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Authors protest after Maharashtra government revokes award for book by a Maoist leader

The award given to the Marathi translation of a book based on a Maoist leader’s prison diaries was revoked by the Maharashtra government on Tuesday.

In order to recommend and shortlist books for the state award, the review committee established by the Maharashtra Literature Society Board has also been dissolved, citing administrative grounds.

Many renowned authors have returned their awards in protest following the decision, which has caused a ‘award wapsi.’

Anand Karandikar and Sharad Baviskar have declared they will return their prizes in opposition to the government’s choice.

Pradnya Pawar, a writer, resigned from her position as a board member of the Maharashtra State Literature Society in protest of the state government’s decision to revoke her award. She clarified that when an award was revoked, the government did not do so in a democratic manner. In addition, she continued, it is disrespectful to the experts who were part of the committee appointed to make the recommendation.

Nirja, a different author and representative on the State Literary Board, has also submitted her resignation to the Marathi Bhasha division. She claimed that the choice to revoke the award was restricting the freedom and rights of the author and the hired experts.

Anagha Lele translated the book ‘Fractured Freedom: Prison Memoirs’ by expelled CPI (Maoist) Politburo member Kobad Ghandy into Marathi, and it won the Late Yashwantrao Chavan State Literary Award (Year 2021).

During last year’s Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, the book won a prestigious literary award. However, the current Shinde-Fadnavis government has mandated an investigation into how the selection committee chose this book for the category’s shortlist.


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