This is the era of smart cities. How should my city be? This was the question posed to me by the consultants of the smart city project.
To be frank, I do not want a concrete city with buildings and improved roads with flyovers.
I want a city where there is love, peace and tranquillity. I want the most basic requirements for a peaceful city to be put in place first, so that my city becomes a place where everyone can co-exist happily.
In a city where quarrels and murders take place on a daily basis, where food is snatched away from the hungry for vote bank, and where there is restriction on walking on the road with a dear one, where love is viewed with suspicion by eyes full of hate, is additional infrastructure what we need?
After the Kalburgi murder, Dadri incident and recently an ink attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni, every rightminded person is disturbed. The pen, which was considered mightier than sword, seems to have been scorched by extremism. The politician is fast asleep. A poet like me is stunned to learn that The Sahitya Akademi is yet to call for a general meeting. Why the delay? A meeting could have been held by now and a protest could have been held which could have awakened the entire earth and created awareness.
A warning could have been sent out that the written word is stronger and more powerful than the influence of money and politics. But no such thing has happened. Many Akademi award winners have returned their awards fearing that the Akademi has been influenced by political mediators.
I have my own principles. I do not go against them. I remember declining to receive huge donations offered to me and to Kavita Trust (where I am the president). I state these facts to make it clear that I always hold my principles high, no matter what the benefits are. If the society gains by my returning the Akademi award, I will do so happily.
A meeting of Konkani authors who have received awards was held on October 14 in Goa. I was invited but I could not attend it. But I would be happy to abide by the decision taken at the meeting.
I have already taken steps in protest against current developments. I have already sent a letter to Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, President of The Sahitya Akademi, expressing my displeasure at the unpleasant incidents.
Let peace prevail in my country, in my city. Let writers not face any undue pressure of any kind in future.