Amit Chaudhuri, Gaiutra Bahadur and Aamer Ahmed Khan discuss depictions of the powerless in fiction and factual reporting with Rana Mitter. Chaudhuri has explored life in Calcutta in many of his novels and essays; Badhadur's book Coolie Woman: The Odyssesy of Indenture takes the history of her great grandmother and examines the status of women who worked as labourers on sugar plantations; Khan is an editor for the Urdu section of the BBC's World Service.
In a programme recorded at the Free Thinking Festival at Sage Gateshead, the panel debate the idea of responsibility and whether stories about tragedy and poverty reinforce stereotypes or change attitudes and prompt action?
Producer: Natalie Steed.
Free Thinking Festival 2014: The Limits of Knowledge
Join the discussion @BBCRadio3
A collection of related links and tweets
Gaiutra Bahadur is a journalist and has written 'Coolie Women: the Odyssey of Indenture' in which she asks whether her great grandmother was a victim of colonial slavery.
Quotes from the debate
Aahmer Ahmed Khan was also on the panel
An article on Amit Chaudhuri who joined the debate