Eminent poet and writer K Satchidanandan on Saturday resigned from all committees of the Sahitya Akademi, saying the literary body had “failed” in its duty to stand with writers and uphold freedom of expression.
Satchidanandan was serving in the General Council, Executive Board and Financial Committee of the Akademi.
“I am sorry to observe that the Akademi has failed in its duty to stand with the writers and to uphold the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution that seems to be getting violated everyday in the country,” the writer said.
A pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, Satchidanandan has always upheld secular views and supported causes like environment and human rights.
“I had written to the Akademi when MM Kalburgi was killed earlier. They had held condolences in Bangalore but they should have done something nationally. There was no response to my request to pass a resolution,” Satchidanandan told PTI.
The cold blooded killing of rationalist Kalburgi’s had rattled Karnataka’s literary community. Satchidanandan, the poet who writes in English and Malayalam feels, that the
Akademi showed hardly any response towards the loss.
“Holding a ritual condolence meeting in a regional office, as the Akademi seems to have done, is hardly an adequate response to the recent attacks on the freedom of expression followed by a series of murders of independent thinkers in different parts of the country,” Satchidanandan said.
He said the Akademi had passed a resolution against the then government when it had banned Sulman Rushdie’s work.
In a letter to the Akademi, the playwright and translator said that “annihilation should never be allowed to replace argument that is the very essence of democracy.”
Observing that the Sahitya Akademi was the “conscience keeper of the writing community”, he said the literary body should actively condemn the killing of Kalburgi.
“In the present time it’s a question of life and freedom of writers. Our agenda is resistance and to speak to as many platforms as possible and as loudly as possible. Lot of people are supporting us,” Satchidanandan said.
Earlier this week, eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal and former Lalit Kala Akademi chairman Ashok Vajpeyi had returned their Sahitya Akademi Awards to protest the “assault on right to freedom of both life and expression”.
Noted Hindi writer Uday Prakash was the first to return his Sahitya Akademi award to protest Kalburgi’s murder.
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