Nayantara Sahgal: 1989, 1990, 1992… Why now?


It is not an issue to be debated that cases like Dadri, Muzaffarnagar shouldn’t exist in a society that champions on its pluralistic existential process. It mustn’t exist in a society which has, by its nature, been inclusive to various faiths. It has accepted even its attackers; those who raped its daughters and looted its wealth; and even those who mercilessly destroyed its faith and history as ISIS is doing in Syria.

In recent news, Nayantara Sahgal, former PM Nehru’s niece, returned her award as the government was silent on the lynching in Dadri, murders of rationalists as the evil doers ‘support his (PM’s) ideology’. No one knows when did the PM say it was his ideology to kill beef-eaters, rationalists and rioters. She was joined today by Ashok Vajpayi.

The question is why now? Why not in 1986 itself when a unique riot had taken place where a party attacked a religious community in 1984? Or even in 1989 when Bhagalpur was burning in Bihar ruled by Congress’ SN Singh that resulted in brutal death of 1161? Why not in 1990 when Congress’ Chenna Reddy ruled Andhra Pradesh witnessed 365 killings in Hyderabad? Why not in 1992 when Chimanbhai Patel as Congress CM saw 152 getting killed in Surat riots?

Riot table
A table of riots in India with ruling party and CM names. (Image: Firstpost)

Maybe, humanity went fishing whenever the Congress ruled states (and Centre) witnessed a riot and it survived by virtue of its absence, during those days!

Or is it that a PM not speaking is somehow, and I don’t know, is taken as a consent to the brutal lynching? When Cabinet Ministers like Nitin Gadkari, Rajnath Singh have spoken on the issue, denounced it, why the urge to listen the PM? I don’t remember, the PM commenting on lynching of a Hindu youth for marrying a Muslim girl. Had it been the case, I would have stood with Sahgal saying that PM is communal and chooses to speak just for Hindus.

I agree that he could have chosen to speak but how come his not speaking is so bad as if it was him under a mask that was a part of the mob lynching the man! Or, does it solve the issue and the humanity resurrects when the PM speaks on it? I mean, if the Congress CMs, and the PMs under whose rule the riots took place, must have denounced it and all became hunky-dory! Or did it?

29 years of Nayantara Sahgal’s Sahitya Akademi award has seen too many riots, majority during Congress (see image), just one under BJP rule at Centre and state, and suddenly the collective consciousness of writers awakens itself from slumber. Suddenly, every riot taking place in Samajwadi Party ruled UP is traced to the central rule.

Muzaffarnagar in 2013 and Dadri now, have taken place in Akhilesh Yadav’s rule. Who should be blamed for this? Or, does the mere existence of a party, with a large part of its flag in saffron color, make it the culprit?

All her words could be good to hear, they make sense, but why this hypocrisy?

How about returning the award for the Hindu guy killed for marrying a Muslim girl in Bihar? How about speaking against Catholic association that wanted a ban on play ‘Agnes of God’ in Mumbai? By your own logic, because you didn’t speak against this, I must take it that you are silent on this issue and hence supporting the demand.

Because, for Nayantara Sahgal, right wing just belongs to one party, or just one person; because right wing doesn’t include Muslim, Christian extremism…