17 May, 2021

Gopi Chand Narang

The controversial ex-president of Sahitya Akademi on receiving its highest honour

Gopi Chand Narang

You’ve been chosen for Sahitya Akademi’s highest award, a fellowship. Why?

No writer works for rewards, but if recognition comes, it is gratifying.

Do you think you deserve an award reserved for the 18 best living writers of India?

My job is to keep working, and it is for others to judge the quality and quantum of my work.

If your books are that good, why haven’t you won any prizes outside the akademi?

I hate to boast but I’ve received more than 30 awards, including the Ghalib and Amir Khusro awards. But I have never entered any of my books for a prize, not even for the fellowship.

You stood for re-election as the akademi president in 2007, but dropped out. Why?

I had decided not to contest. But 70 per cent of the general council nominated me.

Rumour has it that you transferred your votes to the winner, Sunil Gangopadhyay?

Writers are nobody’s votebank, they are...

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