Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ramjas College - censorship continues

Dear friends, we have just undergone the latest act of censorship in a long series of attempts to crush thoughtful minds. A meeting called today, (24th August 2017; at the campus of the Delhi School of Economics) to recall and discuss the violent events in Ramjas College in February this year has been called off under pressure from the very same people who indulged in the violence. Since they are affiliated with the ruling party, they can bend the police and administration to their will. Police are only too happy to say 'there is a threat of disturbance, cancel the event' - when in fact it is their duty to prevent disturbance. Delhi Police may kindly refer to Article 19 of the Constitution of India, which protects our Right to Freedom, including freedom of speech. In shameless violation of their oath of office, the North District police is rendering state protection to hooligans; and allowing ruling politicians to trample over our constitutional rights.

We have seen this before, in Ramjas College and elsewhere. Here is what happened in February:
State protected hooliganism in Ramjas College
and this is an account of an event from 1988:
Venue for a Speech on Tamas - A Chronicle of an Event That Should Never Have Happened
Six Months After Ramjas College Violence, Things Are Only Getting Worse

There are more posts on censorship here

It is well to remember (and history is the arena of collective memory) that censorship has a very old lineage; and that propaganda and censorship are closely related. Propaganda is vocal censorship, censorship is silent propaganda. They are both aspects of authoritarian systems, and they are both violent in essence. We should study and debate these phenomena carefully, for they are always with us; moreover, we must continue to speak in the face of threats, remembering all those, who till this day have resisted and continue to resist tyranny. I request students (and all concerned citizens) to study the history of intellectual persecution and discuss it at length, because it cuts across political and time zones. 

Find below some readings (you can get many of these books in PDF) and links:
Barrington Moore Jr; Moral Purity and Persecution in History; Princeton, 2000
Michael White; The Pope and the Heretic: the true story of Giordano Bruno; New York, 2002
James B. Given, Inquisition and Medieval Society: power, discipline and resistance in Languedoc; Ithaca, 1997
Henry Kamen; The Spanish Inquisition: an historical revision; London, 1997
Mark Gregory Pegg The Corruption of Angels: The Great Inquisition of 1245-1246; Princeton 2001
Arup Banerji; Writing history in the Soviet Union: Making the past work; Delhi, 2008

See also

A Final Warning by George Orwell