Raiot Posts

October 20, 2016 /

We, ordinary citizens, artists, intellectuals, writers, poets from the Muslim community, want to emphasis that the Muslim community in India is diverse, plural and heterogeneous. No single organization or group of people/organisations can claim to speak on behalf of the whole community. Muslims and people of Muslim descent living in India follow different customs and celebrate a large number of festivals some common to all and some different from each other depending on the local cultural practices of the region where they reside. They speak different languages and engage at multiple levels of the thought process.

Read the PostMuslims against instant arbitrary triple talaq in India

October 20, 2016 /

On the 3rd October, 2015 the people of Saiden decided to establish their own community library. This was followed by the people of Pydengumiong, Mairang (6th August, 2016) and Khliehumstem (5th September, 2016), who also did the same. These libraries are housed in the community halls of the villages and are open to the public. These three events were sponsored and aided by Kali Kit Kot’, a Shillong-based Mobile Bookshop and Children’s Library and their partners, Ri Khasi Book Agency, who through these initiatives, envisioned the creation of a critical citizenry in the state. A critical citizen is an empowered citizen, or so they say.

Read the PostA Defense of the Commons

October 20, 2016 /

Pink, whose script was written by men, didn’t quite challenge patriarchal conservatism. It merely took the variables already at hand—those of male centrism and sexism—and used them to make its story digestible to a conservative public.

Read the PostPink: Feminism Undermined

October 19, 2016 /

Why does a certain kind of activism or activists get more visibility? What is it an ‘activity’ that makes an ‘activist visible’ or a visible ‘audience’ that makes an activist? And what of activism does a ‘visible audience’ endorse? Often the commodification and marketing create a hierarchy of activism? Activism has a peculiarity that it inserts the particular interventions in a way which implicitly amplify and silence the varied dimensions of the complexities of a conflict like Kashmir issue. This article in no way demeans the work done by them but presents before a reader the nuances and complexities surrounding the politics of visibility.


October 18, 2016 /

On asking what kind of an audience does his establishment attracts, Ganesh points towards a man wearing a lungi and vest, whom he had just physically removed from the small ramshackle theatre, and says “like him”. “They have nowhere to go after work or when there is no work and hence come here”. The man in question shakes his head and concurs. It is the daily wage workers, like him, that form the bulk of the audience for video centres

Read the PostScreening out the Public – Cinema and the City

October 17, 2016 /

The relationship of the Indian elites to Goa is by no means innocent. For that matter, neither is the relationship of India to Goa. Rather, these relationships are built on the willful ignoring of history, to enable Indians to create Goa and Goans not only as property of the Indian empire but as a pleasure park where they can imagine themselves to be in their own little part of Europe.

Read the PostGOA – the idyll that never was

October 16, 2016 /

It’s interesting to see so many people care about Bob Dylan winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, people who otherwise never seem to have engaged with his work or have had scant respect for him; it’s as if this suddenly validates him as an artist in their eyes. And of course, there are people who are trashing this choice and wondering if this opens the door for lyricists to win the most prestigious literary prize in the world (“What, even Anand Bakshi is eligible now?” being the most memorable query on that front).

Read the PostStill busy being born

October 15, 2016 /

I found myself – yet again – in a packed dingy bar surrounded on all sides by a blanket of noise, cigarette smoke and general ‘run-downery’. This dive, started by a Chinese gentleman – whose portrait hung over the payment counter – was in an old market area of Calcutta – Chandni Chowk – an area where Parsi traders once plied their wares alongside French and Syrian merchants.


October 14, 2016 /

The shit-storm on the internet has started. Ultimately it boils down to it just being a fun change that lyrics you’ve grown up humming are making a reappearance as high literature. It’s all light years from the genesis of Dylan anyhow, and he couldn’t be too easily pigeon-holed into anything too water-tight.

Read the PostTwisted worlds of Bob Dylan

October 14, 2016 /

The protest songs for which Bob Dylan is most famous were written in a 20-month burst in the early 1960s. Within a year Dylan had turned his back on them – not in renunciation of politics, argued Late Mike Marqusee, but to pursue a deeper kind of radicalism

Read the PostOn the politics of Bob Dylan

October 13, 2016 /

I would have missed its existence had I not seen her crawling along, pulling a wooden box on wheels loaded with lumps of coal. She was harnessed to the cart by means of a patch of linen strapped across her forehead. She was fair in complexion, wearing a short skirt, and her knees were heavily padded. I slowed down my car and turned to look. She was not alone! They were coming out of a hole in the side of the hill to my right. I noticed a thin outcrop of a coal seam running parallel to the road.
I was an Inspector of Mines, with the Department of Mines, Dhanbad, returning from Cherrapunji on my way to Shillong after an inspection of a limestone mine. It was in the year 1956.

Read the PostHole in the Hill

October 13, 2016 /

Verdict was announced on the 27th Sept 2016, in the Court of the Sessions Judge Smt B Giri, at Jowai, on the case of rape of a minor girl from Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya, whereby the alleged accused Small Phawa a coal baron, was convicted and he required to undergo a 10 year rigorous imprisonment, a fine of five thousand and the victim was asked to be given a compensation of rupees one lac out of the Meghalaya Victims Compensation Scheme. The mother of the victim was in the court room and not understanding the verdict delivered in English, was listening and still confused whether her daughter would get justice or not, being let down by the Adhoc Judge, Fast Track Court, Jaintia Hills District, Jowai, earlier, that acquitted him. Suddenly on seeing the judge order the Police to take the alleged accused Small Phawa (33) into custody she realized that justice has been delivered for her daughter and her family and she broke down into tears in the court room.

Read the PostLong struggle to convict rapist coal baron Small Phawa

October 12, 2016 /

The Anime Culture which comprises of people who follow anime mainly from Japan, Korea and China is a growing trend that can be seeing all over the world and slowly but surely touching even in this part of the world especially in Mizoram, Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Arunachal Pradesh. Different organisations like Project Z.E.R.O, Nagaland Anime Junkies, NEOtakus, etc are slowly spreading this new culture through different events such as Cosplay Competitions, Anime Meets, Anime Cons, Comic cons, etc. For those who are already keen followers of this new cultures must have had experiences where they are shunned by friends, society and even their own parents for simply spending too much time on these ‘kids’ show but I say why not? This is not a review of each anime or Director as that would take more than just one article to do justice to each of them but just a gist of what each has to offer to its viewers

Read the PostANIME pleasures in Shillong

October 11, 2016 /

I kept wondering if the ISL match would have been possible in Guwahati even a decade ago. Would people have braved humid weather, dust, long lines and trudged to a stadium completely disconnected from the heart of the city? Would they have been as enthusiastic about the easy manner in which regional politics merged with national markets? Actually, I’m stretching the truth a bit. My colleagues and I skipped out of the stadium happy that we had won on the strength of a solitary goal, scored by a Japanese player and supported by a host of players of different nationalities.

Read the PostFootball in the time of mass deception

October 10, 2016 /

The NEHUSU election this time around has been a very hotly debated issue. Previous years it was a low key affair with hardly any canvassing done and no one bothering to know the identity of the winners. But with so many students’ agitations in the recent past and the anti-student attitude of the administration this year’s election was a highly anticipated affair. In the heart of all this is Napoleon S. Mawphniang who contested from the group Mission 16-17 for the post of NEHUSU President. He won the election along with all the members of his group and will take charge of the student body for 2016-17 session. His is a remarkable victory because of the continuous harassment that he received from the administration for constantly questioning them. Even before the present election he was taking an active part in leading the students on various agitations in the campus. This interview was taken three days after his group had won the election.

Read the Post“This is a very historic moment for the student community in NEHU”

October 9, 2016 /

Do you think the viral sensation Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen by Piko Taro is an innocent nonsensical song about fruits and pens? Oh….. you are dead wrong my friend. It has an evil subliminal message brain washing people the world over.

Read the PostEvils of Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen

October 8, 2016 /

It was absolutely sickening to see Om Puri being roundly humiliated on Times Now on Monday evening. The abuse he has been subjected on social media to has been no less disgraceful.
Yes, it was insensitive for him to have said, “Did we force them to join the army? ” with reference to a specific instance and it looks even worse when a martyr’s father is inserted into the discourse. He apologised profusely but it was really just his construction that was awkward. For there was absolutely nothing illogical about the point he was making – which is that death is an occupational hazard in that job. For all those screeching from the rooftops about how that insults soldiers, perhaps try and detach yourself from your conditioning for just a couple of minutes?

Read the PostIndian Army is no holy cow

October 8, 2016 /

The future for Britain after Brexit does not look promising with further recession and job losses looking highly likely. All the xenophobia is not going to bring the economic benefits that many desired when they voted to Leave EU. Same fate awaits Meghalaya if it falls in the trap created by the Right. But unless the state abandons looking after the interest of the few, as is evidenced from its support to the coal lobby, the trap is looking like the future that awaits Meghalaya. When the minorities were first chased out of the state in the 1970s-1980s it was the resentment at their economic dominance that was the driving force behind the tensions. The same will be played out in the future as well. A day will come when very few minorities will be left to blame. But by then it will too late. The Right would have won and the state will be in ruins. Then we will be the minorities in other’s home having forced to migrate for earning a livelihood.

Read the PostBREXIT: Lessons for Meghalaya

October 7, 2016 /

In 1963, Kanhailal Heisnam had been expelled from the National School of Drama on for having taken leave without official permission. The real problem, according to scholars like Rustom Bharucha was Kanhailal’s inability to cope with the pressure of being expected to speak, write and work in English and especially in Hindi. These were languages that were unfamiliar and alien to him, just as he was alien in the space where he had arrived, albeit with much hope and optimism, as a student of theatre. Having been expelled, after a period of aimlessness, Kanhailal returned to Imphal finally in 1969 to begin his own work and established his theatre group Kalakshetra Manipur. However, unlike the far-more spectacular Ratan Thiyam, who even went on briefly to become the director of NSD in 1987-1988, Kanhailal remained for a long time on the margins of what was accepted and celebrated as ‘Manipuri ‘theatre practice at the nation’s centre.

Read the PostThe Lost Wor(l)ds of Heisnam Kanhailal

October 7, 2016 /

The day was September 27, Tourism Day was to be observed at Mapao Zingsho village. The villagers were enthusiastic as the Chief Minister along with the Deputy Chief minister were to arrive at the village for the first time for the state level festival. Organizers had told that a crowd of at least 5000 could be expected.

Read the Post“No more tourism festivals please”

October 6, 2016 /

Some would argue that the Blues are a part and parcel of one’s life – like the cobras dancing. In it one’s politics, one’s commitment, passion and love churn. It is a position that keeps one constantly discontented and dissatisfied, but never cynical and bitter. So, it’s a pity for me that when The Blues Circus gets on stage this coming Friday, there won’t be a substantive documentary on Peter marking this occasion.
Maybe this will never be on the cards because it’s tough getting him to talk about himself. Because there’s much more to him than his many guitars, and the ritual he makes of polishing them with his ‘Mist and Wipe” spray specially made for Fenders.

Read the PostA Circus for Chronic Indian Blues

October 4, 2016 /

In July 2016, Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel arrested three trans women (male-to-female transgender persons) at a railway station in Kolkata, West Bengal. When a transgender activist contacted the RPF official about the arrests, the official told her that they were not ‘real’ hijras, and dressed up merely to beg for money. He said he could prove they were ‘artificial’ by stripping them and revealing that they had male genitalia. The activist tried to inform him about the 2014 Supreme Court judgment on transgender rights (‘NALSA vs. Union of India’, or the NALSA judgment in short), which states that one need not undergo surgical transition to be considered transgender, but the cop said he didn’t want to get into such legalities. This tendency of distinguishing between ‘fake’ and ‘real’ hijras or trans persons based on genitals is an old one: to give just another example, back in July 2012, the Times of India reported that four ‘fake eunuchs’ had been arrested near Kanpur after being medically examined and found to be ‘men’.

Read the PostGatekeeping Transgender

October 3, 2016 /

Questions are being raised by many well-intentioned people, mostly on social media, about the overwhelming support for the immediate release of incarcerated human rights defender Khurram Parvez of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCCS)

Read the PostArresting Human Rights

October 3, 2016 /

Old Brahmadev probably has walked down most of the lanes of Shillong but not too many would know his name. He would only be recognized by the bell he rings and the green compartmentalized box he carries that we all so well recognize.

Read the PostIn praise of an impure Shillong

October 1, 2016 /

There has a spurt of non-governmental organizations in the country. According to one estimate, India has more than 30 lakh NGO’s which is more than the number of schools in the whole country. These bodies are now performing the activities that the Government abdicated. But this is not a healthy scenario because at the end of the day they are not the mandated agencies and it encourages further outsourcing of development initiatives to private interest. This serves to weaken democracy because by virtue of being private initiatives the NGO’s are in principle not accountable to the public.

Read the PostOutsourcing Development : Solution or the Problem?

September 30, 2016 /

The idea of this sociological article is to understand how the group life and social relations of the Young Indian Fellowship (YIF) Cohort 2016 have developed over the past nine months. YIF is a year long Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Liberal Studies at Ashoka University in Sonepat, Haryana. Ashoka University is a private university whose founders include big shot businessmen and industrialists who have easy access to the corridors of power in Delhi. YIF is a flagship programme of the university to attract students for its UG courses in the name of providing Ivy League education in India.

Read the PostMarginalised & the Young India Fellowship of Ashoka University

September 29, 2016 /

And I hope that you die
And your death’ll come soon
I will follow your casket
In the pale afternoon
And I’ll watch while you’re lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I’ll stand over your grave
‘Til I’m sure that you’re dead.

Read the PostSURGEONS OF WAR – 3 Dylan Songs

September 29, 2016 /

Now that it is very clear to everybody that the most famous and influential Indian campuses such as UoH and JNU have proved that they cannot overcome their local petty ego problems/narrow-mindedness of the organisations, even in the face of Modi and attacks on the very idea of Higher Education, after carrying out heroic struggles and inspiring battles, beyond their means and thus inspiring the whole nation and even the world that all is not lost in India to fascists and their is fighting back and fighting, while thanking the campuses and their organisations and standing in full support of them, we will have to make the difficult but absolutely important choice of not looking towards the campus organisations for the directions or models for how to fight Hindu Nazis in power in india.

Read the PostLooking beyond the petty worlds of Campus Radicalism

September 28, 2016 /

It is a matter of debate whether my lack of belief in the existence of an Omnipresent, Omniscient God is due to my arrogant pride and vanity. It never occurred to me that sometime in the future I would be involved in polemics of this kind.

Read the PostWhy I am an Atheist

September 27, 2016 /

On 6 September 2016, the former CPI(M) General Secretary and politburo member Prakash Karat interrogated the current debate on “Indian fascism”. He analyzed the current Indian political climate since the rise of the BJP. However, the only threat to Indian democracy for Karat is in the form of authoritarianism which, according to him, is only semi-fascist in character at the moment. For Karat, there is no sign of a fully developed fascist rule in India.

Read the PostDid Somebody Say Indian Fascism?

September 22, 2016 /

After the BJP came to power in Assam in May 2016, the state government has unleashed a reign of terror to execute its fascistic agendas. Within 2 months into power, the government opened fire and killed a 25 year old man Mintu Deuri, during a protest organized in Raha against the transfer of the site for a proposed AIIMS in the state on 15th July 2016. Now on 19 September 2016, just 34 days after the Raha incident, the police has again opened fire and killed two people – Anjuma Khatun and Fakhruddin, at a demonstration led by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) at Banderdubi revenue village near the Kaziranga National Park. The protestors were demanding resettlement and adequate compensation against an eviction drive carried out by the mandate of the Gauhati High Court order dated 9 October 2015 which was supposed to happen two days later, i.e. on 21 September 2016 but had been preponed to avoid protests. The villagers, belonging mainly to the Muslim community of erstwhile East Bengal origin, have been residing in the village for more than half a century.

Read the PostPoaching humans in Kaziranga

September 17, 2016 /

popular discourses on the north-east often project the region as a homogenous socio-political entity undermining the internal contestations of the region. Some hold the State as the main reference point of the socio-political churnings that plague the region. However, a look at contemporary history of these states and the unrest therein shows the dynamic nature of the region which abounds with contestations, namely between tribes, tribes and non-tribes, and over religious identities. Along with the more visible ethnic dimension, conflicting interests over resources like land, and political and economic power are also present in these contestations.

Read the PostIn a flux: Diversity and contestations in north-east India

September 17, 2016 /

In a rare and incredible order today, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the copyright infringement case filed by Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press and Taylor and Francis (Routledge) against Rameshwari Photocopy Shop in Delhi School of Economics and Delhi University. Justice R.S Endlaw in a 94 pages long judgment interpreted educational exception under section 52(1)(i) of the copyright act in broad enough manner to cover the acts of photocopying.

Read the PostPHOTOCOPY LIBRE or how students stopped greedy Corporate Publishers

September 16, 2016 /

All such self appointed patrons in media portals, film, academia should work on their own brahmanism/white supremacy instead of attempting to liberate us. Liberate your minds of how you see/ think about us first. We know you love the trans person-trapped-in-the-wrong-body narrative. In fact, it is your mind that is trapped, colonised and subjugated in its understanding of us. For gender justice to be actualised in this subcontinent,we all have to transition from brahmanism to an egalitarian view of the world.

Read the PostBetween victimising and patronising

September 16, 2016 /

“Khurram Parvez, in the front-row of human rights defenders in Jammu and Kashmir, has been arrested late last night from his home just down-street from Gupkar, the street the cream of collaborators, including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, live and breath in. Khurram had just returned home after immigration authorities had stopped him from travelling to Geneva to attend the United Nations Human Rights session.
At Srinagar, Khurram works with the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS). The group is criticised by large sections of Kashmiri society for inserting themselves at a very mild point in the political discourse in Kashmir. People are frustrated that JKCCS’s focus on mere human rights abuse (which people believe, rather mistakenly, rarely includes the right to self-determination) distracts from the main issue of azadi from Indian occupation. “

Read the PostOn the arrest of Khurram Parvez – leading Kashmiri Human Rights defender

September 16, 2016 /

Through Ianche, a Garo poet, the film tries to understand what it feels to be a poet without a written language. Once this saddening truth is felt and understood in its entirety can you write again? The Garos have their own language but no script to write and hence they have been using the English alphabet for centuries now. Ianche, an accomplished poet finds himself tormented and unable and unwilling to write anymore. He can see his people completely abandoning their rich culture and he believes that the only way to save himself and them is to author a script.

Read the PostRong’kuchak (Echoes)

September 15, 2016 /

My father passed away almost 20 years ago but I remember him every day. I remember him as a loving and doting father, a jolly, generous, kind, often compulsive person, always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. He would buy us gifts – clothes, toys and food whenever he felt like. I would always be so happy and glad just to be in his company. He had many names and identities you might say. He was known by his Muslim name as Abrar Hussain, his nickname was Khuku and Johnky, his Christian name was Peter.

Read the PostShillong’s Ghosts of 47

September 14, 2016 /

We are a group of research Scholars, students, NGO founders and members, and concerned citizens who are appalled by the way the way the government is handling the Kashmir issue.
We would like to sent out a solidarity message to the people of Kashmir

Read the PostAn appeal for peace in Kashmir Valley from Nagas

September 14, 2016 /

Here, is the dilemma, how can one go for solidarity; with the less oppressed or the more oppressed? The solidarities have to be formed on some principles; these principles will be the basis for greater purpose of the solidarity of struggles. For example, the question of intersectionality; of class, women and gender is a very important question in any struggle. How can a struggle take all those questions together without losing the basis of its foundations or compromising with its principles?

Read the PostDalit-Muslim solidarity?