Resist the blackout!

The screenings of films by noted filmmaker Anand Patwardhan have yet again come under attack by right–wing Hindu organisations and individuals based in the US. Most recently, a letter–writing campaign has been launched to dissuade the organisers of an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History in New York from screening two of Patwardhan’s films: We are not your Monkeys and In the Name of God.

The objective of this petition is to counter such efforts and to advocate the continued screening of films by Anand Patwardhan in the US and abroad. Although the initial recipients of this petition will be the American Museum of Natural History in New York, this petition will continue to be used whenever the screenings of films by Anand Patwardhan come under attack by those who seek to prevent public debate regarding these issues.

We, the undersigned, express our support and solidarity for documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and his attempts to raise issues of vital concern for those within and outside South Asia. Patwardhan has been making socio–political documentaries for nearly three decades and has received numerous awards worldwide. His films have addressed a vast array of issues affecting peace and prosperity within South Asia — nuclear proliferation, communal politics, religious fanaticism, globalisation, environmental degradation, and caste oppression — and have served to facilitate further public debate and scrutiny regarding these issues.

In this regard, it has come to our attention that various groups and organisations claiming to represent the interests of the Hindu community have launched a campaign to oppose the screening of Patwardhan’s films in the US and abroad as several of his films are very critical of the right- wing Hindu movement in India. We believe that religion and politics should remain open to public debate and scrutiny, and that Patwardhan’s films serve a valuable function in fostering that debate and deserve to be screened.

We, therefore, urge institutions and organizers of film screenings in the US and abroad to resist the efforts by those who wish to silence the debate and to carry on in their efforts to make the films of Anand Patwardhan accessible to the public.


Archived from Communalism Combat, January-February 2002 Year 8  No. 75-76, Campaign 3



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