“I was a bit confused when IFFCO Managing Director Dr US Awasthi, an old friend came to invite me for a literary award function as I was unable to comprehend the connection between fertilizer, farmers and literature at the first go”, said Union Minister of IT and Communication Mr Ravishankar Prasad speaking on the occasion of the 4th Srilal Shukla Sahitya IFFCO Samman award that took place in Kamani auditorium in N Delhi on Saturday.
”But soon the connection was clear. Awasthiji also reminded me of the J P movement. Today’s awardee Mithileswar began his writing in the volatile years of the 70s when we went to jail and faced lathi-charge”. The Union Minister Mr Prasad also on this occasion raised the issue of social media and its role in present times. He said literature might be losing popularity but its new form is springing up. He said the name” jandhan yojana” was given to us through social media feedback.
The literary function was attended by a galaxy of literary luminaries, cooperative leaders as well as the star of the show-farmers. If worthies like Ashok Bajpayi, Ramesh Kuntal Megh, D P Tripathy were on dais, personalities like Namber Singh and others were sitting in the audience.
The Union Minister Prasad called upon the eminent Hindi writers to help government communication break-free of the stranglehold of complex Hindi which in way is killing the language. Simple and easily understandable use of Hindi should be promoted, he added.
Welcoming the guests IFFCO MD Dr U S Awasthi said it has been the effort of IFFCO to understand the farmers. Fertilizer production is incidental what we aim at is catering to their spiritual needs. The preservation of their art and culture, their sense of dignity and self-respect is important for us. Perhaps it was because of this that we were adjudged the best cooperative of the world by the Cooperative Monitor, Awasthi said.
Our concern is reflected in the choice of this year’s awardee Mithileshwar as well. Active since the 70’s his works capture the village of today; show the mental churning of farmers and the ethos of the village life not in a sketchy manner but in real-life situations. Later talking to the media on the constitution of the Shri Lal Shukla Smiriti Iffco Sahitya Samman Award , MD said promoting Hindi literature through the award is an effort to understand the farmers.
The selection committee is absolutely free to choose anyone, as there is no interference from IFFCO. The only parameter we set is that the writer and his works should reflect rural life. Farmer is at the centre of IFFCO, Awasthi said while interacting with the media later on.
Ashok Bajpai thanked IFFCO for its effort and said literature is also like a chemical fertilizer for societal growth. I am happy that IFFCO understands this connection, he added. It was easy to choose Mithilishwer as in times of maddening urbanization he writes from a remote area like Arrah and captures the rustic life so well. The selection committee chose his name almost unanimously, Bajpai said.
Congratulating IFFCO D P Tripathi said the Shri Lal Shukla Smiriti Iffco Sahitya Samman Award has emerged as the biggest award in the field of Hindi literature for rural life. Tripathi enumerated many an anecdote of village life enthralling the audience with his oratorical skill for which he is well known.
Thanking IFFCO and the selection committee for this honour Mithileshwar said” award and appreciation keep the writer going. Readers feedback from my early writings published in Dharamyug and Sarika has brought me this far”, he said.
Mithileshwar is adept at describing the mental state of poor, exploited people from villages or the ones going through difficult conditions in a rapidly industrializing modern day India. He minutely observes people and writes with deep insight on their status in life and society.
Some of his novels include Prem na Badi Oopjai, Surang me Subah, Yah Ant Nahin, Jhunia (1980), Yuddh Sthal (1981). The award was instituted by the fertilizer cooperative giant IFFCO in the memory of the great Hindi novelist and writer Shri Lal Shukla in the year 2011. Shri Lal Shukla’s literary creations such as Rag Darbari and some of his other works have received national acclaim.
The Award offers by far the highest amount of Rs 11 lakhs in the field of literature. Vidya Sagar Nautial, Shri Shekhar Joshi and Shri Sanjeev had bagged the award in the past.
The two works of legendary writer Sri Lal Shukla reflecting a yawning gap between generations was presented in a drama-form on the occasion.