Renowned South Asian Urdu poet, Munawwar Rana and also a Sahitya Akademi winner, has said that by merely returning awards or resigning form their posts were not going to solve the core issue of growing religious intolerance in India.
Speaking exclusively to jantakareporter.com, Rana said,
“Jin haalaat mein mulk pahunch gaya hai yaa phir mulk ki siyasat pahunch gayi hai, usmein yeah chhote mote istife dene se koi faayeda nahi hoga. Jab tak saahityakaaron, shaayeron, kaviyon ya patrakaron ke khoon se yeah chaman nahi ranga jaayega, tab tak is mulk mein haryaali nahi aa sakti ( The stage our country has reached or the way our politics has deteriorated, mere resignations will not help. Unless we literary artists, poets or even journalists agree to shed our blood, the peace and harmony will never return in our motherland.)”
“I’m not in favour of returning my awards. That’s where I differ. Mere maanna yeah hai ki yeah itne beghairat log hain ki in par farq nahi padta hai. Just think about it. An innocent man is killed by a mob of 100 people and our prime minister loses his ability to speak. Our chief minister is frightened to visit the village because he doesn’t want to anger Hindus. Therefore he invites the victims family to Lucknow to provide help. It has become a political game.”
Rana, known for his gut-wrenching poetry on his love for his mother and communal harmony, said that he was ‘extremely pained’ over the recent developments that led to the killing of an innocent man in Dadri and the murder of scholars such as Govind Pansare and MM Kalburgi.
He said that instead of returning awards or resigning from their posts the scholars ought to chalk out an alternative and more effective strategy to make sure that ‘this country’s politics changes for the better.”
“To hamne faisla kiya ki sabse aasan tareeqa yeah hai ki ham jantar mantar pe baithte hain yaa phir Sahitya Akademi ke office ke saamne rakh lete hain.Aur sab se pehle main chal kar baithtaa hun. Ham waada karte hain ki ham marne ke baad hi wahaan se uthenge. kam se kam hamaare khoon se agar mulk mein khushhaali aa sake aur nafratein khatm ho sake to logon ko shaayed yeah ehsaas hoga ki yeah sab jhooti nafratein failaayi jaa rahi thi ( That’s why I say that the easiest way to fight this menace of communalism is by sitting at Jantar Mantar or in front of the Sahitya Akademi office. I promise that I will not leave that place until I’ve sacrificed myself. If my blood can restore prosperity in this country and it can end hatred, this will be enough for misguided people to realise how they were being befooled by politicians to hate each other.)”
An emotional Rana continued,
“What’s this hatred for? It is sometimes on the pretext of Love Jihad and on the other occasion you will be burnt alive just because you chose to eat meat in your house even if it wasn’t beef. This country can’t go far with these ideologies. What we have in front of us is a mountain-like problem and this can’t be brought to ground with mere speeches. You need to use dynamite to cause explosion.”
Of course Rana is using dynamite as a metaphor here. The celebrated poet added that the hatred that has poisoned ‘our society today’ didn’t exist even ‘during India of post Babri Masjid demolition in 1992.’
He said, “That had just whipped up religious craze. The issue then was about ‘this is my temple and this is my mosque.’ What we are harvesting today is the crop of utter hatred.”
The poet had once expressed his anguish on the religious divide through this couplet,
“Yeah dekh kar patange bhi hairaan ho gayin, Ab to chhatein bhi Hindu Musalmaan ho gayein (Even kites are now perplexed looking at the roofs of the neighbourhood, because they too now have been divided along the lines of religion.)”
Rana blamed the ruling class for the worsening communal situation in India.
“The difference is that today everything is being encouraged by the ruling class. What people don’t understand is that you can’t wipe out 17 crore Muslims from India. You can’t simply kill all of them. There will be no new Pakistan either. What this growing religious intolerance encouraged by the ruling class will do is that our society will be forever divided between two sections. There will be achche log and there will be bure log along the lines of New Delhi and Old Delhi.”
This is what Rana had to say for so-called ‘pseudo-nationalists’ in India,
“Chalo chalte hain mil jul kar watan pe jaan dete hain,
Bahut Aasan hain kamre mein Vande Maatram Kahna (Let’s go out and sacrifice ourselves for our country because it’s very easy to sit at home and sound nationalist inside your own room.)”
P.S. Prime Minister Narendra Modi did finally speak on Dadri, but did not condemn the lynching of 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq and blamed opposition politicians for playing the politics of polarisation.
As many as 24 renowned scholars and writers have returned their Sahitya Akademi and Padma awards in protest against the murder of MM Kalburgi and lynching of Akhlaq.