To celebrate the expressive art of poetry, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, one of the largest literary gatherings in the world, announced the first winner of the KanhaiyalalSethia Award for Poetry. The winner of the first KanhaiyaLalSethia Award for Poetry is Rituraj, a celebrated poet from Rajasthan.
In association with KL Sethia Foundation, the award is established in memory of Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia one of India’s foremost poets. In addition to a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, Rituraj will also participate in a Poetry Hour that will be held January 23rd, after the presentation of the award.
Joining Rituraj in the Poetry Hour will be Hari Ram Meena, Nguyen PhanQue Mai, SitanshuYashaschandra and Uday Prakash.
Rituraj, born in 1940, has ten collections of poetry to his credit. Born in Rajasthan, he did his Masters in English and went on to spend almost 35 years as a teacher. Based in Bundi in Rajasthan, Rituraj has spent most of his life away from the big cities, something that comes across in his poetry. He has received several awards including the prestigious PahalSamman, MeeraPuraskar, SudhindraPuraskar and Bihari Puraskar.
The distinguished jury comprised of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Ashok Vajpeyi and JaiprakashSethia and Siddharth Sethia of the KL Sethia Foundation.
Sanjoy K. Roy, director of Teamwork Arts, organizer of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “Poetry has been JLF’s primary focus over the years. We are delighted with the introduction of the KanhaiyaLalSethia Award for Poetry which recognises and rewards a poet with an extraordinary body of work. I am delighted that such a fine poet in the Hindi and Rajasthan traditions as Rituraj has been selected as winner of the first edition of this award.”
Ashok Vajpeyi, member of the jury for KanhaiyaLalSethia Award for Poetry said “Rituraj has been working quietly for about five decades writing poetry which combines his committed aesthetics with resonances of the ancient and the classical. We thought that the award should go to someone who deserves it on merit but somehow has not been so recognized. His contribution to contemporary Hindi poetry is quite remarkable.”
Mahakavi Kanhaiyalal Sethia was a renowned Rajasthani and Hindi poet. The internationally acclaimed writer authored a total of 42 books in Hindi, Urdu and Rajasthani. He was a government-recognized freedom fighter, social worker, reformer, philanthropist and environmentalist who received the Padma Shri award in 2004 and Rajasthan Ratna in 2012. He was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for his work Lilatamsa and the Jnanapitha Moortidevi Award in 1986.