It started with Nayanatara Sehgal, she returned her Sahitya Academy award earlier this month and more people (some 20+ people) are following the suit now. I have written a post on Nayanatara and the double standards she displayed. Now, I am trying present my views on this whole episode and the drama that is getting unfolded in this country.
So the eminent writers of this country are hurt, are they eminent? we don’t know. Most of us (young men and women in the
Nayanatara Sahgal — Indira Gandhi’s Cousin, She was the first to return the Sahitya Academy award, She received it when Rajiv Gandhi was the P.M.
country) would not have read any Sahitya Academy winning work. So, we might not know about them. They might be famous in the literary circles for their work but are not very popular in the public domain. Well, popularity is not as important a question as neutrality is in this case. I wish to question the neutrality of the people who are hogging headlines by returning their awards.
These self declared progressive eminent writers allege that the fundamental rights of the people are being threatened and the writers are being threatened in this country, they allege that the Prime Minister is silent about all this. They say that the Prime Minister has not condemned Dadri and that is enough proof that he is silent on these issues. According to them the idea of India is getting threatened and hence they are feeling compelled to return the awards now.
Here are the reasons as to why I feel that these people are biased and are selective in their outrage.
1. Liberties of People :
The liberties of people have not been affected in any way in this country in the last 16 months. There is no evidence that suggests that the liberties of people have been snatched away by the government.
2. Sikh Riots and Pandits of Kashmir :
I am not going to go back to Sikh riots since it has been widely discussed. We know that these people were silent when Sikhs were massacred in 1984. Not a tear was shed by these people when Kashmiri Pandits were brutally murdered and
Sara Joseph who returned her award was the AAP candidate from Thrissur Kerala
driven out of Kashmir in 1989-90. Well, these are things things that happened some 25 years ago, Let me take ask them about the incidents that happened in the last few years and the deafening silence of these self styled intellectuals every time.
3. Canning Riots:
In 2013, 200 Hindu houses were burnt down by Muslim mobs in the Canning subdivision in West Bengal. Did we even hear a word from any of these people ? Was the idea of India not attacked then? Why were these people silent then? Here is the link for the riots in Canning. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_Canning_riots .
4. Attack on T.J. Joseph :
These people are outraged over the death that happened in Dadri but then, where were these people when Professor T.J. Joseph’s hand was cut off in Kerala in 2015 ? He picked a conversation from a book written by Kunju Muhammad and gave it as a passage for punctuation in an examination. His hand was chopped of for this and no outrage by these self styled intellectuals. Read about the case here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_on_T._J._Joseph
While they did not condemn this, they actually thought that Muslims were being demonized here. Read What
K.Satchidanandan who quit Sahitya Academy now, felt that the attack on T.J.Joseph was being used to demonize Islam. He campaigned against Modi in 2014
Satchidanandan (he returned his award now) had to say about this incident.
“I cannot comment on this without studying the context of this whole incident – What was the source of the controversial dialogue, how it became part of a book, how it became a textbook and how it appeared in a question paper. While reiterating that this was a barbaric attack, I will say that the whole episode contributes to demonizing Muslims (as I mentioned in the Sufia Madani case earlier).”
5. DeGanga Riots :
250 homes, 50 shops and 4 temples are attacked and looted in DeGanga region of West Bengal in 2010. Even the army is brought in control the mobs that were resorting to looting and arson. Some claim that Haji Nurul Islam the Trinamool MP from this region was heading the mobs at that time. Trinamool congress was a part of the ruling UPA government then. Where were you dear eminent writers ? Where was your outrage when a carnage of that extent was happening? Were you silent because a UPA government was at helm ? Didn’t the idea of India go for a toss when the Muslim goons said that they would enjoy Hindu women for the night. Here are the links for the DeGanga riots.
Ashok Vajpaeyi was very close to the Congress Leader Arjun Singh. Ashok too signed petitions against Modi in 2005 and 2014
6. Nadia Riots
Then we have the Nadia riots where a Hindu procession that was returning from was attacked when they passing by a mosque. 4 people who were belonging to a scheduled caste were killed. People were dragged on to the roads and beaten, wide spread looting happened and the scale of destruction was immense. Please check the following links for more details on this.
Where were these people when 8 people were killed in the Marad massacre in Kerala in 2003. There were bombs hurled on the crowd, thank God they did not explode, imagine what would have happened had they exploded. Here is the link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marad_massacre
Taslima Nasreen received little support from these people.
10. Attacks on Tasleema Nasreen and other Writers : The other argument of these people is that writers are being attacked, they are bringing out Kaliburgi’s case here. But then, why were these people silent when Tasleema Nasreen was attacked with flower pots when she came to Hyderabad. Why were no awards returned then? Why were these people silent when Rushdie was not allowed to set foot in India ?
My question to these self styled intellectuals, why are you so selective in your outrage ? You keep quoting Dadri , Babri
and Gujarat 2002 but are silent about almost everything else. Do attacks against a particular community donot matter at all ? Will you not open you eyes to the atrocities being committed by a particular set people? Can’t you see things with neutrality in your eyes ? Even today you speak volumes about beef and Dadri but do not speak a word about Prashanth Poojary who was killed for trying to protect the cows. Why are these double standards being practiced ?
Whatever has happened in Dadri is not correct. The prime minister did say that it was an unfortunate incident and wanted a Hindu- Muslim unity to prevail. He wanted Hindus and Muslims to stand together and fight the poverty that plagues people of both the religions. I think these self declared progressive eminent writers either did not listen to the words of Honorable PM or have chosen to ignore what ever they heard.
My aim in this article is not to provoke any community against the other. I am only concerned that this selective outrage exists in this country. I only want to expose the double standards of these people. I want the extremist elements of all the religions to be reined in and I want an India where everyone lives in peace. We have always had fringe elements who created incidents like Dadri, people are aware of such elements and they take their precautions. It is this selective outrage that creates trouble in the country. Even today these people are doing this and are creating fissures in the society.
Look at the brazen shameless attitude that these people display on a live TV show. They say that it is their own right as to when they want to return awards. They go back and harp on Gujarat 2002 and Babri Masjid. They would never answer as to why they did not return the awards under a UPA regime. I personally feel that these people are making an issue now either to please their political masters or to satisfy their ego by showing their hatred towards Modi. Hence, they invent ways in which they can tarnish the image of the present Prime Minister of India. Check this Newshour video.
In this video, Anupam Kher who says that these people are biased, asks the lady (Maya Krishna Rao) if she went and met the Prime Minister and conveyed the fears that the artists are having ? she says no. She says that she would not do that. She says she would only protest and fight. That shows the bias and hatred these people for the current regime.
These people are not apolitical as they claim to be. Some of them like Uday Prakash are Marxists, people like Ashok Vajpayi were close to Congress, people like Munawwar Rana have written poems on Sonia Gandhi, Sara Joseph was an AAP candidate from Thrissur. Ajmer Aulakh and Atmajit Singh who have returned their awards have signed a petition against Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Most of the people have had problems with Modi and his party. Today they are returning awards to satisfy their egos. This is the reason why I call these people biased and the return of the awards a political step.