03 March, 2021

Dead Men Talking

The Indian state can silence the living, not the voice of the silent

Dead Men Talking

On September 23, 2011, at about three in the morning, within hours of his arrival at the New Delhi airport, the US radio journalist David Barsamian was deported. This dangerous man, who produces independent, free-to-air programmes for public radio, has been visiting India for 40 years, doing dangerous things like learning Urdu and playing the sitar. He has published book-length interviews with Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ejaz Ahmed and Tariq Ali. (He even makes an appearance as a young, bellbottom-wearing interviewer in Peter Wintonick’s documentary film on Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman’s Manufacturing Consent.) On his more recent trips to India he has done a series of radio interviews with activists, academics, filmmakers, journalists and writers (including myself). Barsamian’s work has taken him to Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan. He has never been deported from any of these countries.

So why does the world’s largest democracy fear this lone, sitar-playing, Urdu-speaking,...

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