Music maestro Zubin Mehta has suggested that the writers, artists, film-makers and other intellectuals who are protesting against the “rising intolerance” in India should engage in a dialogue with the government to settle the issues. Calling the return of awards a major movement in India, the renowned music conductor said that mounting protests by a section of the intelligentsia in the country “needs to be addressed”.
“They must feel very strongly and I respect them for what they are doing. On the other hand, I read what the government ministers are saying. I think both parties should meet together and talk about their grievances.”
Mehta said that he came to know about these incidents through news reports.
“I read about it about for last five or six days in the paper. I wish I could talk to one of them for them to explain it to me.”
Zubin Mehta who was conferred the Padma Bhushan in 1966 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001 noted that there was no “communication” between the protesters and government.
At least 36 writers have returned their Sahitya Akademi awards to strongly condemn the killings of writers and rationalists such as M.M. Kalburgi, Govind Pansare and Narendra Dabholkar. Under pressure from protesting writers, the Akademi later condemned the killing in a resolution passed in an emergency meet. While Mehta spoke of building a dialogue between protesting intellectuals and the government, BJP president Amit Shah raised questions on the writers’ political intentions in an interview with the The Indian Express.
“Why didn’t they resign when so many Sikhs were killed? When the country’s PM (Rajiv Gandhi) said the ground shakes when a giant tree falls (Indira Gandhi’s assassination), why did nobody protest?”
Mehta is in New Delhi as part of the final leg of the début India tour of the Australian World Orchestra (AWO), which recently wrapped up performances in Mumbai and Chennai. He is performing after a gap of 10 years in New Delhi.