Indian Writers Return Awards to Protest Government Silence on Violence

Oct 20, 2015

Aijaz Rahi/Associated Press

By David Barstow and Suhasini Raj

The novelist Nayantara Sahgal said she was returning India’s highest literary honor to express sympathy for “all dissenters who now live in fear and uncertainty.” G. S. Bhullar, a short-story author, said he was giving back the same award to protest the “violent retrogressive forces dictating terms in the field of literature and culture.” Mandakranta Sen, a Bengali poet, said she was sending her award back to protest “attacks on rationalists.”

In the last month, 35 leading Indian authors and poets have returned coveted awards from the National Academy of Letters in a collective revolt against what Salman Rushdie this week called the “thuggish violence” creeping into Indian life under the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The writers’ revolt, which began in September after a 76-year-old critic of Hindu idolatry was gunned down in his home, rapidly gained strength this month when Mr. Modi failed to promptly condemn the killing of a Muslim man,Mohammed Ikhlaq, by a Hindu mob because they suspected he had killed a cow and eaten its meat.


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9 comments on “Indian Writers Return Awards to Protest Government Silence on Violence

  • It seems there are others in India who think they can make up and enforce laws to suit themselves and their god-delusions while their government sits on its hands!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-34590002

    An Indian monk from the Jain religion has said he needs eight months to answer a court summons, as he will have to walk in accordance with his faith.

    The court in Ahmedabad, 2,200km (1,400 miles) from Kolkata where the monk is now, rejected the request and told him to appear next month.

    The monk says he cannot use a vehicle as he has renounced the world.

    He is charged with forging a government document to say recruitment of children into Jain monastic orders was legal.

    Acharya Kirti Yashurishwarji Maharaj, who is 60, had told the court that he cannot walk more than 10-12 km a day because of a spinal injury and old age, the Times of India newspaper reported.

    He had also promised the court that his absence would not hinder proceedings.

    However the court not only rejected the request, it also issued a fresh warrant against him.

    The practice of inducting children as monks or “bal diksha” is common among Jains, especially those in India’s western state of Gujarat, where children as young as eight are inducted as monks.

    Mr Maharaj was taken to court by Ahmedabad-based activist Jasmin Shah, who accused him of forgery and misleading the Jain the community.

    Her lawyer Nitin Gandhi told BBC Hindi that his client had been able to prove that Mr Maharaj had forged an official gazette notification from the government of India, to say that “bal diksha” was legal.

    Earlier this month the Gujarat High Court urged the state government to do more to curb the practice.



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  • The monk says he cannot use a vehicle as he has renounced the world.

    He is charged with forging a government document to say recruitment of children into Jain monastic orders was legal.

    Strange, that “having renounced the world”, he can be actively involved in forging official documents to mislead the trusting followers when it suits him, but cannot use public transport when he feels like asserting his woo!

    He had also promised the court that his absence would not hinder proceedings.

    “The defendant is not required in court!” (allegedly), . . . and the lawyers, the judges, and the court, do not simply accept HIS interpretation of the law on HIS authority!

    Wow! – Who would have thunk it!!!

    That’s the “knowledge” derived from egocentric “faith-thinking for you!!
    It must be right because his god-delusion told him the isolation and indoctrination of young children “should be law”, therefore it is!



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  • This drift towards violence was foretold by many.

    As I recall, Modi is quite fond of having people executed; or at least, allowing riots to continue in the full knowledge that those of a certain religious persuasion would be killed.

    I’ve seen some publicity footage of him with his mother, and he came over to me as a bit of a mummy’s boy; no reflection on his mother, or women in general of course.

    And being devoutly religious as well, makes him arguably the most treacherous and reactionary breed of politician possible.

    But then, what do I know?



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  • Stafford Gordon
    Oct 22, 2015 at 7:28 am

    And being devoutly religious as well, makes him arguably the most treacherous and reactionary breed of politician possible.

    There is some serious competition for that political status!

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-34600561
    Vanuatu court sentences 14 MPs to jail for corruption

    The members of parliament were convicted of bribery on 9 October, when President Baldwin Lonsdale was abroad.

    In his absence, Parliamentary Speaker Marcellino Pipite used his powers as acting president to pardon himself and the others.

    On his return the president overturned the pardons, and the Supreme Court has now ruled them unconstitutional.

    The original corruption allegations were that Deputy Prime Minister Moana Carcasses paid 13 opposition politicians 35 million vatu ($312,000; £202,000) last year.

    On Thursday, Mr Carcasses was sentenced to four years in prison, and the others for three years each.

    Justice Mary Sey, in the capital, Port Vila, said the payments were made to influence the MPs.

    Those who “occupy a position of trust or authority can expect to be treated severely by the criminal law,” she said, according to Australia’s ABC News.

    As well as the deputy prime minister, many of the other convicted MPs were also cabinet ministers, including the Foreign Minister Serge Vohor and Finance Minister Willy Jimmy.

    The verdict puts half the governing party’s MPs behind bars and makes it likely another election will be called, despite the current administration only taking power in June, according to New Zealand’s TVNZ.



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