Jayant Mahapatra
Jayant Mahapatra, the poet.Youtube Screengrab

Jayant Mahapatra, the octogenarian Indian poet who received the Padma Shri award in 2009, expressed his wish to return it to protest against the "growing moral asymmetry" in the country.

The poet said: "I have already sent a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee humbly expressing my desire to return the civilian honour of 'Padma Shri' as a mark of protest."

Mahapatra, an internationally acclaimed poet, said his is a "small and insignificant voice" in the letter to the President.

The poet was quoted as saying by PTI: "In accordance with my beliefs, I would, as a mark of protest, humbly wish to return the civilian honour of 'Padma Shri' which had been bestowed upon me by the President of India in 2009."

However, the poet wouldn't be returning his Akademi award as he says it was given to him by the Akademi and not the government.

He explained that his actions mean no dishonour to the country.

Actor Anupam Kher had, earlier in the month, led a march to Rashtrapati Bhavan against the "award wapsi" campaign, arguing that the return of awards is an attempt to defame the country.