Tag Archives: suchitra vijayan

A Poet in Unrest: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with actor, poet, storyteller and theatre director Danish Husain

In this video, lawyer and founder of The Polis Project, Suchitra Vijayan talks to actor, poet, storyteller and theatre director Danish Husain on many topics ranging from his self-isolation in the USA during the Covid-19 pandemic to poetry as a tool against fascism.

Hussain was instrumental in reviving the art form of Dastangoi for which he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s (Indian Academy of Music, Dance, &Theatre) Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar in 2010. He subsequently returned the award in 2015 in the intolerance debate that raged across India. He later in 2016 started a multi-lingual brand of storytelling Qissebaazi. He also contributed an essay to a highly acclaimed collection Strongmen, edited by Vijay Prashad & published by Leftword Books, where five artists, including Eve Ensler, from five different countries write about authoritarian leaders in their countries.

Journalism as Genocide: Are journalists like Rahul Kanwal, Arnab Goswami & Sudhir Chaudhary entrepreneurs of hate in India?

In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in India, mainstream Indian journalists like Rahul Kanwal of TV Today (owned by India Today), Arnab Goswami (founder of Republic TV) and Sudhir Chaudhary (TV anchor and editor, Zee News) have come under fire for promoting hate against a particular community for spreading the Covid-19 virus. Of late, the targets of their programmes have been the Nizamuddin Markaz of the Tableeghi Jamaat in New Delhi and Madrasas.

According to Suchitra Vijayan, a lawyer and founder of The Polis Project, who says that hate is a big business, this kind of journalism could fall under the category of Genocide journalism, as it establishes a “… pattern of presenting and commenting on the news” that “transforms political debate into righteous passion against individuals and groups that disagree with the status quo.”

The modus operandi of this sort of journalism is as follows: “The targets of violence are marked with precision, taken as public hostages and accused of being enemies of the state. Later they explain what has to be done to this enemy. Through constant repetition, they construct a political, moral and historical alibi that eventually becomes the accepted truth. In this steady journey into the abyss of intolerance, journalists and news anchors become agents of the state and even annihilators of society. All the ingredients for conditioning a democratic alibi that existed in Nazi Germany and Rwanda exist in India today.”

Read the full text of the essay here.