Blasphemy Laws Remain Philosophically Fallacious, Legally Unconstitutional; So Remove IPC 295A, Don’t Bolster it

Blasphemy Laws Remain Philosophically Fallacious, Legally Unconstitutional; So Remove IPC 295A, Don’t Bolster it

Already, religious lobbies use Section 295A and insist on the importance of its existence is representative of their intentions to attack free speech and silence criticism. IPC 295 AA, as it is called in Punjab, now proposes to punish ‘whoever causes injury, damage or sacrilege to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Srimad Bhagwad Gita, Holy Quran…

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…

Is Srikrishna Privileging Privacy Over Free Speech?

Is Srikrishna Privileging Privacy Over Free Speech?

  The government’s expert committee on a data protection framework for India, headed by retired Mr. Justice B.N. Srikrishna recently released a 243 pages report soliciting comments on more than 200 questions. While the nation debates on data protection and privacy, the focus has been exclusively on Aadhaar and the internet industry. Little attention has been paid…

Free Speech Under Siege

Free Speech Under Siege

Githa Hariharan, one of the founder trustees of Indian Writers' Forum, talks about the complexities of free speech in times of hatemongering and violence in contemporary India.                                                          …

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…

Hastakshep: Jantantrik Aur Sanskritik Bahulata Ke Paksh Mein

Hastakshep: Jantantrik Aur Sanskritik Bahulata Ke Paksh Mein

Indian Writers' Forum along with several organisations (Janwadi Lekhak Sangh, Pragitisheel Lekhak Sangh, IPTA, Jan Sanskritik Manch, Kalam Sanskritik Manch, Saajhi Duniya, Amit UP, Rajya Karamchari Mahasangh, Alag Duniya, U.P. Bank Employees Union, AITUC, PUCL, Mahila Federation, Neepa Rang Mandali, AIDWA) participated in 'Hastakshep: Jantantrik Aur Sanskritik Bahulata Ke Paksh Mein' on Wednesday December 28 at…

“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…

Report of the People’s Tribunal on Caste Discrimination and Police Action in University of Hyderabad

Report of the People’s Tribunal on Caste Discrimination and Police Action in University of Hyderabad

The tribunal was organized by the concerned teachers, writers, and lawyers of Hyderabad. It was chaired by Justice  K. Chandru (Retired judge, High Court Madras). Prof Govardhan Wankhede (TISS, Bombay) and Prof Ghanshyam Shah (formerly Prof, JNU) were the members. The brief to the tribunal was to examine the circumstances leading to the suicide of research scholar…

Increased Attacks on Media in Modified India

Increased Attacks on Media in Modified India

Although the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression, legal protections are not always sufficiently upheld by the courts or respected by government officials. A number of laws that remain on books can be used to restrict media freedom. The sedition law, formally Section 124A of the 1860 penal code, outlaws expression that can cause…

A Nation Filled with Anti-Nationals!

A Nation Filled with Anti-Nationals!

I thought the Muslims were the only anti-nationals in this country. But I was mistaken. Earlier, thousands of people including even women and children who were questioning the Koodankulam nuclear plant were declared as anti-nationals. They are not the only ones outside the community of Muslims, though. Over 11,000 NGOs in India are restricted from the…

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…

We Condemn the Central University of Haryana’s Clampdown on a Play based on Mahasweta Devi’s “Draupadi”

We Condemn the Central University of Haryana’s Clampdown on a Play based on Mahasweta Devi’s “Draupadi”

Mahasweta Devi with C.S. Lakshmi / Indian Express A stage adaptation of Mahasweta Devi's short story "Draupadi" by the Department of English and Foreign languages at the Central University of Haryana (CUH) was performed on September 21, to be met with hooliganism, media trials and, finally, an administrative clampdown. The event was organised in memory…

Assaults on Reason and Institutions

Assaults on Reason and Institutions

Idea of India Conclave During the two years of the Narendra Modi government, there has been an all-round attack on various established institutions in the country, whether educational or cultural. There have been attempts to interfere with curricula, the way these institutions are run, as well as their mandate and autonomy. The Idea of India…

In Defence of the Writer

In Defence of the Writer

Pushkar Raj Image Courtesy Indian Express The recent Chennai High Court judgment concerning the writer Perumal Murugan is a requisite addition to the Indian jurisprudence as it underlines the relationship between the writer and society, which has lately suffered from grave confusion. Permual Murugan was hauled up in the court of law for describing a…

स्वच्छ भारत अभियान एक परदा है : बेजवाड़ा विल्सन

स्वच्छ भारत अभियान एक परदा है : बेजवाड़ा विल्सन

 Courtesy: Youth ki Awaaz हाल ही में सफाई कर्मचारी आंदोलन की ओर से आयोजित ‘भीम यात्रा’ डिब्रूगढ़ से शुरू होकर तीस राज्यों और पांच सौ जिलों से होते हुए दिल्ली में पहुंची। सबरंग इंडिया शुरू से ही इस यात्रा के साथ रही। यह देशव्यापी जागरूकता अभियान का समापन एक बड़ी रैली के रूप में हुआ…

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…

Yes, the Adivasi Will Not Dance!

Yes, the Adivasi Will Not Dance!

Statement from the Indian Writers’ Forum Lalgarh / Wikimedia Commons June 19, 2016 The award winning writer, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, has given us insights into the conditions of Adivasi life, both as a medical officer posted at the additional public health centre in Beldanga block of Pakur district in Jharkhand, and as a questioning, truth-telling creative writer….

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…

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…