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(DCLF 2017) Nationalism is a piece of nonsense: Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal

Nayantara Sahgal at Dehradun Community Literature Festival 2017/SHAZID CHAUHAN

Slamming the whole narrative of nationalism that has gripped India for a couple of years, veteran author Nayantara Sahgal said there’s no need to discuss patriotism and nationalism as “India is an independent nation for more than 70 years.” Sahgal, who stoked major controversy in 2015 after returning her Sahtiya Akademi Award that spilled into a wider movement with participation of more than 100 writers, was speaking on Nationalism in Digital India at the Dehradun Community Literature Festival 2017.

“Nationalism is a piece of nonsense. India is an independent nation for 70 years. Why are we discussing nationalism all of a sudden? Those who are raising slogans of nationalism today were nowhere seen during the freedom struggle. They were fast asleep on their beds. So what are they shouting about now?” Sehgal .

Calling Modi government a fascist regime, she pointed out how Muslim minority is being targeted. “I have to tell you that I am a half-Muslim woman. Born and brought up in Uttar Pradesh, which is a land of Islamic architecture, Urdu poetry, kebabs and Taj Mahal, I have imbibed Islamic components in my life. This is what make me today who I am,” she said.

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Nayantara Sahgal

(l-r) Nayantara Sahgal, Kiran Nagarkar, Rana Ayyub, Harsh Mander & Nandita Haksar/SHAZID CHAUHAN

Another panelist on the stage, noted writer Kiran Nagarkar said he gives a damn about nationalism. “I am a proud Indian. I don’t want India to be a great country but a good nation, where all is loved, respected and where everybody’s rights are protected,” he said t packed house. He also accused the present government of resisting dissent. “Hate is something that this regime thrives on. They breed contempt and hate,” he said.

( is the online partner of WIC Dehradun Community Literature Festival 2017. Stay tuned for all updates, news and interviews from DCLF 2017. For more information on the festival, check out this page!)

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