STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF SAMIM AHMED
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Samim Ahmed, renowned Bengali writer of present times, had written an article on Krishna, titled “He is the State, He is Maha Bharata” in the Bengali newspaper Anandabazar Patrika on 02.09.2018. In this article he has analysed the role of Krishna in the Mahabharata in a new light.
Unfortunately there was an inadvertent error of narrative detail in the piece (regarding the relationship between two characters - Kamsa and Jarasandha). Samim Ahmed took responsibility for this error and apologised in a letter to the Ananda Bazar Patrika. A version of this apology was printed in the newspaper on 04.09.2018.
The piece, as published in the newspaper, had another error of narrative detail (this was the statement that two other characters, Hamsa and Dimbhaka, were killed by Krishna). This statement is not there in the original text sent for publication by Samim Ahmed to Anandabazar Patrika. This error has in all probability, crept into the text during editing.
The article, as published, became viral on the Internet, especially through forwards on social media. What is unfortunate is that this was accompanied by a concerted campaign to malign Samim Ahmed . It was stated, that being a Muslim, he has no right or authority to be analyzing, or commenting on the conduct of figures like Krishna who are sacred to Hindus. No heed was paid to the fact that this was a piece of scholarly analysis, and that there is not a single derogatory comment in the piece. Notwithstanding this, Samim Ahmed was personally attacked for his Muslim identity. Calls for beheading him were spread on social media by some individuals, who clearly publicized their identity as being aligned to Sanghi organisations and the Hindutva point of view.
Samim Ahmed is being commanded not to write on a ‘Hindu’ text ever again. We strongly express our protest against these attacks and condemn the threats against Samim Ahmed. We consider them as invitations and calls for acts of terrorism, motivated by communal bigotry.
Samim Ahmed is an acclaimed writer, teacher of Philosophy and scholar of the Mahabharata. He has many essays and books on the Mahabharata to his credit. All reasoned, even passionate criticism and argument of any creative or scholarly position is always welcome, if it sticks to the content of a text, but an organized, ad-hominem effort to malign a scholar and writer simply because he happens to bear a Muslim name can only be condemned.
This effort to intimidate Samim Ahmed into retreating from his right to continue his research, his critical and creative work is an unconstitutional attack on the freedom of expression. It reflects the way in which Hindutva inspired groups and entities seek to stifle and control the world of culture and literature.
We will ensure that these designs do not bear fruit.
We earnestly request you to endorse this letter/appeal by signing it if you agree with its content.
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