More than 600 theatre artistes from across the country have urged the electorate to vote for “equality and social justice, and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism”.
A joint statement issued by them has urged voters to “help safeguard the Constitution and our syncretic, secular ethos”.
The signatories to the appeal include Amol Palekar, Arundhati Nag, Astad Deboo, Arshia Sattar, Danish Hussain, Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, MK Raina, Kavitha Lankesh, Konkona Sensharma, Lillete Dubey, Mallika Taneja and Navtej Johar.
The appeal said: “Theatre makers in India have a long and proud tradition of standing against forces of religious sectarianism, chauvinism, narrowness and irrationality… We have imagined a secular, democratic, inclusive and just India.
“Today, that very idea of India is under threat. Today, song, dance, laughter is under threat. Today, our Constitution is under threat. The institutions that have to nurture argument, debate and dissent have been suffocated.”
The appeal described the coming general election as the “most critical in the history of independent India”.
The theatre practitioners requested voters to elect “love and compassion, for equality and social justice, and to defeat the forces of darkness and barbarism”.
“Our appeal — vote bigotry, hatred, and apathy out of power. Vote against the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] and its allies… Vote for secular democratic, inclusive India… Vote wisely.”