Since 2014 when the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power for the first time since independence, India has been under fascist rule. Indians are deprived of their Constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression and the right to live and worship as they choose.

After independence from British rule in 1947, a multi-religious multi-cultural India, in its regard for all religions, emphatically rejected a religious identity. The ruling regime now defines the country as Hindu (in a distorted form known as Hindutva) and makes outsiders of all non-Hindus.

The persecution or killing of “outsiders” is now rife, as is of those who oppose this fanaticism. I have called this development the Unmaking of India and have seen fit to describe it in political articles, in my correspondence with the writer Kiran Nagarkar (published as a book, Encounters with Kiran) and in my new fiction, When the Moon Shines by the Day and The Fate of Butterflies, now published in a joint edition called The Unmaking of India Chronicles.

Can the spirit of 1947 complete with its individual rights and freedoms be recaptured? The battle is on. Civil servants, lawyers, writers, artists, farmers, students, teachers, and women in great numbers and organised groups, are joined in the fight which is desperate because at present there is no sign of hope or light in this darkness.

Nayantara Sahgal was born in Allahabad and lives in Dehradun. She is the author of 13 novels and seven works of non-fiction. She is a vice-president of PEN International and has been engaged in the demand for freedom of speech which is now under increasing pressure.

Read all the contributions to the PEN project here.