January 24, 2016 11:46:06 am
While conceding that the issues over which he had returned his Sahitya Akademi award in October last year still persist, Rajasthani author Nand Bhardwaj says he has decided to accept the honour back as the resistance is only weakening the Akademi.
Bhardwaj says he took the decision following a meeting of the executive board of the Sahitya Akademi a couple of months ago, in which participating authors had passed a resolution expressing satisfaction with ‘the Akademi’s attitude towards the safety of writers’.
“The issues over which I returned my award still persist. There still is intolerance over communal issues and freedom of expression. The suicide by the Dalit scholar in Hyderabad is a grim reminder of that,” Bharadwaj told The Indian Express.
“But there is no point holding the Akademi at fault. It is an autonomous body working in the interest of writers. It does not reflect the attitude and policies of the government,” he added.
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The author said correspondence regarding withdrawing the decision to return the awards had been going on since the executive board meeting. “Most of us had agreed to withdraw our decision to return the awards. But some still want to stick to their stance. I can’t speak for them, but I feel the Akademi’s response to the issues raised by us has been positive,” he said.
Bhardwaj was the first author from Rajasthan to return his award along with the prize money of Rs 50,000, in protest against “increasing intolerance” and “attacks on freedom of expression”. He had won the award in 2004 for his novel ‘Samhi Khulto Marag’ (forward opens the way).
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