Vol. XLIII No. 16 April 21, 2019
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More than 200 Writers Appeal to Citizens

Below we reproduce the appeal issued by more than 200 writers on April 1, 2019, urging the citizens of the country to vote against hate politics and to vote for an equal and diverse India.

THE upcoming election finds our country at the crossroads.  Our constitution guarantees all its citizens equal rights, the freedom to eat, pray and live as they choose, freedom of expression and the right to dissent. But in the last few years, we have seen citizens being lynched or assaulted or discriminated against because of their community, caste, gender, or the region they come from. Hate politics has been used to divide the country; create fear; and exclude more and more people from living as full-fledged citizens. Writers, artists, filmmakers, musicians and other cultural practitioners have been hounded, intimidated, and censored. Anyone who questions the powers-that-be is in danger of being harassed or arrested on false and ridiculous charges.

All of us want this to change. We don’t want rationalists, writers and activists to be hounded or assassinated. We want stern measures against violence in word or deed against women, dalits, adivasis and minority communities. We want resources and measures for jobs, education, research, healthcare and equal opportunities for all. Most of all, we want to safeguard our diversity and let democracy flourish.

How do we do this? How do we bring about the change we need so urgently? There are many things we need to do and can do. But there is a critical first step.

The first step, the one we can take soon, is to vote out hate politics. Vote out the division of our people; vote out inequality; vote against violence, intimidation and censorship. This is the only way we can vote for an India that renews the promises made by our constitution. This is why we appeal to all citizens to vote for a diverse and equal India.

Some of the writers include Pradnya Daya Pawar, Romila Thapar, K N Panikkar, Nayantara Sahgal, Amitav Ghosh, Keki Daruwalla, Shashi Deshpande, Girish Karnad, Paul Zacharia Akeel Bilgrami, Anand Teltumbde, Jerry Pinto, Anita Nair, K Satchidanandan, Arundhati Roy, and Volga.