Eminent author Kashinath Singh has protested the “irresponsible” remarks made by various Union ministers against fellow Sahitya Akademi award winning writers who have over the past two weeks announced their decision to return the honours. Singh said he will hand over the 2011 award he received for his fiction “Rehan Par Raghu” along with a cheque to Akademi on Monday.
“Certain ministers from the Centre have made irresponsible remarks against the authors who returned their awards. The authors’ decision have not been taken seriously,” Singh said. Singh, a former professor at the Banaras Hindu University, known for writing novels and short stories, also said he was protesting the “very ridiculous” allegations that the authors were politically motivated.
“It is ridiculous to say that the authors are motivated by political parties. Writers are not so foolish to get swayed by anybody. Their actions are against the Akademi’s stance on the tragic incidents in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Dadri. They are not against the Akademi itself,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, Telugu translator Katyayani Vidmahe has also announced her decision to return her 2013 Kendriya Sahitya Akademi translation award in solidarity with other authors who had given back their Sahitya awards. “I am returning my award in dissent to a range of incidents like the silencing of the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, the killing of Kannada writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee MM Kalburgi. This is against the violence of writers and for the freedom of expression,” Vidmahe said.
The Warangal-based writer had received an Akademi award for her ‘Sahityakashamlo Sagam - Streela Astitwa Sahityam -Kavitwam - Katha’, a compilation of essays about literature on gender identity published in 2010. Over the past couple of weeks, at least 33 authors have returned their awards given by the Sahitya Akademi, and five writers have stepped down from official positions of the literary body, which in turn has convened an emergency meeting on October 23 to discuss the developments.