Finally India’s intellectuals are waking up, it seems. “The tide of intolerance has risen to such a level that individuals do not have the freedom to eat what they like or to love a person of their choice,” said Sara Joseph, eminent Malayalam novelist, who has decided to return her Sahitya Adkademi award following the example set by Nayantara Sahgal. Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi had already returned his award. Urdu novelist Rahman Abbas followed suit. Sashi Despande stepped down from the Akademi’s General Council. Former Akademi secretary and poet K. Satchidanandan has announced his decision to resign his membership in all committees of the Akademi. Subhash Chandran, Malayalam novelist and Akademi award winner, has told a TV channel that he is going to return his award. Short story writer P.K. Parakkadavu, member of the Sahitya Akademi General Council, said he is resigning his membership in the council with immediate effect. Literary critic K.S. Ravikumar, member of the General Council, has already resigned. There may be others who have joined in or are doing so.
A cry in the mountain can set an avalanche in motion. Provided the cry rises from the right throat.
With so many writers taking up the cudgel on behalf of individual liberty, there is reason to be optimistic in contemporary India.
Truth was becoming the biggest casualty in the country. Individual liberty, after that. Fascism had begun to unsheathe its claws and fangs.
And there’s Hardik Patel who has declared the Gujarat model of development a myth. He is threatening to expose the reality behind the myth.
India is waking up to the harsh realities buried beneath expedient shibboleths and psychedelic slogans. Chak de, India.