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Sunday, December 04 2022

“Writers’ protest is “ho-halla”: Sahitya Akademi EC Member

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New Delhi: Vikram Seth was waiting for the outcome of the emergency meeting of the executive board of the Sahitya Akademi on writer’s returning their awards, before he decides on the returning of his Akademi award. However, the outcome seems to be a foregone conclusion with some of members outrightly condemning the authors for returning their awards and saying that there is no threat to the freedom of speech in India.

Some board members on Thursday, said the writers should not have returned their awards.

They termed the protest “ho-halla (loud clamour)”.

“Returning of these awards is not right. These writers say that the Sahitya Akademi is not doing anything, but the circumstances we are working in must be understood,” said board member Gangadhar Hansdah. “We have no legal powers to give them protection. How can we pass resolution against the government, it has not done anything against the writers. Some writers are raising their voice against the government, but it’s their personal choice. Aisa koi mahaul nahi hai ki lage ki freedom of speech ko khatra hai (The atmosphere isn’t such so as to make one feel that there is threat to freedom of speech)”, he added.

Another member Surya Prasad Dixit termed the protest as “ho-halla (loud clamour)”. “If there is any threat (to freedom of expression) then we must present the case with evidence and submit to the government. Ho-halla jyada hua hai (A lot of noise has been made),” he said.

On attacks on minorities and writers, he said: “The government is not responsible for whatever has happened. I don’t see any threat to freedom of speech.”

Meanwhile, Rajasthani author Ambika Dutt has returned his Sahitya Akademi award with an appeal to society “to come together”. “There shouldn’t be so much fanaticism and intolerance in the society. The writers’ attempt should be to see that positive thoughts flow in society and hold it together. But today, intolerance has grown. Hence, I have decided to return my award to send a message to society, to get people talking and for them to come together,” the 59-year-old said.

Dutt wrote to the Akademi on Thursday, saying he was giving up the award and the Rs 1 lakh prize money presented to him in 2013 for his poetry collection Aanthyoi Nahi Din Hal.

A Rajasthan Administrative Service (RAS) officer, Dutt is currently the Registrar of University of Kota and has earlier served at District Excise Officer of Kota

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