When Rabindranath Tagore returned his knighthood after the Jalianwalabagh massacre he was protesting against both the British colonial government and the repressive state. It was primarily the British monarchy he was pointing fingers at. Because even if you changed the people at the top. the sickness remained in place. When we got Independence, both the Monarchy and the government were replaced.
Now coming to the present…
The State currently is the Republic of India represented by its people.
As we know, the State is a permanent entity while governments and parties can change.
Most of these awards that are being returned now by many of our writers were bestowed by non BJP govts if I am not mistaken. So, how is it a protest against the BJP government if you have received an award by a Congress govt?
If the argument goes that it is not so, then it is a protest against the State. If so we need to take a good hard look at the nature of the State where such injustices are rife and the root socio economic causes that give rise to them. For governments may come and go, but the State is permanent and what ails the state is equally permanent unless we surgically intervene on the beast itself.
The successive governments and their actions are merely the symptoms of a deeper sickness. If our people can take so easily to Fascism and fanaticism, so easily to violence and divisiveness, so effortlessly to image makeovers and personality cults, then it warrants a good hard look at the nature of our State.
Because much as I sympathize with these writers and their emotions (some of which seem to have come to the boil conveniently late ignoring several other outrages, horrendous massacres and scandals in the past) the crucible in which these events were forged was not moulded and shaped only in the last twelve months.