MELANMAI Ponnusamy, a doyen among the progressive writers in Tamil Nadu and a Sahitya Akademi awardee, passed away in Chennai on October 30 after a brief illness. He was the founder of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association (TNPWAA) in the 1970s.
THE social and political hounding of Kancha Iliah Shepherd with death threats is another dark page in the recent turn of events, where intellectuals in the country have been at the mercy of hoodlums and fanatics of all hue and color, while the state is a mere bystander, said a statement issued by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT), on September 3.
JANA Natya Manch, Delhi organised an all India meeting of street theatre activists from August 13-15. There were 28 street theatre activists from 12 states who participated in the three-day meeting that was held at Studio Safdar, Shadi Khampur. The agenda of the meeting was to share stories about each other’s work and discuss strategies to counter the rising Hindutva forces through cultural resistance.
EXPRESSING shock and anger at the recent Central Board of Film Certification’s (CBFC) demand that certain words be excised from a film based on the work of the Nobel laureate economist Amartya Sen, many academics, artists and cultural activists issued a statement on July 13, condemning this censorship. The movie is titled after Sen’s 2005 work, The Argumentative Indian, which was widely acknowledged for its deep and authentic explorations of India’s traditions of public debate.
FOR 28 years now, January 1 has been an important date on the Delhi calendar. What began as a spontaneous coming together of artistes of different hues, vocations and inclinations has become, arguably, the most prominent annual cultural and political event in the city. Routinely, the colorful drapes and banners adorned the otherwise dreary built structures of VP House. The events organised by Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust began at noon with the play “Desh Badal Raha Hai” by the theater group, Bigul.
IT was as if we were watching a recap of the year.
The first play to be performed at Dr Ambedkar Park, Jhandapur, Sahibabad –
the place where Safdar Hashmi and Ram Bahadur were killed 28 years ago – was on demonetisation. It was done by a group of school girls from NOIDA, and they spoke about a number of issues around the central theme, including unemployment.
SAFDAR Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) in a statement issued on October 3, has said that the staging of a play written by the renowned writer and activist, Mahasweta Devi, would lead to questions, inquiry and ‘trouble’ for two teachers of the English department of the Central University of Haryana, Snehsata and Manoj Kumar is very hard to digest and must be condemned in the strongest of terms.
THE constitution of India under Article 14 guarantees each and every individual irrespective of any caste, class or gender differentiation the right to equality. Unfortunately, under the aegis of the current ruling dispensation there have been repeated attempts to curtail this fundamental right in case of certain groups including dalits and other marginalised sections of the society. To bring to light the everyday violation of this right as perceived by the dalits an evening of protest songs and music was held on September 15, 2016 at Mavalankar Hall, New Delhi.
THE Madras High Court’s verdict in the case involving author Perumal Murugan, declaring that the right to freedom of expression cannot be demolished by anyone, has been hailed by all. Editorials in newspapers of national and international repute, including the New York Times, hailed the judgment as “historic” and “remarkable”.