The Maharashtra government's decision to withdraw an award for the Marathi translation of alleged Maoist ideologue Kobad Ghandy's memoir has stoked a row.
After receiving the flak, Maharashtra minister Deepak Kesarkar has defended the state government's decision to reverse the award, saying giving the prize would have meant the government's "stamp of approval" for Naxalism.
Row over the award to book's translation
The decision to give the award to the book's translation 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reversed for "administrative reasons", and the award (for Lele), which included a cash prize of Rs one lakh, has been withdrawn. The committee has also been scrapped.
Protest by literacy circle
In the wake of the withdrawal of the award, the chairman of the state government's Marathi language committee and four members of the literary board have resigned in protest against the "one-sided" decision.
At least two authors- Sharad Baviskar and Anand Karandikar- who were selected for the Late Yashwantrao Chavan Literature Award 2021 like Lele in different categories have declined to accept their awards in protest.
Karandikar on Tuesday told PTI he would return his award and termed the withdrawal of the prize for Lele by the government as the "absolute gagging of freedom of thoughts and freedom of expression".
Who is Kobad Ghandy? Know all about the former Maoist ideologue and his book 'Fractured Freedom: A Prison Memoir'
Kobad Ghandy was born in 1951 to Nergis and Adi and hails from a wealthy Parsi family in Mumbai.
He is an Indian communist activist and ideologue.
Ghandy is an alumnus of the prestigious Doon School and St Xavier’s College Mumbai.
After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Mumbai in 1968 he went to London to qualify as a chartered accountant.
The character of 'Govind Suryavanshi' portrayed by Om Puri in the 2012 Bollywood film Chakravyuh, is said to be based upon Kobad Ghandy's life.
He was arrested on the accusation of being a politburo member of the underground Communist Party of India (Maoist) in 2009. He was acquitted and released after almost a decade in jail in 2019.
His book "Fractured Freedom", which is a part memoir, part prison diary, speaks about the journey of Ghandy and his partner, Anuradha to a difficult destiny.
Having experienced Indian prisons for over a decade, he tells of his long incarceration, of his fellow prisoners, and of his experiences with the Indian legal system.
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