Raj Kamal Jha wins Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize
Copenhagen / New Delhi: Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize and Social Achievement Prize 2020 were announced online, on December 7, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Raj Kamal Jha has been declared the winner of the prestigious Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020 for his novel 'The City and the Sea'. This year Tagore Prize for Social Achievement was conferred to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, the late Sultan of Oman and The People of Oman and from India Sandip Soparrkar a renowned dancer and choreographer.
Instituted in 2018, Tagore Prize has been founded as a platform for World Peace, Literature, Art, Education and Human Rights. It has two-fold purposes: as an honorable legacy to Rabindranath Tagore Literature Prize for the finest in Indian literature, and to recognise the positive and lasting impact on society and its change with Social Achievement Prize.
The chair of the awarding committee and founder of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize, Peter Bundalo said,'' Many congratulations to this year's winners, this year has been challenging in many ways for the entire world. The spirit of humanity, compassion, empathy will lead us to a new year and hopefully, we shall all meet in New Delhi in-person for the next award ceremony, till then stay safe".
Winner of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020, Raj Kamal Jha is the Chief Editor of The Indian Express and this is his fifth novel - a novel based on the atrocious case (Nirbhaya) of sexual assault and murder that brought India together in a moral frenzy.
Members of the jury and Literary Director of Tagore Prize Maja Markunovic felt that The City and the Sea is not about crude moralizing and in many ways defies preconceptions of how such an encumbered topic should be tackled.
In this brilliant work of fiction, Raj Kamal Jha succeeds in making us witnesses to the vastness of existences, possibilities, hopes, and dreams annulled by an act of horrific violence rooted in inveterate biases in how malignant to each other we believe we have a right to be. Genuinely concerned with present day afflictions, this novel is a lament of the flawed society, evocation to all who perished in violation of their fundamental rights, but also a ray of hope for different humankind, awake to our intrinsic unity, even in sorrow. USD $5 000 will be awarded to Raj Kamal Jha, along with Rabindranath Tagore statuette.
Raj Kamal Jha on receiving the news said, "Introducing Tagore's Gitanjali, WB Yeats talked about how the poet's work took the "immeasurably strange," and moved us, not because of its strangeness but because we met in it our own image, heard in it our own voice. There couldn't be a more powerful imperative of storytelling today than this humanism – this is what the Tagore Prize celebrates and it's a privilege to be in the company of its extraordinary finalists.
He further added "My deepest thanks to the judges and organisers of the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. The honour isn't exactly mine, it belongs to the broken children, women and men in The City and the Sea. Who fall apart, pick up their pieces, and, in doing so, help us become whole again."