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Must not allow hijacking of cultural bodies: Malayalam poet

 2015-11-07 10:32:08.0


New Delhi: �Malayalam poet Anwar Ali has voiced concern over the growing intolerance in the country and said that cultural institutions must not be allowed to be hijacked. The poet also expressed concern over political interference in Sahitya Akademi and stressed the need to retain its autonomy. "The Akademi was always free from politics even during the previous NDA government. Now, I can see that the atmosphere is changing," he told IANS on Friday. "I have always been happy, and at home, whenever I'm invited for festivals organised by the Sahitya Akademi. But this time, like many of the writers who believe in democracy and social justice, I am sad and disturbed. For the very India that writes in various national languages, Akademi should be a home away from home. It's not an office regulated by government policy or their machinery. We all are members of the ancestry of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the great prose writer and the first ever president of the Akademi; not of the other Nehru, the prime minister," he said while speaking at the All India poetry festival held on Friday by the Sahitya Akademi and the ministry of culture to promote poetry in all 24 recognised languages of the country. "I came here not only to read poetry but to express my anxiety over communal fanaticism that is increasing day by day and to remind the communal forces that creative psyche of this country would not allow them to hijack cultural institutions and public platforms of democratic India," said Ali. However, other poets who participated in the festival chose to keep mum on the issue. He said that silence was not golden at a time when Akademi award winner author M.M. Kalburgi was murdered and communal forces were at work to vitiate the atmosphere. "How can you keep mum when writers are being killed and freedom of expression is gagged? I am deeply disturbed as a writer when a maestro like Ghulam Ali is forced to cancel his programme," he said. Ali felt that return of awards by writers across the country dented Sahitya Akademi's credibility, though a resolution condemning the killing of Kalburgi was a facesaver for it. "Though the resolution came pretty late, it brought some credibility to the institution," he said.


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