world
- keeping alive the intimate dialogue among the various linguistic and literary zones and groups through seminars, lectures, symposia, discussions, readings and performances
- providing research and travel grants to authors
- publishes books and journals, including the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature
Other than its Headquarters of New Delhi, the Akademi has four regional offices in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. It has two Translation Centres at Bangalore and Kolkata, besides a Project
Office at Shillong for promotion of oral and tribal literature and an Archive of Indian literature in Delhi.
Sahitya Akademi publishes three literary journals — Indian Literature (bi-monthly in English), Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya (bi-monthly in Hindi) and Samskrita Pratibha (half-yearly in Sanskrit).
It has also launched a new project called The Encyclopedia of Indian Poetics.
The Akademi holds an annual week-long ‘Festival of Letters’, usually in February with Award-giving ceremony, Samvatsar Lecture and a National Seminar.
Awards and Honours
Sahitya Akademi Fellowship
It is the highest honour conferred by the Akademi on a writer, by electing him as its Fellow. This honour is reserved for the ‘immortals of literature’ and limited to twenty-one only at any given time. It was established in 1968 and the first elected fellow was Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. The fellowship will be awarded for literary work in any of the 24 recognised languages.
Sahitya Akademi Award
Sahitya Akdemi Award is the second highest honour conferred by the Sahitya akademi next to Sahitya akademi Fellowship. It is conferred on the writers of outstanding of literary works published in any of the 24 Indian languages recognised by the Akademy. The annual award carries a plaque and prize money of Rs. 100,000 in each of the 24 languages it supports.
Bhasha Samman Award
Sahitya Akademi instituted Bhasha Samman in 1996 to be given to writers of literary works in non-recognised languages. Bhasha Samman award also carries a plaque and prize money of Rs. 100,000.
Every year the Sammans are given to 3-4 persons in different languages.
Prize for Translation
Besides the Sahithya Akademi awards for creative writing, it has instituted an annual prize for translation from 1989 to be given to outstanding translations in the 24 languages recognised by it. The award carries a prize money of Rs.50,000.
Bal Sahitya Puraskar
It is an award given by the Sahitya Akademi every year for the most outstanding Children’s book by an Indian author, first published in any of the 24 recognised languages during last five years.
It is an award given by the Sahitya Akademi every year for the book by a young Indian author, whose age is 35 or below, first published in any of the 24 languages.
Anand Coomarswamy Fellowships
The Anand Coomarswamy Fellowship was established in 1996 in the name of Indian writer Ananda Coomaraswamy. It is given to scholars from Asian countries to pursue a literary project in India.
The Premchand Fellowship was started in 2005. It is named Hindi writer Premchand during his 125th birth anniversary. It is given to scholars doing research on Indian literature or to creative writers from SAARC countries other than India.