Poet Jayanta Mahapatra wants to return Padma Shri against ‘growing moral asymmetry’


Internationally acclaimed poet and litterateur, Jayanta Mahapatra on Sunday said that he planned to return the Padma Shri award as a mark of dissent against the “growing moral asymmetry” seen in the country.

“I have already sent a letter to the President Pranab Mukherjee humbly expressing my desire to return the civilian honour of ‘Padma Shri’ as a mark of protest,” Mahapatra was quoted by PTI.

The octogenarian poet, who was presented Padma Shri in 2009, said in his letter to the President he has stressed that he would “feel ethically impugned if I did not raise my voice in dissent against the growing moral asymmetry that’s visible in our country.”

Calling his voice as small and insignificant, Mahapatra said he was around 88 years of age and a thoughtful debate within himself gave him a justification that what he was doing was right by his own moral standards.

Emphasising that the step taken by him does not point at any form of dishonour for the country, Mahapatra said, “In accordance with my beliefs, I would, as a mark of protest, humbly wish to return the civilian honour of ‘Padma Shri’ which had been bestowed upon me by the President of India in 2009.