In a sensational revelation, former Sahitya Akademi president Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari has exposed the 'award wapsi gang' while claiming that he has evidence to prove that the so-called “award wapsi” movement which was triggered in 2015 was part of a "politically motivated campaign". Republic TV has accessed an email which was that was written to the former Sahitya Akademi president that exposes the truth behind "award wapsi movement".
The email was written by Shiv K Kumar on October 12, 2015, to Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari where he has revealed that 'a couple of these rebels have even adviced me to return the Sahitya Akademi and even my Padma Bhushan award. But I have sternly refused to do so.'
Meanwhile, In the piece titled ‘The truth of award- wapsi and the hypocrisy behind it’, Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari revealed the following:
Tiwari claimed that this was a politically motivated affair which was planned by Marxist writers and Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi, to defame the Modi government ahead of the Bihar elections.
“I have evidence to prove award wapsi was not spontaneous but an organised effort led by five writers, many of whom were holding anti-Modi sabhas even before he came to power,” wrote Tiwari, who headed the Akademi at the time. Vajpeyi, he alleged, started the movement “only because of personal reasons and hatred against Modi, the Akademi and Tiwari himself”.
He further added that it was astonishing that some who returned awards, also wrote a letter to the British Prime Minister ahead of PM Modi's UK tour. They said that British PM should talk to PM Modi about increasing intolerance in India.
"It can be said that the Award Wapsi Gang couldn't answer questions raised by the media back then. That's the thing about truth, no matter how much you try to coat it with lies, truth ultimately shows itself. It was 1% intolerance and 99% politics. Infact, one or two incidents exposed their politics of intolerance. Even if these incidents wouldn't have happened, some other incident would've exposed their intolerance", he said., Former President of Sahitya Academy wrote.
Tiwari stuck by his accusations and revealed that the main agenda of the award wapsi movement was "always political". He wrote that the four-month-long campaign was promoted by writers, some of whom had a hatred towards Modi.
"During the last phase of 2014 elections, when the media was speaking about Modi wave and BJP victory, Kannada writer UR Ananthamurty said 'If Modi comes to power, I will leave the country'. This comment wasn't made by any Opposition leader, even Lalu didn't say this, it was said by a writer. A comment that reeked of anger and hate, a reflection of dictatorial mindset and not that of a good writer", he wrote.
Further, in his article, he published text messages and letters he received from various writers who claim that they were being pressurised by their colleagues to join the movement. He also claimed that he has evidence to prove that Award Wapsi was a brainchild of five writers.
"Critics feels that only 5 people who had ideological differences and political reasons, blew up the entire intolerance movement. I have information from sources and many writers told me that they were approached and asked to return awards. Some journalists had also tried influencing writers Arun Kamal and Leela Dhar Jagudi to return their awards. Jagudi was called and many tried pressuring as well. On 30th October, Ram Shankar Dwivedi called me and told me that one noted member of the Akademi asked me about returning awards. Those 5 writers, who were spearheading the entire movement, would call those who were close to them and ask them repeatedly - 'When will you return your award?', 'You won't return your award?'. This was an indirect appeal to return awards. This shows that this Award Wapsi Movement was not a strong one. Some writers began nationwide networking and movement to get support", he revealed.
The Award Wapsi movement famously emerged in 2015 when about 50 writers returned their awards in protest of what they claimed was ‘rising intolerance’ under the Narendra Modi government.