Fiction writer Zakir Talukder has explained about returning the Bangla Academy Sahitya Award 10 years after receiving it. On Monday, he posted a post on the social media Facebook with a letter of return of the award and an attachment.
The letter written to the Director General of Bangla Academy said, ‘In 2014, I was awarded the Bangla Academy Award for Fiction. I accepted that honor and award. But over the years this award has seemed to me a burden. If the institution loses its seat of honor, the award loses its value. The management system of Bangla Academy, which has become a completely undemocratic, bureaucratic institution, has lost the trust of the conscious people. The Executive Council has not been elected for almost two and a half decades. Carrying the award in this situation seems pointless to me. I return the prize voluntarily, knowingly, without being influenced by anyone. I am sending a check for the amount received. If necessary measures are taken, I will be bound.’
The attached part of the letter said, ‘I have spoken to three Director Generals in 10 years about the problems and activities of Bangla Academy. Sometimes alone, sometimes in the presence of some other writers-poets. Two of them are deceased. A current DG. None of them called the problems unreasonable. But did not seem to have tried to remedy.’
“The election of the executive council is very necessary. For democracy. But elections are not held for 25 years. It is possible for the elected member to have a strong role in the meeting of the executive council. But Bangla Academy has closed that opportunity. Adhoc Committees are formed with selected people and continue to work. As a result, the staff of the academy, including the director general, are everything. They are the ones who decide who will be invited to the Academy’s talk shows. Personal likes and dislikes are their criteria. Also thermal conductivity is a special quality. Not merit or merit.’
‘Manuscripts of anonymous geniuses are left behind when it comes to publication. Another such incident has also happened and the official of the academy has stolen the manuscript and published it in his own name. Once a year in the Annual General Meeting the members get an opportunity to raise some demands or propose reforms. Some proposals were also accepted. But whether they are implemented or not is not reported in next year’s general meeting. In fact, they are kept in the freezer.’
No one knows the process by which the members of the Bengal Academy Award Committee are nominated. However, there is no doubt that they are elite people in the literary world of the country. But most of them are elderly. Many people do not have an idea about the writings of the writers who have become representative of the country. As a result, only the names selected by some of the academy get the award.
‘A pattern of awards has been observed over the past few years. For example, some bureaucrats will get awards, at least one official of Bangla Academy will get awards, and some close to the director general will get awards. Surely a writer of any profession can win the award. But when the award is given to a writer who is more deserving than the awardee, he will be criticized. But the Academy does not listen to any criticism. Not self-critical. Also, it is seen that a poet or writer is given an award in another category apart from his field of work. They are all a distraction from the grandeur.’
‘What have I done for 10 years? I have discussed, I have said these things in meetings, I have written in newspapers, I have written on Facebook continuously. The last step in protest is to return the award. A writer like me is not capable of more.’
Fiction writer Zakir Talukdar returned the Bangla Academy Literary Award by posting part of the award return letter and the picture of the refund check of the award money on social media on Sunday. Many people in the comment room of that post about returning the award in 2024 after 10 years of receiving the award, many want to ask the author about the return of this award. In reply, he mentioned yesterday that he would give details about it today.
Incidentally, Zakir Talukder received the Bangla Academy Award in 2014. He returned the award in 2024, 10 years after receiving it. Not just the monetary value, he also sent back the crest for the Bangla Academy Literary Award for his contribution to fiction.
Zakir Talukder, a doctor by profession, is 59 years old. Worked in medical and research in various private institutions. Some of his notable novels include Kursinama, Kahaan, Musalmanmangal, Pitrgana, Kabi and Kamini, Mruthigandhi. Apart from this, many books including stories, essays, rhymes, translations have been published by him.