Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan: Heinous Attempt to Intimidate Smt.Pushpa Bhave

Maharashtra Government, Police machinery and Shiv Sena have joined hands to intimidate Smt.Pushpa Bhave, well-known public intellectual, who protested against the decision to give the name of Bal Thackeray to the stage of upcoming Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan session at Chiplun. In response to her statement rightly opposing Sahitya Sammelan’s decision, Shiv Sena leaders publicly threatened her and ‘prohibited’ her from going to Konkan region. Aligning themselves shamelessly with Shiv Sena, police authorities in Chiplun cancelled a symposium which they had decided to hold on the 8th of January in which Smt.Pushpa Bhave was one of the panelists invited to speak. Police authorities did this only to avoid Smt.Bhave speaking at Chiplun. What is more, the police have now specifically asked Smt.Bhave not to enter Konkan! Sri.Sunil Tatkare, minister in Maharashtra’s Congress-NCP government, who is the chairman of Reception Committee of Sahitya Sammelan’s Chiplun session, lent his support to Shiv Sena by affirming that the decision to give Bal Thackeray’s name to Sahitya Sammelan’s stage will not be changed! This is just another example of how government machinery and police under Congress-NCP rule connives with semi-fascist forces.

Rather than being a forum of creative discourse, Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, in recent years has become a seat of narrow-minded controversies involving casteist and communal right-wing forces on all sides. The Chiplun session also is having its share of superficial controversies and muscle-flexing. Another worrying feature is that of Hindutwa forces trying to use Sahitya Sammelan forums to legitimize their fascistic ideology and historiography. The hall in which last year’s Sammelan was held in Thane was named after V.D.Savarkar. This year, Bal Thackeray’s name is being given to the main stage and an eminent intellectual like Pushpa Bhave is being threatened for opposing that move.

The people of Maharashtra should not allow this game-plan of Hindutwa forces to succeed. We should not allow fascist parties to dictate terms in our state’s cultural field and terrorize our secular intellectuals.

We condemn the tacit support extended by state government to fascist forces bringing in a situation where our state is not being run in a democratic manner as envisaged by the Constitution. We appeal to all progressive forces in Maharashtra to jointly defend constitutional freedoms and secular culture in our state.

(This is a statement issued by DYFI, Maharashtra State Committee: on January 07, 2012, forwarded to us by Ms Rekha Deshpande)


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