POLITICISATION OF cultural institutions is a malady that needed to be cured and it is essential that the cultural chairs were left in the hands of professionals, feels Sahitya Akademi president Prof Gopi Chand Narang.
“There is a sharp divide between the political forces and each one of them wants to champion the cause of culture to garner vote bank,” he told the Hindustan Times.
Acknowledging that with the change of government and political formulations, politicians and bureaucrats make efforts to interfere, he said, “In Sahitya Akademi, the writers have been more or less united for the last 50 years and have maintained their autonomy.”
Maintaining that the Akademi competes favourably with the commercial publishers, he said, “Our sale proceeds are moving towards a figure of Rs 3 crore annually.” Narang said that a plea had been made to the Planning Commission that the Akademi be allowed to retain this revenue or build a corpus.
One day, this corpus could grow so large that the Akademi could even function independent of government annual budget, as is the practice in some western countries, he hoped.
Enumerating the new projects undertaken by the Akademi, he said one was related to the revision of encyclopedia of Indian literature in six volumes. This would be complete in the next two years. The second one, to be completed this year, was updating of the National Bibliography of Indian languages from 1954 to 2000.
“All our reference works are in English. Efforts should gradually be made for making them available in Hindi” he said, adding that two volumes of writers ‘Who’s Who’ are being prepared in Hindi, slated to be released early next year.
Referring to another mega project he said efforts were underway for making an encyclopedia of Indian poetics because there
is no such reference tool.