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Nationalism is a piece of nonsense: Nayantara Sehgal

By Ians English

Dehradun, April 22: One of India's foremost writers and the most prominent face of the 2015 award wapsi campaign -- authors returning their prestigious Sahitya Akademi awards in protest against the alleged intolerance in the country -- Nayantara Sehgal, has said that the issue of nationalism is insignificant and a piece of nonsense.

"Nationalism is a piece of nonsense. There is no need for a country that has been free for 70 years to suddenly shout about nationalism. Those who are raising this slogan today -- the ruling party -- were nowhere to be seen when India was fighting for freedom. They were fast asleep on their beds. So what are they shouting about now," Sehgal asked the audience on the concluding day of the WIC India Dehradun Communnity Literature Festival.

Nayantara Sehgal

The comments from the much acclaimed author came at a session titled "Nationalism in Digital India". The panel, apart from Sehgal, also included writers Kiran Nagarkar, Nandita Haksar and Harsh Mader. The discussion was moderated by journalist Rana Ayyub.

Sehgal alleged a "deal" to make people fall in line. She said that the ruling establishment wants everybody to agree with their ideology -- of Hindutva and of Hindutva of their definition -- and that all those who are in disagreement with this propagation is at the receiving end.

"We have a fascist regime in power. Muslims and minorities are being targeted," she added.

Sehgal also went on to inform the audience about the instances that had compelled her to return her Sahitya Akademi award.

The murder of three rational thinkers and writers, Sehgal said, shocked her but she was deeply pained by the silence of the Sahitya Akademi on the issue and she therefore returned her award in protest.


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