To deliberate upon the rise of intolerance and fascist tendencies, and the response voiced by various Punjabi writers who returned their Sahitya Academy awards, Lokayat in collaboration with People’s Artistes Forum organised a programme ‘Bol ke lab azaad hai tere’ at Panjab University on Saturday.
Surjit Patar and Gurbachan Bhullar were the key note speakers. Other five writers Darshan Buttar, Baldev Sadaknama, Pargat Satauj, Megh Raj Mittar and Mohan Bhandari participated in the panel discussion moderated by Monika Kumar.
Surjeet Patar mentioned how “the fascist forces” tried to create more silences and it was the duty of writers and artistes to break those silences by speaking up, writing and expressing themselves.
“The intellectual darkness can be countered by light of knowledge. We need to sincerely engage with acquiring, dispensing and sharing knowledge,” stated Gurbachan Bhullar. He added that the returning of awards has actualised the remark “pen is mightier than sword”.”
“But instead of engaging in dialogue with the writers, the government and politicians passed jibe and remarks that justified the intolerance rather propagated the intolerant attitude,” he added.
Afterwards, in the panel discussion, various issues of Punjab and India were discussed. There was deliberation on the need of possibilities of further resistance, estrangement of writers from the people’s movements to the need of raising consciousness among the people. The programme was followed by progressive songs by the members of People’s Artist Forum.
Besides this, the Lokayat demanded severe punishments for the murderers of MM Kulbargi, Govind Pansare, and Narinder Dabholakar.
The experts also condemned the attacks and threats for writers such as Perumal Murugan, Huchangi Parsaad, Chetna Trithahaali and KS Bhagwaan.