Expressing anguish over the recent incidents of mob lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri, slow pace in nabbing the murderers of prominent writer Prof MM Kalburgi and rising incidents of communal intolerance, as many as 20 writers of different languages have returned their Sahitya Akademy Awards.
All these writers are reportedly 'hurt' with the spread of "communal poison" and "rising intolerance" in the country and have therefore made a beeline to return their awards as a mark of protest. Amid this protest and anguish, a pertinent question that arises is whether this kind of protest is justified as something of this sort has never happened in the past.
India has been witnessing incidents of communal violence in which thousands of precious lives were lost. The country has seen worst communal riots during tenure of Congress government, but a 'unique' protest of this kind never occurred in the past to express anguish against dispensation of the day.
Riots when Congress was in power
The 1984 riots, following assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, saw homicide of Sikhs all over India because the killers of Indira Gandhi were her Sikh bodyguards. Rajiv Gandhi, Indira's son, was sworn in as PM after his mother's sudden death. When asked about the 1984 riots he had said, "When a big tree falls, the earth shakes".
The Kashmir riots of 1986 in Anantnag district of South Kashmir claimed more than 300 lives. Militancy continued to increase in the Kashmir Valley since then and in 1990 thousands of Kashmiri Pandits fled from their ancestral homelands and took shelter in other parts of India. Around 4 to 5 lakh Kashmiri Pandits were displaced due to militancy in the Kashmir valley and are still waiting to return to their homelands.
The 1992 Bombay riots tarnished the secular fabric of country's commercial capital (Mumbai), in which more than 1000 innocent Hindus and Muslims became a prey to the communal flare. The riots were triggered following demolition of Babri Mosque in Ayodhya. The 1993 Bombay serial blasts were a result of the Bombay riots, which were perpetrated by the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in UP, in which over 60 people were killed and more than 50 thousand were displaced, also occurred during the tenure of Congress-led UPA government.
These are just a few examples from the many riots which tainted India's 'unity in diversity' tag as well as the secular fabric of the country.
But question remains the same! Despite such 'horrendous' riots which shook the nation, not even one such writer came to fore who went on to return the award, so why is it happening now?
Why were these 'secular' litterateurs silent in the past?
Thus, a question certainly arises why so much of furore now when the NDA government is in power at the Centre? The country hasn't witnessed any communal violence ever since the Modi Government came to power. Yes, there have been insensitive statements made by politicians but that is nothing new in the Indian political system.
Those returning the Sahitya Akademy Awards against the murder of prominent thinker Prof MM Kalburgi, CPM leader Govind Pansare and even those who are raising their voice over murder of anti-superstition activist Narendra Dabholkar were all but silent until now. Dabholkar was murdered in 2013, but a protest of this kind wasn't reported back then when the Congress-ruled government was in Maharashtra. They remembered Dabholkar only when the NDA government is ruling the state. Why?
If these writers are so much anguished now, why were they silent during Emergency Days, when one's freedom of expression was suppressed by the Indira Gandhi government?
Is it politically motivated move to tarnish Modi Government's image?
Another question that arises is why were these so-called 'responsible citizens' silent and even accepted such coveted awards when the Congress-led government, under whose governance this country saw some of the most horrific incidents of communal violence.
The present scenario possibly hints that those returning their awards are doing so due a political backing because some of the writers, who have returned their honours, are politically associated with parties having ideological differences with the BJP and its allies.
The pseudo-seculars have always tried painting Modi, under whose chief ministership the 2002 Gujarat riots occurred, as a communal politician. For Gujarat violence is the only blot over illustrious tenure of Narendra Modi as Gujarat's CM.
Though, no court of law has till date proclaimed Narendra Modi as guilty in connection with the Gujarat riots but not a single day passes when they call the Prime Minister of India by names. But they remain silent when the communal riots, occurred during Congress' leadership are raised, and instead shift the blame over BJP which according to them is a communal party.
Thus, it seems that the spiralling protest by litterateurs against "communal" atmosphere is only aimed at painting the incumbent government as a communal one for there can't be dual standards when it comes to condemning one government while maintaining silence over another.