“The Vietnam war taught us to think”: Saeed Mirza

After the release of his latest book, Memory in the Age of Amnesia, Saeed Mirza sits down to talk with Souradeep Roy, member of the editorial collective of the Indian Writers’ Forum. In the first part of the interview, Mirza begins by speaking about the 69 % who did not vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), attributing it to the tremendous generosity of spirit among the people of India. He goes on to talk about the protests that broke out at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), and how the Vietnam war taught his generation to think.


In the second part of the interview, Mirza recalls how the spirit of questioning nationalism had begun during the Vietnam war, when the anti-war supporters refused to be drafted in the US army.He also talks of his childhood and the idea of India that he was brought up with. The spirit of India he grew up with has found expression in the campus protests across India, and also in the protests by writers, filmmakers, and artists. “The genie is out of the bottle”, he says, “and it cannot be brought back.”