Mangaluru: Shahanaz M, an award-winning writer, author, poet, novelist and counsellor based in the city, has announced her decision to return the much-coveted Kittur Rani Chennamma award bestowed on her by state’s department of women and child welfare in 2002.
She joins a large number of authors, writers, activists and public figures who have already returned the awards won by them, as a token of protest against an atmosphere of intolerance, violence and communal disharmony prevailing in the country now.
Speaking to this writer, Shahanaz, who is also the editor of Anupama, a Kannada monthly for women, said, “India is the largest secular nation in the world. In spite of its being based on a well-formulated Constitution, it is witnessing an alarming rise in communal intolerance.”
She has taken a serious view of the rising religious bigotry, the killing of author M M Kalburgi, the assault on Sudheendra Kulkarni, the Dadri lynching episode following the bogey of beef-eating and the stripping of a Dalit woman in a northern part of India. She is also saddened by the failure of the governments in arresting these dangerous trends.
She added that besides the memento, the cash purse of Rs 10,000 would also be given back to the department. She also demanded that the killers of Prof Kalburgi be brought to book as early as possible. The fact that this award had been the most cherished among those won by her so far had added to the sadness. What effect it would have in the current situation was immaterial according to her, but she felt conscience-bound to return it to the government to register her protest.
Shahanaz has won many awards in the past. She has bagged the Attimabbe award on two occasions, besides Kalyana Ratna, Kittur Rani Chennamma, Vishwa Kannada Kanmani, Rukmini Bai, Jeejabai, Kavi Shadakshari and Sumasourabha awards. She is also the recipient of the DK district Rajyotsava award.
She credits her success to the constant support and encouragement received from her family, most of all to her husband S M Muthalib of Taj Cycles Company here.
In spite of being totally occupied with the work involved as a homemaker, journalist and writer, she also heads the Sahana Counselling Centre, which provides women in distress and depression with solace and succour.
One of the many feathers in her cap: