Theatre personality Raghunandana refuses Akademi award

S. Raghunandana

S. Raghunandana   | Photo Credit: Youtube screen grab / Muraleedhara Upadhya

Theatre personality S. Raghunandana has declined the Sangeet Natak Akademi award for 2018 announced on Tuesday, as a mark of protest against the prevailing political atmosphere.

Coming down on “mob lynching in the name of God and religion” and “ throttling the voices of conscientious intellectuals and activists”, he said he could “not accept this award when such injustice was being done to these dharmamargis in my country in the name of the country.”

In a statement he released on Wednesday, he said the powers-that-be are, directly or indirectly, responsible for these “deadly acts of murder and violence.” He added, “An attempt is being made to put in place systems that will teach lessons of hate and irrationality to students everywhere, from those in institutions of the highest education to those in schools and colleges. The very meaning of what it is to be an Indian, and the adage Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, are being distorted, and erased.”

Raising the issue of activists arrested for sedition, he said, “Young people such as Kanhaiya Kumar who should shape the future of India and the world at large are facing charges of sedition and criminal conspiracy. Others – intellectuals and social activists – are facing trial under UAPA. Most of them have not even got bail and are spending time in prison. These are people who have always stood up for the cause of the most exploited and downtrodden of our country and everywhere else... Yet they are in prison.”

“Our rulers have decided that the best way to silence the poor and the powerless is to throttle the voices of these conscientious intellectuals and activists,” he said and added this had always been the case, regardless of party, or those in power. On his refusal to accept the award, he said, “This is not a protest. It comes out of despair, a helpless inability to accept the award.”

Puppetry artist Anupama Hosakere and Bharatanatyam dancer Radha Sridhar are others who have been named for Sangeet Natak Akademi awards for 2018. Singer and musician M.D. Pallavi has been awarded Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2020 12:31:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/raghunandana-refuses-akademi-award/article28530285.ece

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