Zahid’s Killing: Margoob follows Akhtar, Returns Sahitya Akademi Award

Riyaz Ul Khaliq



Dr Margoob Banihali

Distinguished writer and commentator, Dr Margoob Banihali Monday announced returning of his Sahitya Akademi award in protest of Zahid Rasool Bhat’s death.

Renowned Kashmiri short story writer, Akhtar Mohi Ud Din, is first person to protest against the “excesses done to Kashmiris”. He returned his award against the hanging of Maqbool Bhat in 1908s.

Zahid lost his life after he was attacked by a communal mob in Udhampur in the intervening night of 09/10 October. He was flown to New Delhi for specialised treatment, however, he breathed his last Sunday forenoon.

Speaking to Kashmir Life, Dr Margoob said, “by witnessing the death of our yet another boy, I could not hold my emotions.” “I have decided to return the Sahitya Akademi award along with cash, shawl and memento.”

“In protest, in protest, in protest,” Dr Margoob asserted, “I am returning the award I received from the highest literary organization of India.”

When asked why he didn’t take such step earlier, he replied, “I am myself a victim; I have been talking to my friends for a joint response but today I think it is an opportune time to return my award in protest.”

He said that the thousands of Kashmiri have expressed their anger today by observing a shutdown. “It seemed the not only humans but every non-human was wailing over the death of Zahid,” he said.

Dr Margoob was awarded Sahitya Akademi in 1979 for his first compilation of Kashmiri poems entitled: Partavistan which was later translated in to “Land of Reflections”. This book was declared “Book of the Year” in 1976 by J&K Academy of Art, Languages and Culture.

Observers believe that while incidents of polarization have seen upward movement, inter-faith dialogues should be initiated and encouraged. “Good elements from both communities should come together and start taking to each other which shall narrow down the differences that have cropped up,” a distinguished academician-cum-political commentator told Kashmir Life.

The commentator, however, said, “it is just the beginning; things have started unfolding.” He said while referring to returning of Sahitya Akademi award by Dr Margoob.

“See, the movement is critical. It is just an individual reaction; a coherent reaction is not seen anywhere,” the commentator said while casting examples from the then United States which witnessed strong intellectual movements against its war on Vietnam in 1960s. “We can’t say anything right now,” he added.

Another writer and journalist, Gh Nabi Khayal, recently announced returning of his Sahitya Akademi award when a Muslim was lynched by a communal Hindu mob in Dadri (60 KMs away from Indian capital city of New Delhi) over suspicion of beef eating.

The commentator, however, asserted, “we must not be reactionaries; we need to look on ourselves.” “We should see if we (as a community) are not doing same when it comes to us.”


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