Noted writers Nayantara Sahgal and Nand Bhardwaj recently agreed to take back their Sahitya Akademi awards, the Hindustan Times reported Friday.
According to the report, Sahgal, one of the first to join the ‘award waapsi’ campaign in protest against ‘growing intolerance’ in the country, took her award back after the Sahitya Akademi informed her that there is no provision to return the award.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Sahgal, who had sent back a cheque for Rs 1 lakh to the Akademi, said, “The Akademi wrote a letter to me saying it is against their policy to receive returned award and therefore they are sending back the award. I will use the money for a worthwhile cause and welfare schemes.”
While returning her award last year, Sahgal had said: "The ruling ideology today is a fascist ideology and that is what is worrying me now. We did not have a fascist government until now... I am doing whatever I believe in."
Rajasthani writer Bhardwaj said he was “satisfied” with the Akademi’s response to the outrage among litterateurs over its silence and inaction over the killing of rationalists. “I found the conduct and action of the Akademi satisfactory and appreciate the efforts they have taken and hence I have decided to take back the award,” Bhardwaj told the Hindustan Times.
However, not everyone agrees with Sahgal or Bhardwaj. According to the report, poet Ashok Vajpeyi, who is sticking to the ‘award waapasi’ campaign’s stand, said: “I have received the resolution and the letter from the Akademi but I don’t think that its conduct as an autonomous institution devoted to excellence has been rehabilitated. So I don’t think there is reason enough for me to reconsider the decision of taking the award back.”
Sahitya Akademi President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari hopes that more writers and poets will take back their awards in light of the Akademi’s October 23, 2015, resolution condemning incidents of violence against writers.