The organisers of the 84th all-India Marathi literary festival withdrew the meet’s souvenir booklet on Saturday, the opening day, after Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) members burnt copies outside the main venue to protest against an article describing Nathuram Godse, Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, as a litterateur and political thinker who had great respect for the Father of the Nation.
The article, by Asha Joshi, listed Godse among 100 litterateurs born a century ago. It also said Godse was a Hindu hardliner who admired Savarkar and had written a book on Gandhi called The Man, The Mahatma.
“I had no role in putting the souvenir together,” said Uttam Kamble, the meet’s president. “But when I learnt about the write-up, I thought it was wrong to glorify Godse at such a big event. I don’t agree with what has been written, and we have decided to republish the souvenir without the offending paragraphs.”
“The sammelan has an impact on people,” said Jitendra Awhad, an NCP legislator from Thane. “You have to be careful about what you write or say here. Its souvenir is viewed as a historical document that will be read for years to come.”
D K Soman, a sammelan coordinator, said: “We apologise to the entire nation for hurting people’s sentiments.”