Sahitya Akademi may frame policy on returning awards

  • Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2015 00:45 IST
Indian writers handover a memorandum to Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, center, the current President of Sahitya Akademi, or National Academy of Letters, after a protest march in New Delhi. The Akademi has announced that it will take up the issue of returning awards during a future executive meet. (AP Photo)

The Sahitya Akademi, which was criticised by writers for its delayed reaction to rising intolerance in the country, will take up the issue of return of awards during its executive council meeting on December 17.

Sources say the Akademi is also likely to discuss the need for a policy for those returning the awards in future.

“During our executive meet, we will take up the issue of return of awards so that members can decide what is to be done. At the same time, whether we can have written rules regarding return of awards and if at all they can be returned will also be discussed. Members will deliberate upon all these issues,” Sahitya Akademi president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari said.

Sources said issues related to framing a policy for writers returning their awards was also likely to be taken up due to fears that the same could happen in future too.

“There are a number of issues that become important in case one decides to return an award. For instance, one can easily return the award money but can they return the prestige that they have earned? Will the Akademi continue to put their names in the list of awardees? These are issues to be discussed in the meeting,” a source said.

At present, there is no system for returning a Sahitya Akademi award as there is no written rule for returning the honour or the award money.

During the December 17 meeting, the Akademi will also finalise the list of writers and poets selected for the award for next year. The Akademi is also planning to increase the number of awards they give out every year to writers and poets.

The writers’ protest, trending on social media with the hashtag #AwardWapsi, has dented the Akademi’s image as it has been increasingly accused of toeing the Hindu hardliners’ line.

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