New Delhi, Aug 6: Vinda Karandikar, a colossus of modern Marathi poetry known for his daring experimentation and aesthetic refinement, will be conferred the country's highest literary award -- the 39th Jnanpith Award, 2003 -- by President APJ Abdul Kalam here on Thursday.
Karandikar, who will turn 88 on August 23, is hailed as the daringly experimental and most comprehensive of all modern Marathi poets.
A leading leading light of the triumvirate comprising poets Vasant Bapat and Magesh Padgaonkar, he is credited with revolutionising the Marathi poetry.
As an essayist, critic and translator also, his imprint on Marathi literature has been both awesome and phenomenal.
''A long creative life, full of worldly struggles and ceaseless in its search for aesthetic perfection, is at the back of this achievement'', is how the Bharatiya Jnanpith describes his achievements.
He is the third Marathi litterateur to have received the award, which carries a cheque for Rs. 500,000, a citation plaque and a bronze replica of Vagdevi. Earlier, famed litterateur Vishnu Sakharam Khandekar (1974) and poet V V Shirwadkar alias Kusumagraj (1987) were honoured with the award.
A recipient of many a prestigious award, Karandikar has been honoured with the Keshavsut Prize, the Soviet land Nehru Literary Award and the Kabir Samman. He was also a Senior Fellowship member of the Sahitya Akademi.
For Karandikar, however, the highest award is the love of his readers. ''All other awards are formalities...The Jnanpith award is not a matter of individual honour but an honour for the Marathi language and its poetry.'' Showing sparks of brilliance, he wrote his first collection of poems, Swetaganga, which was published in 1949. His collections include Mrudgandha (1954), DhrÜpad, Sahita and Vrupika. He is also known for writing children's poems like Ranichi Bag, Sashyache kan and Pari ga Pari.
The streaks of Marxism are fairly evident in his poetry. Marx will not become irrelevant so long as landless labourers and their families are shot, multinationals systematically loot the people and the benefits of progress do not reach the poor, he says.
He has also written in English, including two important anthologies -- ''Poems of Vinda'' and ''Some More Poems of Vinda''.
The Jnanpith Award, instituted on May 22, 1961, is given for the best creative literary writing by an Indian citizen in any of the languages included in the VIII Schedule of the Indian Constitution.