The National Academy of Letters — Sahitya Akademi — on Friday urged the writers and authors to take back the awards they have relinquished in protest against the “rising intolerance”. Requesting the noted writers and multi-lingual authors, Sahitya Akademi once again said that these honours were given with love and respect and such feelings should be respected.
“Our executive board has already appealed to the writers to re-consider their decision to give back their awards. Sahitya Akademi is the writer’s institution and has always supported freedom of speech and it is with the writers. The Akademi is not against the writers,” Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari told the news agency at the All Indian Poetry Festival in New Delhi.
Padma Shri-winning Dogri poet Padma Sachdev, who inaugurated the festival, also supported the views of the Akademi and said that the writers should re-consider their decision.
“Sahitya Akademi is the home of all the ‘sahityakars’. Due to the saddening incidents in the country, many of the members of the Akademi have returned their awards and for which we are very sad and hurt. If people leave their home for reasons like sadness, anger or other reasons then the house becomes empty and keeps waiting for the person,” Ms Sachdev said.
Shedding light on the fact that often freedom of expression has been curbed, Akademi president Mr. Tiwari encouraged poets to keep on writing their poetry.
“No one can stop a poet from writing poetry. It’s irrelevant whether your poetry will be published or not but a poet should keep writing his prose,” he said.
English poets like Sukrita Paul Kumar and Kannda poet HS Shivaprakash though were in support of the writers uprising but were not convinced that returning awards will sort out the issues in the country.
“All of us are going through a lot of concern the way everything is getting politicised or threatened. So I, think it’s very important to retain the voice of sanity and sensitivity…. I think it will spread the message of what life is all about and freedom is all about,” said Sukrita Paul Kumar.
“Some of us though agree that the situation is deteriorating but we have decided not to return the awards because that’s not going to change the scenario,” noted English language poet HS Shivaprakash opined.
More than 40 legendary writers including Nayantara Sahgal, popular Urdu writer Munawwar Rana, Sahitya Akademi’s ‘Yuva Puraskar’-winning author Aman Sethi, Kashmiri writer Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Kannada writer-translator Srinath DN, eminent writers from Punjab, Gurbachan Bhullar, Ajmer Singh Aulakh and Atamjit Singh have returned their Sahitya Akademi award while, eminent writer Shashi Deshpande and poet Ashok Vajpeyi resigned from their Sahitya Akademi offices.
(With inputs from the PTI)