The Akademi president accused the writer of being publicity hungry

We will seek publicity until Kalburgis killers are brought to book Kannada award wapsi writer
news Award Wapsi Sunday, January 10, 2016 - 16:11

The debate on ‘Award Wapsi’ as it is has been called by detractors, has taken a new turn in Kannada literary circles with a Kannada writer saying that he would continue to seek “publicity” until writer MM Kalburgi’s killers are brought to book.

A day after he declined to accept the Karnataka Sahitya Akadmi award for his book on the stories of street dwellers, writer Dayanand TK has said that he would continue to seek “publicity” until the Kalburgi’ killers are apprehended.

On Friday, Dayanand declined to accept the Academi award for Rasthe Nakshatra, citing the failure of the Karnataka government in delivering justice to Kalburgi, who was murdered in his house in Dharward city in broad daylight on August 30.

Read: Kannada writer declines Sahitya Akademy award over failure to find Kalburgi’s killers

On Saturday, the Akademi held the award ceremony in Bengaluru, where its president Malathi Pattanshetty said: “It was only a publicity tactic on the part of writer TK Dayanand to tell the media that he was declining the Sahitya Akademi Award just a day before the ceremony was scheduled.”

She later told Kannada daily Prajavani that the awards for 2015 had been announced on September 19 and that Dayanand “remained silent” even when the date of the award ceremony was finalised and communicated to him three weeks ago.

“Eight days ago, the biodata of the writers was sought, and he sent that too. Even then, he gave no hint of declining the award. But on Friday evening, he sent a letter to the Akademi along with statements to the media. It was not right to tell the media before informing the Akademi,” Pattanshetty told Prajavani.

Responding to these remarks, Dayanand put up a Facebook post on Sunday, stating that his only response to Pattanshetty, who had “denigrated” their refusal to accept the award was: “(We will continue to seek) the publicity of our anger against the government for its failure to bring to justice the killers of Kalburgi, who was a guiding force to all of us. Until then, we will not pander to the denigration directed at us by the government’s stooges.”

He ended his Facebook post with:

“ಬರಹಗಾರರು ಸತ್ರೆ ಸಾಯ್ಲಿ ಬಿಡಿ, ಅವ್ರಿಂದ ಮೂರುಕಾಸಿನ ಪ್ರಯೋಜನ ಇಲ್ಲ "ಅನ್ನೋ ಥರದ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕುರ್ಚಿ ಸಂಭ್ರಮಕ್ಕೆ ಹೃತ್ಪೂರ್ವಕ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು.”

This roughly translates to mean that they wished all the very best to those who held on to their government positions with the attitude that the death of writers was nothing to worry about.

Senior writer, researcher and professor Rahmat Tarikere too declined the award on Saturday morning, the day of the ceremony, Prajavani reported.

These developments have set the Kannada literary world abuzz, with writers, poets, researchers, theatre persons and intellectuals being forced to take a position.

When Siddaramaiah became Chief Minister, there were high expectations of him given his socialist background and close ties with some of tallest figures of Karnataka’s cultural sphere. However, with no visible progress in the investigation into Kalburgi’s murder after four months, several writers have expressed their anger and disappointment, causing embarrassment to the state government.

When Dayanand announced that he was declining to accept the award, Home Minister Parameshwara told The Economic Times that the government was taking all possible measures to ensure that Kalburgi’s killers were punished.

A number of Kannada writers have returned both the state and central Sahitya Akademi awards in protest of the government’s failure to apprehend Kalburgi’s murderers as well as the larger atmosphere of “rising intolerance” in the country, and sometimes both.

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