ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Sudhanva DeshpandeSubscribe to Sudhanva Deshpande

The One-state Solution

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonial Conquest and Resistance by Rashid Khalidi, Hachette India, 2020; pp 319, Rs 599 (paperback).


Soft Targets

Art Attacks: Violence and Offence-Taking in India by Malvika Maheshwari, New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp x+372, ₹964, hardcover. 

The Many Histories of Protest Music

The Radical Impulse: Music in the Tradition of the Indian People’s Theatre Association by Sumangala Damodaran, New Delhi: Tulika, 2017; pp xiv+234, ₹ 950.

Namdeo Laxman Dhasal (1949-2014)

A poet of protest like no one else, Dhasal's verses and political activism were a ferocious challenge to all canons of literature, language, politics, even religion. While his political and personal life was often controversial, to say the least, his poems will keep unsettling us for a long time to come.

The Man with a Hyphenated Identity

Life under Israel's increasingly vicious occupation of Palestine is hard not simply because of the physical conditions of existence, but because it oppresses the imagination and distorts the personality of children. In this country without playgrounds, Juliano Mer Khamis and his Freedom Theatre proved a threat, not only to the Zionist state but also to the Islamic fundamentalists, who could not accept his identity of being equally Palestinian and Israeli.

Lohia and Language

Was Rammanohar Lohia a Hindi chauvinist after all? Sudhanva Deshpande's response to Yogendra Yadav goes in search of Lohia's writings on language and finds them supporting Hindi parochialism. Yogendra Yadav responds that opposition to English was the core of Lohia's stand on language and he asked questions which may still be relevant.

Bilingualism, Theatre, and the Fate of the Vernacular

Contrary to Ramachandra Guha's arguments ("The Rise and Fall of the Bilingual Intellectual", EPW, 15 August 2009), bilingualism (actually multilingualism) thrives in Indian theatre. And perhaps when children are comprehensively schooled in the vernacular at the primary level, bilingualism (English and an Indian language) is more likely to take root.

Authorship and Copyright in Theatre

Copying, imitation and reproducibility are central to the fine arts and therefore the concept of copyright sits uneasy. Experience suggests that copyright is designed to protect corporate profits rather than artists' creativity. It is imperative for artists and theatre persons to work out alternatives to copyright which recognise the creator's work without obstructing wider dissemination and adaption.

Habib Tanvir: Upside-Down Midas

Habib Tanvir, who turned 80 on September 1, is a citizen of the world, borrowing, reading, soaking up influences indiscriminately; but through a long, hard, creative struggle, he has made Chhattisgarh the prism that refracts his creative expression. He is a Midas turned upside-down: whatever he touches loses its sheen, it becomes rough and turns to Chhattisgarhi.

Habib Tanvir under Attack

Habib Tanvir and his band of rural actors have been under vicious attack from the Sangh parivar for the last fortnight or so. The main thrust of the two plays which have been attacked is social amity and harmony. Habib Tanvir has vowed to carry on with the performance of the plays. For any artist this would be a remarkable act of courage. For a man of 80, it is nothing less than heroic.

Sahmat and Politics of Cultural Intervention

Sahmat and Politics of Cultural Intervention Sudhanva Deshpande IN November 1988, the working class of Delhi went on a successful seven-day strike under the leadership of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). the trade union front of CPI(M), demanding an improvement in their living and working conditions. This has been, to date, the longest such action in the working class movement in Delhi. A day before the strike began, several hundred artists and intellectuals marched to Boat Club in support of the forthcoming strike, and participated in a cultural sit-in. The chief mobiliser of this event was Safdar Hashmi, playwright, actor, director, lyricist, designer, filmmaker, and the best-known street theatre person in India. A month later, he was killed for daring to align his art with the cause of the working class.

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