No Offence, Please!


A series on the freedom of expression debate

The fine art of Intolerance

There is political capital to be gained from an extra-thin skin if you are willing to let the horizon shrink, warns Kiran Nagarkar Read More >



I won’t laugh! Don’t ask me

A stand-up comedian in India has to do a complicated little dance with his audiences, says Papa CJ
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 Love Language Or hate Speech

Words hurt us but are courts capable of healing those wounds? Sometimes, the courts themselves can inflict and deepen those wounds, argues Lawrence Liang Read More >


 ‘Our policy is to ban first and hear later’

A Senior Supreme Court advocate, Rajeev Dhavan tells Shonali Ghosal why the liberal space can be easily throttled in India  Read More >



‘Freedom must bring responsibility’

The 48-year-old lensman tells Janani Ganesan how artistic freedom brings its own set of responsibilities for both the artist as well as the State Read More >



Can you burn down a building if seven people are offended By it?’

Ram Rahman, 56, a renowned photographer and the director of SAHMAT, filed an FIR against the vandals who attacked the exhibition in 2008 and got some of them arrested. In a conversation with Janani Ganesan, he explains why the artist is often at the receiving end of the right to freedom of expression 
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The Endless Areola Debate

Indian mythology shows us that a point is driven home with a disarming nudge, not by applying a club to someone’s head, says artist Amruta Patil Read More >



‘Governments always take decisions before extremists demand anything’

From her home in Delhi, Taslima Nasrin, 49, tells Tusha Mittal how governments and fundamentalists are using each other Read More >



‘You can’t say: Jesus is a Fraud’

A renowned human rights lawyer, Soli Sorabjee has been an authoritative voice on the freedom of expression debate. His books include The Laws of Press Censorship in India (1976) and The Emergency, Censorship and the Press in India 1975-77 (1977). The 81-yearold former attorney general tells Shonali Ghosal why definitions of obscenity differ on a case-to-case basis Read More >


‘All Muslims feel the Indian media is biased on their issues’

Dr SQR Ilyas, 58, founded the Welfare Party of India on 18 April 2011, making it one of the youngest political parties in the country. Ilyas supports the import ban on The Satanic Verses and the anger against its author Salman Rushdie. In a candid chat, he tells Karuna John why it might be time India got a blasphemy law  Read More >


‘Indians can’t protest art. We accept looking at bare lingas all the time’

It is an irony difficult to miss. One of our most celebrated artists, Anjolie Ela Menon, 72, is best known for her portraits of women and nudes. Though she has exhibited all over the world, she was stopped from showing her work in Russia and Dubai. She tells Yamini Deenadayalan why artistic freedom is non-negotiable Read More >


Notes on Jaipur, and other Exhilarations

The censors are creeping into our minds and getting comfortable. But we do have some ways of evicting them, argues Gaurav Jain Read More >



‘Muslims can demolish Rushdie intellectually’

THERE WAS a flashpoint in 1997 when sections of Arun Shourie’sWorshipping False Gods called Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar a British stooge. Instead of unleashing violent mobs on the street, the Dalit community reacted in a surprising way. The offending book was countered by a few 100 written works big and small. Dalit leader Udit Raj, 54, tells Karuna John how a volatile controversy was successfully doused by debate.  Read More >


‘Kashmir tests our notions of Secularism’

DOES IT seem like every week brings more absurd and depressing instances of mob censorship? Last week, filmmaker Sanjay Kak was banned from screening his documentary Jashn-e-Azadi at a seminar on Kashmir at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Science, Pune, after the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested. Kak tells Yamini Deenadayalan why free speech must be accompanied by free listening. Read More >


The Dull Choreography of Political Correctness

Freedom of speech requires inventiveness and eccentricity, says Shiv Visvanathan Read More >


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