Artists in India Protest “Growing Intolerance” and “ideological Viciousness”

Tribune India,  November 6 2015

24 filmmakers, Arundhati Roy return their awards

24 filmmakers, Arundhati Roy return their awards

Arundhati Roy

Mumbai, November 5

Another 24 filmmakers, including Kundan Shah of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro” fame and Saeed Mirza who directed “Nukkad”, besides writer Arundhati Roy today returned their national awards over “growing intolerance”, voicing fears that the country’s robust democracy might be “coming apart” in the current atmosphere.

With this, at least 75 members of the intelligentsia have either returned national or literary awards, in an escalation of protests by writers, historians, filmmakers and scientists even as writer Nayantara Sahgal reiterated that “secularism was under threat” like never before. Sahgal was among the first to return the honours when she gave back the Sahitya Akademi award in October.

The filmmakers also strongly rallied behind students of the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) who recently called off their 136-day strike, saying their battle went beyond the manipulation of education to include “intolerance, divisiveness and hate”.

The 24 filmmakers, in a letter addressed to the President and Prime Minister, have said: “We hope that this symbolic gesture urges you to pay attention to our fears, that the warp and weft of our robust democracy might be coming apart in the current atmosphere.”

As they added to the voice against the “growing disregard” for freedom of speech and the murder of three intellectuals, Roy, a Booker prize winner, was quoted as having said she was returning the honour in protest against “ideological viciousness”.

She had received the 1989 National Film Award for Best Screenplay for the documentary “In which Annie Gives it to those Ones”. — PTI

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