Bengaluru: BLF co-founder Shinie Antony downplayed the boycott of the festival, while organiser V. Ravichandar took a more caustic approach, saying, “The authors who have decided to boycott the festival, seem to be hampering their own cause. By staying away, you're causing more damage," said Ravichandar.
“Kannada writers drop out saying there isn't enough representation for their language - well, now there will be even less. The idea of a festival like this is to put forth your point of view. Anyway, we, the organisers, did the best we could to make all these authors be a part of the proceedings. By staying away, you're depriving people of the chance to hear you out.”
The festival's founder, Vikram Sampath - who quit after authors took offense to his criticism of award wapsi - responded to this with a burst of laughter.
"It's chutzpah!" he said.
"The fact that the World War exhibit is in the middle is quite symbolic! I hope the war of thought is not as violent as its namesake! We have to realise that at the end of the day, this is not about our individual egos - the platform itself is much bigger than all of us."
Antony, who refrained from pointing fingers at anybody, said, "Each person has his or her own belief system and they're all faithful to that. Those who want to come can come, those who don't want to can stay away. We don't object either way."
Returning an award - or not returning it - doesn't make an author good or bad, said writer Preeti Shenoy. "At the end of the day, a reader doesn't buy a book thinking of what the author chose to do with his or her awards. I do think the Left Wing / Right Wing move is hilarious, though! The organisers are being very sportive about the whole thing and they're making a much stronger point than those who chose to boycott a festival because of a difference of opinion, that too in the name of the fight against intolerance!"
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