Over 200 writers and artistes including Arundhati Roy, Girish Karnad, Keki Daruwalla, T.M. Krishna, and Nayantara Sahgal on Monday appealed to citizens to vote against hate politics and for an equal and diverse India.
In the appeal issued on Indian Cultural Forum, the 210 signatories said that the last few years saw “citizens being lynched or assaulted or discriminated against because of their community, caste, gender, or the region they come from”.
“Hate politics has been used to divide the country; create fear; and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens. Writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural practitioners have been hounded, intimidated, and censored.
“Anyone who questions the powers-that-be is in danger of being harassed or arrested on false and ridiculous charges,” they said in the appeal
Terming voting out “hate politics, division of our people, inequality, violence, intimidation and censorship” as the critical first step, the writer-artiste community said that it was the only way we can vote for an India that renews the promises made by the Constitution.
“We don’t want rationalists, writers and activists to be hounded or assassinated. We want stern measures against violence in word or deed against women, Dalits, Adivasis and minority communities.
“We want resources and measures for jobs, education, research, healthcare and equal opportunities for all. Most of all, we want to safeguard our diversity and let democracy flourish,” the appeal added.
The appeal has also been signed by prominent names like Amitav Ghosh, Vivek Shanbhag, Urvashi Butalia, Meena Kandasamy, Benyamin, Vivan Sundaram, Namita Gokhale, K.N. Panikkar, Ranjit Hoskote, Jeet Thayil, Jerry Pinto, Romila Thapar and Ashok Vajpeyi.
The appeal has been issued in English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu, Bangla, Malayalam, Tamil, Kannada and Telugu.