Sad Day When Government Vilifies Writers,Rues Shashi Deshpande at Bangalore Lit Fest Opening

Writers have become easy targets for violent attacks, well-known novelist Shashi Deshpande said here on Saturday.

Published: 06th December 2015 04:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2015 04:49 AM   |  A+A-


BANGALORE:  Writers have become easy targets for violent attacks, well-known novelist Shashi Deshpande said here on Saturday. Delivering the keynote address for the two-day Bangalore Literature Festival, she expressed concern over the government treating writers shabbily. “It is a sad day when a government cannot respect its artists  nd scholars, a sad day for the country when the government takes the lead in vilifying its creative people.

No  ountry, however economically developed, can call itself civilised if its artists, writers, scholars and thinkers are  treated with contempt,” she said. Shashi Deshpande regretted that the debate over writers returning awards was characterised by misunderstanding. “The other disturbing thing is that what began as a writers’  ovement against the silence of those in power, has now, in some inexplicable manner, turned into a confrontation between two sets of writers,” she said For the first time in recent years, writers, both young and old, have come together against threats to freedom of expression. But the protests have not been taken seriously, she said, describing the current atmosphere as ugly, disturbing, and distressing. She also  xpressed her unhappiness over writers boycotting events on various pretexts.

Noting that scholar M M Kalburgi had  een a member of the General Council of Sahitya Akademi, she expressed dissatisfaction over how the  kademi had responded to his assassination earlier this year. “Were we going to brush  this matter under the  arpet and ignore the serious implications  of the killing of a man because of what he had written?” she asked.  he dismissed suggestions that the campaign to return awards was a result of ‘herd mentality’. If it were so,  articipants of the French Revolution and the Indian freedom struggle were also sheep, she remarked.


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