The country is going through a crucial phase and something really important is happening in the country. The returning of awards by the intellectuals must not be seen as a trivial event. Similarly the strike by the FTII students must not be rejected as a regular strike by students.
In the coming time, these two events will be remembered as critical events which created a divide in the society. People will look back in past and see these events as a struggle of a section against the mighty state.
At a time when the state has cleverly decided to ignore the dissent, and continue to rule with all its arrogance, the minority radical population of the country has came up with better ideas to counter attack. Sahitya Akademi Award is the highest literary award of the nation. As of now 41 recipients have returned it- latest being Urdu poet Munavvar Rana.
This has invited international attention. It sounds bizarre that the Prime Minister has time to tweet about demise of Asha Bhosle’s son, wish parliamentarians on their birthdays - but has no time to speak on the rising tension over eating habits of people from various faith. Not share a thought over months long strike by students of a premier institute. And not talk about killing of liberals and intellectuals.
These are not trivial incidents. These are matters relating to law and order. These are the issues on which a Prime Minister is expected to address first- before addressing to the international communities, and inviting MNCs to ‘Make in India’. For whom do we want to make in India?
The people of the country are tolerant. Maybe tolerant is a wrong word. We have become numb to the situation. Most of us- the sensitive liberal people- have started ignoring the situation. The society is constructed in a way that we have to ignore the most important questions. The priority is paying the EMIs and loans first. The priority is ensuring to stay away from any conflict. But we are in middle of the biggest conflict, and now we cannot ignore it.
The return of the award and strike by the FTII students is the best way the students and intellectuals can answer back. For those who do not have Sahitya Akademi award and are not studying at FTII, the only way is to speak up.
The silence of those who can speak up is a mark of numbing of society. It is a sign of a dead society. We are still breathing I guess.
It is time to speak up.
This article was first published on LokMarg on October 20, 2015