There are people of my acquaintance who are busy turning the other cheek. Which may really be no more than shifting in discomfort from a right-wing buttock to the other, uncommitted one. This one's for you.

Those who chose to write are transformed into creatures weirder than anything Kafka could have imagined. In choosing to do so, they choose also to grow extra arms, legs, gills and antennae and sink everything they have into the torrent that is life.

In 1984, Khushwant Singh, a known Sanjay Gandhi crony, and chronic Congress bhakt, gave back his Padma Bhushan in protest against Operation Blue Star, and Indira Gandhi's divisive politics in Punjab. At that point, he graduated from spoon to spine. Let us remember that moment.

The writers who have chosen to return their Sahitya Akademi awards, range from those of no political affiliation to those who are committed liberals. When HIndi writer Uday Prakash, a former Marxist who gave up on political ideologies, returned his award on September 4, nobody paid him much attention. When Krishna Sobti, Shashi Deshpande, Ashok Vajpeyi, and Nayantara Sahgal did, more people took notice.

That list has grown, and has on it the names of people who became heroes long before this moment: GN Devy, Waryam Singh Sandhu, N Shivdas, Mangalesh Dabral, Kum. Veerabhadrappa, Sarah Joseph, Gurbachan Singh Bhullar, Atamjit Singh, Ajmer Singh Aulakh, Ghulam Nabi Khayal, Jaswinder, Darshan Buttar, Chaman Lal, Rajesh Joshi, Baldev Singh Sadaknama, Surjit Patar, Rahman Abbas and Aman Sethi. Satchidanandan and Aravind Malagatti quit posts in the Akademi in solidarity.

When a playwright from Punjab says that MM Kalburgi stands in the wings every day and makes signs to him because he does not enjoy being a character in an as-yet unwritten play, or when another asks why the characters he brought to life are being mowed down every day, we must ask what it is they are saying.

Perhaps it’s that the separate deaths of Kalburgi in Dharwad, Narendra Dabholkar in Pune, Govind Pansare in Mumbai, and Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri are deaths in each of our houses. That these deaths come from a violent refashioning of the political consensus of our times, from a rejection of dissent, free speech, and free thought. That the streams that we need to drink from are crowded with bile and poison. Each of them has seceded thus, in anguish, from the common sense of our times. In a society that respects its writers, the smallest courtesy is choosing to investigate their anguish.

Entertainingly, the loudest responses to those who write come from those who barely read. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Vijay Goel has this much to offer: ""Writers should be concerned with their pen only, otherwise giving awards would be stopped."

For another species of entertainment, take Chetan Bhagat, who seems to have discovered that the things that writers do are political.