KOLKATA: Some eminent writers and Sahitya Akademi award winners from West Bengal today did not agree that returning awards was the correct way to protest against Dadri lynching and attacks against rationalists, saying protests should be organised on a mass scale.
Veteran Bengali poet Nirendranath Chakraborty, who won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1974 for "Ulanga Raja" described the return of the award by writers and poets as a "very feeble form" of protest against a matter which is "highly condemnable".
"What has happened is highly condemnable... But I don't think this is the right kind of protest for such demeaning actions. I don't agree with this manner of protest. It's a very feeble form of protest and seems to be like a child's play," Chakraborty told PTI.
According to the 87-year-old poet, because of the fact that Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous body, return of awards bestowed by it will not address their concern.
Instead, he said, protests should be organised on a mass scale involving people irrespective of their age and class making them understand why and what for they should be involved in such demonstrations.
Echoing Chakraborty's words, another Sahitya Academi award winning poet Shankha Ghosh said he did not agree to returning awards, but "there are other ways to lodge your protest".
"I feel those who are returning their awards could have protested in a different way as Sahitya Akademi is not a government body," he told PTI.
"And the awards were not given by the present government... Give me a reason why I should return an award which was given to me some 40 years ago?" the 83-year-old poet, who received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1977 for "Babarer Prarthana", wanted to know.
Noted writer Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, who was given the Sahitya Akademi in 1988 for his novel "Manabjamin", described the return of awards as a 'meaningless' form of protest.
"I respect people's feelings of protest but returning awards is absolutely meaningless... I feel there will not be any effect by this kind of protest... People have received awards long back," he said.
Writer Samaresh Majumder who won his Sahitya Akademi award for novel "Kaalbela" in 1984, reiterated the views of other writers and said the Akademi was an autonomous institution and the government had no role in the selection of recipients of the award.
"So I do not think this is the right kind of protest happening throughout the country. People have to regroup and organise a mass-scale protest against what is going on all around us. That will be a proper way of protest," Majumdar felt.
Meanwhile, noted Bengali poet Mandakranta Sen has decided to return her Sahitya Akademi's Young Writers' Award to protest against communal attacks in the country.
"This is my mark of protest against what happened in Dadri and the attacks on writers and rationalists in other parts of the country," Sen, who was given the Swarnajayanti Special Sahitya Akademi Young Writers award in 2004, said.