Poet Ashok Vajpeyi returns literary honor, slams ‘dangerous Hindutva’
NEW DELHI (92 News) – After writer Nayantara Sahgal returned her Sahitya Akademi award protesting against what she called a “vicious assault” on India’s diversity and debate, poet Ashok Vajpeyi has also given up the prestigious literary honor.
“It is high time that writers take a stand,” Mr Vajpeyi, a former chairperson of the Lalit Kala Akademi, said.
Nayantara Sahgal, the 88-year-old niece of India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, recorded her protest against the government in a scathing statement titled “Unmaking of India”. In it, she refers to the recent mob killing of a Muslim man over rumors that he had eaten beef, and also the killings of rationalists MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare.
Earlier, Hindi writer Uday Prakash had returned the award. Ashok Vajpeyi said it was rare for a senior English writer like Nayantara Sahgal to take such a strong stand, and it needed support from the writing community.
“The Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) keeps quiet. He is an eloquent Prime Minister who addresses thousands of people, but here writers are being murdered, innocent people are being killed, his ministers are making objectionable statements…Why doesn’t he shut them up?” he told NDTV.