Is returning awards a new addition to Pseudo-secularism

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Dear eminent awardees, your capabilities and competence to comprehend issues are much more than the common man of the country. Your works are cherished by the society, your views followed and your verdicts noted. Then isn’t any act of insulting the country and renowned institutions by returning souvenirs of applause a defamation of the jury and of the countrymen? The aim of this writing is to bring a slight variation in your perusal of present happenings. Also, being from the same community and having pursued writing for long, I should not blame you of being politically driven against an established and reformist union government, after all liberty of speech and expression is what that makes us free in true sense; however the debates in this context are more or less being diverted to politics, which is a strong reason to give your stand a second thought. I may breach my limits in the following paragraphs by making you remember that the awards aren’t just the money associated with them or the plagues, citations and mementos, they are hopes that the society and the nation have from persons of your caliber and excellence. Isn’t the return of awards an outright murder of this hope?

History of the Republic of India isn’t unknown. The Vedic period, rise of the Maurya and Guptas, followed by the ferocious Delhi Sultanate, Mughal era and the colonial rule are the chapters of academic books, and notable writers and other awardees are more familiar with times past than a common Indian. Post-independence era, when the notions of democracy, secularism, equality and freedom gained utmost prominence, the exploitation of these, which we expected to bring Ram-Rajya, by political parties did not allow India to advance in the way envisaged by the makers of the Constitution. Cases of oppression of Dalit, communal appeasement, ignorance of women and child rights, and breach of internal security by extremist forces have been more than what a nation could sustain. Now the question which shoots up is that weren’t these awardees aware of the globally known and many a time criticized Indian social state of affairs at the time of accepting awards from eminent Indian institutions?

Communal violence, or the so-called ‘vitiated atmosphere’, has prevailed in India for a long now. Mentioning the Muslim sovereignty that began with the founding of the Delhi Sultanate by the ruler of Slave Dynasty, Iltutmish and subsequent conquests by Timur, Nader Shah and others makes sense to let the protagonists of secularism in modern India know that today’s India is way more stable and tolerant than pre-independence times. It is also true that the Republic of India hasn’t been out-and-out prolific in delivering concepts of equality and freedom as treasured in the supreme law of the land, for which mischievous interpretation of ‘freedom of religion’ and ‘secular nation’ can be widely held liable. Here, it is also vital to note that if the call for banning of cow slaughter is viewed as an outright strategy or ‘propaganda’ of right groups to make India a pro-Hindu country then any pacific and meaningful solution would remain out of reach. Isn’t it quite uncomplicated that considering the faith of Hindus, who unluckily form a majority in the so-called secular India, with respect to cows, outlawing acts of cow slaughter is not a sin and nothing that can promote intolerance?

It is expected out of learned writers and the honourable awardees of Sahitya Akademy that they interpret present happenings in a wider parlance and in a way that promotes communal harmony instead of igniting the feelings of discord and insecurity among the minorities. Film-makers, who have earned accolades from the government for their endeavors to promote art and creativity, are looked upon by the nation as promoters of social congruence; their returning the awards for alleged intolerance against minority is more like letting your presence felt by ‘exploiting a timely opportunity’. At a time when India is excelling towards technological and scientific advancements, a veteran scientist’s step to return his Padma Bhushan award is a clear deviation from setting upright examples for the future generation; holding the present central government responsible for any and every acts of intolerance, for which governments of respective states are liable, is an unfounded excuse that can hardly justify returning of awards.

It is afraid to note that instances like ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pandits, Mumbai and Delhi bombings, 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the Godhra train burning and never-ending suppression of Dalit, women and children could not create a feeling of anxiety among scholars who today see no other option than insulting the decision of the distinguished panels that honoured their works. Have we become so insensitive when it comes to overpowering of the rights of Hindus, women and children, or does secularism hold value in the Indian context only when minority group is devoid of some special rights, even when under the doctrine of equality? Lynching of a man in the state of UP over alleged consumption of cow meat is in no sense a justifiable act and condemning the same is the duty of every government, state or central. In the light of this, however, questioning the intentions of central government with respect to Indian secular setup is exceedingly imprudent, corrupt. It is the state government’s duty to maintain a law and order situation that permits relishing of fundamental rights; declaring the so-called propaganda of the Modi-led government to spread Hindu supremacy as a cause is nothing else than politicizing the matter.

When a Chief Minister of an Indian state dares the centrally ruling government to act against him for eating beef, when a senior leader from an opposition party declares that RSS holds the remote control of country’s administration and when a minister from the UP state government talks of his plan to write to the United Nations about lynching of a man over beef row, the political milieu of our country that revolves around appeasing separate communities and castes for votes stands blamable. However, intellectual personalities, awarded for their notable works, when ‘use’ such events as a motivation to protest, their objective and timing becomes questionable. Suicides by Indian farmers, rapes of minor girls, violence against women and thousands of street children on the roads of metropolis demand courtesy of writers, activists, film makers and others associated directly or indirectly with the social sphere. But this as well, does not seek return of awards as a means to protest inefficiency of the government. In their respective domains, these people hold enough authority and influence to express their worries, resorting to defaming the elected central government and its representatives is senseless and infertile.

In the states of UP, Bihar and Bengal, politics of communalism and appeasement has been the most reliable means to rise to the echelons of being an MP, MLA or a CM. Now when the same has led to troubles, which you must agree is a reciprocal occurrence, nervousness has found its place among pseudo-seculars. Though no one can be held accountable unless an unbiased investigation reveals findings, one side of the coin foretells that communal forces would not mind harming the members of the vote-bank they rely upon during polls so that the meritoriously functioning union government can be stopped from gaining support in legislative elections. The other side is shady; no one from the general public or the writers and scholars returning their accolades can give a clear verdict. Then why accuse the BJP government just on grounds that RSS is their ideological mentor and this voluntary organization does not find a reputable standing in the eyes of pseudo-seculars? Barbarism against any community holds no place in the Indian democratic and secular setup, in the wake of this expression, however, politics should not be permitted to thrive illicitly.

From where has the question of infringement of right to free speech and expression has arisen is hard to understand. In the past one year, more so since the BJP has been elected to power, freedom of speech has thrived extraordinarily; the awardees, opposition political parties, religious leaders and others have not only criticized the BJP of being biased against the minority, they have also halted the process of much-needed social and economic reforms. The massacre of free speech during national emergency of 1975, during anti-Sikh riots of 1984 and on many such occasions is to be compared with what the state of affairs India is experiencing today. News debates, press conferences and one-on-one discussions are filled with free expressions, some in support and many against the government of the day. The leader of the country talks about and advocates harmony among communities and inclusive development then isn’t halting the process of growth and reforms the most forbidden use of freedom of expression?

What this entire episode has boiled down to is just an attack against the Modi-led government; manufactured or not, but this is the bitter truth and awardees returning their accolades ought to realize this. When Moody’s, World Bank and IMF are bullish on India’s prospects, a sudden turmoil is washing away all the hard work. Also, the incessant pain of Kashmiri Pandits, their exodus from own houses, now seems a trivial issue owing to awardees sudden anxiety just for a few atrocities, planned or unplanned, against people from minority groups. Indeed, this raises a question mark on the acumen of eminent people who opted for silence all through the time which was adverse for the Hindus and now doubt the intentions of the central government. Very bitter this may sound but the ‘Grand Alliance’ of Bihar against the lone BJP is supplemented by a cartel of national awardees. While they are alleging ‘enhanced intolerance’, politically stable government of the country is being burdened. One such attempt in Gujarat has recently been busted by the investigation agency, which validates scrupulous measures against the government. Needless to say, returning award can be anyone’s personal choice, but unverified accusations, which can arouse communal tension, by deliberately making minority groups feel insecure, against a democratically elected government is a plain act of sedition, a novel addition to pseudo-secularism.

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87 thoughts on “Is returning awards a new addition to Pseudo-secularism

  1. Prerna Bajaj

    You are right in saying that not only country and jury are being insulted by award winners, the common people of India are also getting insulted to have read their books and watch their films. They have no such right.

    Reply
  2. Rishabh singh

    One thing which these pseudo seculars need to know is that Hindus also have some self respect and belief. You cannot just misuse power to supersede rights of hindus and give them away to others.

    Reply
  3. Adishankar srivastava

    RSS and BJP can save the country from long days of appeasement. But people who are heard in the society and are respected should back them.

    Reply
  4. Himanshi tyagi

    We should also understand the pain of these awardees. After all they know how to respond in such situations and so many intellectuals at the same time cannot be wrong. There is intolerance and government should understand this.

    Reply
  5. Mudit Sachaan

    Peace during festivities is very necessary. When politics and violence come during festive celebrations people are motivated to attack other religions. Every religion should be allowed to live peacefully so that only development becomes a goal.

    Reply
  6. Vijay Vedantam

    Protests are welcome in democracy and there are ways of doing it but not in a way which brings your nation image down. All who have returned the awards should b accepted, delete their names from record and ask them to return all cash and kind associated with it. The other view.. 1) The hypocrites want some more cash and are using blackmail tactics 2) They are so impressed. They want to present the government with their own award.

    Reply
  7. Ramesh Juvekar

    They are a lobby of pseudosecularits with questionable motives. NHRC complain about hanging of terrorists. Conveniently forget the pain of the victims and thier families . HYPOCRITES /HIPPOCRITES

    Reply
  8. Deepak Mehra

    Should they be allowed to relinquish their citizenship as well? I think the country can live without these cheap, publicity seekers.

    Reply
  9. Mehul Kapadia

    Awards!!!! for what reason???, do the so called eminent awardees deserve it!!! they do not have dignity to carry such awards, it is quite insulting to billions of common citizens of INDIA, its integrity and the nations democratic fiber. yes i agree they are all Fake, cheap page 3 publicity characters. enemies are better then this bunch, they are doing more harm to the national interest

    Reply
  10. S.JOHN

    The Government should focus on the welfare of the people,put efforts to boost the Economy. Leave people to eat what they want to eat,and follow their Religious Faiths. Govt. should refrain from looking at personal aspects , which lead to controversies – and every thing will be alright.

    Reply
  11. Vishal Shah

    We need not be so judgmental about it. It is one’s individual choice to reject the recognition by Government as an expression of protest against any kind of carelessness, bias, politicization, or failure to ensure fundamental rights of citizens. Protest can be done by harming innocent people / public property, or by sacrificing one’s own recognition symbolically. Recently we have seen protests or both types for different causes (reservation and OROP). I believe that returning the recognition, is the way of protest without harming anyone. Such protest of returning recognition was initiated by few and was heard by none. In India, protests neglected by Government get easily turned into violent agitations. In this case, it was intensified, not by violent agitation, but by more and more people returning their recognition. It is very responsible way to protest, I am surprised to see that Government has not recognized such protests and is demonstrating insensitive approach to such protests. I believe, a firm assurance by government and few actions indicating its sensitiveness towards ensuring fundamental right to express, will give message to protesters (read awardees) that they are neither neglected nor will the culprits be spared, is the real Raj-Dharma. It is all about maximum governance and minimum government. Governance warrants fundamental right of expression, for everyone to exercise and for everyone else to respect

    Reply
  12. Umashankar Vishvanath

    they were given awards – some recently, some years ago. many have not said anything when all kinds of incidents happened in the country. now they want to return it.so fine. let them return it and lets move on. its no big deal.they have made a choice and lets respect their choice and take it back if they dont want it.

    Reply
  13. Vineet Sasurkar

    Subject “Growing intolerance” is like a wife saying, “Honey, you don’t love me anymore”. But what does that exactly mean. A pen is mightier than a sword but the pen should have courage like Lokmanya Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi. A pen in itself is nothing unless it is backed-up by a strong will and courage behind it. Number of people died in road accidents is more than the soldiers died in world wars. Why is there no editorial drafted on this. People protesting in violent ways, why has no one written a story about how this grows in the society. India’s population is it’s strength. I got to know this from foreign authors. Why can’t Indian authors understand our nation. So all this looks like a paid strategy. Please don’t bring politics in between. I would love to see one more Indian writer getting Noble award

    Reply
  14. Govind Kumar Gupta

    Thanks Dr saheb, exposing traitors need of hour. In whole country there’s no any kind of communal rights. I think they dream and burst. Pity them. In Delhi kerala house entire menu is in English then why beaf word in Malayalam it suspect

    Reply
  15. Debi Acharya

    Award has its own virtue. But when it comes to gratitude, the virtue is lost. The award return drama was stage managed by congress and therefore people of India are least bothered about it.

    Reply
  16. Vishnu Dkekwar

    This was a part of plan of opposition party and this so called secular gangs to stop the BJP to being a major party across the nation, and some how they have success in their motto. Their entire aim is to, How they can be able to destroy a good image of our PM. They are hatred of development.

    Reply
  17. Satya Brat Sharma

    This is the strategy of all opposition parties to stop Mr Modi as all these ppl. are afraid of him because he is working v. hard & honestly ,which has become the main reason to digest for them. We need to support such a v, honest & sincere Prime Minister for the sake of our country.

    Reply
  18. Prakash Mehta

    It is surprising to note that all non BJP political parties are joining together to oppose a honest sincere and most hard working PM who all the time works for the up lift meant of the nation and the public support it by electing them too.one can understand the reason for political parties that their chances of making money is going away but does not public understand it? May be public wants free bees like free laptop, bicycle etc and remain beggar for life long then to earn a self respect by working. This mind set has to change if the nation has to grow. After a long period a good selfless leader is born we must all support him then t o oppose it just because these people are losing the power which they have been enjoying for years after years.India must wake up if it has to grow

    Reply
  19. Pramod Kumar Gupta

    All these prtesters are politically aligned and corrupt. They do not want honest person like Modi to lead India to glory. Their bread and butter is corruption and corruption only

    Reply
  20. CA. P. K. Sharma

    All these awardees are sympathizers of Congress/Left parties. Some of them got awards not because they earned that but for patronage and blessings of the political masters, who ruled India for several decades….

    Reply
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