Sahitya Akademi (External website that opens in a new window) is the Indian National Academy of Letters meant to promote the cause of Indian literature through publications, translations, seminars, workshops, cultural exchange programmes and literary meets organised all over the country. The Akademi was founded in March 1954 as an autonomous body fully funded by the Department of Culture. It was registered as a Society in 1956 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Akademi has recognised 24 languages. It has an Advisory Board for each of the languages that suggests various programmes and publications in the concerned languages. There are four Regional Boards to promote regional interaction among the languages of the North, West, East and South. Besides its Head Office in New Delhi, it has four offices: in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai. The Akademi has two Translation Centres at Bangalore and Kolkata, besides a Project Office at Shillong for promotion of oral and tribal literature and an Archives of Indian literature in Delhi. It maintains a unique multilingual library in New Delhi and at its regional offices at Bengaluru and Kolkata, having about 1.5 lakh books in over 25 languages.
The highest honour conferred by the Akademi on a writer is by electing him its Fellow. This honour is reserved for the 'Immortals of Literature' and limited to 21 at any given time. So far 66 writers have been elected Fellows of the Sahitya Akademi. It has so far recognised 850 authors and 283 translators with its Awards and Translation Prizes for distinguished contribution to literature, and given 31 Bhasha Sammans, awards meant to promote peripheral languages and Honorary Fellowships for foreign scholars who have done significant work in Indian literature. The Akademi publishes books in 24 languages including translations of Award-winning works, monographs on the great pioneers of Indian literature, histories of literature, Indian and foreign classics in translation, anthologies of fiction, poetry and prose, biographies, Register of Translators, Who's Who of Indian Writers, National Bibliography of Indian Literature and Encyclopedia of Indian Literature. So far, the Akademi has published over 4,000 books in these different categories. It has three journals, Indian Literature (bi-monthly in English), Samkaleena Bharatiya Sahitya (bi-monthly in Hindi) and Samskrita Pratibha (half-yearly in Sanskrit). Every year the Akademi publishes 250-300 books on an average. It has certain special projects like the Ancient Indian Literature, Medieval Indian Literature and Modern Indian Literature together constituting ten volumes of the best of Indian writing over five millennia. It has also launched a new project Encyclopedia of Indian Poetics.
Sahitya Akademi holds a number of regional, national and international seminars every year on various topics in literature, literary history and aesthetics. The Akademi also regularly holds Translation Workshops.
The Akademi holds an annual week-long 'Festival of Letters', usually in February with Award-giving ceremony, Samvatsar Lecture and a National Seminar. The Akademi also introduced a new series of programmes entitled Sur Sahitya as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2004-05.
Source: National Portal Content Management Team Reviewed on: 16-11-2011