India: Writers returning Sahitya Akademi awards is a landmark moment…more should do so: Gopal Gandhi

Former Bengal governor and Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Gopalkrishna Gandhi has hailed writers for returning their Sahitya Akademi awards as a landmark moment. In an interview to Sagarika Ghose, he also indicated that if more writers gave up their awards it would be a powerful protest against the murders of rationalists and threats to free speech.

Your take on writers giving up Sahitya Akademi Award?

I don’t remember an earlier occasion when without a formal conference resolution, writers have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards.This seems to be a new awakening of their powers beyond the writing of their works.They have spoken not just for the power of protest but also for the power of dissent.When conformism is the preferred value of the political establishment, when duty and discipline are stressed as signs of patriotism, the essential element of the free mind, the dissenter’s right to be himself, has come under danger. This has been protected by the writers. If more do it, it’d be very powerful.

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