|Saturday, June 17, 2000||
Apropos of Khushwant Singh’s "Writers’ code of honour" (May 27), as far as I remember, India was perhaps the first non-Muslim country to impose a ban on Salman Rushdie’s book.
In a creative writer there is always an element of questioning, of adventure, of searching for new horizons, of going into depths and raising from these depths with new values. Viewed from this angle both Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen have been more sinned against that sinning.
What is vital is that a writer must have the independence of thought and the courage of his convictions. From this it follows that if the present-day writers are sincere about bringing about social changes or checking the high-handedness of authorities and if their intent goes beyond earning money through newspaper and magazine articles, a passive role like mere indulgence in criticism will not suffice. There has also to be an active role through which dissent is channelled into concrete action.
This refers to Prabhjot Singh’s ‘A year after their martyrdom...’ (May 20). To a person who is well versed with the Indian socio-political psyche, it does not come as a shock to know that within one year of the supreme sacrifice of our great soldiers, their bereaved families have been left to fend for themselves. Our political leaders have washed their hands off the matter by making ex-gratia payments, while the people feel satisfied by criticising the government.