Thursday, 29 October 2015
“Indian Authors Returning their Awards - Check the Climate of Intolerance in India Immediately” ―Professor M.S.Rao
“The test of courage comes when we are in the minority. The test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.” — Ralph W. Sockman
Several authors are relinquishing their awards in India to protest against the hostile attitude of a few hard-line Hindus and the present government. It is reported that 12 filmmakers are returning their national awards. The protest is spiraling where the prestigious Padma awards are being returned. It is a cause for concern for Indians and the world. The issue was elevated India globally, and put India on the global map for negative reasons. It is time to address this issue earnestly to set the house in order to present India in a positive perspective globally.
Returning awards is to protest against the murder of a prominent atheist scholar in August 2015 — allegedly by hard-line Hindu fundamentalist groups. It is highly deplorable that a Hindu mob lynched a Muslim man on suspicion of having consumed beef. All these acts reflect the growing intolerance in India. The writers, artists, intellectuals are extremely worried and concerned about the increasing intolerance in India.
Sahitya Akademi award (the National Academy of Letters) is India’s prestigious coveted literary honour. It is an unprecedented in the history of India that writers are returning their awards. Hindi writer Uday Prakash was the first to return this prestigious award. The majority agree with this move while a few disagree with it. Whatever the reasons are, it is obvious that there is a growing intolerance under the leadership of Narendra Modi who was elected with spectacular majority in the May 2014 Indian elections. Supports of Modi criticize that it is the handwork of the Indian media. But it is a fact known to everyone that issues like beef ban and religious intolerance divert the attention of India from development to fundamentalism.
D. Balasubramanian Ex-Director, CCMB India remarked, “We have reached a stage where intolerant people think their actions are being endorsed by someone at the top.” Hence, Modi must come out openly to condemn such attacks to overcome from the present confusion that fundamentalist forces have a tacit understanding with him.
Modi came from Hindu and RSS background. He is often accused of not taking action when atrocities occurred against minority Muslims and communities. He is undergoing several challenges both within his own party (BJP) and Congress and other opposition parties. There are some leaders within his own party who are envious of his growing popularity globally. Hence, he must shed his pro-Hindu image and pioneer the respect and equality of all communities to grow as a tall leader.
As a Prime Minister, Modi must rise above petty politics and his RSS ideology. He represents as the Prime Minister of India. He must be liberal, secular, treat everyone equally and respect all communities. He must stay away from his personal ideologies and petty politics.
The literary community in India doesn’t feel safe under the current government. They feel that the freedom of expression is under a grave threat. If it is so, Indian democracy is under great threat and equally Indian diversity is at stake.
The surge of violent Hindu nationalism in India is not only a cause for concern for minorities in India but also to the very fabric of Indian secularism. India survived as a nation despite beset with several political, economic and social challenges because of secularism. Hence, it is vital to ensure success of democracy. Indian democracy is the largest one in the world and it is essential to make it the healthiest one in the world. To conclude, India is a secular, tolerant and pluralistic country with democracy at the grass root level. Hence, we must save democracy by celebrating diversity to make India as a strong and dignified nation in the world.
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Professor M.S.Rao, India
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