Marathi Sahitya Parishad Withdraws Nayantara Sahgal’s Invitation as the Main Speaker
January 7, 2019
The news about the withdrawal of invitation to Nayantara Sahgal as the main speaker at the Marathi Sahitya Parishad's annual sammelan this year is most unfortunate.
To withdraw an invitation after having extended it and having made it public amounts to insult of a writer of Sahgal's stature. If, as media reports state, it is withdrawn out of apprehension that she may speak about the 'freedom of expression',the decision is shocking. To withdraw the invitation because her speech may be inconvenient for the ministers scheduled to speak at the Sammelan is entirely condemnable.
Recently, Nayantara Sahgal was accorded the honour of being invited as an Honorary Vice President of the PEN International.
On behalf of the PEN Community of writers from all continents and on behalf of the Dakshinayan writers in Maharashtra, I would like express our sense of shock at this decision of organisers of the sammelan.
I would like to remind them that in the past Durga Bhagwat had openly opposed the Emergency from the platform of the sammelan. In the present times of what media often describes as 'an undeclared cultural emergency', the sammelan was expected to display similar kind of courage and show respect for the freedom of expression.
In protest of the unfortunate decision, we call upon those writers who care for the freedom of expression to fearlessly articulate their support for freedom of writers and their views.
Donate to the Indian Writers' Forum, a public trust that belongs to all of us.