Marathi Sahitya Sammelan organisers withdraw invitation to Nayantara Sahgal

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Jan 2019 10:19:38



Yavatmal Correspondent & Staff Reporter ,

With just five days to go for 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the organising committee of the coveted literary meet has withdrawn invitation to noted litterateur Nayantara Sahgal. As per the reports reaching here from Delhi, Sahgal expressed surprise over the decision of the organising committee and told mediapersons that she had such an experience for the first time in her life.

The withdrawal of invitation to Sahgal soon snowballed into a controversy. It came in for criticism from various quarters. As per the reports reaching here, Laxmikant Deshmukh, President of 91st Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, said in a talk-show on a television news channel that he would comment on the issue during the inaugural ceremony of 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan being held in Yavatmal from January 11 to January 13. Nayantara Sahgal spoke to a television news channel and alleged that invitation to her might have been withdrawn as she had commented on ‘current situation in the country’ in her speech, a copy of which was sent to the organisers.

Dr Ramakant Kolte, Executive President of 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, Yavatmal, stated in a press release on Sunday that the organising committee had taken the decision to withdraw invitation to Sahgal to ‘avoid any untoward incident and loss during the three-day meet, and in view of the controversy that has cropped up against her name’. “Many people had objected to inviting Sahgal, an English language author, to the Marathi literary meet and had issued threats through a section of vernacular newspapers to create ruckus during the meet. Hence, we informed Dr Shripad Bhalchandra Joshi, President of Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, and withdrew invitation to her,” Dr Kolte said.

Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal had suggested to the local organising committee at Yavatmal that Sahgal should be invited as the chief guest at the inaugural function. Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister; Vinod Tawde, Minister for Marathi Language and Cultural Affairs; Dr Aruna Dhere, President of 92nd meet; Madan Yerawar, Guardian Minister of Yavatmal district; Laxmikant Deshmukh, President of 91st meet; Dr Shripad Joshi, President of Mahamandal and others were to share the dais.

Devanand Pawar, Organiser of Shetkari Nyayhakka Andolan Samiti, and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raju Umbarkar had threatened to disrupt 92nd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan by expressing opposition to the English language litterateur inaugurating the Marathi literary meet. However, on Sunday, Pawar did a volte face and said that the organisation led by him had ‘no intention of defaming a noted personality like Nayantara Sahgal’. “Our Samiti respects her literary work. The organisers should have thought of this issue at the initial stage. Now, the last minute withdrawal of invitation to Sahgal has hurt her. The organisers should apologise to Sahgal,” he added.