How did you react to noted poet Ashok Vajpayi returning his Sahitya Akademi Award, a prestigious literary honour?
Your reaction will depend on your political views! I’ve no hesitation in saying that as over the years many among us have erased the fine line between politics and Conscience (something which makes us human).
This is quite visible,
- when I see, the first thing in the morning well-educated young Men and Women do these days is share God and Goddesses photos on Facebook,
- when I see, well-educated and well set people liking and sharing content (Images, Videos and Articles) which differentiates people on the basis of religion.
- when I see, people with good intentions, at one moment, share Viral Videos (Often small clips) teaching the World the tenets like — ‘Helping Others’ , ‘Humanity’, ‘Having a Big Heart’, ‘Having Empathy’ and; the very next moment share a clip from Movie ‘Shaurya’ where Kay Kay Menon playing Brigadier Rudra Pratap Singh defends a fake encounter case against him on the grounds that “the children of those killed should get the same treatment”.
- when I see, a section of people justifying the lynching of a human being, because he and his family was suspected of cow slaughter and consuming beef?
- I see, the lynch mob of Dadri, conducting a Sadbhawana Meeting (harmony meeting), just days after killing a man.
And hence, this is the time to place our hand on our heart and ask ourselves who we really are?
- Are Hindus simple at Heart, which many claim to be, or are we people with Double-Standards.
- We say Muslims are orthodox, and extreme in their religious Thoughts… How many of us can say, we’re not.
- We say Muslims eat Beef! … really ? … As an informed individual… convince your heart that only Muslims do so.
- Was lynching a man for eating beef justified? … Do we as Hindus aware of the fact that most Hindus, who rear cows, kill the male offspring of Cows the moment they are born… or abandon them in the forest or Roads within days of their birth?
- As Hindus… don’t we wear leather shoes, hang leather bags etc?
- And finally, we often say Muslims kill Hindus in India; if the minority killing majority can happen… then can we apply the same logic to Pakistan? How many among us can say that in Pakistan, it’s the Hindus who create trouble and then equal number of Hindus and Muslims gets killed ?
- As Hindus… place your hand on your heart and tell it that “You personally have lived amidst Muslims and know that they are bad human beings”!
- As Hindus… place your hand on your heart and tell it that … we don’t know that we killed our daughters in the Womb!
- As Hindus… Can a Harmony meeting soothe down our pain, if we happen to be in the place of the family of the man killed in Dadri? If yes (as we Hindus have large Heart)… How do we react, when a man from Bihar, earning his bread and butter through his Auto-rickshaw, is beaten up in Mumbai?
I think, time has come when we need to ask these question to ourselves.
Else, we will lose all moral ground to object to some Saudi Arabian Elite whipping an Indian working there; OR an Indian being killed in Australia or elsewhere.
It’s all in the heart. You can call it logic. Those who claim themselves logical, make a question to themselves. The Question : Why? … Everytime.
- When 1993 Mumbai Bomb blasts saw most convicts as Muslims. People saw logic there. The bomb blasts could be the result of Hindu-Muslim Riots prior to it.
- When Malegaon Mosque, Sadbhavana Express and Ajmer Sharif blasts took place; the heart asked, why will any Muslim do this to his own place of worship?
And the answer comes from the heart, every time. Even when we try to suppress it, and try to see it from our political leanings.
The Barometer of the society and the individuals …
Ashok Vajpayi, Nayantara Sahgal and others returning literary awards bestowed on them by the Country; is an indication. It’s a Barometer for the society and the individuals.
Writers, Poets, philosophers and true intellectuals have one ability, which no one has.
They can foresee the future.
When Nayantara Sehgal or Ashok Vajpayi return some award in protest of something; it’s reasonable for any well-informed, well-educated individual to give it a thought. In a World where everyone craves for recognition and Honours; Why will anyone return an Award?
Nayantara Sehgal says it’s in protest of what she called a “vicious assault” on India’s diversity and debate.
To end things short, When Mr. Vajpeyi, a former chairperson of the Lalit Kala Akademi, returned his award, he said — “It is high time that writers take a stand,”
Earlier, Hindi writer Uday Prakash had returned the award.
Their protest appears valid. And Logical.
I think the biggest loss for any young man or woman in any society is:
Majority acquiring the mindset of a Minority.
Any minority community having some insecurities is understandable. But the situation becomes unfortunate when Youth belonging to majority group are being taught to have the insecurities of a minority. The situation is unfortunate because with this mindset, one can only succeed in places where he is a part of the mob. As, the moment he becomes minority because of his views or displacement, he will lose all his confidence.
To end, when writers and poets start returning Government honours, it means they are hurt that the mob has hijacked sane voices in the society. And we should think about it. It’s not a small thing, that a crowd of thousands lynch a man to death. It only means, there was not a single man among the crowd to stop the lynching. Please think over it!
When poets and authors start returning the Government Honours, it means they are really hurt by the mob crushing any sane voice in the society. It may look a trivial thing to some, but it’s the beginning of the end of every freedom which any well-informed person having comprehensive World View, wants for himself or herself.