Sitakant Mahapatra to get ‘Padma Vibhushan’

Jnanpith Award winning Odia poet Sitakant Mahapatra is among the chosen few to be conferred with the prestigious “Padma Vibhushan” award, the jewel in the lotus crown and the second highest civilian honour in the country. ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service.

Born in Mahanga in Cuttack district on September 17, 1937, Sitakant Mahapatra is an acclaimed Odia poet and critic who is at his best while portraying the ethos of Orissan tradition. His is one of the best-known names in Indian Literature today. The people of Odisha appear in his poetry as a compassionate, simple, and innocent community. Mahapatra's scholarly contributions on the "Little Traditions" of tribal societies testify to his range of interests and erudition.

He has held many prestigious positions including those of Secretary, Culture, Government of India, President, UNESCO's World Decade for Cultural Development (1994-1996); Senior Fellow of Harvard University; and Honorary Fellow of International Academy of Poets, Cambridge University. Presently, he is Chairman of National Book Trust, New Delhi. He is the recipient of many awards including the Jnanpith Award, 1993; Sarala Award, 1985; Orissa Sahitya Akademi Award, 1971 and 1984; and Sahitya Akademi Award, 1974 and ‘Award of the Highest Honour' by Soka University of Tokyo, 2001.

Among his works are: Ashtapadi, 1963, Shabdara akasha, 1971, Ara drushya, 1981, Shrestha kavita, 1994, (all poetry); Sabda, Svapna O nirvikata, 1990 (essays), Aneka sharata, 1981(travelogue); Ushavilasa, 1996 (palm leaf manuscript); In English: The ruined Temple and other poems, 1996 (poetry, translation); and Unending Rhythms (Oral poetry of Indian Tribals in translation).