www.sacw.net > In Defence of Intellectual and Artistic Freedom in (or on) South Asia
June 16, 2008

Statement by Academics and Activists on the Harassment of Ashis Nandy and a Demand for Withdrawal of Spurious Charges Levied Against Him

We write to protest in the strongest possible terms against the charges of criminal offence levied against Ashis Nandy, a political psychologist, sociologist and an internationally renowned public intellectual of the highest caliber.  This is the latest case of harassment of intellectuals, journalists, artists, and public figures by antidemocratic forces that claim to speak on behalf of Hindu values  sometimes and patriotism at other times, especially in Gujarat, but who have little understanding of either.  What is pernicious in this  case is that the charge of criminal offence against Nandy  levied under Section 153 (A) and (B) for his newspaper article "Blame the Middle Classes",  was brought by the head of the Gujarat Branch of the National Council of Civil Liberties.  The State Government of Gujarat by giving its permission for filing the case has shown its own complicity in the case.

It seems part of the strategy of the most intolerant sections of Indian society today to make a cynical use the language of civil liberties to achieve ends that are the opposite of what the aspirations to civil liberties and the struggles over them represent. The harassment of well-known intellectuals and artists hides we fear, the daily intimidation being faced by members of minorities and especially the Muslims in Gujarat. We demand that all the charges against Professor Nandy be immediately dropped. We understand that there is a great deal of anxiety in Gujarat today about its lost honour.  It might help to remind ourselves that this honour or "asmita"  will not be gained by acts of violence and intimidation but by recovering or discovering the humanity of each other. Gujarat can and will regain its own destiny by remembering the politics of nonviolence, as one of its sons by the name of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi once taught the nation and the world.

1.Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University, USA.

2. Homi Bhabha, Harvard University, USA

3. Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Center for Policy Research, Delhi, India

4. Gananath Obeyesekere, Princeton University, USA

5. Pratiksha Baxi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

6. Saurabh Dube, El Colegio de Mexico

7. Diana Eck, Harvard University, USA

8. Sanjay Subrahmaniam, University of California at Los Angeles, USA

9. Lawrence Cohen, University of California Berkeley, USA

10. Sasanka Perera,  University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

11. Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh, UK

12. Flavia Agnes, Legal Center of Majlis, Mumbai, india

13. Harsh Mandar, Aman Biradari, Delhi, india

14. Uma Chakravarty, Independent Scholar, Delhi, India

15. Hent de Vries, Johns Hopkins University, USA

16. Ravinder Kaur, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India

17. Nancy Scheper-Hughes, University of California  Berkeley, USA

18. Akhil Gupta, University of California Los Angeles, USA

19. Ishita Bannerjee, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico

20. Nivedita Menon, University of Delhi,  India

21. Deepak Mehta, University of Delhi, India

22. Nirja Gopal Jayal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India

23. Srimati Basu, University of Kentucky, USA

24. Pamela Reynolds, Johns Hopkins University, USA

25. Perveez Mody, University of Cambridge UK

26. Janaki Abraham, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

27. Rajni Palriwala, University of Delhi, India

28. Kalpana Kannabiran, NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad

29.Stewart Motha, Kent Law School, UK

30. Anand Pandian, Johns Hopkins University, USA

31.Vikram Vyas, St. Stephens College, University of Delhi

32. Maria Pia de Bella, CNRS-IRSI-EHESS, Paris

33. Gil Anidjar, Columbia University, USA

34. Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore

35 Ranendra K Das, Johns Hopkins University, USA

36. Stanley Samarsinghe, Tulane University, USA

37. Kavi Bhalla, Harvard Initiative for Global Health, USA

38. Naveeda Khan, Johns Hopkins University, USA

39 C K Raju, Center for Studies in Civilizations, Delhi, India

40. Asha Singh, Lady Irwin College, University of Delhi, Delhi.

41 Sanjay Barbora, Panos Institute South Asia, Guwahati, India

42. K. Tudor Silva, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

43. Ashok Xavier, Loyola College, Chennai, India

44. Rada Ivekovic, College international de philosophie, Paris

45. Vasuki Nesiah, Brown University, USA

46. Nermeen Shaikh, Asia Society, New York, USA

47. Mani Shekhar Singh, Independent Scholar, Delhi

48. Kavita Misra, Columbia University, USA

49. Christopher Stone, Hunter College, New York, USA

50. Arjun Appadurai, New School University, USA

51. Fredrique-Appfel Marglin, Smith College, USA

52. Ailli Trip, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

53. Nayanika Mookherjee, Lancaster University, UK

54. Sanjay Reddy, University of Columbia, USA

55. Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA

56. Sanmay Das, Ransellier Polytechnic Institute, USA

57. Mohan Trivedi, University of California, San Diego, USA

58. Kamala Visweswaran, University of Texas at Austin, USA

59. Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

60. Geeta Patel, University of Virginia, USA

61. Ajay Sakaria, University of Minnesota, USA

62. Gloria Goodwin Raheja, University of Minnesota, USA

63. Farah Aziz, Journalist, Mumbai, India

64. Pankj Mishra, Writer, New York, USA

65. Uday Mehta, Amherst College, USA

66. Qadri Ismail, University of Minnesota, USA

67. Rachel Dwyer, University of London, UK

68. Michael Dwyer, Publisher, London, UK

69. Bhaskar Sarkar, UC Santa Barbara, USA

70. Ashok Dhareshwar, Washington, DC, USA

71. Mahdi Almandrja, University Mohammad V Rabat, Morocco

72. Richard Falk, Princeton University, USA

73. Piya Chatterjee, UC Riverside, USA

74 Ann Grodzins Gold, Syracuse University, New York

75. Sunil Bhavsar, San Diego, California, USA

76. Simone Sawhney, University of Minnesota, USA

77. Gyanendra Pandey, Emory University, USA

78. Sabina Sawhney, Hofstra University, New York, USA

79. Vivek Dhareshwar, Center for the Study of Culture and Society,      Bangalore, India

80. Adel Wessell, Southern Cross University,  Australia

81. Baden Oxford, Southern Cross University, Australia

82. Indira Chowdhury, ARCH, Bangalore, India.

83. Jerry  Pinto, Journalist, Mumbai, India.

84. Andrea Pinto, Librarian, Mumbai, India.

85. Sruti Chaganthi, Center for the Study of Culture and Society, Bangalore, India

86. David Loy, Xavier University, Ohio, USA

87. Jan Obevg, Transnational Foundation, Sweden

88. Vrinda Grover, Marg, Delhi

89. Mahua Sarkar, Binghamton University, USA

90. Joseph Borocz, Rutgers University, USA

91. Megha Subramanian, University of Southern California, LA, USA

92. Nayanika Mookherjee, Lancaster University, UK

93. Pradeep Jeganathan, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka

94. Malathi de Alwis, International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka

95. Ein Lal, Independent Film Maker, Delhi, India

96. Shastri Ramachandran, Journalist, the Tribune, Chandigarh, India

97. Rita Brara, University of Delhi, India.

98. V.Venkatesan, Journalist, Frontline, Delhi

99. Debamitra Kar, Pearson Education, Delhi, India

100. Maitreyi Krishnan, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

101. Ponni Arasu, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

102. Manoranjani Thomas, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

103. Mayur Suresh, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

104. Prashant Iyengar, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

105. Namita Malhotra, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

106. Clifton Rosario, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

107. Arvind Narrain, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

108. Jiti Nichani, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

109. Usha R, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

110. Siddhartha Narrian, Alternative  Law Forum, Bangalore, India

111. Anand Chokhwala, Surat, India

112. Nayana M Trivedi, Scripps Memorial Hospital, San Diego, California, USA

113. Munira A Basnai, NIH, Bathesda, USA

114. Attila Melegh, Corvinus University, Hungary.

115. Gauri Viswanathan, Columbia University, USA

116. Bhrigupati Singh, Johns Hopkins University, USA

117. Prerna Singh, Princeton University, USA

118. Saumya Das, Mass. General hospital, Cambridge, USA

119. Ranjini Obesesekera, Independent Scholar, Sri Lanka

120. Sithie Tiruchelvam, Tiruchelvam Associates, Colombo, Sri Lanka

121. Jonathan Parry, London School of Economics, London, UK

122. Manav Ratti, Oxford University, UK

123. Priyamvada Gopal, University of Cambridge, UK

124. Harsh Pant, King’s College, London, UK

125. Keya Ganguli, University of Minnesota, USA

126. Joshua Castollino, Middlesex University, UK

127. Sudeshna Guha, Univeristy of Cambridge, UK

128. Debjani Ganguli, Australian National University, Australia

129. Kavita Daiya, George Washington University, USA

130. Jonathan Woolf, University of Liverpool, UK

131. Soumhya Venkatesan, University of Manchester, UK

132. Kriti Kapila, University of Cambridge, UK

133. Shirin Rail, University of Warwick, UK

134. Radmila Nakarada, University of Belgrade, Serbia

135. Gul Khattak, Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad, Pakistan

136. Suketu Bhavsar, Cal Poly, Pomona USA

137. Jishnu Das, Center for Policy Research, Delhi, India

138. Swati Chattopadhyay, UC Santa Barbara, USA

139. Dineshwar Tiwari, Deshkal Society, Delhi, India

140. Ranjeet Nirguni, Deshkal Society, Delhi, India

141. Mary JaJehanbegaloo, University of Toronto, Canada

142. Imtiaz Ahmad, Dhaka University, Bangladesh

143. Shard Chandra Behar, Bhopal, MP, India

144. Arthur Kleinman, Harvard University, USA

145. Aamir Mufti, UC Los Angeles, USA

146. Nauman Naqvi, Brown University, USA

147. Steven Caton, Harvard University, USA

148. Ziauddin Sardar, City University, London, UK

149. Ohashi Masaki, Keisen University, Japan

150. Jessica Marglin Princeton University, USA

151. J. Mohan Rao, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

152. Sylvia Marcos, Center for Psycho-ethnological Research, Cuernavaca, Mexico

153. Jean Robert, Architect, Mexico

154. Partha Chatterjee, Columbia University, USA

155. Rajeev Bhargav, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi

156. Baber Johansen, Harvard University, USA

157. Srirupa Roy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA

158. Fredrique-Apffel Marglin, Smith College, Northampton, USA

159. Shudana Yusaf, Princeton University, USA

160. Sudhir Kakat, Psychoanalyst and Writer, Goa, India

161. Daho Djerbal, University of Algeria, Algeria

162. Upendra Baxi, Warwick University, UK

163. Harsh Kapoor, South Asia Citizen’s Web

164. Govinda Rath, G.B.Pant institute of Social Sciences, Allahabad, India

165. William Connolly, Johns Hopkins University, USA

166. Dipankar Gupta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

167. Indrani Chatterjee, Rutgers University, Delhi

168. Peter Ronald deSouza, Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Simla

169. Triloki Madan, Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, India

170. Mira Kamdar, World Policy Institute, New York, USA

171. Ashutosh Kumar, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

172. Partha Ghosh, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India

173. Amiya Kumar Choudhuri, MAKAIS, Kolkata, India.

174. Rajaram Pande, The Japan Foundation, New Delhi, India

175. Lloyd I Rudolf, University of Chicago

176. Susanne H Rudolf, University of Chicago

177. Rosemary M George, UC San Diego

178. Shylashri Shankar, Center for Policy Research , Delhi

[I certify that emails indicating the consent of all persons to the statement are available with me. Veena Das, vdas@jhu.edu or veena.das@gmail.org]

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