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Kulkarni’s humiliation unacceptable, says eminent author Vikram Sampath

DECCAN CHRONICLE | DARSHANA RAMDEV
Published Oct 13, 2015, 8:55 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 12:22 pm IST
Authors, activists from Bengaluru say art, books and music bring people together

Bengaluru: Columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni was on his way to the launch of ‘Neither a Hawk, Nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’ by former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khrushid Mahmood Kasuri, when he was attacked with black paint by Shiv Sena activists.

He wore his humiliation as a mark of pride, arriving at the launch, covered in the incriminating black ink. Earlier this week, legendary ghazal singer from Pakistan, Ghulam Ali, was also banned from performing in Mumbai. While these reactions are unsurprising coming from the Shiv Sena, why has the government taken a backseat? Is this chokehold over cultural and academic exchange becoming the norm?

 

Read | Kulkarni ink attack: Shiv Sena face blackened

The attack on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni “is unacceptable, especially in a democracy like ours,” said eminent author Vikram Sampath. “Why should there be a problem with an event taking place on a purely academic level? It will give us valuable insight into Pakistan's foreign policy and maybe even give us a chance to develop a suitable counter view!” "Sudheendra Kulkarni is a senior intellectual and to insult him in this fashion shows the narrow-mindedness of these people. It would be wrong to call them fringe elements, because they are now very much a part of mainstream society."

Read | Centre snubs ally Shiv Sena

On September 27, Ayaz Nizami & Party, a 10-member ensemble of qawwali singers from Pakistan, arrived to perform in Chowdaiah Memorial Hall in Bengaluru, under the aegis of the Bangalore International Arts Festival. "After their show, they wrote to me saying performing in Bengaluru was a wonderful experience. How do we assume all Pakistanis are bad? There is no justification for curtailing cultural freedom," said Dr Suma Sudhindra, a renowned veena exponent and co-founder of BIAF. "We shouldn't jeopardise India's position in anyway, but it's time people opened their eyes. Music, books, art are things that bring people together. We should be encouraging these activities, not hindering them."

Read | LK Advani slams ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni

Author and theatre veteran Prakash Belawadi wasn't in the least bit surprised. "I don't think this is anything new," he said. "These are things you expect from the Shiv Sena and the Bajrang Dal. The question is – what action is being taken against them?" No amount of media outrage can make a difference, he explained, until the state government puts stringent measures in place to prosecute these trouble makers. Artist S.G. Vasudev calls artists and writers cultural ambassadors, saying, "We represent India in different parts of the world. Would anybody like it if I went to Pakistan and was treated this way? Paintings, books, music – these are the finger tings in life. We should use them to forge friendships between nations."

‘People should open eyes to music, arts’

The attack on columnist Sudheendra Kulkarni “is unacceptable, especially in a democracy like ours,” said eminent author Vikram Sampath. “Why should there be a problem with an event taking place at a purely academic level? It will give us valuable insight into Pakistan’s foreign policy and maybe even give us a chance to develop a suitable counter view!” Credit goes to Maharashtra’s Chief Minister Fadnavis, he said, for finally allowing the book launch to happen. Dr Suma Sudhindra, a renowned veena exponent and co-founder of BIAF, said, “Yes, we shouldn’t jeopardise India’s position in anyway, but it’s time people opened their eyes. Music, books, art — these are the things that bring people together. We should be encouraging these activities, not hindering them."

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Location: Karnataka


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