On a day when finance minister Arun Jaitely accused writers returning awards for intolerance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, historian Irfan Habib sought to compare RSS with the Islamic State mi
On a day when finance minister Arun Jaitely accused writers returning awards for intolerance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, historian Irfan Habib sought to compare RSS with the Islamic State militant group.
The agitating writers in a meeting on Sunday sought to reject the charge that Congress and Leftists were behind their protest agai-nst “growing intolerance”. They alleged that ruling BJP was unable to “control its mobs”. In his speech, historian Irfan Habib said, “There is not much difference between Islamic State and the RSS as far intellect goes.” The writers, artistes, thinkers and academics had gathered on Sunday for a “resistance” meet (Prat-irodh) against what they described as “attack on reason, democracy and composite culture”. Another historian Romila Thapar claimed that “in its inability to control its mobs, the only comeback that the BJP has is to describe the protesters as Leftists or instigated by the Congress party”.
“Many of us are Leftists but many of us are not Leftists. What the protest is about is the need for a liberal space and this being emphasised again and again,” she added.
Ashok Vajpeyi, who was among 37 writers who had returned their state awards in protest against the alleged “rising intoleran-ce”, in his speech referred to allegations by finance minister Arun Jaitley terming the protests by writers as “manufactured” and cited the statements of President, RBI governor and leading industrialist Narayan Murthy.
“Some of us had returned our awards and now the number has crossed 40. And we are being accused of practising manufactured politics. Sir, the politics of hatred, violence, killing and ignorance is being manufactured by you,” Mr Vajpayee alleged.
Meghna Pansare, daughter-in-law of Govind Pansare, said it was good to see the writings of the trio who wrote in Kannada and Marathi now being published in English in the book The Republic of Reason, Words They Could Not Kill, released by Sahmat.
“All three people who had written these articles had one common link that they were all rationalists. They used to create awareness and enlightenment in the society about values like freedom of expression, democratic values,” she said.