M.M. Kalburgi's Family Refuses Basavashree Award

15/10/2015 10:44 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Indian mourners follow the funeral procession for scholar M.M. Kalburgi as he is taken to be buried at Karnataka University in Dharwad on August 31, 2015. Indian scholars on August 31, 2015 condemned the execution-style killing of a leading scholar who had spoken out against idol worship and angered hardline Hindu groups in the run-up to his death. M.M. Kalburgi, an academic and writer from southern Karnataka state, was shot in the forehead after opening the door of his home on August 30 and later died in hospital, police said. AFP PHOTO / STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- The family of Kannada scholar M.M. Kalburgi has declined the prestigious Basavashree Award, conferred posthumously by the Murugha Mutt, saying that this isn't the right time because they are still in shock and mourning.

Kalburgi, a renowned rationalist, who was shot dead at his home in Karnataka’s Dharwad city on August 30, had waged a battle against superstitious practices and right-wing groups.

The Murugha Mutt in Chitradurga, a Lingayat Mutt, in north Karnataka is 350 years old, and Kalburgi belonged to the community, The Telegraph reported. It is named after a 12th century reformer saint Basava who fought against caste system and superstition.

The family clarified that refusing this award had "nothing to do with" the ongoing "Writers Protest" in which several literary personalities have returned awards conferred by the Sahitya Akademi, over the past two weeks.

While some writers have done this to protest against the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh on September 28 over beef rumours, others have expressed their concern about the killing of rationalists like Narendra Dabholka, Govind Pansare and Kalburgi, who is also a Sahitya Akademi awardee.

"We thank the Mutt for selecting our father for the prestigious award in recognition of his works and achievements. We are in deep sorrow, yet to come out of the shock. This is not the right time to receive this award. Awards are meant to celebrate, we can't celebrate now. Also, we are not prepared to accept it," Srivijaya, Kalburgi's son, told The Times of India.

"I want to tell you that this has got nothing to do with what eminent writers are doing by returning their awards and quitting from Sahitya Akademi. This is our family's decision and nothing more than that," he told The Telegraph.

Forty five days after Kalburgi was shot, his family is still waiting for any leads in the investigation. "I don't know how long we've to wait for a breakthrough," said Srivijaya.

"After one and a half months, we are still waiting for some information on who did it and for what. But all we get is total silence," hr said.

Previous recipients of the Basavashree Award include founder of Infosys N.R. Narayana Murthy and education activist Malala Yousafzai.

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