S Shankar: “We need to think of free speech both in terms of form and content.”

S Shankar: “We need to think of free speech both in terms of form and content.”

In the latest in our series of interviews #WritersTalkPolitics, Souradeep Roy speaks to S Shankar, critic, novelist and translator. They begin by talking of Shankar's current project on translating E V Ramaswamy (Periyar)'s commentary on Ramayana. In the latter half, Shankar talks about the need to think of free speech both in terms of its…

Audrey Truschke: “Aurangzeb is most in need of scholarly attention.”

Audrey Truschke: “Aurangzeb is most in need of scholarly attention.”

In the latest edition of #WritersTalkPolitics, historian Audrey Truschke speaks to Souradeep Roy and Ishita Mehta, members of the Indian Writers' Forum. ICF had  published an interview with Truschke earlier in which she gives her version of the events in Hyderabad, where her talk was cancelled. In this interview, she talks about her work on…

Audrey Truschke: “The cancellation of my lecture is an indication of shrinking spaces for rational thought in public discourse in India.”

Audrey Truschke: “The cancellation of my lecture is an indication of shrinking spaces for rational thought in public discourse in India.”

In the latest editon of #WritersTalkPolitics historian Audrey Truschke speaks to Souradeep Roy and Ishita Mehta, members of the editorial collective of the Indian Writers' Forum. In this excerpt from the entire conversation, Trushke presents her version of the events that transpired in Hyderabad. She was invited by the Krishnakriti Foundation in collaboration with History…

After Eminent Malayalam Writers Support S Hareesh, Writers in Other Languages also Come Out in His Support

After Eminent Malayalam Writers Support S Hareesh, Writers in Other Languages also Come Out in His Support

  Writers from across languages such as Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and English have come out in support of S Hareesh, the 2018 Kerala Sahitya Akademi winner who withdrew his novel following attacks from certain Hindu right-wing groups in Kerala. Hareesh’s novel Meesha was being published serially in Mathrubhumi. After three instalments had…

“Ruling classes and castes use reservations as a prop to inflict more violence upon dalits”: Anand Teltumbde

“Ruling classes and castes use reservations as a prop to inflict more violence upon dalits”: Anand Teltumbde

Anand Teltumbde's latest book of essays, Republic of Caste, brought out by Navayana, is one of the most important additions to the understanding of caste. Here, the author discusses some of the major concerns of the book with Souradeep Roy, member of the editorial collective of  the Indian Cultural Forum.   Souradeep Roy (SR): You…

“Is the Left ready to receive a new Ambedkarite wound?”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

“Is the Left ready to receive a new Ambedkarite wound?”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

In this discussion on Soumyabrata Choudhury’s Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme, Souradeep Roy asks what kind of influence Choudhury’s time at the Jawaharlal Nehru University has had in the writing of the book. In this section, they also Choudhury also asks if the Left, which has had a very active and living…

“Ambedkar broke any prevailing consensus on nationhood”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

“Ambedkar broke any prevailing consensus on nationhood”: Soumyabrata Choudhury

In our latest interview for the series Writers Talk Politics, we talk to Soumyabrata Choudhury on his book, Ambedkar and Other Immortals: An Untouchable Research Programme, published by Navayana. In this part of the interview, Choudhury explains how Ambedkar questions a national consensus around any entity called ‘India’ on the basis of caste.   Watch…

Films Division’s decision to not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar at MIFF is censorship; let’s not call it by any other name

Films Division’s decision to not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar at MIFF is censorship; let’s not call it by any other name

So here’s the thing: one government body has censored another government body. On January 29, the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) did not screen In the Shade of Fallen Chinar, a 16 minute documentary on students at the University of Kashmir, directed by Shawn Sebastian and Fazil N.C.. The documentary was not screened despite the…

Kumkum Sangari: “Padmavati is a fictional character, but the Hindu Right has fabricated fiction as well.”

Kumkum Sangari: “Padmavati is a  fictional character, but the Hindu Right has fabricated fiction as well.”

This is an excerpt from an inteview with Kumkum Sangari, one of the most important feminist scholars of our time. In conversation with Souradeep Roy, she explains that fictional characters too can be manipulated in a way to serve vested interests of a particular social group. Watch this space to see the entire interview. Also…

Ruth Vanita: “The courtesan in popular Hindi cinema has been a marginalised figure in cinema studies.”

Ruth Vanita: “The courtesan in popular Hindi cinema has been a marginalised figure in cinema studies.”

In the latest addition to our series on film and politics, we have Ruth Vanita, Professor at University of Montana. Souradeep Roy of the Indian Cultural Forum speaks to Vanita on her book, Dancing with the Nation, which has just been brought out by Speaking Tiger Books. Has the figure of the courtesan or the tawaif been a…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

“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…

“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….

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…

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)….

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…

“Har Koi Chahta Hai Ek Mutthi Aasmaan”

“Har Koi Chahta Hai Ek Mutthi Aasmaan”

Souradeep Roy of the Indian Cultural Forum interviewed Kiran Nagarkar, whose most recent novel The Extras has been published by HarperCollins India. Nagarkar ​discusses the conflation of mythology with science​. In this context, he makes a distinction between the ​present government and ​previous ​ones who, ​despite their conservative policies, did not interfere with either the…