Essay | Bullies in the state
Surely it is the end when the private sector, which is supposed to consist of people like you and me, censors itself?
Three years ago, I found myself writing an impassioned defence against the removal of an essay by my teacher, A.K. Ramanujan, from a University of Delhi course reading list. It breaks my heart that, so soon after, I must write yet again, in defence of the work of another of my teachers. This time, it’s Wendy Doniger, this time it’s a whole book. It humbles me when I realize my immense good fortune in having been taught by the great minds of our times, minds that were intellectually curious, unafraid to map new paths and chart unexplored territories, minds that insisted on the importance of multiple perspectives, minds that fought monolithic hegemonies. Sadly, for them and for us, they are both scholars of India, a place that no longer values difference, pluralism or diversity. It is increasingly painful to know that I am becoming one of fewer and fewer people who can learn from the insights, marvel at the depth and breadth of knowledge, enjoy the wit and wisdom of people like Doniger and Ramanujan. It is devastating to live in a country that does not value discursive and critical thinking about itself and its vibrant traditions of thought and story-telling.