Category: Culture

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

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 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 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 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 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

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 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 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?