Nayantara Sahgal Blames Political Pressure For Cancelled Invite

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Nayantara Sahgal, 91, is the daughter of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and the niece of Jawaharlal Nehru. She lives in Dehradun. — File photo

DEHRADUN (PTI) — Renowned author Nayantara Sahgal was invited to inaugurate the “Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan” in Mumbai but the invite was suddenly cancelled, prompting her to allege that the organisers did so under political pressure.

“It is only obvious because the organisers of the event are aware of my views, my writings and my concerns, which I have been talking about openly, and they had invited me with great happiness.

“I was all set to go for the event but I received a brief three-four line letter from the organisers on January 6, saying they were cancelling the invitation,” the author, who was at the forefront of the “award wapsi” campaign, said on Tuesday.

Asked who could be behind the abrupt cancellation of her invite, she said, “Political pressure by those who are in power in Maharashtra.”

The literary meet is scheduled to be held in Mumbai on January 11.

Ms Sahgal had hit the headlines in 2015 when she returned her Sahitya Academy Award in protest against what she had termed as growing fundamentalism and intolerance in the country under the current Bharatiya Janata Party-led government.

The Sahitya Academy award had been given to her in 1986 for her work in English titled “Rich Like Us”.

Ms Sahgal had inspired a number of distinguished people from different walks of life to return their awards.

Earlier on Monday, amid flak by opposition leaders and authors over rescinding the invitation to author Nayantara Sahgal to inaugurate the 92nd all-India All Marathi literary meet, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) distanced itself from the controversy.

In a statement, the CMO said the decision on who to invite for the meet is taken by the organisers and the state government has no role in it.

Aged 91, Ms Sahgal is the daughter of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and the niece of Jawaharlal Nehru. She lives in Dehradun.

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