On Wednesday, a senior journalist from the Times of India has boycotted the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards. He boycotted the ceremony in a show of dissent against Prime Minister Narendra Modi from whom he was to receive the honour.
The awards that were started in 2005 in the honour of Ramnath Goenka, the founder of The Indian Express, are given out to journalists for their exceptional contribution in the field of print and broadcast media
But who is Akshaya Mukul and why he refused to accept the award from PM Modi? Know the whole story here:
WHO IS AKSHAYA MUKUL:
Akshaya Mukul is a senior journalist who has worked as a reporter for close to 20 years. He is the author of the book ‘Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India’ which sheds light on the ideological moorings of Hindutva. Since its release in August 2015, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India has elicited rave reviews and won literary awards such as the Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year Award, and the Atta Galatta-Bangalore Literature Festival Book Prize for the best non-fiction work in English.
FOR WHICH CATEGORY HE WAS NOMINATED FOR THE AWARD:
He has been conferred the RNG award in the category of Books (non-fiction) for this book Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India.
WHY HE REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE AWARD FROM PM MODI:
He boycotted the ceremony because he does not want to be felicitated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was the guest of honour this year. He said that he was honoured to have won the award but he did not want to receive the award from PM.
In his interview given to the Caravan Magazine, Akshaya Mukul said:
I cannot live with the idea of Modi and me in the same frame.
THE AWARD ACCEPTED BY THE PROXY ON AKSHAYA MUKUL’S BEHALF:
Krishan Chopra, the publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India, the publishers of his book, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India, received the award on his behalf.
But Akshaya Mukul was not the only one, some of the other journalists with The Indian Express were also irked with the decision to have Modi to present the awards.
“The fundamental contradiction between Modi and the Indian Express lies in the positions that they occupy on the free-speech spectrum. One is a publication that has built itself on a legacy of unrelenting journalism. The other is a politician who wears his contempt for the media—which is bazaaru, or for sale, as far as he is concerned—on his sleeve, Caravan reported.”