Today , Marathi Journalist , writer and translator Ibrahim Afghan returned his akdemi award making the final figure of 10 in Maharashtra , who have returned their award as a protest over religious intolerance
Marathi poet and feminist Pradnya Daya Pawar is among ten prominent literary figures who have decided to return various awards given to them by the state government to protest against growing religious intolerance, ban on personal freedoms, and killing of rationalists.
Pawar, a former member of the Maharashtra State Literary and Cultural Board, said she had written to the chief minister that she was handing back five awards, including a cash prize of Rs 1.13 lakh.
Writer and editorial advisor of Mukta Shabd magazine Harishchandra Thorat; poets Pravin Bandekar, Veerdhaval Parab and Govind Kajrekar; writers Ganesh Visputay, Sanjay Bhaskar Joshi, Mahendra Kadam and Vasant Patankar; and Yeshu Patil, editor-publisher of Shabd Publication, are protesting in a similar fashion. Some of them are also known for critiquing Marathi books.
“Even at the national level, writers, poets and personalities from different fields have started returning Sahitya Akademi, Padma and other awards,” Pawar said.
“This is not just a token protest. I have written to the chief minister and the culture minister about what we feel about the ban on food choices, killing of rationalists and endorsement of radical religious views in every sector, from education to art.”
Thorat, who has also written to CM Devendra Fadnavis, has announced that he will return two awards and Rs 52,000. He has expressed outrage over the murders of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi, and the Dadri killing.
Pawar said that people must speak up. “If the society continues to remain silent, we will cease to be a democratic nation,” she said. “To keep our country’s core values intact, I appeal to every member of the society to speak up and tell this government that we don’t like what you are doing to us.”
Bandekar and Parab said that they would return the awards given by the state government in 2001 and 2010, respectively, along with certificates, mementos and cash.
Visputay said he was giving back his two awards to protest against the “ban culture” promoted by politicians. He said the stir by writers, poets and other figures would spur the “silent society” to voice its anger. “We want to make a big noise against this calculated silence. This is not the end of the stir. We will come up with a new strategy against the culture of bans,” he said.
Joshi also said that he had been left enraged by the restrictions on individual freedoms and violation of democratic rights. “This protest is not a knee-jerk reaction. This is a rational response to the government’s actions. It is not against a particular government; opposition parties should not view it as their victory,” he said.
Bandekar, a recipient of Indira Sant Award, said: “We cannot sit silently and watch what’s going around us, which is very shocking. We have to express our disagreement with the political and social discourse now, especially when the government is trying to paint only one colour in this country.”
Patil said the protest should serve as a wake-up call for the government.