Modi ji tells only his Mann Ki Baat, doesn’t listen to others: Nayantara Sahgal

Bhubaneswar: Noted writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner Nayantara Sahgal hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the latter’s photos replacing Mahatma Gandhi on the calendar of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and said, he never takes suggestion of his Cabinet before taking a decision.

“Modi ji is running a one-man rule in the country. Though he has a Cabinet, but he doesn’t consult with it before taking a decision. In a parliamentary government, the Prime Minister rules through Cabinet and in democracy, the PM prays before the parliament…Nehru was doing that but Modi does not do so, only speaks at public meetings,” said Sahgal.

“…He gives his opinion in Maan ki Baat, but doesn’t listen to Maan ki baat of others… and that’s why there is no debate between government and public”, she stated.

The 88-year-old niece of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who spearheaded the ‘Award Wapasi’ campaign in October, 2015 told this on the sidelines of the second edition of Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet here on Friday.

Sahgal, who has been one of the most vocal authors campaigning against the alleged dangers to freedom of expression, also came down heavily on Modi on the charkha row.

“Those who are crushing dissent and attempting to wipe out Gandhi and Nehru from history, are speaking in very loud voices. Modi saheb has appropriated Gandhi ji’s charkha and we are not allowed to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti anymore or, to mourn his assassination. Statues are being erected of his murderer…So, the people who are doing all these, are speaking with loud voices and brutal actions… Do we speak up as loudly as they or are we letting these things happen without saying a word?” asked the octogenarian.

She was awarded the 1986 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, for her novel ‘Rich Like Us’ (1985), by the Sahitya Akademi.

Asked about the social responsibility of budding writers for the construction, development and progress of a healthy human society, she said they must keep on writing irrespective of the efforts to deter them in doing so.

“The writers must keep on writing, no matter what may be the efforts of outside forces to exert control over freedom of expression. They must go on writing….we have to speak up against all the things that are trying to stop us from being a plural society,” she said.

“Writers should be close to the heart of readers, because they are also a part of the society. Lots of crimes against dalits and atrocities are happening. So they need to be alert,” the author stated.