Jammu and Kashmir’s prominent writer and journalist Ghulam Nabi Khayal has decided to return the Sahitya Akademi award against the growing intolerance in the country and threat to the secular India.
Along with him, Kannada writer-translator Srinath D N too has decided to return his Sahitya Akademi against “communal” atmosphere and “rising intolerance” following rationalist M M Kalburgi’s killing.
“In the place of the pen, there are now bullets being fired. Author Kalburgi was murdered and both the Centre and the state should quickly act against the offenders so that such an incident is not repeated in the future,” Srinath told PTI.
Srinath had won the 2009 Sahitya Akademi for translating short stories in Hindi written by Bheesham Sahani into Kannada.
Khayal, is the first intellectual from J&K who has decided to return the award and decided to join other writers and intellectuals of the country who have returned their awards against the growing intolerance and attacks on the writers in the country.
“What is happening in India pains me. To return an award is the only way to express my resentment from my side. This is the only way how writers could lodge their protest,’’ Khayal told The Indian Express.
He said that since the new government came to power in the country many incidents have taken place and minorities are not feeling safe in India.
“Today also attempts were made to cancel the launch of a book in Mumbai by the activists of Shiv Sena. As a person I want to live in a country that is secular, not at a place where freedom of speech and many religious identities are facing threat from communal forces.’’
Khayal won the award for his book (Gaashry Munnaar) in 1975, the book comprising collection of research articles on outstanding poets of the world.
He said that intellectuals can only protest with their pen. “I am happy that prominent Hindu writers are among those who returned their awards against the growing intolerance.”
“The people of the India should resent this onslaught on the dignity and nobility of the Indian society and the human beings in general.” This is why I am lodging a peaceful protest against what I don’t like and what people of India didn’t like.’’
On Sunday, a literary body, Adabi Markaz Kamraz (AMK) expressing its anguish over the silence of Sahitya Akademi over the “communal frenzy” in the country and had asked the award winners from the valley to “stand up against this silence”.
The literary body had also asked Sahitya Akademi to break its silence over “communal frenzy” in the country and also on the murder of Dr MM Kalburgi, a month ago.
“The Sahitya Akademi award winners from Kashmir must stand up against this silence and muster courage to side with right thinking people,” said Syed Shujat Bukhari, the president of Adabi Markaz Kamraz.
[With PTI inputs]