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International Indu Sharma Katha Samman for Sanjiv; Padmanand Sahitya Samman for Divya Mathur

Katha-UK honoured the famous novelist, Sanjiv, for his novel "Jungle Jahan shuru hota hai" with International Indu Sharma Katha Samman and Divya Mathur with Padmanand Sahitya Samman for her collection of short stories "Aakrosh" in an oversubscribed ceremony of The Nehru Centre in Mayfair, London.

The Indian Labour Minister, Mr Satyanarayan Jatiya, who came to London especially to attend this programme, was overwhelmed by the event. He, in his poetic address, said, "Expansion of Hindi language is essential for the promotion of Indian culture - one of the richest and oldest cultures of the world. Hindi is not only the binding force for Indians abroad but its development and promotion is essential for the expansion of Indian Culture..." Mr Jatiya also launched a story collection, "Katha-London", edited by noted writer Suraj Prakash. It carries ten short stories, written by Hindi authors settled in the UK. These stories were read at several sessions organised by Katha.

Mr Keshri Nath Tripathi, Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, was in the chair. Among those present in the audience were Mr P C Haldar, Minister (Co-ordination), High Commission of India, Mr Anil Sharma, Hindi and Culture officer, Dr Satyendra Srivastava of Cambridge University, Punjabi poet Mr Ratan Singh, distinguished writer Achala Sharma, Mohan Rana, Onkar Nath Srivastava, Kirti Chaudhary, Kailash Budhwar, Padmesh Gupta, Sohan Rahi, Usha Raje Saxena, Mamta Gupta, Krishan Kant Tandon, Atul Prabhakar, Indu Shekhar, Roopa Jha, and Ramesh Patel. Titiksha Shah, and Shail Agrawal came from Birmingham while Mahendra Verma and Usha Verma came from York.
The chief guest of the event, the renowned playwright and Director of The Nehru Centre, Mr Girish Karnad said, "Only literature is capable of crossing the barriers of time and period. Even today the literature, that was created thousands of years ago, is valid because it has that moral power..."

Mr P C Haldar, Minister (Coordination), launched the souvenir brought out on the occasion. He congratulated Katha-UK for organizing such a wonderful event and promised that the High Commission of India would like to cooperate in organizing such events in future.

Honouring Sanjiv for his novel Jungle Jahan Shuru hota hai Girish Karnad said, Sanjiv has been creating excellent literature for the past over twenty years. He has steered clear of any literary politics or cheating of any sort and has been living like a hermit creating literature. He has written short stories, novels and children literature. He is writer of common man's concerns and his pen is pledged to the cause of the weaker sections of society...

Continuing his speech, Mr Karnad referred to Divya Mathur's long association with the organisations, promoting Hindi language and literature in London. She has written poetry, short stories, plays and travelogues all with a similar zeal. Her fiction is not just about the Indian Society, it crosses all barriers, and especially her English experiences are exposed with a greater force.

Divya Mathur recieves the Padmanand Sahitya Sammaan 2001 for Aakrosh. On the stage are Naina Sharma, Tejendra Sharma, Deepti, and Ramesh Patel.

Divya Mathur recieves the Padmanand Sahitya Sammaan 2001 for Aakrosh. On the stage are Naina Sharma, Tejendra Sharma, Deepti, and Ramesh Patel.

Sanjiv recieves the International Indu Sharma Katha Sammaan from Mr. Girnish Karnad

Sanjiv recieves the International Indu Sharma Katha Sammaan from Mr. Girnish Karnad


Achala Sharma read a paper on Sanjiv's novel Jungle Jahan Shuru hota hai. According to her, Sanjiv poses a very important question - in a democracy what is more important the people or the system? His novel is a fitting reply to his own question. This jungle is of bureaucracy and political machinery. One cannot break through this system because there is a dacoit sitting everywhere; whether it is religion, society, politics or administration.

Accepting his award Sanjiv said, the literature created through suffering tortures of hell is not the same as the one created by a writer, who is pre-occupied with sensory pleasures. We write what history cannot overshadow and media cannot swallow. Lack of publicity and the policies of market economy are the cause for good literature being lost in posterity. There is lot to write about and is written as well but the problem remains as to how to reach the reader. He quoted a couplet khat hai saara zamaana, pata kahin nahin?

Anil Sharma read his paper on Divya Mathur's Akrosh,Divya Mathur's Aakrosh breaks the pride and traditional thinking of male section of the society. It gives a new edge to the pride and self-confidence of women and generates a new understanding in the society. Aakrosh is a representative document about the new woman of India and the United Kingdom.

While accepting the Padmanand Sahitya Samman, Divya Mathur was a little sad over the fact that the Indian authors settled abroad are not recognised in India. I wish that people writing in other Indian languages should also get the same respect as the authors writing in English. If a foreigner speaks Hindi or any other Indian language, he/she is loaded with awards and honours. When we speak even better English than the English, no one gives a damn. When a strong segment (English) is dominant, how is a dialogue possible?

In the beginning of the programme, Tejinder Sharma, distinguished author and Secretary, Katha-UK, while introducing his organization, made a special mention of Air India (the chief sponsors), Karan Billimoria of Cobra Beer and his current employers Silverlink Railways for their help. To the delight of the audience, sixteen years old Varun Varma recited Saraswati Vandana in chaste Sanskrit. Shri Satyanarayan Jatiya lit the traditional lamp to begin the programme. Titiksha Shah introduced Divya Mathur to the audience while Naina Sharma did the same for Sanjiv. A very special feature of the event was a dramatic reading of Divya Mathur's story Disha by Krishan Kant Tandon and Hina Baxi (Gurjari Television) in their inimitable style. The entire hall gave them a standing ovation. Mamta Gupta, a trained artist from the National School of Drama, and a popular radio artist, read selected excerpts from Sanjiv's novel. Padmesh Gupta, Editor of Purvaai presented the Vote of Thanks. Salman Asif of Anjuman Television made the event successful with his excellent moderation.

Shri Keshrinath Tripathi, who was in the chair, applauded Katha-UK for organizing such a grand Hindi function in the heart of England. He congratulated Sanjiv and Divya Mathur for their outstanding works. According to Shri Tripathi, We all live in the gardens of city and when the warmth and intimacy of relationship dies down, that is where the Jungle begins. Literary activity strengthens man's awareness about humanity.

The programme concluded with a Reception, where excellent food was served by Mr R.S. Chana, President, Namdhari Sangat, and drinks were on Karan Billimoria.