25 June, 2021

The Howl Anthology

In the end, there is The Word.... It falls upon writers to float an ark of reason in the flood of intolerance in Modi-led India.

The Howl Anthology

“A writer is the eye that sheds the first tear if the country’s social fabric is disturbed. A writer can only survive when he or she breathes fresh air.” That was Urdu poet Wasim Barelvi, one of the 42 writers who have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards or resigned from its offices so far. Never in India’s history have so many writers come together to protest against a government and the silence of the lambs. Writing, by nature, is a solitary activity. It comes from an intensely private space. It would have taken a profound shock to a shared ethos, trauma even, for a disparate band of literary practitioners from all over the country to intervene in the public sphere—and with such passionate rage at that. It’s only extreme provocation that could have goaded them to shed their usual shyness of the public and collectively take on the role of conscience-keepers of the nation. A tipping point has clearly been reached.

Hindi writers Manglesh Dabral and Rajesh Joshi are clear-eyed in their description of what they see as a climate of fear...

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