For 17-year-old Ria Vithasha, who has authored five novels, the killing of senior Kannada writer MM Kalburgi distressed her enough to take the decision to return her Karnataka Sahitya Akademi award.
Vithasha, known by her pen name Muddu Thirthahalli, whose novel ‘Kaada Haadiya Hoogalu’ has been adapted into an award-winning film, said she was “pained” that the killers of Kalburgi had not yet been caught and punished.
“I knew Kalburgi from childhood and have read all his books. I cried a lot when he was killed and wanted to return my award but my parents told me to have patience and wait. Now so much time has elapsed and still there is nothing being done, so like the other writers have done, I have returned my award,” Vithasha said in Hindi.
The young writer, who is a PU II (Class 11) student, was conferred the award for her 2011 collection of essays “Ondu Chandrana Tundu”.
Vithasha’s mother Lydia D’Mello said her insistence on returning the award came after hearing that Kannada writer Chandrashekar Patil had decided to return his Pampa award, one of the highest literary honours conferred by the Department of Kannada and Culture of Karnataka.
“She was close to Kalburgi and had attended many functions in his hometown Dharwad. She wanted to do something when she heard of his killing but we advised her to have patience,” D’Mello said.