Bird of Dusk : Insight Into the Spirit of Rituparno Ghosh

Bird of Dusk : Insight Into the Spirit of Rituparno Ghosh

  Rituparno Ghosh remains one of the most outstanding filmmakers Indian cinema has produced in recent times. Sangeeta Datta’s documentary on this director Bird of Dusk (Sandhyar Pakhi) takes us into a flashback into this unique journey of this brilliant filmmaker. This film is currently doing the rounds of film festivals with a wonderful opening Who is…

Database of Cow-Related Hate Crime Since 2010: 86% Of Those Killed are Muslim

Database of Cow-Related Hate Crime Since 2010: 86% Of Those Killed are Muslim

After the recent murder of a dairy trader by cow vigilantes on the Rajasthan-Haryana border, 11 deaths have been reported in 2017, the highest toll from cow-related hate crimes since 2010, from when IndiaSpend’s database records hate crimes. The database is being launched in a new, interactive format today.   Image courtesy Sabrang India[/caption]  …

Death of CBI Judge B H Loya: Statement by Concerned Citizens Demanding a Time-bound Public Enquiry Commission

Death of CBI Judge B H Loya: Statement by Concerned Citizens Demanding a Time-bound Public Enquiry Commission

We, the citizens of India, have been perturbed by the reports surrounding the death of CBI Judge B.H. Loya who was presiding over the trial of Sohrabuddin murder case. It is disturbing for us to note that other than multiple conflicting versions of the circumstances of Judge Loya’s death, there have been allegations of undue…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Schooled His Dilly-Dallying Comrades

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Schooled His Dilly-Dallying Comrades

This is our eighth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October to remember the centenary of the Russia Revolution. The first is an excerpt from Cecilia Bobrovskaya's memoirs; the second is from an essay by Prabir Purkayastha; the third is our inaugral bookend by Githa Hariharan on Sevtlana Alexievich's novel Second Hand Time; and the fourth is a conversation with Professor Sobhanlal…

What Our Self-Declared Nationalists (Read the Hindu Right) Owe to British Historians for their Claims on Babri Masjid or Ram Temple

What Our Self-Declared Nationalists (Read the Hindu Right) Owe to British Historians for their Claims on Babri Masjid or Ram Temple

Like Padmavati, there is no historical evidence to suggest that there was Ram Temple at the site where Babri Masjid once stood. Today, on the 25th anniversary of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid, if we see the way the Padmavati controversy has raged over the last month, we will realise how little we have…

Bhopal Jan Utsav: A Festival of Hope and Solidarity Celebrating Reason and Diversity

Bhopal Jan Utsav: A Festival of Hope and Solidarity Celebrating Reason and Diversity

  The city of Bhopal witnessed a unique Festival — a festival of diversity, reason and resistance—between 26th and 28th of November. Named as Bhopal Utsav, it was organised by various progressive organisations, collectives and movements between. The festival brought together activists from diverse movements, cultural activists, science activists and thousands of people from all…

“Poetry is my refuge”: Perumal Murugan

“Poetry is my refuge”: Perumal Murugan

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…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Asked His Comrades to Take Their Shirts off and Declare Themselves a Communist Party

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: How Lenin Asked His Comrades to Take Their Shirts off and Declare Themselves a Communist Party

This is our seventh story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October to remember the centenary of the Russia Revolution. The first is an excerpt from Cecilia Bobrovskaya's memoirs; the second is from an essay by Prabir Purkayastha; the third is our inaugral bookend by Githa Hariharan on Sevtlana Alexievich's novel Second Hand…

After 30 Lynchings, Government to Withdraw the Ban on Sale of Cattle for slaughter

After 30 Lynchings, Government to Withdraw the Ban on Sale of Cattle for slaughter

  India’s farmers, through consistent protest and struggle, have finally got the central government to seriously contemplate the withdrawal of its notification banning the sale of cattle for slaughter. A date has reportedly not been fixed, but government sources informed the media that this notification issued by the Ministry of Environment will now be withdrawn….

Why Asking Bands to Not Perform in Israel is Not an Attack on Freedom of Speech and Expression

Why Asking Bands to Not Perform in Israel is Not an Attack on Freedom of Speech and Expression

On the 40th International Solidarity Day for the Palestinian People, Souradeep Roy of the Indian Cultural Forum and Apoorva Gautam of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, India (BDS India) explain why asking bands to not perform in Israel is not an attack on freedom of speech and expression. They take Roger Waters example and his performance…

Attack on Padmavati, Kancha Ilaiah Reminiscent of the Attack on Punjabi Writers

Attack on Padmavati, Kancha Ilaiah Reminiscent of the Attack on Punjabi Writers

While protests related to Padmavati are creating headlines everywhere, very little attention has been paid to what has been happening to Punjabi writers. Two Punjabi writers have been subjected to harassment at the hands of the state and private institutions recently. One of them is Sahitya Akademi award winning senior writer Baldev Singh Sadaknama, a…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: What has the October Revolution Done for Women in the West?

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: What has the October Revolution Done for Women in the West?

This is our sixth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October to remember the centenary of the Russia Revolution. The first is an excerpt from Cecilia Bobrovskaya's memoirs; the second is from an essay by Prabir Purkayastha; the third is our inaugral bookend by Githa Hariharan on Sevtlana Alexievich's novel Second Hand…

प्रेम और दार्शनिकता का कवि

प्रेम और दार्शनिकता का कवि

हिंदी समाज में ऐसे लोग अब बहुत कम बचे रह गए हैं जो अपने व्यक्तित्व में सांस्कृतिक बहुलता और अपनी भाषा में सचाई, शराफत और नैतिकता की रौशनी लेकर चलते हों. कुंवर नारायण ऐसे ही मनुष्य और लेखक थे. उनके जाने से दुर्लभ गुणों वाले एक व्यक्ति का अवसान हो गया है और हिंदी कविता…

International Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Day to Mourn the Victims of, and Protest Transphobia

International Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Day to Mourn the Victims of, and Protest Transphobia

Image courtesy Gaylaxy 20 November is marked as International Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day to remember, mourn, and memorialise the victims of transphobia. The day was founded to commemorate the murder of Rita Hester a transgender woman in the USA. Now Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated across the world, reminding us…

How the Salwa Judum Looted and Killed Villagers in Kondasawali Village in Chattisgarh

How the Salwa Judum Looted and Killed Villagers in Kondasawali Village in Chattisgarh

In a letter dated 16 June 2017, The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) directed the People’s Union of Civil Liberties (Chhattisgarh) to make further inquiries into a complaint it had received regarding the looting and burning of huts and the killing of seven persons of Kondasawali, a village in district Sukma of Chhattisgarh. Sometime during…

Condemnation of IB Ministry’s Decision to Withdraw the Films Approved by the Jury of Goa Film Festival

Condemnation of IB Ministry’s Decision to Withdraw the Films Approved by the Jury of Goa Film Festival

Dakshinayan Abhiyan Goa takes strong exception to the decision taken by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to exclude two films in the Panorama section by overriding the IFFI Jury’s prudent choice.  A gross violation of the right to Freedom of Expression, we consider this act as an attempt to suppress creativity.  As the festival is…

Mahapadav: Prominent Intellectuals Support Workers, Demand Action By PM

Mahapadav: Prominent Intellectuals Support Workers, Demand Action By PM

Over 50 well-known intellectuals, writers and artists have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi demanding that his government at the Centre intervenes to resolve their basic demands. Among those who endorsed the letter were writers Krishna Sobti, K. Satchidanandan and Githa Hariharan; classical dancer and activist Mallika Sarabhai; Bezwada Wilson of the…

In Times of “Bharat Mata”, Revisiting Mother India on the 60th Year of the Film’s Release

In Times of “Bharat Mata”, Revisiting Mother India on the 60th Year of the Film’s Release

Introduction Mother India (1957) completes sixty years this year. Produced and directed by Mehboob, famous for his social agenda films packaged with a lot of chutzpah, grandeur and melodrama, the film was assessed among the ten biggest hits in Indian cinema in the 20th century. Seventeen years into the 21st century and its memories remain…

Understanding the Marxism in Gandhi’s Fight Against Imperialism

Understanding the Marxism in Gandhi’s Fight Against Imperialism

Uday Mehta (UM): I think of you, especially in the essays that constitute this book, as doing a rather particular kind of philosophy. It is a very distinguished tradition of practitioners, including the late Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and Alasdair MacIntyre in the Anglo-American tradition; Michel Foucault, in the French tradition; Adorno and Walter Benjamin…

#FreedomToDraw: Cartoons of Nehru and Indira Gandhi by E P Unny, R K Laxman and K Shankar Pillai

#FreedomToDraw: Cartoons of Nehru and Indira Gandhi by E P Unny, R K Laxman and K Shankar Pillai

Cartoonist Bala was arrested from his residence in Chennai last Sunday, 5 November, 2017, for his cartoon that criticised the Tirunelveli Police Commissioner, the District Collector, and the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, over the Tirunelveli immolation tragedy. In protest against this curbing of freedom of speech and expression, the Indian Cultural Forum has decided to come out…

The First Yuva Samvad: A Report

The First Yuva Samvad: A Report

  The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) organised a Yuva Samvad (A dialogue with the youth) from 3 to 6 November 2017. This three-day long congregation hosted youth activists, involved in various movements, from across the country. Youth activists from the Narmada Bachao Andolan, from farmers’ movements, representatives of people’s movements in Assam, trade…

University Grants Commission’s Decision Will Reduce the Number of Reserved Seats for Appointments in Universities

University Grants Commission’s Decision Will Reduce the Number of Reserved Seats for Appointments in Universities

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has taken a decision that may reduce the number of reserved seats for faculty appointments in universities. The decision, according to a report published in The Indian Express, is waiting for “concurrence” from the Ministry of Human Resource Development. The UGC took the decision after the Allahabad High Court cancelled…

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar: “I don’t like being labelled as an adivasi writer”

Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar: “I don’t like being labelled as an adivasi writer”

In this latest interview for our series Writers Talk Politics, Souradeep Roy talks to Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, the writer and doctor, whose work includes a novel, The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey, and a collection of short stories, The Adivasi Will Not Dance. The Jharkhand government banned the latter book, calling it obscene. Shekhar, also…

Independent Publishing in India: Aainanagar

Independent Publishing in India: Aainanagar

In the latest on our series on independent publishing in India, we speak to Nandini Dhar, co-founder and co-editor of Aainagar. It calls itself an "online little magazine", and its name has come from a song by Lalon Fakir: আমার বাড়ির কাছে আরশিনগর, তাতে এক পড়শি বসত করে। আমি একদিনও না দেখিলেম তারে  (A neighbour dwells in the…

Are ‘Anti Nationals’ Traitors, Or Are Those Groups who Call Others ‘Anti-Nationals’ Traitors to the Idea of Independent India?

Are ‘Anti Nationals’ Traitors, Or Are Those Groups who Call Others ‘Anti-Nationals’ Traitors to the Idea of Independent India?

Krishan Chander’s Urdu novel, Ghaddaar, meaning ‘traitor’, begins with a delicately woven romance between an unmarried Muslim girl, and her married Hindu lover. But the world outside is being torn asunder and Krishan Chander shows how love, brotherhood and humanity swiftly turn into redundant emotions, as permanent lines are drawn between two nations. 'Traitor' is a word…

From Sexual Violence to Justice: The Perils of Naturalising

From Sexual Violence to Justice: The Perils of Naturalising

                    The reports in the mainstream media of incidents of rape or sexual harassment occurring within spaces of higher education in India have been few and far between as compared to the almost daily reports of incidents of rape and gendered violence occurring across the country. It is universally acknowledged that the actual cases…

Danish Husain: “It is not easy for theatre practitioners or writers to return awards they’ve earned after years of practicing their craft.”

Danish Husain: “It is not easy for theatre practitioners or writers to return awards they’ve earned after years of practicing their craft.”

In the latest interview for our series Theatre and Politics, Danish Husain speaks to Souradeep Roy on returning his Sankeet Natak Akademi award in 2015; the attack on Urdu; and his new work qissebaazi. Watch more from the series Theatre and Politics: “Censorship outside of the Censor Board is the problem in Maharashtra”: Rajeev Naik “It’s…

Watch: Perumal Murugan, T M Krishna, Shital Sathay and Sofia Ashraf Make a Music Video on Right to Privacy

Watch: Perumal Murugan, T M Krishna, Shital Sathay and Sofia Ashraf Make a Music Video on Right to Privacy

Privacy Matters. அகவுரிமை பாட்டு. मेरी निजता मेरा हक is a music video featuring Perumal Murugan, Shital Sathay, Sofia Ashraf & T M Krishna. This music video is inspired by the 24 August 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court of India on the Right to Privacy. The judgement reminds us of the constitutional provisions guaranteeing our right to choose what we wear,…

Narendra Nayak on the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Bill – “Something is better than nothing”

Narendra Nayak on the Karnataka Anti-Superstition Bill – “Something is better than nothing”

In this interview, produced by Newsclick and the Indian Writers' Forum, D. Raghunandan from the Delhi Science Forum talks to Narendra Nayak, President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA), about the recently implemented Anti-Superstition Bill in Karnataka. Even though it is a diluted version of proposed bill which was initially proposed, Narendra Nayak…

How ‘Efficient Brainy’ Uses Superstition to Rob Money of Unsuspecting Parents

How ‘Efficient Brainy’ Uses Superstition to Rob Money of Unsuspecting Parents

Addressing the media persons during a press meet held at Hotel Woodlands, Mangaluru on Saturday evening at 5pm, Professor Narendra Nayak — President, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, Mangaluru said, “An entity called “Smart Brainy” has been running a racket called as WBDP or whole brain development program in which they are allegedly balancing the…

Fireworks and Firearms: The Festival of Lights in the Mughal Court

Fireworks and Firearms: The Festival of Lights in the Mughal Court

The Mughal court became a site of cultural production in the early modern world. It was a curious confluence of "Islamicate" and "Indic" cultures. Like any other dynasty with the desire to rule, the Mughals, contrary to the present state-sponsored communal (mis)understanding, did not rupture the existing socio-cultural fabric of the land. Besides introducing Timurid and Mongoloid traditions,…

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: Studying György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin through Letters, Diaries and Notes

#OctoberRevolutionSeries: Studying György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin through Letters, Diaries and Notes

We continue our #OctoberRevolutionSeries with an interview with Professor Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, who has been reading the autobiographical writings of György Lukács, Rosa Luxemburg and Nikolai Bukharin. Their political writings have already been published, but Datta Gupta has been closely analysing their letters, diaries and notes. In a conversation with Sruti M D, he says that this…

“The idea of popular science is an authoritarian version”: Satyajit Rath

“The idea of popular science is an authoritarian version”: Satyajit Rath

How are science and culture related? Have we abandoned science and scientific temper for an overtly 'elite' politics? Satyajit Rath, in conversation with Githa Hariharan, explains about the significance of reclaiming scientific temper for the general public. Also see the first part of the interview: “Scientific temper is what elite politics denies in our humanness…”  

Art as a Political Act: Retelling Mahabharata Through its Peripheral Figures

Art as a Political Act: Retelling Mahabharata Through its Peripheral Figures

  Karthika Naïr was born in India, lives in Paris, and works as a dance producer and curator. She is the author of Bearings, a poetry collection; DESH: Memories, inherited, borrowed, invented, a dance diary; and The Honey Hunter/ Le Tigre de Miel, a children’s book illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet. Nair was the principal story writer and scriptwriter of…

#StopAdani : Protests in Australia Against Adani’s Venture of Carmichael Coal mine

#StopAdani : Protests in Australia Against Adani’s Venture of Carmichael Coal mine

    A venture of the Adani group in Australia has stirred up a controversy. The Adani group, founded and chaired by an Indian billionaire businessman, Gautam Adani has sought a loan of 900 Million dollars from Australia. Adani is accused of illegal dealings, bribery, environmental and social devastation; corruption, fraud and money laundering in…

The Killing of History

The Killing of History

 I have long been a fan of John Pilger’s work – it is well-researched, honest and powerful without being sensational. There is a dignity to his prose that I very much admire. In a lecture he gave at Columbia University, Pilger spoke of ‘censorship by omission’. In that lecture, Pilger pointed to the terrible omissions of Western…

Verses Of Resistance: How Certain Folk Literary Cultures Of Medieval Bengal Had Risen Against Brahminism

Verses Of Resistance: How Certain Folk Literary Cultures Of Medieval Bengal Had Risen Against Brahminism

  This was in the 13th century. 5 centuries had passed since the marauding Vedantic forces led by Adi Shankaracharya had torn into the sanghas, monasteries and stupas of the Buddhist. Meanwhile, General Vijay Sen had risen in coup from the barracks of the last Pala kings of Bengal to deal the final staggering blow to the last Buddhist dynasty of the subcontinent. The Brahmins had…

Last Days of the Mahatma

Last Days of the Mahatma

    … [I]n 1944, Nathuram Godse was arrested at Panchgani as he was hurrying towards Gandhiji carrying a knife. This statement has been made before the Justice Kapur Commission by the owner of Surati Lodge of Pune, Shri Manishankar Purohit. Shri B.D. Bhilare Guruji, ex-MLA of the Congress from Mahabaleshwar, who was present, has…

Chomsky Clarifies Position on the Cultural Boycott of Israel

Chomsky Clarifies Position on the Cultural Boycott of Israel

  In recent years, people promoting the mantras of ‘constructive engagement’ and ‘bridge-building’ with Israel have cited Professor Noam Chomsky in their defence. He is alleged to oppose the campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS ) launched by Palestinian civil society in 2005. Artists for Palestine UK contacted Professor Chomsky to ask him to clarify…

With Dwijen Bandyopadhyay’s Passing, the Cultural Left in Bengal Loses One of its Most Treasured Thespians

With Dwijen Bandyopadhyay’s Passing, the Cultural Left in Bengal Loses One of its Most Treasured Thespians

While several obituaries have flown in after Tom Alter died on 29 September, 2017, the death of another veteran actor and director, whose work, too, has primarily been in theatre, received little attention. Dwijen Bandyopadhyay, director of the theatre group Samstab, passed away amidst Pujo festivities on 27 September 2017. He was 68. A known…

Jamia Students: If Fighting for Campus Democracy is Politics, Then We’re Politicians

Jamia Students: If Fighting for Campus Democracy is Politics, Then We’re Politicians

For attaining political maturity, students require training on campus too. By debating and agitating on issues, students create an intellectual space that helps them develop skills to influence, mobilise and lead people. But Jamia Millia Islamia, a central university in the heart of the capital, has sadly remained indifferent to this. The students’ union elections…

Dating Bakhshali Manuscripts: Answering Important Questions in History of Mathematics

Dating Bakhshali Manuscripts: Answering Important Questions in History of Mathematics

  The Bakhshali Manuscripts, a collection of 70 odd leaves of birch bark, containing a wealth of mathematical methods, have finally been dated. The oldest of the three samples tested was written as early as the 3rd-4th century , placing it almost five centuries earlier than where most scholars had placed the manuscripts . This makes the Bakhshali Manuscripts…

“A Unique Sattriya Workshop at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi”

“A Unique Sattriya Workshop at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in New Delhi”

In all likelihood, the year was 1948. A noontide natter was warming up in the front yard of some nondescript hamlet hut in Majuli, one of world’s biggest river islands. Niru, dainty and probably nineteen, is discussing with her circle of intimates how Jyoti Prasad (Agarwala) and Bishnu Rabha have already introduced women in Assamese…

Appointments of Chairperson & Members to NHRC Should be About Integrity, Independence & Commitment to Human Rights Protection

Appointments of Chairperson & Members to NHRC Should be About Integrity, Independence & Commitment to Human Rights Protection

  Since its formation following a statute in 1993, in response to international commitments, the NHRC has functioned as an institution falling short of the immense expectations from a population getting more and more aware of their rights and violations by state and non-state actors. From being called a toothless tiger to one that requires a…

This Year’s Nobel Celebrates Scholarship in Science for Its Own Sake

This Year’s Nobel Celebrates Scholarship in Science for Its Own Sake

  The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institute, consisting of 50 professors, awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. This year, the work, done by Jeffrey C. Hall and Michael Rosbash of Brandeis University and Michael W. Young of the Rockefeller University in the USA “for their discoveries of molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm" was…

Of Malnourished Buffalos, Caged Birds and the Calligraphy of Concertina Wires: Sophia Naz’s Pointillism

Of Malnourished Buffalos, Caged Birds and the Calligraphy of Concertina Wires: Sophia Naz’s Pointillism

    Sophia Naz is the author of three books, Pointillism, Peripheries and Date Palms. Nocturnes for Laila, a collaborative project, will soon be coming out. Naz is a 2016 Pushcart nominee and has been published in Poetry International, Adirondack Review, and several print anthologies. She is a South Asian-American living in Glen Ellen, USA. Pointillism…

#OctoberRevolutionMonth: The Fight for The Party During the Ebb Of the Revolution

#OctoberRevolutionMonth: The Fight for The Party During the Ebb Of the Revolution

  Thus began a new period of remote and protracted emigration. While in distant Russia the proletarian party was persecuted with terror and driven far underground, the tsarist minister Stolypin ruled unchallenged, rearing forests of gallows (‘Stolypin’s neckties’) for the revolutionary workers in the towns, creating kulak households in the villages at the expense of…

‘Two & Half Person’ Government Worsens India’s Economic Slowdown

‘Two & Half Person’ Government Worsens India’s Economic Slowdown

“Critics are spreading despair but the economy is on track,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this in response to the official statistics which suggested an economic slowdown. Prabhat Patnaik talks to Newsclick about the effects of demonetisation and GST on Indian economy. He further discusses the negative employment growth. "The economic bureaucracy is increasingly becoming…

History is an Unending Dialogue between the Past and the Present

History is an Unending Dialogue between the Past and the Present

Ramin Jahanbegloo, in his introduction to this book of conversations, says, "When… we study Professor Thapar's analyses of early India, we do not have a sense of historiography as a positivistic science, but that of history as an unending dialogue between the past and the present. As a result, this continuous process of interaction between…

An Update from the Supreme Court Hearings on the Deportation of Rohingyas

An Update from the Supreme Court Hearings on the Deportation of Rohingyas

The Rohingya matter came on board yesterday before the court of CJI Dipak Misra. The bench also comprised of Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y.Chandrachud. Court held as follows: The Counsel for the respondent stated that there were 2 preliminary objections to be considered before hearing the matter: Firstly, the question of judicial review ought to be…

Doordarshan Censors a Chief Minister’s Speech, but Airs a Non-Elected RSS Pracharak

Doordarshan Censors a Chief Minister’s Speech, but Airs a Non-Elected RSS Pracharak

After refusing to broadcast Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar’s speech one and a half months, national broadcaster Doordarshan has come under fire again, for telecasting RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s Dussehra speech. DD News, which comes under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, telecast the RSS chief’s speech live from Nagpur on Friday, 29 September. Earlier in August,…

McOnam Sadhya: Tinkering with Tradition

McOnam Sadhya: Tinkering with Tradition

                                         While the festival of Onam is inseparable from the legend of King Mahabali and Vamana, it is also a festival which marks the summer harvest. Onam is primarily a Hindu festival. Traditionally, the Christian communities of Kerala also celebrate Onam with much fanfare. It is touted as a cultural festival and…

Hamari Gauri Amar Rahe

Hamari Gauri Amar Rahe

Dear friends,  All karnataka federation of women against atrocities condemns the murder of our dear friend, journalist, and an activist, Gauri lankesh. The fedaration will be aiming in generating a pressure on the government in the investigation of the case. The investigation should lead to the immediate arrest of the murderers and thus prevent the loss of…

रक्त

रक्त

    रक्त रक्त रक्त! हर वक्त वक्त वक्त!   खेतों में रक्त, सड़कों में रक्त वोटों में रक्त, कोर्टों में रक्त वर्णों का रक्त, वर्गों का रक्त इस देश का आधार है यह रक्त रक्त रक्त!   दुर्गा का रक्त, दरगाह का रक्त काली का रक्त, या अली का रक्त कलबुर्गी का रक्त, पनसारे…

They Sang through the Dark Times: Nakul Singh Sawhney’s Latest Documentary Savitri’s Sisters

They Sang through the Dark Times: Nakul Singh Sawhney’s Latest Documentary Savitri’s Sisters

With Savitri’s Sisters, filmmaker Nakul Singh Sawhney takes the camera back to women. His camera follows two women from the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikaar Manch – Laxmiben and Madhuben. He shoots the film during the Azaadi Kooch yatra, a journey that began to mark the one-year anniversary of the Una protests.  In its intent, the film…

ईरानी औरतों की कहानियां 

ईरानी औरतों की कहानियां 

    मेरे बालिग़ होने में थोडा वक्त है ईरानी फ़िल्मकार मर्ज़ियेह मेश्किनी ने एक दूसरे बहुत मशहूर फ़िल्मकार मोहसेन मखलमबाफ़ की स्क्रिप्ट के सहारे तीन लघु कथा फ़िल्मों के जरिये ईरानी समाज में औरतों की दुनिया को बहुत संजीदगी से समझने की कोशिश की है। इस कथा श्रृंखला का नाम है द डे आई…

Indira Jaising: “It’s tragic that there were no women in the SC Bench that delivered the Triple Talaq Judgement”

Indira Jaising: “It’s tragic that there were no women in the SC Bench that delivered the Triple Talaq Judgement”

Shivangi Misra from the Lawyers Collective in conversation with the former Additional Solicitor General of India Indira Jaising on the Supreme Court judgement that anulled instant triple talaq. In the first part of the interview, they discuss the long tradition of cases that preceded the judgement, and then move on to discuss the judgement in detail.    Also see:…

The Image and the Individual: Hunger and Pain in the Making of the “Conscientious” Bengali Artist

The Image and the Individual: Hunger and Pain in the Making of the “Conscientious” Bengali Artist

Bergman, in his evocative essay titled “Film making”, gives a cinematic account of his childhood in his grandmother’s apartment in Uppsala, where he would sit under the large dining-room table, “listening” to the sunshine that filtered in through the gigantic windows. On the wall hung a large picture of Venice, and “as the sunlight moved…

On Literary Activism

On Literary Activism

In December 2014, Amit Chaudhuri, novelist, essayist, and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia, decided to add to the activities of UEA in India by starting a series of symposiums and conversations that would inhabit and aim to create a space different from both the "academic conference" and the "literary festival"'….

Remembering Sova Sen, Legendary Actress of Political Theatre in Bengal

Remembering Sova Sen, Legendary Actress of Political Theatre in Bengal

Sova Sen, the legendary actress of Bengali theatre and cinema, passed away five days ago, on 13 August. Sen joined the political theatre of Bengal after she passed out from Bethune College. With these excerpts from Himani Banerji's essay, based on her interviews with Sen, we begin a series of tributes which critically evalute Sen's contribution to the political theatre…

On Dalit Autobiographies

On Dalit Autobiographies

The kind of experiences which are narrated in Dalit autobiographies have had no models before. One of the first points that strikes the readers of Akkarmashi by Sharankumar Limbale is the dehumanising impact of caste oppression in Hindu society. His autobiography documents his struggles against poverty, deprivation, discrimination and caste violence. His family rarely enjoys…

दलित छवियों से क्यों डरते हैं वे?

दलित छवियों से क्यों डरते हैं वे?

    भारतीय सिनेमा में, चाहे वो कथा फिल्में हों या गैर कथा फ़िल्में, दलित समाज की अभिव्यक्तियाँ बहुत मामूली रही हैं। यह बात उसी तरह सच है जैसे हमारी सिनेमाई दुनिया मेंमहिलाओं और अल्पसंख्यकों की कहानियाँ भी बहुत कम हैं। भारी-भरकम संख्या वाले हिंदी सिनेमा में एम सथ्यू निर्देशित सिर्फ़ एक फ़िल्म गर्म हवा…

Fearless Godavari Parulekar Led the Warli Tribes in the Freedom Movement

Fearless Godavari Parulekar Led the Warli Tribes in the Freedom Movement

  When we hear the phrase “freedom fighter”, we often imagine a male freedom fighter. But nearly half of the freedom fighters involved in the struggle for Independence were women who participated in equal numbers, and strove fearlessly to attain freedom from the British colonisers.  The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has compiled a list…

मैनुअल स्केवेंजिंग से हुई मौत – कहाँ है इंसाफ?

मैनुअल स्केवेंजिंग से हुई मौत – कहाँ है इंसाफ?

    ऐ, रहबरो मुल्कों कौम बता, ये किसका लहू है कौन मरा– इंकलाबी तेवर वाले मकबूल शायर साहिर लुधियांवी की ये नज्म अनगिनत वाकयों पर जनता के ऊपर होने वाले जुल्म, कत्लेआम की बानगी के तौर पर पेश की जाती रही। यहां पर जिन लोगों की हत्याओं की बात कर रहे हैं, उनका भी…

“I resemble everyone/ but myself”: Revisiting A K Ramanujan and the Controversy Over “Three Hundred Ramanayas”

“I resemble everyone/ but myself”: Revisiting A K Ramanujan and the Controversy Over “Three Hundred Ramanayas”

Poet, folklorist, essayist, and translator, A K Ramanujan, died on 13 July, twenty four years ago. A multilingual writer, Ramanujan worked tirelessly in translation after translation to draw our attention to folktales, oral stories, and literatures from classical Tamil, a language that is older than Sanskrit. In 2008, the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), took offence…

Warning: Dangerous Poet!

Warning: Dangerous Poet!

  Lucas Samaras, "Photo-Transformation", 1973/ Image Courtesy: metmuseum.org   In 2006, the Hindi translation of Paash’s famous poem "Sabh Ton Khatarnak" (The Most Dangerous) was included in the Class XI Hindi textbook. Now, in one of its periodic blows to education and culture, the RSS affiliated Shiksha Sanskriti Utthan Nyas has recommended that the NCERT (National…

Independent Publishing in India: Thema

Independent Publishing in India: Thema

WIth this conversation, we begin a series of interviews on independent publishing in India. Set up in the late 1980s, Thema is an independent publishing house based in Calcutta. Here, Samik Bandyopadhyay and Sudeshna Banerjee of Thema, talk to Souradeep Roy. Since their motto is "publishing for change", they discuss ways in which books can bring about change….

India’s Fascist Democracy

India’s Fascist Democracy

Jackson Pollock, Untitled, ca. 1943/ metmuseum.org On May 2, 2017, the present ruling dispensation eventually confirmed the suspicions of sceptics about India being a democracy. The Attorney General, Mukul Rohatgi, told a Supreme Court bench of Justices, A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, that citizens could not claim “absolute” right over their bodies. He waxed…

On the Attack on Minorities, Shabnam Hashmi says “Nothing surprises me. It is only the beginning.”

On the Attack on Minorities, Shabnam Hashmi says “Nothing surprises me. It is only the beginning.”

Well-known human rights activist Shabnam Hashmi recently returned the National Minority Rights Award in protest against mob lynching. Her protest comes in the wake of 16-year-old Junaid's murder in broad daylight. Hashmi has said that the National Commission for Minorities, which conferred the award on her in 2008, has lost all its credibility. ICF interviewed…

Desecrations in Goa

Desecrations in Goa

Image courtesy: Facebook page, oHeraldoGoa.   Since early July, Goans have woken to the shock of daily headlines reporting desecrations, mainly of Catholic religious sites, apart from two idols inside a Krishna temple including that of a nandi. Many wayside crosses in villages have been knocked down. The latest was a vicious attack on the…

ईद मुबारक कहूँ किसे?

ईद मुबारक कहूँ किसे?

    राजधानी दिल्ली से अब एक लंबे अरसे से   कोई ट्रेन मथुरा नहीं जाती.    मथुरा की कल-कल बहती यमुना ने तो घोर अँधेरे में क्रूर हत्यारे को अँधेरे में रखकर नवजात कन्हैयाको   नदी पार कराई थी.   गोकुल में बाल गोपाल मोर के गीतों का पंख सिर पर बाँधकर गायों के झुंड…

From Godhra to Una

From Godhra to Una

  "My birth is my fatal accident."                       — Rohith Vemula Are suffering and oppression mere accidents of birth? If so, resistance must also be an accident of birth. Harsh Mander has titled his recent book Fatal Accidents of Birth: Stories of Suffering, Oppression and Resistance after the powerful phrase from Rohit Vemula's suicide note….

In Dispute

In Dispute

  This is all about a small shrine in a cave on a hill known as Baba Budan Giri, after a Muslim saint belonging to the 17th century. The same shrine is also known as Dattatreya Peetha – literally ‘seat’ – is widely used for holy places and shrines; and as Guru Dattatreya Baba Budan Swamy…

Writers Protest the Unmaking of India

Writers Protest the Unmaking of India

    Nayantara Sahgal "This is Hindutva's version of the Nazi 'final solution' for the Jews, but a cleverer version." The Muslim League and the Hindu Mahasabha were twin souls. Both wanted a divided India. Jinnah achieved his desire in 1947. The followers of Golwalkar and Savarkar are now busy fulfilling theirs. The massacre of Muslims…

#NotInMyName #NoMoreLynching

#NotInMyName #NoMoreLynching

    Today, 28 June 2017, our citizens have planned simultaneous protests across the country and in some other parts of the world. Some of the protests are also scheduled for June 29th and July 1st, 2017. The protests are against the countrywide targeted lynchings. Most recently, 16-year-old Junaid was lynched on 23 June 2017…

Our House of Love

Our House of Love

    Once upon a time, Indians were taught to be proud of their country’s linguistic diversity, its long multicultural history, the great profusion of art and architecture, music and dance, painting and sculpture, theatre and poetry, science and mathematics, religion and philosophy – all manner of creativity that has manifested on the subcontinent from…

Who is the Dalit?

Who is the Dalit?

It is imperative now to think the political at a different level than has been done so far, to think the political beyond strategies, negotiations, and playing cards (caste card, gender card, minority card etc.). This means that to demand justice in the name of a repressed caste or a gender in itself cannot be…

Achhe Din Roundup: The Week that Was

Achhe Din Roundup: The Week that Was

1. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting denied three documentaries permission to be screened at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala. The films are on Rohith Vemula, unrest in Kashmir, and protests in JNU.   2. In Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, activist Zaffar Hussein was beaten to death by civic officials because he objected…

Why Was Dalit JNU Professor Saitya Brata Das Denied Promotion by the VC?

Why Was Dalit JNU Professor Saitya Brata Das Denied Promotion by the VC?

Dr. Saitya Brata Das, Associate Professor of English at the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, was recently denied promotion to Professorship by the JNU Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar Mamidala. Dr. Das has six books, three edited books of essays, and several published papers to his credit. He has also been teaching for over…

आदिवासी महिला कवि होने का मतलब, जसिन्ता केरकेट्टा की जुबानी

आदिवासी महिला कवि होने का मतलब, जसिन्ता केरकेट्टा की जुबानी

  जसिन्ता केरकेट्टा ने गाँधी पीस फाउंडेशन में दिए अपने वक्तव्य मैं झारखंड के उरांव आदिवासी समूदाय से आती हूं और हिंदी में कविताएं लिखती हूं। मैं हिंदी में कविताएं लिखती हूं इसलिए आदिवासी साहित्य की परिभाषा गढ़ने वाले लोगों के अनुसार मेरी कविताओं का टोन आदिवासी न होकर सवर्ण है। दलित समूदाय के बीच…

“Are the murderers of Kalburgi not being nabbed because they’re from the Sanatan Sanstha?”: Keki Daruwalla

“Are the murderers of Kalburgi not being nabbed because they’re from the Sanatan Sanstha?”: Keki 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….

“When will this plot be foiled?” Remembering the Revolutionary Somen Chanda on His Birth Anniversary

“When will this plot be foiled?” Remembering the Revolutionary Somen Chanda on His Birth Anniversary

In a telling passage from Somen Chanda’s story “Riot”, Ajoy, the protagonist Ashok’s younger brother, bitterly admonishes the latter for failing to identify with his militant “Hindu socialist” ideology. This period emerges in the wake of a gruesome riot that polarises the people of the town into two religious identities. In a bid to drive…

Mohandas Nemishrey Discusses Dalit Participation in Sahitya Akademi

Mohandas Nemishrey Discusses Dalit Participation in Sahitya Akademi

Eminent Dalit writer Mohandas Nemishrey highlights the biases and prejudices prevalent against the marginalised communities in state funded intitutions such as the Sahitya Akademi. He discusses his experiences as a writer, and the continued discrimination against writers on the basis of their caste which limits their participation on such platforms, and generally excludes their works from what the state sponsors…

[Book Extract] A Girl Swallowed by a Tree: Lotha Naga Tales Retold

[Book Extract] A Girl Swallowed by a Tree: Lotha Naga Tales Retold

Nzanmongi Jasmine Patton is an Assistant Professor at the Department of English, Gargi College, Delhi University. She has translated and compiled the first anthology of Lotha-Naga folktales entitled A Girl Swallowed by a Tree: Lotha Naga Tales Retold. Describing the book as a “personal imperative”, Nzanmongi believes that producing more literature from North East India…

My Protest

My Protest

© Sohan Qadri, Untitled / Tao Art   जब बाण लागियो तबै रोस जागियो – गुरु गोबिन्द सिंह Some time ago, I returned my Padma Shri award in protest against the rising religious intolerance in our country prompted by certain sections of the ruling political class and civil society. I was not alone in registering such…

What is to be done about Indian Universities?: Reflections from Concerned Teachers

What is to be done about Indian Universities?: Reflections from Concerned Teachers

The manner in which the state is intervening in higher education is causing concern and even alarm in the academic community. Both the unlamented UPA —II regime and the current NDA government have been remarkably similar in their authoritarian impatience to introduce wholesale changes without adequate or careful preparation. This position paper is the collective…

सांस्कृतिक अवमूल्यन की राजनीतिक साज़िश

सांस्कृतिक अवमूल्यन की राजनीतिक साज़िश

बोलने की आज़ादी पर बढ़ते हमलों के इस दौर में जो सबसे बड़े प्रश्न हमारे सामने खड़े हैं वह यह है की इन हमलों के सांस्कृतिक प्रभाव क्या होंगे और कितने घातक होंगे? सांस्कृतिक क्षेत्र अनिवार्य रूप से सामाजिक-राजनीतिक क्षेत्र से जुड़ा हुआ है, तथा इन हलकों में चल रहीं हलचलों की तरंगें सांस्कृतिक क्षेत्र…

“There are some who shoot the messenger; there are some who sue. The casualty in both cases is democracy.”

“There are some who shoot the messenger; there are some who sue. The casualty in both cases is democracy.”

At a time when corporatisation of the media in the country is virtually complete and organisations and individuals are being increasingly hounded for their perceived political and social dissent, there are still journalists and percipient writers who work overtime to bring riveting and incisive stories to readers that delve far deeper than mundane and insipid…

Read Widerstand – the Magazine Banned by Pondicherry University

Read Widerstand – the Magazine Banned by Pondicherry University

Souradeep Roy Acche Din for higher educational institutions in India have only increased, and adding to the list of institutions which have already seen wonderful days is Pondicherry University. The university made news three days ago when 4000 copies of the annual magazine Widerstand was confiscated. The administration of the university buckled under the pressure of…

A Holy Grail Called Sanjeevani

A Holy Grail Called Sanjeevani

Mrinal Pandey Image Via Historical Rama Announcements about locating a life-enhancing medicinal herb will kindle extraordinary emotions and hopes among people. So, the news that the present Uttarakhand government has announced a budget of INR 25 crore to locate the mythical Sanjivani Booti in Uttarakhand, went viral. This plant is referred to in the Valmiki…

Things the Left Needs to do Right

Things the Left Needs to do Right

Prabhat Patnaik Communism’s slide worldwide is due to its ambivalence towards globalisation and democracy. The Indian Left has shed that ambivalence, but it has no concrete alternative development strategy.  Exactly a century ago around this time, Vladimir Lenin was in Zurich completing a manuscript that would go on to become perhaps the most consequential book…

Freedom of Speech in the University

Freedom of Speech in the University

Partha Chatterjee Image courtesy https://medium.com/@montouche/a-collection-of-thoughts-on-the-perils-of-nationalism-816981f0b75f#.sxagk2mj4 "Even though from childhood I had been taught that the idolatry of the nation is almost better than reverence for God and humanity, I believe I have outgrown the teaching, and it is my conviction that my countrymen will truly gain their India by fighting against that education which teaches…

In the Dark

In the Dark

K. Satchidanandan Insha Malik, 14, on July 14 in Srinagar / AFP via Hindustan Times   (For the maimed and blinded children of Kashmir)   The sun was falling into the lake like the red leaf of a chinar tree. She walked, head bent, holding her grandpa’s arms, jingling her bangles to tickle her doll…

Statement on Kashmir from Academics, Writers, Artists and Filmmakers

Statement on Kashmir from Academics, Writers, Artists and Filmmakers

Image courtesy Vishwajyoti Ghosh & Niha Masih We the undersigned, express our grave concern regarding the current state of affairs in Kashmir. The disproportionate use of state violence on unarmed protesters in Kashmir reflects severe human rights violations. Setting aside the paramount concerns in terms of continuous interventions in the normal lives of the people,…

Imprisoning Minds

Imprisoning Minds

Amol Palekar translated by Paritosh Joshi Image courtesy Amol Palekar August 29, 1970: The Maharashtra Theatrical Performances Examination Board (MTPEB) banned Vijay Tendulkar’s play Gidhade (The Vultures), contending that its realistic portrayal of perverted socio-familial complications was unsuitable for a public performance. An extended battle led by the producer, Satyadev Dubey, and the director, Shriram…

As We Remember Eleanor Zelliot

As We Remember Eleanor Zelliot

Ananya Vajpeyi Eleanor Zelliot, October 7 1926 – June 5 2016 / Carleton.edu   The recent death of American Ambedkar scholar Eleanor Zelliot is another reminder that scholarship about India has been the work of many minds, some Indian, others foreign. The field of Maharashtra Studies alone, for example, is impossible to imagine without the…

The Sanatan Dharma Recipe for Historical Writing and Research

The Sanatan Dharma Recipe for Historical Writing and Research

ICF speaks to Gopinath Ravindran The Indian Cultural Forum interviewed historian Gopinath Ravindran about the current establishment’s agenda for Indian historical research. Ravindran, who teaches at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, was Member Secretary of the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) till he resigned halfway through his term in 2015. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons…

I am language

I am language

(Her Voice in First Person) Keki Daruwalla 1 I am language I don’t just speak I also hear. I must hear the street listen to the trapped air hissing up from under the flagstones; Keep my ears unplugged for the grind of the cane-crusher, rice-huller river and watermill; not to forget the friendly cry-and-chirp of…

The Gopalaswami Panel Recommendations: Teaching a Regressive Science in Sanskrit

The Gopalaswami Panel Recommendations: Teaching a Regressive Science in Sanskrit

ICF speaks to Satyajit Rath and Prabir Purkayastha Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 'The Blind Leading the Blind', 1568 / Wikimedia Commons Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani has presented students and teachers of science and technology with a tool to 'facilitate' their studies: the Sanskrit language.  The purpose of teaching Sanskrit in institutions such…

Book Extract: from The Partition of Bengal: Fragile Borders and New Identities

Book Extract: from The Partition of Bengal: Fragile Borders and New Identities

Debjani Sengupta At a time of increasing communal polarisation, we present an excerpt from Debjani Sengupta's The Partition of Bengal: Fragile Borders and New Identities (Cambridge University Press, 2016), which looks at the Noakhali riots and Mahatma Gandhi's efforts to placate communal tension. The Noakhali Riots and the Mahatma The Place Noakhali (1,658 sq. miles)…

The NCPUL’s Attack on Free Speech

The NCPUL’s Attack on Free Speech

Rahman Abbas The form currently in contention. Courtesy Rahman Abbas. On March 17, 2016, Kolkata-based Urdu poet and writer Professor Shahnaz Nabi shared an alarming document with other Urdu language writers—a form she had received from the National Council for the Promotion of the Urdu Language (NCPUL), which operates under the Ministry of Human Resources…

Resolving Binaries: Remembering ONV Kurup (1931-2016)

Resolving Binaries: Remembering ONV Kurup (1931-2016)

ONV Kurup (Sourced from Wikimedia) K. Satchidanandan Kesari Balkrishna Pillai, one of Kerala’s foremost critical thinkers had once observed that Malayalees enjoy poetry primarily through their ears. The late ONV Kurup’s popularity depended partly on the auditory appeal and easy accessibility of his lyrics, and partly on his consistent engagement with social issues. He was…

Writing the Age

Writing the Age

Nayantara Sahgal © Anselm Kiefer, 'Morgenthau Plan' / Royal Academy of Arts The title for my talk — “Writing the Age” — was suggested to me and I thought it was appropriate because my writing seems to have been about the making of modern India. This was not a decision I made. As you know,…

Mourid Barghouti in conversation with Githa Hariharan

Mourid Barghouti in conversation with Githa Hariharan

The acclaimed Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti was in Delhi recently for a series of events organised by the publishers Women Unlimited. Writer Githa Hariharan spoke to Mourid Barghouti on how literature, and poetry in particular, challenges authoritarian discourse around the world. Barghouti discusses the fine balance between the writer’s primary identity as an artist, and…

Caste, Religion and Lived Culture

Caste, Religion and Lived Culture

K. Satchidanandan © Ghulam Rasool Santosh, 'In the Snows of Kashmir'  (Image courtesy Saba Hasan) We are holding this discussion in the wake of a deeply disturbing sequence of events at the Hyderabad Central University.  It was spurred on by a right-wing anti-Dalit students’ organisation through baseless propaganda, and abetted by the University’s new Vice-Chancellor…

Singing About the Dark Times

Singing About the Dark Times

Shubha Mudgal Sings Dushyant Kumar’s  “kahaan to tai thaa charaghaan har ek ghar ke liye” कहाँ तो तय था चिराग़ाँ हर एक घर के लिए – दुष्यंत कुमार कहाँ तो तय था चिराग़ाँ हर एक घर के लिए कहाँ चिराग़ मयस्सर नहीं शहर के लिए यहाँ दरख़तों के साये में धूप लगती है चलो यहाँ…

Lecture by Aijaz Ahmad: The Languages of a Union

Lecture by Aijaz Ahmad: The Languages of a Union

Aijaz Ahmad, noted academic and cultural critic, delivered the inaugural lecture for the Indian languages festival of the India Habitat Centre — ILF Samanvay 2015. Using the phrase “transnational matrix of the country”, he says that the Indian nation-state is conceived as a union of several autonomous linguistic nationalities. Hence the name we have given…

Delhi Stands with Rohith Vemula

Delhi Stands with Rohith Vemula

Souradeep Roy On 23rd February, over 10,000 people marched in support of Rohith Vemula. Called “Chalo Dilli”, the march was organised by the Joint Action Committee for the Justice of Rohith Vemula, Hyderabad Central University (HCU). The organisers explained that the Committee consists of all student organisations except for the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)….

Romila Thapar: “The battle now is between religious nationalism and secular nationalism . . .”

Romila Thapar: “The battle now is between religious nationalism and secular nationalism . . .”

Romila Thapar, who has been associated with Jawaharlal Nehru University for many years, speaks to writer Githa Hariharan on the idea of a university like JNU. The idea was to explore Indian society through inter-disciplinary studies and discussion. At the Centre for Historical Studies with which she was associated, the past was not another country;…

Shital Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch in conversation with Sudhanva Deshpande

Shital Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch in conversation with Sudhanva Deshpande

Singing songs of ordinary people, especially Dalits, Shital Sathe has been singing of the marginalised, dalits and others all over Maharashtra. She is one of the vibrant singer-poets of the Kabir Kala Manch. Attacked for her trenchant critique of the caste order, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – currently behind the attacks of students…

JNU and Our democracy

JNU and Our democracy

  Image: Ishan Anand Recent events at the Jawaharlal Nehru University raise many questions pertinent to us as citizens of India. The questions have become imperative because it is apparent that many who govern us have little sensitivity to understanding the fundamental issues crucial to governance. For example, what are the necessary aspects of a…

Romila Thapar: “The protests by JNU students and teachers have been remarkable . . .”

Romila Thapar: “The protests by JNU students and teachers have been remarkable . . .”

Eminent historian Romila Thapar has been associated with JNU since its earliest years. She talks to writer Githa Hariharan about JNU's vision for educating the young to be questioning citizens. She also traces the pattern of recent attacks against voices of dissent on Indian campuses. Her advice to students and teachers is that they should…

Because Huchangi Prasad is a Dangerous Young Man

Because Huchangi Prasad is a Dangerous Young Man

Huchangi Prasad is a twenty-three-year-old journalism student in Davenegere, Central Karnataka. Last year, he published  a collection of poems called Odala Kicchu (The Fire Within) — which describes dalit lives, and issues a challenge to the continuing violence, as well as day-to-day discrimination against dalits. After his book was published last year, Prasad was attacked…

“Negative language in dalit writing persists because of the negative lives we’re forced to lead”

“Negative language in dalit writing persists because of the negative lives we’re forced to lead”

Urmila Pawar, author of the autobiography The Weave of my Life, and Jerry Pinto, the translator of the first dalit autobiography, Baluta by Daya Pawar, discuss the two books with Professor Gopal Guru at the recent Samanvay Festival in Delhi. Pinto speaks about the word Baluta preserving the history of bonded labour in caste discrimination….

“Cut through the system instead of cutting ourselves…”

“Cut through the system instead of cutting ourselves…”

​Githa Hariharan ​spoke to ​Tamil writer ​Bama on her ​groundbreaking ​work​ as a dalit feminist, and the difficulties she faced after the publication of her ​autobiography Karukku ​in 1992. ​Bama spoke of the lot of dalit women​, ​vulnerable on the ​three levels of caste​, gender ​and class​. They must build, she said, on the collective…

Book Extract: from Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India

Book Extract: from Looking Away: Inequality, Prejudice and Indifference in New India

Harsh Mander’s latest book laments the erosion in the imperative for sympathy at both  state and individual levels. It is this erosion that is principally at the base of the vast inequities which afflict India. In this extract, Mander compares the traditions of pluralism and acceptance in India with those of Scandinavian nations – traditions…

Indefinite Hunger Strike: Press Release by Joint Action Committee for Social Justice dated 21st Jan, 2016

Indefinite Hunger Strike: Press Release by Joint Action Committee for Social Justice dated 21st Jan, 2016

Courtesy Round Table India Joint Action Committee for Social Justice (UOH) 1. At a time when the legitimacy of Prof. Appa Rao to continue as Vice-Chancellor is in question, without attending to the protesting students who are on INDEFINITE HUNGER STRIKE, the absconding Vice-Chancellor and the Executive Committee met today (outside the campus) and issued…

“The Challenge is in the Individual becoming the Collective…”

“The Challenge is in the Individual becoming the Collective…”

ICF interviewed cultural commentator Sadanand Menon in the wake of attacks on writers, artists, scholars and citizens. Menon rued the lack of an active leftist resistance to rightwing forces sabotaging creativity and free speech in the country in recent years. He suggested that to combat Hindutva forces collectively, we need to address the fact that…

Resolution passed at the Panel Discussion on “Caste, Religion and Lived Culture” at Ambedkar University, January 20, 2016

Resolution passed at the Panel Discussion on “Caste, Religion and Lived Culture” at Ambedkar University, January 20, 2016

We — writers, scholars, students and teachers, assembled at the Ambedkar University, Delhi, on this day, January 20 2016, for the panel discussion on “Caste, Religion and Lived Culture”, during the release of the second issue of Guftugu,  organised by the Ambedkar University, and Indian Writers’ Forum — wish to record our anguish, shock  and…

No More Deaths in Our Universities!

No More Deaths in Our Universities!

Image courtesy https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CY8oPVdUkAA19TD.jpg The death of Rohith Vemula, the dalit research scholar in Hyderabad who has committed suicide, raises many questions about the context in which our students are dying, not learning, in our universities. Three years ago there was a spate of students’ suicides — once again, mostly dalits. At that time the Andhra…

Kar Seva through Universities

Kar Seva through Universities

Courtesy Sabrang Arundhati Vashishtha Anusandhan Peeth (AVAP), founded by late VHP leader Ashok Singhal, recently organized a two day seminar “Shri Ram JanamBhoomi Temple: Emerging Scenario” in the Arts Faculty of the Delhi University starting on January 8, 2016. As the Head of the Peeth, Subramanian Swamy led the seminar. The venue was booked by…

Book Extract: from Sentiment, Politics, Censorship: The State of Hurt

Book Extract: from Sentiment, Politics, Censorship: The State of Hurt

In times when censorship is justified on grounds of hurting “Indian traditions” and “Indian culture”, the Indian Writers’ Forum is proud to present an excerpt from a book that critically engages with this state of hurt. It is a book that attempts to continue the debate on censorship, "but with a purpose to nuance it…

Reject Hindutva, Embrace Insaniyat

Reject Hindutva, Embrace Insaniyat

Image courtesy http://hydlitfest.org/speaker/nayantara-sahgal-2/ As Guest of Honour at the recent Hyderabad Literary Festival, Nayantara Sahgal made a strong case for continuing resistance to the Hindutvadi goal of a Hindu rashtra. Despite writers, scholars, artists film makers and scientists raising their voices over the last few months, Sahgal said, “The danger is by no means over……

Creativity and Censorship: The Insider versus the Outsider

Creativity and Censorship: The Insider versus the Outsider

ICF covered a special session on creativity and censorship held in the recently concluded ILF Samanvay in Delhi. A R Venkatachalapathy hosted speakers T M Krishna, carnatic vocalist, Kannan Sundaram of Kalachuvadu Publications and Sharmila Seyyid, Sri Lankan author, in a session on how censorship of the state and non-state forces has jeopardised creativity and…

Indian History Congress: “Don’t break monuments, don’t incite religious sentiments”

Indian History Congress: “Don’t break monuments, don’t incite religious sentiments”

During the 76th session of the Indian History Congress held at the University of Gour Banga in Malda from December 27 to December 29, the Congress passed resolutions on the need to prevent the formulation of uniform syllabi across all universities, protect monuments, and stop the utilisation of monuments destroyed illegally (such as the Babri…

“There will be singing about the dark times…”

“There will be singing about the dark times…”

Faisal Abu Alhayjaa of the Freedom Theatre, Jenin, Palestine, and Sudhanva Deshpande of the Jana Natya Manch, Delhi, talk about a one-of-a-kind Freedom Jatha in India, an eleven-city street theatre tour starting December 18, 2015. Collaborating forces in commemoration of the founders of Janam and The Freedom Theatre, Safdar Hashmi and Juliano Mer Khamis respectively,…

Gaye Rama Aaye Rama

Gaye Rama Aaye Rama

It was a hot summer afternoon in Palestine/Israel. Close to 40 degrees Celsius. I was in the Jewish quarter of old Jerusalem near the Wailing Wall. Two men materialized in the deserted square. One of them was wearing a large fur hat – a distinguishing feature of the Polish Jews. A fur hat! In this…