Award reclaiming a conspiracy ahead of UP election: Poet Uday Prakash

Jaipur, Jan 23 (IANS) Noted poet Uday Prakash said on Saturday that the BJP government government at the centre is trying to scuttle the ˜award wapsi™ movement foreseeing the Uttar Pradesh elections which are due early next year. Uday Prakash was the first writer to return his Sahitya Akademi award, sparking a nation-wide debate on intolerance.

Speaking to IANS on the sidelines of the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, Uday Prakash said that the recent decision of some of the writers to take back the award smacks of politics. The poet said that the suicide of a Hyderabad University student has maligned the image of the government and it is trying to make it up by convincing writers to retreive their awards.
“The suicide of the Hyderabad student had damaged the image of the BJP government. Ruling it ˜savarna’ Hindus are turning it into a caste war. I also foresee that since the Uttar Pradesh elections are due, the government is wooing the writers to take back the award,” said Uday Prakash, adding that he wouldn’t reclaim his award.
The poet also said that the decision of some of the writers to reclaim the award will dampen the civil society movement, and felt that they could have delayed the announcement.
“The decision of some of the writers to take back the award came a bit early. This is going to weaken the civil society movement. The writers should have reviewed whether anything substantial was done by the government or not,” he said.
Citing the suicide of a Dalit student in Hyderabad, he asserted that intolerance is still high in the country, and writers have to address this issue.
“It’s not just about Sahitya Akademi, intolerance is happening in Hyderabad, and other institutions across the country. Writers can’t keep quiet in this atmosphere,” he felt.
The Sahitya Akademi claimed on Thursday that two writers, including Nayantara Sahgal, have agreed to reclaim their awards. However, Sahgal has denied this.
(Preetha Nair can be contacted at [email protected])