Veteran Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi has returned his D Litt from Hyderabad Central University in protest against the events leading to the suicide of research scholar Rohith Vemula. Vajpeyi said, “A Dalit student wanted to be a writer, but he was forced to commit suicide due to anti-Dalit policies. This is intolerance of another kind. I am returning the award in protest against the university authorities, who it seemed acted under political pressure.”
In a season of award wapasi, Vajpeyi, who turned 75 recently, was among the first writers who had returned their Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against the atmosphere of intolerance prevailing in the country.
Vajpeyi is organising a seminar with artists and writers on the attempts of restricting the creative and intellectual freedom in the country. “An atmosphere is developing in the country that muffles any kind of dissent and pushes it to the brink. We need to oppose it,” he said.
Vajpeyi said Hyderabad Central University has failed to uphold its duty of respecting knowledge.
Vajpeyi is a former chairman of Lalit Kala Akademi. His published works of poetry include the collections Shaher Ab Bhi Sambhavana Hai, Tatpurush, Bahuri Akela, Ibarat Se Giri Matrayen, Ummeed ka Doosra Naam and Vivaksha. He had received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1994 for his collection Kahin Nahin Wahin.