New Delhi: Eminent author Vikram Seth on Wednesday, Oct 21 said that the decision by various authors to return their Sahitya Akademi awards was not a concerted action but courageous acts of protest against an institution which they looked up to defend their rights of free speech.
“I don’t think it was a concerted effort in this giving back about writers giving back their awards. It is ironic that an institution with such a wonderful history and such an august institution not only does not stand up for writers who otherwise lead such lonely professional lives, but it also admits openly that it was under pressure,” the 63- year-old author said.
Seth himself a Sahitya Akademi award winning author was participating in a discussion after the launch of his book of poetry, “The Summer Requiem”.
Seth said he had heard about fellow poet Keki N Daruwalla had written to the Sahitya Akademi chair after the killings of writer M M Kalburgi and others but failed to get a reply.
“I heard that he only got a telephone call stating that there was pressure (on the institution).” “Pressure? Pressure not to say that the murder of Kalburgi or Pansare was wrong? Pressure not to speak out against or attempt to gag people who speak their minds? What kind of pressure is this?” Seth asked. The poet was in conversation with David Davidar of Aleph Book Company, which had released the poetry book.