People who oppose thinking and freedom of expression of others are enemies of democracy, said noted author Father Francis Debrito, who is the chief of a forthcoming Marathi literary meet.
People with regressive power always have a fear of thinkers and writers, he said.
"To tackle these powers, people with similar thinking must come together and keep expressing themselves...those who oppose the thinking and freedom of expression of others are enemies of democracy," Fr Debrito said here on Wednesday.
He was speaking at a function organised by the Marathwada Sahitya Parishad to felicitate him.
He came to Aurangabad in Maharashtra for the first time after being elected president of the 93rd Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, to be held over three days in the state's Osmanabad district from January 10.
The Christian priest's appointment as the literary meet chief triggered a row last month when two of its office- bearers claimed to have received threat calls for his removal.
"India is a place where people with contradictory thinkings stay together, and this is the identity of our country. But there is a tradition that thinkers are always troubled in this world...examples can be given of it," said Fr Debrito, who is also an environment activist.
"If India becomes of one colour, one language, one culture, then the country will lose its identity," he said.
He further said there were many Christian writers who contributed towards Marathi literature. "There is lack of knowledge among people about many things, and interaction is the only way to overcome it," he added.
Fr Debrito (77), a resident of Vasai near Mumbai, was recently conferred the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for "Subodh Bible-Nava Karar", the Marathi translation of Bible-The New testament.
He regularly writes columns in Marathi newspapers.
Noted Marathi poet Namdeo Mahanor and Akhil Bhartiya Sahitya Mahamandal chief Kautikrao Thale Patil were present at the felicitation function.
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