Kashmir is a land blessed with rich literary heritage that goes back to many centuries!
Did you know that the use of Kashmiri Language in literature began with the poetry of Lalleshwari, also known as Lal Ded, in the 14th century. Known as Lal Vakhs, her verses are the earliest compositions in the Kashmiri language. Following her footsteps and poetic genre of mystical writing, Kashmir has revered writers like Nund Reshi, who is regarded as the patron saint of Kashmiris today. Over a period of time, writers like Habba Khatun, who is known as the Nightingale of Kashmir, came up with their own writing styles in Koshur language and added aesthetic to the Kashmiri literature.
It is due to the blessings and inspiration from our classical Kashmiri writers that the valley has given birth to modern and yet traditionally aware writers. And with the advent of modernization and realization for the need to acknowledge the contributions of our talented writers, the Government of India began to address and appreciate its literary treasure through various awards, one of which is the honorable Sahitya Akademi Award.
Sahitya Akademi Award: History
“Literature is the reflection of society”. It is exactly why a piece of work must be recognised for its outstanding contribution to the upliftment of Indian Literature and society. Sahitya Akademi Award is thus an literary award, established in 1954 by Sahitya Akademi, Government of India, awarding any Indian literary publishing written in any of the 24 major Indian Languages, including Koshur. It applauds the phenomenal work of different writers on an yearly basis and acknowledges the new trends in literature with changing times. The award comprises of a plaque and a cash prize of ₹100000. The first Kashmiri writer to have been honored with the Award was Zinda Kaul, awarded in 1956, in the genre of Poetry for his book of poetry compilations “Sumran”.
Click Here for the List of Kashmiri Sahitya Akademi Award Winners
Sahitya Akademi Award- 2018 (Jammu and Kashmir)
Held in December, 2018 Sahitya Akademi Award in Kashmiri Language was honored to short story writer and a significant broadcaster Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq (Tantray). The decision to award Mushtaq was approved by the jury of Kashmiri Language 2018, which comprised of veteran writer and broadcaster Avtar Krishan Rehbar, Prof. Shad Ramzan- the former Head of Department at Kashmir University, and prominent poet and broadcaster Ruksana Jabeen.
Mushtaq has been awarded for his book of collection of eighteen short-stories, titled, “AAKH’’ which was published in 2012. The book has been widely appreciated and was awarded “The Best Book” award in Kashmiri language from State Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in the year 2014. Mushtaq is also a well known broadcast journalist who has been honoured with State Award and Akashwani Award as an “Outstanding Media Professional” and is now posted as Head of the Regional News Unit at Radio Kashmir Srinagar.
It must be noted that, while many writers from the valley were writing and getting acknowledged for their work in Koshur, many other writers from Jammu and Kashmir were being praised for their poems and proses in other Indian Languages.
Another writer from Jammu and Kashmir to be awarded The Sahitya Akademi Award is the famous Dogri writer, Inderjeet Kesar, awarded for his novel “Bhagirath”. The book was approved by Dogri language jury for 2018 that comprised of famous Dogri writers Mohan Singh, Shiv Mehta and Shiv Dev Sushil.
Inderjeet Kesar, who in 2004 retired from the Secretariat Service as Deputy Secretary, began writing in 1967 and his book “Bhagirath” was published last year. He has so far written 21 books, including 6 novels, 11 poetry, two short stories, one essay and one devotional song. With his efforts and dedication, Dogri literature has travelled a long way and is recognised widely around the nation.
A big congratulations to Mushtaq Ahmad and Inderjeet Kesar for their achievements from New Age Kashmir. They both are an inspiration for all our aspiring young writers and students of literature in the valley. With their writings and recognition, may they continue to unravel the changes in society, providing the existing ones a place in history and offering a medium to peak back for coming generations.