• Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Woman poet from India’s Tamil Nadu refuses to accept award sponsored by Adani Group: ‘Antithetical to my principles’

Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

Amid the row over Indian conglomerate Adani Group which has been accused of “brazen stock manipulation” by US’s Hindenburg Research, a poet from southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has refused to accept an award presented to her after learning that the Adani Group is its main sponsor.

The poet, Sukirtharani, told India’s The Telegraph newspaper that being a part of the Devi Award presentation ceremony would have been “antithetical” to her principles, body of writings and philosophy for which she has always stood.

She announced her decision to not accept the award on her Facebook page on February 4.

“The New Indian Express group presents the ‘Devi Awards’ to 12 women personalities who are selected from across the nation for their contribution in their respective fields of work. The award is to be presented to me for my contributions to Dalit literature. I thank the New Indian Express,” she wrote in the post written in Tamil, according to The News Minute.

“I learned that the main sponsor of the event is Adani only yesterday. I don’t feel happy to receive an award from an organisation or at an event that is financially supported by the Adani Group, for the politics I speak about and the ideologies I believe in. So, I refuse to accept the Devi Awards,” Sukirtharani added.

The award ceremony was held at a luxury hotel in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday (8).

Twelve women from various fields, including science, performing arts, philanthropy, sports, etc. were chosen for the honours this year.

Sukirtharani’s work delves into the lives and trials of Indian women belonging to the Dalit community, particularly in Tamil Nadu.

In an interview to The Wire in 2017, she said, “For me, caste identity and the female body are closely intertwined. I personally think that problems of Dalit women are different from the women of other castes. Not all my writings are my own experiences; they are every other woman’s or Dalit woman’s experiences. We are all in the shackles of caste.

“Dalit women’s bodies are especially subjected to routine violence. Compared to the pain upper caste women undergo, in my opinion, Dalit women go through worse. We have to face internal conflicts with the men of our own class, who want to assert power over women. The men belonging to the upper caste are the next challenge, because they feel they have the right to assert their power even more. The state of women in any house is no different from the society.”

Sukirtharani is also a teacher and has six collections of poetry to her credit. Many of her writings are taught in colleges in Tamil Nadu and have been translated in other languages, including English and German.

When Delhi University removed her writing from its syllabus, it faced strong criticism.

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