Senior English writers Nayantara Sahgal and Shashi Deshpande on Wednesday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks on the Dadri incident and cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.
“This country belongs to all Hindustanis, not just for Hindus. All Hindustanis need to be protected. The government must consider this its responsibility, that each religion is respected and our pluralism is given its due,” said Sahgal, who returned her Sahitya Akademi Award last week to protest against the “growing intolerance” in the country.
Modi today described the Dadri lynching and cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert as “sad” and “not desirable”. “But what role does the central government have in these incidents?” he asked.
Deshpande, who recently resigned from the general council of the Akademi, said these were very “weak” terms, and “the leader of the country should be morally responsible for whatever is happening in the country”.
“People have elected you and a few words from the leader of the country makes a lot of difference,” said Deshpande.
Meanwhile, English poet Keki N Daruwallah said he was giving up the award, blaming the literary body for not standing by its authors who are “under political duress”.