Iftikhar Gilani wins Sahitya Akademi award

Six years after he was acquitted of espionage charges,Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani’s Urdu translation of his own book...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: February 18, 2009 1:19:56 am

Six years after he was acquitted of espionage charges,Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Gilani’s Urdu translation of his own book was on Tuesday selected for the Sahitya Akademi award.

Gilani,who spent seven months in Tihar jail,wrote a memoir of his days in incarceration – My Days in Prison.

He translated it in Urdu under the title,Tihar kay Shab-o-roz,with renowned author Nusrat Zaheer who specialises in satire. The book is the first-ever book taken out by Penguin in Urdu.

Gilani’s book was among 16 awarded by Sahitya Akademi in the translation category.

The honour carries Rs 20,000 in cash and an engraved copper plaque. The award will be formally given sometime in August this year.

Gilani,the son-in-law of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani,was picked up by the security agencies in June 2002 from his Delhi residence on charges of espionage. He was accused of providing information to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.

Amidst widespread media furore,he was acquitted by the court in January 2003 but not before spending a harrowing seven months in Tihar jail.

Gilani has worked for a number of national and international media organisations. At present,he heads the Delhi bureau of Kashmir Times. He contributes regularly to Radio Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) and is the India correspondent for Pakistani newspapers Daily Times,Friday Times and Khabrein.

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