Award Name : Jnanpith Award
Year of Award : 2002
Award for : Literature
Location : Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu, India
Jayakanthan popularly known as JK, was an Indian writer, journalist, orator, film-maker, critic and activist. Born in Cuddalore, he dropped out of school at an early age and went to Madras, where he joined the Communist Party of India. In a career spanning six decades, he authored around 40 novels, 200 short stories, apart from two autobiographies. Outside literature, he made two films. In addition, four of his other novels were adapted into films by others. Jayakanthan's literary honours include Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi awards. He was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan (2009), India's third-highest civilian honour, the Soviet Land Nehru Award (1978), and the Russian government's Order of Friendship (2011).
Jayakanthan was born in 1934 in Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu. He quit school after completing grade 3 education. Though he was close to his mother and grandmother, his relationship with his father was worse and he ran from the village at the age of 12 to Villupuram. He went to his uncle who introduced him to the world of literature by giving him the books, Subramanya Bharathy. He became associated with Communist party also by this time. Thus he became closely associated with the party office at Chennai and its associates. Many of his works later show great influence of communist principles. In 1949, nationwide restriction was made on Communist party and he was forced to work in a shoe shop in Thanjavur for a short period. His difference of opinion on many political issues forced him to gradually withdraw from CPI and active politics. His short story "Karungali" show the traits of such personal conflicts with the party. He was fascinated with the former Chief Minister and Congress party leader Kamaraj and briefly served as a member of that party.