New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi on Friday said some of the writers, including Nayantara Sahgal, have agreed to take back the awards they had returned citing ‘growing intolerance’ in the country.
“Sahitya Akademi has started sending back the awards to the writers…It has already been sent to Nayantara Sahgal.
Another writer Nand Bhardwaj has also agreed to take back the award. It would be sent to other writers as well,” Sahitya Akademi president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari told PTI.
He said the Akademi is also sending a copy of their resolution, which was passed in the October meeting, to all writers mentioning that there was no provision in its constitution to return the honours.
About 40 writers had returned their awards in the past few months to the Sahitya Akademi in the backdrop of Akademi’s silence on the murder of fellow writer M M Kalburgi as well against the “communal” atmosphere in the country following the Dadri lynching incident.
On October 23, Sahitya Akademi passed a unanimous resolution appealing to state and central governments to take steps to prevent such incidents and asked authors to take back the awards they had returned to protest against “rising intolerance”.
“The Akademi strongly condemns the killing of writer Kalburgi and appeals to the state and central government to take steps to prevent such incidents in the future,” Krishnaswamy Nachimuthu, an executive committee board member had said, after the nearly two-hour meeting.
Meanwhile, a culture ministry source said, “There is is a list of 10 writers who have agreed to take back the awards they had returned. Sahgal and Bhardwaj are two confirmed names in the list.”
According to the source, Sahgal decided to take back her award as there is no provision to return the award, while Rajasthani writer Bhardwaj was “satisfied” with the response of the Akademi, condemning incidents of violence against writers.
Meanwhile, Culture and Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma welcomed the decision of the writers to take back the awards.
“This is a welcome step,” he told reporters when asked about the decision of taking back awards by some of the writers.
Sharma reiterated that the award is the “respect given by the nation” to the writers and they should “keep it with themselves respectfully”.
When asked about the number of writers who have agreed to take back the awards, he said, “I don’t know the number but if the writers have decided to take back the awards, I welcome their decision.”