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Proshanta Mridha wins Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar 2018

  • Published at 05:46 pm November 9th, 2018
Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar
Eminent poet Asad Chowdhury, fifth from left, hands over memorandum of Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar to Proshanta Mridha, third from left, at a session during the second day Dhaka Lit Fest on Friday. Moderator of the session Shamim Reza, first from left, Hamim Kamal, second from left, Bishwajit Ghosh, fourth from left, Dr Mohammad Sadiq, sixth from left, Gemcon Vice Chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed, seventh from left, Rubi Rahman, eighth from left, Nikhilesh Roy, ninth from left, Sumon Goon, tenth from left, and Nayeem Hasan also pose for the picture Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The award is worth Tk8 lakh - in terms of monetary value the biggest award at present, and among the non-government awards the oldest.

Fiction writer Prashanta Mridha was Friday awarded the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar 2018 for his book, “Dugdugir Ashor.”

Prashanta received Tk800,000 for the literary award, which was presented at Bangla Academy’s Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad auditorium at 4:30pm on the second day of the Dhaka Literary Festival 2018.

“Our delight knows no limit when we receive awards for fulfilling responsibilities without expectation,” Prashanta said.

“I am very delighted to get the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar and I want to convey my special thanks to Gemcon Group for honouring me. I am very lucky to join the people who had been awarded this prestigious prize in the past.”

Also on Friday, writer Hamim Kamal and poet Nayeem Hasan respectively won the Tarun Kothasahitya Puroshkar (Gemcon Young Literarture Award) and Gemcon Kobita Puroshkar (Gemcon Poetry Award) for their manuscripts, “Shonailer Bone” and “Dil Nilamer Hat”. They each received Tk100,000. 

Young writer Hamim said: “This is a day of extreme pleasure for me and I am overwhelmed.” 

Young poet Nayeem said: “Getting the award from Gemcon is a very big achievement for me. I wish for all the people here to join me in celebrating this achievement.” 

Gemcon Group Vice Chairman Kazi Nabil Ahmed MP said the awards are given every year to inspire creative writers of Bangla literature.

“We introduced the award as the Kagoj Sahitya Puroshkar in 2000, and it was renamed the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar in 2007,” he said. 

“We will continue our efforts and I believe the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar will inspire many creative writers who write in Bangla.”

The shortlist for the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar 2018 was announced in Dhaka on October 9.

According to the organisers, a carefully selected jury had chosen five books after reading a large number of submissions published in 2017.

The nominees for this year’s awards were Imdadul Haq Milon’s “Noy Mash”, Shahaduzzaman’s “Akjon Komlalebu”, Mohibul Aziz’s “Tapan Sheel O Tar Bibaho Prokolpo”, Proshanto Mridha’s “Dugdugir Ashor”, and Robiul Islam’s “Tothagoto Kothay Thaken”.

This year, the jury board for the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar included poet Asad Chowdhury, poet Rubi Rahman, Fiction Writer and Dhaka University Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam, and Rabindra University Vice Chancellor Prof Biswajit Ghosh. 

The members of the jury boards handed crests to each of the winners, along with certificates, flowers, and an honorary Uttariyo.  

Regarding the selection process for the winners, Prof Biswajit said: “We read the five books, which were provided without titles and names of authors, to evaluate them. The evaluation is fair and Gemcon Group is not involved in the selection process.”

“This is a wonderful initiative to inspire writers, and I hope it continues,” he added. 

Poet Rubi Rahman said: “All of the shortlisted books are mind-blowing and extraordinarily well written. While reading them, I was fascinated by the words and storytelling. However, the best books ultimately won the awards.”

Proshanta Mridha delivers a speech after being awarded the Gemcon Sahitya Puroskar on Friday, November 9, 2018. Photo: Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The jury board for the Tarun Kothasahitya Puroshkar 2018 consisted of fiction writers Moinul Ahsan Saber, Salma Bani, Ahmad Mostafa Kamal, Jahangirnagar University Professor Aniruddha Kahli, and essayist Prof Sumon Goon. 

Also Read- Shortlist for Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar 2018 announced

The jury board for the Gemcon Kobita Puroshkar 2018 included poets Habibullah Siraji, Dr Mohammad Sadiq, Farid Kabir, Shahnaz Munni and Nikhilesh Roy, the organisers said. 

Dr Mohammad Sadiq, also the chairman of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission, said it is difficult to evaluate a poem, and it is not like evaluating scripts. 

“It is tough to evaluate any form of literature, and poetry is the toughest,” he said. “However, we had to do the toughest job due to the request of Gemcon Group.” 

The previous winners of the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar are: Mamun Hossain (2003), Shahidul Zahir (2004), Syed Manzoorul Islam (2006), Syed Shamsul Haq (2007), Selim Al Deen (2008), Nirmalendu Goon (2009), Wasi Ahmed (2010), Parvez Hossain (2011), Zakir Talukder (2012), Ahmad Mostafa Kamal (2013), Hasan Azizul Haque (2014), Salma Bani (2015), Moinul Ahsan Saber (2016) and Mohammad Rafique (2017). 

Previous winners of the Gemcon Tarun Katashahitya Puroshkar are: Prashanta Mridha, Sameer Ahmed, Zakir Talukder, Saad Kamali, Humayun Malik, Sakira Pervin, Salma Bani, Mahbub Morshed, Nasima Anis, Hamim Kamrul Haque, Tapan Bagchi, Shajan Shilon, Emran Kabir, Moom Rahman, Anif Rubed, Mehedi Ullah, Afsana Begum, Rubaiyat Ahmed, Mostafiz Karigor, Ashraf Jewel and Mamun Or-Rashid.

Sakira Parvin and Nusrat Nusin have received the Gemcon Kobita Puroshkar in previous years. 

Apart from the Gemcon Awards, the second day of the three-day DLF included around 35 sessions focusing on women centric issues, culture, and children’s interest, among other topics.

The day began with a sombre session of Kirtan songs - devotional music dedicated to Krishna - performed by Probhati Kirtan from Rajarhaat, Kurigram.

Probhati Kirtan members Kripa Shindhu Sarker and Sunil Chandra Roy performed the songs with the accompaniment of flutes, tabla and other traditional instruments.

The second day began at the Bangla Academy premises at 9:15am, and sessions continued until 7:30pm.

The day's sessions included “Breaking Bad” by Indian actress Manisha Koirala and actor-director Nandita Das with Sadaf Saaz, which aimed to highlight the identity of women, the role of women in Bollywood, and the #metoo movement.

Other sessions included “Fearsome Futures” by Pulitzer-winner Adam Johnson with Kelly Falconer, "Last and First Men" by British actress Tilda Swinton, and "Women and Wit" by popular Bangladeshi YouTuber Raba Khan with Fariha Panni.

The day also included sessions such as “Appropriate Culture” by Annie Zaidi, Jaishree Misra and Himanjali Sankar with Samia Khatun; “Dirty Laundry” by Katerina Don, Amit Ashraf, Kazi Istela Imam, Farah Khandaker with Nissim Jan Sajid; “The Great Betrayal” by James Meek with Ed Cumming; and “The Bengali society and womanhood in the time of #metoo” by Bonna Mirza, Munni Saha, Mithila Farzana, Zyma Islam, and Rita Das Roy.

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