The rising narrow-mindedness and communal environment in the country under the evidence of recent events, such as murder of writer MM Kalburgi and lynching of Muslim man in Dadri, four reputed writers has decided to return their Sahitya Akademi award, whereas Arving Malagatti a Kannada writer has resigned from the General Council of the body. The protest carried out by literatures and cultural personalities has already witnessed more than dozen of resignation and open letters in name of literary institution, government and Prime minister.
Among the four writers Gurbachan Bhullar, Ajmer Aulakh, Atamjit Singh from Punjab and GN Devy from Gujarat, decided to return their awards like several other, which consists of Nayantra Sehgal, Sarah Joseph, Day Prakash and Ashok Vajpeyi. They all insisted that the Akademi must speak out against the killing of a member writer Kalburgi and other rationalists.
In the silent protest started by writers, recently literary figures like Shashi Deshpande, K Satchidanandan and P.K Parakkadavu had resigned from their respective posts in Akademi. Among those who have raised their voice are the Karnatic vocalist T.M Krishna, Poets Keki N. Dariwalla and Adil Jusawalla, the Hindi Author Mridula Garg and Urdu Writer Rahman Abbas.
Chairmen of Sahitya Akademi Vishwanath Prasad commented that “the apex literary body stands for freedom of expression and condemns attacks on any writer or artist anywhere”. He asserted its commitment to the “core secular values” protected in the constitution of country.
Speaking to Indian Express, Culture Minister said “This is an award given by writers to writers. It has nothing to do with government. It’s their personal choice to return it…we accept it.”.
Meanwhile, the Akademi has called for a emergency meeting of its executive board on 23rd October to discuss the situation. As till now as much as 23 writers have returned their awards in the protest, which has left Akademi in danger of losing its identity as an autonomous body for the literary work.