At a time when the nation is witnessing rising violence, lynchings and the silencing of rationalists, noted author and Sahitya Akademi Award winner Nayantara Sehgal believes that the country is shrinking into a Hindu monoculture.
“What is projected today as Hinduism is a travesty of Hinduism. Hindutva is a distortion of Hinduism and that is what we are shrinking into; that’s what is taking place today,” the author added.
Sehgal was in conversation with Githa Hariharan during a Facebook live chat organised by Indian Writers Forum. Her latest book, ‘When the Moon Shines by Day’ published by Speaking Tiger.
Sehgal went into discussing the changing times that she has witnessed — from Independence in 1947 to the present era.
“The fact is in the emergency of 1975, we knew we were in dictatorship; the opposition was put in jail, all debate had been crushed, the constitution had been amended to take away our right to life and liberty, we knew the situation we were in,” the author pointed out.
“But today, the situation is much more dangerous, because all that is happening under the light of democracy, incidents like mob lynching, killing of the journalists and rationalists, making the situation much worse than ever it have been,” Sehgal added.
She also mentioned that the rise in intolerance is particularly targeted towards the Muslim community and not the other minority communities.
“The idea that Hindutva maintains is that India is a land that belongs only to the Hindus. Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs will be tolerated and Muslims are considered enemies. Their attitude is Muslims are to be told where their place is if they are going to live in this country,” Sehgal said.
However, the author emphasised that despite so much of violence, there is a rise of protests coming from different groups of the society, from the film stars and intellectuals to the Dalits.
“This gives a ray of hope and courage to people who have suffered. The class we call artists and authors is a very obstinate bunch of people, they will not keep quiet, they will speak at every opportunity. We are going to keep doing what has to be done,” Sehgal noted.