Lucknow: Days after returning the Sahitya Academy award during a live television show, Urdu poet Munawwar Rana now said he would be too happy to carry Prime Minister Narendra Modi's shoes if the latter invited him in the capacity of an elder brother.
"He is like my elder brother. And I have said in one of my poems that if loved like an elder brother, I would happily pick up his shoes", Munawwar Rana has been quoted as saying by the media in Lucknow.
Munawwar Rana said this after informing the media that he had received a call from the Prime Minister Office, and he would be meeting Prime Minister Modi anytime in the next week.
Rana also said that he had requested the PMO official to invite other dissenting writers as well for the proposed meeting with Modi.
"Invitation for the proposed meeting should be sent to at least ten writers, I will be the eleventh", he said.
"When I meet the PM, I will request him to create an atmosphere in which writers are not victimized and Muslims stay peacefully", he said.
Rana is one of the 50-odd writers who returned Sahitya Akademi and other awards after the killing of Kannada writer M M Kalburgi and lynching of a Dadri man for allegedly consuming beef.
Participating in a televised debate with other writers and politicians, Munawwar Rana said he had decided to return the award because he was disappointed with the present developments in the country.
"I have no interest in awards. Never did I submit any of my writings for any award." Rana said while returning the award.
“I come from Rae Bareli, politics and power run through the street drains in my city but I never cared for them” he added.
While announcing his decision to return the award, Munawwar Rana also gave a cheque of Rs.100,000/-. Rana also announced that he will not accept any award from the government in future.
The surprising turnaround of Munawwar Rana, who incidentally was conferred the Sahitya Academy Award last year by Modi government, is being criticised by fellow writers.
"If you give a mouse a cookie, he would expect more. So is the case with Rana. We don't want to criticise him openly at the moment because it will prove that we are divided on the Dadri lynching incident", said a writer on the condition of anonymity.