‘Censorship should be at the individual level’

Writer Nayantara Sahgal and actor Mohan Agashe at the Hyderabad Literary Festival at HPS on Friday.– Photo: K.V.S. Giri

Writer Nayantara Sahgal and actor Mohan Agashe at the Hyderabad Literary Festival at HPS on Friday.– Photo: K.V.S. Giri  

Censorship of any kind has to be individual wherein a person who does not like something should not watch or read it, said eminent author Nayantara Sahgal here on Friday.

“I do not believe in censorship. If you don’t like a book, don’t read it. Though protests are acceptable as long as they are non-violent, what we are seeing today is violence from those who oppose us,” said Ms. Sahgal, who was a speaker on a panel titled ‘Censorship and Free Speech’, along with writer Urmila Pawar and activist Vasanth Kannabiran at the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) 2016. Ms. Sahgal said she has made up her mind to raise her voice, even if it puts her in the ‘firing line’. “You have a right to think for yourself, eat what you want, and to worship what you want,” she added. Asserting that she is a “child of Gandhi’s India”, Ms. Sahgal said she has sympathy for those who do not stand up to dissent due to fear. Giving an example of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan who recently declared that he had given up writing due to the reaction against his work, Ms. Sahgal said that she too would have done the same had she been in his place. After her talk, a member of the audience pointed out that other writers like Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen have been writing in spite of opposition, and said that Perumal Murugan should not have stopped. To that, she responded saying, “Salman Rushdie had the full support of the British government, and Taslima Nasreen belongs to the upper crust. Murugan is a poor man, he has no protection.” There was a moment of rude surprise at the event, when a member from the audience took exception to what she said. After asking a question, he seemingly walked away while Ms. Sahgal was replying, only to be booed by the crowd who asked him to wait and listen to her.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 2:14:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/%E2%80%98Censorship-should-be-at-the-individual-level%E2%80%99/article13989210.ece

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