NEW DELHI: Writers, artists, academics, students gathered at Jantar Mantar to condemn the murder of Professor MM Kalburgi in the Dharwad district of Karanataka and raise a voice against the right wing effort to create an atmosphere of fear and repression in the country.
Writers from Janvadi Lekhak Sangh (JLS) and Progressive Writers’ Association spoke against the fundamentalist forces that they said were on the ascendant ever since the BJP government came to power at the centre. Poems of resistance were read out, along with songs by seasoned poets and enthusiastic students from the universities of Delhi.
Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association, said, “The word “fringe” has become quite popular lately, even media keeps deluding us that saffron is fringe and PM Modi should focus on development only and not listen to this “fringe”. But it has become very clear now that the “fringe” is the boss; it’s the master ventriloquist which runs things.”
She also commented on the recent meet of senior BJP ministers with the RSS top brass, saying,“RSS can, just like a Principal of a school does, call up Narendra Modi and his cabinet and give them report card telling them whether they are passed or failed, not only that, but can also dictate what its stance should be against Pakistan.”
Secretary, Janvadi Lekhal Sangh, Murali Prasad Singh spoke about what a tremendous loss Kalburgi’s death is to a liberal mind. “He was a scholar of Basavanna, the 12th century social activist, who fought for equality. Let me tell you about a play Kalburgi wrote on his life called “Fall of Kalyan”, which hinges on the idea that “The static perishes, the dynamic perishes not” , he added
Corrupt politicians won’t last long, he said, citing an excerpt from the same play. “He (Basaveswara) tells his sister Nagalambika that the worst people in society will become leaders and priests and pontiffs but their evil will last just as long as their money will.”
Ali Javed, Secretary, Progressive Writer’s Association, recited a beautiful poem by Sahir Ludhianvi, titled “Khoon Phir Khoon hai tap kega to jam jayega”, which was received with a burst of applause.
Ashok Bhaumik, artist, spoke of the contrast between a television anchor’s diatribe and the freedom of speech not allowed to Dalit and progressive writers. “Woh agar ek maarenge to hum dus maarenge” (we will kill ten for one), which seems to test the boundaries of what can be accepted as freedom of expression, but no such luck for Dalit writer, Kanwal Bharti who was arrested by the UP police for a Facebook comment protesting against the suspension of IAS, Durga Shakti Nagpal,” Bhaumik pointed out.