• Looking Back at 2017: Listen to Writers Discussing Politics and Cultures of Resistance

    ICF Team

    December 26, 2017

    Image courtesy Nitesh Kumar

    As 2017 draws to a close, we are left reeling from the shock of the violence that claimed several innocent lives during the year. Be it Afrazul’s murder near Udaipur, Rajasthan or Gauri Lankesh’s assassination in Bangalore, Karnataka, we are now faced with the bitter truth that – to (mis)quote Orwell and make him relevant for our times – most people are equal, but some are more equal than the others. The obvious corollary of this is – some people are certainly less equal than the others, and do not deserve basic “human” rights enjoyed by the rest of the country. It is now clear to us that people like Afrazul and Gauri, those who cannot be subsumed under the monolithic pro-hindutva ideology of the ruling dispensation, sometimes by virtue of their religion, and at other times due to their dissident politics, lead precarious lives — lives that are easily disposable. As a tribute to those who have lost their lives and to extend our solidarity to those who continue to lead precarious lives fearlessly, the Indian Cultural Forum has compiled a list of interviews done throughout the year where writers discuss the vulnerability of those who challenge (d) the establishment and the significance of resistance in our times.  

    “No, you don’t remember Kunan Poshpora, or rapes in Kashmir”: Essar Batool

    February 23 is commemorated as Kashmir Women's Resistance Day, in remembrance of the brave and ardous struggle for justice against the rapes allegedly committed by the Indian Army, on the intervening night of February 23 and February 24, in 1991. The Jammu and Kashmir police officially called the case "closed as untraced", until they learnt that a PIL was going to be filed by a group of Kashmiri women. The process of filing the PIL, as well as the struggle for justice so far, has been recorded in Do You Remember Kunan Poshpora?, published by Zubaan. Souradeep Roy and Vidhya from the Indian Cultural Forum, speaks to Essar Batool, one of the co-authors of the book in a three part interview:​

    Watch the entire conversation here.

    Women We Admire: Mridula Koshy: Souradeep Roy speaks to the writer

    In our latest on the Women We Admire series, we have an interview with Mridula Koshy. She is the author of two novels — Not Only the Things That Have Happened and Bicycle Dreaming, and a collection of short stories — If it is Sweet — which won her the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize. In the first part of the interview, Koshy talks, among other things, of the invisible books yet to be written in English in India, and the writers who need to be published.

    Watch the entire conversation here.

    Nayantara Sahgal: “The RSS Wants a Hindu Pakistan”: Souradeep Roy in conversation with Nayantara Sahgal

    Nayantara Sahgal, who had returned her Sahitya Akademi award in 2015 protesting the murders of M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, and Govind Pansare, says that she is dismayed at the continued attacks on minorities in India. From the murder of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015 to the murder of Pehlu Khan in Alwar in 2017, we cannot hope for a better situation till the RSS backed BJP is in power. She predicts constitutional ammendments following the BJP victory which will take the country to a situation of Fascism and Hindutva religious majoritarianism. Watch the first part of the interview here:

    Watch the entire conversation here.

    “Are the murderers of Kalburgi not being nabbed because they’re from the Sanatan Sanstha?”: Keki Daruwalla: Souradeep Roy in conversation with Keki N Daruwalla

    Keki N. Daruwalla, poet, fiction writer, and a former officer with the Indian Police Service, speaks to Souradeep Roy for our latest feature on writing and politics. Having served in the police force for decades, he recalls how he had led encounters, nabbed criminals, but had always ordered his force to show maximum restraint. Now, deaths in encounters are lauded. The police officers who were responsible for the Hashimpura massacre have still not been charged for murder, he reminds us. He is also surprised at the slow pace of investigation after the muder of the writer M.M. Kalburgi. 

    Watch the entire conversation here.

    Sarayu Srivatsa on Dom Moraes and their Travelogue Out of God’s Oven: Souradeep Roy in conversation with the writer and architect

    Sarayu Srivatsa, architect and co-author of the non-fiction travelogue Out of God's Oven, speaks to Souradeep Roy on the process of writing the book. Srivatsa and Moraes had fallen into trouble while writing it. A result of several interviews with numerous people on the idea of India, the book deals with naxalites, Mahasweta Devi,  riots in a dalit colony in Maharastra, Verghese Kurien, among other individuals and incidents which have shaped India since independence.

    Watch the entire conversation here.

    “Gauri Lankesh’s murder was the most vicious because she was a woman”: Ganesh Devy: Githa Hariharan in conversation with the linguist

    Writer Githa Hariharan speaks to Ganesh Devy after the murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. Devy had been a close collaborator with Lankesh, and had met her weeks before her brutal murder. In this interview, they discuss the links between murders of Lankesh and the rationalist, M M Kalburgi, especially their role in spreading the right message about the Lingayat community in Karnataka, which was dangerous for Hindu Right-wing thought.

    Watch the entire conversation here

    “Poetry is my refuge”: Perumal Murugan: Githa Hariharan and Kannan Sundaram in conversation with the writer

    In the latest interview in our series #WritersTalkPolitics, Githa Hariharan talks to Perumal Murugan on the influence of folklore on his fiction; the complexities involved in writing about caste relations; and finally, on poetry. Poetry, Murugan says, gives him the refuge he needs whenever he needs to calm down. It is no coincidence that the first book after the Madras High Court's judgement in his favour, is a book of poems. Listen to the entire conversation here:

    Watch the entire conversation/ read more about Perumal Murugan here.



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