Late Tamil poet Inqulab’s family declines Sahitya Akademi Award | books | ht picks | Hindustan Times
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Late Tamil poet Inqulab’s family declines Sahitya Akademi Award

Tamil poet Inqulab had returned the Kalaimamani Award given by the Tamil Nadu government to protest against the state government’s alleged failure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils. His family said he would have declined the Sahitya Akademi Award had he been alive.

books Updated: Dec 22, 2017 09:08 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Late Tamil poet Inqulab,Sahitya Akademi Awards,Sahitya Akademi
The award in the form of a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, will be presented at a special function to be held on February 12, 2018. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Sahitya Akademi on December 21 announced its annual awards in 24 languages, but the family of late Tamil poet Inqulab has decided not to accept the award.

Inqulab, who was born as Shahul Hameed, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in Tamil for his collection of poems titled Kaandhal Naatkal.

“My father was not running behind any award. He wrote expecting action by authorities against him and not expecting any award. He had told us that he will decline the Sahitya Akademi award, if he was given one,” S. Inqulab, assistant professor at Quaide Milleth College near Chennai, told IANS.

“My father would have certainly declined the award if he was alive today. If we accept the award now, it will be an insult to him,” he added. He said the late poet had returned the Kalaimamani Award given by the Tamil Nadu government to protest against the state government’s alleged failure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils.

Authors Jayanta Madhab Bora (Assamese), Afsar Ahmed (Bengali), Rita Boro (Bodo), Nachhattar (Punjabi), Niranjan Mishra (Sanskrit) won the award for their novels.

This is not the first time, the awards have stoked controversy in the last few years.

According to the Ministry of Culture, 39 writers have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards during the last three years claiming that the Akademi “kept silent” when their freedom of expression was “under attack”.

This year, seven novels, five collections each of poetry and short stories, five works of literary criticism, a play and a book of essays were chosen for the award.

Mamang Dai won the award for her English novel The Black Hill, and Ramesh Kuntal got it for his literary criticism Vishw Mithak Sarit Sagar in Hindi.

Authors Jayanta Madhab Bora (Assamese), Afsar Ahmed (Bengali), Rita Boro (Bodo), Nachhattar (Punjabi), Niranjan Mishra (Sanskrit) won the award for their novels, while Shiv Mehta (Dogri), Autar Krishen Rahbar (Kashmiri), Gajanan Jog (Konkani), Gayatri Saraf (Odia), and Baig Ehsas (Urdu) bagged it in the short stories category.

In the poetry category, Udaya Narayana Singh (Maithili), Bhujanga Tudu (Santhali), Inquilab (posthumous) (Tamil), Devipriya (Telugu), Shrikant Deshmukh (Marathi) won the award. Apart from Kuntal, the other writers who won the award for literary criticism are Urmi Ghanshyam Desai (Gujarati), T.P Ashoka (Kannada), Bina Hangkhim (Nepali), and Neeraj Daiya (Rajasthani).

Rajen Toijamba (Manipuri) and Jagdish Lachhani (Sindhi) won the award for their play and essay respectively.

“The books were selected on the basis of recommendations made by a jury of three members in the concerned languages in accordance with the procedure laid down for the purpose,” K. Sreenivasarao, Secretary, Sahitya Akademi, said.

The award in the form of a cheque of Rs 1 lakh, a shawl and a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, will be presented at a special function to be held on February 12, 2018.

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