New Delhi | Writers may have returned their awards protesting growing intolerance in the country but some leading authors also were concerned by religious extremism globally, visionless development of cities, general decline in intellectual content of ordinary life besides climate change and child labour.
Amit Chaudhuri, Tabish Khair, Ashwin Sanghi and Roswitha Joshi share their views on the three issues that were of concern to them as authors during 2015.
According to Chaudhuri, one of the issues was the lack, even as of today, of robust and active citizens’ organisations that have a thorough knowledge of, and clarity on, the legal and constitutional frameworks for the freedom of expression, which could begin countering the suppression of dissent and of our civil liberties on the basis of this knowledge.
Considered his generation’s best chronicler of acutely observed life, Chaudhuri, who has authored six novels, the latest being Odysseus Abroad released last year, was also worried about visionless development of cities.
The decimation of what’s most architecturally important about our modern cities, and the pursuit of ‘development’ without a vision.
The outcome and untenability of this pursuit, in Mumbai and more recently in Chennai, are now very apparent, the Kolkata-born author said.
He was also concerned about a system of education which ultimately privileges a passage abroad, putting our children, roughly from the age six to 17, in transit, so putting the onus of crucial change and reform not on ourselves – since we’re not going to be here if we’re successful – but solely on government.
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