Undeclared emergency in country, says Marathi writer Nanda Khare who refused Sahitya Akademi award 

Khare highlighted while words remain the same, soul of the Constitution has been changed

Marathi writer Nanda Khare
Marathi writer Nanda Khare
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Vishwadeepak

Marathi writer Nanda Khare who refused to accept the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel “Udya” published in 2014 calls himself “broadly leftist” and believes that a writer must have an ideology.

As per critics, his novel, Udya deals with a very interesting theme which nuances how humans have been enslaved by machines, particularly by the ones that are prone to surveillance of one’s personal life. Interestingly, Khare whose real name is Anant Yashwant Khare does not use social media.

Recalling iconic Hindi poet Muktibodh who also wrote in Marathi besides Hindi, and who is considered one of the pioneers of modern Hindi poetry, Khare said literature is not born in the sky. “Therefore, it is a political act”.

When asked why he has not accepted the highest literary award after Gyanpeeth (Jnanpith) Award in literature, Khare politely said, “I have got what I had to…I received people’s affection, their respect. I have stopped taking awards for the last four years”.

Khare who is considered one of the most prestigious and respected Marathi writers though avoided the word “intolerance” during the conversation, he emphasized that the changes that took place (over the last few years) in society and culture are “dangerous”.

“We have become more uncivilized, uncultured. Earlier it was not so. Despite differences in opinion, ideology people had regards for each other.” In response to “have we become more intolerant ?”, Khare recalled his father who lived in Nagpur, and said, “He was a good friend of RSS leader Balasaheb Deoras and famous CPI leader AB Bardhan but nobody had problem with that.”

Balasaheb Deoras and Bardhan both were born and brought up in Nagpur where RSS’ headquarter is located.

On the question of India’s down sliding in the parameter of Democracy, and on the current socio-political situation, Nanda who started his career as an engineer commented, “It seems words remain the same, but the soul of the Constitution has been changed”.

Talking about Soma Sen, an English professor who has been incarcerated in Bhima Koregaon case, Nanda said, “Laws like UAPA should be repealed. Though it is not easy to do so.”

“I have seen Emergency days also but there is an undeclared emergency in the country and it is more dangerous,” added the septuagenarian. On his refusal of the award, former president of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan Vasant Abaji Dahake, who was one of the three experts who chose the awardees was quoted as saying by the media, “None of us knew that he had stopped accepting awards. So, we selected him. Sahitya Academi doesn’t seek a writer’s consent before making a selection.”

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