Increasing attacks on minorities has become a growing concern in the past few decades in India. In the wake of another horrendous act of violence on a 20 year-old inhabitant of Kashmir, Zahid Rasool Bhat, the protest by the writers have added more members to the band wagon. Margoob Banhali who was recently conferred a Sahitya Akademi award for his book written in 1979, Partanistan, refused to accept his title.
Brutality and degradation of basic rights in one of the largest democratic country has raised questions against the very system it is thriving on. Revolting against this very brutal system, numerous writers have renounced their titles as a form of protest.
Margoob Banhali along with several writers and activists namely, Munawwar Rana, Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi and Sarah Joseph have given up their titles in the last few weeks. These writers have recently joined the 34 writers and activists from distant parts of India, to raise their voice. Their initiation has taken a step towards making the society free of discrimination and injustice. Munnawwar Rana, an urdu poet hailing from uttar Pradesh is famous internationally and has also taken a stand by giving up his title. By doing so, this issue has now surfaced outside India raising eyebrows of the natives settled across the border and social activists abroad.
In an interview, Sarah Joseph, a Malyalam author and activist harps back to the past where she identifies the present scenario to be worse than the black days of emergency. The act of returning the award has sparked debates on the fact that, why is Sahitya Akademi being equated by the government? Writers have expressed their views on their acts by not only taking a stand but by encouraging citizens to shun their silence against the injustice.