In the wake of the ongoing protest by writers and artists over the government’s response to incidents of violence and intolerance, a group of sociologists have expressed their disquiet at the PM’s ‘late response’ and his failure to assert that the rule of law will be defended


Statement by Sociologists on the Need to Maintain Constitutional and Academic Freedoms

We, as sociologists and concerned citizens, feel extremely concerned about the lynching at Dadri, and the murders of scholars and thinkers like MM Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and others, and wish to register our strong protest.

We are not just shocked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s late response, but also by the implications of the victim-blaming statement he made. To say that ‘Hindus and Muslims should not fight each other but should fight poverty instead’ puts the onus for peace and fighting poverty entirely on civil society and communities and absolves the state of any responsibility for both. As Prime Minister, he should have asserted that the state would defend the rule of law.

In a country with some 4693 communities and over 415 living languages, each community is bound to have its own customs, including dietary choices. Individuals may also follow practices different from the ones followed by the majority of their community. Any attempt to impose a uniform belief or practice, on either individuals or communities, is antithetical to the freedom enshrined in the Constitution. It is the state’s responsibility to ensure this freedom.

Further, as scholars, we are extremely worried about the implications of these recent developments for our ability to study and write about different life ways, and to critically analyse society, including social phenomena like religion.

SIGNED (in alphabetical order)

Janaki Abraham, University of Delhi
Anuja Agrawal, University of Delhi
Yasmeen Arif, University of Delhi
Mahuya Bandyopadhyay, University of Delhi
Xonzoi Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences– Guwahati

Amita Baviskar, Institute of Economic Growth
Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Jyothsna Belliappa, Azim Premji University
Anjali Bhatia, University of Delhi
Reema Bhatia, University of Delhi

Vasundhara Bhojvaid, University of Delhi
Anuj Bhuwania, South Asian University
Rita Brara, University of Delhi
Anand Chakravarti, rtd. University of Delhi
Roma Chatterji, University of Delhi
Ruchi Chaturvedi, University of Cape Town

Radhika Chopra, University of Delhi
Dia Da Costa, University of Alberta
Ajay Dandekar, Shiv Nadar University
Ankur Datta, South Asian University
Satish Deshpande, University of Delhi

Vincent Ekka, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Tanweer Fazal, Jamia Millia Islamia
Shalini Grover, Institute of Economic Growth
Radhika Gupta, Max Planck Institute, Göttingen
Chandan Gowda, Azim Premji University

Rajesh Kamble, University of Mumbai
Sasheej Hegde, University of Hyderabad
Rudolf C Heredia, Independent Researcher, Mumbai
Farhana Ibrahim, Indian Institute of Technology – Delhi
Surinder S. Jodhka, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Kalpana Kannabiran, Centre for Social Development

Ravinder Kaur, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi
Sakshi Khurana, V. V. Giri National Labour Institute
Ravi Kumar, South Asian University
Satendra Kumar, Lucknow
C. Lakshmanan, Madras Institute of Development Studies

Amman Madan, Azim Premji University
T. N. Madan, Institute of Economic Growth
Nissim Mannathukkaren, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nayanika Mathur, University of Cambridge
Deepak Mehta, Shiv Nadar University

Gayatri Menon, Azim Premji University
Arima Misra, Azim Premji University
Radhika Mongia, York University
Geetha Nambissan, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Balmurli Natarajan, William Paterson University

Tiplut Nongbri, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi
Amrita Pande, University of Cape Town
Sujata Patel, University of Hyderabad
Tulsi Patel, University of Delhi

Shilpa Phadke, Tata Institute of Social Sciences- Mumbai
Purendra Prasad, University of Hyderabad
Meena Radhakrishna, formerly of Delhi University
Raka Ray, University of California at Berkeley
D. R. Sahu, University of Lucknow

Savyasaachi, Jamia Millia Islamia
Manisha Sethi, Jamia Millia Islamia
Hira Singh, York University
Alito Siquira, University of Goa
G. Srinivas, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Sanjay Srivastava, Institute of Economic Growth
V. Sujatha, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi
Ravi Sundaram, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
Renny Thomas, University of Delhi

Patricia Uberoi, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies
Carol Upadhya, National Institute of Advanced Study
Divya Vaid, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Sudha Vasan, University of Delhi
A. R. Vasavi, Bangalore

Susan Visvanathan, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Anurekha Chari Wagh, University of Pune
Virginius Xaxa, Tata Institute of Social Sciences– Guwahati