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Indian Catholic priest wins national literary award
Panaji, India, 13 March 2014: A Catholic priest’s Bible translation was among 23 books India’s top literary committee selected for its prestigious annual awards. This is the first time a Bible translation gets a national award in India in modern times.
The executive board of the Sahitya Akademi met at Ravbindra Bhavan New Delhi under the chairmanship of president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari on Monday and approved 23 books for the Sahitya translation prize 2013.
Father Francis D’Britto, an environmentalist, journalist and author, received the award for Marathi for “Subodh Bible – Nava Karar.” The original is The Bible: the New Testament in English.
Another awardee is Hema Naik, an author, for “Kali Katha: Via Bypass,” a Konkani translation of a Hindi novel with the same title by Alka Saraogi.
The prize will be presented at a special function to be held sometime in August 2014, said an Akademi press release. The books were selected on the recommendation of a selection committee of three members in each language.
The prizes relate to translations first published during the five years prior to the year immediately preceding the year of the prize, or between January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2011.
The prize carries an amount of 50,000 rupees and a copper plaque. There is no award in Gujarati this year, the release added.
Fr D’Britto, a priest of Vasai diocese in Maharashtra, edits “Suvartha” (good news), a Church monthly magazine in Marathi language.
The 71-year-old priest also writes for local daily newspapers and magazines on God´s love, religious harmony and tolerance, social justice, forgiveness and brotherhood.
Many people in Maharashtra say the priest’s writings have touched him deeply. He writes not only about Jesus Christ but also about Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Jainism and Zoroastrianism, which attracts people of various religions to him. People cutting across religions invite the priests to their seminars on secularism and social issues.
The priest began writing profusely after he launched the Harit (green) Vasai Movement in 1989 to save the environment. He made headlines when he braved threats from unscrupulous developers who used force and intimidation to grab land in the Vasai region.