Bengali poet Mandakranta Sen, who recently returned her Sahitya Akademi award, on Monday said the Akademi has written to her requesting she take it back, but that she will follow through with the ‘award wapsi’.
“My stand remains the same. I still refuse to take it back. Even though the Akademi has condemned the killings of writers, the atmosphere of intolerance in the country hasn’t changed. I have given it up,” Sen told IANS.
Sen said she received the letter on Monday. “I will write to them stating my decision,” Sen added.
Recently, the Akademi condemned the killing of writers and urged those writers who had returned their awards to take them back.
In October, Sen returned her Sahitya Akademi Young Writers Special Award in protest.
Sen received the award in 2004 for her body of work in Bengali poetry. She is the sole recipient from this part of the country to have given back the coveted honour.
She said the Dadri lynching in Uttar Pradesh and attacks on writers across the country were the” direct reasons” for her decision to return the honour and register a protest against the central government.
Sahitya Akademi is India’s National Academy of Letters and dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India.
The appeal by the organisation followed a meeting of the Akademi’s executive board in New Delhi.
In addition to writers, some filmmakers, scientists and historians have given up prestigious honours in protest, over the last few weeks.