[dropcap]U[/dropcap]nder the Narendra Modi Government, people are feeling ‘threatened’. They cannot express their opinions freely, they say. Many award winners, most of them forgotten names, are dusting their awards and sending those back. Whether they are actually taking the pains of locating the forgotten award or not, they are getting their Warholian 15 minutes of fame.
The rush to return awards is not followed by all. It seems that the ‘intellectuals’ of Bengal are cleverer. They have written a letter to their Pranabda, India’s President, stating that they are feeling threatened. They don’t find anything amiss when voters are kicked out of polling booths, party cadres resort to violence, police remains mute spectator in their state. Given their more than four decades of association with such incidents, they find no reason to panic over that. They also know how difficult it is to win awards; hence, they desist from returning the same. Letter to the president is an intelligent option — be in the news but do nothing drastic. Bengalis call it “the stick remains intact but the snake gets killed”. In case one forgot, Amitav Ghosh is a Bengali, too.
When so many persons, not ordinary ones like me but intellectuals, feel so threatened, there must be some reason. Leading the pack, Nayantara Sahgal, known for her relation with Jawaharlal Nehru, returned her Sahitya Akademi Award on 6 October in protest to the government’s failure to protect cultural diversity in the country. She returned it, “In memory of the Indians who have been murdered, in support of all Indians who uphold the right to dissent, and of all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty.”
What Sahgal could not express an opinion piece writer in The Economic Times made good:
As our prime minister we have a man who can’t even be dignified by being called ‘uncultured’, but an ignorant egomaniac who has deliberately made a successful political career of being an enemy of culture wherever and whenever he suspects he may have found it.
And in Modi’s India, people are being casually and brutally murdered — from rationalists to god-fearing tailors who happen to be Muslim…
What is tragic in the well-orchestrated falsehood is the role of mainstream media; it is displaying prominently the names of those who are busy returning awards. But more disgusting is the publications which print the kind of language the ‘intellectuals’ are writing on a democratically elected prime minister of the nation. The least the I&B minister can do is to stop the publication from receiving any government advertisements. A big corporate house did the same to the group a few years ago. If he dares not, the government may ask its ministers not to attend any event of the publishing house. There can be no justification for abusing the prime minister. In case they miss the point, abusing is not criticising.
The sudden vehemence of the attack by so-called intellectuals was perplexing till the party on ventilator CPI(M) on 15 October hailed Indian writers for doing the country proud by standing up to condemn what it said were rising attacks on freedom of expression. In an editorial in its party organ People’s Democracy, it said,
What binds them (the writers) is their deep moorings in secular and democratic values. It is a clear and bold expression of how the country will not succumb to Hindutva authoritarianism.
The writers’ protest was sparked off by the 30 August killing of MM Kalburgi in Karnataka. It took 37 days for the Left and Congress to reach so many writers willing to return their awards, at least to announce the same!
“By returning the awards bestowed on them and by resigning from the positions they hold in the Akademi, they have also spoken out against the growing attacks on plurality and cultural diversity by the Hindutva forces,” the Communist Party of India – Marxist said. The protest is against silence of Sahitya Akademi against the killing of Kalburgi, with the killing of a Muslim allegedly by some Hindu hooligans at Dadri in Uttar Pradesh adding spice over the plot.
Both the incidents do not speak well of the state of law and order in the country in general and the State governments of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka in particular. None of the intellectuals has approached the respective State chief ministers and the governors to express their concern. The Bengal gang did not even consider marking a copy to the respective States. Clearly, the concern is not over the two heinous crimes, but to use the same against Modi. The point to note is that most of these ‘intellectuals’ took part in a signature campaign against Modi when he was chosen as the BJP’s PM candidate.
Blinded by their hatred towards Bharat and as its representative Narendra Modi, these ‘intellectuals’ have lost all their intellect. They must read the constitutional provisions on the role of the Centre and States. By not doing that and by selectively ranting against the prime minister, they are fomenting the communal divide in the country. In addition, they are damaging the image of India at a time when New Delhi has been scouting for investment.
While the first one might be out of their inadequate sense of society, the second one, which is damaging our reputation, could be well planned. If investment comes, there will be progress. Progress will empower the people — irrespective of religion. This will hurt their constituency. Both the CPI(M) and Congress have thrived on poverty, ignorance and squalor.
The days of these five-star activists are numbered. The longer Modi stays and strengthens his foothold in New Delhi, the worse will be their business of romanticism with poverty. Modi is not Vajpayee. He is new to the capital but he knows well how to keep the mansabdars at a distance. This means the ‘intellectuals’ cannot hope to gain at all from a Modi regime. Hence their desperate effort to weaken the leader and the government he leads.
Senior journalist Anand Ranganathan exposes the hypocrisy of award-returning intellectuals:
A pity that Indira Gandhi awarded herself the Bharat Ratna, or else she’d have certainly returned it in protest against the Emergency.
Patel. Died 1950. Bharatratna 1991
Ambedkar. Died 1956 Bharatratna 1990
Nehru. Died 1964 Bharatratna 1955
Indira. Died 1984 Bharatratna 1971
Respect is earned not when you RETURN an award but, rather, when you REFUSE it. Like Jean-Paul Sartre, Le Duc Tho, and Patrick French.
In 2013 there were 472 hate crimes in Italy, a 660% increase over 2012. Surprised why Mr Satchidanandan didn’t return his Italian Knighthood
In 2012 alone, America witnessed 263,540 violent hate-crimes. Protest against this creeping intolerance, Indian writers. Return your awards.
Will Dr Brodsky please administer on us the Ludovico technique, so we can open our eyes to this laughable hypocrisy?
Recall how our intellectuals celebrated when Amitav Ghosh gladly accepted Israel’s million dollar Dan David Prize. [Ah, Gaza doesn’t exist.]
G Devy returns his Sahitya Akademi award, but keeps Linguapax Prize, awarded by Spain, that saw 142 hate crimes in 2015, 57 against Muslims.
57 communal incidents EVERY SINGLE month, during 2011-2013. How many awards were returned during the same period? 0.
An average of TWO communal incidents A DAY, for THREE years running, 2011-13. But nothing crept. This is how data DEMOLISHES scaremongering.
He concludes with this tweet and 5 more: