Raiot Posts

April 19, 2017 /

Entering Ri Bhoi is the first sign for me that I have come reached home. It was not just the low hills and the wide valleys nestled within them that elevated my heart but the sight of the shops littered along the highway and the people sitting inside them. Stopping and having tea and jingbam in these shops is one of my favourite moments of the journey.

Read the PostA DAY IN RI BHOI

April 17, 2017 /

Zubeen Garg, as the generation that grew up clutching onto his music through the turbulent 1990s and 2000s would tell you, cannot be defined. It is hare-brained to suggest that he was promoting Hindi imperialism in Assam by singing one of his old songs. But even if he was, it is ridiculous to see well-fed Bihu-committee tearaways hoisting the flag of a linguistic nationalism that was exclusive, chauvinistic and, more importantly, unbendingly middle-class from the word go.

Read the PostDead Nationalism Turned Chauvinist: Why the Zubeen Incident is Much Ado about Nothing

April 17, 2017 /

Among nationalists in India, who have wet dreams of global “superpower” and watch over and over videos of “Indian weapons” and “most powerful militaries” on the YouTube, seeing images of those arms and men being reduced to a barbaric spectacle against an unarmed people produces a dispiriting dissonance. “Indian man” has fantasized a genocide for long. In its eyes, a genocide has a metonymic association with “national will.” This fantasy is now a metastasized desire to act like the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as ISIS in Syria. They want Indian military to kill without any compunction: “kill 1000 of them for our one;” “drop MOABs on them;” and “take Kashmiri women as slaves.”

Read the PostIndian masculinity, nationalism, and torture videos from Kashmir

In the last track, “Ma Nga”, the limit of interaction between the artist, the art and the audience is stretched to its extreme. The song, personal and dark, written by Malice in Khasi, is a recounting of emotions of a person sitting on the peak of melancholy hill who is going through a severe identity crisis. The lyrics carry a very depressing, aggressive, yet powerful undertone and the composition is something that is really unique, very technical and traditional. Being a Khasi song, you’d expect the guys to dig deep into the roots of their indigenous identity in the arrangement but that element is only catalytic, and it only serves as a subsidiary to the larger plan.

Read the Post38 Brutal Minutes of Human Paradox

April 14, 2017 /

Christ, on this evidence, had been a Messiah, a prophet-king to lead the Jews in the apocalyptic struggle at the end of time. He died on the cross – like thousands of other Jews in the first century AD – not because he was a blasphemer who claimed to be god, but because he was a revolutionary who threatened the authority of Rome and its Sadducean allies.

Read the PostRevolutionary Jesus

April 14, 2017 /

Ambedkar’s “contribution to the making of modern India is possibly more substantial than that of any other leader of his generation.” Uniquely among leading national figures, Ambedkar not only overcame enormous personal odds (caste humiliation, poverty, the deaths of four of his five children), he also pioneered a critique of Indian society based on Enlightenment values of liberty, equality, and fraternity—values that he situated in India’s own ancient traditions, most notably in Buddhism. He was more of a secular rationalist than even Nehru, with a far more sophisticated sense of history, economics, and philosophy. This aspect of Ambedkar—rooted in a worldly, inclusive, scrupulously reasoned, secular and radical egalitarianism, coupled with a bracing focus on equal dignity and social justice as foundations for civil rights—still hasn’t received its due in mainstream scholarship and opinion. Which other leader of the 20th century is as relevant to every dream of a just, modern, liberal, secular, humane, and democratic society in India today?

Read the PostAmbedkar in the Indian Imagination

April 13, 2017 /

Remember the terrible anthem with bad green screen video called Namami Brahmaputra by some guy called Papon? Obviously you don’t. Why would you even remember that abomination. But you remember the Original or the Truth Version of that Chutiyami Brahmaputra Song by that guy from Haflong? Obviously you do.

Read the Post<SHOCKING> PAPON gets Facebook to take down Mr. India’s critique of Brahmaputra Hindtuva Anthem

April 13, 2017 /

“So where does your son work?” I asked; ‘Hajirabad’, replied Ghanshyam Thapa, a Nepali elder from Bhutankhuti village falling under Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). Confused initially, I said that it’s Hyderabad, in vain though. “Yes, that place – Hajirabad” replied Ghanshyam. Later it dawned in my mind that the apparent linguistic travesty of Ghanshyam Thapa inadvertently represented the stark reality of Bhutankhuti along with most of the villages of the region falling under Baksa district in Western Assam. Hajira in Assamese roughly translates in English as labour, hence as Hyderabad hosts a large number of migrants from northeast India, it becomes ‘Hajirabad’ to Ghyansam Thapa. Bhutankhuti is the last village in India before the Bhutan border; lying 21 km north of the National highway 31. A random interview in the households of the nearby villages, across the different communities would provide similar narratives of out migration.

Read the PostBeing Nepali in Northeast India

April 12, 2017 /

Eddie Rynjah wrote his own material and some reports suggest that he even tried putting together something called ‘It’s you I came here for’. It’s not clear whether this is a collection of songs and there are suggestions that he did record something but despite his sister Yvonne’s best efforts, this material can’t be located anymore. So, did he become disillusioned by the limitations of a small town and never quite got over the lights of Park Street? … Many afflicted musicians before and after him have died younger but the tragedy with Eddie Rynjah was that he lived long enough to realize his immense potential but either chose not to or was not allowed to – or both.

Read the Post“It’s you I came here for” : Eddie Rynjah Story

April 11, 2017 /

Government assistance/intervention, from farm to store shelf, is crucial for the success of a product in our current predicament. Many local (agro-based) businesses which I have observed flounder after a while because they simply cannot survive the intense rigours of the competitive marketplace. It is nonsense to say that only the fittest products/brands shall survive because the winners of such competition are always backed up either by cash accumulated over many years or concessions made by governments themselves.

Read the PostDon’t write off the Governmental intervention for Meghalaya’s development

April 10, 2017 /

Sadly, artistic excellence too is a package. She had many prejudices and narrow revivalist instincts that her mother, Mogubai Kurdikar, was at least free from – perhaps a part of her Maharashtrian modernity. Unlike Kumar Gandharva, she did not betray any antipathy towards Muslim musicians, but it nevertheless came as a shock to see her re-name Raga Jaunpuri as Raga Jivanpuri.

Read the PostOn Kishori Amonkar

April 10, 2017 /

Anthropologists Dolly Kikon and Bengt G. Karlsson collaborated with photographer Andrzej Markiewicz to trace the lives and lifeworlds of indigenous migrants who have travelled from the Northeastern frontier of India to the expanding cities of South India.

Read the Post<WAYFINDING> Williem and his friends in Bangalore

April 8, 2017 /

Various incidents of racism against people of African origin in India from the past are not isolated incidents, they stemmed from the deep rooted prejudice mindset of the majority of Indians. We condemn racial discrimination against anyone (particularly people of African origin) and caricatures people make by creating stereotypes like cannibalism and drug users/peddlers. These stereotypes are reflection of racist mindset which we, people from North East India are also at receiving end over and over again.

Read the PostOn Indian Racism & Discrimination against People of African Origin – A ‘North East’ statement

April 7, 2017 /

It was a standard and wonted response from an Indian politician when being confronted with questions on human rights abuses in Kashmir – unsophisticated, evasive, ahistorical and blame-shifting. MP Shashi Tharoor takes it to a new level through his disturbing conception of illusions that he tries to exhibit during a recent interview with Tim Sebastian, a Deutsche Welle journalist, who interviewed him on the subject.

Read the PostLies of Shashi Tharoor

April 6, 2017 /

Naturally, there are sexual relationships between men and women within activist spaces and organisations, but male entitlement combined with a privileged position, and a significant follower/comrade base provides a sense of dangerous impunity to these men. As a result of this, there are various cases of asymmetrical power relations between men and women, which translates into sexual harrassment at work and intimate partner abuse or both.

Read the PostToxic Masculinities of Progressive Kind

April 5, 2017 /

Those who eat beef partake in the infliction of momentary albeit lethal pain, lasting at the most a few minutes. Death might well be a relief for the cow, who otherwise might be left to fend for herself once she is past her prime. She might have to walk the streets, scrounge around in rubbish, eat paper and plastic (even in rural India), which ravages her entrails. Consumers of dairy products partake in and enjoy the results of torture on a mass scale. Perennially ropes are pushed up the typical Indian cow’s nose and round her neck and she is tied up in a confined space, left to wallow in her dung and urine: not for minutes or hours, but for days, weeks, months and many years.

Read the PostAN INDIAN (WOULD-BE) VEGAN’S DEFENCE OF BEEF-EATING

April 4, 2017 /

Every year, in March, I have to listen to the same pseudo-technical verbosity at State and Central levels being reported across various media outlets. The Budget Session, it is clear from all the attention and scrutiny it receives, is by far the single most important Parliamentary session there is, and rightly so. Economic activities are the life-blood of society. Here in Meghalaya sadly, the only sheets we know are bed-sheets (which we buy with money which isn’t ours). The grim reality of the state balance sheets has not roused us from our slumber.

Read the PostDid Meghalaya just have a Budget Session?

Africans in Delhi often get yelled at as kala bandar or habshi, invariably laughed at and ridiculed, sometimes denied something as basic as milk in stores, refused houses on rent and made to feel inferior on public transport, harassed by police as potential criminals and so on. Similarly, the array of racist discrimination that people from the Northeast face, includes everything from actual violence to persistent racist remarks like chinky or safed bandar, stares and at times sexual harassment. Women of both the “races” are popularly perceived as sexually “available”.

Read the PostTo ‘non-racist’ India

March 31, 2017 /

As I navigate my way through the substance of the everyday in Delhi, I become a specimen of strangeness, a piece of curiosity and sometimes, a trigger for disdain. While some sections formulate ideas of sub-oriental and exotic fantasies, some would try desperately to figure out my existence using theory, and the rest, through the sexiness of political love.

Read the PostIndia is not my cup of tea

March 30, 2017 /

I was twenty-four, fresh out of University and eager to put my skills to the test. My first teaching assignment was at a private college where my cousin, upon hearing about my incursion to the relative unknown, jokingly remarked, “There are colleges for First Class students, so there must be colleges for Third Class and Simple Pass students as well. If there aren’t any of the latter, you and I can establish one. We will have many takers. ”

Read the PostConfessions of a Shillong Teacher: Overcoming Xenophobia

March 28, 2017 /

What probably were once scenic and beautiful rivers and streams have been reduced to smelly black waters, full of all denominations of solid waste conceivable and something which people only stop to consider, when they have the dire urge to urinate.

Read the PostUrban Streams of Shillong: A River or a Drain?

March 23, 2017 /

Ngi lah iohi ha kine ki sngi ia ka jingshahthombor ki kynthei ha ka ri bad jylla jong ngi, khamtam ha ki heh ki hain, bad ngi iohi ruh ba wat lada ka don ka ain ban iarap bad iada ia ki kynthei kiba shah leh-beijot bad lehbein, bun na ki kym shim ioh ia la ka hok namar ha kane ka juk mynta, ka ain ka la don ha ka kti ki briew shynrang kiba donbor. Kane ha rum kadei ka shithi ba thoh kawei ka kynthei ba shah batbor ha hynriew ngut ki shynrang ha Mawringkneng. Ka shithi ka pyni shai shisha ia ka apot jong ki kynthei ha ka jylla, ha kaba wat lada ki shah thombor, ka ain ruh kam iada bad ai ia ka hok jong ki. Ka paw ha kane ka shithi ba ka Dorbar ruh kam shim long shuh kaba iada ia ka hok ki kynthei, hynrei kaba pyrshang pynban ban woh bad pyndem ia ki.

Read the PostKa Shithi Kaba Pynpaw Shisha Iaka Apot Ki Kynthei Ha ka Jylla Meghalaya

March 22, 2017 /

Dalit students talk not only of their social alienation in these elite spaces, but of their intellectual alienation. Why is it that we do not use moments like this to reflect on the very nature of our social sciences? Why is our academic and intellectual culture such that, despite writing of subaltern subjects, social stratification, caste, nationalism, resistance and oppression, it is not able to speak to a section of students in the class?

Read the PostPolitics of Belonging in Indian Universities

March 21, 2017 /

On 14th March, a local Assamese news channel – News Live, owned and managed by the wife of the most powerful Assam BJP minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, connected few dots with ‘creative journalism’ and went on a frenzy that a fatwa has been issued by 46 Muslim clerics against Nahid Afreen. Soon other local news channels jumped into the war of TRP. Soon came the two midnight tweets of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal adding fuel to the fire.

Read the PostEverybody Loves the ‘Fatwa’ from a Distant Periphery!

March 20, 2017 /

Assam University Diphu Campus (AUDC), located 8th Km from the heart of Diphu Town, spread at 273 bighas with 10 academic departments. It offers Post Graduate degree up to the research level of M Phil and PhD. It is the only annexe campus of the Assam University, Silchar, and the only Campus in the Karbi Anglong, a hill-district of Assam. As such, the University campus offers the scope, apart from the students coming from other districts of Assam, to all the people living in Karbi Anglong, irrespective of caste, creed, religion or any other differences, to pursue higher education. However, despite almost a decade since its establishment in 2007, there has been negligible development of the campus in many crucial areas. Time and again, students have been brought to the edge of their patience and have attempted to raise their voices against the administration’s indifference to their grievances. Although a ‘central university’, in no way does the campus qualify as one.

Read the PostWhy the students of Assam University, Diphu Campus are on Strike?

March 17, 2017 /

Translation of now infamous non-fatwa (pamphlet) against singer Nahid Afreen of Assam about which half the country is going crazy especially Delhi media. The non-fatwa is regressive and condemnable, no doubt about it. But it is also hilariously polite. Also, it tries to be emotional; it tries to be emotional by invoking hardships, hunger, drought etc. from the yonder years of migration (perhaps 80-100 years ago). By the end of it, it is oldies complaining about the newer generations who are transgressing regressive ideas

Read the PostRead the translation of ‘Fatwa’ against the singer that never was a Fatwa

March 17, 2017 /

In last few days there have been several attempts to create a dogma that Krish allegedly committed suicide for personal reasons, but this argument neglects the story of Krish’s life, his thoughts shared in different blogs and even the trajectory of earlier Dalit students suicide cases. Many Dalits students in different university campuses have committed suicide, but if the casteist institutions, upper-caste faculty and peers are responsible for continuously alienating the marginalised studies, equally responsible are we as Dalit organisations members, faculty and students for not being able to provide timely help to the needy students.

Read the PostRajini Krish – Beyond the Personal