Bolangir, Oct 4;
It is a prospect no author looks forward to. Unable to withstand the storm kicked up by a book he has written, an award winning short story writer has not only apologised for the alleged offence it caused to some of his fellow villagers, but has also agreed to burn the remaining copies of the book.
Ironically, Kshetrabasi Nayak of Sanatika village under Agalpur block, who won the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi Young Storyteller award this year for his story collection ‘Dadan’, will be apologising on Sunday to the same villagers who felicitated him after he won the award in August this year.
Curiously, it is the local police which brokered the truce at a reconciliation meeting held at the Loisingha police station last Monday.
‘Dadan’, a collection of stories depicting the miserable plight of migrant labourers (locally known as ‘dadans’) from the area and their exploitation at the hands of labour contractors, was published in 2011.
The furore over the book arose after two persons of Kshetrabasi’s village – Kalakanhu Sahu and Mukhi Seth – filed a case against him for allegedly misrepresenting facts in depicting characters named after their family members.
It’s a character named Ganesh Sahu, , in one of his stories that has landed the young writer in trouble.
In his complaint filed before the police, Kalakanhu alleged that the death of Ganesh, a member of his family, has been shown as either suicide or murder in the story, which had lowered the prestige of the family. Ganesh was not a ‘dadan’, Sahu claimed in his FIR.
Mukhi Seth too complained that the book had caused hurt to him and his family with what he called the untruthful depiction of their lives.
Kshetrabasi, who was felicitated not just by his village, but also by a large number of organisations and individuals after he won the coveted award, is unable to come to terms with the hullabaloo over his book. “I cannot understand why the book has caused such uproar two full years after it was published,” says a distraught Kshetrabasi, who works as a revenue inspector (RI) at Nandupala in Khaprakhol block.