Arundhati Roy returns national award against ‘ideological viciousness’

New Delhi: Noted activist and author Arundhati Roy on Thursday said she was returning her 1989 National Award for Best Screenplay to protest against “ideological viciousness” in the country.

“I am very pleased to have found (from somewhere way back in my past) a National Award that I can return, because it allows me to be a part of a political movement initiated by writers, filmmakers and academics in this country who have risen up against a kind of ideological viciousness and an assault on our collective IQ that will tear us apart and bury us very deep if we do not stand up to it now,” Roy said in an article published in a daily newspaper.

The winner of the Booker Prize for her book ‘The God of Small Things’, Roy won the national award for the film ‘In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones’.

“Intolerance is the wrong word to use for the lynching, shooting, burning and mass murder of fellow human beings. Also, we had plenty of advance notice of what lay in store for us – so I cannot claim to be shocked by what has happened after this government was enthusiastically voted into office with an overwhelming majority,” she further added.

She said she was not shocked by what was happening in the nation. She termed the lynching of a man over beef-eating rumour in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh as “deeper malaise”.

“These horrific murders are only a symptom of a deeper malaise. Life is hell for the living too. Whole populations – millions of Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Christians – are being forced to live in terror, unsure of when and from where the assault will come,” she said.

Roy is the latest to join the list of writers, academics and filmmakers protesting against the “rising intolerance” after the murder of rationalists and lynching of a man over beef-eating rumours.

In the article, she referred to her action of returning her Sahitya Akademi award in 2005 when the Congress was in power and asked to be spared of the “old Congress-versus-BJP debate”.

“It has gone way beyond all that,” she said.




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