Amid the nationwide protest against the amended Citizenship Act, noted Urdu satirist and humourist Mujtaba Hussain Wednesday said he has decided to return his Padma Shri award. Hussain, 87, who has written over 25 books of satire and humour in Urdu over the last several decades, lamented the sharp decline of democratic values in the country, saying that he is unable to laugh in today’s times.
“I have been a humour writer all my life. But I think I am unable to laugh in today’s times. I am certainly not in a position to laugh. The poor man’s smile has been taken away and farmers are committing suicide… I see the common man is distressed. Everyone is in distress. I cannot laugh,” he told indianexpress.com.
The humourist, who has witnessed World War II and Partition, said the present times cannot be compared with any of those he has witnessed in the past. “Our forefathers like Gandhi, Nehru, Maulana Azad, and Ambedkar gave us freedom and the Constitution and it took so many years for the democracy to be nurtured. But the decline has been all of a sudden in present times,” he said.
Expressing his dismay at the way people are being divided in the name of religion, he said: “What is the haste in enacting and implementing every other law? There are fewer talks of unity and more division. No one wants to talk about unity. There is hatred being developed in everyone’s minds. Our nation will not accept this. The Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb was nurtured in centuries and I hope it prevails.”
“The demolition of Babri Masjid was nothing compared to the destruction of democratic values in today’s times. The way it is being silently and hastily destroyed is saddening,” he added.
Hussain was conferred the fourth highest civilian award by then President APJ Abdul Kalam, in 2007 for his contribution to humor genre in Urdu literature.
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