Sahitya Akademi’s resolution brings no lasting solution

With the present leadership continuing, these writers would now find it difficult to have any association with the Akademi.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | Published:October 23, 2015 10:26 pm
Sahitya Akademi, Sahitya Akademi awards, Sahitya Akademi award winners, Writers protest, Sahitya Akademi writers, Art historian Rainer Rochlitz, Jawaharlal Nehru, IE columnist The Sahitya Akademi is India’s premier institution of letters, with a stated commitment to “promoting Indian literature throughout the world”.

The resolution of the Executive Board of the Sahitya Akademi confirmed the moral pressure writers exerted on the institution as they forced the Akademi’s chairperson into holding an emergency meeting.

While the resolution was not a political statement against the central government, as the writers had demanded, the Akademi did ask the government to ensure security for writers. Coming from an institution, whose office-bearers have refrained from speaking against the government, the statement helped to defuse the immediate crisis.

However, the Akademi ignored the most crucial issue, returning of the awards by writers. All it has done is make a mere request to them to take back the awards. Since many of them have categorically said that they will not reconsider their decision, the fate of the cheques they have returned, lying with the Akademi, is still uncertain.

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The resolution also expressed its confidence in the present leadership, defying stalwarts like Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi and Amitav Ghosh who blamed that the leadership for its failure to act as the custodian of creativity. Many writers believed that the present crisis had emerged because the Akademi did not take speak up when required.

With the present leadership continuing, these writers would now find it difficult to have any association with the Akademi.

Considering the fact that some of the office-bearers have strongly disapproved of the protest of the writers, even termed it “ho-halla”, the tussle between the Akademi and the writers might snowball into a recurring confrontation, a situation that would only harm the institution.

The present resolution might soothe some tempers, it brings no lasting solution.

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