Githa Hariharan speaks at the Shoolini University Lit Fest

It had been 100 hours of “search and survey” by the Enforcement Directorate at the residence of Newsclick’s editor in chief, Prabir Purkayastha, and author, Githa Hariharan who were effectively held in their own home without freedom of movement. Newsclick and its associates who faced the raids garnered solidarity in large numbers from readers, journalists and their unions, and political organisations. Statements and tweets condemned the raids as an intimidation tactic to browbeat independent media that refuses to tow the official line.

Despite the ordeal of inordinately long “search” procedures of its office premises and those associated with it, Newsclick continued to function and report on issues of the people that do not figure anywhere in the mainstream media. Githa Hariharan, amidst the uncertainty of ongoing raids and the concomitant physical and mental costs, kept her commitment and attended a session at the Shoolini University Literature Festival, where she was a speaker.

In conversation with Manju Jaidka, Githa Hariharan speaks about her award winning novel The Thousand Faces of Night, about living diversity, resisting a single story, about rivers of resistance that have been flowing for a thousand years through villages, towns and cities, and reads powerful passages from her last work I Have Become the Tide about the wind teaching us to move, against old orders.

“The moral stature of cultural institutions has gone down”

“The moral stature of cultural institutions has gone down”

Renowned poet Ashok Vajpeyi speaks to writer Githa Hariharan for the Indian Cultural Forum about the relationship between art, politics and institutions. In part one of the two part interview, Vajpeyi discusses the writers’ protest in 2015 following the murder of rationalist MM Kalburgi and the lynching of Mohammad Akhlaq, and the role of writers in speaking up against intolerance and hate politics over the last five years. In the second part, he notes that India has a long tradition of dissent which needs to be upheld against the current assaults on critical thought. Artists, he argues, have an important role to play in this. Unfortunately, however, the autonomy of cultural and art institutions in India have eroded over time. The current regime, Vajpeyi points out, has intensified this trend in its unprecedented attack on cultural freedoms. 

Read more:
“The return of awards in 2015 still rattles those in power”
“There have been even more atrocities against dalits and adivasis since 2014…”
“Hope against hope”: a talk by Ashok Vajpeyi
“देश की विविधता और बहुवचनीयता की रक्षा करना ज़रूरी है”

A cow mania has been set in motion in…

In the second part of the Indian Writers Forum conversation with Githa Hariharan, eminent writer Nayantara Sahgal talks about the intolerance of Hindutva forces towards the minorities, the connection between the Hindu Mahasabha (the RSS’s ancestor) and the European fascist dictatorships, and how, for writers, there’s no avoiding the political.

In today’s India, a kind of cow mania has been set in motion by the ruling party, where gau rakshaks (cow vigilantes) are supposed to protect the holiness of the cow. The Dalits recently rose up in a big uprising, saying “If the cow is your mother, you look after her. We will not lift cow carcasses any more.” This would have delighted the hearts of Mahatma Gandhi and Ambedkar.