From a Hundred and Sixty Three Bengali Intellectuals
Our Concern about Rising Intolerance

MSC Satya Sai, From the SAHMAT exhibition on The Making of India, 2004, Image courtesy SAHMAT

On October 14, 2015, a hundred Bengali writers, academics and performers wrote a joint letter to the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, to express their deep concern about the rising intolerance in India today, and the growing threats to Indian plurality. Since then, another sixty three have added their names to the letter.

Describing the assassination of rationalists such as Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi as a “well-planned conspiracy to endanger Indian democracy”, they urged the President to “take firm and immediate steps” to combat this threat to the basic freedoms all citizens of India share.

Here is the full text of their letter:


October 14, 2015

To Sri Pranab Mukherjee

The President of India

Your Excellency,

As citizens of a democratic country, we are deeply concerned about the growing culture of murderous intolerance and the brazen assault on the fundamental right to life of those who maintain the core values of diversity, plurality and tolerance of which you yourself have recently reminded us. The targeting of innocents like the recent killing of Muhammad Akhlaq in Dadri and the series of attacks against rationalists and freethinkers including the gruesomely casual killing of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and M.M. Kalburgi has made us strangers in our own country. We are horrified at the callous lack of support and apathy of the state in finding and bringing the culprits to justice. The stifling atmosphere of fear and uncertainty is fatal to the freedom of expression that is at the heart of our shared lives, and it is for the restoration of this common fabric that we urge you to intervene.

On behalf of the freethinking, creative minds of India – indeed, on behalf of every citizen of India – we urge you, the guardian of the Constitution of India, to ensure that those who have infringed upon this founding document of the State with impunity, whether overtly or by silent complicity, be brought to justice. Throttling the right to free thought and expression threatens the very existence of our plural society. We demand your active intervention in protecting the basic freedom which is the right of all Indian citizens without discrimination by religion, caste, class or gender. We appeal to you to take firm and immediate steps to combat this well-planned conspiracy to endanger Indian democracy.

From the creative and academic community of West Bengal,

  1. Nabaneeta Dev Sen
  2. Nirendranath Chakraborty
  3. Ashok Mitra
  4. Shankha Ghosh
  5. Alokranjan Dasgupta
  6. Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay
  7. Pabitra Sarkar
  8. Ipshita Chanda
  9. Samaresh Majumder
  10. Amiya Bagchi
  11. Bibhash Chakraborty
  12. Rudraprasad Sengupta
  13. Swatilekha Sengupta
  14. Bani Basu
  15. Subodh Sarkar
  16. Antara Dev Sen
  17. Pratik Kanjilal
  18. Nandana Dev Sen
  19. Wasim Kapoor
  20. Dipali Bhattacharya
  21. Srijato
  22. Sohini Sengupta
  23. Emanul Haque
  24. Bikashranjan Bhattacharya
  25. Chitra Sen
  26. Kaushik Sen
  27. Reshmi Sen
  28. Srikanta Acharya
  29. Bijaya Mukhopadhyay
  30. Sarat Mukhopadyay
  31. Gargi Roychoudhury
  32. Arna Sheel
  33. Ujjwal Chattopadhyay
  34. Meghnad Bhattacharya
  35. Kishor Sengupta
  36. Subrata Gangopadhyay
  37. Samir Aich
  38. Srabasti Basu
  39. All Members of P.E.N International, India, West Bengal Branch
  40. Krishna Bose
  41. Ranjan Gupta
  42. Shyamal Mukhopadhyay
  43. Sugata Choudhuri
  44. Arindam Acharjee
  45. Barun Chakrabarty
  46. Krishna Sen
  47. All Members of SOI, Forum for Creative Women
  48. Anjali Das
  49. Jyotsna Karmakar
  50. Sharmishtha Dasgupta
  51. Maya Siddhanta
  52. Dipanwita Roy
  53. Chitra Lahiri
  54. Chaitali Chattopadhyay
  55. Sutapa Bhattacharya
  56. Sanjukta Bandopadhyay
  57. Esha De
  58. Ishita Bhaduri
  59. Kana Basu Misra
  60. Susmeli Dutta
  61. Deepshikha Poddar
  62. Binata Roychowdhury
  63. Pritha Bal
  64. Dipannita Datta
  65. Bubun Chattopadhyay
  66. Banani Das
  67. Swapna Bandopadhyay
  68. Kasturi Chattopadhyay
  69. Sanhita Bandopadhyay
  70. Tanbir Nasreen
  71. Kamalakkha Gangopadhyay
  72. Manasij Majumder
  73. Dhritikanta Lahiri Choudhury
  74. Shankar Majumder
  75. Pratibha Mandal
  76. Bidisha Ghosh Biswas
  77. Agnimitra Biswas
  78. K. Biswanath
  79. Anit Bose
  80. Paushali Sengupta
  81. Rangan Sengupta
  82. Bipasha Raha
  83. Subha Chakraborty Dasgupta
  84. Arnab Dutta
  85. Judhajit Sarkar
  86. Nabin Mandal
  87. Sheila Lahiri Chowdhury
  88. Dipkanta Lahiri Chowdhury
  89. Debjani Lahiri Chowdhury
  90. Ridhi Sen
  91. Pankaj Saha
  92. Avery Chaurey
  93. Indira Mukherjee
  94. Riya Chatterjee
  95. Kanai Barui
  96. Bulbul Datta
  97. S.N. Paul
  98. Amitabha Mandal
  99. Jharna Barui
  100. Neelu Das
  101. Sukanta Chaudhuri
  102. Supriya Chaudhuri
  103. Sounak Chakraborty
  104. Sebanti Ghosh
  105. Sudhir Chandra
  106. Minati Chatterjee
  107. Jayati Ghosh
  108. Bikash Mukherjee
  109. Sudip Nath
  110. Indira Chakraborty
  111. Amit Das
  112. Nandita Kundu
  113. Jhinuk Roy
  114. Saumen Mukhopadhyay
  115. Anish Sengupta
  116. Mahashweta Samajdar
  117. Anuttama Banerji
  118. Soumyajit Paul
  119. Soma Roychowdhury
  120. Himanshu Biswas
  121. Arpita Sikka
  122. Prabhas Ghosh
  123. Ayan  Majumdar
  124. Biswajit Bhowmik
  125. Chaitali Chatterji
  126. Sharmila Das
  127. T.K. Mandal
  128. Abhijit Ghosh
  129. Yasodhara Roychowdhury
  130. Upasana Mukherjee
  131. Biplab Gangopadhyay
  132. Amit Kr. Pandit
  133. Gargi Sarkar
  134. Debu
  135. Sreyash Sarkar
  136. Agomani Dasgupta Mukherji
  137. Roshni Charaborty
  138. Ajeya Sarkar
  139. Sreyashi Musafir
  140. Swapna Chakraborty
  141. Sremayi Bhatta
  142. Nilanjana Chatterjee
  143. Sudakshina Bhagat
  144. Swastika
  145. Swapna Dutta
  146. Sajal Samudra
  147. Paula Sengupta
  148. Abhimanyu Mahato
  149. Pias Majid
  150. Arvind Deb Sarkar
  151. Alamgir Haque
  152. Sharmila Sen
  153. Pallabi Dey
  154. Anamika Dutta Sarkar
  155. Samapan Saha
  156. Saumitra Polley
  157. Anjan Achariya
  158. Anirban Das
  159. Amlan Chaudhuri
  160. Md. Inasuddin
  161. Biplab Kr. Pal
  162. Swapan Bose
  163. Ramkumar Acharya

More signatories from Gujarat and Maharashtra –

Gujarat :

  1. Mehul Devkala , Vadodara
  2. Kanji Patel,Lunavada
  3. Paresh Nayak,Ahmedabad
  4. Kirit Doodhat,Ahmedabad
  5. Yagnesh Dave,Rajkot
  6. Vibha Nayak,Ahmedabad
  7. Dakshin Chhara,Ahmedabad
  8. Sachin Ketkar,Vadodara
  9. Rajan Barrett,Vadodara
  10. Saroop Dhruv,Ahmedabad
  11. Hiren Gandhi,Ahmedabad
  12. Bharat Mehta,Vadodara
  13. Sagar Shah,Ahmedabad

Maharashtra :

  1. Atul Dodiya,Mumbai
  2. Nandita Das,Mumbai
  3. Sanjay Chhel,Mumbai
  4. Prabodh Parikh,Mumbai
  5. Anju Dodiya,Mumbai
  6. Naushil Mehta,Mumbai
  7. Ashok Sahane,Mumbai
  8. Hemant Divate,Mumbai
  9. Ganesh Visputay,Mumbai
  10. Ignatius Dias,Mumbai