26 January 2019
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's sister and noted writer Gita Mehta has declined to accept Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of the country.
In a press release from New York, Gita has stated that "I am deeply honoured that the Government of India should think me worthy of a Padma Shri but with great regret I feel I must decline as there is a general election looming and the timing of the award might be misconstrued, causing embarrassment both to the Government and myself, which I would much regret."
Mehta had been selected for the Padma Shri in the 'Foreigners' category for her outstanding contribution to the field of art and literature. She has authored books like 'Karma Cola' (1979), 'Raj' (1989), 'A River Sutra' (1993), 'Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of Modern India' (1997) and 'Eternal Ganesha: From Birth to Rebirth' (2006).
Her books have been translated into 21 languages and been on the bestseller lists in Europe, the US and India. She has also produced and or directed 14 documentaries. She is among four Odias who have been conferred with Padma Shri this year.