Returnees and Relinquishers
Primary disclaimer: I am not at all interested in any politics or political theories or political parties of any country or time. I consider political leaders of all countries and their followers dim witted and keep a light year’s length from them.
Secondary disclaimer: I believe in rationality and disposes of all those who are interested primarily in irrational stuff.
Important disclaimer: I do not belong to the left or right or center – any political party or organization related to any political party of the world, leave alone India. I do not have any friends or relatives who are members of any political outfit.
Few leading ‘INTELLECTUAL’ WRITERS of India have been hogging limelight and grabbing news headlines for the past few days.
Apparently, this has left quite a few netas sleepless and fuming over their shrinking space and right to be in the news.
These WRITERS have been returning Sahitya Akademi Awards as a mark of protest against apathy of the present government of India towards writers and artists and the government’s inability to contain fundamental forces [some read that as complicit encouragement of fundamental forces] who are hell bent on stifling freedom of expression in India and some WRITERS as a mark of protest against the silence of Sahitya Akademi in these matters.
Do these people have right to protest? Yes. This is a democratic country and everyone has right to protest – even the newborn baby.
Wait. What is Sahitya Akademi, what Sahitya Akademi Award has to do with the government, for that matter any government and why are these WRITERS hell bent on returning these Awards?
Sahitya Akademi is an autonomous organization that receives funds the Government of India and the Akademi confers Awards, Fellowships, organizes literary events across India and publishes various genres of serious literature in more than 20 languages. So, the governments, the present one as well as many in the past [sorry I do not know about the future and do not have capacity to predict future] have not provided any exclusive monetary support to Awards alone. What Sahitya Akademi allots for these Awards out of the grant is very negligible compared to the overall grant and expenditure.
That is okay, the government of the day may not exclusively fund the Awards but do they give or play any role in these Awards – selection of the titles, jury etc?
Sahitya Akademi Awards are given to TITLES selected by jury every year in 24 languages. The ground list for the Awards are prepared by WRITERS in each language, reviewed by 10 independent reviewers and the award winning title is selected by the jury constituted by the President from the list of names received from all the languages. Hundreds of people are involved in this mammoth exercise every year. Importantly they are not government servants.
These ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, with all their originality and creativity, could have at least googled before setting out on this ‘protest.’
Maybe I missed something. Let me check out. Oh boy! The Sahitya Akademi Awards selection criteria are very much in public domain. Here is the link:
On the contrary to all the tall claims of the ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS who are RETURNEES at large, government has no bloody business with these Awards.
Poor WRITERS, I DON’T SEE ANY FIRE, BUT ONLY SMOKE.
I see this RETURNING OF AWARDS by the RETURNEE ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS as simple insult to their fellow writers. They are not protesting against government, but acting just to gain cheap publicity. As Aam Admi, I have to arrive at this conclusion only. All those writers and critics who selected these RETURNEE ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS should come forward and torn the façade of the ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS.
Funniest part, at the point my writing this, two WRITERS have resigned from their posts also. Who are they in Sahitya Akademi, apart from being WRITERS? They are in language advisory board and General Council. They are supposed to guide the Akademi in matters pertaining to literature and related stuff.
All the RETURNEE ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS and RELINQUISHER ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS have every right to request the President of the Akademi to convene the meeting of executive board of the Akademi. Sometimes the members mobilize support within the board to convince the President of the Akademi of the urgency and importance of the issue at hand. If these RELINQUISHER ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS themselves were convinced of the urgency and importance of the issue they are raising, they would have urged the members and President.
The point is the President of Sahitya Akademi has to obtain approval of the Executive Board before putting out anything in public. Poor person this President! At the mercy of ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS.
But funniest part is, these RELINQUISHER ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, have, instead of exercising their right and stand unitedly against the dastardly acts of suppression of freedom of writers and artists, have run away shirking their responsibilities. Not these RELINQUISHER ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, but all those writers and scholars who elected them should be pitied. I see plenty of eggs on their faces.
Beneath all the actions and commotion is the underlying belief of ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS that the present regime is fundamentalist and is prone to suppress and oppress the freedom of writers and artists. Let us agree with that assumption. What happens next? With these ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS running away, the government will be free to stifle remaining few writers and put their own men and women in the place of these RETURNEE ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS.
Whoa! That is what these WRITERS have been outwardly protesting but helping the very regime to do the same thing that they are protesting against.
Is there more to the actions of these ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS than what meets the eye?
I doubt because
I don’t remember any ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITER returning Sahitya Akademi award or relinquishing any Akademi post when M.F. Hussain was haunted, hounded and ostracized.
I don’t remember any ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITER returning Sahitya Akademi award or relinquishing any Akademi post when Perumal Murugan was haunted, hounded, ostracized and brutally silenced. Dear ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, Indian Literature, Sahitya Akademi’s journal was among the first to review Perumal Murugan’s ‘One Part Woman’ much before the title was even heard in the ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS’ UNIVERSE.
I don’t remember any ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITER returning Sahitya Akademi award or relinquishing any Akademi post when T.J. Joseph’s hand was chopped off.
The list is long and I just typed those few which came to my mind when the ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS chose to look the other away when these attacks took place on the writers, academicians and artists.
Please forgive me Schopenhauer, I see a brand new stratagem, a nouveau stratagem and let me call that as Tom and Jerry stratagem.
Please forgive me Aristotle, as per the new ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITER SYLLOGISM, a favorable conclusion can be drawn from wrong premises.
Please forgive me Nietzsche, as per the societal rule of ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, I don’t see any Eternal Recurrence but only ETERNAL TOKENISM.
Please forgive me Gotama, in the new philsophy of ‘‘INTELLECTUAL’’ WRITERS, smoke does not lead to fire but only more smoke, a ghastly and nasty vapor.