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P. Geetha Receives Inaugural K. Saraswathi Amma Award

In a significant recognition of feminist literature and studies, writer, critic, and feminist activist P. Geetha has been awarded the first K. Saraswathi Amma Award. This prestigious accolade, instituted by WINGS (Women’s Integration and Growth Through Sports) Kerala, marks a pivotal moment in the acknowledgment of feminist contributions to literature and social discourse.

The Award-Winning Work

P. Geetha’s groundbreaking work “Aan Thachukal” (male creations), an analysis of M.T. Vasudevan Nair’s scripts, earned her this distinguished award. The book exemplifies the critical examination of gender representations in literature, a theme that resonates deeply with the award’s namesake, K. Saraswathi Amma.

A Tribute to K. Saraswathi Amma

Pioneer of Feminist Literature

K. Saraswathi Amma, the inspiration behind this award, was a trailblazer in feminist writing. Her contributions include:

  • A dozen volumes of short stories
  • A novel
  • A play
  • A collection of essays

Saraswathi Amma began her literary journey in 1938 with her first published short story. Her work on gender equality was revolutionary, especially considering the societal norms of her time.

Challenging Patriarchal Norms

Despite her significant contributions, Saraswathi Amma faced considerable challenges:

  • Labeled as a “men hater” by her contemporaries
  • Struggled to find writers willing to write prologues for her works
  • Experienced isolation in the male-dominated literary world

The Award Ceremony: A Celebration of Feminist Thought

The award ceremony, held on a Saturday, was more than just a presentation. It was a celebration of feminist thought and a recognition of the challenges faced by women writers.

Keynote Address by Sarah Joseph

Writer and social activist Sarah Joseph, while presenting the award, highlighted the poetic justice of the moment:

  • Drew parallels between Saraswathi Amma’s experiences and P. Geetha’s challenges
  • Emphasized society’s historical intolerance towards female genius
  • Praised Saraswathi Amma for addressing gender equality before it became a familiar concept in Kerala society

WINGS’ Vision

N.A. Vinaya, founder of WINGS, explained the organization’s motivation for instituting the award:

  • To honor Saraswathi Amma’s bold stand against patriarchal norms
  • To promote the objective of making women bold and independent

P. Geetha: Carrying the Torch of Feminist Literature

In her acceptance speech, P. Geetha shed light on the continued challenges faced by feminist literature:

  • Noted the editing and deletion of some of Saraswathi Amma’s more provocative works in posthumous publications
  • Highlighted the ongoing struggle for justice and recognition in the literary world

The Legacy Continues: A Theatrical Tribute

The award ceremony also featured a play based on Saraswathi Amma’s works, performed by Sreeja Arangottukara and C.M. Narayanan. This performance served as a vivid reminder of the enduring relevance of Saraswathi Amma’s writings.

Reflections on Feminist Literature and Society

The K. Saraswathi Amma Award and its inaugural recipient, P. Geetha, represent more than just literary recognition. They symbolize the ongoing struggle and progress in feminist thought and gender equality.

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