Now many leaders are asking us why we didn't return this award when Emergency was imposed in 1975 or during the anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984, the Mumbai riots of 1992 or Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013. Those were communal riots. The fact is that no writer can be directed about when he should express his resistance. I was just 23 years old in 1975.
Even at the time, not only I, but several other writers of eminence had lodged their protest through their compositions. Many names come to mind immediately: Baba Nagarjuna, Bhavani Prasad Mishra, Mahadevi Verma, Agyeya, Phanishwarnath Renu, to name a few. Along with others, I got the Sahitya Akademi award just a few years ago. How could we have returned it at the time?