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Writings of Dabholkar, Pansare, Kalburgi in new book

New Delhi: Eminent authors and activists who have previously voiced their opinions against the curbing of freedom of expression and inhuman killing of rationalists and thinkers, have now come together to pen a new book advocating critical thinking against all forms of discrimination.

Titled "Words Matter: Writings Against Silence" (Penguin Random House India), the book has been edited by award-winning poet and scholar K Satchidanandan.

It contains essays written by scholars and writers including Romila Thapar, Githa Hariharan, Pankaj Mishra, Salil Tripathi and Ananya Vajpeyi among others.

"In their perceptive and insightful essays, the contributors argue that we must nurture critical thinking to fight all kinds of discrimination and insularity," publishers said.

The book includes excerpts of writings of rationalists Narendra Dabholkar and Govind Pansare and scholar M M Kalburgi, who were killed by fundamentalists, besides articles and speeches by eminent public figures like Markandey Katju, Shyam Saran, Nayantara Sahgal and Keki Daruwalla.

In the past, some of them were also part of the 'Award Wapsi' campaign that took the country by storm late last year, where over 40 artists and writers returned their Sahitya Akademi awards protesting against the killings of Kalburgi, Dabholkar and Pansare.

The book emphasises the need for intellectuals to take the responsibility of safeguarding the democratic nature of the nation and advocates free speech.

It also highlights that change is imperative and inevitable and that the status quo (of traditions) must be challenged to enrich the diversity India has perpetually cherished.

"Myths, texts and systems of faith and thought have been cherished, revisited and also challenged. It lies in our interest as a modern nation to preserve our cultural strength and help democracy flourish.

"They have often inspired imaginative versions through oral retellings and local adaptations. The dynamism of Indian culture has kept it open to influences and has stood the test of time," the book says.

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