//Iftikhar Gilani's "My Days in Prison" wins Sahitya Akademi Award

Iftikhar Gilani's "My Days in Prison" wins Sahitya Akademi Award

My Days in Prison by Ifthikhar GilaniNew Delhi, Feb 17: The Executive Board of Sahitiya Akademi which met at Rabindra Bhawan on Monday under President Sunial Gangopadhyay approved 16 books for the Sahitya Akademi translation Prize 2008 including “Tihar Kay Shab-o-Roz translation of Iftikhar Gilani’s memoir “My Days in Prison” (English).

The book were selected on the basis of recommendations made by selection committee of three members each in concerned language in accordance with the rules and procedures laid down for the purpose. The prize relate to translation of books published during last five years. The prize carried an amount of Rs. 20,000 and an engraved copper plaque. The prizes will be given in August 2009 at a convenient time.

No book was selected amongst Dogri and Santhali.

Awards for Assamise, Englsih, Hindi, Kashmiri , Methali and Sanskirt would he announced later.
In the Urdu category “Tihar Kay Shab-o-Roz translation of Iftikhar Gilani’s memoir “My Days in Prison” (English) has been chosen for the Akademi Award.

About the Book
My Days in Prison and Tihar Kay Shab-o-Roz

Iftikar GilaniA shocking story of trial, temerity and triumph
A journalist’s sojourn through the big, bad world called Delhi’s Tihar Central Jail because of a trumped up case of treachery and treason unfolded an entire savage world.

On 9 June 2002, at 4.30 a.m., Iftikhar Gilani, a journalist with Kashmir Times, was roused from sleep by loud knocks at the door. Groggily he opened it to find a posse of policemen, some armed, carrying an authorization to search his house. Within minutes, they were turning his small flat inside out. Little did Gilani realize then that by the end of the day he would be in police custody. His supposed crime: providing information to Pakistan’s ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) on the deployment of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir. The punishment: fourteen years in jail. My Days in Prison is Iftikhar Gilani’s chilling account of the nightmare that followed.

Overnight Gilani was turned from a career journalist to a confirmed spy. He was thrown into Tihar Jail and vilified in news reports. With his journalistic objectivity intact, Gilani narrates the horrors he was subjected to-he was confined to the high-security ward, beaten till he bled, made to clean filthy toilets with his shirt and then forced to wear the same shirt again

Eventually, in January 2003, the government withdrew the case in the wake of vociferous protests by civil rights activists and media personalities, and Gilani was a free man again. But his story demonstrates how important it is to uphold the rule of law and how easily an irresponsible few can misuse the draconian laws to their own ends. Most of all, he points out that, while he could prove his innocence, the right to justice and personal liberty cannot be compromised in a democracy. As Gilani convincingly shows, this was not his fight alone.

‘Iftikhar Gilani’s harrowing experience reveals in a flash the deep-rooted prejudice against Kashmir and Kashmiris among the so-called elite in Delhi, persons running institutions which are supposed to be fair, and reveals also the deep commitment to human rights in many sections of Indian society in academia as well as in the media.’ -A.G. Noorani, lawyer and columnist

About The Author(s)

Iftikhar Gilani has been a journalist for the past fourteen years. Having worked for various international and national news agencies and newspapers, he now heads the bureau of the Kashmir Times in Delhi. He regularly contributes to Radio Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany) and is the India correspondent of the Pakistani newspapers Daily Times, Friday Times and Khabrain.
About the translator
Nusrat Zaheer is infact co-translator of the book alongwith the author himself. A highly acclaimed writer who speciliased in satire, Zaheer is author of four books. He has already won many awards from various state Urdu academies.


Reporters Sans Frontiere Campaign for Iftikhar Gilani