Art without purpose is nothing but debauchery. Every piece of good literature should serve one of the two purpose- soothe the senses, clarify the social questions. As of now, in India, we consider writer returning the awards to a government which they do not like as a sign of something of an act of bravery. The fact remains that anything can only be returned to the one who has given it in the first place, the Akademy was constituted as autonomous body, probably has missed out the notice of eminent writers. Also if intent was to embarrass a government, they also missed out on the right target, which should be the government which failed in protecting the citizen, the government which holds law and order responsibility.
But then author as conscience keeper of the society is misuse of the authority a writer has over words. Since I,as a writer, have a right over print space, I declare that I am an enlightened being, more sensitive, more rebellious than ordinary mortals.
Writing doesn't make you conscience keeper of the nation, it sometimes merely makes you opinion builder, a suave peddler of prejudices. What makes you a true social light is whether you have the guts to fight war like Hemingway, to bleed like Fitzgerald, to challenge like Dinkar, to laugh at hypocrisy like Harishankar Parsai, to build your house on slopes of Vesuvius like Nietzsche.
A writer or an artist should have the courage to fight against the forces which are impossible to fight. It is almost homeopathic protest, without risk of side effects which authors are undertaking. Why protest state for murders neither perpetrated by, nor condoned by the state? If the malaise is with society, why not fight it there? Why not do a protest with less press and more potency? Just read 'Submission' by Michel Houellebecq last week. Courage is what stands out, just as the word Negros used in The Great Gatsby, the writer uses the word Muslims. He doesn't hide the word, isn't scared of penning his fears. He treads the lines where the individual touches the society, and does it adroitly without apology. It is book deserving full review which I'll do next week. In the meantime, we should ponder, if we have people who live as fully and as deeply to be entitled to not only write about it rather to self claim the right over lives and thoughts of those who can't write well. Do we as writer have courage to live, which is the only thing that entitles us to write and take position.