Kobad Ghandy book row: Author Anand Karandikar returns award, Pradnya Pawar resigns from Sahitya Sanskriti Mandal

Karandikar's announcement came after the Maharashtra government withdrew an award given to a Marathi translation of the memoir of alleged Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy by author Anagha Lele.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 02:04 PM IST
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Author Pradnya Daya Pawar (left) resigned from the government-run literature body, whereas author Anand Karandikar (right) returned his award. | Web

A similar row to "Award Wapsi" has erupted in Maharashtra after Marathi author Anand Karandikar on Tuesday declared to return an award in protest against the Maharashtra government. Karandikar's announcement came after the Maharashtra government withdrew an award given to a Marathi translation of the memoir of alleged Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy by author Anagha Lele.

Author Pradnya Daya Pawar has also resigned from the membership of Sahitya Sanskriti Mandal under the authority of the state government, protesting the withdrawal of the award.

The Late Yashwantrao Chavan Literature Award 2021 was announced on December 6 by the government’s Marathi Language department. Anagha Lele was awarded the prestigious prize for her translation of Ghandy’s “Fractured Freedom: A Prison Memoir”.

The decision by the Maharashtra government to withdraw the award came after criticism on social media because of Ghandy’s alleged Maoist links.

The decision of the selection committee had been reversed for “administrative reasons”, and the award (for Lele), which included a cash prize of Rs One lakh, has been withdrawn, a Maharashtra government's Government Resolution (order) issued on Monday stated.

The GR also stated that the committee has also been scrapped.

Terming the Maharashtra government's decision to take back the award of Lele for the Marathi translation of Ghandy’s book as “absolute gagging of freedom of thoughts and freedom of expression”, Karandikar decided to return his award to the Maharashtra State Literature and Culture Board.

Anand Karandikar was also selected for the Late Yashwantrao Chavan Literature Award 2021 under the “general literature” category for his Marathi book titled ‘Vaicharik Ghusalan’. Karandikar, talking to news agency PTI, said 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 one lakh,” Karandikar said.

The renowned author, questioning the logic behind the government’s decision to withdraw Lele's award, said a couple of editions of Ghandy’s book are already published and the book is also out for sale physically as well as online. 

Pradnya Daya Pawar, who was a member of Sahitya Sanskriti Mandal, submitted her resignation by writing a letter to the Principal Secretary of Marathi Language Department.

"Under the Yashwantrao Chavan State Literary Award, the book `'Fractured Freedom'' written by Kobad Ghandy and translated by Angha Lele was given the Tarkatirtha Lakshmanasastri Joshi Award in the translation category by the State Govt. However, it has been withdrawn by the government by issuing a GR. Also, the review committee that recommended the book for the award has also been dismissed with a unilateral decision. I am of the opinion that this has defied the selection committee of experts and more importantly the democratic process. I am submitting my resignation in protest," Pradnya Daya Pawar wrote in her letter.


(With inputs from agncies)

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