Free Binayak Sen Campaign

Justice on Trial:
three days of cultural events
April 4 – 6, 2011
@ Alliance Francaise de Delhi
72, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi 110003

Justice on Trial (Facebookers RSVP here) is a collaborative programme put together by leading contemporary artists, photographers, film makers, musicians, performers, and activists to commemorate struggles for democracy, freedom and rights. An exhibition of photographs and art works, talks performances and screenings all are directed at drawing renewed attention to the trial of Dr. Binayak Sen, who has emerged in recent times as a symbol of courageous resistance, and a reminder of the many injustices that surround us. Our aim is to provoke a dialogue with the colours and sounds that emerge from the idea of what Dr. Sen represents. 

April 4 (Monday)

5:00 pm Music: Them Clones / Imphal Talkies (Auditorium)

6:00 pm Film: “AFSPA 1958” (52 mins, 2006, dir: Haobam Paban Kumar) (Audi.)

6:30 pm Opening of Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition

7:00 pm Panel: Vrinda Grover, in conversation with Prof Ilina Sen and Aruna Roy

8:00 pm Performance: Arjun Raina / “Like a Bird on a Wire” (35 mins)

April 5 (Tuesday)

10:00 am – Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition

5:00 pm Music: Manzil / Faith Gonsalves (Audi.)

6:00 pm Film: Prisoners of Conscience (45 mins, 1978, dir: Anand Patwardhan)

7:00 pm Panel: Anand Patwardhan, Sharmila Tagore, Mangalesh Dabral

8:00 Performance: Inder Salim / “I am Dr. Binayak Sen” (20 mins )

April 6 (Wednesday)

10:00 am – Art Exhibition (Gallery) / Poster Exhibition

5:00 pm Music: The Ska Vengers (featuring Delhi Sultanate) (Audi.)

6:00 pm Panel: Prof Amit Bhaduri / Arundhati Roy / Kavita Srivastava / Prashant Bhushan

8:00 pm Performance: Dastan-goi / Mahmood Farooqi & Danish Hussain (45 mins )

The Participants

The Art Exhibition has been put together by the artist Probir Gupta with support from Anubhav Nath/ Ojas Arts and features work by leading contemporary artists: Anandajit Roy, Arun Kumar H.G, Bharti Kher, Gigi Scaria, Mithu Sen, Pablo Bartholomew, Parthiv Shah, Prashant Panjiar, Probir Gupta, Ram Rahman, Sharmila Samant, Shreyas Karle, Subodh Gupta, Susanta Mondal, T.V Santosh

The Poster Exhibition is a series on the work of Dr Binayak Sen and Dr Ilina Sen over the last three decades in Chhattisgarh, where their work ranged from providing healthcare, to setting up food security systems, public health campaigns as well as human rights work. This graphic presentation combines the work of seven graphic artists associated with People Tree, and are a prelude to a comic book on the life of Dr Sen. The contributing artists are: Orijit Sen, Esa Esasi, Rajiv Gautam, Vishwajyoti Ghosh, Parismita Singh, Girirraj Kang, and Herojit Sinam.


AFSPA 1958 / dir. Haobam Paban Kumar / 52 mins / 2006

The film by a young Manipuri director won the President’s ‘Swarn Kamal’ for the best documentary at the National Film Award, 2008, and the FIPRESCI Jury Award at the Mumbai International Film Festival, 2006. It follows the protests that engulfed Manipur in the aftermath of the murder of Manorma Devi by the armed forces.

“Director Haobam Paban Kumar narrates and observes. He knows the difference between a film and a political manifesto. Besides his personal partisanship and engagement, he is, as a filmmaker he always stays behind the camera. This makes the great difference…” Rüdiger Suchsland, FIPRESCI Jury member

Prisoners of Conscience / dir. Anand Patwardhan / 45 mins / 1978

The film is an important historical record of a traumatic period in India’s recent political history, as it unravels the stories of the political prisoners during the State of Emergency that India experienced from June 1975 to March 1977.

“The power of the film derives from its restraint. Restraint does not imply a reluctance to state facts. The film does that only too clearly.” The Times of India

“A paean to those in the past and those in the present who have not hesitated to struggle for a just society and who, in the process, may have been imprisoned or even lost their lives.” Critical Asian Studies


“Like a Bird on a Wire” / Arjun Raina / 35 mins

This is a performance about two old Indian men, Leonard Peltier, leader of the American Indian movement, and in prison for 36 years for a crime he did not commit, and my nameless father, now 82 years old, waiting for the political atmosphere between India and Pakistan to improve so he may spend another Basant in his beloved Lahore.

Leonard Peltier is now 65, and more than half his life has been spent as a prisoner. He insists his only enemies are the system, and the justice department. The case against Peltier was not only flawed, but grotesquely dishonest, unfair and unjust, replete with admittedly perjured testimony and fraudulent evidence by the FBI.

Peltier was found guilty in the 1975 shooting deaths of two FBI agents during a range war on the Lakota-Sioux reserve, near Wounded Knee, where, in 1973, there was a highly publicized 71-day siege. The Pine Ridge range war was between traditional, back-to-roots Indians, and “progressive” mixed-blood Indians who favoured the mining of uranium on Indian land. The militant American Indian Movement (AIM) sided with the traditionalists, while the FBI, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and authorities backed the progressives.

ARJUN RAINA is a Kathakali dancer, an Actor, a Playwright, and an Acting and Voice teacher. Trained as an Actor at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and with Sadanam Balakrishnan at the
International Center for Kathakali. Has taught Acting, Voice and Speech at the National School of Drama India. His original plays and performances include: The Magic Hour (Kathakali and Shakespeare, 2000), A Terrible Beauty is Born (on International Call Centers in India, 2003), and Like a Bird on a Wire (2007)

“I Am Dr. Binayak Sen” / Inder Salim / 20 mins

This performance art piece begins outside the auditorium, apparently randomly, but will culminate on the stage. There is the Colour Red, and a white surface, an Iron Cage and some White Hospital Gauze which will speak loudly, in solidarity with Dr. Binayak Sen, and other such ….

INDER SALIM, born in Kashmir 1965. His statement — “I usually introduce myself: This InderSalim Stuff from Kashmir…with love. I do Performances, Photography, Poster making and Video and even Painting and sclupture. I write poems as well. I maintain a blog : Conceptual is the key word which drives me to do ART. No big claims, in spite of some National and International exposure.”

Dastangoi / Mahmood Farooqui & Danish Hussain / 45 mins

The many adventures of Dr. Binayak Sen as he negotiates the rough terrains of the state of Chattisgarh.

MAHMOOD FAROOQUI studied history In India and at the university of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Over the last four years he has worked to revive Dastangoi, the lost art of storytelling in Urdu. Farooqui also contributes opinion pieces to leading newspapers and magazines. His book on the 1857 uprising in Delhi was recently published by Penguin. He is the co-director of the critically acclaimed film – Peepli Live.

DANISH HUSAIN is a poet, actor, and a dastango. With Mahmood Farooqui and Anusha Rizvi he has been helping revive Dastangoi. His other recent projects include acting assignments in feature films Peepli Live and Dhobi Ghat, and directing the Making of Peepli Live.


THEM CLONES were created sometime in 2000. Inspired by the dramatic world of rock n’ roll and of course themselves, their tryst with songwriting has directed them across the course of the thoughtful to confessional, from the assertive to the provocative; but has been, consistently, accompanied by a tight groove or a silken melody.

FAITH GONSALVES is a singer and a social entrepreneur. In 2008 she founded, “Music Basti”, an education and awareness project that works towards empowering street children through music. Accompanied on the guitar by ADHIR GHOSH, who plays with the band ‘Five8’ in Delhi. He is a Masters student at the School of Arts and Aesthetics at JNU.

MANZIL is a non-profit organization providing a community – and resources – for local youth from low-income backgrounds to learn, teach, be creative, and see the world in new ways, especially through music.

IMPHAL TALKIES have been called ‘the new voice of Manipur and the new voice of the Northeast’ by the Rolling Stone magazine. It takes its name from the name of a cinema theatre in front of Kangla fort that screened only ‘A’ rated movies, which in a conservative society like Manipur and in a small town like Imphal, was ahead of the times. The band members write lyrics contemporary (or ahead of their times) and get invitations to perform not only in music concerts but also during public protest.

THE SKA VENGERS (featuring DELHI SULTANATE) is a new Delhi based band who blend ‘ska’ rhythms with elements of dub, punk, jazz and rap to come up with a form of music that is different, energetic and highly danceable. It’s members are highly experienced performers in their own right. Nikhil, Stefan, Tony and Samara play in acclaimed psychedelic disco band Emperor Minge, and are regular performers on India’s first cabaret show ‘The Stiff Kittens’ Medicine Show’. Delhi Sultanate has garnered much praise for his highly skilled, socially conscious rap with drum ‘n’ bass team BASSFoundation, and his highly rhythmic patois provides a suitable foil to Samara’s more sweet and soulful renderings; whilst Raghav is also known as selecta with DJ collective ‘Reggae Rajhas’.


ARUNA ROY is one of the founders of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathana, and a prominent leader of the Right to Information movement. She is also a member of the National Advisory Council.

ARUNDHATI ROY is a writer and an activist who has written on issues of social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.

AMIT BHADURI is Professor Emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, and taught at many universities across the world. His most recent book is ‘The Face You Were Afraid to See: Essays on the Indian Economy’ (2009), essays on economic conditions in India after the ‘reforms’.

ANAND PATWARDHAN is one of India’s best known documentary film makers and internationally acknowledged for his hard hitting films that have consistently raised the most important human rights issues facing the country since the mid 1970s.

ILINA SEN is a Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Antar Rashtriya Vishvavidyalaya, Wardha, and a prominent activist of the Indian women’s movement. With Dr Binayak Sen she has lived and worked among the tribal people of MP and Chhattisgarh since 1980.

KAVITA SRIVASTAVA is the General Secretary of the People Union for Civil Liberties and a long standing activist of the women’s movement. She lives in Jaipur.

MANGLESH DABRAL is one of the best known contemporary Hindi poets whose works have been translated into nearly all the Indian languages, besides English, Russian, German, Spanish, Polish and Bulgarian. A journalist by profession, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award for the poetry collection Hum Jo Dekhte Hain (That Which We See)

PRASHANT BHUSHAN is a senior lawyer at the Supreme Court, and a prominent public interest advocate, and a leading figure in the Campaign for Judicial Accountability.

SHARMILA TAGORE started her acting career as the main lead in Satyajit Ray’s `Devi’. She went on to become one of the most outstanding actors of the Mumbai cinema. She was until recently the Chairperson for the Central Board of Film Certification.

VRINDA GROVER is a well-known human rights lawyer based in Delhi.

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