In the demise of MaaAranganathan, 83,the Tamil literary world has lost a writer known for bringing out deep meaning and great beauty through very simple, detailed depictions of the mundane. Known for his artistry, modernity and unique use of language Aranganathan’s tales are a product of his observations of the lives of very ordinary people and his deep study of[Read More…]
I have for many years now held a deep fascination for Ford Madox Hueffer’s Antwerp, a poem as little known as the man himself, a poem written in 1915 that vividly recreates the horror of the war fields of Europe during the so-called Great War and the even greater horror of mothers waiting at Charing Cross station for sons who[Read More…]
At a time when military planners intensify the demonic work of softening the world up for a normalisation of the use of tactical nuclear weapons in the ever-growing fields of war, let our hearts more fully awaken to the pain of the world, and particularly to the pain of those innocents caught up in war and preparations for war.
(Rome) The recent death of the Russian poet with whom I was acquainted, Yevgheny Yevtushenko, prompted these considerations of the role of poets in social-cultural-political progress in general and in a particularly spectacular fashion in Russia. In few other countries have poets played a more significant than in Russia. Nonetheless, for centuries Russian poets have been harassed, persecuted, and punished[Read More…]
Madhavikutty, the renowned Malayalm writer, was ahead of her times. Here is a short story she wrote in Malayalam in the sixties. It foretells what’s happening in India now. One day, while a boy was picking up banana skin from the waste bin and eating it, a cow reached there and grabbed it from him. He pushed the cow[Read More…]
Putting my “camera between the skin of a person and his shirt is the most difficult thing for me,” says Henri Cartier-Bresson, a renowned French humanist photographer. Cartier-Bresson was speaking of his predicament as a photographer while taking a portrait. Cartier-Bresson’s anxiety was apparently about reaching the subject/object as close as possible – an intellectually fascinating but a real time challenge[Read More…]
Then he thought he should have a drink
And all the bars were closed.
They told him ` get married and you will be fine’
Then he just asked them this:
`Will it cover my nudity?’
Now we have heard the whisper again
That India may change
Its no-first use-nuclear policy
It is enough for counter lunatics
To convert sanity into lunacy
To transform the meanings
Of `peace and harmony’.
And when the dead bodies do not wake up
I keep telling myself
That it is safer to get drunk
On the silence of the graves.
While Obama and Cameron take “selfies,”
shedding crocodile tears
at Nelson Mandela’s final farewell,
our Lady Mandela gazes over
the path she has made by her walking.
[From Deen Daan] by Rabindranath Tagore Thus offered the royal servant- “Your Highness, despite much pleading Narottama, the greatest of the Sadhus, Shunning the opulent shelter of your golden temple Is engaged upon the sacred devotions of sankirtana Under the shade of a tree by the roadside. Scores of devotees swarm the holy man Tears of uncontrollable bliss overflow[Read More…]
The Unique Musical Creations of Kumar Sachin Dev Burman and Their Roots in the Reeds and Soil of Bengal- Part II
On the subject of SDB’s lifelong allegiance and closeness to the folk traditions of Bengal, there is an excellent interview by SankarlalBhattacharjee (whose transcript is available at the link appended to the end of this essay)- titled The Case for Folk Music, the interview focuses primarily on his experiences in the Bombay film industry. In the interview, he points out[Read More…]
The Unique Musical Creations of Kumar Sachin Dev Burman and Their Roots in the Reeds and Soil of Bengal- Part I
His apparent estrangement from the Tagorean epoch As with many other frontiers, the Bengal renaissance flowered mellifluously in the domain of music as well. An exhaustive account of this creative flowering would of course require the space of several books, suffice it to say that the overarching contributor to this renaissance was none other than the greatest symbol of the[Read More…]
Miya main kaisa Musalman hain? I am that Musalman who is being asked again and again again and again if i am from Pakistan when I say My name is Ajmal I am that Musalman for whom it doesn’t make a difference if i am a Khoja, Bohra Sunni or a Shiya But during frisking if my name is asked[Read More…]
The film is remarkable and rich, the kind of experience you turn over in your mind for days afterwards, discovering new facets that reflect new themes or ideas. Above all, the film affirms the essential humanity of every person—even and especially the “villain”—and exposes the emptiness and absurdity of revenge-taking.
Our ‘sensibility’ is not surely an objective-aesthetic experience in terms of understanding, appreciating and even critiquing any art, literature, film etc. But it sometimes demands some ‘common’ sense in, at least, viewing a film. Exorcism is no novel experience in the history of world films. Like stories interwoven around myths and fantasies, devils and evil spirits continue to be a[Read More…]
As a poet, Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001), the well-known Kashmiri, had a conspicuous allegiance to the aesthetics of art. However, in giving prominence to this undeniable facet of his poetry, critics, in the words of Claire Chambers, have “soft-pedalled the political message” of Agha Shahid’s poetry (1). As Kashmiris come to terms with what they suffered in the last seven[Read More…]
Reflections On The Movie ‘Salt Of The Earth’ And A 1999 Book Titled The Suppression Of Salt Of The Earth by James J. Lorence …
As a university professor and a white male, I teach a course on “Race and Ethnic Diversity,” and have taught over 40 semesters of this course over the past 12 ½ years in rural Indiana. While looking at a number of white ethnic groups as well as a number of ethnic groups of color in the course — I argue[Read More…]
Social networking sites and media channels are buzzing with the slogan: “We are with her”. Yes, I am talking about Zaira Wasim, who by her achievement made her parents and entire Kashmir very proud. However it remains particularly unknown that who in Kashmir is against her? Although many have expressed their anger about her meeting with Mehbooba Mufti, but that[Read More…]
Om Puri, one of India’s most celebrated actors, was found dead at his Mumbai home last week, apparently of natural causes. The 66-year-old Puri leaves behind an enduring legacy, having starred in some of Indian cinema’s most remarkable films. In his prime, Puri was among the principal actors associated with Parallel Cinema, a film movement in India that was beginning[Read More…]
Dangal has captured the imagination of an average middle-class Indian. Yes! It is a fantastic movie. Yes! There should be positive reviews of the movie. Obviously, both critiquing and praising. It is indeed a good movie which has a lot to say about contemporary Indian social reality. Unlike the social media proclamations of Dangal, what fascinated me is the[Read More…]
Primary job of any movie is to act as an anchor of conscience in a given society. This could be intrinsic or could be methodical. The purpose of movie or any art is to leave an impression, possibly a desirable one, on the minds of audience. Stronger the mark of impression, stronger the attachment to the movie and stronger the[Read More…]
There was always going to be a good deal of thick drama around Carrie Fisher, by her own confession, a product of Hollywood in-breeding. Her parents, Debbie Reynolds and the crooner Eddie Fisher, provided ample material for the gossip columns in a marriage breakup after Eddie sped away with Elizabeth Taylor. This was the background of an “unfilmable Dynasty”, one[Read More…]
One of the major motivations for me to watch Dangal was its poster that featured girls with the ‘boy-cut’. Another one was the associated murmurs that claimed it to be another film that propagates ‘women empowerment’. After watching the film, I felt that the understanding of ‘women empowerment’ in our society is still limited, empowerment is being ‘equal’ or ‘nearly[Read More…]
You destroyed the economy
with one colossal blunder.
You’ve brought untold misery
and torn our lives asunder.
But Modi-ji, whatever you do
or say or think is fine.
There’s just one more little thing
you ought to do. RESIGN.
1. Dah! It’s true! Every time I come upon some clever turn-of-phrase, they’re in my brain, they’re at my screen— hacking, hacking, hacking! Every metaphor I write they claim is Dostoyevsky’s! Every simile is Tolstoy’s! Every irony—you guessed it! Chekhov’s! They turn my language inside-out. I write moon-June love poems, and they turn them into treatises[Read More…]
You say “European cultural institutions”, and what should come immediately to mind are lavish concerts, avant-garde art exhibitions, high quality language courses and benevolent scholarships for talented cash-strapped local students. It is all so noble, so civilized! Or, is it really? Think twice! I wrote my short novel, “Aurora”, after studying the activities of various Western ‘cultural institutions’, in[Read More…]
To see the planet whole;
To know our place upon it;
To nurture and restore it;
To abide in moderation,
With compassionate humility;
That the arts might consecrate us—
Share the bounty of the Earth!
Make a joyful sound!
A teaspoon’s worth
can give new birth;
let the hills resound–
there’s plenty to go around,
sharing in rebirth.
Unfinished Portrait is a project in perpetuity, tracking the footsteps of our post- 9/11, post-Iraq War world.I began work on the project in 2005. And, today, eleven years later, the content and execution of this work has evolved, much like the illegal wars of Iraq and Afghanistan have themselves evolved, you might say.
This is the wall of stone faces
This is the plain of lost skulls
How much blood must fallow
Before we’ve had enough?
As a researcher in Film and Gender Studies, I had great expectations of the movie PINK. I must say, the positive audience and critical reception to the film is well deserved, while it also reflects on the perfect timing of its making and release, when public discourses on issues of rape and gendered violence come down heavily on the side[Read More…]
When Jesus and the Buddha met
in a meadow of larkspurs, on a balmy day,
the bees of the valley went mad with love,
the sky and the sun were a glaze.
“Let us sit on the grass,” said Buddha.
And they rested their traveling bones.
One in cambric, the other in saffron,
and the air was the color of amber.
Instances of rape are quite common in India. According to National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), about 93 rapes take place in India every day. Two different perspectives emerge in relation to cause of rapes. There is a prevalent patriarchal view with a base in feudal mindset, which blames the victim. It argues that rapes do happen due to lack[Read More…]
True film aficionados who are old enough probably know that there were three cinematic versions of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (TIOTBS). Doesn’t matter, though, whether or not you’re familiar with them. I’ll give you enough to chew on here, and then hit you with why there needs to be another one made. The first two TIOTBS films had[Read More…]
Lakshman Rekha, a film by Geetika Tondon looks at how conversations in the media are played out in cases of sexual assault in India. This twenty minute short premiered in July 2016 at the inaugural session of the Film Club, Centre for Women’s Studies, University of Hyderabad, in the presence of the film maker. The film was followed by an[Read More…]
Here is your silence.
But take it all
Don’t cut in line.
Let your silence begin
at the beginning of crime But we,
Tonight we will keep right on singing
For our dead.
Tell us something about you and your band; how you started your journey in music and how did you come together? Dr Rajesh Anuragi : I was born and raised in a small town of Hamirpur, district of UP. My father is a musician and a table player. Since school days I was always a bright student. I started[Read More…]
The tender coconut that you once gave me
Was certainly more tasty,
Than a nation you have offered
To keep me alive and to shape a meaning
For your existence than mine!
How do you talk about a situation so heavily overlaid with the politics of pain that to even mention the word ‘Gaza’ creates division? Reactions that teeter between fear and resistance, ignorance and involvement, suspicion and commitment. How do we face the reality that it is civilians, especially children, women and the elderly who suffer most in protracted situations of[Read More…]
One of the most important languages for expressing the values of the commons, I have come to realize, is art. It can often express visceral knowledge more effectively than words and give those insights a more powerful cultural reality. Those were my thoughts when I saw “Seeing Wetiko,” an “online gallery” of artworks, music and videos just released by the global arts[Read More…]
Last month, before Kabali released some of the Dalits in Tamil Nadu posted a merged picture on face book, which had Dr. Ambedkar, in his usual pride and impressive posture, on the one side and actor Rajnikanth on the other side. I responded to them, “Do not compare Rajinikanth with Ambedkar”. They replied “Rajini seems to be imitating and emulating[Read More…]
“A Bitter Lime” is a variously funny to Kafkaesque movie about a rich and young but disenchanted First World couple leaving Los Angeles for Georgetown in Third World Guyana. A beautifully filmed and poetic movie, “A Bitter Lime” touches on escapism, existential angst, North-South, Man-Nature and love. Directed by Australian Max De Bowen (Max Orter) , “A Bitter Lime” is[Read More…]
Backward or forward
Life is still
But minds are terrorized
And home is a war zone
Mahasweta Devi is no more. With her passing one great intellectual who wrote for the most unprivileged sections of the Indian society, the tribals leaves the earth. Her writings are socially relevant than any other contemporary writer. In fact the truth is that no one has written so prolifically, as she has done at the global level, for the underprivileged section of[Read More…]
My daughter lies on a hospital bed at this moment. Her entire body has deep red marks that have seeped inside her skin like a poisonous wasp’s sting. Doctors are trying their best to heal the wounds. My daughter, she is only four. She looks at the tik-tok of the clock to pass her time. She does not look outside[Read More…]
How many stones should a Vizhinjam Port fill
So that life in the sea will be gone?
How many houses will the project destroy
So that the leaders will look look down with shame?
How many crores will an Adani loot
From taxes of the people of this land?
The answer my friend, is blowing in wind
The answer is blowing in the wind.
Kandhamal is not a new subject to me. Countercurrents.org had published an article on 2nd November 2003 by Angana Chatterjee “Orissa: A Gujarat In The making”. It was five years before the worst communal violence against Christians in modern India happened in Kandhamal in 2008 in which 93 people were killed, over 350 churches and worship places which belonged to[Read More…]
i sent you a postcard
neat 6×4 inch
slab avalanche of grief
disfigured black flag
punched with pellets
the night sky’s
Have I been out-Trumped?
(He doth bestride the narrow world like a Collosus!)
Out-Foxed by one “extremely careless”?
Oh, what Ailes me now? What Ailes us all?
But, soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East–and Jill Stein is the sun!
Subsequent to the chilling account written by a known investigative journalist, Kim Zetter, towards the end of 2014, the new documentary film has been just released to the public domain and started screening as of July 08. This is indeed shocking! How are we going to deal with this? Is this going to outline the next world war? We are[Read More…]
(Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, with the stealthy movements of a fugitive, enters a small, nondescript Catholic church in South London. Before letting the door close, he looks behind him as if he fears someone has been tailing him, someone from whom he is desperate to escape. Tony sports a fake mustache and wears the somewhat rumpled outfit of[Read More…]
Way to go America! Our police shoot to kill Blacks Just like “unlawful combatants” In our Global War on Terrorism GWOT Blowback On the Streets of these United States. Military training, weapons, tactics, mentality Brought to bear By our White Racist paramilitarized police Against our Forever Untermenschen Blacks Our Ku Klux Klan in Blue Next coming to you. No end[Read More…]
Artist Paramesh Jolad’s letter to Umashree, Minister for Kannada and Culture, Government of Karnataka and an award winning artist.
In 1931, a new theater ensemble was formed in New York City. The vision of Harold Clurman, Lee Strasberg,[Read More…]
The pain of birth. A breathing child arrives With the loudest unhappy tears Cursing the entry into this planet Yearning to be where once belonged. The pain of death. Clinging to the last breath Refusing to leave the touch of fresh air Hated at the time of arrival. A last struggle to maintain The life which floated on air. You[Read More…]
This time around, Siddhartha let Yashodhara go to attain nirvana instead of you. In your colourful palace she sits forlorn. The colours fail to brighten her day. They disgust her. Yashodhara will leave you with a delicate flower in your bosom. Not to worry, you’ve attained enlightenment, right? You’ll figure this one out too. Look at the forlorn footprints behind[Read More…]
Having been in exile for more than two decades now, many Pandits are taking to poetry and other forms of art to express their profound angst on their life as migrants and a gradual loss of their communitarian identity. In their new found voices, they can be seen yearning for their loss home or paradise while also lamenting on the[Read More…]
It is more often a rare experience to be a part of a ‘critical insider’ while being with a movie. Politics is also very rarely seen in the ‘foreground’ in the ‘making’ of a movie – the most widely visible practice is to place it in the ‘background.’ What politically goes in between these spaces (background and foreground) is also[Read More…]
I will open the windows of my dreams
to watch men and women
young and old
hugging and kissing
singing and dancing
without the poison of hatred
and without the guilt
of their silence.
As someone who grew up in Bangalore and came into an identity through Bengaluru, there is a deeply wrenching dichotomy one is forced to negotiate and live with. Janaki Nair’s wonderful book on Bengaluru, The Promise of the Metropolis, traces this to a spatial and linguistic division between the pete (native quarters) and the cantonment (British military station). This[Read More…]
“(At dawn) … I will resist … (Since) upon the wall there is still a white sheet … And my fingers are yet to (completely) dissolve.” This is a translated verse from Mu’in Bseiso’ “Three Walls of the Torture Chamber”. He was -and remains – one of Gaza’s most influential intellectual and renowned poets. After Israel occupied the Gaza Strip[Read More…]
Motoyuki Shibata in New York City In Japan, even a serious writer may be seen on mass advertising, and a translator can become a star. One of Japan’s most famous intellectuals, Motoyuki Shibata is a specialist on American literature. He has translated books by Thomas Pynchon, Paul Auster, Steven Millhauser and Stuart Dybek, among others. Shibata is also the editor[Read More…]
Born in Reykjavík in 1978, Norðdahl was raised in Ísafjörður, a fishing village of just 2,623 people in northwest Iceland. Its population has been shrinking for several decades. Norðdahl’s father was a fisherman, and his mother a school teacher. Starting with his first job in a shrimp factory at age 12, Norðdahl has worked as a hotel night watchman, cook[Read More…]