After invite row, event on January 29 to ‘raise voice against suppression’

—Shruti Ganapatye

In the backdrop of the rescinding of the invitation extended to Nayantara Sahgal for the 92nd All India Marathi Literary Meet, authors and writers from the Marathi community have decided to come together to not only honour the noted English language author but to also assert and uphold the right to free expression.

In an open-to-all literary meet scheduled for January 29, writers and artists from Marathi literature and the arts field are coming together to voice their views against suppression.

Sahgal is expected to attend the programme and may even address the gathering. Celebrated Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna, a known critic of the Modi regime, who had faced similar censorship in November last year after an event sponsored by Airport Authority of India was called off allegedly under pressure from right-wingers, is also slated to attend.

Being organised under the banner “Let Us Unite,” the event will see other known artists and authors including Bhalchandra Nemade, Amol Palekar, Arun Khopkar, Sandhya Gokhale, Jayant Pawar, Subodh More, Pushpa Bhave, Dr Ganesh Devi, Sandhya Nare-Pawar, Ganesh Vispute among others who will raise their combined voice against the wrong done to Sahgal and show solidarity.

The programme will be held at Shivaji Mandir in Dadar at 7 pm.

A joint statement issued by them stated: “We want to apologise to Nayantara Sahgal for this shameful incident and want to welcome her in the Marathi society. No political person, party or organisation has organised this. There will be no chief guest nor will it be inaugurated by anyone.”

Writer-journalist Jayant Pawar said that the discussion would focus on the present social scenario in the country. “The idea is to collectively raise voice against suppression. After the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan controversy, there is a need to unite and send a national message from the Marathi art and literary world that our voice cannot be muzzled,” he said.

After several dignitaries refused to replace Sahgal, a widow of a farmer who had committed suicide inaugurated the programme held at Yavatmal, which is at the epicentre of the farm crisis.

Sahgal, 91, a Sahitya Akademi awardee, was at the forefront of the 2015 “award wapsi” campaign against the “growing intolerance in the country” under the Modi government.

Mumbai Mirror