Dispatches – Coversations from a lockdown

25 March 2020

The Polis Project launches our online conversation series — Dispatches, Conversations during a lockdown. We will be live streaming these conversations, on our Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

With communities around the world currently living under various degrees of quarantine,  lockdowns and even curfews, these conversations are a way to centre and amplify the diverse voices, concerns and struggles. We are living through a unique historical moment, that requires solidarity, empathy and more importantly ways to reaffirm our shared humanity. The coming weeks and months will be chaotic, along with an unprecedented expansion of executive power that will encroach civil liberties, further expand surveillance architectures, and entrench already existing inequalities. The borders will be sealed, the communities already struggling under state violence, and living through conflict will become invisible and erased from news cycles.

While there is much to despair, these moments are also moments to think about radically remaking our world, and about new possibilities. To continue to engage, even if it is only online for now.

If you have a suggestion of whom we could invite, please contact:

[email protected]

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9 April 2021 – Ep 40: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Meenakshi Ganguly

Francesca Recchia in conversation with Meenakshi Ganguly the director for South Asia at the Human Rights Watch about the Rohingya Crisis.

The episode will be made available on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook.

2 April 2021 – Ep 39: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dina M. Siddiqi and Dr. Navine Murshid

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dina M. Siddiqi and Dr. Navin Murshid about the suppression of dissent and resistance movements in Bangladesh.

Dina M. Siddiqi is Clinical Associate Professor in Liberal Studies at New York University.  Trained as a cultural anthropologist, her research joins development studies, transnational feminist theory, and the anthropology of Islam and human rights, with a regional focus on Bangladesh/South Asia.

Dr. Navine Murshid is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Director of the International Relations Program at Colgate University. She is the author of Politics of Refugees in South Asia: Identity, Resistance, Manipulation (2013). She is currently working on her second book, tentatively titled India’s Bangladesh Problem: The Marginalization of Bengali Muslims in Neoliberal Times.

The episode is available on Youtube, Twitter and Facebook.

26 March 2021 – Ep 38: Screening of Before the Sun Comes Up

This episode features a screening of the film “Before the Sun Comes Up” followed by a Q&A session with Ali Haider Habib, Head of Communications, Justice Project Pakistan.

The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Film produced by: Justice Project Pakistan

19 March 2021 – Ep 37: Srinivas Kodali in conversation with Anand Venkatanarayan

Independent researcher Srinivas Kodali in conversation with Anand Venkatanarayanan about intermediary rules and challenges to end-to-end encryption.

The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

26 February 2021 – Ep 36: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Nityanand Jayaraman

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Nityanand Jayaraman, a Chennai, India-based writer and social activist, and a member of the Chennai Solidarity Group – a collective that fights environmental injustice and discrimination. As competition for access to natural resources pits powerful corporations against farmers, fishers and indigenous people in violent conflict, Nityanand locates himself on the side of the latter to ensure that rule of law and democracry are not buried at the altar of commerce.

The full episode is available on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.

19 February 2021 – Ep 35: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Habeel Iqbal

Francesca Recchia in conversation with human rights lawyer Habeel Iqbal about cyber surveillance in Kashmir. Iqbal is a human rights lawyer working in Indian administered Kashmir. The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

12 February 2021 – Ep 34: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Ismat Ara

Francesca Recchia in conversation with journalist Ismat Ara about the criminalization of journalism.

Ismat Ara is a reporter with The Wire, one of India’s biggest and leading digital news organizations. She covers education, gender and communalism among other things. Reporting with sensitivity and empathy on important issues is how she plans to realize her lofty dreams of changing the world. She was invited to BBC World News, as well as featured in multiple other media platforms for her coverage of Delhi riots in 2020. She follows her passion for a living and aspires to continue doing so.

The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

5 February 2021 – Ep 33: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with M. Rajshekhar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with author and independent journalist M. Rajshekhar about his book ‘Despite the State.’

Rajshekhar began reporting on environmental issues as a freelance journalist in 2005. After a brief stint with the World Bank, an MA at the University of Sussex, and two years of independent research—spent studying the village-level impact of an agribusiness model in central India and the drafting process which produced India’s Forest Rights Act—he joined the Economic Times to report on rural India and environment in 2010.

He joined Scroll.in in 2015 to do a thirty-three-month-long reporting project, Ear to the Ground, which became the substrate for his recently launched book, Despite the State.
He now writes on energy, environment, climate change, political corruption and oligarchy. His reportage can be found at www.mrajshekhar.in.

The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

29 January 2021 – Ep 32: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Urvashi Sarkar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with independent journalist Urvashi Sarkar about the political and ideological economy of Indian foreign policy. Sarkar is an independent journalist based in Mumbai with an interest in foreign policy reporting. She is currently working on a book about Indian think tanks.

The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

22 January 2021 – Ep 31: Cynthia Stephen in conversation with Bhanwar Meghwanshi

This episode is guest hosted by Cynthia Stephen, a Dalit scholar, independent researcher, activist, and journalist. She talks to Bhanwar Meghwanshi, a former member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who quit the organization last year. They discuss Meghwanshi’s book “I Could Not Be Hindu” where he describes his experience as a Dalit in the RSS. Learn more about the book here.

This episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

15 January 2021 – Ep 30: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Ravinder Kaur and Omair Ahmad

Suchitra Vijayan reviews the year 2020 with guests Ravinder Kaur and Omair Ahmad. Kaur is a historian of contemporary India and Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. Ahmad is an author and the South Asia editor of The Third Pole, a multilingual platform dedicated to promoting information and discussion about the Himalayan watershed and the rivers that originate there. The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

17 December  2020 – Ep 29: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Sharjeel Usmani, Ladeeda Farzana, and Aysha Renna

For this episode, Francesca Recchia talks about ‘AMU and Jamia – one year on’ with Sharjeel Usmani, student leader and independent researcher; Ladeeda Farzana, student activist from Jamia Milia; and Aysha Renna, a Muslim student activist. This conversation is available on our YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter platforms.

4 December 2020 – Ep 28: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Ameya Bokil, Srujana Bej, and Nikita Sonavane

For this episode, Suchitra Vijayan talks to the guests about ‘Law and Impunity: Policing During the Lockdown.’
Ameya Bokil and Nikita Sonavane are the co-founders of Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project (CPA Project), a Bhopal based litigation and research intervention focused on building accountability against criminalization of marginalized communities by the Police and the criminal justice system and press for decarceration. They both have previously worked with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Ahmedabad.
Srujana Bej is a research associate at the CPA Project. She graduated from NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad in 2019. Her fieldwork on the impact of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication on the right to food in Telangana has been cited in the Indian Parliament and by the Supreme Court of India.
The full episode is available on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

20 November 2020 – Ep 27: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Asim Qureshi

For this episode, The Polis Project’s Francesca Rechhia talks to Asim Qureshi, Research Director at CAGE UK and author of I Refuse to Condemn (Manchester University Press, 2020) about the normalization of racism and Islamophobia. The full conversation is available on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

13 November 2020 – Ep 26: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Ravi Ragbir and Tanvi Misra

The topic for this episode is ‘What the Biden Presidency Means for Immigration Policy.’ Ravi Ragbir is an NYC immigrant rights activist and Executive Director of New Sanctuary Coalition of New York. Tanvi Misra covers immigration policy for Congressional Quaterly/Roll Call in Washington D.C. Her writing and radio work has also appeared in The Atlantic, Bloomberg CityLab, National Public Radio, and BBC.
This episode is available on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

6 November 2020 – Ep 25: Nida Kirmani in conversation with Dr. Ayra Indrias Patras and Prof. Amen Jaffer

This episode is guest hosted by Nida Kirmani, associate professor of sociology at
Lahore University of Management Sciences. She talks to Dr. Ayra Indrias Patras and Prof. Amen Jaffer about the relevance of caste in Pakistan.
Dr. Ayra Indrias Patras is a researcher, writer, and member of the National Lobbying Delegation on Minority Rights.
Dr. Amen Jaffer is an assistant professor in the faculty of humanities and social sciences at International Technology University, Lahore.
This episode can be found on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

30 October, 2020 – Ep 24: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Ajaypal Singh Brar and Navyug Gill

This episode revolves around the farmers’ protests in Punjab and the political economy of resistance. Ajaypal Singh Brar is one of the five-member committees of farmers protests being held at Shambu in Punjab. He is a political activist, author, and commentator. A graduate engineer who attended business school and has worked at the management level in the industry he pursues farming as a profession on his ancestral land. Navyug Gill is Assistant Professor in the Department of History at William Paterson University. He received a PhD from Emory University, and a BA from the University of Toronto. His research lies at the intersection of agrarian political economy, labor history, postcolonial critique and comparative histories of global capital.

The full conversation is available on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

23 October 2020 – Ep 23: Francesca Recchia in conversation with Marvi Sirmed and Ayesha Siddiqa

The Polis Project’s Francesca Recchia in conversation with Marvi Sirmed, journalist, human rights defender, and senior correspondent at The Daily Times, and Ayesha Siddiqa, Pakistani political scientist and a research associate at the SOAS Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy. They will be discussing the ongoing mass protests in Pakistan and what comes next.

The conversation is available on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

9 October 2020 – Ep 22: Cynthia Stephen in conversation with Kunal Ambasta and N. Jayaram

This episode is guest hosted by Cynthia Stephen, a scholar, independent researcher, activist, and journalist. She discusses ‘Death Penalty: Caste and the access to justice in India’ with Kunal Ambasta, Assistant Professor of Law at NLSIU, Bangalore and N. Jayaram, an independent journalist.

You can find the conversation on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter.

2 October 2020 – Ep 21: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Alison Killing and Aydin Anwar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Alison Killing, an architect and open source investigator, with a focus on geospatial analysis. Her most recent work is on Xinjiang, to find and analyse the network of prison camps there. Aydin Anwar is a young Uighur-American activist who has been working to spread awareness about the detention camps in China and the problems faced by her community.

Link to the conversation here. You can also watch it on Facebook and Twitter.

25 September 2020 – Ep 20: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Prof. Romila Thapar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Professor Romila Thapar about her latest book ‘Voices of Dissent’ and the history of dissent in India.

Link here. You can also find the video on Facebook and Twitter. We also have a podcast of this conversation on SoundCloud.

18 September 2020 – Ep 19: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Prabhjit Singh and Arshu John 

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Prabhjit Singh and Arshu John about The Caravan Magazine’s report, ‘Crime and Prejudice: The BJP and Delhi Police’s hand in the Delhi violence

Watch the conversation here.

28 August 2020 – Ep 18: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Radhika Jhalani and Misbah Reshi

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Radhika Jhalani and Misbah Reshi about making of the digital apartheid in Kashmir. Watch the full conversation here.

20 August 2020 – Ep 17: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Nayantara Ranganathan and Karishma Mehrotra

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Nayantara Ranganathan and Karishma Mehrotra about Facebook, Hate Speech and The Future of Public Sphere.

Link here.

14 August 2020 – Ep 16: Suchitra Vijayan in conversatio with Dr Harjit Bhatti and Mehnaz Najmi

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dr Harjit Bhatti and Mehnaz Najmi about criminalisation of dissent and the continued incarceration of Dr. Kafeel Khan and Gulfisha Fatima. Link here

7 August 2020 – Ep 15: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Prof. Ather Zia and Prof. Mona Bhan 

Suchitra Vijayan will be in conversation with Political Anthropologist, writer and poet, Ather Zia, and Associate Professor of Anthropology, Mona Bhan about Kashmir: A Year of Siege. Link here

24 July 2020 – Ep 14: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with S Godson and Akila R.S

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with journalist, S Godson and lawyer, Akila R. S about police violence, custodial and impunity in Tamil Nadu.

Link here

25 June 2020 – Ep 13 (Part B): Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dr Avinash Kumar 

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Avinash Kumar, Executive Director, Amnesty India. The conversation will focus on #BK11: UAPA and the state of rights and resistance in India.

Link here

19 June 2020 – Ep 13 (Part A): Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Etienne Maynier

Join Suchitra Vijayan conversation with Etienne Maynier, a Technologist from Amnesty Tech. The conversation will focus on how Indian human rights defenders are being targeted by a coordinated spyware operation.

Link here

12 June 2020 – Ep 10: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Bhanupriya Rao and Sunil Tamminaina

Join Suchitra Vijayan conversation with Bhanupriya Rao is the founder of Behanbox, a web platform for gender data and stories..She was written in women in politics, agrarian distress and migration. She has previously worked with Actionaid and Worldwide Web Foundation on governance, open data and transparent. Sunil Tamminaina, is an activist. He is associated with Migrant Workers Solidarity Network, India, and Research Scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Link here

29 May 2020 – Ep 9: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Aman and Rachel Chitra

Join Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with journalist Rachel Chitra, and Lawyer Aman about the ongoing migrant crisis in India, the challenges of documenting the crisis, and why this is essential. Aman is a lawyer by training and is currently teaching at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat, Haryana. He is also associated with the Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Srinagar. Rachel Chitra currently works as a journalist for the Times of India in Bangalore. She tracks finance, rural distress and labor issues.

Link here 

22 May 2020 – Ep 8: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Aakash Hassan

Join Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Kashmiri journalist Aakash Hasaan. Aakash is a freelance journalist and frequently writes for CNNnews18,  trtworld, The Caravan India, Asia Times, and other platforms.

Link here 

15 May 2020 – Ep 7: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Cynthia Stephen 

Join Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Cynthia Stephen, an independent social policy researcher, and analyst and independent journalist. She represents three marginalized communities, being a woman, a religious minority (in India), and also being identified with the Dalit community. She is President of the Training, Editorial and Development Services Trust, (TEDS Trust), and is based in Bangalore, India.

Link here

7 May 2020 – Ep 6: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Preethi Nallu

Join Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with writer, researcher, and visual storyteller, Preethi Nallu to discuss what it means to think about “work” in the aftermath of COVID, vulnerabilities single
working people living on their own away from home encounter, new ways and approaches to journalism, and the situation of migrant workers across the globe – particularly in India and Lebanon where Preeti reports from.

Preethi Nallu has reported on global migration issues for news media, UN agencies, think tanks, and advocacy groups. Preethi is the founding editor of Refugees Deeply and part of the editorial team at Stories Asia. She also works for Copenhagen based International Media Support.

Watch the full conversation here.

21 April 2020 – Ep 5: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Zafar Ashfaq

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with journalist Zafar Ashfaq, a freelance journalist based in New Delhi on how the Rohingya Refugee community in India is surviving the lockdown.

Link here

6 April 2020 – Ep 4: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Ritesh Uttamchandani

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Photographer Ritesh Uttamchandai, about living in the era of disinformation and hate, the precarity and unpreparedness that Indian photographers face while documenting COVID-19, and the failure of existing media houses to nurture, protect and care for reporters, whom he calls “frontline histories.”

Ritesh Uttamchandani is a multi-award-winning freelance photographer based in India, and the author of the critically acclaimed and much-loved photo book – The Red Cat and Other Stories. @photowallah

Link here

2 April 2020 – Ep 3: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Danish Husain

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with actor, poet, storyteller, and theatre director Danish Husain. Danish Husain is an actor, poet, Dastango, and a theatre director. He was instrumental in reviving the art form of Dastangoi for which he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi’s (Indian Academy of Music, Dance, &Theatre) Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puruskar in 2010. He subsequently returned the award in 2015 in the intolerance debate that raged across India. He later in 2016 started a multi-lingual brand of storytelling Qissebaazi. He also contributed an essay to a highly acclaimed collection Strongmen, edited by Vijay Prashad & published by Leftward Books, where five artists, including Eve Ensler, from five different countries, write about authoritarian leaders in their countries.

Link here

25 March 2020 – Ep 2: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Sohini Chattopadhyay

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with journalist Sohini Chattopadhyay to discuss what happens to chronic patients during the lockdown in India. Chattopadhyay is an award-winning long-form journalist who has written for publications all over the world. She writes on health, politics, and popular culture.

 Link here

19 March 2020 – Ep 1: Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dr. Thusiyan Nandakumar

Suchitra Vijayan in conversation with Dr. Thusiyan Nandakumar, on the ground realities faced by Tamil as COVID-19 cases grow in Sri Lanka and the military, sets up quarantine camps in the North-East.

Dr Thusiyan Nandakumar is the editor-in-chief of the Tamil Guardian, an English-language news website that covers Tamil affairs on the island and around the world, as well as global political affairs. He works as a GP in London and is a regular guest lecturer in the Masters of Public Health at Imperial College, London.

Link here

The Polis Project will continue to serve as a hub of reportage and analysis of pressing global concerns, including the impacts of Coronavirus, and as a platform for community conversation and online engagement.

We have a lot of exciting programming in the works. Please continue to check back with us for more information on our upcoming podcastsvirtual community seminars, and other events in the coming weeks.

You can also connect with us on Twitter and Facebook for more information, and subscribe to our regular newsletter. Do consider supporting the work we do on patreon by becoming a member or making a direct donation.

But above all, please stay safe and healthy.

 

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