Gulzar, Rambhadracharya selected for Jnanpith Award

The Asian Age With Agency Inputs

This year marks the second time the award is conferred for Sanskrit literature and the fifth time for Urdu literature


New Delhi: Renowned Urdu poet Gulzar and Sanskrit scholar Jagadguru Rambhadracharya have been named the recipients of the 58th Jnanpith Award, the Jnanpith selection committee announced on Saturday.

Sampooran Singh Kalra, widely known as Gulzar, aged 89, is celebrated for his significant contributions to Hindi cinema and his esteemed status as one of the finest Urdu poets of contemporary times.

Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, aged 74, is the founder and head of Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot. He is revered as a Hindu spiritual leader, educator, and prolific writer, having authored over 240 books and texts, including four epics.

The Jnanpith selection committee issued a statement, stating, “It has been decided to confer the award (for 2023) upon eminent writers from two languages: Sanskrit litterateur Jagadguru Rambhadracharya and renowned Urdu litterateur Shri Gulzar.”

Gulzar has been honoured with numerous accolades throughout his illustrious career, including the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu in 2002, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2013, and the Padma Bhushan in 2004. He has received at least five National Film Awards for his outstanding contributions to cinema.

Among his notable works are the song “Jai Ho” for the film “Slumdog Millionaire,” which won an Oscar award in 2009 and a Grammy Award in 2010, as well as compositions for critically acclaimed films such as “Maachhis” (1996), “Omkara” (2006), “Dil Se...” (1998), and “Guru” (2007), among others. Gulzar has also directed several timeless award-winning classics, including “Koshish” (1972), “Parichay” (1972), “Mausam” (1975), “Ijaazat” (1977), and the television serial “Mirza Ghalib” (1988).

Bharatiya Jnanpith, in a statement, praised Gulzar's remarkable achievements in literature and poetry, highlighting his invention of the 'Triveni' genre and his dedication to children's poetry.

Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, one of the present four Jagadguru Ramanandacharyas of the Ramananda sect, has held this esteemed position since 1982. He is a multilingual poet and writer proficient in 22 languages, including Sanskrit, Hindi, Awadhi, and Maithili. In 2015, he was conferred with the Padma Vibhushan award for his significant contributions.

Born Giridhara Misra, Rambhadracharya overcame blindness at a young age and displayed extraordinary intellectual prowess, memorising texts such as the Bhagavad Gita and Ramcharitmanas at a tender age.

Established in 1944, the Jnanpith Award recognises outstanding contributions to Indian literature and is considered the highest literary honor in the country. This year marks the second time the award is conferred for Sanskrit literature and the fifth time for Urdu literature. The award includes a prize money of Rs 21 lakh, a statue of Vagdevi, and a citation.

The recipients were selected by a committee chaired by Jnanpith awardee Pratibha Rai, with members including Madhav Kaushik, Damodar Mauzo, Prof. Suranjan Das, Prof. Purushottam Bilmale, Praful Shiledar, Prof. Harish Trivedi, Prabha Verma, Dr. Janaki Prasad Sharma, A. Krishna Rao, and Jnanpith director Madhusudan Anand.

Notably, Goan writer Damodar Mauzo was the recipient of the prestigious award for 2022.