Category: Culture

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 8, 2017 /

So,
To my country and my people, I don’t pledge my devotion,
Because
To your country and your people, I am but a woman,
To you my dear Khasis and Indians, I owe no patriotism,
Because,
To all of you, I am forever unwritten,
Forever an apparition, an absence.

Read the PostPledge

March 4, 2017 /

Delhi University is fundamentally a feudal fiefdom. Within this kind of a climate the recent injection of the idea of developing market and technocracy means the attempt is to update the fiefdom in keeping with the times. But fundamentally the campus is only intermittently argumentative.

Read the PostDelhi University – a liberal university?

February 25, 2017 /

Each and every opening line of the songs featured in this book ‘Ka Marynthing Rupa’ by L. Gilbert Shullai takes me back to the time when western music took root in the flesh and blood of Khasi musicians and when it seemed like the music itself was going to be an integral part of Khasi culture. Perhaps, this was possible because there hadn’t emerged at the time Khasi musicians who were skilled enough to understand the intricacies of songwriting. In those days, Khasi songs had a very strong mainland Indian influence and they were performed mainly in theatrical shows in places like Jowai, Mawphlang, Mawngap, Marbisu, Sohra, Mawsynram and among the Seng Khasis in Mawkhar.

Read the PostKHASI FOXTROT TANGO

February 23, 2017 /

There has been a horror at how fast the ‘centre’ i.e. institutional framework of liberal democracy is crumbling in the face of the rising tide of authoritarian conservatism- and there have been constant comparisons with 1930s. The spectre of fascism, of forces of reaction seems to haunt the globe.

Read the Post‘Night of the World’

February 17, 2017 /

For long, Kashmiris have been captivated by the power of photography. But why? Why have so many of the world’s greatest geniuses with the camera produced some of their best work in Kashmir? Is it the unique tragicomedy of spectacular natural beauty and a gruesome conflict that has consumed generations? Why are there so many good photojournalists and photographers in Kashmir and why is their number on the rise?

Read the PostEnframing Kashmir – On the edges of truth in the age of Photoshop

February 16, 2017 /

Shillong has a tag of being a ‘rock capital of India’. It is like a rotting signboard that greets you when you approach the periphery of the town. For this day and age, a tag like that is distasteful and the perceptions and assumptions rising out of that stereotype is derogatory towards other musicians.

Read the PostCan Shillong Music scene be saved?

February 13, 2017 /

He continued walking up to a main road, a busy artery of his hill station hometown. The cars were lined up on the road, a traffic jam that was never going to be resolved. Almost all of the occupants seemed to have left their rides in a hurry, some with doors ajar. The shops here too were mostly empty, but signs of life emanated from the crowded localities that constituted the flesh beneath the lining of commercial establishments on Laitumkhrah’s main street. K walked on, the rain got heavier.

Read the PostPromises

February 10, 2017 /

If you’ve purchased a whip in anticipation of the release of Fifty Shades Darker this weekend, you might be interested to know that in Ancient Greece, certain priestesses would flog young men while they tried to remove cheese from an altar. Yes, BDSM has a colourful history – and as Kevin O’Gorman and Andrew MacLaren explain, Fifty Shades has secured it a lurid future in the mainstream.

Read the Post“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me.”

February 8, 2017 /

Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci has admitted in a 2013 video that has resurfaced, to conspiring with actor Marlon Brando against the 19-year old Maria Schneider while filming a graphic rape scene in the film.
In the video, Bertolucci admits that he did not tell her that the rape was part of the script, so she was caught unawares.

Read the PostHitchcock, Bertolucci & the horrors of Hollywood rape culture

February 6, 2017 /

“Rainbow In A Brown World” is an entertaining, an educative and an animated film that depicts a day-in-the-life of a queer Indian woman as she goes about her daily routine and encounters various people who question her regarding her sexuality. The protagonist ‘Aarti’ is a young, queer woman who finds herself at the receiving end of an absurd, often hilarious albeit well intentioned questions about being LGBT. However, she answers these wittily and is often amused by them.

Read the Post(Animation) Do Lesbians even exist in India?

January 26, 2017 /

Debates have started again after when the ULFA chief in his latest notes from underground vowed to register his protest – “that too not in words” – if theatres in Assam decide to take down an Assamese film called Shakira Ahibo Bakultolor Bihuloi / Shakira will be coming to Bakultol’s Bihu in favour of films like Raees and Kaabil.

Read the PostShakira will be coming to Bakultol’s Bihu & ULFA likes it

January 24, 2017 /

On January 21, 2017, early morning an everyday Kashmiri feminist died quietly in her sleep [this “her” is a typo, but I prefer to leave it here; for if anything he always felt it was an honor to be a woman] after few bedridden years, which he absolutely hated. This was also the first ever, I had seen my maternal grandfather Gulam Ahmed Lone, who I call Daddy like everyone else in the family, cower before life a little. Even asking the universe to let him go rather than for wellness. He thought he had lived it all, and ended if not the best but still a little better.

Read the PostAn everyday Kashmiri Feminist Man

January 23, 2017 /

Paradoxically, all traditions are invented (and re-invented) at some point of time. If the Wancho script beats the odds and survives, it will become a tradition in twenty years. No other script seems to have managed the feat in this century. Well, not quite: Klingon, the fictional language of the Klingon people in the Star Trek movies of the 1970s and 80s was invented with a vocabulary and a grammar to give realism to the dialogue. Fans have extended it become a spoken language, complete with songs, poetry, and a script, even a language institute.

Read the PostWancho, Klingon and other tales of language & script

January 21, 2017 /

I did not go to Wagah to get high on nationalism which was evident the day I reached the check point. And I do not need to paint the national flag on my face or chant vande mataram only because I am at Wagah. In these times of ultra nationalism and faulty patriotism, Wagah and such model should not become the reason which forces me to declare my loyalty to the country. Not now not ever.

Read the PostAt the Wagah Border

January 16, 2017 /

The story of Nangeli is a disputed one. Academic historians have yet to find sufficient external evidence of the events the story describes. For me, the veracity of the facts is less important than the singular fact that the story exists, and continues to be told. It narrates the protest, anguish and anger of those who are excluded from the reach of our collective conscience because they have no text, and therefore no ‘history’. This comics story first appeared in Art Review Asia and is dedicated to Rohith Vemula (1989-2016), who, like Nangeli, chose death over a life of indignity.

Read the PostThe Story of Nangeli

January 15, 2017 /

Rice! A mountain of cooked rice lay piled up on the cement floor. And standing by the door was Dhiren Roy, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment. Hot, steaming rice. As he inhaled the aroma, a strange transformation came over him. He began weeping convulsively. “Oh dear ones, look down from heaven, see how much rice I’m master of now! You died for want of a handful of rice, but see me now! I’m the king of rice today!”

Read the PostThe King of Rice

January 8, 2017 /

Getting ready to shave, like the opening
Of Ulysses. I, too, am not wearing
Anything. You grab a handful of my
Buttocks, bite my neck: “Shaving without me
Again?”—“We’ve got plans… to the monastery.”

Read the PostDarjeeling

January 8, 2017 /

A Church that concerns itself with the poor must raise the question of why they are poor in the first place. The comfortable and the cosseted insist that this question not be asked. Or, failing that, insist that it be dismissed as ludicrous. From their increasingly hyperventilating resistance comes a surprising reminder of the revolutionary power of the gospel.

Read the PostWHO IS AFRAID OF A CHURCH FOR THE POOR?

January 3, 2017 /

Armoured with a notebook, a lousy phone camera and a few overnight clothes, I nervously left Shillong alone and drove down to Topatoli in the Nagaon District of Assam, in order to re-enter Meghalaya from Raid Nongkhap,which spreads from Ri Bhoi District into Assam. I left with a thirst for narratives, of people, of nature, of existence in this space whose identity as a periphery was intensified and galvanized in the 1970s, post the formation of the Meghalaya statehood. This was when the river Umsiang was identified as a natural boundary between Assam and Meghalaya and when cultures in the region were starting to fracture, at least on paper.

Read the PostOn the borders of identities

January 3, 2017 /

John Peter Berger (5 November 1926 – 2 January 2017) was an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is one of the most popular introduction to radical/leftists analysis of art.

Read the Post[WATCH] WAYS of SEEING – in memory of John Berger

December 31, 2016 /

We deliver to you a short stale recap of 2016 in Meghalaya through the fiery humoured lenses of Shillong FTW, a Facebook page, which has managed to grab people by their pretentious asses through their brilliant memes and turn a mirror to Shillong’s ugly, ever aspiring “buromness”.

Read the PostCuz it’s Shillong liah!

December 31, 2016 /

As we come from the land of the cleanest, highest, lowest, deepest, firstest, buromest, we need to confess to our very own claim to fame – RAIOT is the first online gutterzine of Bishop Cotton Road, Shillong. If the conversations in the Burom class sitting room are anything to go by, this gutter RAIOT view of the world is finally finding its calvinistic place in the far reaches of Meghalaya. So enjoy this curated award-winning best selection of 2016 writings (in North Europe) on Shillong.

Read the PostRAIOT WEBZINE’s utterly useless guide to Shillong & Meghalaya – 2016

December 30, 2016 /

On RAIOT, poetry leads the pack in rejection rate. Our mailbox is full of poetic submissions, reminders about submissions, peeved queries about our silence – poets are a touchy lot. But still we masochistically persist in our obsession with poetry.

Read the Post[Holiday Reading List] POETRY on RAIOT