Jaipur: Acclaimed writer and a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family, Nayantara Sahgal, on Saturday reinforced her sustained attack on the “ideology of Hindutva,” dubbing it an extension of Hitler’s and Mussolini’s philosophy, while also emphasising that the country’s Dalit movement is the “strongest and most organised voice” against the current trials of time.
Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival, where she had delivered the first keynote address, the Commonwealth Prize winner said that the “master race” that is now trying to be “produced in India” comes from “the ideology of Hitler and Mussolini.
“When the atmosphere in the country is what it is today, there are only two options: One, to get drunk and the other to write a novel and that’s what I have done,” she said.
Sahgal’s last novel “When The Moon Shines By Day” is a satire on an age when there are acute restrictions on freedom of expressions as characters in the novel come face-to-face with subjugation by the state.
“It seems to me that the Kshatriya mentality has taken over the country and is trying to decide what we do. I sense a very war-like situation in the country, not only with Pakistan but also with internal enemies,” she said, before describing that the internal enemies are “others” – those who disagree with the current dispensation.
Responding to an interjection from an audience member, she contended that “Hindutva is a problem to me because I am a Hindu. I am not only a born Hindu and practising Hindu. We rejected a religious identity at Independence because we are a deeply religious society of many religions. Our founding fathers ensured that the practitioners of every religion have pride of place in the country”.
“Under that banner of Hinduism, attacks are carried out on freedom of expression. Scientists, artists, filmmakers and everybody who do not agree with them are attacked and killed,” she added.
Terming herself an “admirer of the ongoing Dalit movement,” Sahgal also said that the voice of Dalits is the most organised and strongest voice today. She further stressed that the basic difference between Hindutva and Hinduism is that the former believes in violence.
Sahgal has been a regular at almost every other literary event in the past six months and at each event, she has carried on with similar relentless attacks on Hindutva.