Hindi writer Wajahat to receive 31st Vyas Samman for his 2019 play

Renowned Hindi writer Asgar Wajahat will receive the 31st Vyas Samman for his play Mahabali, which was published in 2019, the KK Birla Foundation said in an official statement, Trend reports citing Hindustan Times.

The award, instituted in 1991 and awarded by the KK Birla Foundation, recognizes outstanding literary work in Hindi written by an Indian citizen and published within the previous 10 years. It carries a cash prize of ₹4 lakh. The recipient is chosen by a selection committee headed by renowned Hindi litterator, Professor Ramji Tiwari.

Born in Fatehpur, Uttar Pradesh on July 5, 1946, Wajahat received his MA in Hindi and PhD from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). He then pursued postdoctoral research at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. The literature veteran was also a professor in the Hindi department of Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi. Over a career spanning decades, Wajahat has written literary works in all genres, ranging from novels and plays to essays and travelogues. He was a recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Puraskar (2014) and was voted Best Playwright by Hindi Academy in 2009-10.

In his play Mahabali, Wajahat focuses on the Mughal Emperor Akbar and the poet Tulsidas to highlight the different worlds of power politics and art. Through the play, Wajahat tries to answer who is the real Mahabali (the almighty), the poet or the emperor.