Kum.Vee. returns award amid drama

Writer Kum. Veerabhadrappa talking over the phone to Sahitya Akademi Secretary K. Sreenivasa Rao at the Regional Centre of the akademi on the Central College campus in Bengaluru on Thursday. Writer Chandrashekar Patil is at right.— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

It was amid high drama that writer Kum. Veerabhadrappa returned the award — conferred on him in 2008 for his novel Aramane by the Sahitya Akademi — on Thursday, in protest against “growing intolerance and the threat to the spirit of the Constitution and secularism”.

When Mr. Veerabhadrappa, accompanied by fellow writer Chandrashekar Patil, came to the Regional Centre of the akademi on the Central College campus, Secretary of the centre Mahabaleshwara Bhat refused to receive the award. Seeming perplexed, he said he had not received any direction either from the President or the Secretary of akademi on it.

Mr. Bhat first said the award should be returned only in Delhi. When Mr. Veerabhadrappa refused, Mr. Bhat contacted Secretary of the akademi in Delhi K. Sreenivasa Rao and appealed to the writer to talk to him. Mr. Rao tried to talk the write out of his decision, but failed. Finally, Mr. Veerabhadrappa left the citation and a cheque for Rs. 50,000 on Mr. Bhat’s table and left the place.

Speaking to presspersons on the Central College campus, after being refused permission to speak in the akademi office, Mr. Veerabhadrappa said litterateurs expected the akademi to protest the murder of scholar M.M. Kalburgi. “But we are deeply hurt by the ‘divine’ silence of the akademi,” he said.

He said that Kulbargi served as a member of the executive committee of the institution and was honoured for his contribution to literature. “Akademi should have condemned the murder of Kalburgi in strong words,” he said. Mr. Veerabhadrappa also citied the Dadri incident, where a Muslim man was lynched allegedly for consuming beef, as proof of growing intolerance.

More writers join protest

In Kalaburagi on Thursday, at a seminar on the life and works of Kulbargi, eminent writers R.K. Hudgi, K. Neela and Kashinath Ambalgi returned their awards as a mark of protest against the killing of scholar, the Dadri incident and communal and fascist forces raising their ugly head to disturb peace in society.

Quote Hanger

In the changed political situation, where the State and the Centre are mute spectators of all the atrocities by fundamentalist forces, writers, rationalists and intellectuals are living under fear.

Kum. Veerabhadrappa, writer

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 7:18:40 AM |

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