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Rediff.com News Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents

Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5,


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November 06, 2015 10:20 IST

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IMAGE: Writers and cultural activists tying black gags and arm bands at a solidarity march to protest the
growing intolerance in the country in New Delhi. Photograph: PTI

'When you are returning your award you are commenting on the country and not
the government.'
'Can we say a vast majority of Indians have become communal? The data shows

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actually no. That is not true.'


'In religious terms India has a lot to teach the world because we are genuinely
liberal, but in gender terms we have to learn lot from the West. In gender terms,
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Bestselling writer Amish Tripathi on why he does not agree with writers and
others returning awards.
estselling author Amish Tripathi speaks against writers who have returned their awards
to the government.

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06-Nov-15 10:39 PM

Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents - Rediff.com...

http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/amish-you-cannot-judge-125-bn-...
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Known for books like the Shiva Trilogy and the Scion of Ikshvaku, Amish, below, left, spoke to
Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com on why he feels the returning of awards by writers was
not a good gesture.
Why do you feel our country has not become communal?

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Essentially it is based on data. We often tend to forget that we are a country of 1.25 billion
people. We have more people in terms of population than North America and South America
put together. We are more like a continent than a country.
So if you want to make a statement on 1.25 billion people it needs to be covered by data of a
few millions and not by a few incidents, and look at the data which is publicly available.

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Religious violence in India today or 10 years ago was not very high in comparison to the
proportion to our population. The kind of violence that is very high as compared to the
proportion of our population is 'gender violence,' as the data shows.
From being in the womb till they die, women suffer the most violence in India. Religious

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violence is not that high.


Don't you think communal statements made by BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)
leaders and ministers threaten the social fabric of our country?
I never comment on politics or what politicians say. I don't comment on any party. My entire
comment is on India as a country and India as a society. All I am saying is that we should focus
on the right issues.
Let me give you some numbers, 5 lakh (500,000) girls are killed in the womb every year. Every
year that is the scale of violence that women face in India.
I am just trying to say that we as a country need to focus on this violence. Religious violence is

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nowhere on that scale and gender violence is extremely high. On some parameters Indian
women are treated more badly than Saudi Arabian women. That is how badly we treat our
women.
Do you mean we are wasting our time on communal issues and must rather
concentrate on gender discrimination issues?
I would not say wasting. I have said there are incidents that have happened which are horrific.
The criminals responsible for those incidents must be punished with the full force of the law.
I am talking as a country; which is the most serious violence problem we face? It is gender
violence and not religious violence.
Why do feel writers should not return their awards?
These writers are my seniors. They have written for many more years than I have. I am just
requesting with complete respect that they must look at the data. Remember, the award that
they received was not from any government, but from the State, the Indian people.
So when they are returning the award they are not returning it to the Indian government but to
the Indian nation, to society. In a way, they are judging 1.25 billion people.
Can we actually say that a vast majority of Indians have become communal? The data shows
actually no. That is not true.
A large majority of Indians of all faiths are not communal, they are deeply religious and liberal.
The sad truth is a large number of Indians are misogynist and they are not treating women
well.
You say artists must not return awards. But when an actor like Shah Rukh Khan
says there is intolerance in society he is told to go to Pakistan by BJP leaders. So
what is the right way to protest if I am unhappy with the government?
We are a free country. Everyone has a right to say what they have to say because everyone is
free. There is nothing wrong in that, but all of us have a right to protest on what you have to

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Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents - Rediff.com...

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say.
Everyone has a right to their own approach. My only submission is that intolerance in India is
more on women rather than the religious issue.
Certain sections of Indians feel threatened by the government's authoritarian
attitude. Don't you think this has to be addressed? People are getting killed on
mere suspicion that they ate beef.
These issues are horrific. These criminals need to be arrested and the full course of the law has
to be applied. I completely agree with that. Justice has to be done in that particular case. There
are a few incidents that have happened and we need justice there too.
What you are doing here is that you are confusing two separate issues. One is the judgement
on Indian society itself, that is a separate issue, the second is justice in these cases. And justice
must be delivered in these cases. We need to put pressure on the local police to investigate
these cases and punish the criminals.
The trouble arose because there was silence from Prime Minister Narendra Modi
post the Dadri lynching. Don't you think Modi should have spoken out on this
issue?
Again, you are going into political territory. Sorry, I never comment on politics.
Do you feel Hindu society has become very intolerant and that the wrong
message is going around the world?
I think people of all faiths in India -- Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrian and even Jews
-- are deeply religious and deeply liberal. You see that in data and you see that in the
celebrations of so many festivals. I think we should not forget that.

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I am in Delhi right now and Ajmer Sharif is close by which is dedicated to a Muslim Sufi saint
and you will find more Hindus than Muslims there. I live in Mumbai and you go to Haji Ali
dargah and there too you will find more Hindus than Muslims there.
During the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, a little known fact is that a large majority of idol-makers
are Muslims. And many of them have a tradition that they do the first puja before they sell it to
Hindu customers.
You go to Mount Mary Church in Bandra (northwest Mumbai), and you will find many Hindus
and Muslims there. You will find Rakshabandhan and Diwali festivals being celebrated by
people of all faiths and not just Hindus.
To me this is the real India. A vast majority of Indians are like that and you must not forget
this despite some horrendous incidents.
In Rajasthan there is a sect like the Manganiyar Muslims. Their profession is to sing devotional
songs and they sing the Ramayan. I have seen their performance and we tend to forget that
real India.
Everybody wants to see this real India, but this real India itself is under threat by
the government in power led by Modi. That is the fear.
I am saying again that I am not commenting on politics. I am only talking about Indian society.
I am very proud of how Indians so naturally co-exist with each other across all faiths. But

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06-Nov-15 10:39 PM

Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents - Rediff.com...

http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/amish-you-cannot-judge-125-bn-...

something that disturbs me a lot is how Indians across all faiths treat their women.
There is a feeling that writers are the first to see the bad things in society.
(Laughs).

But you as a writer are only seeing positive things. Is it because you are young
and the people who are returning awards are old?
I don't know. I am a lover of India and I am a patriot. I feel whatever needs to be proved must
be based on calm reflection and not emotions. It must be based on calm analysis of your data.
Therefore, if you see, I always say the biggest oppression that is happening in India is the
oppression of women.
Is it because of your management background (Amish went to IIM-Calcutta) that
you talk of data and logistics while writers don't think like that but rather react
based on emotions?
(Laughs) The point I am making is that we are not a country, but we are a continent. You have
1.25 billion people and you have to look at big data. You cannot judge on 5, 10 incidents.
Admittedly, that is horrific. But you cannot judge 1.25 billion people on those 5,10 horrific
incidents.
This is not a judgement on 1.25 billion people. The writers are judging the Modi
government which is not tolerant.

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Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents - Rediff.com...

http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/amish-you-cannot-judge-125-bn-...

That is a separate issue. Whatever the political debate is I have nothing to do with that. I am
only saying that if you see the international press or the English press, they are saying India
has become intolerant. On religious terms India is not intolerant.
The New York Times, for example, writes that India has become intolerant and I am saying
that is not correct. The data does not show that.
India is not tolerant on gender issues, the data clearly shows that. I have myself written an
article on that. It is shameful.
You are being very diplomatic by not answering my questions on Modi's silence
and his not commenting on communal issues bothering India. He has to answer
those questions and not Amish Tripathi or anybody else.
This government or the previous government, I have never commented on politics. It is for the
simple reason that India already has a lot of people who comment on politics. Many of them
come on television channels at 9 every night.
I think the kind of books I write, I am not cut out for politics.
Do you feel Hinduism, and hence Hindu society, is more tolerant than say Islamic
societies or Christian societies?
I have not read about other countries. In India the way all religions are practised here -- they
are all tolerant. In my puja room I have an idol of Lord Shiva and idols of other Gods too, but I
also have the Star of David. I have a picture of Mother Mary, Jesus Christ, a picture of the
Ka'aba and a picture of Guru Nanakji.
Whenever I say this in India nobody gets surprised. They find it normal. Even in the US and
UK where I have gone, people ask me how can I do this? They wonder how can I pray to all
Gods? I ask them why can't I? This is the way we Indians live. This is not only true for Hindus.
In religious terms India has a lot to teach the world because we are genuinely liberal, but in
gender terms we have to learn a lot from the West. In gender terms, we are terrible.
I thought you would comment on politics because you were upset after some
writers returned their awards.
On returning awards, I commented because that is a comment on the country. Any other
protest is your choice, but when you are returning your award you are commenting on the
country and not the government.
You see The New York Times article. They are commenting on India, not the Indian
government. 'India has turned communal' (the New York Times article said) which I disagree.
India is not communal.
Were you hurt when you read that article?
No. It is not that one bothers to think what The New York Times thinks. The New York Times
cheered America's invasion of Iraq, which led to the deaths of one million Iraqis. So, I don't
think we should be bothered about what The New York Times says.
Syed Firdaus Ashraf / Rediff.com

Related News: India, The New York Times, Bharatiya Janata Party, Amish Tripathi, Narendra Modi

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Discussion Board
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Total 220 messages

Pages | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 Older > >>

Yes, Indian
by piri (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:35 PM
commoners are all not intolerant and communal; they are stuxpid, a stupxid lot that re elects thieves!
Forward | Report abuse

intolerance
by Shelender Sud (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:35 PM
Syed Firdaus Ashra , what do you have to say about Kashmiri Pandits?????????
You tried to put words in Amish's mouth but he rejected your point of view straight away. All these Writers Historians
Filmmakers are crying because thier privee purses has been stopped by the government. Some of them have been
asked to vacate the big houses which they were occupying. it is not intolerance, it is rozi roti ka swaal for these
fellows.
Forward | Report abuse

Great Writers and Artists of India?


by Kundapur Kumar (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:34 PM | Hide replies
After Rabindranath Tagore, Sir C V Raman none of Indian writers , Scientists, Film maker living in India got any
international award or even nearer to the status Nobel price or Oscars.But hundreds of them are active in politics,
managed to get local awards, flats, sites and various benifits from government, inducted in government payrolls, etc.
This is their achievements in the past 60 years and now it is time for them to return only awards and prove their
sincerity.
Forward | Report abuse
Re: Great Writers and Artists of India?
by Shelender Sud (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:37 PM
Sincerity to whom? their bosses in Khongress and Communists ??????
Forward | Report abuse

It is not about intolerance......


by Radhakrishnan (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:19 PM
The fact is that the Congress is realizing that they who rode piggy back on the "Independence" and the "Gandhi"
name feel that they have come to the end of the road. They are mustering the support of all their sympathizers and
those intellectuals who subscribe to "Political Correctness" to organize a road show. But the truth is that if we do not
let a new Government to let them come out with their road map and slowly work it out, we will feel guilty for the rest
of our lives. I am not sure of many things. But I am sure of one thing: that is that whether it(the road map of the
present Govt.) works or not, it will do us no harm if it doen not. WE will have a choice after another 3.5 years!!!! But
let us wait till then rather than becoming tools of vested interests!
Forward | Report abuse

Intolerance draama
by Mike Teflon (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:06 PM
This is the Congress' draama to subjugate Hindoos. Don't read much into it.
Forward | Report abuse

Awardees returning the Awards ?


by (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 08:02 PM
The so called returnees of the Awards are returning the Awards with the Award Cash also (in most cases ?) with at
least 10% interest ?
Forward | Report abuse

everthing for lime light


by vasumathy (View MyPage) on Nov 06, 2015 07:51 PM

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Amish: You cannot judge 1.25 bn people by 5, 10 incidents - Rediff.com...

http://www.rediff.com/news/interview/amish-you-cannot-judge-125-bn-...

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