Malayalam writer Sarah Joseph sticks to her stand on award

Thrissur (Kerala), Oct 23 (IANS) Malayalam writer Sara Joseph, who early this month returned her Sahitya Akademi honour to protest its silence at attacks on writers, said she will not reconsider her decision even as the Akademi for the first time on Friday condemned the killings and urged the writers to take back the awards.

“The resolution that has come is just a face saving measure, while the larger issues still stay and hence my decision stands and is not going to change,” Joseph told media here, after hearing the outcome of the meeting of the Akademi in New Delhi.

The 69-year-old writer, who hails from Kerala’s cultural capital, got the prestigious award for her novel “Aalahayude Penmakkal (Daughters of God the father)” first published in 1999.

In a related development, Malayalam writer P.K. Parakkadavu, who quit the Akademi’s general council for the same reason, told the media that he will in no way reconsider his decision.

“It was vacated with a valid reason and it was not done to return to the post. The country is passing through difficult times and a mere resolution is not going to help and I am not going to return,” he said.

Several litterateurs have returned their Akademi awards to protest primarily against the attacks by some Hindutva groups on writers and thinkers like M.M. Kalburgi.

The writers also cited the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that he ate beef as an example of growing intolerance in the country.

Kalburgi was killed in August this year followed by a series of protests by writers over growing religious intolerance across the country, but the Akademi has been silent till date.

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