Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)

Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)

Launch of the Digital Archive "The Long Emergency. Media and Democracy in India"

CeMIS is proud to announce the launching of the digital archive "The Long Emergency. Media and Democracy in India" , which is coordinated by Prof. Srirupa Roy.

Long Emergency Updated

The government of India declared a national emergency citing internal instability in June 1975. By June 26th, the day after emergency had been declared, media outlets in the country had received instructions on news that must be censored. Some newspapers ran blank editorials as protests. In the eighteen months that followed, the press censorship rules remained in effect and additional forms of pressure were exerted on the media. These ranged from the withdrawal of state advertisements to income tax raids on media owners and phone calls to journalists conveying “helpful suggestions” about the news they might (or might not) carry. Many journalists were arrested for protesting the emergency, or for holding views that were considered inimical to state authority. Many others supported the emergency as a necessary measure. Most, however, lay low until the emergency was lifted and the media began reporting actively on the news that they had not covered in the years of the emergency, in a burst of “new journalism” that would shine a light on post-emergency abuses of power as well.


Project Coordinator: Srirupa Roy, University of Göttingen
Senior Consultant: Kai Friese
Oral History Researchers: Sopan Joshi, Farah Yameen, Rajender Negi
Archiving Consultant: Farah Yameen
Technical Consultant: Janastu (TB Dinesh, Shalini A, Bhanu Prakash G S)

Film Screening & Discussion: "Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai" (Muzaffarnagar eventually)

Papendiek 14 (Vortragsraum), Göttingen, 16.01.2019 at 4pm. 16 January 2019

Lalit Vachani (CeMIS, Göttingen) will be in conversation with filmmaker Nakul Singh Sawhney after the screening, and will moderate the audience discussion.

In September 2013, Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts of Western Uttar Pradesh, India, witnessed one of India's worst ever anti-Muslim pogrom since Indian Independence. More than 100 people were killed and close to 80,000 people were displaced. In the past, the two districts have seen relative harmony between Muslims and Hindus. What happened this time?

'Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai' (Muzaffarnagar eventually) straddles between various socio-political-economic dynamics in the area that affected or have been affected by the violence. The film speaks to a cross-section of people. While looking at the immediate violence and its repercussions, it takes a journey around the many facets of the massacre—the question of a woman's 'honour', which becomes the biggest rallying point to instigate people; the way communal polarisation was orchestrated by Hindu nationalist organisations including BJP-RSS; the merging of caste identity politics within the larger Hindutva fold; and the breakdown of the once powerful farmers' union, Bhartiya Kissan Union, from this region, whose survival hinged on the unity of Hindu and Muslim peasants.

It also explores the various aspects of Dalit politics in the districts and the dubious role of the Samajwadi Party, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh at the time of the riots. This has today resulted in a feeling of complete alienation and marginalisation of the Muslim community. All these aspects are woven together by the 2014 Indian general election campaign. The film looks at how the massacre finally found its resonance in these elections.

But in the midst of this gloom the film narrates the tale of a continued and growing resistance in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli districts against the corporate-communal nexus. Muzaffarangar and Shamli districts have not given in yet. And so, the film asks the question, what will be the fate of Muzaffarnagar, eventually?

Workshop: “Understanding New Nationalisms”. 17-18 January 2018

This interdisciplinary workshop aims to understand the transformations of nationalism in India, with a particular focus on the politics of contemporary Hindu nationalism and implications for democratic futures.

Organizers: Srirupa Roy and Lalit Vachani (CeMIS) in cooperation with Thomas Blom Hansen (Stanford University) and ICAS:MP.

For further information, please contact Birgit Priemer.

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