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India: Over 350 Artists Sound the Alert on the Right to Dissent #FOE

Right to Dissent

Right to dissent

Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29 Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi 110 001
Tel.: 23381276 / 23070787
e-mail: sahmat8[at]


The artist community of India stands in firm solidarity with the actions of our writers who have relinquished awards and positions, and spoken up in protest against the alarming rise of intolerance in the country. We condemn and mourn the murders of M.M. Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare, rationalists and free thinkers whose voices have been silenced by rightwing dogmatists but whose ‘presence’ must ignite our resistance to the conditions of hate being generated around us.

We will never forget the battle we fought for our pre-eminent artist M.F. Husain who was hounded out of the country and died in exile. We remember the rightwing invasion and dismantling of freedoms in one of the country’s best known art schools in Baroda. We witness the present government’s appointment of grossly unqualified persons to the FTII Society and its disregard of the ongoing strike by the students of this leading Institute. We see a writer like Perumal Murugan being intimidated into declaring his death as a writer, a matter of dire shame in any society.

While the Prime Minister of the country has been conspicuously reticent in his response to the recent events, the reactions of BJP ministers in his government reveal their ignorance and prejudice. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Culture, has made abhorrent comments about mob lynching and murder. His remarks suggesting that writers should stop writing to prove their point are alarming – empowered as he is to take policy decisions in the domain of culture. Arun Jaitley, Minister of Finance, Information & Broadcasting, has mocked the actions of our respected writers as a manufactured ‘paper rebellion’. He asks for scrutiny of the political and ideological affiliations of those who are protesting.

To these and other such provocations there is a clear answer: while the actual affiliations of the protesting writers and artists, scholars and journalists may be many and varied, their individual and collective voices are gaining cumulative strength. It is this that the ruling party will have to reckon with: the protestors’ declared disaffiliation from a government that encourages marauding outfits to enforce a series of regressive commands in this culturally diverse country.

The scale of social violence and fatal assaults on ordinary citizens (as in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh; Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir; Faridabad, Harayana) is escalating. The contemptuous comments about the religious minorities and Dalits made by those within the government confirm that there is little difference between the RSS-BJP mainstream and supposed ‘fringe’ elements. The perfunctory warnings and regrets issued by ruling party ideologues – to defend the agendas of ‘development’ and ‘governance’ advanced by Mr Narendra Modi – are merely expedient. The Sangh Parivar and its Hindutva forces operating through their goon brigades form the support base of this government; they are all complicit in the attempts to impose conformity of thought, belief and practice.

The ideology of the ruling party has revealed its contempt for creative and intellectual work; bigotry and censorship will only grow. As in the past, we must challenge the divisive forces through varied forms of appeal and protest, articulation and refusal. Our demand can be nothing less than that the entire range of constitutional rights and freedoms of the citizens of this country – freedom of expression and speech, right to dissent and exert difference in life choices including culture and religion – be ensured.

A government that does not tolerate difference, that does not safeguard the lives and interests of its marginalized and vulnerable citizens, loses its legitimacy in a democratic polity. We are facing this situation now, already.

  1. Aastha Chauhan, artist, Delhi
  2. Aban Raza, artist, Delhi
  3. Abdul Mabood, Delhi
  4. Abhilasha Kumari, media professor, Delhi
  5. Abhimanue V.G., artist, Delhi
  6. Abhishek Hazra, artist, Bangalore
  7. Ahmar Raza, scientist, Delhi
  8. Aishwaryan K, artist, Bengaluru.
  9. Ajay Desai, artist, Delhi
  10. Aji V.N., artist, Rotterdam, Netherlands
  11. Akansha Rastogi, WALA collective, Delhi
  12. Akshaya Tankha, art historian, University of Toronto, Canada
  13. Alnoor Mitha, artist, curator, Manchester, UK
  14. Amar Kanwar, artist and filmmaker, Delhi
  15. Amrita Gupta Singh, art historian, Mumbai
  16. Anamika Haksar, theatre director, Mumbai
  17. Ananya Vajpeyi, CSDS, Delhi
  18. Anindita Bhattacharya, artist, Delhi
  19. Anish Ahluwalia, artist and filmmaker
  20. Anish Kapoor, artist, London
  21. Anita Dube, artist, Delhi
  22. Anjolie Ela Menon, artist, Delhi
  23. Anju Dodiya, artist, Mumbai
  24. Anjum Singh, artist, Delhi
  25. Anshuman Dasgupta, art historian, Santiniketan
  26. Anupam Saikia, Dept. of Fine Arts, University of Hyderabad
  27. Anupam Singh, artist, Mumbai
  28. Anuradha Kapur, theatre director, Delhi
  29. Aradhana Seth, production designer, artist, Goa
  30. Archana Hande, artist, Mumbai
  31. Arghya Priya Majumdar, artist, Santiniketan
  32. Arpana Caur, artist, Delhi
  33. Arpita Singh, artist, Delhi
  34. Arshad Hakim, artist, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  35. Arshiya Lokhandwala, curator, gallerist, Mumbai
  36. Arun Kumar H.G., artist, Delhi
  37. Arunima Choudhury, Kolkata
  38. Ashim Purkasthaya, artist, Delhi
  39. Ashis Kumar Das, artist, Mumbai
  40. Ashrafi S. Bhagat, art historian, Chennai
  41. Atreyee Gupta, art historian, Berlin
  42. Atul Bhalla, artist, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  43. Atul Dodiya, artist, Mumbai
  44. Aurora Graldi, PhD Candidate in South Asian Art History, Vienna University
  45. Avani Batra, Delhi
  46. Avinash Veeraraghavan, artist, Bangalore
  47. Ayisha Abraham, artist, Bangalore
  48. Babitha Lingraj, artist, Bangalore
  49. Babu Eshwar Prasad, artist and filmmaker, Bangalore
  50. Balan Nambiar, artist, Bangalore
  51. Balbir Krishan, artist, Delhi
  52. Belinder Dhanoa, art critic, Delhi
  53. Bhagath Singh E.K,artist,Kerala
  54. Bharathesh G.D., artist, Bangalore
  55. Bharati Kapadia, artist, Mumbai
  56. Bharti Kher, artist Delhi
  57. Bhavani G.S., artist, Bangalore
  58. Bhavani Shiva, artist, Bangalore
  59. Biju Jose, artist, Bangalore
  60. Bina Sarkar Elias, editor & publisher, International Galerie
  61. C.F. John, artist, Bangalore
  62. Catherine Asher, art historian, USA
  63. Chaitanya Sambrani, art historian, Canberra
  64. Champa Sharath, artist, Bangalore
  65. Chandrima Bhattacharyya, artist, Bangalore
  66. Chinar Shah, artist, Bangalore
  67. Chintan Upadhyay, artist, Delhi/Mumbai
  68. Chitra Ganesh, artist, New York, USA
  69. Christopher Pinney, art historian, London, UK
  70. Cop Shiva, photographer, Bangalore
  71. Deepa Mahajan, artist, Mumbai/Singapore
  72. Deepak Ananth, art historian, Paris
  73. Deepanjana Klein, art historian, New York, USA
  74. Deepika Sorabjee, curator, Mumbai
  75. Deeptha Achar, art critic, Baroda
  76. Dev Benegal, New York, USA
  77. Devika Daulet-Singh, gallerist, Delhi
  78. Dhruvi Acharya, artist, Mumbai
  79. Diana Gomes, artist, Baroda
  80. Dilip Mitra, artist, Santiniketan
  81. Dimple Shah, artist, Bangalore
  82. Dipti Khera, art historian, New York University, USA
  83. Faiza Hasan, artist, Hyderabad.
  84. G.S. Gopinath, artist, Bangalore
  85. Gargi Raina, artist Baroda
  86. Gauri Gill, photographer, Delhi
  87. Gayatri Sinha, art critic, Delhi
  88. Geeta Doctor, writer, Chennai
  89. Geeta Kapur, art critic, Delhi
  90. Geetha Mehra, gallerist, Mumbai
  91. Gieve Patel, artist, Mumbai
  92. Gigi Scaria, artist, Delhi
  93. Gopika Chowfla, graphic designer, Delhi
  94. Gopika Nath, artist-craftsperson and writer, Gurgaon
  95. Goutam Das, artist, Santiniketan
  96. Gulammohammed Sheikh, artist, Baroda
  97. Hans Kaushik, artist, Chennai
  98. Hema Upadhyay, artist, Mumbai
  99. Homita Harish Katira, artist, Columbia, SC, USA
  100. Homita, artist, Mumbai
  101. Indrapramit Roy, artist, Baroda
  102. Indu Chandrasekhar, publisher, Delhi
  103. Ivan Smith, artist, Belper, Derbyshire, UK
  104. Jahangir Asgar Jani, artist, Mumbai
  105. Jaideep Mehrotra, artist, Mumbai
  106. Jaideep Sen, artist, Bangalore
  107. Jaishri Abichandani, artist, New York, USA
  108. James Khamliansawma, artist, Aizawl, Mizoram
  109. Janice Glowski, art historian, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  110. Jasbeer Singh, artist, Belfast, Northern Ireland
  111. Jatin Das, artist, Delhi
  112. Jeetin Rangher, artist, Bangalore
  113. Jitish Kallat, artist, Mumbai
  114. Johny M.L., art critic, Delhi
  115. Justin Ponmany, artist, Mumbai
  116. Jyotindra Jain, art historian, Delhi
  117. K.G. Subramanyan, artist, Baroda
  118. K.P. Reji, artist, Baroda
  119. K.V. Raghavendra Rao, artist, Bangalore, Vancouver, Canada
  120. Karishma D’Souza, Panaji, Goa
  121. Karishma Shah, artist, Surat
  122. Kathryn Myers, Professor of Art, University of Connecticut, USA
  123. Kaushik Bhaumik, artist, Delhi
  124. Kausik Mukhopadhyay, artist, Mumbai
  125. Kim Kyoungae, artist, Baroda
  126. Kirtana Thangavelu, art historian, S.N. School, Hyderabad
  127. Kirti Jain, theatre director, Delhi
  128. Krishen Khanna, artist, Delhi
  129. Krishnaraj Chonat, artist, Bangalore
  130. Kuldeep Singh, artist
  131. Kumari Ranjeeta, artist , Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  132. Kunal Kalra, artist, Hyderabad
  133. L.N. Tallur, artist, Kundapura
  134. L.N.V. Srinivas, artist, S.N. School, Hyderabad
  135. Lalitha Gopalan, video scholar, USA
  136. Lalitha Shankar, artist, Bangalore
  137. Latika Gupta, art historian, Delhi
  138. Leela Mayor, artist, Baroda
  139. Lokesh Khodke, artist, Delhi
  140. M.K. Raina, theatre director, Delhi
  141. Madhuban Mitra, artist, Kolkata
  142. Madhusree Dutta, filmmaker, Mumbai
  143. Madhusudhanan, artist, Kerala
  144. Mahesh G., artist, Mysore
  145. Mahjabin Imam Majumdar, artist, Santiniketan
  146. Mahula Ghosh, artist, Delhi
  147. Mala Marwah, artist, Delhi
  148. Malavika Rajnarayan, artist, Baroda
  149. Manas Bhattacharya, artist, Kolkata
  150. Manmohan, writer, Delhi
  151. Mansi Bhatt, artist, Mumbai
  152. Manuela Ciotti, visual anthropologist, Denmark
  153. Marie Dias Arora, artist, Delhi
  154. Mary-Louise Totton, art historian, USA
  155. Meera Devidayal, artist, Mumbai
  156. Meera Menezes, art critic, Delhi
  157. Megha Joshi, artist, Delhi
  158. Meher Pestonji, writer,Mumbai
  159. Mithu Sen, artist, Delhi
  160. Molly Emma Aitken, art historian, USA
  161. Mona Berman, Director, Mona Berman Fine Arts, New Haven, USA
  162. Moutushi Chakraborty, artist, Kolkata
  163. Myna Mukherjee, cultural curator, Delhi
  164. N. Ramachandran, artist, Chennai
  165. N.N. Rimzon, artist, Thiruvananthapuram
  166. N.S. Harsha, artist, Mysore
  167. Nalini Malani, artist, Mumbai
  168. Naman Ahuja, art historian, JNU, Delhi
  169. Nanaiah Chettira, artist, Bangalore
  170. Nanak Ganguly, art critic, Kolkata
  171. Nancy Adajania, art critic, Mumbai
  172. Nandesh Shanthi Prakash, artist, Bangalore
  173. Nataraj Sharma, artist, Baroda
  174. Natasha Ginwala, curator, Berlin/Ahmedabad
  175. Naveen Kumar, artist, Bangalore
  176. Navjot Altaf, artist, Mumbai
  177. Navroze Contractor, photographer, Bangalore
  178. Neelakshi Suryanarayan, University of Delhi, Delhi
  179. Neelam Man Singh Chowdhry, theatre director, Chandigarh
  180. Neha Choksi, Mumbai and Los Angeles, USA
  181. Nibha Sikander, artist, Baroda
  182. Nihaal Fazal, artist, Bangalore
  183. Nikhileswar Baruah, artist, Baroda
  184. Nilanjana S. Roy, writer, Delhi
  185. Nilima Shiekh, artist, Baroda
  186. Nirmala Beluka, artist, EFL, Hyderabad
  187. Niyatee Shinde, art and photography writer, curator, photo-historian, Mumbai
  188. Noopur Desai, art writer and researcher, Pune
  189. Oindrilla Maity Surai, curator, Kolkata
  190. Oli Ghosh, artist, Mumbai.
  191. Padma Kaimal, art historian, Colgate University, USA
  192. Parag Tandel, artist, Mumbai
  193. Paramjit Singh, artist, Delhi
  194. Parthiv Shah, photographer and designer, Delhi
  195. Parul Dave Mukherji, art historian, JNU, Delhi
  196. Parvati Nayar, artist, Chennai
  197. Paula Sengupta, artist, Kolkata
  198. Pavan K.J., artist, Mysore
  199. Payal Arya, artist, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  200. Philippe Calia, artist, Mumbai
  201. Pierre Strauch, Paier College of Art, USA
  202. Prabhavati Meppayil, artist, Bangalore
  203. Prajakta Palav Aher, artist, Mumbai.
  204. Prajakta Potnis, artist, Mumbai
  205. Pratul Dash, artist, Ghaziabad
  206. Pratul Dash, artist, Indirapuram, Ghaziabad
  207. Premalatha Seshadri, artist, Chennai
  208. Prithpal S Ladi, artist, Shillong
  209. Priti Paul, gallerist, Delhi
  210. Priya Ravish Mehra, artist, Delhi
  211. Priya Sundaravalli, artist, Auroville
  212. Purushottam Agrawal, writer, Delhi
  213. Pushpamala N., artist, Bangalore
  214. Rabindra Patra, artist, Delhi
  215. Radha Gomaty, Kochi, Kerala
  216. Ragini Bhow, artist, Bangalore
  217. Rahul Bhushan, graphic artist, Hyderabad
  218. Rahul Dev, art critic, Delhi
  219. Rahul J. Gajjar, artist, Baroda
  220. Rajan Barrett
  221. Rakhi Peswani, artist, Bangalore
  222. Ram Rahman, photographer, Delhi
  223. Raman Sivakumar, art historian, Santiniketan
  224. Ramesh Chandra, artist, Bangalore
  225. Ranbir Kaleka, artist, Delhi
  226. Ranjit Hoskote, art critic, Mumbai
  227. Ranjit Kandalgaonkar, artist, Mumbai
  228. Ranjith Raman, artist, Delhi
  229. Rashmee Pal Chouteau, artist, Kolkata
  230. Rashmi Kaleka, artist, Delhi
  231. Rashmimala Devi, artist, Baroda
  232. Rasna Bhushan, art critic, Hyderabad
  233. Ravikumar Kashi, artist, Bangalore
  234. Reena Saini Kallat, artist, Mumbai
  235. Rekha Rodwittiya, artist, Baroda
  236. Renu Modi, Gallery Espace, Delhi
  237. Risha Lee, Rubin Museum of Art, New York USA
  238. Riyas Komu, artist, Mumbai
  239. Rohini Devasher, artist, Delhi
  240. Rosalyn Dmello, art critic, Delhi
  241. Rupa Rani, artist, Delhi
  242. Rupali Patil, artist, Mumbai
  243. Rustom Bharucha, writer, Delhi
  244. Saba Hasan, artist, Delhi
  245. Sabina Jaitly, artist
  246. Sabitha T.P., art historian, UK
  247. Sachin Karne, artist, Baroda
  248. Sadanand Menon, photographer, critic, Chennai
  249. Sagar S. Naik Mule, artist, Hyderabad
  250. Sahej Rahal, artist, Mumbai
  251. Sajitha Madathil, actress, Kochi, Kerala
  252. Salik Ahmad, Delhi
  253. Saloni Mathur, art historian, UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
  254. Samit Das, artist, art historian, Delhi
  255. Sanchayan Ghosh, artist, Santiniketan
  256. Sandeep Biswas, photographer, Delhi
  257. Sandeep Singhal, art collector, Mumbai
  258. Sanjeev Khandekar, artist, Mumbai
  259. Santhoshkumar Sakhinala, art historian, Hyderabad
  260. Saravanan Parasuraman, artist, Chennai
  261. Sarita Chouhan, Mumbai
  262. Sasha Altaf, art critic, Mumbai/Miami USA
  263. Savithri Rajeevan, poet, painter, Baroda
  264. Shaibani Azam, animator, Delhi
  265. Shakuntala Kulkarni, artist, Mumbai
  266. Shamala Nandesha, artist, Bangalore
  267. Shanthamani Muddiah, artist, Bangalore
  268. Shanthi Swaroopini, artist,Hyderabad
  269. Sharan Apparao, gallerist Chennai
  270. N. Ramachandran, artist, Chennai
  271. Sharmila Samant, artist, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  272. Sheba Chhachhi, artist, Delhi
  273. Sheela Gowda, artist, Bangalore
  274. Shefalee Jain, artist, Ambedkar University Delhi
  275. Sheila Makhijani, artist, Delhi
  276. Sherna Dastur, designer, Delhi
  277. Shilpa Gupta, artist, Mumbai
  278. Shireen Gandhy, gallerist, Mumbai
  279. Shivaji.K. Panikkar, art historian, Delhi.
  280. Shreshta Rit Premnath, artist, New York, USA
  281. Shubha, writer, Delhi
  282. Shubhalakshmi Shukla, art writer, Mumbai
  283. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, artist, Raqs Media Collective, Delhi
  284. Shukla Sawant, artist, JNU, Delhi
  285. Sita Reddy, curator/writer, Hyderabad
  286. Smitha Cariappa, artist, Bangalore
  287. Sonal Khullar, art historian, Seattle, USA
  288. Sonam Chaturvedi, art student, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  289. Sonia Jabbar, photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer, Delhi
  290. Sonia Khurana, artist, Delhi
  291. Sosa Joseph
  292. Soumik Nandy Majumdar, art historian, Santiniketan
  293. Srajana Kaikini, curator, research scholar, Bangalore
  294. Sreshta Rit Premnath, Assistant Professor, Parsons Fine Arts, New York
  295. Subba Ghosh, artist, Delhi
  296. Subodh Gupta, artist, Delhi
  297. Subodh Singh Triparti, art history, sculpture, JNAFAU, Hyderabad
  298. Sudarshan Shetty, artist, Mumbai
  299. Sudhir Patwardhan, artist, Mumbai
  300. Sudipta Sen, artist, Kolkata
  301. Sugata Ray, art historian, University of California, Berkeley, USA
  302. Suguresh Sultanpur, artist, Baroda
  303. Suhas Nimbalkar, artist, Pune
  304. Suman Gopinath, curator, Bangalore
  305. Sumathi Ramaswamy, historian, visual culture, Duke Univ., USA
  306. Sumedh Rajendran, artist, Delhi
  307. Sumesh Sharma, curator, Clark House Initiative, Mumbai
  308. Suneel Sinha,theatre, film & TV worker, Mumbai
  309. Sunil Kothari, Delhi
  310. Surekha, artist, Bangalore
  311. Surendran Nair, artist, Baroda
  312. Suresh B.V., artist, Baroda
  313. Suresh Jayaram, art historian, Bangalore
  314. Susan S. Bean, independent curator, USA
  315. Swati Khurana, artist ,New York
  316. Tallur L.N., artist, Kundapura
  317. Tanmoy Samanta, artist, Delhi
  318. Tanuja Rane, artist, Mumbai
  319. Tara Sabharwal, artist, Delhi
  320. Tunty Chauhan,Threshold Art Gallery , Delhi
  321. Tushar Joag, artist, Shiv Nadar University, Greater Noida
  322. Udeya Vir Singh, artist, Bangalore
  323. Uma Shankar Pathak, artist, Delhi
  324. Umar Aman, Delhi
  325. Urvi Khanna, Delhi
  326. Ushmita Sahu, artist, curator, Santiniketan
  327. Ushmita Sahu, artist, curator, Santiniketan
  328. Manjari Chakravarti, artist, Santiniketan
  329. Vaishali Narkar, artist, Mumbai
  330. VaishaliNarkar, artist, Mumbai
  331. Valay Gada, artist/designer, Delhi
  332. Varsha Nair, artist, Baroda
  333. Varunika Saraf, artist, Hyderabad
  334. Vasudha Thozhur, artist, Delhi
  335. Vasvi Oza: artist, Gujarat
  336. Veena Bhargava, artist, Kolkata
  337. Veer Munshi, artist, Delhi
  338. Velu Viswanadhan, artist, Paris/ Chennai
  339. Vibha Galhotra, artist, Delhi
  340. Vidya Rao, Music, Delhi
  341. Vidya Shivadas, curator, Delhi
  342. Vijay Sekhon, artist, Mumbai
  343. Vinod Bhardwaj, art critic, Delhi
  344. Vishaka Chanchani, art educator, Bangalore
  345. Viswanadhan, artist, Paris
  346. Viswanath B.R., artist/cinematographer, Bangalore
  347. Vivan Sundaram, artist, Delhi
  348. Yamini Nayar, artist
  349. Yardena Kurulkar, artist, Mumbai
  350. Yashodhara Dalmia, art critic, Delhi
  351. Yashwant Deshmukh, artist, Mumbai
  352. Yunus Khimani, artist, Jaipur

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