In case you had not seen the ABP News Channel debate where Urdu poet Munawwar Rana returned his Sahitya Akademi award and the One Lakh Rupees which come along the Award; then let I offer you a brief account of what happened in the debate that day.
Munawwar Rana arrived the debate with his Sahitya Akademi Award and a cheque of Rupees One Lakh; and announced his decision to return it. He left the award and the cheque with the News channel and requested them to return the award to the Akademi. The News Channel abide by the request and returned the award & the cheque to the Akademi the very next day.
Today,. I read a couple of news reports, which say that Munnawar Rana has shown desire to accept again the award, if Prime Minister wants him to do so.
Mr. Rana said on Thursday said, and we quote
“I got a call from PMO on Tuesday with a request to meet him the next day. As I was in Gwalior I said that it was not possible and the date and time should be fixed for some other day…On this I was told that it will take some time,”
“I will meet the PM as a poet with reference to Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb of the country. My intention is to live the life which I was born with,”
On being asked if he will meet PM along with other litterateurs, he said,
“Somebody goes with me or not is his or her personal choice, but if Modi calls me I will definitely meet him.”
Although, it will be wrong to presume that Mr. Rana will take back his award; as no one can say for sure, unless he does so. Still, after witnessing the events at ABP News Channel that day; it will be good, if he doesn’t accept again his award.
What is wrong in that, you may ask? The fashion in which Rana returned the award may be very public; but many other literary people have returned their Awards in recent days. So what exactly makes Munawwar Rana’s act so different from the rest; that makes any reconsideration about accepting the award again an impossible task!
The reason has nothing to do with PM Narendra Modi or his Government.
The reason has nothing to with the Dadri killing, Kalburgi murder, or general inolteracne in the country.
The reason is : Munawwar Rana’s choice of WORDS while returning the award.
Munnawar Rana while returning the award put forth his self-respect and his no-nonsense approach towards life. He put himself who can sacrifice a million awards for the sake of his principles. He didn’t stop at that; he even declared that unto his death he will not accept any State honour (Government Award). He even declared that his son will not accept any such awards either.
I have always believed that words must be used with wisdom. If you don’t have a conviction to say firm and follow what you said; then you should not say them in the first place.
I understand that the day Munawwar Rana returned his award, he was brimming full with emotions. And that may be justified. But irrespective of the mental state one is in; if you took a strong stand, have the conviction to remain firm on it.
Mr. Munawwar Rana can meet the PM. He can also convey his pain about growing intolerance in India. But he must not accept the award again.
He and his son must not take any State honours for the rest of their lives.
PS: The Rae Bareli-born writer conferred the Sahitya Akademi award by the Modi government in 2014 for his book Shahdaba.