Kannada writer D.S. Nagabhushan is the recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2021, along with 19 others, according to a press release by the Sahitya Akademi. Nagabhushan’s biography of Mahatma Gandhi, titled Gandhi Kathana , was chosen for this high honour. According to the press release, the annual awards were given for literary works in 20 languages. Seven of the awards were given for books of poetry, two for novels, five for short stories, two for plays while one book each in the categories of biography, autobiography, criticism and epic poetry have won the awards.
Speaking to the Kannada newspaper Prajavani , Nagabhushan said: “I am happy with the award but I’m also surprised. I thought that people had forgotten Gandhiji in these times but a book about him has been honoured. In spite of his personality being defamed and abused, it is clear that his memory is still alive. Readers have already awarded book and the publisher of the book is also a follower of Gandhiji. This book provides a comprehensive study on the life of Gandhiji. I am personally influenced by the philosophy of [Ram Manohar] Lohia but realising that this ideology itself is inadequate, researched extensively and wrote this book on Gandhiji. We have to resuscitate the legacy of Gandhiji once again as only he can respond to the crises that we are seeing now.”
The book was selected by a jury composed of three members and included Amaresh Nugadoni, Bolwar Mahammad Kunhi and Sabiha Bhoomigowda. Sahitya Akademi awardees receive an engraved copper plaque, a shawl and an amount of Rs.1,00,000, according to the Sahitya Akademi press release. Gandhi Kathana , which is 700 pages long, was published in 2019 and has been popular among Kannada readers.