Shashi Deshpande quits Sahitya Akademi governing body

Award winning author Shashi Deshpande has submitted her resignation letter from the organization’s General Council, to the Akademi President Dr Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari , out of “a sense of strong disappointment” with the Akademi’s failure to protest the murder of MM Kalburgi.

Professor Kalburgi was a noted scholar, and a good and honest human being; he was also a Sahitya Akademi awardee and a member of its General Council until recently.

She said “I do this with regret, and with the hope that the Akademi will go beyond organising programmes, and giving prizes, to being involved with crucial issues that affect Indian writers’ freedom to speak and write.”

Deshpande, a recipient of Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel That Long Silence in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2009 said “If the Akademi cannot stand up against such an act of violence against a writer, if the Akademi remains silent about this attack on one of its own, what hope do we have of fighting the growing intolerance in our country? A few tame condolence meetings here and there for a member of our community cannot serve the purpose”.

Deshpande said the Sahitya Akademi “should speak for the large community of Indian writers, must stand up and protest the murder of Professor Kalburgi and all such acts of violent intolerance”.