Source : The Hindu
Sahitya Akademi Awards for Anees Salim, S. Ramesan Nair
Writer Anees Salim, whose critically acclaimed novel The Blind Lady’s Descendants has fetched him the Sahitya Akademi Award for English literature, prefers to go unnoticed despite being showered with rich praise for his work. Notwithstanding the enormity of the achievement, he does not intend to attend the award ceremony.
“Why should I be seen? I get invited to talks, but there’s nothing more to talk than what I have written in my books,” he says, adding that he wishes for his writings to speak on his behalf. A self-confessed introvert, Mr. Salim has always maintained a principled stance against attending award presentations, book launches, and promotional events.
“I do not visit book stores to keep tabs on my books’ sales My books might sell a bit more had I taken part in book launches or promotional tours. But, I prefer to remain the way I am in my comfort zone. I have never enjoyed being in a crowd,” Mr. Salim says. He is quick to add that his policy does not amount to disrespecting any award. At the same time, he views all recognition similarly, with none bigger than the other.
On his award-winning novel, Mr. Salim says it had various autobiographical elements. Besides being set in the backdrop of Varkala, the author’s native place, the novel involved other similarities, including the protagonist’s family structure and the varying degrees of religiosity that existed among them.
He has already started penning his next work, which will yet again revolve around the Muslim community, but unfold in Hyderabad.
Renowened poet S. Ramesan Nair, who won the Sahitya Akademy award for his poem Gurupournami, rated the affection bestowed upon him by his readers, who could relate to his works, more valuable than awards.
Speaking at a reception organised in his honour in Kochi on Thursday, Mr. Nair said that while recognitions could come by at any moment, the artist’s heart would always remain close to public life.
Referring to his work that is based on Sree Narayana Guru, the poet called for a thorough introspection into whether society had been able to live up to the ideals of the social reformer. “We have reduced the Guru into a mere idol and have been invoking his teachings for our convenience, despite not adopting them in our lives. Sadly, we have failed to realise the importance of the one who led the society from darkness to light. I have dedicated the great sage and his ideals to the society through my work,” he said.