Padhmashree Award Controversy
Published On: October 2, 2020 09:13 AM NPT By: Republica | @RepublicaNepal
KATHMANDU, Oct 2: Sharada Bhushal Jha, who has reported horrific accounts of her brutal rape when she was just a minor by the then tall figure as a politician and literary figure Modanath Prashit in her autobiograbhy 'Dharatal', has expressed gratitude over the dismissal of this year's Padmashree Award.
No sooner than Prashit's name came out as a recipient of the award, she felt extreme pain and rage, she said. Talking to Republica on Thursday she stated that the scars given to her when she was barely 13-year-old will never erase from her mind and heart even as this incident continues to give her courage to fight for the cause of girls facing the same fate.
"Someone called me last week to disclose the name of one of the recipients of the award and one was the rapist I hated the most. I felt dejected. How could the organizers be so insensitive I wondered. But what followed next something heartening," she said. "Dr Sanjeev Uprety refused to share the stage with him and people in the social media also gave a blow to the organizers. I also personally wrote a note to Jiba sir and I am thankful to everyone that the award controversy this year ended the way it should have ended," she added.
Bhushal, who is also known as an anti-corruption activist further, stated that her relationship with her family members never improved after the incident. She believes that a large number of girls in the country are equally deprived of family protection when it comes to sexual abuse.
"I am already 45 and I am not able to fully distance myself from that horrific incident. It took me years to realize that what Prashit did with me was a crime. I started to speak about it when I was around 18. But neither my family members nor his wife ever supported me. For them, it was a matter of prestige. Even now, it is quite likely that a lot of families like to see their female members keep silent about abuses," she further said.
Jha alleged that the close family ties between their families had made it easy for Prashit to victimize her. Prashit had countered these allegations long back when Jha's book was published five years ago by labeling her as ‘a crazy person’.
But neither Prashit nor Bhushal took it to the court. Bhushal states that something that happened years ago turns out challenging to establish 'specially when your own close ones are reluctant to stand for justice'.
When the controversy was at its peak last week, the State -5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel had dropped words of sympathy for Prashit just to be overtly criticized by people across social media. He had stated in social media that Modnath's contributions cannot be compared with achievements that one can make through some of his books.
Khemlal-Harikala Lamichhane Academy had each year provided 'Padmashree Literature Award' since the last 13 years and 'Padmashree Sadhana Award' since the last nine years. The academy had selected Dr Sanjeev Uprety for this year's Padmashree literature award for his novel 'Hansa' and Prashit for the other award for his long literary contributions. While Uprety had announced not to receive the award in line with Prashit, the former had also rejected the award citing 'unnecessary controversy'.
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