Vadodara: The train of writers returning government-conferred honours today saw city-based author and poet Anil Joshi announce that he will give up his Sahitya Akademi award over the recent killing of rationalist MM Kalburgi and a few others.
The decision by Joshi comes a day after another writer here, Ganesh Devy, returned his Sahitya Akademi Award citing a similar reason.
According to 76-year-old Joshi, who recently shifted here from Mumbai, he was given the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1990 in Gujarati language category for his collection of essays, ‘Statue’.
“I was conferred the award in 1990. But now I have decided to return the award as I feel that it does not hold any importance when people like Kalburgi, (Govind) Pansare and (Narendra) Dabholkar are being killed. I will send a formal letter to the Akademi about my decision in the days to come,” Joshi told PTI.
He condemned the foul-mouthed politicians and charged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to rein in such leaders.
“Politicians are getting out of control. They are saying anything they want. Sadly, our PM is not stopping them. I find this situation very disappointing. I don’t want to keep this award and will return it to the Akademi,” he said.
“People who are behind these killings don’t have any respect for those holding different views and opinions. In that case, they would have killed Bhagat Singh, too, who did not believe in God, and Savarkar, who used to say that there is no need to worship cows,” he said.
He also criticised Sahitya Akademi president Prof Viswanath Pratap Tiwari for his “silence”.
“Why is Tiwari silent on these killings? Why has he never condemned it? I fail to understand what has stopped him. Though I am like a small mouth organ in this large bandwagon, I will make my voice heard by returning the award,” he said.
Yesterday, Devy returned his award to express solidarity with the other writers who have registered a similar protest in recent days. Twelve more authors today decided to return their Sahitya Akademi awards.