Hyderabad: India’s top-notch satirist and Urdu humour writer, Mujtaba Hussain, has decided to return his Padma Shri award to the Government of India to register his resentment and protest against the ‘communal poison’ being injected into the country. “I feel suffocated at the growing atmosphere of hatred enveloping the country. I don’t want to keep this award anymore. It has lost its value”, remarked an agitated Hussain.

The 87-year old writer was bestowed the fourth highest civilian award by the then President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, in 2007 for his contribution to humour genre in Urdu literature. Considered the Mark Twain of Urdu, Hussain has been creating ripples of laughter in the sub-continent with his special brand of humour. He has written over 25 books which have been translated into major languages of the world.

Speaking to NewsMeter, he expressed his dismay at the way people are being divided in the name of religion. He described the Citizenship Amendment Act as the worst piece of legislation as it had pitted one community against the other. “I have seen the freedom struggle and partition of the country and I do not want to see another partition”, he said in a chocked voice.

The father of nation, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Moulana Azad had made numerous sacrifices for securing freedom and democracy. India has the best of Constitutions but now it was being torn apart deliberately, Hussain said and added that he would return the Padma Shri award to the Centre at the earliest. “I am taking this step responding to the call of my conscience”, he said.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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