Thu, 21 Sep 2023, 7:00 - 8:30 PM (BST)
13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ
Join the authors of 'How Long Can the Moon Be Caged - Voices of Indian Polical Prisoners', Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia, in conversation with Amrit Wilson and Meenakshi Ravi.
Silencing and punishing critical voices is a project that lies at the heart of Narendra Modi’s authoritarian regime in India. The BJP’s political dream is clear: to achieve the ethno-nationalist aim of an exclusively ‘Hindu’ India, while targeting anyone who dares to question or dissent.
In this unique book, Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia look at the present of India through the lived experiences of political prisoners. Combining political and legal analysis with firsthand testimonies, the book explores the small gestures that constitute resistance inside and outside jail for the prisoners and their families, telling a story of destruction of institutions and erosion of rights.
How Long Can the Moon Be Caged? includes visual testimonies and prison writings from those falsely accused of inciting the Bhima Koregaon violence, by student leaders opposing the new discriminatory citizenship law passed in 2020, and by activists from the Pinjra Tod’s movement. In bringing together these voices, the book celebrates the courage, humanity and moral integrity of those jailed for standing in solidarity with marginalised and oppressed communities.
Suchitra Vijayan is the author of the critically acclaimed Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India. Born and raised in Madras, India, her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Nation and Foreign Policy and she has appeared on NBC news, BBC World Service and NPR. She is an award-winning photographer, founding member and Executive Director of The Polis Project.
Francesca Recchia is an independent researcher and writer. She is the editor, creative director and a founding member of The Polis Project, Inc. Francesca lived and worked for a decade in Afghanistan where, among other things, was the Acting Director of the Institute for Afghan Arts and Architecture and the Culture Specialist for the Aga Khan Trust for culture. She is interested in the geopolitical dimension of cultural processes and in recent years has focused her research on the relation between (tangible and intangible) heritage, politics and creative practices in countries in conflict. Her practice-based work is grounded on an interdisciplinary approach that combines Heritage, Design, Visual and Cultural Studies.
Amrit Wilson is a writer, journalist, and activist who since the 1970s has focused on issues of race and gender in Britain and South Asian politics. Her book Finding a Voice: Asian Women in Britain won the Martin Luther King Award and remains an influential feminist book. Her other book publications include Dreams, Questions, Struggles: South Asian Women in Britain and as a journalist she has been published in outlets including Ceasefire Magazine, openDemocracy and The Guardian.
Meenakshi Ravi is an Executive Producer with Al Jazeera English. She has been with the channel since its launch and works on The Listening Post, a weekly show that examines and scrutinises media around the world. In addition, Meenakshi works on All Hail – a series dedicated to explaining the social, economic and political forces that hold power in our everyday lives. Prior to joining Al Jazeera English, Meenakshi worked with CNBC in Mumbai, India.
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A powerful look at authoritarian India through the experiences of political prisoners