'RSS is in power at Centre'

'RSS is in power at Centre'
Eminent author Nayantara Sahgal has been at the forefront of a growing protest of writers against the rising communal intolerance in the country, since she returned Sahitya Akademi award. The 88-year old author, who had taken a firm stand against then prime minister Indira Gandhi over imposition of Emergency despite being niece late Jawaharlal Nehru, says writers had no choice but to stand up and raise their voice in unison as attempts were being made to destroy the idea of India. “Those speaking against Hindutva ideology, which is nothing but an ugly and dangerous distortion of Hinduism, are being persecuted. Its is because RSS is in power,” Sehgal told Prakash Kumar of Deccan Herald. Excerpts:

There have been many incidents of communal violence in the past. Why are you returning your award in protest now?

I have returned this award in condemnation of the successive murder of eminent writers and rationalists Govind Pansare, Narendra Dabholkar and Kalburgi. The lynching of a Muslim man in Dadri added to importance of condemning what’s happening in the country today.

What makes you think there is rise in communal intolerance in the country today? Is it because BJP in power?

It’s because the RSS in power at the Centre. Those speaking against RSS’ Hindutva ideology, which is nothing but an ugly and dangerous distortion of Hinduism, are being marginalised, persecuted or murdered. Attempts are being made to destroy the idea of India. How can we remain silent?

Why do you say RSS is in power?

It is because RSS is directly controlling the BJP-led coalition government at the Centre. There is no difference between the RSS and today’s BJP government.

Sahitya Akademi president

Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari and many BJP leaders say writers are politicising the issue.
It’s rubbish. Our interest has been to express our support to the every Indian’s right to dissent. The constitution guarantees liberty of belief faith and worship to every Indian. We must be able to eat, dress and worship as we wish. When the Sahitya Akademi did not raise its voice to condemn the murders and growing environment of intolerance, we writers had to come out in protest against such incidents.

Breaking his silence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said Dadri lynching was a sad incident. Any comment?

What can I say about such an appalling statement of the prime minister? He has spoken so long after a man was lynched. This country belongs to every Indian and not just to the Hindus. It is duty of the government to respect the plurality of the country.

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