NL Interviews: Abhinandan Sekhri in conversation with Vivek Agnihotri

NL Interviews: Abhinandan Sekhri in conversation with Vivek Agnihotri

In which Abhinandan Sekhri tries to get to the bottom of that ubiquitous term ‘Urban Naxals’.

Vivek Agnihotri is a film director, producer, screenwriter, activist, and now, also an author. His book “Urban Naxals: The Making of Buddha in a Traffic Jam” is an outcome of his ‘research’ on what he refers to as ‘Urban Naxalism.’

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In this interview, Agnihotri joins Abhinandan Sekhri to discuss his journey of writing the book, as well as the events that were triggered in the aftermath of its publication.

Watch the two agree on certain aspects of Naxalism, such as the fact that it wreaks havoc in villages and destroys lives. Both of them go on to discuss the term ‘Urban Naxal’ popularised in Agnihotri’s book and its meaning at length. Is it merely someone Agnihotri isn’t too fond of?

Agnihotri goes on to explain that the strategy involved in taking over a state requires that people from different groups be recruited; they could be from the media, activists, students and so on, but this doesn’t directly translate into each and every one of them being Naxalites. However, he adds, a few of them definitely are.

Sekhri then stirs the conversation towards the speech Agnihotri made at Harvard, in which he mentioned how students are brainwashed by their professors and how 40 per cent of India is infested with Maoists. How did Vivek arrive at this number, Sekhri asks.

The interview then takes an interesting turn as Sekhri asks Agnihotri to furnish some facts on which he has based many of his statements, such as JNU being overrun by Naxalism or students being brainwashed in universities.

They also discuss the author’s evolving opinion of journalist Arnab Goswami, and how it mutated from hostility to fondness in 2014.

The two, then, move on to discuss the film industry and its functioning, as well as the various festivals that take place year-round in the fraternity. The conversation ends with a debate on the nature and definition of a fact. Tune in to see the entire discussion.

References:

Vivek Agnihotri’s speech at Harvard.

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