Well-known novelist Chetan Bhagat today said here that had Prime Minister Narendra Modi been Doon School-educated, he would not have faced any criticism as he deprecated the move by eminent persons to return their government-conferred awards.
"Had Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and other leaders been to Doon school, had... A foreign English accent, then these privileged class people would not have said anything against them," the English writer said at a function here ahead of Indore Literature Festival next month.
"There are certainly some problems in the country. But there is no crisis-like situation which may force people to return government awards.
"I do not approve of this trend. There is complete freedom of speech and expression in India. Nobody has ever asked me to say or not say something. When someone returns an award this way, it gives an opportunity to foreign media to brand us as 'intolerant'," he said.
The 41-year-old writer known for his novels like Five Point Someone and Two States, said that an award is in fact not given by the government, but by a jury.
People living in big cities enjoyed a privileged position until 30 years ago. But for the current generation, passion, hard work and talent matter and the privileged classes are not able to come to terms with this change, he claimed.
Bhagat, who is quite active on social media, also said, "Even if these people return 500 awards, my five tweets are enough for them."
To a question from the audience, the writer said he would not join any political party as he did not want to lose his freedom of speech.
Doon School is a boys-only boarding school in Dehradun, Uttarakhand.