Intellectual Symbolism is currently engulfing the nation and most of its news headlines.

When news of Sahitya Academy award winners broke, it was one of the kinds which we term as “symbolic”,  and we continue to do the same. Several Sahitya Academy awards have been returned.
Filmmakers, led by Dibakar Bannerjee,  around 11 of them,  have also joined the protests.
They have been joined by Historians and even scientists. A group of 135 scientists has signed an online petition to register their protest as well.

Just a quick word before you proceed, Remember Gandhi?
Mahatma Gandhi was the epitome of Intellectual Symbolism. Dandi March? Civil Disobedience movement?
But then, we are a nation now being re-built on the ideals of Nathuram Godse, why does that matter.

Gandhi Intellectual Symbolism


Coming to the point.

Why are they returning their awards?

To protest against the growing intolerance in the country.  To protest against killings of fellow writers.  To protest against killings with regard to what people eat.

Are they wrong? 

No.  Protesting against something which you feel isn’t right is an acceptable practice of any democracy.  Considering we are the largest of them,  it is right on their part to do so. We can call it Intellectual Symbolism or use any such term but we cannot say they cannot protest.

Is their method wrong?

Debatable. I’m of the opinion that if you have the means to voice your opinion then instead of Symbolism you have to do that.

However, Right to dissent is very much a part of our constitutional democracy and returning awards which belong to them, is part of that right.

Satish Acharaya cartoon award wapsi

There are questions being raised, as silly as,  “Where were they when that happened” and “renowned” writers like Chetan Bhagat are even asking very relevant questions of what is the importance of Historians.

Support from Bhakts is natural.  They see any form of opposition to Modi or BJP or RSS as anti-national or Pakistani.  The Bhakts also take immense pleasure in using others as well for people who don’t agree with them, apart from occasionally killing or assaulting them, but then for sanity let’s leave it at that.

There’s a fair share of opposition from the closet Sanghis too.  Not on the fact that they are wrong in protesting, but why are they protesting now when they didn’t do it then? The classic technique of, when you cannot answer them, hit them back with another question.

I cannot speak for all of them.  Neither will it matter to the ones who are following the herd mentality of blaming them for not speaking out when someone other than their favorite BJP was involved.  Many of those writers did raise their voices, even during emergencies, wrote extensively during the dark Kashmir period and also when corruption was at the peak during UPA.  But then, who checks all that?  Especially when you have Chetan Bhagat to listen to?  Rather read to.

People often comment on my posts as to why you didn’t say anything when that happens, or when that happens? Fact is because you won’t do it for me.  You won’t Outrage when a minority loses a life, rather rush to label it as a one-off incident.  Because you’d blame the “fringe” and then happily vote for a party that represents them.

Probably the Symbolism isn’t right and there might be many among them who are doing it just for the limelight.  But then did you give them any choice?

The first comment on any article criticizing Modi is by a bhakt calling the writer with the choicest of words.  Abuses that they get from saying anything against Modi go to extents that are baffling.  Don’t you think they will be scared? Scared to speak out as they’ve seen people being killed for speaking out?

So, before you condemn them for speaking now and supposedly not when they did before, be thankful that they are at least doing it now.

Or if you don’t want them to return awards, do something to change the intolerant atmosphere.

It is not the first time that someone who has raised his voice has received flak from the online hate community. They have gone to the extent of abusing Sonakshi Sinha when his father has made any comment against BJP. They’ve gone after Noble Laureate Amartya Sen. The Finance Minster has even termed the current flock as “Rabid”.

You are also free to register to protest against this fashion of Intellectual Symbolism via peaceful protests, but stop blowing the trumpet of, “where were you when that happened?”.