Not a writers’ protest, but fight between reason and unreason: Nayantara Sahgal

New Delhi(PTI): Commenting on the recent trend, apparently set by her, of artists returning their state awards against “growing intolerance” in the country, eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal said on Saturday that it was not a writers’ protest against killing of writers for expressing themselves, but a “fight between reason and unreason”.

Nayantara Sahgal

Speaking at Chandigarh Literary Society’s ‘Literati’, the 88-year-old writer and niece of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru admonished the perceived political or motivated intent of writers in returning their awards.

“This was not writers’ protesting against the killing of writers for expressing themselves, but a fight between reason and unreason,” a press release quoted her as saying. She said that the fight was for the weaker sections of the society who need to raise their voice and fight for injustice and keep India a truly democratic and secular nation.

Noted writer Kiran Nagarkar expressed anguish over the “stifled freedom of expression” and wondered why the people who come to power through democratic process and large majority need to move around with high security. This, he said, was perhaps because of their own fears and insecurity.

“We do not need a foreign hand to colonise our country, instead we have colonised our own people, especially the poor and the weaker sections of society, about whom we think only when we need a maid, a driver, or an errand boy to serve us,” he said. They are the “extras” in our lives whom we discard, he added.

Sahgal, who recently returned her Sahitya Akademi award over the Dadri lynching incident and growing intolerance, also shared her encounters with Mahatama Gandhi who was introduced to her family by Nehru, and recalled his wit and humour when she, as a child, accompanied her mother to meet him.

“I was asked to present a bouquet of flowers to Bapu (Mahatma) but as I reached there I cried and told my mom that I won’t give flowers to him as he is so ugly” she recalled.

But Mahatma Gandhi jokingly remarked, “I hope she would remain as truthful in life too”. Poet Ashok Vajpei moderating a session on ‘Redrawing the Contours of Art’, remarked that social boundaries can be changed through art and it was for people to explore those opportunities.

Posted by on November 7, 2015. Filed under Nation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.