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A conversation between Anil Nauriya and Dilip Simeon

Introduced and moderated by Sarover Zaidi

Earlier in 2017, Ai Weiwei launched his installation Law of the Journey, featuring a huge inflatable boat holding human figures. This installation was his interjection to demonstrate ‘the waiting refugees’ on the coasts of the cold Mediterranean seas for their arrivals and permissions to set foot in Europe. In 1896, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi waited on board the S S Naderi, held off the coast of Durban, South Africa, under similar circumstances, challenging European liberalism and freedom. The ship held many Indians, here held at bay by the British for apparent fear of it carrying the plague and a revolutionary Indian lawyer who spoke of people’s rights and freedom.

This was not the first time the imperial government of South Africa had encountered Gandhi and his demands for freedom and rights for Indians and others subjected to colonial rule. Moving between cities, events and experiments, Gandhi forged many of his early annotations on both understanding freedom and modes of resistance and mobilization through his life and work in South Africa. This session attempted to retrace Gandhi’s routes towards his ideas of freedom, equality, biopolitics and resistance, within the terrains of his work and life in the African continent.

Gandhi in Africa was presented as part of Coriolis Effect Ed III: Memory, Migration and the Current Moment.

Anil Nauriya studied at St. Stephen’s College, later qualifying for the Bar and has been counsel at the Supreme Court, as well as at the High Court. He has written extensively on contemporary history and politics, but one of his core interests remains in working on Gandhi. Some of his publications include The African Element in Gandhi, (2006), English Anti-Imperialism and the Varied Lights of Willie Pearson (2014), etc. He has also worked on the issue of the death penalty in India.

Dilip Simeon studied in Delhi in the late 1960s and participated in the first phase of the Naxalite movement. He taught History at Ramjas College from 1974 till 1994. In 1982, he was severely assaulted after a hunger-strike to restore the salary of a college gardener. In 1988 he was elected to the Academic Council. From 1984 onward, he participated in the Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan. His thesis, The Politics of Labour Under Late Colonialism, was published in 1995 and his first novel Revolution Highway, in September, 2010.

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