BENGALURU: Revered Dalit writer, thinker and novelist Devanur Mahadeva returned his Sahitya Akademi and Padmashri awards on Saturday, becoming the first public figure to do so after the Bihar election results.
Amidst protests against Tipu Jayanthi celebrations in his home state Karnataka and death threats to Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad, Mahadeva said the principles of freedom of expression, tolerance and social justice on which India had gained independence were tottering now. now. In a reference to the march taken out by actor Anupam Kher and others, the writer said: “I had kept quiet all this while, even as others were returning their awards. But when a bunch of artistes took out a procession supporting the Centre, I am not able to keep my awards anymore. It distresses me that I cannot return all the posts I got after winning these awards, also.”
Mahadeva said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should keep in mind the words of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharaf: “Sayeed, Lakhvi were our heroes as long as they fought for the freedom of Kashmir. Once religious intolerance came into their fight, it became terrorism, which is finally taking toll of their own people.” The writer further said he was returning his awards to remind the PM the words of a yogi who said: “Killing in the name of the God of Justice and Religion will not be forgiven ..