Sahitya Akademi award to Namita Gokhale

Things to Leave Behind among 21 winners of the 2021 Sahitya Akademi Awards

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Namita Gokhale
Namita Gokhale said, “It is an honor to receive a literary award instituted by persons of such integrity and commitment. I respect their unwavering belief in excellence and equity."

 The Sahitya Akademi presented the award in the English category to Namita Gokhale for her 2016 novel Things To Leave Behind at its Festival of Letters 2022 held in New Delhi on 11 March 2022. Due to the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, of which Namita Gokhale is the co-founder and festival director, she was unable to attend the award ceremony. The prize was accepted on her behalf by her niece.

Speaking on the occasion, Gokhale says, “Being awarded the Sahitya Akademi award is possibly the most meaningful honor I’ve ever received. The Sahitya Akademi does inspirational work in keeping alive the diverse legacy of Indian languages. It gives me great personal satisfaction to be included among the canonical community of Indian language writers where I feel I most belong.”

The editor of the book Manasi Subramaniam, also the executive publisher at Penguin Random House said, “Things to Leave Behind by Namita Gokhale forms a complex and rich tapestry of historical events. Its women are rebels, and its landscape is almost a character. This award recognizes the novel’s extraordinary relevance, and we are so proud to be Namita Gokhale’s publishers.”

About Namita Gokhale

Namita Gokhale is an award winning writer and festival director. She is the author of eleven works of fiction and has written extensively on myth as well as the Himalayan region. Her acclaimed debut novel, Paro: Dreams of Passion, was published in 1984. Her recent novel Jaipur Journals, published in January 2020, was set against the backdrop of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival. Betrayed By Hope, a play on the life of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, was also published in 2020. Her twentieth book, The Blind Matriarch was published in 2021.

A co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Gokhale is committed to supporting translations and curating literary dialogue and conversations across languages and cultures. She was conferred the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Asam Sahitya Sabha in Guwahati in 2017. She won the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel Things to Leave Behind, which also received the Best Fiction Jury Award at the Valley of Words Literature Festival 2017 and was on the long list for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

About Things To Leave Behind

The publisher describes Gokhale’s award winning book: “Kumaon, 1856. History has already begun its steady march. Six native women clad in black and scarlet pichauras huddle around Naineetal Lake, attempting to cleanse it of ominous influences. These are the days of the Upper Mall Road (for Europeans and their horses) and the Lower Mall Road ‘for dogs, servants and other Indians.’ Amidst a theatre of British impunity, feisty young Tilottama Dutt, whose uncle is hung when he protests the reigning order, and her daughter, Deoki, confront change as Indians and as women.

Things to Leave Behind brings alive the romance of the mixed legacy of the British-Indian past. Full of the fascinating backstory of Naineetal and its unwilling entry into Indian history, throwing a shining light on the elemental confusion of caste, creed and culture, illuminated with painstaking detail, it is a fascinating historical epic and Namita Gokhale’s most ambitious novel yet.”

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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