“Mediocrity breeds, promotes, awards and nourishes mediocrity”

swati

Swati Chandra | January 25, 2017 | New Delhi


#Interview   #Ashok Vajpeyi   #Award Wapasi   #Book Review   #Books   #Governance of Culture   #Mahesh Sharma   #Culture   #Sahitya Akademi  
Poet Ashok Vajpeyi
Poet Ashok Vajpeyi

Sahitya Akademi award winning poet Ashok Vajpeyi returned his award in 2015 supporting “the right to dissent”, and was instrumental in the protest against the murder of writers. Vajpeyi, also a retired IAS officer, is not very happy with the Akademi’s style of functioning. 

As an author, what do you expect from the Sahitya Akademi?

The Sahitya Akademi should actively, dynamically and imaginatively work towards making space for dissemination and better accessibility of literature in our time and society.

What do you feel about the autonomy of the Akademi? Is there a need to restructure or rewrite its constitution?

Amongst the three national academies, the Sahitya Akademi has the most autonomous structure. Unfortunately, this autonomy has also promoted mediocrity to take over the Akademi, both in terms of its membership and crucial office-holding personnel. It should be, and some decades ago it indeed was, a national body of excellence with outstanding writers both as its members and office bearers. Today it is dominated by the mediocre, academics of low distinctions and lacking in courage, imagination and dynamism. A restructuring is overdue and should aim at inculcating excellence and creativity rather than get mired in mediocrity and shallow academia.

Should the Akademi be decentralised?

There are state akademies of language and literature. They are at various levels of decline and irrelevance like the Sahitya Akademi. They are being constantly interfered with the politicians in power of all colours and hues. Our political system, as a whole, has no respect and concern for writers, languages and literature and their autonomy. It is an awfully depressing scenario. Most significant writers in Indian languages have nothing much to do with either the Sahitya Akademi or the state Akademis.

Should the award process be simplified?

The process is quite elaborate and involves many readers. It should be retained but steps should be taken that the jury has persons of proven integrity, sound knowledge and adequate stature. At the moment mediocrity breeds, promotes, awards, and nourishes mediocrity!

The Akademi was silent when awards were being returned and also when renowned writer MM Kalburgi was killed. Is the author fraternity of the country angry with the role Akademi played during that time?

The Sahitya Akademi was supposed to stand by writers, to protest, strongly and publicly, against the murder of writers. Instead, it took the role of a shameless sycophant of the government, and belatedly met and passed a resolution. Such shameful behaviour of a national academy of letters made it lose all credentials before the creative community. It, incidentally, invited the head of a TV channel [Subhash Chandra], whose knowledge of Hindi is doubtful, to address the Hindi Day in 2016.
 

swati@governancenow.com

(The interivew appears in the January 16-31, 2017 issue)

Comments

 

Other News

Fewer and fewer parliament sittings

The winter session of parliament this year is going to be from December 15 to January 5, which will result in fewer sittings and impact legislative productivity. When parliament meets for a fewer days, it is bound to have an adverse impact on the work. The parliamentarians do get to spend mo

Indians most affected by global internet policies: Aruna Sundararajan

 People in India are most affected by global internet policies, said secretary, department of telecommunications, Aruna Sundararajan. Flagging the challenges of national governance, Sundararajan said on social media India has the largest number of users.   

Three killed as train derails in UP

Three passengers were killed and around a dozen sustained grievous injuries after nine coaches of Vasco Da Gama-Patna express derailed near Manikpur railway station in Uttar Pradesh on Friday morning. Similarly, 14 wagons of a goods train also jumped off the track near Cuttack in Odisha. 

Should Patidars of Gujarat be given reservation?

Should Patidars of Gujarat be given reservation?

Job market is currently experiencing structural change: Nathan

SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte India spoke to Praggya Guptaa about the current job market situation and the upcoming opportunities in India. How would you assess the job market situation in India? If you look at the economy today

Are we seriously fighting malnutrition?

It did not surprise me when the India: health of the nation’s states, the India state-level disease burden initiative report released recently reported malnutrition the prime risk factor driving the most deaths and disability in Madhya Pradesh. Even in 1990 malnutrition was the frontrunner and after



Video

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter