Why I am returning my national film award: Anand Patwardhan

29, Oct 2015

Conscientious Objector
India is at a crossroads, says the acclaimed documentary director.
Anand Patwardhan
National awards have always meant a lot to me. They were more precious than International awards and awards from private institutions precisely they represented those rare moments when the government of India became willing to uphold the spirit of our secular, socialist and democratic Constitution.

Today this spirit is evaporating. Our nation is at a crossroads. On one side is the secular path that our freedom fighters laid out for us and on the other, the path towards majoritarian fascism that the present regime seems bent upon. I am not saying we are already a fascist state. I am saying that the early warning signs are unmistakable.
It is the duty of all thinking citizens to speak out before it becomes too lae. Filmmakers are thinking citizens who cannot look away. When the government attempted to foist unqualified saffron administrators on the FTII, students there went on strike. The strike has lasted an unprecedented four months. In this period people from all walks of life began to wake up to the unmistakable reality that the India they knew was on a dangerous new path. The killing of rationalists, the hounding of whistleblowers like Teesta Setalvad and Sanjiv Bhatt, the denial of justice to victims of religious pogroms and caste based massacres, the emboldening of the religio-lunatic fringe and the impunity of those who kill or advocate killing in the name of religion is accompanied by the wholesale rewriting of history, the denial of scientific enquiry and the consequent production of a generation of dumbed down consumers for whom having an enemy to hate replaces their thirst for knowledge.

 

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