SRINAGAR: With many Indian writers returning Sahitya Akademi awards or resigning from official posts in protest against the “communal atmosphere” and “rising intolerance” in India, and after a Kashmiri writer also did the same, what is the stand of other Kashmiri writers? A few writers respond to that question.
A noted Kashmiri writer who was awarded by the Akademi in 1984, said that if writers oppose the government on different issues the Sahitya Akademi has nothing to do with it. “I say you cannot return the Sahitya Akademi Award on this issue. This is no way to protest. These awards were given by writers. So what is the point of returning these awards to the government?” he said.
He said that he is against the rising communal atmosphere in India, but returning awards was not the right way to protest. “If writers are returning an award in protest against Kannada writer MM Kalburgi’s killing or against the recent Dadri incident, they should also have protested against the Godhra and Muzzafarnagar riots as well,” he added.
A Kashmiri poet who was awarded by the Akademi for his collection ‘Kore Kakud Pushrith Gome’ in 2014, said the government should not interfere in the food habits of people, citing the beef ban in Jammu and Kashmir and the recent Dadri incident. “As a writer, I see such things as undemocratic. People should be free, at least in food habits. That’s what freedom means to me,” he said.
“I would call returning an award a ‘fashion’ as the government has nothing do to with it. It is easy to imitate someone returning an award, but there are other ways to protest against such issues, he added.
Who got a Sahitya Akademi award in 1995 for his poetry collection ‘Naar Hyutun Kanzal Wanas’ said that secular forces would always “shine” in a country like India. “It’s a great country with great people; however, there are narrow-minded elements in society who create a communal atmosphere in the country. India is an amalgam of different cultures, races and people. It may look intolerant right now, but it’s great in its values,” he said.
Who was awarded by the Akademi, in 2010 said that people were prioritising religion over humanity: “Well-educated people would never create communal tension in any society. What’s happening right now in India is unfortunate – people are being killed.”
He said that at the time of partition many Muslims decided to live in India: “Right now, India has the second highest Muslim population in the world – it should learn to live with them, otherwise I fear there will be one more partition.”
Who won the Akademi award for ‘Yaad Aasmanan Hinz’ in 2006, said the Dadri incident was sheer barbarity. “In the twenty first century, I can’t believe something like this is happening in India,” he said.
Who was awarded by the Akademi for his poetry collection ‘Partavistan’ in 1979 said that in the medieval period, India was ruled by Muslims, who “built the country”, but now the same community is suffering and is not even allowed to practice its religion.
“I am deeply sad about the fact that Muslims in India are being threatened. Many writers in India have returned their awards, I support their cause,” he said.