New Delhi: The CPI-M on Thursday hailed Indian writers for doing the country proud by standing up to condemn what it said were rising attacks on freedom of expression.
“What is heartening about the writers’ protest action is the range and variety of the writers who have stood up to be counted,” an editorial in the CPI-M organ “People’s Democracy” said, referring to the decision by many writers across the country to return their awards.
“What binds them is their deep moorings in secular and democratic values. It is a clear and bold expression of how the country will not succumb to Hindutva authoritarianism,” it said.
The writers’ protest was sparked off by the August 30 killing of MM Kalburgi in Karnataka.
“Irrespective of the language they write in, or, the region they belong to, creative writers have registered a powerful protest at the supine and craven attitude of the Sahitya Akademi in not responding to the killing of one of its awardees and a former member of its council,” the CPI-M said, referring to Kalburgi.
“By returning the awards bestowed on them and by resigning from the positions they hold in the Akademi, they have also spoken out against the growing attacks on plurality and cultural diversity by the Hindutva forces,” the Communist Party of India-Marxist said.
It said the protest began with important Kannada writers returning their awards to the Kannada Sahitya Parishat on the slow progress in the Kalburgi murder investigation.
Chandrasekhar Patil returned the highest literary award given by the Karnataka government, the Pampa award, in protest against this “vicious attack on freedom of expression”.
Soon after, noted Hindi writer Uday Prakash returned his award and prize money over the Sahitya Akademi’s silence on the assault on writers.
“This has now snowballed into a powerful collective voice of protest with scores of prominent writers in major Indian languages, either returning their awards or resigning from their position in the Akademi.