Journalist and human rights activist Salil Tripathi’s Twitter account has been suspended for uploading a “moving, beautiful poem” for his mother about the Babri Masjid demolition, Gujarat and 1947, author Suketu Mehta tweeted on Sunday, the 28th anniversary of the demolition. Tripathi’s poem is titled My Mother’s Fault.
“Salil Tripathi is one of our most important human rights activists. Absolutely unacceptable for @TwitterIndia to suspend his account. India need’s Salil’s voice!” Mehta, who wrote Maximum City, tweeted. Author Salman Rushdie, too, expressed outrage.
“This is an outrageous act of censorship against one of the most important advocates of free speech. @Twitter stop it now! @jack what’s going on?” Rushdie tweeted, tagging Twitter boss Jack Dorsey.
This is an outrageous act of censorship against one of the most important advocates of free speech. @Twitter stop it now! @jack what’s going on? https://t.co/Rwig7c3FHo— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) December 6, 2020
Salil Tripathi is one of our most important human rights activists. Absolutely unacceptable for @TwitterIndia to suspend his account. India need's Salil's voice!— Suketu Mehta (@suketumehta) December 6, 2020
My Mother’s Fault
By Salil Tripathi
You marched with other seven-year-old girls,
Singing songs of freedom at dawn in rural Gujarat,
Believing that would shame the British and they would leave India.
Five years later, they did.
When you first saw Maqbool Fida Husain’s nude sketches of Hindu goddesses,
When I told you that some people wanted to burn his art.
‘Have those people seen any of our ancient sculptures? Those are far naughtier,’
Your voice broke,
On December 6, 1992,
As you called me at my office in Singapore,
When they destroyed the Babri Masjid.
‘We have just killed Gandhi again,’ you said.
Aavu te karaay koi divas (Can anyone do such a thing any time?)
You asked, aghast,
Staring at the television,
As Hindu mobs went, house-to-house,
Looking for Muslims to kill,
After a train compartment in Godhra burned,
Killing 58 Hindus in February 2002.
You were right, each time.
After reading what I’ve been writing over the years,
Some folks have complained that I just don’t get it.
I live abroad: what do I know of India?
But I knew you; that was enough.
And that’s why I turned out this way.
(The poem first appeared in Salil Tripathi’s book, Offence: The Hindu Case (2009), published by Seagull Books)