Wednesday 21 October 2020

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Culture | Literature

Goa's SA winner writers planning joint strategy on killings of rationalists

 

National award winning writers in Goa are planning a joint strategy rather than individually returning their national literary awards in protest of government inaction over the murders of writers and threat to freedom of expression in the country.

Datta Damodar Naik and N Shivdas, two Sahitya Academy award winners of Goa, have taken initiative in convening a meeting of national award winning writers to plan out a joint strategy.

The meeting would be held at GCCI hall on Wednesday, 14 October at 4 pm, following which they would announce the decision on Thursday at a press conference.

Besides 20 living national award winners of Goa in Konkani literature, the duo has also invited other eminent writers living in Goa.

These eminent writers include Goa’s Padmashree recipient Maria Aurora Couto as well as other writers of national stature like Sudhir Kakar and Amitav Ghosh, who are settled in Goa.

“The meeting would discuss the ongoing situation in the country, which threatens freedom of expression of the writer as well as religious harmony and secularism, which led to the killings of three  rationalists – Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Com Govind Pansare and M M Kalburgi”, said Naik.

N Shivdas, who was to announce returning of his award today, joined the bandwagon of his fellow writers and held back his decision till the meeting is held.

“If decided, I will return my citation as well as Rs one lakh”, he told the media.

It all began last week with Uday Prakash (Hindi) returning the Sahitya Academy award, followed by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s niece Nayantara Sehgal (English) and Hindi poet Ashok Vajpayee returning the awards.

Since then, altogether 15 writers have either returned the awards or announced their decision to return.

In addition, three Malayalam writers - K Satchidanandan, PK Parakkadavu and KS Ravikumar as well as Kannada writer Arvind Malgatti  have also quit the membership of Sahitya Academy posts.

The rest of the writers are Sarah Joseph (Malayalam), Rahaman Abbas (Urdu), Krishna Sobti (Hindi) Shashi Deshpande & Aman Sethi (English), Veerbhadrappa (Kannada), Gurubachan Bhallar, Ajmer Aulakh, Atanjit & Canada-based Waryam Sandhu (Punjabi), Ganesh Devi (Gujarati) and Ghulam Nabi Khayal (Kashmiri).

The Goa-based Konkani national award winning writers, who are yet to decide their strategy, are Damodar Mauzo, Pundalik Naik, Prakash Padgaonkar, Ramesh Veluskar, Meena Kakodkar, Nagesh Karmali, Mahabaleshwar Sail, Dilip Borkar, Madhav Borkar, Hema Naik, Jayanti Naik, N Shivdas, Datta D Naik, Devidas Kadam, Ashok Kamat, Jess Fernandes, Arun Sakhardande, Kashinath Shamba Lolayekar and Tukaram Shet.

The rest of the winners have either expired or not living in Goa.


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Why don't these people write and talk about the issues rather then simply join the bandwagon. Of course, there are awardees and writers with strong political ties on both sides of the aisles, so the whole thing is quite muddled and somewhat politically colorful.

But nobody should be allowed to curtail and control freedom of expression, and the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

In any case, by returning the award some of these extinct writers might become more famous then they were when they accepted those awards :-)

 
Rajeev Kamat , UAE

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