From Khap to AAP: Encountering Dissent

Liu Xia: Poet Planting Signs

Raj Liberhan and Lekha Roy 27 January 2014 K. Satchidanandan and Zahira Rahman 20 January 2014
‘Let’s agree to disagree.’ Dissent: a differing voice. A modern democracy expects its citizens to respect the modalities of their disagreements. And these times do offer one the occasions to disagree with the majority. Should the disturbance caused by the dissenters be contained? Or should we rather cherish such agents, as they expand the borders of our rights and duties? The 65th Republic Day of India was marked by a strange upheaval at the heart of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi, with ‘dissent’ becoming the new public mantra. This week, Raj Liberhan observes that the noise dynamics ruling the public sphere today prevents a genuine ethics of dissent from emerging. Lekha Roy argues how ‘ethics’ often turns out to be a luxury and a veil, for dissent may at times be repulsive, while being the only route to true change.Read button
On the evening of 8 October 2010, while the Nobel committee praised its new laureate, incarcerated Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese government put Liu Xia, his wife, under house arrest. Liu Xia, a poet and artist, thus lost her freedom of movement, communication and speech. But last week, her voice came back to us, unexpectedly. Despite her extreme depression, Liu Xia managed to send out to the world a short video of herself, reading poetry. This may be an apt occasion to discuss the power of poetry to speak up, to move in the dark, to plant signs. This week’s Inter-actions presents K. Satchidanandan, who reaffirms poetry as the voice of resistance. In her response, Zahira Rahman urges poets who live outside the canon, deprived and unarmed, to fight with the only weapon they have – their thin, sword-like, incisive poetry.Read button
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Muzaffarnagar: A Winter in Exile

Harsh Mander and Ananya Rao 15 January 2014
‘Melancholy are the sounds on this winter’s nights.’ The bitter cold, the cruel dark, the inevitable exile, the indifferent gaze have all returned. This time, to Muzaffarnagar. We are yet again in the wake of a violent communal conflict in India, only a decade after the Gujarat carnage. For Harsh Mander, such events are primarily orchestrated, through various movements, from the intentional manufacture of hatred to the complicity of the State. Only a Communal Violence Bill, he argues, could bring some sense of justice at the heart of the tragedy. Ananya Rao, in her response, reformulates the problem in philosophical terms, and suggests that overarching identities tend to ignite confrontations. Supportive of the legal solution proposed by Harsh Mander, she nonetheless ponders the risks of misuses.Read button
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the writers are their own. LILA Inter-actions will not be responsible for the views presented.

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