Home | Talks | What was India’s Freedom Struggle about? The Narayan Dutt Memorial Lecture

What was India’s Freedom Struggle about? The Narayan Dutt Memorial Lecture


Mar 19 2023 to Mar 19 2023 11 a.m.



Bangalore International Centre

7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071

Event Description

The celebrations around the 75th year of India’s Independence seem devoid of any recall of who and what it was the Indian people fought against to win freedom and Independence. Official websites dedicated to the subject tell young readers nothing about what colonialism did to this country. Nor is there any debate on who won India its Independence. A bunch of returning Oxbridge elites? Or, as Gandhi observed, ‘the people themselves’? P Sainath’s new book The Last Heroes: Foot Soldiers of Indian Freedom records the life stories of 15 very ordinary Indians – representative of millions of others like themselves – and how they took on the British Raj. Farmers, labourers, cooks, couriers, homemakers, artisans, students and others played astonishingly courageous roles without ever gaining personally. They came from a diverse social spectrum: Dalits, Adivasis, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, OBCs, Brahmins, atheists, among others. What motivated these freedom fighters? And why do they tell us that Freedom and Independence are two different things? In 5-6 years, not a single one of them will be alive. Our younger generations will never get to meet, talk to, listen to, ever engage with anyone who fought for their country’s Independence. How do we address that loss?

About Narayan Dutt: Mr Narayan Dutt was a journalist who retired as the editor of the Hindi digest Navneet. He was highly regarded by his peers and received honours such as the Sri Ganesh Shanker Vidyarthi Puraskar bestowed by the President of India and an Honorary D. Lit by Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita evam Sanchar Vishwavidyalay. His birth anniversary is February 24, and most but not all previous lectures have been around this date. The last few speakers have included the film-maker Mr Girish Kasaravalli, the sociologist Prof Amita Baviskar of Ashoka University, and Prof Krishna Achutarao of IIT Delhi. 

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