Jaipur, Oct 15 (IANS) Well-known Jaipur-based Rajasthani and Hindi writer Nand Bhardwaj on Thursday returned his Sahitya Akademi award in protest against the “rising religious intolerance and attack on freedom of expression”.
In a letter addressed to Sahitya Akademi, Bhardwaj said: “There is a growing concern among writers and intelligentsia against attacks and killing by hardline communal forces and the failure of Sahitya Akademi to stand up for them (the writers).”
“I praise the writers who have returned the awards and I also want to return my award, which I won in 2004 for my Rajasthani novel Samhi Khulto Marag,” Bhardwaj said.
He also sent back the prize money of Rs.50,000 awarded to him.
Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal’s decision last week to return her Sahitya Akademi award over the public lynching in Dadri last month and the murder of rationalists in Maharashtra and Karnataka has triggered a wave of similar reactions from other awardees across the country.