Freedom © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

2022 marks 75 years of India's independence. To commemorate the occasion, the Goethe-Institut is producing 75 contributions on the theme of freedom. Artists, authors and thinkers from India and Germany explore the question: How is freedom perceived today? What makes people free? Where does freedom find its limits, and what are its conditions? Where is freedom currently threatened, and how can it be protected? What potential for freedom do arts offer? How do individual freedom and society relate to each other? 

Freedom Spotify Playlist

Freedom in India and Germany

Reyhan Şahin © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Reyhan Şahin

Dr. Reyhan Şahin, also known as "Lady Bitch Ray", explores the meaning of individual freedom through the lens of an artist academician and feminist.

Haznain Kazim © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Hasnain Kazim

Civilized coexistence with respect for personal and societal boundaries are a few important ingredients of freedom for the German journalist and writer Hasnain Kazim.

Meena Kandasamy © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Meena Kandasamy

Meena Kandasamy is a writer, translator and activist. Among her works is the for the Women's Prize shortlisted “When I Hit You”. Here she speaks about the meaning of freedom to writers and artists today.

Sandip Roy © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Sandip Roy

Sandip Roy is a writer, podcaster columnist and the author of the novel ‘Don't Let Him Know.’ In this video, he speaks about preserving and expanding sexual freedom and the importance of fighting for it.  

Annie Zaidi © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Annie Zaidi

Annie Zaidi is a writer of fiction and poetry, like "City of Incident' and "Bread, Cement, Cactus". In this video, she describes freedom as a naturally occurring rather than a granted experience.

Ronny Sen © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

Ronny Sen

Ronny Sen is a filmmaker/photographer based in Kolkata. In his video, he discusses the concept of freedom for a filmmaker and the need for finding new ways to make work in an age of intolerance and majoritarianism.

Sarah Diehl © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Sarah Diehl

German author and activist Sarah Diehl reflects on the traditional ideas of family, family policy and patriarchy still continue to dictate a woman’s way of life, as an individual, partner and mother.  

Die schönsten Träume von Freiheit werden im Kerker geträumt.

Friedrich Schiller

Nikita Dhawan © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Nikita Dhawan

Nikita Dhawan holds the Chair in Political Theory and History of Ideas at the Technical University Dresden, Germany. In contrast to a neoliberal vision of unfettered freedom, she proposes that freedom is not the right to do as one pleases but the responsibility to do what is right.

Saumya Roy © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Saumya Roy

Saumya Roy is a journalist and author of "Mountain Tales." In her video, she outlines how pollution, waste and growing consumption impact the lives of waste pickers and what freedom means to them.

Sameera Iyengar © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Sameera Iyengar

Sameera Iyengar is a creative producer and theatre person. Here she speaks about how freedom was perceived in a pre-independent India, and what freedom means to artists and art itself in a modern democracy.

Bijan Moini © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

Bijan Moini

Bijan Moini is a lawyer and author of "Save the Freedom - A Wake-Up Call in the Digital Age". In his video, he talks about how digitalization can expand or destroy our freedom - and that we need to actively work toward the former.

Artistic Contributions on Freedom

Art is a medium to reflect on issues of freedom - through film, poetry, prose, performance, graphic or photography. Here are the 25 artworks from a total of 450 from India and Germany that received grants for shaping their artistic proposals.



Will Fredo Furtado

Will Fredo Furtado is a non-binary artist, writer, and deputy editor of Contemporary And, a platform for visual arts. In their practice, they explore power dynamics, cultural dislocation, and the intersection of pop culture, decolonial thought, and technology.

Monica Narula

Monica Narula is an artist and is trained in cinematography and filmmaking. She is also the co-founder of Raqs Media Collective, well known for its contribution to contemporary art through installation, sculpture, video, performance, text, lexica and curation.

Aditya Mehta

Aditya Mehta is the Founder and CEO of Art&Found — a curated marketplace for art and collaboration. His career path has relentlessly focused on monetising the creative economy and making art accessible.

Debates on Freedom

Artistic Freedom © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

With Osheen Siva & Rishi Majumder
Artistic Freedom

Is artistic freedom meant to be complete, without boundaries, or should it be confined to a framework with applicable codes of conduct? The guests discuss vandalism and destruction of art displayed in public spaces and the aspect of State versus audience censorship.

Instagram Live Gurmehar Kaur © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi

With Gurmehar Kaur and Rishi Majumder
Small Acts of Freedom

Academic, social activist, and author of Small Acts of Freedom, Gurmehar Kaur talked about the choices she made in her life and career, about what freedom means to her and how she chooses to exercise her freedom.

Freedom Worldwide

More on Freedom