The family of Tamil poet Inquilab (pictured), who was bestowed the Sahitya Akademi award in the poetry category earlier this year, declined it on Friday in a ‘tribute’ to the writer who had always been openly indifferent towards awards bestowed by governments. The Sahitya Akademi had conferred the award to the Tamil poet, who passed away at the age of 72 in December last year, posthumously.
The family, in a letter reportedly sent to the Akademi secretary, quoted the poet’s stinging lines, “Awards may be showered on us, If we live like corpses”. The family recalled that Inquilab’s take on felicitations and awards was always indiference. Inquilab (born Shahul Hameed) was popularly known as the ‘People’s Poet’.
In 2006, he returned the state’s Kalaimamani award in protest of the government’s failure to protect Sri Lankan Tamils. His poem ‘Kanmani Rajam ’, criticising the moral bankruptcy of politicians, was prescribed in school textbooks until the DMK government removed it after he criticised one of their moves.