Noted writer Nayantara Sahgal, who was one of the first to return awards against ‘rising intolerance’ in the country, on Saturday said she is waiting for the day when the culture minister drapes naked statues at Khajuraho with a saree.
“The way things are proceeding now under Hindutva, I am just waiting for the day when the culture minister puts sarees on the naked statues at Khajuraho because they are in a very dramatic sexual postures,” Sahgal said at a session of the Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet (TSKLM).
While talking about censorship, the 88-year-old, who has returned her Sahitya Akademi award in protest against “rising intolerance”, said the space for dissent has vanished and dissenters are now being attacked with sticks, stones, black paint and even murder.
“The silence of the government is its answer. Or it is busy defending the Hindutva ideology,” she said adding that censorship by mob has taken over.
“It is the mob which decides what is going to be censored with threats, guns and violence,” Sahgal said.
On the last Lok Sabha elections, she said the polls were fought on the model of development and not Hindutva.
“He (Modi) never said we would turn it into a Hindu nation. This is now the government’s policy... Those who agree with us have the duty to stand up before we are converted into something which we did not wish to have,” the writer said.
Sahgal was one of the forefront campaigners against the Sahitya Akademi’s silence over killings of rationalists like Narendra Dabholkar and MM Kalburgi. On October 7, 2015, a week after a Muslim man in Dadri village near Delhi was lynched for allegedly storing and consuming beef in his home, Sahgal had expressed concerns over “dangerous distortion of Hinduism” and returned the Akademi award she had received in 1986 for her English novel ‘Rich Like Us’.
She recently took her award back in view of the contention that there is no provision to return the award. Talking to HT, Sahgal said, “The Akademi wrote a letter to me saying it is against their policy to receive returned award and therefore they are sending back the award. I will use the money for a worthwhile cause and welfare schemes.”