Renowned Urdu poet Munawwar Rana shocked the nation on Sunday by returning his Sahitya Akademi award along with the cheque of Rs 1 lakh on live TV.
While taking part in a discussion on ABP news, Rana announced he was returning the award and the prize money adding that he will never accept the government award in future.
Rana, a popular name in contemporary Urdu poetry and famous for his ghazals dedicated to motherhood, said his decision had emanated from the current goings on in the country.
“I come from Rae Bareli, politics runs through the street drains in my city but I never cared for it,” Rana said.
“Writers and litterateurs have been associated with one party or the other. Some are linked with Congress while others are alleged to be linked with the BJP.”
“I am a Muslim and some may label me as a Pakistani. Many areas in this country do not have an electricity connection but Muslims here are linked to Dawood Ibrahim,” the poet said.
Rana, 62, who was awarded the Sahitya Akademi in 2014 for his book ‘Shahdaba’, had earlier told jantakareporter.com that he would not return his award as doing so would not solve the issue of growing religious intolerance in India.
He had said, “I’m not in favour of returning my awards. That’s where I differ. Mere maanna yeah hai ki yeah itne beghairat log hain ki in par farq nahi padta hai. Just think about it. An innocent man is killed by a mob of 100 people and our prime minister loses his ability to speak. Our chief minister is frightened to visit the village because he doesn’t want to anger Hindus. Therefore he invites the victims family to Lucknow to provide help. It has become a political game.”
On Sunday he said, “I vow not to accept any government award in future, from whatever government is in power,” he said.
In last one month, at least 34 writers including Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Keki N Daruwallah, Uday Prakash have announced their decision to hand over Sahitya awards protesting incidents like the killing of fellow writers MM Kalburgi and the Dadri lynching incidents among others.