Friday, October 23, 2009

Inside All India PEN

'Freedom of Expression

International PEN brings together writers, journalists, poets – all those using the written word to promote ideas – in the common belief that it is through this sharing that bridges of understanding can be built between peoples. These bridges cross political, geographical, ethnic, cultural, religious and other divides.

It is for this reason that the protection of the right to freedom of expression – the freedom to express ideas without fear of attack, arrest or other persecution – has been at the heart of International PEN's work since it was formed in 1921.

PEN's work and advocacy was fully developed by the time the Universal Declaration on Human Rights was declared and adopted by the United Nations in 1948. It has been argued that PEN helped to define the concept of freedom of expression that is now enshrined under Article 19 of the Declaration, a right that is as important today as it was when it was defined in the aftermath of World War Two.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
http://www.internationalpen.org.uk/go/freedom-of-expression




After more than two decades Mumbai Center of All India PEN Center led by Mr. Ranjit Hoskote, secretary and treasurer has talked to a key member, Mr Sunil Gangopadhyay, present president of West Bengal PEN chapter and is coming to join its estranged and forsaken part because of my three years labour (apart from my correspondence with International community, this includes my research on history of Indian PEN center, exploring earlier activities before I am born and since its inception, and learning the history of International PEN from different sources).

Today, I have been confirmed by Mr. Sunil Gangopadhyay that Mr. Hoskote of Mumbai All India PEN Center had made a call on last Oct. 12 .2009, regarding West Bengal PEN chapter, and my representation of West Bengal PEN. It is apparent that a connection being established between two states of India, one is eastern part of India, Kolkata, West Bengal and the other is western partof India, Mumbai, Maharastra, leaving in between a gap of 2000 Km. distance by the leaders of two community.

I am happy that my endeavour to save the future of West Bengal PEN Chapter which was cut off from its main office in Mumbai for almost two decades has yielded result and bearing fruit. From 29 june 2007 onward, till this day 23rd Oct 2009, a long time, I worked for it. Had I not been here for this task perhaps this darkness would wipe this writers community of West Bengal forever.
It started from the time of Mr. Santosh Adhikari in the eighties, succeeded by Mr. dev Kr Basu, then Mr. Jagannath Ghosh, succeeded by present secretary Mr Ranjan Gupta, a long time. West Bengal PEN chapter had lost its future, no one was there in these years to take initiatives for the future of West Bengal PEN chapter. But the community was practicing in the name of PEN International, feeling proud of earlier active members in better times. Oh, how they wish and feel proud calling themselves a member of PEN though they knew they are lost in dark.
I have published all reports in my two blogs . see them

http://www.penwestbengal.blogspot.com/

http://penreporter.blogspot.com/

I have experienced a lot of hatred, challenges among writers who presents himself a P E N member and from others. International PEN defends ‘Freedom of Expression’ and works for wiping defamation law from this world, because if there is defamation law/ libel cases it will create a hostile environment for Freedom of Expression.which is essential for writers. From my experience, I have seen most members do not know the charter of PEN International and its activities.

It will be appreciated if International PEN takes care making sure that its centers should follow its charter and do not contravene its principles, and break harmony. Atleast, the members should not bring defamation law and sue people in court for their criticism.

I have been intimidated, challenged and threatened several times by people call them pen members for my work for PEN.

I want to draw the attention of higher authority of International PEN, and active centers in this regard.

-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-


As the meeting started, Mr sunil Gangopadhyay informed us that he would be with us for 30 minutes, so business should be closed within the time frame. Mr. Ranjan Gupta opened his file and started to accuse me for my blog post.

click the link and read

http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-it-misunderstanding-or-misuse-of.html

Earlier I had criticized him and the members of this organization for not following appropriate ways of PEN. Read the whole matter in the link given above.


He showed it to all and to the president. As soon as he raised the topics the rest members (about 10 were present) supported him, as if earlier they had discussed this matter in my absence and made a plea to strip my designation as an executive member, and remove me from the journal that had been published under my editorship. Some said, "we shall take him to court for defaming us in his blog."
I just wanted to tell them that If you claim you are a member or belong to PEN you should follow its charter. There is a criteria to become a PEN member . Basic criteria for becoming a member is he/she should be a published author or any essayist or editor working for long time, check it you will find it in the websites of PEN centers.

Besides, I made a big poster and pasted it on the wall last year for public information regarding charter of ‘International PEN’, its address, communication and ‘ how one can become a member of PEN center’ where we writers meet weekly for reading session. still it is on the wall of BiswaGyan , 9/3 Tamer lane , kolkata - 9.

I had written articles also on the history of Indian PEN center and International PEN and published by Darshak Journal in Bengali for wide range of readers. Finally I posted all them in my blog.

http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/

But they don’t care, How they became a member it is a mystery. I am just sorry for them.

Finally, they have stripped my editorship without contest and replaced other for next issue. It is not contested and all action taken by Mr. Ranjan Gupta, in presence of Mr. Sunil Gangopadhaya.

Mr Ranjan Gupta pleaded to strip my executive power, but Mr. Sunil Gangopadhyay stopped this proposal. He asked me should I want to work with them, ‘yes’ or ‘no’. I told 'yes', because, I have been mentally involved with this organization, If I leave it or anybody force me to leave it it will hurt me. I have worked my best for last 3 years in many ways.

Because I am a writer and a painter, I want to sacrifice for Human Rights, and Freedom of Expression, and PEN is my only window to express myself.

Mrs. Jayati Gangopadhya, a member,( though I had no problem with her, because, she deserves what she is , a published poet, she came forward to rescue her friends) threatened me saying I want to take legal action against you for your comment on your blog. I said, we ( PEN Members from differenr centers) are against defamation law or libel cases. If you do so you are not a PEN Member, you go against PEN. She says, ‘stop here, we don’t care’. I am little afraid of defamation law, I think wrong people are choking my voice for right thing.

Still, Most people do not know What is ‘PEN International’, many executive members do not attend at all for years. But everyone is conscious about his/her designation and want to remain so whether they have least botheration about this organization PEN. Most people do not like to work for PEN but they use this very name as a qualification or level of status in society. Are not People misusing its name in this way? I hope International PEN should take care .

Regarding Mumbai center, Mr. Sunil Gangopadhya told, ‘…as Ranjit called me and made a connection, we hope we can deal the rest’, and asked me not to communicate concerning the bridge between West Bengal and Mumbai center.

I felt little bit relief. This particular job was buying enmity for me and among writers.I came across challenges, intimidation, threatening, because my job was unmasking many faces and revealing what happens inside a PEN Centers.
I was thinking to quit this job, and the chance has come to resign from this post as PEN Member of West Bengal Branch of All India PEN center.

I regret when I think that, had I used my time and thought for my works, perhaps it would have given me benefits. I have wasted my time buying some enemies for nothing. It was not my goal.

Thank you People, who had supported me and those who keep an eye open for everything.
--o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-



Our Last conversation Between Mr. Ranjit Hoskote, International PEN and Me through email:

On Mon, Oct 12, 2009 at 11:12 PM, Albert Ashok wrote:

Dear Caroline and all ,

We, West Bengal PEN Chapter of All India PEN center of International PEN have been cut off from its Mumbai Center for Long. Mr. Annada Shankar Roy, a famous writer and Sahitya Academy award winner, was the president of All India PEN center in Mumbai for decades. He lived in Kolkata, West Bengal, and led West Bengal Chapter presiding over its most literary functions. This Bengal Chapter was born in the late thirties, and continued till today. Now Ranjit Hoskote, Present Secretary intentionally denying the existence of West Bengal Chapter of Indian PEN center. I have posted some document against Ranjits ill intention. See the Photos here
http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/2009/10/have-look-inside-p-e-n-india.html


Once again, I have posted almost all the emails I had in my inbox and sent folder, to unfold the truth between All India PEN Center and PEN West Bengal chapter. I shall take these information and attitude of All India PEN center Mumbai that had been displayed for last a few years to the delegates of next PEN Congress in Linz, Austria. I shall with support of my fellow writers in West Bengal keep continue publishing this grievance against Indian PEN center and International PEN.

Do you think I need more proof for West Bengal PEN Chapter and concerning my membership and the questions that are raised by Ranjit Hoskote?

http://penreporter.blogspot.com/2009/10/truth-shall-be-prevailed.html

I hope Ranjit will mend his ill intention and beg apology to west Bengal PEN chapter.
Thank you.

My best wishes

Albert Ashok
Executive Member
West Bengal PEN chapter

In response to the above letter Mr. Ranjit Hoskote :



From : india.pen@gmail.com
To : Albert Ashok
Cc: Ranjit Hoskote; Sampurna Chattarji; Caroline McCormick; faridah@dhaka.net; Info - International PEN; Karen Efford; Mitchell Albert; PI Subscribers; Sara Whyatt; Tamsin Mitchell; pen@pen.org; Emily Bromfield; europe@rsf.org; ifex@ifex.org; mbf@pencanada.ca; mearp@cpj.org



Dear Colleagues,

As before, my apologies to those of you who would regard this correspondence as an imposition on your time.

I have not actually checked whether Albert Ashok has published all the correspondence in this matter, but if he has, I am very grateful to him.

This correspondence will show that I have never doubted the existence of the West Bengal Branch (historically 'Branch', not 'Chapter') of the PEN All-India Centre. Why would I doubt it, when I have known of it since I became a member of the PEN in 1986? Yet the fact is that, in all these years, we have never been sent a list of members of the West Bengal Branch, nor have we ever received an application or the fee for a single new membership or membership renewal from Calcutta -- despite letters to Mr Annada Shankar Ray, while he was still alive.

At the time of our first contact with Albert Ashok, through Caroline McCormick, in summer 2007 -- at which point he modestly professed to represent nothing more than a group calling itself Pen Kolkata -- I had asked him quite cordially whether he had had any contact with our West Bengal Branch, of whom we had had no news for a very long time.

I assume this early email from me appears in the correspondence as Albert Ashok presents it. That alone should disprove his claim that I have "intentionally denied the existence of West Bengal Chapter (sic) of Indian PEN Center (sic)".

With very best wishes,
Ranjit Hoskote

Another mail on the same day he sent to:

Dear Caroline,

Just one last note before you close (correctly, in my view) this correspondence.

I did something, five minutes ago, that I should have done in July 2007 when this entire business started. You might recall -- or we could refer to Albert Ashok's email archive for it -- that Mr Ashok claimed proximity with Mr Sunil Gangopadhyaya, one of our most distinguished and respected writers, who lives in Calcutta.

I spoke to Mr Gangopadhyaya on the phone this evening -- we have met in other contexts, in Delhi and in Heidelberg -- and asked him whether he knew Mr Ashok or was associated with him in his literary organisation.

Mr Gangopadhyaya replied categorically that he did not know Mr Ashok personally, that he had heard from other people that Mr Ashok had claimed proximity with him, and that, in his considered view, Mr Ashok could not claim to represent PEN.

If anyone had to choose between who represents the West Bengal literary scene better, and who is the more credible figure, Mr Gangopadhyaya wins outright and without contest. His disclosure alone should put the entire matter of Mr Ashok's self-representations in pespective for you.

On a more constructive note, Caroline, I wish to thank you for your very precise statements in respect of criteria and governance. Our annual dues are on the way. Our very substantial activity report was presented in Tokyo by Sampurna, and you know of our work from it.

As before, our doors are open to all those who share the values of the PEN Charter and whose work meets our membership criteria -- indeed, to all who are, in your own excellent phrase from an earlier email, "qualified individuals".

* I am taking the liberty of copying this email to our President, Dr Dauji Gupta, who has been kept informed of this correspondence.

With very best wishes,
Ranjit

but he denied me on 4th Oct. 09, he wrote to International PEN

Dear Caroline,

I write in response to your email of 15 September, and am sorry for this delay: we have had a very full schedule, including a discussion led by Sampurna, titled 'The Concentric Commitments of the Writer', which drew the large audience present into an intense space of participation, and a wonderful evening with Arundhati Roy four days ago, where we released her new book, *Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy*, followed by a public conversation between Arundhati and myself and ceaseless questions from the two hundred people present.

As to Albert Ashok's latest email, I am sorry that this deplorable conversation appears to continue unabated. However, what shocks me more is the tone you have adopted towards me in your email. I have made my position abundantly clear before, vis a vis Albert Ashok, and I repeat it in the 5 points I have made below, while also responding to your suggestion that I have contravened the spirit of cooperation and harmony.

1. As you are completely aware, the PEN All-India Centre has its hands full doing all the productive work that it is doing -- and doing it in a collegial, collaborative, receptive spirit. As against this, we have in Albert Ashok a man who is not a member of the PEN All-India Centre; who has never been able to prove that he represents the organisation in whose name he speaks; who never communicates with us except to send in his latest complaint of neglect; and who importunes you with accusations against us.

2. In this context -- and before you commit yourself to any further well-meant advocacy on this man's behalf -- I would like you to take note of a particularly shocking and intemperate attack, ad hominem (or ad feminem?), on Taslima Nasreen, put out by Albert Ashok on his blog under the titles, 'The wrong Number of Feminism' and 'Beware of Taslima she can bite you back!' (idiosyncratic capitals and punctuation in original). Please look this up at http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/2009/08/wrong-number-of-feminism.html.

Please read this before you extend your support to someone who does not deserve it, under the mistaken assumption that this is in the spirit of fair play and let's have some proper cricket please, gentlemen.

The tone and content of Albert Ashok's attacks on a fellow writer are simply not acceptable to the PEN All-India Centre. They contravene the spirit of International PEN, and I cannot allow our hard-won reputation to be tarnished by association with anyone writing in this vein.

3. Let me make it clear that I am not constrained to admit Albert Ashok's claims to represent the PEN All-India Centre's West Bengal Branch until I have seen actual documentary proof to this effect. Unlike Albert, I am not in the habit of basing my actions on vague suggestions and unverifiable claims. Should he prove that he actually has a definite and verifiable connection with PEN, and should he indicate his willingness to engage in reasonable discourse, we would be happy to communicate with him. Until Albeert Ashok can offer such proof, there is no ground for communication and no crisis to resolve -- the need for communication only reflects his need for attention, and the crisis is one that he has generated out of thin air.

4. Please also note that I have, in a previous email to Albert Ashok -- copied to you and now posted by him on his blog (please look this up at http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/2008_09_01_archive.html) -- clearly said that we would be happy for him to establish his own separate PEN Centre in West Bengal, so long as he does so on his own merit, and not by maligning actual members of the PEN in Bombay, who have been working hard and voluntarily, without any desire for personal recognition or financial recompense and often subsidising PEN activities, to sustain the PEN's work in India.

5. Unfortunately, unlike Albert Ashok, I am completely incapable of demanding attention or sympathy as though this were my birthright.

Even so, Caroline, I would like to register my deep sense of hurt and distress at the manner in which you have equated the PEN All-India Centre, whose commitment to the PEN Charter and whose many achievements are evident and publicly recorded, with a man whose main achievement has been to make repeated false accusations about us in the public domain through his blog -- an act that, as he should know, could invite legal action.

With best wishes,
Ranjit



Perhaps Ranjit would not want to read what he wrote two years back and compare what he tells now:



Thu, 19 Jul 2007 08:46:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: "Ranjit Hoskote"
Subject: Re: FW: Membership from India
To: "pen kolkata"

Dear Albert,

I am very glad that you have established a line of communication with us. I have to say that -- to the best of my knowledge; it is possible that some papers are missing -- we have not found any previous communication from you.
And tell me, have you had no contact, in all these years, with the West Bengal Branch of the PEN All-India Centre? Our President, Annada Sankar Ray, used to preside over its periodic meetings; but he passed away some years ago, at a very advanced age, and we have subsequently had no communication from the West Bengal Branch either.

Do write again with more details, and let us take this forward. And please convey my warm personal regards to Sunil-da.

With very best wishes,
Ranjit

I want to say either he intentionally did it or He was too busy to think properly.

International PEN kept its position clear in this regard:
-------------------------

On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 6:07 PM, Caroline McCormick wrote:
Dear Albert, dear Ranjit,

We have been very clear about this matter, and the rules of International PEN are very clear on this.

Any individual writer can apply for membership to any PEN Centre. That PEN Centre should consider all applications for membership based on the Centre's membership criteria.

No PEN Centre or chapter of a PEN Centre exists in perpetuity. In order to remain PEN Centres or members of a PEN Centre it is necessary to pay dues and send activity reports. If these have not happened the discussion about proof is irrelevant.

It is not permitted to use the name PEN without either the approval of the PEN Centre you wish to be a chapter of, or the approval of the Assembly of Delegates of International PEN.

We have made our position abundantly clear, therefore, in the absence of a significant change in the circumstances, we will no longer be in a position to engage in an extended correspondence on this matter.

Yours,

Caroline

Caroline McCormick
Executive Director
International PEN
Brownlow House
50 / 51 High Holborn
LONDON WC1V 6ER
Tel: 02074050338
Fax: 02074050339
----------------------------------------

I had sent a last mail to Ranjit once again for his friendship and solidarity with Mumbai writers:

On Fri, Oct 23, 2009 at 6:53 PM, Albert Ashok wrote:

Dear Ranjit,

Today we had an executive meeting called by our secretary Mr. Ranjan Gupta, Meeting place was at Sunil Gangopadhya’s residence. The agenda was discipline, and reorganizing westbengal committee. Earlier, I had criticized our committee on the points below:

The committee never calls or shares information what is going on inside to the the general members for years, and no regular meetings.

There are a few members who are not published writers, nor essayists or editors (Members criteria should follow International PEN or other well known Pen centers)

The committee run by the secretary and by his only will , and pass by without checking in the meeting. It shows The secretary never contests any action.

The committee is not defender of Freedom of Expression and don’t go against defamation law. They violate also the charter of PEN.

For all these matters above I criticized and posted it on my blog earlier. This action has made me an enemy of them.

Today, at 11 am, at Sunil Gangopadhya’s residence, everyone attacked me in the meeting, a few expressed to strip my executive power, and a few expressed to sue me in court for my comment that they do not deserve to be a pen member. I hope, every pen center should follow the membership criteria what American pen center, English pen center and Canadian pen center follow.

Finally, Sunil Gangopadhya told us and I made confirmed about your conversation over phone on 12 oct, You called him ‘Sunil Da’. Sunil Gangopadhya told me to stop communicating with you and International PEN, for, He himself and the present secretary Mr. Ranjan Gupta want to talk and do the necessary formalities regarding reconnection with Mumbai Center after two decades. I told them about to pay dues of Indian PEN Centers and report activities.

Once again, I hope you would remind them about formalities regarding membership and other activities according to International PEN and other centers, nothing wrong creeps in. Very soon, Mr. Ranjan Gupta will mail you. Or again you can call Mr. Sunil Gangopadhyay. Today, I feel happy for the resolution by the two states in India coming together to work for PEN.

I was assigned this task by late Mr. Dev kr. Basu, a secretary and treasurer, West Bengal branch, your last letter has a proof that you want again to work and recognise West Bengal branch, after a long battle between you and me.

My task is finished, no more mail will be exchanged regarding membership until once again I am asked to.

I express my friendship with you as a writer and a defender of Freedom of Expression. I may resign from pen membership very soon that I bought by hard earned money. The enmity, hostility inside PEN, among writers, I think its too much.

Still I feel proud that the door is going to open after two decades for my action.

My best wishes,

Albert Ashok
165, R.N. Guha Road. Kol – 28
Executive Member
West Bengal Branch of All India PEN Center

and Mr. Ranjit replied very tacitly and curtly:

Sat, October 24, 2009 9:10:18 AM
From: PEN India

To: Albert Ashok
Cc: Caroline McCormick ; Ranjit Hoskote ; Sampurna Chattarji ; dauji gupta
________________________________________

Dear Albert,

Thank you for your email. I am always happy to see constructive results emerge.

All good wishes,
Ranjit

-------------------------o-----------------------------

Here I want to end the story of 'Inside All India PEN'



if you happen to be here and want to know the history of all India PEN you must read two of my blogs. I may not keep my membership of PEN as I am quite disappointed by the behaviour of my fellow writers, I intend to resign very soon . Thank you all .










Keep following my blogs
Albert Ashok

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Let Me Out of Hell

Let Me Out of Hell

Wednesday 28 October, 12 - 2pm
Venue: Free Word Centre

The Burmese Theatre Workshop - the UK's first ensemble of Burmese actors - presents 'Let Me Out of Hell', a performance about Burma, post Cyclone Nargis.

Burmese Theatre Workshop takes the audience back to Burma in May 2008, struggling to cope with the effects of the worst natural disaster in history, Cyclone Nargis. Travelling from the country's Golden Pagoda to the devastated Delta Region, the audience learn the stories of a victim of the cyclone and an imprisoned businessman. A foreign observer explains the remarkable reaction of the people forced - in the absence of foreign aid - to pick up the pieces themselves.

The performance starts at 12 noon, with a post-show talk at 1.15pm.

This is a free event, and all are welcome. To reserve a place, please email cat@englishpen.org

John Ralston Saul : New President ,International PEN, a new hope




International PEN elects new President


Today, on October 21st, the International PEN Assembly of Delegates elected as International President, John Ralston Saul, to succeed Jirí Grušá who has held the post for six years. Jirí Grušá was one of the most important dissident Czech writers. Earlier presidents have included Alberto Moravia, Heinrich Böll, Arthur Miller, Pierre Emmanuel, Mario Vargas Llosa and György Konrád.

John Ralston Saul is a celebrated Canadian novelist and essayist and former President of Canadian PEN. He has been awarded, among others, Chile's Pablo Neruda medal, Italy's Premio Letterario Internazionale and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres de France.

'International PEN is the world's most important and oldest freedom of speech and literary organisation. Almost 1000 writers in prison or in danger around the world look to us for help. We have to invent new ways of turning back the rise of authoritarian controls.

Threats to freedom of speech are expanding in new directions, especially with the rise of populism in the post 9/11 world.

In addition, hundreds of minority and indigenous languages and cultures are in danger of extinction. This is the ultimate denial of freedom of speech.' says Saul.


---------------------------------------

John Ralston Saul, CC (born June 19, 1947) is a Canadian author and essayist.

As an essayist, Saul is particularly known for his commentaries on the nature of individualism, citizenship and the public good; the failures of manager-, or more precisely technocrat-, led societies; the confusion between leadership and managerialism; military strategy, in particular irregular warfare; the role of freedom of speech and culture; and his critique of contemporary economic arguments.

John Saul is co-Chair of the new Institute for Canadian Citizenship. He is Patron and former president of the Canadian Centre of International PEN. He is also Founder and Honorary Chair of French for the Future, Chair of the Advisory Board for the LaFontaine-Baldwin Symposium lecture series, and a Patron of PLAN (a cutting edge organization tied to people with disabilities), Engineers Without Borders (Canada), and the Canadian Landmine Foundation. A Companion in the Order of Canada (1999), he is also Chevalier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of France (1996). His 14 honorary degrees range from McGill University and the University of Ottawa to Herzen State Pedagogical University in Saint Petersburg, Russia. From 1999 until 2006 when his wife Adrienne Clarkson was Governor-General of Canada he was Canada's vice-regal consort.

In 2009 John Saul was elected president of International PEN. He succeeded Jiří Gruša, a dissident Czech writer.

Fiction

  • The Birds of Prey (1977)
  • Baraka (1983)
  • The Next Best Thing (1986)
  • The Paradise Eater (1988)
  • De si bons Américains (1994)
Non-fiction
  • Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West (1992)
  • The Doubter's Companion: A Dictionary of Aggressive Common Sense (1994)
  • The Unconscious Civilization (1995)
  • Le Citoyen dans un cul-de-sac?: Anatomie d'une société en crise (1996)
  • Reflections of a Siamese Twin: Canada at the End of the Twentieth Century (1997)
  • On Equilibrium: Six Qualities of the New Humanism (2001)
  • The John W. Holmes Memorial Lecture (2004)
  • The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World (2005)
  • Joseph Howe and the Battle for Freedom of Speech (2006)
  • A Fair Country: Telling Truths About Canada (2008)

Honours

---------------------------
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/afterword/archive/2009/10/21/john-ralston-saul-elected-president-of-international-pen.aspx

Canadian writer, philosopher and former vice-regal consort John Ralston Saul was named the new president yesterday of International PEN, a London-based writers’ group dedicated to the promotion of freedom of expression around the world.

Ralston Saul has been involved with PEN since 1987 and served as president of the Canadian chapter from 1990 to ’92.

In announcing his intention to run for the presidential post in a statement released last July, Ralston Saul noted “much work remains to be done to promote and translate minority literatures, especially those, like many indigenous languages, prevented from playing their cultural role.” Ralston Saul, husband of former Canadian governor general Adrienne Clarkson, promised to exploit his “international literary, political and diplomatic networks” for the cause.

Ralston Saul succeeds Jirí Grusá, a Czech writer.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Campaigns

English PEN's campaigns are motivated by the organisation's belief that literature can be a powerful force for dialogue and understanding between cultures. This principle was laid down by the first President of English and International PEN, John Galsworthy, when he said in 1921: 'Anything that makes for international understanding and peace is to the good'. This principle was developed at the International PEN Symposium, 'Writers in Freedom', held in London in 1941, at which Edvard Beneš spoke of the need for the post-war world to be one in which 'writers and artists may live and create without anxiety for their personal security, without restrictions on their creative freedom'. These comments anticipate the formulation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948, in which the right to freedom of speech is described as 'the highest aspiration of the common people'.

The UDHR does not create an absolute right to freedom of speech. It is quite different in that respect from the First Amendment to the United States constitution, which says that 'Congress shall make no law […] abridging the freedom of speech'. Instead, the UDHR, and its successor document the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), sets this fundamental right in balance with a range of other rights and freedoms. The ICCPR creates exceptions to the right to freedom of speech, 'such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.' These exceptions are further developed in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and incorporated in UK domestic law in the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA). The exceptions in Article 10.2 of the ECHR come under the following headings:

• licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises
• national security
• territorial integrity
• public safety
• prevention of disorder or crime
• protection of health or morals
• protection of the reputation or rights of others
• preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence
• maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary

In its campaigns, English PEN accepts that many constraints on the right to freedom of speech are necessary and appropriate. For instance, English PEN would not campaign to reduce broadcasting restrictions such as the 'watershed' principle of screening adult material only after 9pm. Similarly, we would not campaign against the Official Secrets Act, which limits the circulation of information in the interests of national security. Nor would we campaign against reporting restrictions where the right to a fair trial might be impeded by unbalanced coverage in the media. We would not campaign to remove all civil restrictions on defamation, and we would not campaign on behalf of any writer who was guilty of plagiarising the work or assuming the identity of another person.

In its campaigning work (which constitutes around 25% of the organisation's resources) English PEN is guided by the balance struck between the right to freedom of speech and other human rights in international human rights case law. The jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights shows that all exceptions to the right to freedom of speech must be necessary, proportionate and subject to the principle of legal certainty, and must not have a chilling effect. Before entering into any such campaign, therefore, English PEN takes the utmost care to confirm that the human rights of a beneficiary or class of beneficiaries are at risk. The organisation follows a clear procedure, in order to show whether a campaign may be necessary in order to meet English PEN's charitable objects.

The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) and the office staff are responsible for investigating each case which comes to English PEN's attention. The primary source of information on international campaigns will continue to be the Writers in Prison staff of International PEN (registered charity no. 1117088). Every 'honorary member' adopted by the WiPC is first identified by International PEN. If the Writers in Prison staff of International PEN have any concern about the status of such cases, they will not recommend a case for adoption. Cases rejected by International PEN include the following:

Radio Mille Collines: accused of inciting genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.
Eduard Limonov: Russian author imprisoned in the late 1990s accused of leading a right-wing organisation linked to racism and the 'planned invasion of Kazakhstan'. International PEN listed his case as one of judicial concern due to poor trial practice. His case was not adopted by English PEN.
Andrei Klimau: Belarus journalist currently in jail. English PEN has not called for his release as the title of the piece for which he has been prosecuted is apparently racist and the article calls for revolution by any means.
Xanana Gusmao: poet and leader of guerrilla group in the 1990s in East Timor. Now East Timor president. English PEN did not call for his release as he led an armed resistance.
Krystian Bala: currently detained in Poland on accusation of murder. Following appeals that he was accused on the basis of fictional writing that depicts a similar crime, International PEN looked into the case and concluded that there was insufficient information to comment. A similar case in New Zealand in the 1990s was also turned down.
Mumia Abu Jamal: former Black Panther, poet and journalist currently on death row in USA. English PEN has not joined others' call for his freedom as we are unable to comment on his guilt or innocence in the murder of a policeman.

As these cases illustrate, International PEN is scrupulous in following its own internal procedures when adopting a case on which to campaign. English PEN adds to this care when it selects honorary members from the International PEN case list. We also use information from the media, government sources, contacts on the ground and fellow centres of International PEN when considering cases for adoption. If it is believed that a campaign may be necessary in order to pursue our objects, then the Writers in Prison Committee and the staff will be charged with devising and implementing such a campaign. If there is any doubt about the status of such a case, a campaign will not be pursued, but we will continue to pursue the truth of the matter.

Please click on the links below for news on our current or recent campaigns:

Reforming the Libel laws

China Campaign 2008

Free Expression Is No OFFENCE


Incitement to Sexual Hatred

Natalia Morari

Natalia Morari

Location: Moldova

Investigative journalist Natalia Morari was reportedly charged with 'calls for organising and staging mass disturbances', and could face up to eight years in prison.

Natalia Morari (Source: unimedia.md)

The charges stem from a protest organised by Morari, aged 25, and a group of activists which took place at the Great National Square in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital, on 7 April 2009. The protest was coordinated using text messages on mobile phones, and the Twitter and Facebook networks. Its objective was to hold a 'day of mourning' after the results of the 5 April parliamentary elections were made public.

Initially, the organisers thought the demonstration would gather several hundred people, and informed the authorities accordingly, on 6 April. However, on the 'day of mourning' over 10,000 people joined the demonstration. At around midday the protest turned violent, and hours later the riots were controlled by the authorities allegedly with excessive use of force. International commentators have named the events as the "Twitter Revolution".

Morari has told the press that she had not wanted or expected the violence, but praised the courage of young people in coming onto the streets to protest against the election irregularities. In spite of the charges against her, Morari continues to report on European issues for The New Times, and has also written for Index on Censorship. (To read the first article written by Morari after the April 2009 protest, please click here.)

Background:

Natalia Morari had been living and working as an investigative journalist in Russia for the Moscow based The New Times. She writes on contentious issues such as corruption and money laundering. She is described by a colleague as "a rising star" in the dangerous world of Russian investigative reporting, and is well known to free expression activists in Russia and abroad. In late 2007, Morari published a number of reports on political irregularities within the Kremlin and corruption inside the Russian intelligence services, the FSB. As can be seen by the murders of journalists in Russia, such writings expose the authors to enormous risk. The New Times has lost advertising revenue as advertisers pull out, fearing repercussions.


In December 2007 Morari was barred from entering Russia on her return from an assignment in Israel. She was held in Domodedovo airport in Moscow overnight before being deported to Moldova, her home country. Two weeks later she was informed that she would no longer be allowed to enter Russia under Article 27 (1) of Law 114 that states that a non Russian citizen would be barred from entering Russia if considered "a threat for national security, defence capacity of the state, public order and public health of Russian citizens".

In February 2008, Morari married Ilya Barabanov, a Russian citizen who is also an investigative journalist for The New Times. When the couple attempted to return to Russia together, Morari was refused entry. Barabanov now lives in Russia, visiting Morari in Moldova every two to three weeks. In early May 2009 it was reported that the Moldovan Court of Appeals had released Morari from house arrest. She is free to leave her home, but cannot leave the country.


Natalia Morari is an Honorary Member of English PEN and Cuban Writers in Exile PEN

Natalia Morari is now regularly blogging for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. To read her blog, please click here.

Please send appeals:

• Protesting the charges against Natalia Morari solely for peacefully exercising her right to freedom of expression, and calling for the charges to be dismissed;
• Calling on the Russian government to put an end to the harassments against Natalia Morari for her journalistic work;
• Asking the Russian and Moldovan governments to respect it's international human rights obligations, in particular Article 19 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights which guarantees the rights of all individuals to free expression

Appeals to:

Addresses in Moldova

Parliamentary Human Rights Advocate
Anatolie Munteanu
Centre for Human Rights in the Republic of Moldova
16 Sfatul Tarii Str., MD-2012, Chişinǎu
Republic of Moldova
Fax: 373 22 22 54 42

Prosecutor General
Valeriu Gurbulea
26, Mitropolit Banulescu-Bodoni Str., MD-2005, Chişinǎu
Republic of Moldova
Fax: 373 22 21 20 32

Addresses in Russia

Mr Dmitry Medvedev
President of the Russian Federation
Kremlin
Moscow
Russia
Fax: 7 095 206 5173 / 230 2408
Email: president@gov.ru

Mr Chaika Yuri Yakovlevich
Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
Ishaya Dmitrovka, 15a GSP 3
Moscow 125993
Russia
Fax: 7 095 292 88 48


*** Please let us know via email (writersinprison@englishpen.org) if you have sent an appeal and certainly if you should receive any response from the authorities.***

A play a document exposed by Iranian playwright Ghazi Rabihavi

'Look Europe' by Ghazi Rabihavi

7pm, Friday 23 October 2009
Venue: Amnesty International UK's Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA

A unique chance to see a reading of the powerful play 'Look Europe' by the Iranian playwright Ghazi Rabihavi. The play is based on what happened to English PEN's Honorary Member Faraj Sarkohi, editor of Adineh, the only independent journal in Iran, when he was arrested in 1996 and accused of spying. The recent mass arrests of journalists in Iran have given the play a sharp relevance today.

Harold Pinter produced and performed in the play at the Almeida Theatre in October 1997, saying 'I wanted to...bring this play to the light' in view of its wider implications for freedom of the press and general freedom of expression.

Faraj Sarkohi himself has agreed to speak at the Q&A session following the reading. Other speakers will include Judith Vidalhall of Index on Censorship.

Organised by the Hammersmith and Fulham Group of Amnesty International.

To book tickets:

Please book seats in advance on www.amnesty.org.uk/events. A donation of £5 will be requested on the door, but please do give more if you can.

How to get there:

Nearest stations: Old Street (Exit 3) or Liverpool Street (Exit escalator to Bishopsgate)

An Appeal to the 75th International PEN Congress

An Appeal to the delegates
75th International PEN Congress in Linz, Austria

"I want my hands/ to learn how to heal/ myself and others,/ before I hear/ my last song." Nissim Ezekiel


Dear fellow writers, friends and colligues,

All India PEN center of International PEN ( A world wide writers community ) is in Mumbai, Maharshtra, India. The center was founded by Sophia Wadia (Sophia Camacho, c.1901-1986, of New York City), a foreigner who became an Indian through marital relation with B P Wadia, a well known theosophist, a spiritual leader and scholar. The center was from its inception in 1933 started to promote literature and follow the charter of International PEN, secretariat in London, UK. From the very beginning, the writers community in West Bengal had joined the center. This participation as members has been recorded in their biographies of many Bengali writers. Apart from this it is recrded documents can be found in many journals in Bengal and Mumbai and in internet. Mr Annada shankar Roy, born in Orrissa in1904, a famous writer, Sahitya Academy award winner, was honoured with Padmabhusan, Rabindra and Vidyasagar awards etc., was the president Of All India PEN center for almost three decades. He used to live in Kolkata, West Bengal state. He adopted completely a Bengali way of Life. Most of his books he wrote in Bengali, He himself led West Bengal Chapter of All India PEN center, he died in 2002 in Kolkata.

From !934 to 2009 a long time, 75 years. Throughout this period many became secretary of West Bengal PEN chapter.

Around 1986, I came to know Mr. Dev kr. Basu. An editor, publisher, and social worker. He was a popular name among Bengali speaking writers in India and Bangladesh. He was born in 6th Oct. 1929. he became a life member of West Bengal chapter of all India PEN center in 1977. On then, secretary of West Bengal PEN was Mr Santosh Kr. Adhikari, (b. 24 nov.1923). He lived at 81, Raja Basant Roy Road. Kol – 29. After him Mr. Dev kr Basu became the secretary of West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN; probably, it is a few years before 1993 maybe it is 1986 to 1993. Mr. Dev kr. Basu’s office was in the center of Publishing market, 9/3 Tamer lane, Kolkata -9. His office was damaged by termites several times . No pests control could have killed these paper eating insects. He has lost many documents, books, and many important things. So, we are unable to denote exact time. So far I can remember, he was secretary of West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN from 1986. this guess work might be wrong , at present we have documents from 1993 and he was holding PEN activities long before.

In the nineties, Prof Nissim Ezekiel (December 24, 1924 - January 9 2004 at age 79), won the Sahitya Akademi Award, the highest Indian literary recognition, in 1983 and the Padmashree in1988, was secretary of the Indian branch of the international writers' organisation PEN. An Editor, The Indian P.E.N., Mumbai, 1987. we had this information about Mumbai center. After them we came to know recently Ramesh sarkar and Ranjit Hoskote.

As Mr. Annada Shankar Roy, the president of All India PEN center, used to lead us the literay seminars, story and poetry reading sessions, discussions etc functions, we were not bothered about the main center in Mumbai. Besides, Mumbai is 2000 KM away from Kolkata, so, it was not easy to keep a connection with the center. And whenever we used to send mails by postal department no one from there would have replied. We were disappointed. And I think nothing ( works of an organization) were maintained officially in Mumbai and Kolkata. Otherwise Ranjit Hoskote would not speak irresponsibly.

I was involved with PEN from early nineties, as I was economically poor, I could not afford money and become a lifemember. I was a close follower of Mr. dev Kr. Basu. Mr Dev Kr. Basu always kept me within his reach, because I was professionally an artist, and author of many books. I had to make some cover design for Dev Kr Basu’s Publication. Most works I did voluntarily, as poets who used to publish books of poem were unable to pay the charge.

Probably from nineties, we have no connection with Mumbai center. After Mr. Annada Shankar Roy sad demise, we felt a need to communicate with Mumbai center. But no mail by post were being answered. We have no such money or fund to visit there either and keep a communication. Its very troublesome, little bit odd situation too. People in Mumbai speaks Marathi Language, their life style is also different. Though Hindi is Indian National Language. But No one wanted to visit there and re establish the relation. It involves a lot money. If Mumnai center can overlook us, fails to do their duty ours is not main center to be the concern, so, why we would take the labour to communicate. Apart from this we have no fund. Ours is run by our little contribution.

But Members are growing day by day. After Mr Dev Kr. Basu died in 24 Feb 2007, we felt acute coldness and completely forlorn being cutoff from Mumbai. Dr. Jagannath Ghosh, a scholar in drama, an author, editor became the successor of Late Mr. Dev Kr Basu. I felt an urgency to inform International PEN all about West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN. And Many members came in my support, Dr Jagannath Ghosh, himself would inspire me. In 29 june 2007 I sent an email to international PEN, UK. and started to communicate with all, but I failed till today, see the documents

I have been warmly responded and the executive Dirtector of International PEN, Caroline McCormick assured me she would help me to establish a new PEN Center in Kolkata. Our hope is still after this dream to materialize. We need your Help.

From 2007 to 2009 , more than two years have been passed, we are still in dark about our ( West Bengal Chapter of Indian PEN) future. So, we are being desperate to call the attention of Internatinal Communities world wide.

To go in detail and see some proof in support of my prayer given below in these links.

http://penreporter.blogspot.com/2009/10/truth-shall-be-prevailed.html

http://penwestbengal.blogspot.com/2009/10/have-look-inside-p-e-n-india.html

(And more proof is coming as I am collecting and shall post in this blog very soon.)

You can check all postings in these blogs too. We never here to pick up a fight with our fellow writers communities, but we are determined to establish our new own PEN center in Kolkata. we want to hold high the principles and charter of International PEN and follow its guidance.

Thank you

Albert Ashok

Executive Member

West Bengal chapter of Indian PEN

9133 2529 9371

Kolkata



English PEN attacks 'Criminal Memoirs' law

English PEN attacks 'Criminal Memoirs' law

October 2, 2009As part of the English PEN campaign against the Government's proposed new 'Criminal Memoirs' law, we have published a briefing document for parliamentarians and the press.

Download the 'Criminal Memoirs' briefing [2Mb PDF]

The document shows how the proposed law is too broad in its scope, with insufficient safeguards against abuse. Writing by ex-criminals will be subject to permenant scrutiny. Art with a genuine public interest could be threaten by populist campaigns, while vindictive glorification of crime would still be possible.

Amin Maalouf withdraws his candidacy from the International PEN presidential election

Amin Maalouf withdraws his candidacy from the International PEN presidential election


International PEN presidential candidate, Amin Maalouf, has today announced his official withdrawal from his candidacy for International PEN President, the election of which is due to take place as part of the 75th International PEN Congress in Linz, Austria, next week. A statement was submitted to International PEN on the morning of October 13th giving health problems as the reason for his withdrawal. Maalouf will also, regretfully, be unable to take part in the Free the Word! festival of literature taking place in Linz between 22 - 24 October. Maalouf says ‘I have experienced some health problems during the last few weeks and I fear it would be unwise to take on any new task in the foreseeable future. Therefore I'll have to - with deep sadness - withdraw my name from the list of candidates for the presidency of International PEN. I am convinced that the colleague who will be chosen in Linz will be more than able to fulfill their duties with efficiency and grace. They know they could always count on my moral support.' Margaret Busby and John Ralston Saul will continue to run for the position of International President and the successful nominee will be announced on Wednesday 21st October.

For more information contact Emily Bromfield, Communications Director, +44 (0) 207 405 0338 emily.bromfield@internationalpen.org.uk

Friday, October 9, 2009

Have a look Inside P E N West Bengal


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Practicing PEN!


It has been a cult in the lives of writers in West Bengal. I can not remember exactly when this cult had pulled me in its sheer joyful actions, but I understand I am in P E N. Like me, there are numerous writers through out decades has been practicing this cult. Do you dare call them offenders? Do they need your recognition? For generation after generation, its started before I am born, so, how and when it started you explore the myth. You need it to explore if you felt the need really bites your nails, but how dare you call me to prove , I am born in P E N.

A gentleman who was a jewel of India and internationally famed writer, led this cult from the beginning, and held the reign for decades after decade under his arm in India , Maharastra and West Bengal, as President of All-India PEN center of International P E N. The reporting and news media has published this time and again. He himself used to be present in the literary functions held in various places in West Bengal PEN, specially at Bangla Academy. His name is Annada Shankar Roy. For through the decades, you will find the proof of this PEN cult at Bangla Academy run by West Bengal Government.

Most writers (in West Bengal and neighbouring states) when thinks himself involved with PEN, he feels a sheer joy and solidarity among writers community in land and abroad.
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I have posted here some photographs that narrate my involvement in this cult over last decades.
SOME MORE DOCUMENTS
A literary gathering, by West Bengal PEN. I am reading my poem, Late Mr. Dev Kr Basu, who was Hon. secretary and treasurer of West Bengal PEN, conducting the poetry reading session in an open air, ona huge stage at Kolkata Book Fair.
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at the center, 4 th old gentleman from the right side is Mr Dev kr Basu, in front of Bangla Academy, with PEN member writers, I am at the left side next to the woman. this was taken sometimes before 2000.
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Thousand people gather when we conduct a literary reading session, this is photographed in 2003, look the banner 'The PEN West Bengal'
I am reading my own poem, Prominent writers and dignitaries on the stage. This is also in Kolkata Book Fair, which is largest book fair in Asia.
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This photograph is the same as above, taken from different angle. Dev Kr Basu is speaking something at the left next to me.
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look at the banner, This is also clearly seen 'The PEN West Bengal'. Here a prominent writer is ceremoniously opening my book ( press release). Ananda Gopal Sengupta and Me. In the year of 2000.
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This photo is also another one 2003 as above, a close view, The P E N West Bengal banner
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click the photo, you will see it enlarged. This is inside Bangla Academy, we are felicitating Mr Dibyendu Palit on the occasion of his winning Sahitya Academy award for his contribution in Bengali literature. see, The PEN Banner is seen at the left side and Mr Annada Shankar Roy himself was present. Mr Annada Shankar Roy was president of all India PEN Center of International PEN, he himself led West Bengal Chapter most of his life.
This literary Function had been aired through national channel, Doordarshan in the prime time news. in the photo, Mr Dibyendu Palit and Me and at the right side Mr shibdas Basak, also a writer

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This photograph was taken in 28 April 1989, probably. almost 20 years ago. from Left side Me, Late Mr. Dev Kr. Basu, famous journalist and poet Mr. Nirendra nath Chakraborty and undoubtedly Mr Annada Shankar Roy. And above him you can see the Banner ' The PEN West Bengal'

A thousand photographs of different events that is part of the PEN Cult in the lives of writers in Bengal can be shown, that this Bengal has the proof that it belongs to International PEN from the time it generated its center on Indian soil. Don't malign and supress our Rights, you are violating the serenity and calmness of a writers community in West Bengal, be gone. If you do not know the history of PEN West Bengal learn but don't talk foolishly, writers in Bengal are on the guard.
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The email below is sent to me and to the executive director of International PEN, Caroline McCormick, read carefully how a man who calls himself a member of PEN center, and a secretary of all India Pen Center threatens and intimidates his fellow writer member. You should read also my next blog where I shall post and publish many emails that will tell What happens inside pen. How a man contradicts himself.

International PEN is against defamation law and defends 'Freedom of Expression' but here, you will find a secretary of Indian PEN Center is breaking the Human Rights and Charter of International PEN.
click this photo enlarged

Truth should prevail and its should be held high above all


On last 4 October, Ranjit Hoskote, secretary of present All India PEN (I am not aware how he became a secretary after Nissim Ezikiel , we have no data) sent a mail to Caroline McCormick, The executive Director of International PEN and me. He addressed it to Caroline, not me.

He wants to threaten me, intimidate me (read the email above).Why? Because, I wanted to become a PEN Member. And he would not let us (writers in West Bengal) be so. Though, West Bengal Chapter of All India PEN center is active, since its inception in 1934 in Mumbai, by Sophia Wadia. Mumbai has stopped communicating West Bengal chapter in the eighties, so I have the information. I sent a prayer to International PEN to open a New center in West Bengal. But International PEN has forced us to contact Mumbai, which is 2000 km away.Where it seems the community cleverly tries to avoid Writers in West Bengal. If you read all the emails rhat I am going to post you will find it true. I told International PEN all Problems, including the intentions of Mumbai center what reflected in correspondence throughout last few years.
Just you read the email Ranjit Hoskote has written. and see the photographs that I have in my possession. Do you think Ranjit is speaking the truth?

he said we did not communicate with them, but since his first mail I sent him more than a dozen mails but he never answers. in my next post in this blog I am publishing them all. Let the whole world know and people in Mumbai know what kind a man he is .

It started 29 June 2007. Read the whole story. Here, I shall publish all the emails that are the parts of the story within a few days. I shall take this matter to International PEN congress in Linz, Austriya.
I hope Keeping me in hold for last two years international PEN is discouraging us to work with PEN, Is it a sign of a PEN charter and ideals that started in 1921.

I have posted his Ranjit Hoskote’s email here for the readers (I expect all members of International PEN and it’s Centers world wide would read, and send me and concerned people their views. This is an intentional suppression and harassment towards the writers community in West Bengal) which is against the principle and charter of International PEN. I hope International community will take this matter seriously and find the people who has ill intention behind this and want to damage the reputation of solidarity among writers under The P E N without border. I fear such things could exist in other centers too. It should be stopped.

I have marked the aggressive lines and ready to put my answer in my next blog.

Mr. Annada Shankar Roy, a renowned writer and jewel of India was the president of All India PEN Center. He lived in Kolkata, and used to attend most cultural functions held by writers West Bengal chapter of All India PEN Center. For a few decades, most of his life, till his last breath, he was the President of all India PEN Center.

I am very much fortunate ( today, I think atleast) to have me photographed with him in literary gatherings, with a banner of PEN West Bengal to be a proof. Many writers, like me have such PEN document ( photograph with late Mr. Annada Shankar Roy, and a banner West Bengal PEN), probably since 1934, in Bengal many autobiography of renowned writers testify so. You will see more When you will find it in the biography/ autobiography of Mr Roy, elaborately he narrated, that how strong Bengal chapter had been and had contribution in All India PEN Center.

I hope Mr Annada Shankar Roy knew more than Ranjit Hoskote. When he himself was chair person and led West Bengal chapter with writers community in Bengal should you ask question. If Mr Annada Shankar Roy was nothing than who you are we should care?

Ranjit hoskote’s irresponsible mail is seen and read by the writers community in Bengal. He is showing what substance he has in him. He is exposing himself to the international community and Bengal is appreciating him very much.


He says Mumbai center led by him is doing things with collaborative and receptive spirit.
But International PEN is witness in two counts that this statement is false

1) On 23 october, I voluntarily mailed him requesting my name to add ‘ writers condemn attacks on christian’ campaign, he did not add or felt the need to answer me. I was directed by International PEN. I have proof, electronic doc.
2) When terrorists attacked Mumbai 26 Nov 08, on behalf of West Bengal chapter of all India PEN Center, with more organization I collected about 500 signature for maintaining solidiarity and peace, ( renowned writers like Sunil Gangopadhyay also signed) I sent it to International PEN and to Mumbau center. International PEN took time to respond and when responded it said to liase with Mumbai center, and mumbai center did not respond. I wrote ranjit 9 Feb 09 .
the collection of signature is been posted on this blog.

Do you find he is collaborative and receptive?
--------------------o-----------------------------
This is a receipt of my life time membership issued by PEN West Bengal Chapter, 26 march 2008, signed by late Dr.Jagannath Ghosh, Hon. secretary and treasurer of West Bengal PEN chapter.

My membership with PEN is a proof when I am photographed with Mr. President of All India PEN Center. Besides, my life time membership receipt is shown here.

Ranjit says, I did not communicate with him. How many mails I have sent him, its record that electronic medium has recorded. Is he speaking the truth, at all? In my mail box I have preserved them all and printed them. I am posting this also in my next blog.

In his second point ‘Wrong number of feminism’ is my view. Taslima Nasreen had her view against her fellow writers and companions. She maligned intentionally many famous writers. I tried to criticize her with reason and logic. If you do not read her life and actions you will think she is great. But she is not. Such views are published material in land and in her land. I have just collected all the views and put these together, and I found Bangladeshi feminists are leveling as she is a wrong number of Feminism. Besides, she has bitten a lot of people, and probably, it seems biting is her another nature. You read Hanifa Deen. Read the news papers published from Bengal and Bangladesh. But it does not mean I am against her or aggressive about her. Man, First you read information than put your views or people will ignore you.

Whose tone is acceptable people will decide. Who are you. PEN is not one’s father ‘s property. Its an organization run by a set of people.

Whatever is in my blog, do not tell false anything. International PEN, Article 19 and UN all are trying to discard defamation law and Ranjit hoskote, maybe, he doesnot know that he is going against the charter and principle of international PEN. We are here to defend Freedom of Expression. Not to intimidate or threaten somebody for his/ her views. If one does so he is not a Member of PEN.

Finally I am surprised how Ranjit Hoskote became secretary of all India Pen center without letting West Bengal know.
Read More at http://penreporter.blogspot.com/2009/10/truth-shall-be-prevailed.html

A certificate has been awarded to me from PEN West Bengal, by Sunil Gango padhya, in presence of Late Mr. Dev Kr. Basu at Calcutta Press Club in the late eighties,

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Free Word Centre, London. Taxing Questions

Just a reminder that tomorrow sees the second in our Value of Literature Series, here in our new home at the Free Word Centre. Taxing Questions offers you the opportunity to learn more about the world of finance for the creative industries.

Taxing Questions

In association with HW Fisher

Tuesday 6 October, 6.30pm

Writers are perhaps better than most at surviving economic crisis, but could you be making your writing work harder for yourself? Barry Kernon, a consultant in HW Fisher's Authors' and Journalists' Group and an acknowledged expert in the tax treatment of individuals, discusses accounting for authors and how to get the very best out of your writing income. With a focus on tax hints, the talk will be followed by a Q&A session with the chance to seek further advice and raise any specific queries.

This event is part of the Free Word Centre launch week.

Venue: Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3GA

This event is free but booking is essential. To reserve your place please call 020 7324 2535 or email amy@englishpen.org.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Reckoning with Torture: Memos and Testimonies from the “War on Terror”

PEN American Center
PEN Newsletter

SAVE THE DATE



MONDAY, October 26:
PEN America 11 Launch Party



THURSDAY, October 29:
Bearing Witness in Chechnya: The Legacy of Natalia Estemirova



MONDAY, November 9:
Breakout: Voices From Inside








PEN American Center
588 Broadway, Suite 303
New York, NY 10012
Tel. (212) 334-1660
Fax. (212) 334-2181
www.pen.org

If you do not wish to receive e-mails from us, please click here.

Reckoning with Torture: Memos and Testimonies from the “War on Terror”

When: Tuesday, October 13
Where: The Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 East 7th St., NYC
What time: 7 p.m.

With Matthew Alexander, Jonathan Ames, K. Anthony Appiah, Paul Auster, Ishmael Beah, David Cole, Don DeLillo, Eve Ensler, Jenny Holzer, A.M. Homes, Jameel Jaffer, Susanna Moore, Jack Rice, George Saunders, Amrit Singh, and Art Spiegelman

Tickets:
$15/$10 for PEN/ACLU Members and students with valid ID at www.smarttix.com. Tickets may also be purchased at the door.



PEN and the ACLU will join forces to address the acts of torture and abuse carried out on behalf of the United States government since 9/11. At a time when the world’s eyes are on America and the Obama administration has taken some important steps toward addressing the abuses that have occurred over the past eight years, writers and artists will take the stage with lawyers, a former U.S. interrogator, and other special guests.

In an evening of readings and responses, these Members and friends of PEN will read from the recently-released secret documents that have brought these abuses to light—memos, declassified communications, and testimonies by detainees—and reflect on how we can move forward as a nation.

This event is a first step in the long process of national reflection and reconciliation.


source:

http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/3870/prmID/148