TNI Bureau: Emulating the feat of Gopinath Mohanty (1973), Sachidananda Routray (1986) and Sitakant Mohapatra (1993), renowned Odia writer Pratibha Ray won the Jnanpith Award 2011 for her contribution to the field of literature. It was a proud moment for Odisha and its rich literature, which was ignored by people at the national level for long.
Pratibha Ray is known for her fight against caste and gender discrimination. Her novel Yajnaseni (1984) created a big buzz in Indian literature for which she had won the Moorti Devi Award in 1991. She also won the Sarala Award (1990) and Odisha Sahitya Academy Award (1985).
Ray’s top novels, include Barsa Basanta Baishakha (1974), Aranya (1977), Nishidha Prithivi (1978), Parichya (1979), Aparichita (1979), Punyatoya (1979), Meghamedura (1980), Ashabari (1980), Ayamarambha (1981), Nilatrishna (1981), Samudrara Swara (1982), Shilapadma (1983) and Magna Mati (2003).
The Jnanpith Award carries a cash prize of Rs 7 lakh, a citation and a bronze replica of Goddess Saraswati. Born on January 21, 1943, at Alabol village, Pratibha Ray never preached any caste or class. She believes in equality and has been making hard efforts towards social reform and her fight against social injustice continues in her writing.