“In my 87th year, I am more worried about the future of this country, about the nature of this country which I leave for my children, and the next generation,” said the writer.
Well-known Urdu humour writer Mujtaba Hussain has decided to return his Padma Shri award as he is pained over the current situation in the country with those in power targeting minorities, especially Muslims.
Hussain was awarded the Padma Shri, the country’s fourth-highest civilian award in 2007.
“The unrest in the country, the atmosphere of fear which is being created, and the flame of hatred which is being fanned is truly disturbing. The democracy which we worked for with so much pain and effort, and the way in which it is being destroyed, is condemnable. In these circumstances, I do not wish to keep any government award in my possession,” said Hussain speaking to Syed Mohammad, a reporter with The Hindu. “I am in my 87th year. I am more worried about the future of this country. I am worried about the nature of this country which I leave for my children, and the next generation,” he added.
The writer is concerned over the hatred and fear created among the community through the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). The passing of the CAA has resulted in protests by various student unions at universities and civil society groups across the country, demanding a rollback.
Hussain, a satirist, often described as the Mark Twain of Urdu, is one of the leading writers in the Indian subcontinent. He has written several books, including America Ghaans Kaat Raha Hai, a take on US foreign policy, and Japan Chalo.
While several writers, poets and artists have returned their awards in recent years to register their protest on various issues, Hussain is the first to return a Padma award.
Hussain is the brother of Mahbub Hussain Jigar, who co-founded Siasat Daily, an Urdu newspaper with Abid Ali Khan. He writes a dedicated column Tanz-o-Mizaah (Satire and Humour) with the paper.