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Uday Bhembre bags Sahitya Akademi award

NEW DELHI: Playwright and novelist Cyrus Mistry’s English novel ‘Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer’ and K R Meera’s ‘Aarachar’ in Malayalam are among the works that have won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for this year.

The two works of fiction are among the four novels and six books, each of short stories and poetry, two books each of essays, criticism and plays and one of memoirs, that have won, the literary body said here on Thursday.

Veteran Konkani writer Uday Bhembre bagged the Sahitya Academy award for his Konkani book ‘Karnaparv’.

“The awards were recommended by distinguished jury members representing 23 Indian languages and approved by the executive board of the Akademi which met today under the chairmanship of president, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari,” Akademi’s secretary K Sreenivasarao said.

The award comprising an engraved plaque, a shawl and a cheque of Rs 1 lakh will be presented to the writers at a function on February 16 next year during Festival of Letters, the annual festival of the Akademi. The award in Bengali is to be announced at a later date.

The Akademi also announced Bhasha Samman to writer and scholar Shrikant Bahulkar in recognition of his contribution to classical and medieval literature (western region).

The announcement of the awards comes in the backdrop of 39 writers returning their awards in protest against the Akademi’s alleged silence on the murder of fellow writer and Sahitya Akademi board member M M Kalburgi as well as against the growing “communal atmosphere” following the Dadri lynching incident.

“We have received cheques by 35 authors but the Akademi has decided not to deposit the cheques to establish its refusal to accept the return of awards,” Rao said.

Stating that the Akademi has decided not to take back the awards returned by the writers, he said, “The Sahitya Akademi is an institute for the writers, by the writers and of the writers. They are respected writers and are like the family members of the Akademi. They can never be separated from the institution and the Akademi has decided that it will not take back the awards.”

About the remaining four authors, the Akademi said Bengali Sahitya Puraskar winner Mandakranta Sen had approached it for its account details in order to return her prize money, but the Akademi did not divulge details.

“Yuva Puraskar awardee Aman Sethi had come down to the Akademi office here to return the cheque, but the Akademi did not accept it,” Rao said.

The secretary said, “No institute thinks about taking back awards while conferring them. If they do, then there is no point of giving them awards in the first place. Giving awards is a celebration.”

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