Bengaluru: S Raghunandana, popular theatre personality in Karnataka, declined to accept the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi award as a protest against mob lynching incidents, violence in the name of God and religion and attempts to throttle activists voices.
Two days after the award was announced, the artiste released a statement saying his conscience does not permit him to accept the award when righteous people in the country were facing injustice.
“However, today there is mob lynching and violence in the name of God and religion, and even in the matter of what one eats. The powers-that-be are directly, or indirectly, responsible for these deadly acts of murder and violence… They are directly, or indirectly, supporting the hate campaign that uses all means, including those offered by internet technology, to fulfil its unholy aims,” the artiste said in his statement.
Voicing his concern over attempts to put in place systems that will teach lessons of hate and irrationality to students, he said the meaning of what it is to be an Indian, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, are being distorted, and erased.
“But, is not hybridity Shivam indeed? Crores of people like me can only lament: Cry, the Beloved Country,” the artiste lamented,” he added. The artiste further said by throttling the voices of conscientious intellectuals and activists, the rulers of India are silencing the poor and powerless.
However, he apologised for declining the award and thanked Sangeet Natak Akademi, by saying that the institution has been upholding its principles of autonomy through the years.