• Speak On, We Are With You!
    Statement from the Indian Writers’ Forum

    October 14, 2016
    Once again, we raise our voices against the curbing of freedom of speech. At a literary meeting organised by the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, writers Pradnya Pawar and Dr Raosaheb Kasabe had to leave the venue. They were asked to apologise for “hurting the sentiments of the Maratha community” and their “objectionable” statements on Shivaji. Of course, the “protestors” had not even heard the writers’ speeches.

    In fact, the two talks were well received: Pawar spoke about cultural terrorism, and Kasabe spoke of caste hegemony. Who can take on these issues if not writers and scholars like them? Dalit writer Pradnya Pawar was among the large group of writers whoreturned their Akademi awards in 2015 to protest growing assaults on the cultural fraternity and minorities. Dr Kasabe is a highly respected dalit scholar who has also been critical of the RSS attempt to appropriate Dr Ambedkar.

    It is clear to them, and to us, that this is one more brazen attempt at curbing the rights of dalits, especially the critical voices among them. It is clear to them, as to us, that these are not “spontaneous protests”, but planned by the right wing to muffle our writers who insist on speaking and writing about Indian realities as they know them.

    We call on citizens of conscience to join us in supporting Pawar, Kasabe, and telling all writers, dalit or otherwise: Speak on. We are with you.

    Krishna Sobti
    Romila Thapar
    Nayantara Sahgal
    Githa Hariharan
    K. Satchidanandan
    Devanur Mahadeva
    Jawari Mal Parakh
    Gopal Guru
    Huchangi Prasad
    Shanta Gokhale
    Shashi Deshpande
    Kiran Nagarkar
    Gulammohammed Sheikh
    Meena Kandasamy
    Rahman Abbas
    Ganesh Devy
    Sanjeev Kumar
    Adil Jussawalla
    Keki Daruwalla
    Makarand Sathe
    Shyam B. Menon
    Damodar Mauzo
    Chandrakant Patil
    Ganesh Devy
    Chaman Lal
    Chandramohan S.
    Vishnu Nagar
    Meena Alexander
    Shamoil Ahmad
    Mayank Saxena
    Shahnaz Nabi
    R. T. Muthu
    Shamim Abbas
    Kavin Malar
    Prasanna Ramaswamy
    Abrar Mujeeb
    Zamarrud Mughal
    Nandini Atmasiddha
    Anand Patwardhan
    Samik Bandyopadhyay
    T. M. Krishna
    P. Sivakami
    Uday Prakash
    Ranjit Hoskote
    Maria Cuoto