Some eminent writers and Sahitya Akademi award winners from West Bengal today did not agree that returning awards was the correct way to protest against Dadri lynching and attacks against rationalists, saying protests should be organised on a mass scale. Veteran Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty, who won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1974 for “Ulanga Raja” described the return of the award by writers and poets as a “very feeble form” of protest against a matter which is “highly condemnable”.
“What has happened is highly condemnable… But I don’t think this is the right kind of protest for such demeaning actions. I don’t agree with this manner of protest. It’s a very feeble form of protest and seems to be like a child’s play,” Chakraborty told PTI.
According to the 87-year-old poet, because of the fact that Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous body, return of awards bestowed by it will not address their concern. Instead, he said, protests should be organised on a mass scale involving people irrespective of their age and class making them understand why and what for they should be involved in such demonstrations.
Echoing Chakraborty’s words, another Sahitya Academi award winning poet Shankha Ghosh said he did not agree to returning awards, but “there are other ways to lodge your protest”. “I feel those who are returning their awards could have protested in a different way as Sahitya Akademi is not a government body,” he told PTI.
“And the awards were not given by the present government… Give me a reason why I should return an award which was given to me some 40 years ago?” the 83-year-old poet, who received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1977 for “Babarer Prarthana”, wanted to know.