Marathi author Anand Karandikar on Tuesday announced that he would return his award in protest against the Maharashtra government withdrawing an award for a Marathi translation of the memoir of alleged Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy by author Anagha Lele.
Karandikar said the government's move to take back Lele’s award for the Marathi translation of Ghandy's book is the "absolute gagging of freedom of thoughts and freedom of expression".
The government's Marathi Language department on December 6 announced the Late Yashwantrao Chavan Literature Award 2021 for Lele for her translation of Ghandy's Fractured Freedom: A Prison Memoir.
The decision came in for criticism on social media because of Ghandy's alleged Maoist links.
A Government Resolution (order) issued on Monday stated the decision of the selection committee had been reversed for "administrative reasons", and the award (for Lele), which included a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, has been withdrawn.
The committee has also been scrapped, the GR added.
Karandikar, selected for the Late Yashwantrao Chavan Literature Award 2021 under the "general literature" category for his Marathi book titled Vaicharik Ghusalan, told PTI though he did not agree with Ghandy's line of thinking the latter has all rights to express his views in democracy and that Lele merely translated his book.
"I have written a letter to the Maharashtra State Literature and Culture Board informing them that I want to return my award and the money worth Rs 1 lakh,” he said.
Karandikar questioned the logic behind the government's decision to take back Lele's award, saying a couple of editions of Ghandy's book are already published and the book is also out for sale physically as well as online.