KOCHI: “As a people, we are passing through the last golden hour of freedom and democracy," according to writer N.S. Madhavan. Delivering the keynote address at the Krithi International Festival of Books and Authors hereon Thursday, Mr Madhavan expressed concern over the mobs deciding the contents of creative expression all over the country. Recalling a secular person like Jawaharlal Nehru banning Ramayana Retold, he pointed out that nowadays such bans are not imposed by the government or state but mobs.
"The situation is more dangerous than the governments imposing a ban because today the crowd is imposing the ban. It should be remembered that the books, Hindus, an Alternative History' and Shivaji, A Hindu King in Muslim India were not banned by any governments. A situation has been created so that the publishers were forced to withdraw these books. Perumal Murugan has been silenced by caste conservatives, not the government", he said.
The writer also lamented that there was no public opposition to the oppression by the state and the governments. "Who spoke against Emergency during Emergency," he asked and said, "if we take the whole of India, only Phaniswar Nath Renu and Satyavrita Sinha were the only two names. Renu has returned the Padmashri and gone to jail. In Malayalam, only the allegories of Ayyappa Panickar and Satchidanandan were worth mentioning," he said.
Mr Madhavan also cautioned against the tendency to depict rulers like Trump as comedians. "In the 1930s, there was a tendency to depict Hitler and General Franco as comedians," he said. In today's world the protests are getting confined to the dais of Oscar Award presentation or the suicide of persons such as Rohit Vehumula. "The hopes of the present rests on such little protests," he said in a choked voice....