As many as 15 to 20 Konkani writers of Goa Konkani Lekhak Sangh (GKLS) are considering returning their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest against the recent killings of rationalists and writers in the country. On Wednesday, at least 15 recipients of the award are expected to meet in Goa and decide their future course of action.
“Till date, 32 Konkani writers have received the Sahitya Akademi award since its inception. Some of them are no more. Four or five writers, including me, have come together, and we have started getting in touch with the others. We are getting positive responses from them. We want to protest the killing of rationalist and Kannada scholar M M Kalburgi, who was also a Sahitya Akademi award recipient,” said Konkani writer N Shivdas, who on Sunday announced that he would return his Sahitya Akademi award.
Along with the award, the GKLS members will also return the cash entitlement of up to Rs 1 lakh.
“Returning the award is our way of protest. We have been raising our voice of dissent, but with the murder of a Sahitya Akademi award recipient, we feel that it is an attack on each one of us,” said the 65-year-old writer.
He said the writers were also protesting against “organisations like Sanatan Sanstha that are fooling people in the name of religion”. “They are also involved in several acts of terror and we feel that the government is not acting against them,” he added.
Shivdas, who had received the Sahitya Akademi award for his collection of short stories Bhaangarsaall, said that “Goa is not safe for writers”. “We get threat calls. We don’t exactly know who they are, but they threaten the writers. ‘Hum dekhlenge’ — these are the words we hear in Goa from elements who call themselves protectors and teachers of Hindusim,” he added.
Speaking about the Sanathan Sanstha, which has been under the scanner for its alleged involvement in the recent killings of rationalists, Shivdas said it is an organisation of higher caste Brahmins. “We initially misunderstood the Sanstha and thought it was working for the good of Hinduism, but later found that it is harming the basic fabric…Non-Brahmins are not allowed to pray at the temples. While Manohar Parrikar may enter the sanctum of the temple, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar will be denied this opportunity,” he said.
All artistes should return their awards: IPTA chief
Jaipur: With several writers returning government awards to protest against curbs on freedom of expression, the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA) has appealed to all artistes to return their awards. IPTA national president Ranbi Sinh has urged all “dancers, musicians, playwrights, directors, actors, painters” to return their awards. “Freedom of expression is not only words. It is the expression of all kinds of creative forms… (All artistes) should resign and return their awards as a show of united opposition to the sectarian and dictatorial attitude of RSS-BJP forces,” Sinh said. ENS
Don’t return awards, choose other ways to protest: Ex-PM Devegowda
Bengaluru: Award winning writers must resort to other means of protest rather than returning awards conferred on them for their work to uphold secular principles and democracy, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) party leader H D Devegowda said here on Monday. “While such social conscientiousness is commendable, our erudite writers and thinkers should continue protesting against growing intolerance through other modes instead of returning the award conferred by the Sahitya Akademi… I request all writers not to return any award conferred on them,” the former PM said. ENS
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