Sahitya Akademi award winner and Telugu writer M. Bhoopal Reddy has announced that he is going to return his award to express solidarity with fellow awardees who have already done so to protest the “growing intolerance in the country” as manifest in incidents such as the murder of writer M.M. Kalburgi.
Mr Bhoopal Reddy, who won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book for children Uggupalu in 2011, is the first Telugu writer to declare his intention to return the award.
The writer told The Hindu that he has decided to also return his Ugadi Purakaram award given by the Telangana Government to register his protest against the “indifference” of State Government to the growing number of farmer suicides.
“They have increased since the new Government came to power, but the Government is more interested in spending money on building temples and other insignificant things,” he said.
Mr. Bhoopal Reddy said recent ‘encounter’ killings in Telangana left him very disturbed, particularly the death of the son of a friend. “The way he was tortured caused me a tremendous amount of pain. I cannot be at peace until such killings are stopped,” he said.
Mr Reddy, 56, said his sympathy with farmers stemmed from his own origins.
He was born in a poor agricultural family that owned two acres of land. His father was a constable with the Excise Department.
He had his education in Hyderabad and did his post-graduation in Telugu from Osmania University and got his doctorate for a treatise on the poems and writings of Potlapalli