Chandigarh: Six more authors including Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Kannada writer-translator Srinath D N and Rajesh Joshi have decided to return their Sahitya Akademi awards under the spiralling protest by litterateurs against “communal” atmosphere and “rising intolerance” following rationalist M M Kalburgi’s killing.
Hindi writers Mangalesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi along with Srinath today said they will return their prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards while Waryam Sandhu and G N Ranganatha Rao intimated the Akademi of their decision. Khayal also joined the bandwagon of authors, saying the minorities in the country today feel “unsafe and threatened”.
“In the place of the pen, there are now bullets being fired. Author Kalburgi was murdered and both the Centre and the state should quickly act against the offenders so that such an incident is not repeated in the future,” said Srinath.
Srinath had won the 2009 Sahitya Akademi for translating short stories in Hindi written by Bheesham Sahani into Kannada.
Writers step up protest over rationalists’ murder, 4 more return awards
Noted Punjab-based poet Surjit Patar was among the four litterateurs who announced on Monday that they will return their Sahitya Akademi Award to protest against the growing atmosphere of intolerance in the country.
Besides Patar, the other three poets and writers who announced that they would return their awards were Jaswinder Singh, Baldev Singh Sadaknama and Darshan Bhuttar.
In a joint statement, Jaswinder Singh, Sadaknama and Bhuttar said that they were giving up their awards “to protest against the atmosphere of terror which was being created” by certain elements.
Patar told media that he was giving up the award, “which is close to my heart with a heavy heart” due to recent happenings in the country.
On Sunday, well-known Punjabi writers who announced giving up their literary awards included Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Atamjit Singh, Gurbachan Bhullar and Canada-based writer Waryam Sandhu.
All the Punjabi writers have said that they were raising their voice against rising “intolerance” and “suppressing freedom of expression”.
The litterateurs said that they were giving up their awards to protest against the killings of writers M.M. Kalburgi in Karnataka (in August) and Narendra Dabholkar (in 2013), stressing that they were shocked at the level of intolerance on freedom of speech and expression. They pointed out that free speech and writing was being suppressed.
They also said that the recent lynching of a Muslim man on suspicion of eating beef showed that a communal atmosphere was being built up.