My guess has come to be true- the Times Lit Fest has indeed passed a resolution “…read to the audience a “resolution“from writers and readers at the fest. Here is the text of the resolution: Quote
Together against attacks on writers
A group of writers and readers issued a statement at the Times Litfest on Monday, expressing concern over the recent spate of attacks on writers. “This discussion and celebration would be incomplete if we do not speak, as readers, writers, and citizens of conscience, on matters of concern in our cultural life today,“ the statement read. Talking of “a steady calculated erosion of freedom especially in the last 25 years“, it added: “Almost every political party has been vulnerable to the temptation to suppress democratic openness.“ Unquote
Harsh words have been used in gay abundance, besmearing the civility of the English language by participants, whose only claim to the stature of a writer is that they had an early start after independence to occupy positions of power. Words like “liar” have frequently been traded between the supporters and opponents of the protest. The reference to last 25 years in the resolution is faking objectivity. One thing is clear as daylight that these protesters are no adherents to the national motto of Satyamev Jayate, which means they have no respect for truth. Writing is of no value if it is anything less than the truth. Truth has four components, lies, telling lies, truth, respecting truth. The feigned anger against intolerance in the last quarter of 2015 for the ills of last 25 years is the cheapest kind of politics. Writers don’t write to please the powerful or the wealthy, but to bring the truth to the notice of the people; they don’t write for any gain other than personal happiness; writers aren’t propagandists, sales agents or businessmen. But the award wapasi group of writers have indulged in obnoxious propaganda. It has impacted literary spirit in India. As it is, they had proved themselves as the biggest hurdle in flowering of the new talent in literature and all other art forms in the country in the same past 25 years they are complaining about by steadfastly occupying all the literary space leaving no room for the new shoots to sprout. The Times Of India has compromised the independence of the press in the country. Regular employees of newspapers and TV channels, doubling as journalists/ columnists/ anchors have sold their conscience to the Devil and bartered away the freedom of speech of every sensible reader in whose name they have passed the resolution. This resolution is nothing but a no-confidence motion against their target of concentrated & undiluted hatred without any authority. They still think India is ruled by a blantantly UNCONSTITUTIONAL mechanism of the UPA government where these elements could bypass the de jure prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, and make do with the NAC (National Advisory Council) headed by Ms Sonia Gandhi. Their conscience had died in those ten years. They saw no intolerance for the constitutional government in the dynasty! For them, the dynasty is India/constitution/law and India/constitution/law is dynasty. Such writers and newspapers and media have already lost their credibility and stand totally exposed today.
India has been fogged by a facile debate about freedom of thought and expression. It is a cheap political gimmick to denigrate the Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi. India is a rare country favouring blossoming of million thoughts. Indian appetite for more thoughts never ends. It has never stopped new ideas like Buddhist or Jain thought to flourish in the country. The reason was that India promoted only the pursuit of knowledge like any genuine Knowledge Society. It achieved great wonders in expressing those thoughts in highly scholarly treatises which survive even today and continue to inspire any seeker of knowledge. There is no ban of any kind. There is just a piece of advice: if one does not seek to know, he need not read these treatises, because it will simply be a waste of time for him. Such high grade scholars never thought of devising a control mechanism as in the Christian Papacy or the Caliphate, with elaborate hierarchy of cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests, Moulvi, Kazi, Mufti, for full freedom of thought and expression. As against it, Christianity/Islam punished new thoughts/ thinkers by whipping or burning them alive at the stake or forcing a scientist like Galileo to withdraw his findings that the Earth moved round the Sun, which went against the Bible saying that the Sun revolved around the Earth! Is it nothing significant that the thoughts from Christianity, Islam or other sources have been welcomed in India? Had India rejected modern scientific thoughts or embraced them with great felicity? Do Christianity and Islam accept secularism and gender equality without any reservation? India loves thoughts, but lays emphasis on fruitful thoughts, not destructive thoughts. The noise in the name of freedom of speech looks funny against this living reality. The Satanic exhortations in the garb of freedom of speech camouflage true intentions: they are not what is being adumbrated! It is amusing to see many such dim lights founding sustainable platforms like LitFest to carry on their propaganda unhindered. None of them is an avant- garde litterateur, musician, painter, film maker, actor, artist, sculptor, economic/political thinker, philosopher or psychologist, scientist or technologist or a shining legal luminary. Why should the average Indian care for what they are protesting for? They can’t kill the thoughts of others as they had always been doing by shortchanging talent and rewarding mediocrity. The potential blooming of the new talent, suppressed so long, causes fear in their minds. They have been emasculated suddenly and will take time to come to terms with it. The protests organized by their political patron promise them return of the old times soon.
In the targeted attack on prime minister, inside and outside the parliament, in organized protests and award wapasi rituals, sly attempts at Times LitFests, none of these dim lights of literature, politics or economics mentioned even once that Narendra Modi was never elected to represent the Hindu community in India or abroad and that the last general election was not fought in the name of Hinduism. In fact, the religious leaders should have warned their Fundamentalist Forces in action in India and abroad to act sensible and desist from indulging in such unholy and unproductive rows. Those intolerant of the rise of Narendra Modi should not protest for tolerance!
At stake is India’s freedom itself. It is not Narendra Modi who is at the stake, it is the sovereignty of India in political, economic and culture thought. Threatening India with anarchy or destabilizing the government will be met with appropriate response. It would be better if the protesters come out of their shells fast and update their knowledge about the Indian mind in contemporary times. Let them note that the Idea of India survives their threats to the very thought of India.