“The rule of law is being replaced with mob violence… The world is watching and history will judge you by your actions today.”

“The rule of law is being replaced with mob violence… The world is watching and history will judge you by your actions today.”

The President of India and the Prime Minister of India We the Citizens of Hyderabad and of India express our deep anguish and outrage against the onslaught on liberal ethos of India through attacks and killing of writers, Muslims, Christians, Dalits, and other members of minority and marginalised communities amidst a growing atmosphere of intolerance…

Two Poems

Two Poems

Abhishek Jha Between Walls Women lost in veils Artists undone in ink And wells respond to armies of peace. Hoarding This was biting scarred. That is sneezing gooed. He was water cannon. She is globe hiccup. Fever was cold wet. Mercury is hairy steely. Eyes are on days. Farts are at night. Old cash is…

“What the regime seems to want is a kind of legislated history…”

“What the regime seems to want is a kind of legislated history…”

Concerned about the highly vitiated atmosphere prevailing in the country, characterised by various forms of intolerance, we, as academic historians and as responsible citizens of a democracy that has greatly valued its inherited traditions of tolerance, wish to express our anguish and protest about the prevailing condition. Differences of opinion are being sought to be…

October 27, 2015: “A polarised community is like a nuclear bomb…”

October 27, 2015: “A polarised community is like a nuclear bomb…”

A petition signed by scientists and academicians including Naresh Dadich, former Director of the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), G. Rajasekaran of the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), and others from Jawaharlal Nehru University and Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad, was sent to the President. In response to recent incidents of intolerance, including the…

In Protest Against the Assault on Academic and Constitutional Freedom

In Protest Against the Assault on Academic and Constitutional Freedom

October 26, 2015 We, as social scientists, scholars, teachers and concerned citizens, feel extremely concerned about the lynching at Dadri, and the murders of scholars and thinkers like MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and others, and wish to register our strong protest. We are not just shocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s late response,…

“Our voices have to be heard loud and clear… (we) condemn this intolerance…”

“Our voices have to be heard loud and clear… (we) condemn this intolerance…”

           Courtesy http://www.saffronart.com/fixed/ItemDetails.aspx?iid=2834& Anjolie Ela Menon: I have noted with growing alarm the taking over by the government of nine cultural institutions so far, including the replacement of the heads of all these nine institutions such as National Museum, IGNCA, FTII and Nehru Memorial Library. The quiet hijacking of the Lalit Kala Akademi and its…

“Our individual and collective voices are gathering cumulative strength…”

“Our individual and collective voices are gathering cumulative strength…”

                                           Sanu V.R., Courtesy Sahmat, http://www.sahmat.org/Sanu%20V.R.jpg The artist community of India stands in firm solidarity with the actions of our writers who have relinquished awards and positions, and spoken up in protest against the alarming rise of intolerance in the country. We condemn and mourn the murders of M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dhabolkar and Govind…

Budhan Theatre: Theatre for Community Development

Budhan Theatre: Theatre for Community Development

Courtesy Budhan Theatre  A population of some 60 million “denotified tribes” can be found throughout India today. Since 1998, the Budhan Theatre (http://www.budhantheatre.org/) has performed street plays to raise awareness about the condition of such tribes. They work to bring about social change by raising awareness of the historical plight of Denotified Tribes, notably the…

Launch of the Two Websites of the Indian Writers’ Forum at IIC, Delhi

Launch of the Two Websites of the Indian Writers’ Forum at IIC, Delhi

The sites of the Indian Writers' Forum were launched on October 1, 2015, in a packed room at the India International Centre, Delhi. The panel for the evening included K. Satchidanandan, Romila Thapar and Shyam B. Menon, with Githa Hariharan chairing the session. Hariharan said that the reason why everyone was assembled together was self-evident…

Solidarity

Solidarity

Shrenik Mutha Show me the strength of your love, show me the love of your heart. But also show me the gut of your heart, the colour of your gut. What colour is it? Is it black? Like the black of the blackboard which lets me pour my heart on it? Or is it like…

I want my country back

I want my country back

Here in the overseas Indian diaspora, the anti-Muslim attitude of the Government has also had repercussions. Until recently, a British citizen born of one Indian and one (former) Pakistani citizen was entitled to become an Overseas Citizen of India, and visit India at will. This was a mechanism for keeping families connected and together. However,…

Statement from the Indian Writers’ Forum, October 23, 2015

Statement from the Indian Writers’ Forum, October 23, 2015

The Indian Writers’ Forum strongly condemns the attack on a young Dalit writer, Huchangi Prasad, for his writings against the caste system. Prasad, a 23 year-old journalism student in Davanagere, was attacked by a group of men who consider his writings “anti-Hindu”.  “They surrounded me and started to push me around. They said my writings…

They Feared His Words: A Tribute to M. M. Kalburgi

They Feared His Words: A Tribute to M. M. Kalburgi

K. Satchidanandan Photo courtesy https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._M._Kalburgi “You fear words. Men who fear words exult in human blood. You can silence me, but you cannot silence truth. Truth and fire are ever inextinguishable. They will always keep burning somewhere. One spark is enough to create a conflagration.” These words, spoken by an untouchable old man in M….

October 21, 2015: Anita Desai writes the following statement regarding the current crisis affecting the Indian literary world

October 21, 2015: Anita Desai  writes the following statement regarding the current crisis affecting the Indian literary world

Anita Desai, author of over a dozen novels, has asked PEN International to distribute the following statement regarding the current crisis affecting the Indian literary world: ‘I was born in an India that enshrined democracy, pluralism and the freedom of speech in its constitution. I do not recognize the India of the present time where,…

“This will open up a whole area of challenge…”

“This will open up a whole area of challenge…”

Prabir Purkayastha of Newsclick interviewed Teesta Setalvad on the series of awards being returned by various writers as a protest against the killing of rationalists, the Dadri lynching, and other instances of growing intolerance in the country. Setalvad discusses the power of the RSS diktat on the present government, and the agenda of communal polarisation. On…

Press Note from Goa Writers

Press Note from Goa Writers

Photo courtesy Navhind Times, http://www.navhindtimes.in/goa-writers-condemn-sahitya-akademis-silence/ October 15, 2015, Panaji Sahitya Akademi Award winning Authors from Goa who include senior poet Nagesh Karmali, Novelist Damodar Mauzo, Pundalik Naik, N. Shivdas,  Datta Damodar Naik, Ramesh Veluskar, Meena Kakodkar, Hema Naik, Dilip Borkar, Gokuldas Prabhu, Mahabaleshwar Sail, Prakash Padgaonkar, Arun Sakhardande and Tukaram Seth and Padmashri awardee Maria…

Speaking Up All of us are keeping count of our shrinking spaces – as cultural practitioners, academics and scholars, and as citizens. But this is only part of the story; equally important is the parallel strand. As citizens of conscience, individuals and groups have spoken up to assert their rights and demand change. And they…

From Gandhi’s prayer, July 1947

From Gandhi’s prayer, July 1947

A friend sent us the following excerpt from Gandhi’s prayer discourse of July 25, 1947, from the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Volume 88, as published online by the Gandhi Heritage Portal (https://www.gandhiheritageportal.org/). Image courtesy https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gandhi_smiling.jpg “Rajendra Babu tells me that he has received some 50,000 postcards, between 25,000 and 30,000 letters and many thousands of telegrams…

Silenced Writer

Silenced Writer

Picture courtesy: http://meenaalexander.com/   In solidarity with  those in India who are resisting  forces that would silence the singer’s note, the poet’s cry, the painter’s arc of colour, the philosopher’s fierce light, I offer these words. I wrote them some time ago but they seem relevant now. Silenced writer. I start with that. Without silence…

Keeping Count of Dissenting Voices

Keeping Count of Dissenting Voices

Writers Speak Up against the Unmaking of India Update October 19, 2015 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ "A distinguished Kannada writer and Sahitya Akademi Award winner, M.M. Kalburgi, and two Maharashtrians, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, both anti-superstition activists, have all been killed by gun-toting motor-cyclists. Other dissenters have been warned they are next in line. Most recently, a…

Oriya Poet Rajendra Kishore Panda Invokes the Constitution of the Sahitya Akademi in his Letter to the Akademi President

Oriya Poet Rajendra Kishore Panda Invokes the Constitution of the Sahitya Akademi in his Letter to the Akademi President

The President / Vice President of Sahitya Akademi Members of Executive Board of Sahitya Akademi Secretary, Sahitya Akademi Sir, 1. Professor Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi, well-known scholar-writer and a recipient of Sahitya Akademi award in 2006, was shot dead in the morning of 30 August 2015 at his residence in Dharwad district of Karnataka. 2. In…

The Prime Minister Speaks!

The Prime Minister Speaks!

Picture Courtesy: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mridula_Garg.jpg The Prime Minister of India has finally broken his silence on the events in Dadri. The question is has his speaking helped improve the prevalent atmosphere of intolerance? Not at all. After all what did he say apart from making the inane statement that Hindus and Muslims should fight poverty and not…

Poet Adil Jussawalla Writes to the Sahitya Akademi President

Poet Adil Jussawalla Writes to the Sahitya Akademi President

Photo Courtesy: http://indianexpress.com/tag/adil-jussawalla/ October 10, 2015 Dear Dr. Viswanath Prasad Tiwari, I write as a person who was honoured to receive the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2014. The murder of writers M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and the unacceptable censoring of many other writers by violently intolerant groups must be condemned. I urge…

An Ugly Irony: The Present Government Felicitates those Who Fought the Emergency

An Ugly Irony: The Present Government Felicitates those Who Fought the Emergency

Prabir Purkayastha of the Delhi Science Forum, who was in jail for a year during the Emergency, responds to an invitation to an event when those who fought the Emergency will be felicitated by Prime Minister Modi. Front page of the Indian Herald on June 26th 1975 Courtesy https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~ghosh20p/page1.html I have received an invitation to…

Poet Keki Daruwalla Writes to the President of the Sahitya Akademi

Poet Keki Daruwalla Writes to the President of the Sahitya Akademi

Photo Courtesy: https://jaipurliteraturefestival.org/keki-daruwalla-6264.html October 10, 2015 Dear Dr. Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, What I am going to say may not be very pleasant. I have, since my return to the country in mid September, been quite perturbed at the inexplicable silence of the Akademi of which you are President, in regard to crimes against authors. The letters…

Malayalam Author, Feminist, and Activist Sarah Joseph Returns Her Akademi Award to Protest Communal Incidents

Malayalam Author, Feminist, and Activist Sarah Joseph Returns Her Akademi Award to Protest Communal Incidents

Citing the growing spate of communal incidents across India, Sarah Joseph announced that she will return the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award that she won for her novel Aalahayude Penmakkal (Daughters of God the Father). Photo courtesy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Joseph_(author) Sarah Joseph, a leading feminist from Kerala, wrote poetry before she turned to fiction. Her highly acclaimed work includes the…

Eminent Malayalam poet and critic K. Satchidanandan resigns from Sahitya Akademi Executive Board and General Council

Eminent Malayalam poet and critic K. Satchidanandan resigns from Sahitya Akademi Executive Board and General Council

In a letter to the Sahitya Akademi saying, “The Akademi has to stand with writers and uphold the freedom of expression guaranteed by the Constitution of India…”, and, “To writers like me, this is an issue of our basic freedom to live, think and write”, K. Satchidanandan has resigned from the Akademi’s General Council, Executive Board, and…

“Words, strong and emotional words come to you easily. So why do we need to shout and scream for a few sentences about a man who was lynched for allegedly consuming beef?”

“Words, strong and emotional words come to you easily. So why do we need to shout and scream for a few sentences about a man who was lynched for allegedly consuming beef?”

Musician and writer T.M. Krishna writes to the Prime Minister. T.M. Krishna, an innovative vocalist in the Karnatik tradition, is also an articulate examiner of cultural history. His book, A Southern Music, (2013), has been highly acclaimed as the first of its kind, combining actual music practice, technique, history and polemics. October 9, 2015 Honourable…

Award-Winning Author Shashi Deshpande Resigns from Sahitya Akademi General Council

Award-Winning Author Shashi Deshpande Resigns from Sahitya Akademi General Council

In a letter to the Sahitya Akademi, Shashi Deshpande has offered her resignation out of “a sense of strong disappointment” with the Akademi’s failure to protest the murder of one of its own community of writers, M.M. Kalburgi. Eminent writer Shashi Deshpande, a member of the Indian Writers’ Forum, has written several novels, short story…

Nayantara Sahgal Returns Her Sahitya Akademi Award

Nayantara Sahgal Returns Her Sahitya Akademi Award

Eminent writer and member of the Indian Writers' Forum Nayantara Sahgal returns Sahitya Akademi Award in protest against the government’s failure to safeguard cultural diversity. Nayantara Sahgal, renowned writer and niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, is known for her upright and outspoken political views. She took a firm stand against Indira Gandhi’s Emergency and, ​in more…