Hindi author Namvar Singh bucks the trend, questions writers returning Sahitya Akademi awards

New Delhi, Oct. 17 (ANI): Bucking the trend, well-known author of Hindi books, Professor Namwar Singh, on Saturday questioned other literary icons on why they were returning their Sahitya Akadmi awards on alleged grounds of rising intolerance in the country.

Singh said the awards were not given to them by the Centre, but by the Sahitya Akademi.

“I respect all my colleagues, but they should not have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards. The awards were not given to them by the government, but by the Akademi,” Singh told ANI here.

“The Akademi is not a government body. Rather, it is an autonomous body,” he added.

Singh was also of the view that the protesting writers should have waited for the October 23 meeting of the Sahitya Akademi to deliberate on the issue at hand before taking their extreme steps.

“I feel the writers have taken this decision fitfully, and few people will also question this move as a move to gain publicity,” he added.

“The state government should be held responsible, not the central government,” he said of the protest.

Singh has been chosen for the prestigious Kuvempu Rashtreeya Puraskar this year. The award, which will be presented to him on December 29, includes a cast prize of Rs. five lakhs and a citation. He will receive it at poet Kuvempu’s birthplace from Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Kuppali Venkata Puttappa, popularly known as Kuvempu, was a major poet and prolific writer of the 20th century. His works include 27 collection of poems, 10 literary essays, 12 plays, three collections of short stories, four translations, two biographies, two novels of greater magnitude, one autobiography, one epic and three Khandakaavyas.

Born in a peasant family at Jiwanpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi district, Dr. Namwar Singh was educated at the Banaras Hindu University ( BHU ), obtaining a doctorate in Hindi literature in 1953. He then taught at Banaras and Sagar Universities.

He later worked as a professor and Head of the Hindi Department, Jodhpur University, and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He also served as the vice chancellor of the Wardha-based Mahatma Gandhi International Hindi University in Gujarat. (ANI)

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