Artists who have opposed Award Wapsee:
1. Prasoon Joshi – Lyricist and adman Joshi attacked the award returnees saying he was feeling uncomfortable about the political dimension that the protest had acquired and that a writer “should not be jumping and jousting”. He also said, “It will be more dignified if a litterateur expresses herself through her creation”
2. Savita Raj Hiremath – Hiremath is the producer of Dibakar Bannerjee’s debut film Khosla ka Ghosla. Bannerjee had chose to return the National Ward this film had won. Hiremath, has now come out and slammed Bannerjee, saying he was desperate for media attention. She further said that Bannerjee had no right to return the award without speaking to her, since it is given for the film that includes everyone actors, producer. She further said:
“But there are other ways to protest too. It is very clear that he is trying to get media space for his film which has just released. He is desperate”
She also opined he did not return the award he received for his film Oye Lucky Lucky Oye because it was a Disney film and he wouldn’t take a risk with someone as big as Disney
3. Pandit Hari Prasad Chaurasiya – Multiple Padma Awardee, Pt Chaurasiya has also attacked the Award returnee brigade. He called the entire award returning episode, a”political game”. He said he has no idea why artists are doing such a thing (returning awards) because an award is given by a Government, not a party. He also said there various other methods to protest against an incident. He also said that returning awards is in fact sending a wrong message and that its a wrong trend. He also said that the award returnees are spoiling the country’s image and his deeply hurt by it.
4. Madhur Bhandarkar – National Award winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar also opposed the charade of Award Returns. He said that returning an award is not only an insult to the honour but to one’s craft as well. He also wondered whether the people who are returning their awards now, will accept any honours for their work from the current Government. He also attacked the returnees for “selective activism”:
There cannot be cherry picking on any issue. This is selective target, activism. You cannot react to only those things which suit you. There was no outrage when Salman Rushdie was not allowed for the literary fest, when Taslima Nasreen was facing backlash, when Kamal Hasaan’s movie ran into trouble.
5. Vidya Balan – Balan who received her national ward for “The Dirty Picture” also refused the Award Returnee brigade. She said:
“This honour (the award) is by the nation and not the Government. So I do not want to return it,”
6. Vivek Agnihotri – Agnihotri, who is the director of the Award winning film “Buddha in a Traffic Jam” came down hard on the Award returning business. He said:
“India is the first and the only country where people don’t refuse awards but return awards after milking them to their advantage,”
7. Anupam Kher – Senior actor and husband of BJP MP Kirron Kher has also time and again slammed the returning of awards. He said:
“This is politically motivated, it’s not like violent incidents are happening in nation for the first time. I think this is mostly to discredit the PM. If they want to return why not return everything?”
8. S L Bhyrappa – Eminent Kannada writer & Sahitya Akademi awardee SL Bhyrappa called it a “publicity stunt” and said that the time has come to distinguish between “political litterateurs” and “pure litterateurs”. He said:
“It is a ploy to destroy the democratic fabric of the country and the functioning of the Sahitya Akademi, which is an autonomous body. I condemn Kalburgi’s killing and the Dadri lynching. But what does the Modi government have to do with these incidents? Dadri is in Uttar Pardesh where Samajwadi Party is in power. Kalburgi’s killing took place in Karnataka, which is under Congress rule. There is a political agenda behind what writers are doing which needs to be examined and publicly discussed
9. Shyam Benegal – Multiple Padma awardee Shyam Benegal too criticized the returning of awards saying that the National award is given to individuals by the nation, by the state, not by the government. He also said:
Returning national award is not the only way, it doesn’t make any sense; there are many ways that you can protest
He also said that by returning the awards, they are disrespecting the National Award.
10. Anup Jalota – Veteran artist Anup Jalota said that the trend of returning National and Akademi Awards was an “insult” to the nation. He said that instead, the community could sit together and meet the President of the country in order to express their protest to ease the situation.
11. Manish Mundra – Mundra is the producer of award winning films like Masaan and Aankhon Dekhi and has also acted in a few films. Mundra hit out at the “sickulars” slamming them for their hypocrisy. In a tweet he said:
“Ok what is excessive intolerance sickulars are talking of? That those who never chose to speak, now are voicing against pseudo secularism!”
Besides being a producer, Mundra is also the CEO of pharmaceutical company. He also expressed his anger “when India is suddenly portrayed as place worse than Saudi Arabia or governed by people worse than ISIS.” and called it a “a trap”
12. Pt Chetan Joshi – Flautist Pt Chetan Joshi, has said: “We have been artists for several years now and suddenly there is a fistful of people who are saying that there is no freedom in the country , but we don’t see or feel any such thing on the ground.” He will be part of the “Jawab Do” counter movement.
13. Daya Prakash Sinha – Playright Daya Prakash Sinha has also attacked the Award returnees. While lending support to the “Jawab Do” campaign, he said “Where were these people when Kashmiri Hindus were being thrown out of their homes, during the Emergency or the anti-Sikh riots? This is selective sensitivity that is mostly against PM Modi, just to malign him and deliberately tarnish his international reputation,”
14. Amish Tripathi – Celebrated author Amish Tripathi broke ranks and attacked the Award Wapsee brigade. He said the authors received awards from a society and not the government and by returning these awards, they have insulted the society. He further added that the data does not support the claims made:
“The authors received awards, recognition, or money from the Indian society and not from Indian government. So far as the matter of returning awards are concerned, data says, 1.25 billion people living in the country are not communal”.
15. Gopaldas Neeraj – Multiple Padma Awardee and veteran poet Gopaldas Saxena ‘Neeraj’ accused the Award Returnees of playing politics against Narendra Modi. He further alleged that all this people had received awards during the Congress rule and now the Congress it self was making them return the same.
16. Chidananda Murthy – Sahitya Akademi Awardee and Kannada writer, researcher and historian Murthy also slammed the returning of awards. He said that such tactics do not serve any purpose
“It is the responsibility of the investigation agencies to apprehend the killers of MM Kalburgi and other rationalists. It is not correct to put pressure on the State and the probe agencies. Such pressure tactics do not serve any purpose,”
17. Patil Puttappa – Writer and veteran journalist ridiculed writers who were returnng awards. In a release, he said that Kalburgi’s murder was highly condemnable but the reaction of the litterateurs in returning the awards was not justifiable. He asked why writers were mute when hundreds of farmers committed suicide in the State and incidents of rampant corruption, sexual assaults and atrocities were being reported from various parts of the country on a regular basis.
18. Ashok Chakradhar – Renowned Hindi poet and author Ashok Chakradhar has hit out at those returning Sahitya Akademi awards to protest against alleged rising intolerance in the country. In a Facebook post, especially aimed at his colleague and one of the award returnees Munawwar Rana, Mr. Chakradhar has questioned the wisdom of those who are taking this route to protest against the claimed issues of tolerance and free speech.
Chakradhar suspects that there was mix of political and communal pressure on Rana, which forced him to go back on his own conviction and return his Sahitya Akademi award. In his post, Chakradhar claims that minds of Muslims have been poisoned into believing that they are not safe in India, and this aspect might have forced Rana to return the award. Chakradhar also indirectly blames the media for exaggerating events and creating an atmosphere of fear in the country. He says that poets and writers should make common people aware of this ‘game of TRP’.
Updated on 04/11/2015:
19. P Valsala – Valsala, a decorated Malyalam novelist has also hit out at Award Returnees. She said it was “childish” to return an award given for literary merit. She also said that the people who had “bought the awards” are now returning them and that the protest is politically motivated:
“those who had bought the awards are now returning it, but the people who were selected for the awards will not return it. The current protest by a group of writers is politically motivated aiming to attract media attention.”
20. U A Khader – Sahitya Akademi Awardee and veteran novelist Khader also denounced the practice of returning Awards. He said he will not be part of any move to “appease any political party” by returning awards:
“the returning of award is aimed at appeasing certain political parties. I am not ready to return the award to appease any political party as part of any political agenda.”
21. P Narayan Kurup – Kurup, an awardee of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi and a noted literary critic criticized the act of returning the honours by the award winners. He alleged that the writers like Sara Joseph, Satchidanadan and Paul Zacharia were trying to appease the minorities through their protest. He also said:
“There is no treat to religious harmony or secularism in the country as propagated by pro-left writers,”
22. to 34. Bollywood and south Indian movies director Priyadarshan, famous Malayalam writers Akkitham, S.Ramesan Nair, P. Parameshwaran, Thuravur Viswambaran, Prof Melathu Chandrasekharan, Madambu Kunjikuttan, K.B Shreedevi, Actor Sureshgopi, Major Ravi, Musicians Alleppey Ranganath, K.G.Jayan (Jaya Vijaya), Artist Kanayi Kunjiraman jointly issued a statement against the Leftist intellectuals who returned awards. the statement says:
“those who shout India’s culture fell down based on random incidents actually show their double standards. if there is any problem in some place one must protest against it going there. Holding an umbrella in Kerala when it rains in UP is ridiculous. those who belittle awards should have shown their courage by refusing to take it in the first place. Such people are not idealistic but selfish.”
Returning awards won’t do anything, except that you will insult the Govt or people who’ve given award. Nothing will happen by returning awards. There are sensible politicians in every party and returning awards is a futile exercise.
36. Raveena Tandon – Bollywood actress Raveena Tandon also spoke against the Award returnees. She asked why there was “selective outrage”. In a tweet she said:
Why only selective protests??Why has there been silence so long??whether Godhra-kashmir delhi mumbai bomb blasts all should’ve been protested
She also said it hurts her deeply when her country is suddenly portrayed for what it is not.
37. Sudarsan Patnaik – Padma Shree Awardee and renowned sand sculptor Patnaik also stood against Award Wapsi. He said returning award is not the solution to protest intolerance. He created a sand sculpture on the ‘Award Wapsi’ issue with a message ‘Please express views creatively’ on Puri beach.
Updated on 05/11/2015:
38. Salim Khan: Noted writer Salim Khan said that there is no place better than India for any minority. He also said that those returning awards are free to do so, but at the same time they should write to the government to resolve the issue. He also said that Narendra Modi is not responsible for communal incidents:
“these incidents have nothing to do with PM Narendra Modi – he is not a communal person at all. He totally disapproves of whatever is happening from either side, Hindus or Muslims.”
He also condemned the beef party conducted by Engineer Rashid in Jammu and Kashmir and also said that if Muslims want to live in India, then they should respect Indian culture.
39. Vikram Sampath – Historian and Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar awardee Sampath slammed the award returnees saying he did not understand why they were doing so:
I fail to understand why they are barking up a wrong tree and insulting a jury of compatriots—writers and scholars—who have selected their work. The Akademi is not a political or an activist body
He also asked whether there were any protests from the Akademi during Emergency. He lists out many literary works which have been banned by Government for decades and asks whey the Sahitya Akademi did not find its voice then.
40. Amritanshu Gupta – Gupta, an award winning radio journalist has also come out againts Award Wapsee. Gupta though chose and innovative way by returning his award against “the rising intolerance of dynasty stooges” and wrote a satirical piece where he was interviewed and went on to slam the utter hypocrisy of all those involved in this campaign.
41. Rajendra Talak – National Award winning director Talak said that Award Wapsi was a totally wrong way of protest. He asked why there were no awards returned in the past when there was a fatwa against A R Rahman or during Sikh Riots.
42. Laxmikant Shetgaonkar – Shetgaonkar, a National Award winner said he did not feel Award Wapsi was a valid form of protest. He said it amounted to insulting the jury and does disservice to the institute that has been established for the good of society. Speaking on the issue of intolerance he said this issue has often been there in history.
Updated on 06/11/2015:
43. Anil Kapoor – Senior actor Anil Kapoor said that returning awards in protest against growing intolerance in the country was not justified. He said intolerance always existed in the country and is not happening for the first time –
“My stand is this thing (intolerance) is not something that’s happening only in this government or in the previous government. We have been telling this irrespective of whether it was the Congress government or the BJP, that we should live together in harmony”
44. Raza Murad – Senior actor Murad tore into the Award Wapsi gang and also took a dig at Shahrukh Khan. He said that Shahrukh Khan and other Khan’s wouldnt have been ruling Bollywood if India was an intolerant country. He also called the protests a “publicity stunt”
It is a publicity stunt by few people, people in India have nothing against any community
45. to 48. Dr Agnishekhar, Dr Kshema Kaul, Gokal Dembi and Shiban Khebri representing Sanmukh (a Forum for Writers & Artists in Exile): These authors and artists, representing Sanmukh, expressed their grave shock and disapproval of the systematic campaign unleashed by a segment of writers and artists to project very selective and biased perspectives of happenings in the country during recent times. Shiban Kebri said:
“Among the writers who returned awards some were from Kashmir and they are witness to our genocide but they remained mum. It is a conspiracy against the nation when big investors from abroad are coming to India for investment”,
49. to 54. to Professor Sumatheendra R Nadig, poet, author, Karnataka Sahitya Akademi Awardee, former UGC Emeritus Fellow, former Chairman National Book Trust, Mrs. Sreekumari Ramachandran, Novelist, short story writer, Shri T.S.Nagabharana, Film Director, Karnataka, N. Kuttikrishna Pillai, author, Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awardee, Dr. Madusoodhanan Pillai, Academic Director, Bharatiya Institute of Research, Prof Meleth Chandrasekharan, Writer, Author – All of the above signed a petition titled “Intolerance in Contemporary India – a Statement” which slammed the Award Wapsi gang as a “section of nation’s intelligentsia” who are nothing but “Congressmen of various hues – Marxists, Leninists and even a handful of Maoists”, with only Narendra Modi as their target. The petition questioned their how the Centre is being blamed for crimes in states in which other parties are ruling. The petition also asks why they were silent when the nation went through much greater pain such as in 1984.
Scientists & Academics who have opposed Award Wapsee:
1. Bikash Sinha – Mr Sinha, who is a Padma Bhushan awardee and a Physicist has said that returning awards in such a manner is “an insult to the country“. He further said that such a charade of returning awards will not solve the problem. Instead, he said the awardees should show their protest in some other form and attack the source of the problem.
2. G Madhavan Nair – Former chairman of ISRO and Padma Bhushan awardee G Madhavan Nair, has termed the Award-Wapsee routine a mere “show“. He said that awards are mostly given to people for their life-time achievements and “you cannot belittle that (by returning them). The individuals should be proud that the nation has honoured them and that (award) stays with them until they leave this world.” He slammed the behaviour of scientists and writers saying
“Matured people like scientists and writers should not react like this; they should respond constructively. We have to be pro-active and take corrective action rather that making such….I will say it’s only a show“
He said that a few incidents can happen in a large country like India, and for the Government cannot be held responsible for the same. When asked about the timing of the protests, he said: “There could be some political agenda (in returning the awards). It cannot be ruled out. There are always some people following some philosophy or the other. There could be some political motives also behind that,”
He said the issue was being “over-hyped“ and ” because of the large publicity through electronic media and also through social media” it is spreading like wild fire. He further said that such action “only creates news for one day” and serves no purpose, and instead of this, people should talk to the “concerned people“, convince them and bring them back to “normal stream”.
3. Harish Chandra Verma – Prof HC Verma, an Indian experimental physicist and professor in the Department of Physics at IIT Kanpur passed a terse remark hinted at the Award Wapsee gang. In a facebook post he said, a few years ago he had received an award from IIT Delhi, and that sometimes he wondered whether he too would counted among “eminent intellectuals” if he returned the said award.
Updated on 06/11/2015:
4. to 28. to Professor Kapil Kapoor, former Pro-VC JNU, Chancellor, Mahatma Gandhi Antar-rashtriya Hindi Viswavidyalaya, Wardha, Professor Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Professor Emeritus University of Cambridge, Professor Jayanta Kumar Ray, National Professor, Professor Aswini Mohapatra, JNU, Professor Santisree Pandit, University of Pune, Professor C.I.Issac, Member ICHR,Dr. Lokesh Chandra, President ICCR, Professor Purabi Roy, Member ICHR, Dr. Meenakshi Jain, Member ICHR, Professor Sacchidanand Sahai, Member, ICHR, Dr. Saradindu Mukherjee, Member ICHR, Dr. Nikhilesh Guha, Member ICHR, Professor Mohan Kashikar – University of Nagpur, Dr. Inakshi Chaturvedi – Associate Professor University of Rajasthan, Professor Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, Chaudhuri Charan Singh University, Meerut, Dr. Dodda Range Gowda, academician, Dr. Prakash Shah, Associate Professor, Queen Mary University, London, Dr. Gautam Sen, former Professor LSE, Professor K.Gopinath, IISC, Professor Gopala Reddy – Osmania University, Professor G.Ram Reddy – Osmania University, Professor K.K.Mishra – Banaras Hindu University, Professor Maduraiveeran – University of Madras, Dr. R.Radhakrishnan – Asst Professor, Symbiosis University Hyderabad, Professor Ramakrishnan – Madurai Kamaraj University – All of the above signed a petition titled “Intolerance in Contemporary India – a Statement” which slammed the Award Wapsi gang as a “section of nation’s intelligentsia” who are nothing but “Congressmen of various hues – Marxists, Leninists and even a handful of Maoists”, with only Narendra Modi as their target. The petition questioned their how the Centre is being blamed for crimes in states in which other parties are ruling. The petition also asks why they were silent when the nation went through much greater pain such as in 1984.
(This list will be updated as and when more intellectuals voice their opinion)