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.
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“देश की विविधता और बहुवचनीयता की रक्षा करना ज़रूरी है”