More than 30 Indian writers returned their Sahitya Akademi (Academy of Litterature) awards over the last two weeks in protest over a “climate of intolerance” that led to a series of incidents, including the killing of writer M M Kalburgi and the Dadri lynching of Muslim minorities.
After such protests the Sahitya Akademi finally broke its silence Friday and urged them to reconsider their decision. It also asked the “governments at the centre and in the states to take immediate action to bring the culprits to book and ensure the security of writers now and in the future”.
The board meeting was attended by 20 of its 24 members with Kerala writer K Satchidanandan among the prominent absentees.
The Akademi’s resolution, however, failed to satisfy some of the leading writers who returned their awards, such as Hindi poet Manglesh Dabral, who said he would not reconsider his decision because the appeal was made “under pressure” and that it failed to address the “real issue”.
Reacting to the resolution, Hindi poet Dabral told The Indian Express: “The resolution… took place under pressure from writers. But the real issue behind our protest was that the present government has created an atmosphere of intolerance in the country. There is no question of taking back the award.”
Konkani writer N Shivdas said he had received death threats for writing against the Hindutva outfit Sanatan Sanstha and wanted the Akademi “to respond to the murders of rationalists (such as Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar)”.
“While they have condemned the murders, we also want them to make a demand to the Government that the culprits be arrested soon. Even I have received threats for speaking against the Sanatan Sanstha and the fact that the killers of these ideologues have gone free is alarming. We intend to agitate till a resolution is reached,” he said.
Kashmiri writer Marghoob Banihali said he would not reconsider his decision to return his award “even if Akademi is saying that we should”.
You can read the story by clicking here.