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Nayantara Sahgal’s Name Withdrawn from Marathi Literary Meet, Raj Thackeray Expresses Regret

By January 7, 2019No Comments

Source : News18

Sahgal, a Sahitya Akademi awardee, was at the forefront of the 2015 ‘award wapsi’ campaign against the ‘growing intolerance in the country’ under the Modi government.


Yavatmal (Maharashtra): Expressing regret over withdrawal of Nayantara Sahgal’s invitation, Raj Thackeray on Monday said that his and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s stand differs on the issue.

“If an accomplished writer like Nayantara comes to the festival and if she witnesses the richness of Marathi literature and becomes a vehicle to the spread of it (literature), then my party and I have no objection to it. This is our party position and we wholeheartedly welcome her,” said Thackeray in a statement.

Organisers of the All India Marathi Literary Meet had on Sunday withdrawn the invitation extended to noted English language author Nayantara Sahgal, who was at the forefront of the “award wapsi” campaign, after some people threatened to disrupt the function.

The decision was taken to “avoid any untoward incident and in view of the controversy that has cropped up against her name”, after a political outfit threatened to disrupt the function, the organisers said Sunday.

Sahgal (91), a Sahitya Akademi awardee, was at the forefront of the 2015 “award wapsi” campaign against the “growing intolerance in the country” under the Modi government. Sahgal was to inaugurate the 92nd literary meet on January 11 in the presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. Noted Marathi author Aruna Dhere will preside over the event.

In a press release issued Sunday, working president of the literary meet reception committee Ramakant Kolte said the organisers have taken cognisance of the threat given by a political outfit.

“Nayantara Sahgal’s name was proposed by the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal chief Shreepad Joshi of Nagpur which was accepted by the organisers. A follow-up was taken by sending her a formal invitation,” it stated.

The release stated the organisers have decided to revoke Sahgal’s invitation, “as a controversy has cropped up against her name and to avoid any untoward incident from those who threatened to derail the literary meet”. “We have sent her a letter cancelling the invitation,” Kolte said, adding that the new name for the inauguration function is yet to be finalised.

Meanwhile, the Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal (ABMSM) said in a statement in Nagpur that the decision to withdraw the invite was taken by the local level organisers.

“There were newspaper reports about objections and (likely) protests to Nayantara Sahgal inaugurating the event. It was being said that some people would not let the literary meet function. Hence, to avoid any obstruction and untoward incident, the organising committee at the local level decided to send a withdrawal letter to Sahgal. “This is not the directive of the Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal. It is the local organising committee which has taken the decision,” it stated.

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