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Democracy does not begin or end at the polling booth. It takes a committed government and an alert society to make it work. Our passive belief that we are helpless is a self-imposed delusion, for there are ways in which we can engage positively with what we see happening around us. Protests and dissent, if carried out in the right manner, will nourish and strengthen our democracy which has been fraying insidiously. Aakar Patel, writer, activist and chairperson of Amnesty International speaks about the methods that are open to us.
This episode of BIC Talks is an extract from the The Annual Vijay Nambisan Lecture 2022 that took place in October 2022.
Aakar Patel is a well-known syndicated columnist who has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. He has written several books of non-fiction which include, Why I Write, a translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Urdu non-fiction (Tranquebar, 2014), Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here, a study of majoritarianism in India and Pakistan (Westland, 2020), The Price of the Modi Years, a history of India after 2014 (Penguin Random House, 2021) and ‘The Anarchist Cookbook’, a guide on why and how to protest (HarperCollins, 2022).
Aakar Patel is Chair of Amnesty International India.