"Great Literature is not dependent on any awards. Good books always find their readers and even the good readers also manage to get hold of good books. When we assemble in such a large numbers to honour a novel like AAWAN, in fact we find ourselves closer to the writer and his creation. This way we honour ourselves and become an integral part of a timeless creation which is being honoured."
These were the words spoken by Jnanpeeth Award Winner famous Kannada playwright and the Director of the Nehru Centre, Dr. Girish Karnad in the packed Nehru Centre while honouring the famous novelist Chitra Mudgal for her novel Aawaan with the first International Indu Sharma Katha Sammaan. He termed Aawaan as an important novel published on the eve of the new millennium. Mr.Karnad congratulated Katha for providing, those present, with a rare opportunity of witnessing two great literary figures being honoured in the same function. He expressed his faith that these Katha awards will one day become as famous as the Bookers Prize or may be Nobel Award.
On this occasion famous novelist Prof. Jagdamba Prasad Dixit , who came especially from Mumbai to attend the function, opined that Aawaan is not just a literary achievement for Chitra Mudgal, in fact it is a novelistic achievement for entire Hindi literature.
It may be noted that this year Indu Sharma Katha Sammaan has been awarded in London. The award comprises of a return air ticket for India-London-India, Visa fee for UK, a shield and a week's stay in London etc.
While accepting the award Ms. Chitra Mudgal said that the writers must come out of their hollow shells to face the hard realities of the society, then only their literature will have some real impact on the society.
Dr. Satyendra Srivastava, a Cambridge-based Hindi poet and writer was awarded First Padmanand Sahitya Samman for his book `Thames mein Behti Ganga Ki Dhar'. While speaking on the award-winning book, Rupert Snell, a noted Hindi Scholar said that while Satyendraji has Ganga and Thames in his poetry but we can also feel a hidden flow of Saraswati in his poetry. His literature introduces us to a new England.
Earlier to this, Tejendra Sharma, himself a noted writer and Secretary of Katha gave a brief introduction of the Katha. Suraj Prakash who flew from Mumbai for this function gave a brief account of the past functions of the Indu Sharma Memorial Trust in Mumbai.
Ravi Sharma of Sunrise Radio read a portion of Aawan while Achala Sharma and Abhisar Sharma of BBC read a poem each of Indu Sharma and Satyendra Srivastava respectively.
Smt.Pratibha Rai, a noted Orriya novelist and Sahitya Academy Award winner writer gave a brief intoduction of Chitra Mudgal and Padmesh Gupta (Editor - Purvaai) introduced Satyendra ji to the audience
Dr. L M Singhvi, former High Commissioner of India in the UK, and Mrs. Kamla Singhvi were also present in this dual award presentation ceremony. Dr. Singhvi felt honoured to be present in this rare function.
A large number of Scholars from Cambridge University and School of Oriental and African Studies were present. A large number of litterateurs, media persons and press personalities also graced the occasion.
Parvez Alam was the moderator of the programme while Divya Mathur (Chairperson - Katha) gave vote of thanks.
At the end of this award function, Shri Joginder Sanger, vice chairman of Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan released a book titled Signature edited by Kewal Dheer .
Air India was the main sponsor of the programme that was held in collaboration with the Nehru Centre and supported by Hindi Samiti U.K. and Geetanjali Bahubhashi Samaj, Birmingham.