Chomsky Talk Cancelled Due to Agenda Against TATAs: Fest Director

Chomsky and Prashad were supposed to be discussing the former’s new book ‘Internationalism or Extinction’ on Friday.

3 min read
A dialogue with Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad at the Mumbai (Tata) Lit Fest has been cancelled<a href="">.</a>

Anil Dharker, Mumbai (Tata) Lit Fest festival’s founder and director, said that the session featuring academic-activists Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad was cancelled to “protect the integrity of the festival.”

“Much as I deeply respect and admire the work of Prof. Noam Chomsky, this decision was necessary to protect the integrity of the festival”
Anil Dharker, the festival’s founder and director said in a statement

Dharker added that the festival owes its success to a free expression of ideas, not a free expression of someone’s specific agenda.

A dialogue with Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad at the Mumbai (Tata) Lit Fest about Chomsky’s new book Internationalism or Extinction has been cancelled.

The dialogue was scheduled for Friday, 20 November at 9 pm IST.

However, in the afternoon they received an email with a cryptic message: ‘I am sorry to inform you that due to unforeseen circumstances, we have to cancel your talk today.’

Noam’s book focusses about the dangers of nuclear war, climate catastrophe and erosion of democracy.

Dharker in his statement also mentioned: “On the morning of the session, we came across correspondence in the public domain, between Noam Chomsky, Vijay Prashad and a group of activists, which clearly mentioned that this session would also be used to make a statement regarding how they feel about corporations such as the Tatas, and the Tatas in particular, including airing the views of these activists, which was never the intended purpose of the session”

“The expression of such an agenda – whether against a specific organisation, a corporation or an individual – is therefore misplaced in the discussions at our festival.”

Meanwhile, a statement by Chomski and Prashad reads: “What is being said by the elites is notable and must be given judicious care by the media owned by large corporations, but what is said outside those circles must not be ignored or disparaged. Since we do not know why Tata and Mr. Dharker decided to cancel our session, we can only speculate and ask simply: was this a question of censorship?”

Regarding India, the issue of the erosion of democracy is a serious matter, with the passage of  bills such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the vast sums of money that have now suffocated the voices of the hundreds of millions of impoverished Indian voters as examples of the problem; the issue of warfare is significant, with the Indian government participating in the highly destabilising Quadrilateral Security Dialogue with Australia, Japan, and the United States.
Statement From Noam Chomsky and Vijay Prashad

Chomsky and Prashad also pointed out that people had to be sensitised about various controversies involving the Tatas, from the killing of adivasis who were peacefully protesting the construction of a Tata steel factory in Odisha in 2006, the use of private militias to allegedly terrorize the population for a planned Tata steel factory in Jagdalpur, Chattisgarh, the use of Tata Advanced Systems weapons by the Indian forces against the people of Kashmir and Tata steel’s release of hexavalent chromium into water sources that has created the fourth most polluted place on the planet in Sukinda, Odisha.

They said that they expected the platform to provide an open discussion to talk about issues that are threatening the world and also about the Tatas.

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