Mujtaba Hussain, the renowned Urdu writer, has announced that he will return the prestigious Padma Shri Award. “Our democracy is being shattered. There is no system prevailing now...there is an atmosphere of fear in the country,” Hussain was quoted as saying by news agency ANI. He also took a sharp swipe at current political system. “Someone is being administered oath at 7am in the morning, governments are being made during the night,” Hussain further said. The satirist is regarded as Mark Twain of Urdu literature. Hussain, was awarded the Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award, in 2007. Hussain is the first prominent personality who has announced that he will return the award amid the citizenship protests.
In 2015, the country had witnessed a string of incidents where authors and poets had returned their awards as a token of protest against the Modi government. Hindi writer Uday Prakash was the first to return his award. He was protesting against the murder of Kannada writer-academic MM Kalburgi. It was followed by Nayantara Sahgal, eminent Indian English writer-intellectual, who returned her award on October 6, 2018 and Ashok Vajpeyi, Hindi poet and cultural administrator, who followed suit the next day.
These were the authors who had returned their awards. Krishna Sobti, Mangalesh Dabral, Kashinath Singh, Rajesh Joshi, GN Devy, Keki Daruwalla, Anil Joshi, Waryam Singh Sandhu, Surjit Patar, Jaswinder, Gurbachan Bhullar, Atamjit, Baldev Singh, Darshan Butter, Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Mohan Bhandari, Nand Bhardwaj, Ambikadutt, Kum Veerbhadrappa, Rahamat Tarikere, Devanuru Mahadeva, Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Margoob Banihali, Munawwar Rana, Khaleel Mamoon, Sara Joseph, Homen Borgohain, Nirupama Borgohain, Katyayani Vidmahe, Chaman Lal, GN Ranganatha Rao, Ibrahim Afghan, Aman Sethi, Pargat Singh Satauj, M Bhoopal Reddy, Mandakranta Sen.
Earlier this year, Union Minister Giriraj Singh had said that ''award wapsi'' gang has become active again to destabilise the Narendra Modi government after 49 eminent citizens wrote to the prime minister on lynchings and said that ''Jai Shri Ram'' has become a provocative war cry.