Poet Mohammad Rafique was honoured with the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar (Literary Award) 2017 for his book “Duti Kabbyagrantha” on the first day of the Dhaka Literary Festival (DLF) on Thursday.
Ashraf Jewel and Mamun Or Rashid were also jointly announced as the winners of the Tarun Literary Award, while Nusrat Nusin won the Tarun Poetry Award.
All four received their awards during a ceremony at the Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Auditorium of Bangla Academy in Dhaka.
Seventy-five-year-old Rafique said there were several times in his life when he had felt that he had been reborn, such as after the 1971 Liberation War and following a bout of severe illness.
“I was born in 1943, then I was reborn in 1960, 1969, 1970, 1971 … it’s a miracle, I am alive and my country is alive,” said the poet.
“I was severely ill for many years and could do nothing at all. Then I felt like doing something. Going back to work, I wrote this book in two months.
“This book was mine before, then it belonged to the publishers, and through this award, it’s now on the way to all,” he added.
Tarun Literary Award winner Ashraf Jewel said he was inspired to write his book “Rashtro Dharonar Biruddhe Mamla O Bibidho Golpo” (Cases and Stories against the Concept of the State) by his mother, who survived a petrol bomb attack.
“Whenever I look at her face, a number of questions come to my mind about the concept of the state. In this book, I have presented my thoughts on these questions,” he said.
The other winner of the Tarun Literary Award, Mamun Or Rashid, said his book “Unnonayaner Ondhokar Mukh” (The Dark Side of Development) tells the stories of storylessness.
Nusrat Nusin said the Tarun Poetry Award she received for her “Dirgho Shorer Onuprash” collection made her feel “a profound sense of joy.”
During the ceremony, Gemcon Group Director Kazi Nabil Ahmed presented the awardees with the prize money and the jury board members handed over the crests to each winner along with a garland and an honorary sash (Uttorio).
The jury board consisted of poets Asad Mannan, Khaled Hossain, Kumar Chakraborty, Bibash Rai Chowdhury and Shebonti Ghosh.
Rafique received Tk800,000 as the winner of the Gemcon Sahitya Puroshkar, while the Tarun Literary Award winners received Tk50,000 each, and Nusrat received Tk100,000.
While the primary award is presented to the writer of an exceptional creative work published in Bangladesh within the previous year, the Tarun Awards are presented to at least one young author and one young poet.
In addition to the prizes, the winning manuscripts will be published by Kagoj Prokashon.