“A dictatorship counts on the silence of those who disagree. . .”
Ritu Menon in conversation with Nayantara Sahgal
Ritu Menon, founder of Women Unlimited and co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first and oldest feminist press, speaks to Nayantara Sahgal, who has recently edited Nehru’s India: Essays on the Maker of the Nation for Speaking Tiger Books. Beginning from the assumption that culture and politics are inextricably linked, the discussion revolves around the growing relevance of Nehruvian secularism in the current climate of Hindutva majoritarianism. Sahgal reminds us of the idea of India: a nation where each and every religion has equal status. This idea, she says, is not only threatened but also facing attack and assault. She calls this situation “an Indian version of fascism”. When asked by Menon if this is a state of undeclared Emergency, Sahgal answers that it is indeed an Emergency; and certainly not undeclared. With the BJP in power, the operations of the RSS have shifted, Sahgal says, from covert backing to overt assertion. In the light of these developments, Sahgal calls for more united action from progressive writers, since a “dictatorship” counts on the silence of those who disagree.
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