Sahgal returns award money

Updated - March 24, 2016 06:46 pm IST

Published - October 12, 2015 01:51 am IST - NEW DELHI:

After returning her Sahitya Akademi award last week as a mark of protest against the increasing climate of intolerance in the country, author Nayantara Sahgal has now returned the award money.

“I have considered the award a high honour, but my credibility had been established decades before 1986 through my long career as a writer ... The award in 1986 would perhaps have been Rs. 25,000, but not more than Rs. 50,000,” she said in a letter to the President of the akademi, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari. “In consultation with Ashok Vajpeyi, who has also returned his award, I am enclosing a cheque for one lakh rupees.”

Ms. Sahgal has drawn Mr. Tiwari’s attention to other writers who have returned their awards and relinquished their posts in the akademi to show their anguish at the institution’s silence in the backdrop of the murder and intimidation of writers and the threat that hangs over dissent and debate. “Has the Sahitya Akademi, like Pontius Pilate, washed its hands of its responsibility to safeguard our Constitutional right to freedom of speech,” Ms. Saghal asked.

Following Ms. Sahgal, several writers have returned their literary honours while others have resigned from their posts in the akademi.

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