• From a Hundred and Sixty Three Bengali Intellectuals

    Our Concern about Rising Intolerance

    ICF Team

    October 15, 2015

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    MSC Satya Sai, From the SAHMAT exhibition on The Making of India, 2004, Image courtesy SAHMAT, http://www.sahmat.org/themakingofindia11.html

    On October 14, 2015, a hundred Bengali writers, academics and performers wrote a joint letter to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, to express their deep concern about the rising intolerance in India today, and the growing threats to Indian plurality. Since then, another sixty three have added their names to the letter.

    Describing the assassination of rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi as a “well-planned conspiracy to endanger Indian democracy”, they urged the President to “take firm and immediate steps” to combat this threat to the basic freedoms all citizens of India share.

    Here is the full text of their letter:


    October 14, 2015

    To Sri Pranab Mukherjee

    The President of India

    Your Excellency,

    As citizens of a democratic country, we are deeply concerned about the growing culture of murderous intolerance and the brazen assault on the fundamental right to life of those who maintain the core values of diversity, plurality and tolerance of which you yourself have recently reminded us. The targeting of innocents like the recent killing of Muhammad Akhlaq in Dadri and the series of attacks against rationalists and freethinkers including the gruesomely casual killing of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi has made us strangers in our own country. We are horrified at the callous lack of support and apathy of the state in finding and bringing the culprits to justice. The stifling atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is fatal to the freedom of expression that is at the heart of our shared lives, and it is for the restoration of this common fabric that we urge you to intervene.

    On behalf of the freethinking, creative minds of India – indeed, on behalf of every citizen of India – we urge you, the guardian of the Constitution of India, to ensure that those who have infringed upon this founding document of the State with impunity, whether overtly or by silent complicity, be brought to justice. Throttling the right to free thought and expression threatens the very existence of our plural society. We demand your active intervention in protecting the basic freedom which is the right of all Indian citizens without discrimination by religion, caste, class or gender. We appeal to you to take firm and immediate steps to combat this well-planned conspiracy to endanger Indian democracy.

    From the creative and academic community of West Bengal,

    1. Nabaneeta Dev Sen
    2. Nirendranath Chakraborty
    3. Ashok Mitra
    4. Shankha Ghosh
    5. Alokranjan Dasgupta
    6. Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
    7. Pabitra Sarkar
    8. Ipshita Chanda
    9. Samaresh Majumder
    10. Amiya Bagchi
    11. Bibhash Chakraborty
    12. Rudraprasad Sengupta
    13. Swatilekha Sengupta
    14. Bani Basu
    15. Subodh Sarkar
    16. Antara Dev Sen
    17. Pratik Kanjilal
    18. Nandana Dev Sen
    19. Wasim Kapoor
    20. Dipali Bhattacharya
    21. Srijato
    22. Sohini Sengupta
    23. Emanul Haque
    24. Bikashranjan Bhattacharya
    25. Chitra Sen
    26. Kaushik Sen
    27. Reshmi Sen
    28. Srikanta Acharya
    29. Bijaya Mukhopadhyay
    30. Sarat Mukhopadyay
    31. Gargi Roychoudhury
    32. Arna Sheel
    33. Ujjwal Chattopadhyay
    34. Meghnad Bhattacharya
    35. Kishor Sengupta
    36. Subrata Gangopadhyay
    37. Samir Aich
    38. Srabasti Basu
    39. All Members of P.E.N International, India, West Bengal Branch
    40. Krishna Bose
    41. Ranjan Gupta
    42. Shyamal Mukhopadhyay
    43. Sugata Choudhuri
    44. Arindam Acharjee
    45. Barun Chakrabarty
    46. Krishna Sen
    47. All Members of SOI, Forum for Creative Women
    48. Anjali Das
    49. Jyotsna Karmakar
    50. Sharmishtha Dasgupta
    51. Maya Siddhanta
    52. Dipanwita Roy
    53. Chitra Lahiri
    54. Chaitali Chattopadhyay
    55. Sutapa Bhattacharya
    56. Sanjukta Bandopadhyay
    57. Esha De
    58. Ishita Bhaduri
    59. Kana Basu Misra
    60. Susmeli Dutta
    61. Deepshikha Poddar
    62. Binata Roychowdhury
    63. Pritha Bal
    64. Dipannita Datta
    65. Bubun Chattopadhyay
    66. Banani Das
    67. Swapna Bandopadhyay
    68. Kasturi Chattopadhyay
    69. Sanhita Bandopadhyay
    70. Tanbir Nasreen
    71. Kamalakkha Gangopadhyay
    72. Manasij Majumder
    73. Dhritikanta Lahiri Choudhury
    74. Shankar Majumder
    75. Pratibha Mandal
    76. Bidisha Ghosh Biswas
    77. Agnimitra Biswas
    78. K. Biswanath
    79. Anit Bose
    80. Paushali Sengupta
    81. Rangan Sengupta
    82. Bipasha Raha
    83. Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta
    84. Arnab Dutta
    85. Judhajit Sarkar
    86. Nabin Mandal
    87. Sheila Lahiri Chowdhury
    88. Dipkanta Lahiri Chowdhury
    89. Debjani Lahiri Chowdhury
    90. Ridhi Sen
    91. Pankaj Saha
    92. Avery Chaurey
    93. Indira Mukherjee
    94. Riya Chatterjee
    95. Kanai Barui
    96. Bulbul Datta
    97. S.N. Paul
    98. Amitabha Mandal
    99. Jharna Barui
    100. Neelu Das
    101. Sukanta Chaudhuri
    102. Supriya Chaudhuri
    103. Sounak Chakraborty
    104. Sebanti Ghosh
    105. Sudhir Chandra
    106. Minati Chatterjee
    107. Jayati Ghosh
    108. Bikash Mukherjee
    109. Sudip Nath
    110. Indira Chakraborty
    111. Amit Das
    112. Nandita Kundu
    113. Jhinuk Roy
    114. Saumen Mukhopadhyay
    115. Anish Sengupta
    116. Mahashweta Samajdar
    117. Anuttama Banerji
    118. Soumyajit Paul
    119. Soma Roychowdhury
    120. Himanshu Biswas
    121. Arpita Sikka
    122. Prabhas Ghosh
    123. Ayan  Majumdar
    124. Biswajit Bhowmik
    125. Chaitali Chatterji
    126. Sharmila Das
    127. T.K. Mandal
    128. Abhijit Ghosh
    129. Yasodhara Roychowdhury
    130. Upasana Mukherjee
    131. Biplab Gangopadhyay
    132. Amit Kr. Pandit
    133. Gargi Sarkar
    134. Debu
    135. Sreyash Sarkar
    136. Agomani Dasgupta Mukherji
    137. Roshni Charaborty
    138. Ajeya Sarkar
    139. Sreyashi Musafir
    140. Swapna Chakraborty
    141. Sremayi Bhatta
    142. Nilanjana Chatterjee
    143. Sudakshina Bhagat
    144. Swastika
    145. Swapna Dutta
    146. Sajal Samudra
    147. Paula Sengupta
    148. Abhimanyu Mahato
    149. Pias Majid
    150. Arvind Deb Sarkar
    151. Alamgir Haque
    152. Sharmila Sen
    153. Pallabi Dey
    154. Anamika Dutta Sarkar
    155. Samapan Saha
    156. Saumitra Polley
    157. Anjan Achariya
    158. Anirban Das
    159. Amlan Chaudhuri
    160. Md. Inasuddin
    161. Biplab Kr. Pal
    162. Swapan Bose
    163. Ramkumar Acharya

    More signatories from Gujarat and Maharashtra –

    Gujarat :

    1.Mehul Devkala , Vadodara
    2.Kanji Patel,Lunavada
    3.Paresh Nayak,Ahmedabad
    4.Kirit Doodhat,Ahmedabad
    5.Yagnesh Dave,Rajkot
    6.Vibha Nayak,Ahmedabad
    7.Dakshin Chhara,Ahmedabad
    8.Sachin Ketkar,Vadodara
    9.Rajan Barrett,Vadodara
    10.Saroop Dhruv,Ahmedabad
    11.Hiren Gandhi,Ahmedabad
    12.Bharat Mehta,Vadodara
    13.Sagar Shah,Ahmedabad

    Maharashtra :

    14.Atul Dodiya,Mumbai
    15.Nandita Das,Mumbai
    16.Sanjay Chhel,Mumbai
    17.Prabodh Parikh,Mumbai
    18.Anju Dodiya,Mumbai
    19.Naushil Mehta,Mumbai
    20.Ashok Sahane,Mumbai
    21.Hemant Divate,Mumbai
    22.Ganesh Visputay,Mumbai
    23.Ignatius Dias,Mumbai

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