PanelistsTenzin Tsundue, Sanjay Kak, Nitasha Kaul, Mirza Waheed, Jianglin Li, and Dechen Pemba
Dissent is integral to the idea of democracy. But what constitutes dissent? Who draws the line between legitimate and illegitimate dissent? Or for that matter, who defines the limits of democracy? Are democratic states better at accepting plurality and differences of opinion or are they better at managing them, and in the process, disciplining them? What do democracy, dissent, democratic dissent, and dissenting democrats mean in the context of world’s two largest countries: China and India? As the two states become major economic and military powers, what significance does it have for the diverse peoples residing within and connected without? The keynote speeches by two foremost and internationally renowned writers and intellectuals from India and China -- Arundhati Roy and Wang Lixiong will discuss some of these issues.
Nationalisms of all kinds play an important role in how states include or exclude people as well as in how people control or resist the state. The problematic nature of inclusionary/exclusionary nationalisms and coercive/cooptive statehood in China and India are nowhere better illustrated than in Tibet and Kashmir. Kashmir and Tibet are places with people -- people who live in a system they may not necessarily identify with, people whose life and livelihood is extra-ordinarily precarious under an overbearing, people many of whom have been forcibly displaced or involuntarily exiled -- and yet for the international audience they are mainly intractable problems. What does it mean to belong to the ‘troublesome paradises’? How does the experience of exile affect displaced subjects’ engagement with their homelands? What do the protests in Tibet and Kashmir since 2008 tell us about the aspirations of the people as well as about the myths associated with nationalism and statehood in ‘rising’ India and China? The panels on Kashmir and Tibet will bring together leading writers, filmmakers, poets, bloggers and intellectuals.