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【Date】 September 28 (Wed.), 2016

【Time】 16:00~18:00

【Venue】 Room AA447, Research Bldg No.2, Yoshida Main Campus, Kyoto University

(Building no.34 on the map)


【Title】 “Wars over Words: Press Censorship in India in the 1950s”

【Speaker】 Devika Sethi (Indian Institute of Technology [IIT], Mandi, India)


【Language】 English



In discussions of press censorship in the Indian context, two periods have attracted the maximum attention: first, the colonial, with ‘sedition’ looming large, and second, that of the Emergency (June 1975 -March 1977). In both periods censorship has been seen as the natural accompaniment to authoritarian rule, as well as its most visible, even symptomatic, feature. This talk will focus on an era sandwiched between — and eclipsed by — these two. India in the 1950s was when those censored in the past turned censors themselves. The decade after Independence and after the adoption of the Indian Constitution in 1950 was one in which the legal framework of the democratic nation state was not only laid down, but also tested. The First Amendment to the Indian Constitution in 1951 included, among other things, changes in Article 19, which dealt with the freedom of expression and the limits that the state could impose on this freedom. For the generation in transition from colonial to self-rule, the issue of state imposed limits on the freedom of expression was a prickly one. This talk analyses public reactions to political censorship of the press in India in the 1950s, and asks questions that clarify the nature of transitional polities, and of censorship itself. Was censorship on the grounds of ‘national security’ more palatable to the public than on the grounds of ‘sedition’?



Devika Sethi was awarded a Ph.D. degree (History) by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, New Delhi) in 2013 for her thesis titled ‘Proscribing Ideas: Censorship in India, c. 1930-60’. After being awarded a Junior Research Fellowship (2005) she taught undergraduate students in the History Departments at St. Stephen’s College (2009-10), Lady Shri Ram College for Women (2014) and Gargi College (2014-15), all affiliated to Delhi University. During the course of her education she has spent time as an exchange student in Japan (Teaching Assistant – October 2002) and Germany (Doctoral Research fellow – Centre for Modern Indian Studies, Georg-August University, Göttingen – March-October 2011). In 2013 she was one of fifteen scholars chosen world-wide to participate in the 8th Annual Decolonization Seminar, a month-long event mentored by leading Historians, and organized by the American Historical Association and the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. She has delivered invited lectures at the Indian Council of Historical Research (New Delhi; 2015), and the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (New Delhi; 2014; published as an Occasional Paper). Her field of specialization is Modern Indian History, specifically colonialism and decolonization. Her research areas are free speech and censorship. She writes for The Book Review and Indian Horizons (the magazine of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations). She teaches Modern Indian History at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, India.


【Contact】 Toru Tak, Coordinator for KINDAS Group-2 taktoru[at]asafas.kyoto-u.ac.jp
*Please use @ in place of [at] when you will send E-mail to us.

Organized by KINDAS-South Asia Group-2 and South Asia and Indian Ocean Study Group