Top theatre professionals ask people to vote against bigotry, hate, apathy

About 700 theatre artists from across India have appealed to vote out divisive politics from power. Issued in 12 languages (English, Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, Kannada, Assamese, Telugu, Panjabi, Konkani and Urdu), the statement says, “Today, that very idea of India is under threat. Today, song, dance, laughter is under threat. Today, our beloved Constitution is under threat.”
Pointing out that institutions that have to nurture argument, debate and dissent have been suffocated, the statement says, “To question, to call out lies, to speak the truth, is branded ‘anti-national’. The seeds of hatred have entered our food, prayers and festivals”, adding, “The ways in which this hatred has seeped into our daily fabric are alarming and it has to stop”.
The signatories include Amol Palekar, Anurag Kashyap, Dolly Thakore, Lillete Dubey, Naseeruddin Shah, Abhishek Majumdar, Anamika Haksar, Navtej Johar, MK Raina, Mahesh Dattani, Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Pathak Shah and Sanjna Kapoor.
Calling the coming elections as “the most critical in the history of independent India”, it reads, “The BJP, which came to power five years ago with the promise of development, has given free rein to Hindutva goons to indulge in the politics of hate and violence.”
It says, “The man who was portrayed as the saviour of the nation five years ago has destroyed the livelihoods of millions through his policies. He promised to bring back black money; instead, rogues have looted the country and run away. The wealth of the rich has grown astronomically, while the poor have become even poorer.”
Pointing out that as theatre practitioners they are appealing to the people of India “to help safeguard the Constitution and our syncretic, secular ethos”, the statement says, “We appeal to our fellow citizens to vote for love and compassion, for equality and social justice, and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism.”
It concludes: “Our appeal – vote bigotry, hatred, and apathy out of power. Vote against the BJP and its allies. Vote to empower the weakest, protect liberty, protect the environment, and foster scientific thinking. Vote for secular democratic, inclusive India. Vote for the freedom to dream. Vote wisely.”
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Click HERE for list of signatories

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