Book rejected after '2 letters' raised objection: Poet

Book rejected after 'two letters' raised objection: Goan poet

representative image. (file photo)

Sahitya Akademi Award winner Neelba Khandekar has claimed that "two letters" sent to the Goa Konkani Academy pointing out "objectionable and obscene" words in his collection of poems led to the rejection of his book by the state-run body.

Talking to PTI on Sunday, the writer, who last year won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the same poetry collection, said he is trying to find out the source of the "two letters" and has also filed applications under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with the academy and the state Official Language department, but is yet to get any information.

A three-member executive committee of the Goa Konkani Academy, formed in August 2018, approved 64 books, including Khandekar'spoetry collection, for official circulation.

The writer said a purchase order was issued on January 19, 2019, for 90 copies of his book, but the academy's panel cancelled the order recently without informing him.

"The executive committee has said the book contains some objectionable and obscene words," he said.

"I was told by my sources that two letters written to the Goa Konkani Academy provoked the executive committee to re-think on purchasing my book. I am trying to get details of the letters, but I am not getting any response from the officials," said the 60-year-old writer.

Khandekar said he was surprised that the Goa Konkani Academy's officiating head Sneha Morajkar, during the executive committee meeting, pointed out "two objectionable words" in his book while recommending its rejection.

"It is not physically possible for anyone to read 64 books in such a short span and point out two particular words in the book, labelling them as objectionable," he said.

Khandekar said he is yet to officially get any letter rejecting purchase of his book, but the events indicate that the state-run body has stalled it.

"The other writers, whose books were listed along with my work, have already received final approval for the purchase. I was verbally told that my book was dropped from the list," he said.

Khandekar said he has been trying to find out details of the "letters" which pointed out objectionable words in his poetry collection.

"I applied under RTI to the Goa Konkani Academy and also the state Official Language department asking about the letters, but none have given a reply," he said.

The writer also said he got a detailed copy of the inward register of the academy, but there was no mention about those letters.

Khandekar lamented that he has to fight the "injustice" alone as none of his fellow writers has outcome to support him while he has been visiting offices of the Goa Konkani Academy, Official Language department and the state Information Commission since last few days.

When contacted, Goa Konkani Academy president Arun Sakhardande said he has recently taken charge of the post and would look into the matter.

"I will look into the matter and then offer my reaction," he said.

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