The literary fraternity here is irked because veteran US-based Hindi author Krishna Baldev Vaid, who was nominated for the prestigious Shalaka Samman award, has been denied the honour because of alleged obscenity in his novels.
His two novels that have created controversy are 'Nasreen' and 'Bimal Urf Jayen to Jayen Kahan'.
The Delhi government's Hindi Academy, chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, had nominated the 83-year-old writer for the 2008-2009 Shalaka Samman, its highest literary award.
But Congress functionary Purushottam Goel, in a letter to the chief minister, alleged that the books 'contained obscene and graphic material'.
The move has ruffled the literary fraternity in the capital.
Ashok Vajpeyi, chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademy, said the chief minister had 'denied the writer his freedom of expression'.
The denial of the award to Vaid, Vajpeyi told the media, 'was an insult to a prominent writer and the trampling of the Hindi Academy because the decision to honour Vaid was taken by a body of experts and was superseded by bureaucrats and politicians'.
'Politicians should not interfere in literary awards,' Vajpeyi said.
Vaid was born in India in 1927. He was educated in India and at Harvard University, where he obtained a Ph.D. in 1961.
He has a faculty post at New York University. The writer has published several novels and collections in Hindi, and has served as his own English translator. His publications, include 'Steps in Darkness', 'Bimal in Bog', 'Silence and Other Stories', 'Diary of A Maidservant'. He is regarded as one of the most important and controversial Hindi writers.
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