File photo of Sharmila Tagore
Bollywood actor Sharmila Tagore on Sunday extended her support to a "resistance meet" by writers, thinkers, scientists and other public intellectuals against the "rising intolerance" in the country.
"The last one year has been unprecedented. The intolerance that we have been experiencing is against our Constitution, the basic principle of our democracy and the shared values of diversity and plurality," she said.
Patched through a video conference, the actor addressed the gathering at the Constitution Hall here organised by writers like Ashok Vajpeyi, Om Thanvi, filmmaker MK Raina, historian Irfan Habib and others against "attacks on reason, democracy and composite culture".
"To suppress voice and expression, to politicise and communalise habits of personal culture and belief is against the very essence of our Indian ethos.
"The growing protest of the writers, scientists and filmmakers is to reclaim and restore what is India, the idea of India, the grand Indian tradition of tolerance...," said Tagore.
The actor recalled Rabindranath Tagore's act of returning the knighthood conferred on him by the British during colonial rule to protest against the growing atrocities against Indian people.
"In times like this I think of Tagore. He also returned his knighthood when the British leaders were committing atrocities against Indians. And, today, in context of this protest, I think of Tagore and the wonderful poem that he wrote, which is part of Geetanjali," she said.
She then proceeded to recite the poem, 'Where the Mind is Without Fear'.
The 68-year-old National Award-winning actress and former Censor Board chairman had previously backed writers who had returned their Sahitya Akademi awards to protest against "rising intolerance", terming it a spontaneous and brave move.