Poet refuses prestigious award due to puja, Goddess' portrait on stage in Nagpur
NAGPUR: Veteran Marathi poet Yashwant Manohar has refused to accept the highest literary honour given by Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh (VSS) in Maharashtra.
The litterateur said that he could not receive the award because of the puja on the stage and the portrait of Goddess that was garlanded in the event.
In a letter, he refused the award and cited the reasons for it. He objected to religious symbol and also mentioned that the portrait 'represented the expolitation of women and the shudras who were kept away from education and knowledge'.
The VSS is linked the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, which is the biggest literary body of the language. The programme was held on January 14, 2021. However, Yashwant Manohar took a stand because of his principles and said that he could not receive the award.
The literary organisation was established almost 98 years ago and honours Marathi writers, poets and litterateurs. He wrote, "I can't leave my principles. For award, I can't let my life's principles go to naught. I wanted VSS to respect my views and make changes. But I was told that the Saraswati portait would be kept on the dais. Hence, I can't accept the award. I humbly refuse to accept it".
VSS office-bearers told media persons that they had received Yashwant Manohar's objections but as they had a tradition for decades, they decided to stick to them, and the portrait was kept on the dais. The event was held at Rang Sharada Hall in VSS headquarters at the Jhansi Rani Square.