Why not Amartya Sen?
All the so-called intellectuals have returned their awards to the Sahitya Akademy, though the GOI and the Sahitya Academy are different entities. Okay! They have not found the time suitable to return the awards when Indira Gandhi slapped emergency, tightened press censorship. They have not found the time suitable when Rajiv Gandhi gave open warning to the press with the libel act. They have not found the time when he introduced and passed the Postal interception Bill when he was enjoying a brutal majority in both the houses of parliament.
When the Kashmiri Pandits were evacuated from the valley, after open calls were made out through loud speakers from the mosques, they have not paid any attention to that. When Rajiv Gandhi openly gave a call to massacre the Sikh community after Indira Gandhi’s assassination and utter nonsense were administered against the Sikh minority when the dignitaries have started arriving in New Delhi to take part in the funeral of Indira Gandhi, no one thought it fit to return their awards.
When Tasleema Nasreen was issued a fatwa no one had any resentment. When her book was banned before publication, when Salman Rushdie’s participation was objected by a handful of few, when Ms.Nasreen’s press meet was vandalized once in Calcutta and again in Hyderabad, none of these so-called intellectuals opened their mouths. When a professor’s hand was chopped off no one, sympathized with him or even subsequently he was sacked by the University of Kerala.
Be it in the English channel or Tamil Channel the supporters of resignation are telling in unison that this is a special occasion that freedom of expression is under threat. Okay let them do it. They should also return the cash prize that was attached to the awards. Their decision to return or surrender the awards is to draw the attention of the international community.
I would like to suggest them one simple technique. Why should they move here and there in search of the awardees and cajole them to return their Sanhita Academy awards?
Instead why not they ask Dr.Amartya Sen to return his award to the Nobel Peace foundation that will easily catch the eyes of the international community?