Syndicated Hinduism

Syndicated Hinduism

This essay has been extracted from The Historian and her Craft Collected Essays and Lectures of Romila Thapar recently published by the Oxford University Press and republished here with permission.   The first step towards the crystallisation of what we today call Hinduism was born in the consciousness of being the amorphous, subordinate, other. In a sense…

What Autonomy Means: When the Sahitya Akademi published a anthology of Pakistani writers

What Autonomy Means: When the Sahitya Akademi published a anthology of Pakistani writers

U R Ananthamurthy was one of the first writes who endorsed the idea of Indian Writers' Forum. Here we publish an excerpt from his autobiography Suragi, translated by S R Ramakrishna. This is from the chapter "At the Sahitya Akademi and National Book Trust". Ananthamurthy was the President of the Sahitya Akademi — the national…

Beyond the Confines of Religion: A Look at Karnataka’s Syncretic Legacy Through the Celebration of Rajappa Swami’s Urus

Beyond the Confines of Religion: A Look at Karnataka’s Syncretic Legacy Through the Celebration of Rajappa Swami’s Urus

I was in Gajendragada in Rona taluk to meet some friends. I passed through Nelajeri, a small village in Yalaburga Taluk. This region is known for its wheat, onions, pepper, and other things found in the rainfed regions of Karnataka. Most of the youth from the village work for a daily wage in the steel…

K P Ramanunni explains why he donated his Sahitya Akademi prize money to Junaid’s family

K P Ramanunni explains why he donated his Sahitya Akademi prize money to Junaid’s family

Sahitya Akademi Award winner K P Ramanunni donated a part of his prize money to Junaid's family. The Malayalam novelist won the award for his book Daivathinte Pusthakam. Speaking to the Indian Cultural Forum, the writer explains why he chose to donate his prize money to the family of the16-year old teenager who was lynched by Hindu fanatics last year….

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…

Githa Hariharan’s Response to Aniruddhan Vasudevan Declining the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation

Githa Hariharan’s Response to Aniruddhan Vasudevan Declining the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation

  Aniruddhan Vasudevan, who was a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Prize for Translation 2016, for his translation of Perumal Murugan’s novel, Madhorubhagan, has now written to the Akademi declining the award. Kongu Kalvi Valarchi Arakattalai, the same group that hounded author Perumal Murugan, also filed a petition in the Madras High Court against his…

Is Today’s India a Threat to Gandhi and Ambedkar’s Idea of a Secular Nation?

Is Today’s India a Threat to Gandhi and Ambedkar’s Idea of a Secular Nation?

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi's death, his grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, historian and biographer, delivered a speech at Sevagram, Wardha highlighting the crisis that faces secularism in India today. In his speech he spoke of the many ways in which Gandhi and Ambedkar's ideas of India intersected and the urgent need…

The Lynching in West Bengal that didn’t Make too Many Headlines in 2017

The Lynching in West Bengal that didn’t Make too Many Headlines in 2017

Here is a ground report from Durgapur and Islampur. In June 2017, three Muslims were killed by a frenetic Hindu mob near the Chopra police station in Durgapur. They killed three Muslim men from Islampur: Mohammed Nasiruddin, Nasirul Haque and Mohammed Samiruddin. Along with Harsh Mander, John Dayal, and others from Karwaan-e-Mohabbat, we met Ashin…

अरुणा रॉय : कहानियों, नाटकों और गानों के ज़रिये करें जनवादी राजनीति का प्रचार

अरुणा रॉय : कहानियों, नाटकों और गानों के ज़रिये करें जनवादी राजनीति का प्रचार

जयपुर में आयोजित जन साहित्य पर्व में बात करते हुए सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता अरुणा रॉय ने इस सरकार द्वारा तर्कसंगत सोच पर हो रहे हमलों और उनके खतरों के बारे में बात की I उन्होंने बताया कि किस तरह संघ और उससे जुड़े लोग आम लोगों तक गलत धारणायें पहुँचा रहे हैं और उन्हें कला के…

“The citizens are facing the worst time in the hands of right wing”: Raosaheb Kasbe

“The citizens are facing the worst time in the hands of right wing”: Raosaheb Kasbe

In a talk organised by the Mumbai Collective, eminent scholar Raosaheb Kasbe talks about the alarming instances of vigilantism, and the rise in violence and lynchings in the name of religion, that have increased over the past three years. He also  talks about the unscientific notions, like the study of ancient vedas, that are being propagated…

Meena Menon: “Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes”

Meena Menon: “Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes”

In this part of our interview with Meena Menon, author of Reporting Pakistan, we discuss reporting Pakistan in the Indian Media. She says, "Our perceptions about Pakistan are coloured according to stereotypes" Listen to the whole conversation here:  Part III       Also watch:  Meena Menon: “Is saying yes to the ruling government nationalism?” (Part I) Meena Menon: “Put…

The Historian and the Epic

The Historian and the Epic

This essay has been extracted from The Historian and her Craft Collected Essays and Lectures of Romila Thapar recently published by the Oxford University Press and republished here with permission. Image courtesy Governance Now The historian’s interest in epic literature arises from the argument that epic literature generally documents a period which is prior to that of…

Besieging the Siege: Report from the Protest Against Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to India

Besieging the Siege: Report from the Protest Against Benjamin Netanyahu’s Visit to India

Yesterday noon, the usual perturbing quietness of central Delhi was broken by activists gathered together to protest the diplomatic visit of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, to India. Netanyahu’s visit is being portrayed, all across the mainstream media, as an “accomplishment” of the Modi regime. Netanyahu’s personal camaraderie with Modi, the elusive “agreements”…

The Communist International and its Impact on Asia

The Communist International and its Impact on Asia

This is our ninth story for our #OctoberRevolutionSeries, a series we began in October 2017 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…

#NotoNetanyahu: We know Netanyahu and Modi love each other, but how much did the RSS love Zionism?

#NotoNetanyahu: We know Netanyahu and Modi love each other, but how much did the RSS love Zionism?

Benjamin Netanyahu is set to visit India next week. India and Israel are closer than ever before. In light of the Donald Trump's announcement that the United States of America (USA) will officially view Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Netanyahu’s visit becomes an even more open endorsement of Israel’s crimes against Palestine. This comes…

Easterine Kire: “Storytellers may get killed, but others will come to tell the tale”

Easterine Kire: “Storytellers may get killed, but others will come to tell the tale”

In our latest interview for the series Writers Talk Politics, Souradeep Roy talks to Easterine Kire, a novelist, poet, translator from Nagaland. They discuss her novel, Son of the Thundercloud which has won the Best Book (Fiction) award at the 2017 Tata Literature Live festival. Her latest novel is Don't Run, My Love, brought out…

How dalits such as Kusuma Dharmanna and Vagiri Amosu rejected the upper-caste nationalist movement

How dalits such as Kusuma Dharmanna and Vagiri Amosu rejected the upper-caste nationalist movement

Dalits started to appear as significant players in the colonial public sphere after 1900, and Kusuma Dharmanna stands out as one of the first to challenge the brand of nationalism advocated by caste Hindus. In rejoinder to a popular Brahman nationalist Garimella Satyanarayana, who preached swarajya (independence) and wrote songs rejecting British rule such as…

Watch: Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey

Watch: Battle of Bhima Koregaon: An Unending Journey

  Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani released in December 2015 to packed theatres. The movie, for the most part, glorified the Peshwa rule and completely left out the deeply discriminatory caste practices of the Peshwas. In response, Somnath Waghmare decided to make a documentary on the historic Bhima Koregaon battle. On 1 January 1818, a…

Possible Communism

Possible Communism

Building Alternatives: The Story of India's Oldest Construction Workers' Union, by T M Thomas Isaac and Michelle Williams, was published by LeftWord Books in 2017 Misery greets the planet. Social inequality has reached unbelievable levels – where five individuals hold as much wealth as the bottom half of society. Climate change – driven by capitalist expansionism…

“Borders only become borders when cartographies come into existence” – Professor Romila Thapar

“Borders only become borders when cartographies come into existence” – Professor Romila Thapar

It wasn’t a surprise to see history lovers in Calcutta queue up on a Sunday morning to engage in a closed door rendezvous with Professor Romila Thapar. Professor Thapar, after years of inimitable research and fearless writing, needs no introduction. She certainly is a festering (and pestering!) eyesore of the Hindu Right, the fascist dispensation…

“हम एक है तो करोडों है, वरना कु छ भी नहीं…”

“हम एक है तो करोडों है, वरना कु छ भी नहीं…”

Megha Pansare writes about Bhopal Jan Utsav in Sadhana, a Marathi weekly, of which Narendra Dhabolkar was the editor. In this detailed report on the three days long festival of diversity and resistence in Bhopal, Megha Pansare recollects her experience of participating in the festival. Read the original piece in Marathi by Megha Pansare here:   

How Ghalib Was Influenced by the Bhakti Movement

How Ghalib Was Influenced by the Bhakti Movement

On the occasion of Ghalib's 220th birth anniversary, Indian Cultural Forum brings to you an extract from the chapter, "Buddhist Thought and Shunyata", from the book Ghalib: Innovative Meanings and the Ingenious Mind, by Gopi Chand Narang, translated into English by Surinder Deol, and published by Oxford University Press. Sufi saints, bhaktas, and aulias have been using…

On National and Cultural Independence

On National and Cultural Independence

The following is an excerpt from the chapter 'राष्ट्रवाद व सांस्कृतिक स्वातंत्र्य', by Makarand Sathe, from the book बदलता भारत अणि जनतेचा राष्ट्रवाद, edited by Dr Megha Pansare. The original, in Marathi, will be available soon on ICF. What is culture? Defining culture is almost impossible. Many people say that we can explain it, talk about it,…

Parivathana Rally of BJP in Karnataka Is to Spread Its Hindutva Ideology

Parivathana Rally of BJP in Karnataka Is to Spread Its Hindutva Ideology

The assembly election in Karnataka is around the corner. Amit Shah, the president of BJP, inaugurated Parivathana (“transformation”) rally, a campaign for the upcoming election in 2018, in Bengaluru on 3 November. Shah, while addressing the gathering, said, “This parivarthana (transformation) rally is not to change the CM [Chief Minister], not to change the government,…

Challenging Communalism, Challenging History – The Work of Romila Thapar

Challenging Communalism, Challenging History – The Work of Romila Thapar

This essay has been extracted from The Historian and her Craft Collected Essays and Lectures of Romila Thapar recently published by the Oxford University Press and republished here with permission. Image courtesy The Indian Express The years after Independence saw a paradigm shift in history writing in India. Inspired by the ideals of nationalism, and the…

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…

History of Communal Violence in Karnataka and the Case of Communal Violence in Uttara Kannada in December 2017

History of Communal Violence in Karnataka and the Case of Communal Violence in Uttara Kannada in December 2017

In the backdrop of the mysterious death of Paresh Mesta in Honnavara town of Karnataka’s Uttara Kannada district, members of Hindutva outfits have kept the district on a fore of communal violence. Rumours and lies around Mesta’s death that his dead body was found in a brutalised condition which later turned out to be false…

Tragedy and Eclipse

Tragedy and Eclipse

This essay was first published in The Afternoon Despatch and Courier through the Associated Press Features on 18 December, 1992, nearly twenty five years ago in the aftermath of the planned demolition of Babri Masjid. The Indian Cultural Forum is grateful to the author for sending us the hard copy of the article in print and for…

The New India

The New India

Image courtesy The Indian Express The twenty-fifth anniversary of the demolition of the Babri Masjid has reminded us once again that India is a bruised, battered and bleeding democracy. In the past three years, the country’s multi-cultural inheritance has been torn to shreds. Indians have been partitioned into Hindus and Others, and Hinduism has been…

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to lift the ban on Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to lift the ban on Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book

The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to not ban Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book of short stories, The Adivasi Will Not Dance. The Telegraph has quoted Sarayu Roy, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, saying that the ban on the book should be lifted soon. "He is a well-known author and a Sahitya Akademi Award…

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…

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…

#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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

#OurGauri: My Salaam to Gauri…

#OurGauri: My Salaam to Gauri…

  They killed Gauri madame. They ended up killing Gauri madame. They have permanently taken away our Gauri madame from us. No matter how many times I say this to myself, my mind is not ready to believe this truth. We are all on the street. We are doing everything that we can think of….

The Classmate

The Classmate

      “I haven't slept for twenty days. I stay awake through the night…because of the dream. The minute I fall asleep. The dream begins. In it…”He released his hold on my hand and grew serious. Basavegowda was not the type easily given to fear or tears. But he was shaken by what was…

Terror in the Time of the Yogi-Modi Regime

Terror in the Time of the Yogi-Modi Regime

On 10 October, 2017, the editorial collective of the Indian Writers' Forum and NewsClick participated in a meeting organised by the Bhim Army Defence Committee to protest the atrocities committed against minorities, dalits and women in the state of Uttar Pradesh under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Hear the testimonies of all the speakers who have…

#OurGauri: Why Did They Kill Gauri?

#OurGauri: Why Did They Kill Gauri?

  P. Lankesh introduced me to Kannada literature. I can never forget him or his family. The article titled “Nanna e jana ondagabeku” (My people should be united), written by Lankesh in the 1980s, helped me take my first step in literature. “Weren’t we always united?”; “Who were responsible for breaking this unity?” was my…

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…”  

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…

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…

Protesting the Assassination of Gauri Lankesh

Protesting the Assassination of Gauri Lankesh

  The Indian Cultural Forum participated in the protest march organised by the All India Coordinated Mobilisations For Justice For Gauri Lankesh. Four hundred people from different parts of Karnataka participated in this march.  The ICF Team spoke to lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan, and Mr. Vasu, one of the columnists in Gauri Lankesh Patrike. They promise…

#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…

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…

Independent Publishing in India: Tara Books

Independent Publishing in India: Tara Books

Tara Books is a collective of writers, artists and designers that publishes illustrated books for children and adults. Their visual books span a range of genres: children’s literature, social and art pedagogy, popular culture, photography, and art. Tara Books is “committed to returning the senses back to the physical book in an age busy writing…

Protest for Rohingyas in Delhi

Protest for Rohingyas in Delhi

A protest meeting was called on 13 September 2017, to protest the Government of India's decision to deport the Rohingya refugees and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas in Maynmar. The protest meeting was supposed to be held in front of the Maynmar embassy but was changed to Teen Murti in the last minute because the…

A Commemorative Edition of Gauri Lankesh Patrike

A Commemorative Edition of Gauri Lankesh Patrike

  The Gauri Lankesh Patrike has brought out a special commemorative edition on September 12, 2017 to pay tribute to the committed, independent voice of the Patrike, led by Gauri Lankesh. A large number of journalists, writers, activists and other figures have contributed to this edition. The Indian Cultural Forum will publish English translations of…

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:…

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…

[Book Extract] Including the Socially Excluded

[Book Extract] Including the Socially Excluded

Policymakers and academics have viewed poverty—its definition and extent, causes for its persistence and ways to tackle it—as a source of concern for a long time. The subject of social exclusion and initiatives to encourage inclusion have recently emerged as responses to the continuing poverty in India. In Including the Socially Excluded, Rahul Ramagundam explores…

Art as Evidence in Court Rooms

Art as Evidence in Court Rooms

Image Courtesy: KHOJ International Artists' Association Can art be provided as judicial evidence in court trials? The KHOJ international Artists Association and Zuleikha Chaudhari staged a mock trial with artists presenting evidences and lawyers arguing for and against the case of art as judicial evidence. This mock trial was staged at the constitution Club in…

Theatre Today: Punjabi

Theatre Today: Punjabi

Atamjit Singh is a renowned Punjabi playwright and director. In 2009, he won the Sahitya Akademi award for his play, Tatti Tavi Da Sach. He returned the award in 2015 as a sign of protest against communal hatred and assault on writers and journalists. At the North Eastern and Northern Writers’ Meet, Singh spoke about…

Theatre Today: Hindi

Theatre Today: Hindi

Ravindra Tripathi is a renowned film and theatre critic who writes in Hindi. At the recent North East and Northern Writers Meet that was hosted by the Sahitya Akademi on 27 March, 2017, he presented a paper on the state of Hindi theatre in the country today. Later, we sat down with Mr. Tripathi to discuss…

The Importance of Metaphor

The Importance of Metaphor

The attack on art, culture and social sciences has not subsided. Similarly discontent among writers and cultural practitioners has not dwindled. Poets Khalid Javed, Mangalesh Dabral and Anamika speak of the significance of poetry at such a time. They say that language and metaphor are great tools for expressing dissent.   Read Keeping Count of Dissenting…

Roundtable with Romila Thapar

Roundtable with Romila Thapar

We spoke to historian Romila Thapar in an attempt to uncover the historical background of dissent and debate in India, and how today, this tradition is aggressively being erased. The space for dialogue and discussion is shrinking in an ideological environment that increasingly shuns the practice of fundamental rationality. Watch it here:

Remembering Another Rama on Ram Navami

Remembering Another Rama on Ram Navami

Several groups associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) are holding the “largest ever demonstration in Bengal” over a week till April 11th to mark Ram Navami. The rallies will be “fully armed”, said RSS sources to The Hindu on the 5th of April. The news item continues: “In the districts, they will be carrying…

Theatre Today: Manipur

Theatre Today: Manipur

N. Premchand is a theatre director from Manipur, and a faculty member at Manipur University. We met him at the North East and Northern Writers Meet at the Sahitya Akademi where he presented a paper on the theatre tradition of Manipur. We spoke to Dr. Premchand after the session to discuss the politics of representation…

Unholy War

Unholy War

Men have gone to war since time began, for conquest, for plunder, for glory, for keeping muscles in trim and adrenalin flowing. In the Hindu caste system which divided people and conferred status according to their occupations, the warrior ranked second highest in the hierarchy of caste. War is central to our epics. Go to…

‘Does it help to have a woman editor cut a blatantly sexist film? Not so much.’

‘Does it help to have a woman editor cut a blatantly sexist film? Not so much.’

Our ongoing series of interviews with a number of women we admire – teachers, journalists, musicians, students, lawyers, startup employees – all young, established, or retired professionals in their fields, discussing gendered aspects of their work and working life.  We hope you like these heartfelt discussions.  Stay tuned for more!             Lara Bhalla Homemaker,…

Women We Admire: Mridula Koshy

Women We Admire: Mridula Koshy

On our latest in 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,…

Attacks on Writers and Scholars Continue

Attacks on Writers and Scholars Continue

    What does a writer and theatre personality, a professor fighting for justice for a slain RTI activist, a filmmaker questioning Hindu rituals, a young dalit student and writer questioning the system of caste, and an eminent academic of Vachana literature have in common? All of them have faced the wrath of the right-wing…

Some Fine Photographs by Derek Walcott

Some Fine Photographs by Derek Walcott

Let me take you to the Derek Walcott poem most on my mind these days and then we will continue our conversation: Midsummer, Tobago Broad sun-stoned beaches. White heat. A green river. A bridge, scorched yellow palms from the summer-sleeping house drowsing through August. Days I have held, days I have lost, days that outgrow,…

Poem by Maaz Bin Bilal

Poem by Maaz Bin Bilal

In our own lifetimes? Of another people, in another part of the world, or its many parts? Will they be vaporised, or chemical-fried, once already demonised, hung-up, lynched,  raped, crucified, shot to death, hounded in and out, blockaded, terrified? Will their children die, torn out of wombs, or drowned in the seas, bombed on beaches…

Derek Walcott’s Nobel Prize Lecture

Derek Walcott’s Nobel Prize Lecture

Felicity is a village in Trinidad on the edge of the Caroni plain, the wide central plain that still grows sugar and to which indentured cane cutters were brought after emancipation, so the small population of Felicity is East Indian, and on the afternoon that I visited it with friends from America, all the faces…

Empire and the Overpass

Empire and the Overpass

The sea has been on the move in Karachi. Over the decades, as the city has burst its seams, it has moved farther and farther away into the distance. If you arrive very early in the morning at the beaches closest to the city and drive out until the road ends, you can sometimes see…

‘A woman should never stay behind a man; we must stay ahead of them’

‘A woman should never stay behind a man; we must stay ahead of them’

  Our ongoing series of interviews with a number of women we admire — teachers, journalists, musicians, students, lawyers, startup employees — all young, established, or retired professionals in their fields, discussing gendered aspects of their work and working life.  We hope you like these heartfelt discussions.  Stay tuned for more to come!   From Mohenjo-Daro, first millennium BCE / via…

This Old World Is a New World and a Bold World for Me…

This Old World Is a New World and a Bold World for Me…

To commemorate International Working Women's Day, ICF kicks off a month-long series of interviews with a number of women we admire: teachers, journalists, musicians, artists, students, lawyers, startup employees — all young, established, or retired professionals in their fields — discussing gendered aspects of their work and working life.  We hope you like these heartfelt discussions.  Stay tuned for more to…

Women We Admire

Women We Admire

This Women's Day we bring you a collage of video interviews with a number of women activists, academics, intellectuals, writers, musicians, teachers… talking about their work.  This is the first in a month-long series of video and text interviews, so stay tuned!     The above clips draw from essays and interviews published in ICF,…

[Book Extract] Interpreting the World to Change It

[Book Extract] Interpreting the World to Change It

"Prabhat Patnaik, whose life and work this volume celebrates, is exceptional in many ways. While he is widely recognized as a brilliant economist with mastery over contending theoretical traditions in the subject, he made quite clear his predilection for and commitment to applying, developing and extending the Marxist approach. Known primarily as an economist of…

“Media Must Report the Truth” — Saeed Naqvi

“Media Must Report the Truth” — Saeed Naqvi

Many media houses reported the recent violence in Ramjas college in a biased manner. While it was clearly the ABVP that was attacking common students, it was claimed that both sides faced casualties. Such reporting was asserted as "objective journalism". It was clearly not truthful journalism. Senior Journalist Saeed Naqvi opines on what is objective…

How Should Rape be Reported?

How Should Rape be Reported?

The 2012 Nirbaya gang-rape case, as it is popularly known as, had led to intense discussions on how sexual assault must not be reported by media. There has been a rise in the coverage of sexual assault cases by the Indian media since 2012 and it has given rise to discussions around violence against women….

Aamhi Saare Pansare

Aamhi Saare Pansare

Comrade Govind Pansare, a rationalist, communist and leader of the masses was shot by members of a right-wing organisation on 16 February 2015. He succumbed to the injuries and died four days later. Newsclick covered a daylong event in Kolhapur on his second death anniversary. Comrade Pansare wrote extensively on a range of subjects, including…

Freedom, Justice & Resistance in Kashmir

Freedom, Justice & Resistance in Kashmir

  In a conversation with the Indian Cultural Forum, Sahba Husain, activist and researcher, and Gautam Navlakha, human rights activist, talk about why Kashmir is seen as integral to the Indian psyche, the role of the state in the militarisation in Kashmir, the language used when talking about resistance in Kashmir, and how impunity for the…

Will Valentine’s Day Soon Be Wiped from Public Memory?

Will Valentine’s Day Soon Be Wiped from Public Memory?

It is not surprising that the right-wing ruling class is usurping Valentine’s Day and stigmatising the celebration of love by Hindu-ising the day. The Directorate of Public Education of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Chhattisgarh government has issued notices to schools, directing that February 14 be marked as “Matru-Pitru Diwas” (Mother-Father Day) to inculcate “bharatiya sanskriti”,…

What Does it Mean to be Inclusive? 

What Does it Mean to be Inclusive? 

Inclusiveness has taken many forms in India, but now it has become a rallying cry because it is under attack. May I give you my own understanding of how it became an integral part of our modern identity and came to mean ‘We Indians’. Now that we are being told that India means 'We Hindus',…

F U Kalluri: Going, going… gone?

F U Kalluri: Going, going… gone?

  Exchange of SMSs between Kalluri and advocate Piyoli upon demanding security for Bela Bhatia / DailyO   On 2nd February, IG SRP Kalluri wrote on a Whatsapp group, “Bela Bhatia wins.” He has been asked to go on “long leave” by the Chhattisgarh State government. It appears that the reign of Kalluri may be…

Bezwada Wilson on Eradicating Manual Scavenging

Bezwada Wilson on Eradicating Manual Scavenging

This is a talk organised at Ambedkar University, Delhi (AUD) in collaboration with Indian Writers Forum (IWF) on 'Eradicating Manual Scavenging: Join the Struggle'. Bezwada Wilson talks about the need to eradicate manual scavenging, the reasons given by the government for implementing demonetisation, its impact on the poor of the country and the lack of political will…

A State Without a Constitution

A State Without a Constitution

“We must state that we were aghast at the blindness to constitutional limitations of the State of Chattisgarh, and some of its advocates, in claiming that any one who questions the conditions of inhumanity that are rampant in many parts of that state ought to necessarily be treated as Maoists, or their sympathizers, and yet…

What the Nation Really Needs to Know: Extracts from JNU’s Nationalism Lectures

What the Nation Really Needs to Know: Extracts from JNU’s Nationalism Lectures

The massive outbreak of protests in February 2016, in the wake of sedition charges being filed against some students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, took the form not only of sloganeering, human chains and streetplays, but also a lecture series on nationalism, attended by thousands of students, every day for almost a month. To mark the first anniversary of the attack, the…

Learning from John Berger

Learning from John Berger

In the past weeks so many persons around the world are together in remembering John Berger — as though he were a friend, almost as though we are all friends. As though in this mourning there is some elation reminiscent of another time and another life when it was possible to pronounce the word solidarity without…

From Khairlanji to Kopardi, a Poem by Neeraja

From Khairlanji to Kopardi, a Poem by Neeraja

  From Khairlanji to Kopardi via Dilli, Mumbai, and any other desolate spot in a town or village. Only the names of places keep changing. Flags of power are thrust into my moist, protected yoni. And making candles of these, morchas are taken out, discs of news played, blaring out proofs of cruelty. Which is a woman’s caste,…

“The Ambedkarite movement in India is about the power of articulation”

“The Ambedkarite movement in India is about the power of articulation”

Professor Y. S. Alone, along with four other teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has been served a legal notice from the administration. He has been persuaded to not address students at the Administrative Block in JNU. ICF's Anubha Rana recently interviewed Professor Alone on the possible ways of creating alternative politico-cultural spaces in academic institutions. Watch the video…

“No Hindu Rashtra”: Nayantara Sahgal

“No Hindu Rashtra”: Nayantara Sahgal

The following statement from Nayantara Sahgal was read out at the programme "Hastakshep: Jantantrik Aur Sanskritik Bahulata Ke Paksh Mein" in Gandhi Bhavan, Lucknow, December 28, 2016: The dangers we face today come from the fact that this Government is destroying the meaning of India, and step by step, stealthily and openly, is converting our secular…

Dakshinayan: The Long Path Towards Reason

Dakshinayan: The Long Path Towards Reason

A constant drumbeat broke through the murmuring of hundreds of voices, old and young, men and women. Margao, the cultural capital of Goa, had spent the last few weeks preparing to host hundreds of visitors from all over the country. For three days in November, the Dakshinayan Rashtriya Parishad was to organise the biggest demonstration…

সাক্ষাতকার: শমীক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় ও সৌরদীপ রায়

সাক্ষাতকার: শমীক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় ও সৌরদীপ রায়

ইন্ডিয়ান ক্যালচারাল ফোরাম এর পক্ষ থেকে বিশিষ্ট প্রাবন্ধিক ও সমালোচক, শমীক বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের সাক্ষাতকার নিলেন সৌরদীপ রায় ।  সাক্ষাতকারের প্রথম অংশ দেখুন এখানেঃ সাক্ষাতকারের দ্বিতীয় অংশ দেখুন এখানেঃ

Poem on Demonetisation: What Colour, Money? Ballad of the Commoners

Poem on Demonetisation: What Colour, Money? Ballad of the Commoners

(Of real people, real narratives and real lives. In my neighbourhood and city, Hyderabad.)     Bajji seller Hanumanthu Mestri Yadgiri Bangle seller Mohammad Laeeq Earth-worker, brick layer, matti pani Ramachander Footwear seller Lakshmamma Shaadi-khana labour Najeeb Coolie, cook, etc Jahangir Miscellaneous labour: Suryanarayana, Baburao, Nagaraju…  Srikakulam, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda, Hyderabad, Kurnul North Andhra, Telangana, Rayalaseema…

We Don’t Need No Surgical Strikes

We Don’t Need No Surgical Strikes

Continuing our Citizens Against War series, we present a ground report from Jantar Mantar, Delhi. On November 9, several organisations called a cultural protest against war-mongering between India and Pakistan. Called “Action Against Warmongering”, the day saw several prominent speakers and cultural groups telling our leaders, “Make art, not war”. Over the last few months, there has been an…

Three Poems

Three Poems

AFTER THE WAR At the end of the war When the counting of dead bodies began, the Pandavas and the Kauravas beat their brows together in horror. ‘Why did we fight at all?’ asked the Pandavas.  ‘How did they die?’ asked the Kauravas. ‘Whose cruel deed was this?’ enquired the Pandavas. ‘Who was behind it?’…

Ghalib’s Ghost

Ghalib’s Ghost

Meena Alexander   Kabir Sings in a City of Burning Towers What a shame they scared you so you plucked your sari off, crushed it into a ball then spread it on the toilet floor. Sparks from the towers fled through  the weave of silk. With your black hair and sun dark skin you’re just…

Reflections of a Cartographer

Reflections of a Cartographer

Through the thick magnifying glass— Veins in my honed eye Streams of red—the contour Lines are taut webs, gradients Coalesce from blue to green, To the burnt sienna of dry blood, To spurs concaved and drowned, To bludgeoned, pocked scarps, To another fresh mound On the ground and a single flower. Each year the lens…

Another Way

Another Way

To swing yourself from moment to moment, to weave a clause that leaves room for reminiscence and surprise, that breathes, welcomes commas, dips and soars through air-pockets of vowel, lingers over the granularity of consonant, never racing to the full-stop, content sometimes with the question mark, even if it’s the oldest one in the book….