Prathiba Ray received Amrita Keerthi

September 27, Amritapuri

As part of Amma’s upcoming 53rd birthday celebrations, Smt. Pratibha Ray was awarded the Ashram’s Amrita Keerti Puraskar for her meritorious contributions to the field of Indian literature. Ray is an award-winning writer from Orissa who has captured reader’s hearts through insightful narratives that often shed light on historical and mythological characters of India’s collective consciousness.

This year’s Amrita Keerthi Puraskar {news}, the Ashram’s award to outstanding contributors to Vedic culture, went to Pratibha Ray, the novelist from Orissa. The award was presented by the living legend of Malayalam film, director Padma Bhushan Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The award carries with it a cash prize of Rs. 123,456, a commendation by the Ashram and a handcrafted statuette of Saraswati Devi crafted by the artist Nambootiri.

In a speech, Gopalakrishnan said, “Amma is the glory and light. Amma is compassion, light, consciousness and fullness. I offer my pranams to Amma.” Then speaking about Pratibha Ray, the filmmaker said, “She has given a new face to the characters of the stories of the Puranas.”

Upon receiving the award, Pratibha Ray said, “Amriteswaryai has become the world’s Hrdayeshwari. [The Goddess of Amrita has become the Goddess of the heart for the world.] Spirituality is the power of India. Love is the only thing that can free us from the problems and obstacles of life. I am so happy to receive this award from the embodiment of selfless love.”


Ray’s most acclaimed work is Yajnaseni (1985), a novel that reconstructs the life of Draupadi, the enigmatic heroine of the Mahabharata. Written in Roy’s mother tongue of Oriya, Yajnaseni has since been translated into seven different languages. The book also won for Ray the Bharatiya Jnanpith Trust’s Moorti Devi Award (1991), making her the first woman to receive the honour. It also won the Sarala Award of Orissa in 1990.

Other important works by Ray include Mahamoh (1997), a classic novel on Vedic culture that illumines misunderstood and misinterpreted characters from Indian literature, especially Ahalya, the wife of Gautama Rishi in Valmiki’s Ramayana. Shilapadma (1983) is an inspired novel that explores the legends associated with the world-famous Sun Temple in Konark, Orissa. And Uttarmarg (1988) is a novel based on the suffering of neglected heroes of the freedom struggle in rural Orissa. Roy’s most recent novel, Magnamaari (2003), is centred on the cyclone that ravaged Orissa in 1999.

Roy’s work is unsparing in its indictments of social evils and injustice, and the writer has often raised her voice against social injustice and corruption in society.