Growing Resentment : After Writers; Filmmakers & Scientists Return National Awards

Knowledge does not follow any boundary – Once again proven by the returning of national awards and Padma Bhushan  by heavy weight filmmakers and scientists following over 30 authors who returned their Sahitya Akademi Awards to protest “growing intolerance in country”. Different field, different arts, different artists, but they all united to protest against government interference in film, science, logic, etc.

To support the 139 days strike from June of 300 FTII students against the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as the institute Chairperson in their reputed institute, filmmaker Dibakar Bannerjee and 11 others renounced their national awards, although FTII students called off their strike on 27th October. According to filmmakers and technicians this protest is also for “Threat to diversity and freedom of expression, rising intolerance” .

They released the following statement on the very occasion while returning their awards :

Government of India must urgently reveal its commitment to protect the freedom of expression of each citizen.

We, the undersigned, stand alongside the writers who have returned the country’s highest literary honour, and hereby return our National Awards.

As filmmakers, we stand firmly with the students of FTII and are determined not to let them shoulder the entire burden of the protests. They have mounted a historic struggle and we urge others within our fraternity to come forward and carry this protest forward.

Dibakar Banerjee

Khosla Ka Ghosla (2007)

Oye Lucky, Lucky Oye (2009)

Anand Patwardhan

Bombay Our City (1984)

Paresh Kamdar

Rasyatra (1995)

Nishtha Jain

Gulaab Gang (2014)

Kirti Nakhwa

Lost & Found (2008)

Harshavardhan Kulkarni

Lost & Found (2008)

Hari Nair

Sham’s Vision (1997)

Rakesh Sharma

Final Solution (2006)

Indraneel Lahiri

Aamar Katha, Story of Binodhini (2014)

Lipika Singh Darai

Gaarud (2009)

Eka Gachha Eka Mainsha Eka Samudra (a tree a man a sea) (2012)

Kankee O Saapo (dragonfly and snake) (2013)

PM Bhargava

Elsewhere yesterday on 29th October, 107 top scientists of India, gave an online statement to join the protest against government’s rising interference in science and logics within some hours of filmmakers’ returning of awards. Famous scientist, Mr. Pushpa Mitra Bhargab, the director of The Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, has returned his Padma Bhushan saying “Among all awards and prizes Padma Bhusan held a special meaning to me. But when government is interfering about religions and democracy, this award does not hold that value now”. Even last Tuesday, 135 Scientists gave a petition to President Pranab Mukherjee on the same matter.

There has been no reaction so far from the Government of India on this matter. Various artists, authors and scientists across the country have decided to make a protest march in this coming week-end which will show how Freedom of Knowledge faces Power and vice versa.

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