Supporting authors, Gulzar says ‘Returning award only way to protest’
Patna: Noted lyricist
Gulzar has come out in support of authors returning their Sahitya Akademi
awards in protest of the growing religious intolerance in the country, saying
this is the only way a writer can register protest.
Many writers have
returned their Akademi awards to protest the killing of Kannada writer MM
Kalburgi and other growing instances of attacks on intellectuals.
Gulzar, 81, said while
the killing was not Akademi’s fault, the authors wanted the institution to
recognise and protest against the incident.
“The murder that has
hurt us all is somewhere the fault of the system/government... Returning the
award was an act of protest. Writers don't have any other way to register their
protest. We have never witnessed this kind of religious intolerance. At least,
we were fearless in expressing ourselves,” Gulzar said.
Expressing concern over
the growing instances of communal intolerance, he rubbished claims that the
writers’ decision to return the award was politically motivated.
“Never thought that a
situation like this would come where a person’s religion is asked before his
name. It was never like this... What politics can a writer do? A writer just
speaks from his heart, mind and soul. They are the conscience keepers of the
society. They are the keepers of the soul of the society,” he said.
In the wake of the
authors’ protest, the Sahitya Akademi finally passed a unanimous resolution on
Friday appealing to state and central governments to take steps to prevent such
incidents and asked authors to take back the awards they had returned to
protest the “rising intolerance”. (With inputs from agencies)