Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The serious issue of academic freedom and historical writing in Modern Indian History

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

The serious issue of academic freedom and historical writing in Modern Indian History

Academic freedom and historical writing in modern Indian history are serious issues that currently concern Professor Waltraud Ernst, Professor of History.

She is one of the editors of the book series Critical Thinking in Modern South Asian History (Orient Blackswan) and has noted with dismay the restrictions that have been imposed on academic writing. The release of a new book on Communalism and Sexual Violence in the Series had to be postponed following concerns that its content could be interpreted under current Indian law as “defamatory and derogatory” to the RSS, a right-wing Hindu nationalist group. Publishers, series editors and authors have been warned that, under current law, “it is no defence … that the writing contains a truthful account of past events or is otherwise supported by good authority”.

For fuller accounts of Professor Ernst’s and the other authors' responses, see: