Thirty-nine writers have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards during the last three years claiming that the Akademi “kept silent” when their freedom of expression was “under attack”, Lok Sabha was informed on Monday.
Noted Rajasthani writer Nand Bhardwaj, however, has taken back his decision of returning the award, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma said in a written reply.
There was a spurt in writers returning their awards to the Akademi in the backdrop of the institution’s “silence” on the murder of fellow writer M M Kalburgi as well against the “communal” atmosphere in the country following the Dadri lynching incident of 2015.
“...The writers claimed that there was an attack on their freedom of expression and the Akademi kept silent on the issue,” Sharma said.
He said during the last three years, Sahitya Akademi has given away 280 awards.
Sharma said the Akademi had convened a special Executive Board meeting on October 23, 2015 and December 12, 2015 in which resolution was passed requesting the writers to reconsider their decision.
“Nand Bhardwaj, noted Rajasthani writer has taken back his decision of returning the award,” he added.
The writers who returned the awards during the last three years included Ashok Vajpeyi, Krishna Sobti, Nayantara Sahgal, Mohan Bhandari, Rahamat Tarikere, Munawwar Rana, Sara Joseph, Chaman Lal and Aman Sethi.