Secularism is under attack, says Nayantara Sehgal, writer
The first ‘Loknete Bhai Vaidya Smruti Gaurav Puraskar’ was given to renowned English writer Nayantara Sehgal by activist Baba Adhav on Tuesday. The award was received by writer Kiran Nagarkar on her behalf. Nagarkar was also the special guest of honour for the event. Abhijeet Vaidya, president of Arogya Sena and Bhai Vaidya foundation and Laxmikant Deshmukh, former president of Marathi Sahitya Sammelan were also present for the programme that was held at SM Joshi foundation, Navi peth.
Though Sehgal could not attend the programme, she sent a video message in which she said, “Times have changed. We are living in an India that has no connection with our modern political past. Secularism is under attack. Equal rights and equal citizenship are in tatters. Indians have been divided into Hindus and others. The truth is this divide is not between Hindus and others. It is between a militant greed called Hindutva and those whom it calls others. It is a negation of all that Hinduism represents. Many Hindus are opposing this communal idealogy and its political agenda of vengeance and violence against fellow Indians whom it calls outsiders, and its objective of setting up a Hindu Rashtra in place of our secular democracy in which the state has no role in religion. The questioning mind, the scientific outlook, the rational approach, the creative imagination and freedom of expression, have no place in today’s backward-looking New India which is ignoring the fact that India is a democracy,” she said.
“The message from those in power is clear: either agree with us, or suffer the consequences. We are watching the destruction of the very meaning of India and of all that Indians have built since independence.” she added.
In his acceptance speech, Kiran Nagarkar said that Nazism is back in the country. He said that people are not ready to think clearly about where the country is heading to and what are the challenges before them.