Over 500 writers and artistes gathered at Navsari in Gujarat Saturday to mark Martyrs’ Day and launched the Sarv Bhasha Samvad, which they said is a bid to “restore healthy public debate” in the country.
The intellectuals, led by Dr Ganesh Devy, met in an “apolitical” event to begin a “non-violent” approach to “safeguard free expression”. Devy is among the writers who returned the Sahitya Akademi Award to protest “rising intolerance”.
After police stopped the writers while they were on the way to Dandi, they met at the auditorium of Navsari Agriculture University.
The event was attended by family members of murdered rationalists Govind Pansare, M M Kalburgi and Narendra Dabholkar.
Dabholkar’s son Hamid said: “There is anguish, pain and anger at the way my father was assassinated. On the other side, there is reassurance and hope in the values of the Constitution. Similar weapons were used for all three killings. If Dabholkar’s murderers were caught in time, Pansare and Kalburgi would have been saved.”
He added: “It is foolish if we keep blaming the government. There is also the pseudo-secularism of the Congress. It is our own responsibility to bring back the credibility of the Left.”
Pansare’s daughter-in-law Megha said the family had resolved to take forward the legacy he had left behind. “He always received threats. But, he said, ‘I’m 82. No one will attack such an old man. This is a free country. I can say what I want’.”
Kalburgi’s son Shreevijaya said, “These assassinations took place after freedom. Democratic freedom of India is under threat. No one has the right to kill any thinker, activist and socialist.”
Speaking at the event, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi said, “My grandfather always said he feared many things. It was magic that he made India fearless. If someone has love, compassion and humanity in his heart, there can be no fear. If we really want us to be free, we must love one another. Thought has always won over weapons.” Thinkers at the event termed research scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide an “outcome of tough times”.
Hindu Mahasabha ‘celebrates’ Gandhi death anniversary
Meerut: Activists of Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha Saturday “celebrated” the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi by distributing sweets and dancing at the outfit’s office. Demanding that the country be declared a “Hindu Rashtra”, they said they would continue to “glorify” Nathuram Godse. “We celebrate the fact that Godse killed Gandhiji on this day,” said Ashok Sharma, vice-president of the Mahasabha. ENS