History of Sahitya Akademi
The proposal to establish a National Academy of letters in India had been under the consideration of the British Government of the country long before independence.
In 1944, the Government of India accepted in principle a proposal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal that a National Cultural trust should be set up to encourage cultural activities in all fields.
The trust was to consist of three Academies, including the Academy of letters. After freedom, the proposal was pursued by the independent Government of India, while convened a series of conference to work out the details.
Consensus emerged in favour of establishing three National Academies one of letters, another of visual arts and the third of dance, drama and music.
It was felt that there was no alternative to Government taking the initiative to set up the Academies. The Government’s functioning in the process was to be that of a curtain raiser. The Government would set up the Academies, but once they were established, it would refrain from exercising any control and leave them to perform their function as autonomous institution.
The Government of India decided to establish a National Academy of letters to be called Sahitya Akademi by its resolution No F-6-4/51G2(A) dated December 1952.
The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954.
The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country.
Though set up by the Government, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organisation. It was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.