The purchase and circulation of Sahitya Akademi Award-winning poet Neelba Khandekar's collection of poems titled The Words has been rejected by the Goa Konkani Akademi over “objectionable and obscene content”.
The state government body had formed a three-member committee in 2018 that had approved 64 books to be officially purchased and circulated. A purchase order was also issued for Khandekar's book, which was among the shortlisted works, that was later cancelled by the Executive Committee of the Goa Konkani Akademi.
According to an Indian Express report, Khandekar suggested that the two words which were found objectionable were ‘yoni’ and ‘thann’ (vagina and breasts in Konkani). These words appear in the Konkani poet's work Gangrape which incidentally won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2019. Seventh in an anthology of 43 poems, it was described by the Sahitya Akademi as "the strongest piece of work."
As per the same report, Sneha Morajkar, the then acting President of the committee had cancelled the order. For her part, Morajkar said that it was the Executive Committee's collective decision.
A retired clerk from the Indian Navy, Khandekar has now filed RTIs to find out why those two words were deemed objectionable. He was quoted by the Indian Express as saying, "I am standing in hearings to know why my poetry is offensive. No one answers. So its only RTI that speaks to me now."
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Updated Date: Jan 14, 2020 11:39:01 IST