Show angst against govt, not akademi: Jayant Narlikar

Pune: Eminent astrophysicist and litterateur Prof Jayant Narlikar has frowned at the return of awards by personalities from different walks of life to protest rising intolerance in the country.

The incidents of ‘intolerance’, including the killing of Kannada literary figure M.M. Kalburgi, are an indication of the deteriorating law and order for which the government – and not the Sahitya Akademi – was responsible, he said.

“So, public wrath should be directed at those responsible for maintaining law and order and not at the Sahitya Akademi,” Narlikar said in a letter addressed to President Pranab Mukherjee on October 30 but released to the media on Thursday.

He said the Sahitya Akademi should also express shock over such incidents and its fellows and awardees should pressurise it to strongly condemn “suppression of free thinking”.

“However, sacrificing the Akademi awards does not seem to me to be appropriate. The awards carry a rare dignity reflecting their national character and so should remain above the row,” Narlikar said.

He pointed out that the August 20 killing of Kalburgi in Dharwad in Karnataka evoked strong reactions from all sections of society whereas the Sahitya Akademi reacted “rather late” with a condolence meeting in Bangalore on September 30.

Pune-based Narlikar won Sahitya Akademi award for his autobiography in Marathi ‘Chaar Nagarantale Maze Vishwa’ in 2014.