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Marathi poet Yashwant Manohar refuses literary award over ‘Saraswati puja’

"I could not accept the award by negating my values, so I politely declined it," the veteran poet said

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 16, 2021 11:50:02 am
yashwant manoharVeteran poet Yashwant Manohar (Source: baudhkaro_vruttant/Instagram)

Veteran Marathi poet Yashwant Manohar has refused to accept the ‘lifetime achievement award’ given by Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh (VSS). The poet rejected the highest literary honour as the organisation performed a ‘Saraswati puja’ and garlanded the portrait of the goddess on stage.

In his letter to VSS, Manohar wrote that the portrait of the goddess was a symbol of “exploitation that barred women and shudras from education and knowledge.” “I don’t approve of religion in literary programmes,” as quoted by

“My understanding was that the Vidarbha Sahitya Sangha would know my role as a writer and my thoughts. I was told that there would be an image of Goddess Saraswati. I could not accept the award by negating my values, so I politely declined it,” the poet from Nagpur was quoted as saying.

“If someone from the Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh had contacted me over the last few days, we could have found a way out, but it did not happen,” he further added.

He also said that he would request all artists, writers, politicians and the government of Maharashtra to consider the possibility of keeping a photo of Savitribai Phule and a copy of the Constitution at literary or public events, instead of Goddess Saraswati.

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