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Writer cites ‘interference’ to quit Sahitya Akademi

By, New Delhi
Apr 02, 2024 05:28 AM IST

Akademi president Madhav Kaushik said that Meghwal was a writer himself and “well versed” in Rajasthani and Hindi literature

Prominent novelist C Radhakrishnan resigned as eminent member of the Sahitya Akademi on Monday citing “political interference” and disappointment over the body’s decision to invite union minister Arjun Ram Meghwal to the inauguration of its “festival of letters” on March 11. The Sahitya Akademi president Madhav Kaushik however responded to Radhakrishnan’s allegations, calling them misleading, and pointed to Meghwal’s work as a writer in both Rajasthani and Hindi.

C Radhakrishnan took particular umbrage with Meghwal being invited to the inauguration of the akademi’s “festival of letters” on March 11 (Wikimedia commons)
C Radhakrishnan took particular umbrage with Meghwal being invited to the inauguration of the akademi’s “festival of letters” on March 11 (Wikimedia commons)

In a letter to the Akademi’s secretary Sreenivasa Rao, Radhakrishnan said that while he was not against a particular political party, he was protesting the politicisation of the cultural body, and said that two other institutions—the Sangeet Natak and Lalit Kala Akademi—had been robbed of their autonomy. “I cannot be a silent witness to the funeral of the very last democratically autonomous institution of culture in the nation,” he said.

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Radhakrishnan is a novelist with work such as ‘Nizhalppadukal’(Patches of Shade) which won him the Kerala Sahitya Akademi award in 1962. He was also awarded the Moortidevi award in 2013 for “Theekkadal Kadanhu Thirumadhuram”(Nectar From Sea of Fire), conferred with the Mathrubhumi Literary award in 2015 and KP Kesava Menon memorial award in 2016. In 2022, he was made “distinguished” member of the Sahitya Akademi in 2022 for his “literary eminence.”

Radhakrishnan took particular umbrage with Meghwal being invited to the inauguration of the akademi’s “festival of letters” on March 11. “This is the first time such a thing has happened in the long chequered history of the Sahitya Akademi...last year, a minister of state had taken part in the inaugural session inviting protests from all of us. Assurances were given it would not recur.”

In his response, Akademi president Madhav Kaushik said that Meghwal was a writer himself and “well versed” in Rajasthani and Hindi literature, pointing to his work “Ek Safar Humsafar Ke Sath” and “Divya Path Dampatya Ka”. “The fact is that many a minister, irrespective of political party, have participated in the Akademi’s literary programmes in the past too, which in no way violates the Akademi’s autonomy,” he said.

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