Marathi Literature Body’s Chief Quits Amid Nayantara Sahgal Invite Row

The president of the Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Mahamandal, Shripad Joshi, withdrawn today amid controversy over the withdrawal of the invitation to writer Nayantara Sahgal for the annual Marathi literary meet by the event’s organizers.

Opposition parties in Maharashtra have stated that the invitation was canceled on the orders of the ruling BJP. The 92nd All-India Marathi Literary Meet (Sahitya Sammelan), held each year under the aegis of the Mahamandal, will begin at Yavatmal in Maharashtra on January 11.

Secretary of the Mahamandal Dr Indrajit Oraker said Mr Joshi sent the resignation to the president of the Vidarbha Sahitya Sangh. The organizers of the literary meet rescinded their invite to Ms Sahgal, a noted Indian English writer, after protests on January 6. Ms Sahgal was to inaugurate the meet.

The Mahamandal, which is an umbrella body of Marathi literary organizations, stated the decision to withdraw the invitation was taken by the organizers and it had nothing to do with it.

The Shiv Sena had alleged that the invitation was rescinded after the organizers learned about Ms Sahgal’s intent to speak on issues such as violence by cow vigilantes and lynchings.

Meanwhile, secretary of the organizing committee Dhanshyam Dharne stated a meeting of the executive committee of the Mahamandal will be held Thursday, where it will be decided who will inaugurate the meet.

Ms Sahgal had said that even if a fresh invitation was sent to her, she would decline it.

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