'Sad day govt can't respect writers'

'Sad day govt can't respect writers'

Authors have been at the receiving end of scathing comments in the recent weeks for returning the awards conferred on them protesting against “rising intolerance” across the country.

What will returning awards accomplish?; Why didn’t they do it on earlier occasions?; It’s all political. These have been some of the questions and comments thrown back at them.

Defending the move by writers, author Shashi Deshpande (in pic) said there were too many misunderstandings about what writers were protesting. The emphasis had been on returning awards. What began as a writers’ movement turned into a confrontation between two sets of writers. “Was it a result of some clever manipulation?” she wondered.

The author was delivering the keynote address at the fourth Bengaluru Literature Festival. While for the first time writers, as a community, were speaking, Deshpande lamented that had they spoken earlier, perhaps, there would not have been incidents like that of Prof Kalburgi’s killing.

For her, it was a great shock when Kalburgi was shot dead. She regretted the Sahitya Akademi’s silence in this regard. “The writers were treated in so cavalier a manner. The protest was belittled. It is a sad day when the government cannot respect its writers and scholars,” she said. While many have perceived the return of awards as a disrespect, in fact, it was otherwise. The awards were the treasure for writers and it was a sacrifice made to stand up for a cause, she said.

There were also accusations that returning awards was for political reasons. But writers are rarely political beings, Deshpande said. “My own connection to politics is confined to voting. Every party I have voted for has lost,” she said. In recent times, there have been too many voices, a cacophony, and yet writers’ voices have not been heard, she pointed out.

Drawing a comparison with the Emergency period, she said the present situation was worse, as people did not even know who they were fighting. Today, there is a new phenomenon where a person is expected to be either right or left. People were condemned for holding different views. “We need to agree to disagree,” the author said.

Liked the story?

  • 0

    Happy
  • 0

    Amused
  • 0

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 0

    Angry