The Jnanpith Award is an Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”. Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on the Indian writers who have been writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English, with no posthumous conferral.
From 1965 till 1981, the award was given to the authors for their “most outstanding work” and consisted of a citation plaque, a cash prize of ₹1 lakh (US$1,500), and a bronze replica of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom. The first recipient of the award was Malayalam litterateur G. Sankara Kurup who was awarded in 1965 for his collection of poems, Odakkuzhal (The Bamboo Flute), published in 1950. The rules were revised for the forthcoming years to consider works during the period of last twenty years, excluding the year for which the award was to be given and the cash prize was increased to ₹1.5 lakh (US$2,200) from 1981.
As of 2015, the cash prize has been revised to ₹11 lakh (US$16,000) and out of twenty-three eligible languages the award has been presented for works in fifteen languages: Hindi (ten), Kannada (eight), Bengali and Malayalam (five each), Gujarati,Marathi, Odia, and Urdu (four each), Telugu (three), Assamese, Punjabi, and Tamil (two each), Kashmiri, Konkani, and Sanskrit (one each). The award has been conferred upon fifty-six writers including seven women authors. In 1976, Bengali novelist Ashapoorna Devi became the first female to win the award and was honoured for the first novel of a trilogy, Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise), published in 1965.The most recent recipient of the award is novelist, poet and critic Raghuveer Chaudhari who was awarded for the year 2015.
|Cash award||₹11 lakh (US$16,000)|
|First awardee(s)||G. Sankara Kurup|
|Recent awardee(s)||Raghuveer Chaudhari|