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India prides itself on being the "world's largest democracy". In some respects it is certifiably democratic; as in the regular conduct of free and fair elections. But in other respects there are deficits. One such area is freedom of expression. While Indian writers, artists and film-makers are certainly freer than their counterparts in totalitarian countries such as China, they are less free when compared to their colleagues in democracies such as Sweden or the United States. This lecture identifies eight distinct threats to freedom of expression in India, the most important of which are the presence of archaic colonial laws and the rise of identity politics.
Ramachandra Guha is a historian and biographer based in Bangalore. He has taught at the universities of Yale and Stanford, held the Arné Naess Chair at the University of Oslo, and been the Indo-American Community Visiting Professor at the University of California at Berkeley. In the academic year 2011-2012 he served as the Philippe Roman Professor of History and International Affairs at the London School of Economics.