Paji, November 19: More than a dozen Goan Sahitya Akademi award winning writers who had threatened to agitate during the IFFI which begins in Goa on Friday have decided not to go ahead with their protests, claiming the issue had become politicized. Speaking to IANS on Thursday, Damodar Mauzo, spokesperson for Goa’s Sahitya Akademi award winners, also said that the writers from Goa, who had collectively voiced their protest against growing intolerance in the country but had refused to return their awards, would join a new pan-India movement of writers which will conduct similar protests using different means in the near future.
“We will not be conducting protests. One reason is that the matter, in my persol opinion, was getting politicized, like the Congress had a morcha on intolerance... Our protest was apolitical,” Mauzo said. The Congress in Goa last week had organised a public pledge of “tolerance” at Margao, 35 km from Paji.
“The main issue has also been diluted and the attention is diverting from one subject to another constantly. Therefore, we have decided to remain quiet on this issue,” Mauzo said. Goa’s writers in October had promised to organise protests during the IFFI. The 46th Intertiol Film Festival of India will get underway in the state capital from Friday.
Earlier, even as Sahitya Akademi award winning writers across India started returning their awards, protesting the silence of the literary institution to the death of writer M.M. Kalburgi and the overall atmosphere of intolerance across the country, top writers from Goa, led by Mauzo, joined the protests. But they did not return the awards because Mauzo then claimed that “returning the award is not going to solve the problem. Even taking to the streets, giving slogans in public will also help. But just returning the award (will not), they are also least bothered”, Mauzo said. Other award winning writers and poets who accompanied Mauzo were gesh Karmali, Damodar Mauzo, Pundalik ik, N. Shivdas, Datta Damodar ik, Ramesh Veluskar, Mee Kakodkar, Hema ik, Dilip Borkar, Gokuldas Prabhu, Mahabaleshwar Sail, Prakash Padgaonkar, Arun Sakhardande and Tukaram Seth.
Mauzo, who won the award back in 1983 for a Konkani novel ‘Karmeline’, also said the Goan award winners would, however, join a pan-India movement of writers who would collectively protest against intolerance. “You will shortly come to know about a tionwide movement of writers which we will be part of. There will be protests by different means,” he said. (IANS)