Nayantara Sahgal feted at Mumbai cultural event, after Marathi Sahitya Sammelan row

Let's Unite, an event held at Shivaji Park in Dadar on 29 January witnessed a gathering of several cultural luminaries of Maharashtra who stood together as an apology to the noted author, Nayantara Sahgal in light of the events that unfolded in Yavatmal ahead of the 92nd Marathi Sahitya Sammelan.

The 91-year-old writer who was not allowed to inaugurate the sammelan following threats made by the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena (MNS) cadre, addressed those gathered at the park in Mumbai and talked about the infringement on their freedom of speech.

Nayantara Sahgal feted at Mumbai cultural event, after Marathi Sahitya Sammelan row

Nayantara Sahgal at the event on 29 January. Image via Twitter

An Indian Express report quoted Sahgal as saying, "We are unique in the world that we are enriched by so many cultures, religions. Now they want to squash us into one culture."

"We are not all Hindus but we are all Hindustani. Aur hum yeh Hindustaniyat ko nahi chodengey, chahey kuch bhi ho," she said.

She also drew the attention of those gathered to the various instances where in prominent personalities from the film industry had suffered severe backlash for expressing their viewpoint. According to a Mumbai Mirror report, she talked about the recent Naseeruddin Shah row and questioned why none of the big names in Bollywood had spoken up for one of its greatest actors. She also pointed out how many of the major personalities of the film industry had refrained from speaking up during the #MeToo movement.

Since the Yavatmal protests, Sahgal's speech that she was scheduled to give at the Sahitya Sammelan has reportedly been read out at several literature festivals and she took to this platform to express her gratitude.

Present at the event was the Carnatic exponent TM Krishna who according to this report said, "Art has to ask questions to the society. Art is not  only about being pretty; it’s also about disturbance."

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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2019 10:05:20 IST

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