Category: Words

February 22, 2018 /

I witnessed diverse changes in the atmosphere of the hills. While travelling through shared taxis people seemed tight-lipped about the choice of candidates but at the same time, they were looking for interesting political gimmicks. Richest national parties flooded the state with huge banners, posters and photos of their candidates in the cities of Kohima and Dimapur.

February 21, 2018 /

If Asma’s vision for Pakistan had ever become a reality, it would be a much better place. But it is hard to talk about dreams. It is the reality of a country which shapes who we make of ourselves. Throughout her life, Asma stood with the oppressed and the marginalized, whether they be women, religious minorities, brick kiln workers or peasants. Asma, like her father, was on the wrong side of Pakistan’s historical consensus.

February 20, 2018 /

With some section of people and political parties demanding NIA investigation into the killing of Mr. Jonathone Sangma, a NCP candidate from Williamnagar in Meghalaya, it is important to look back at the way NIA has been politically controlled by the Central government. In this story published in The Wire in 2015, Sarim Naved questions the NIA’s role in Malegaon blast investigations where Hindutva terrorists like Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur are the accused. So before we join the chorus of NIA investigation, we should look at the track record of its independence.

February 19, 2018 /

Mrs. Christina Pyrtuh and her family were assaulted, molested and driven out of her home and village for protesting against corruption in implementation of schemes under the local area development fund of the member of legislative assembly (MLA) of Assam representing their constituency Katigorah in the district of Cachar in Assam. She also protested against the corruption of funds meant for Indira Avas Yojana (now rechristened as Pradhan Mantri Avas Yojana). She and her family are now temporarily living in Meghalaya at great risks of danger to her and her children’s life and limbs. She and her family are being persecuted for her protest against corruption.

February 18, 2018 /

We speak Mnar in Jirang, a language so different, mutually unintelligible from Khasi. My training in linguistics tells me this is a different variety of the Khasian languages. There are several of them. While we share so many of the ways in which we talk about the world, about our experiences of it, languages are also different. To call a language a language and to mark variances as dialects, is a political process and very often do not do justice to the variants. If we look at Norwegian and Swedish, they share many more similarities than Standard Khasi and Mnar, and yet they are languages, because they are spoken in different countries. So for historical reasons and political reasons, Standard Khasi has become “the Language”, and all the others, dialects.

February 17, 2018 /

‘Development’ is a word that occurs at every gathering around this time that even the microphones know of its spelling. Development of infrastructure and beautification projects are hyped about in towns and district headquarters and roads are promised of being paved in villages and rural areas. However, the pavement for the oppressed and marginalised is still naked and bereft of any substantial gravel.

February 15, 2018 /

Hynne ka sngi ka 14 tarik u Rymphang 2018, 13 tylli ki Seng jong Ki Nongtrei-NongBylla, Ka Seng Ki Nongdie Madan ryngkat bad ka TUR ki la pynlong ia ka “Bread and Roses Campaign” lane “Ka Pliang Ja kaba dap bad ki Syntiew Kulab” kaba dei ka tien phira jong ki Nongtrei-Nongbylla; kaba mut ba ki Nongtrei-Nongbylla ki dei ban skhem bad shngain ha ka kam ka jam, ka kamai kajih khnang ban im ban dap ka ja ka doh, ban ioh ka koit ka khiah bad ban biang ka pule dangle ki khun ki kti. Ym tang katta ki don ruh ka hok ban kmen ban risa bad ban pynjah thait da ki rong biria ia ka jingim kaba lwait Kumta ha kane ka campaign ne ka jingiawer paidbah la pyllait ruh ia ki mat jingdawa kaba mih na ki jingiatai jong ki nongtrei-nongbylla kaba la long ha ki bnai bad snem kiba la lah.

February 14, 2018 /

Northeast India is littered with concrete. From winding flyovers to towering churches on village hillsides to surveillance towers housing paramilitary forces, concrete is an integral to the region’s urban and rural landscapes and everything in in between. What can all this concrete tell us? What stories does it open up? What can questions about politics, power, development, and culture concrete rais

February 13, 2018 /

Such videos which claim to address the issue of ‘women’s safety’ post the 16th December 2012 rape are fantastic in their myopia, and deeply offensive, and need to be challenged. In this video, the juxtaposition of the narratives of primarily upper class and upper caste women with random shots of working class men in public spaces, is unacceptable, and adds to reinforcing the construct of working-class men as the only and markedly, perpetrators of sexual violence. It is horrible how in this video, the narrative of privileged women’s experiences that include never daring “to take public transport at night” or talking about “backward mentality” and “patriarchy” are repeatedly counter-posed with random visuals of working-class men going about their daily lives, whether in the sabzi mandi or waiting for passengers in their e-rickshaws or travelling in the back of a truck together.

February 12, 2018 /

With every political party trying to woo the people by boarding the let’s-do-tourism bandwagon, I wish they understood what it all actually means. No one has asked if we the locals are even ready for the ride. Let me emphasize on the fact that we Khasis as a majority are some of the worst travelers ourselves. Ask anyone staying near or working at a popular sightseeing location: everyone knows that the Khasis are the beer bottle bearing hooligans who would want to thrash any space that should have stayed serene otherwise.

February 11, 2018 /

RAIOT is pleased to publish this second extract from ‘Chandal Jibon’ (2009) by Manoranjan Byapari. ‘Chandal Jibon’ is the story of Jibon, a boy born into the hitherto ‘untouchable’ Chandal (or Namasudra) community in East Bengal, whose parents flee from East Pakistan and arrive as refugees in India. The story of the boy’s journey to adulthood – is also the story of the experience of the subaltern Bengali refugee community and of caste oppression, humiliation and violence, providing a trenchant bottom-up view of post-1947 Bengal and of Calcutta in the turbulent Naxalite era. It is an epic tale of the indomitable human will to survive.

February 10, 2018 /

Cheerleading “economics” year after year, we have ended up creating an unequal country which has few parallels. About a third of the fruits of economic growth experienced since 1980 has gone to the richest 1% of the country. Hardly any other country has seen such yawning gap between the rich and the rest. The degree of inequality has been growing. In the beginning of this century the top 10% of the population cornered 40% of the income. By 2014 their share rose to 50%.

February 9, 2018 /

The freedom to express and art’s license remain paramount and need to be protected; as a collateral risk, one ends up endorsing even films which valorise and romanticise abominable ‘values’… I take this chance to introduce you to a less-known terrain… a film by the name Tango Charlie, directed by Mani Shankar, a self-proclaimed anti-war film

February 7, 2018 /

On 22 January, on the day of Saraswati Puja, two girls were photographed buying alcohol from a wine shop in Assam. The photograph not only went viral on social media, but also became subject to a news on a popular news channel, News Live, attracting unwanted attention and creating a hullabaloo among the self-professed guardians of Assamese national culture. Assam has been a regular witness of such events.

February 6, 2018 /

The BJP, like all parties of the far right, claims to serve the peoples’ interest. Its success lies in getting its slogans right. In reality it serves only the rich. In the last two years, the wealth of India’s richest 1% population increased from 58% in 2016 to 73% of the total wealth generated in the country in 2017, according to a new survey by an international rights group.

February 6, 2018 /

Nearly eleven years after the infamous attack on the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University of Baroda and the arrest and brief incarceration of the student Chandramohan S. and the suspension of the then in-charge Dean, Shivaji K. Panikkar, on 2nd of February 2018 we bear witness to an uncanny event that unfolded in the Vice-Chancellor’s cabin of MSU. Chandramohan had allegedly set fire to the office of the vice chancellor as a marker of his self-consuming frustration resulting from the institutional violence inflicted on him by denying him the basic dignity as a human being.

January 29, 2018 /

So the stone-slinging begins. It is the usual show. UDP will throw shingle at INC who will throw gravel at BJP who will in turn attack UDP. It is unimaginative, reactionary and all about head-line grabbing. Here’s a little info for the political party honchos: Nobody cares. It is cynical to say so but what can you expect?

January 28, 2018 /

This is the opening chapter of Tamil novelist Joe D’Cruz’s first work of fiction, AazhiSoozh Ullagu (The Ocean-Rimmed World) translated by V. Geetha Published in 2004, on the eve of the tsunami that devastated Tamil nadu’s coast, the novel unfolds as a series of events, tales and meditations on the sea, fisher life and the coast, over a period of time, from the early decades of the 20th century to the 1980s.
V. Geetha had translated the 600+ page novel in 2013 and it was all set for publication, when Mr C’Cruz announced his support for Narendra Modi’s candidature as prime ministerial candidate and for the BJP. This upset the translator and she withdrew her translation and decided not to offer it for publication. She has however continued to reflect on her decision, since the novel tells a rich and layered tale and is a great testimony to the lives of fishers, their imagination, powers of endurance and their love of the sea.

January 25, 2018 /

Worried about his prolonged boozing,
His son-in-law once took him to a specialist.
Disgusted to find his parts normal and realizing
He has lost a patient, the specialist inscribed
In his report: Has been drinking for 52 years.
Naturally, I threw away all the pills he gave
Said the man who only smiles but never laughs.

January 22, 2018 /

“Where are you going Bahdeng?” I asked a friend of mine who seemed excited and in a hurry. He said, “I got a new job, I’m in the business of collecting money”. Not sure and intrigued by the true nature of his new profession, I congratulated him and tried to get more details about it. He enthusiastically told me that I should join in, “It’s very profitable” he said, “Yesterday I told them my mother was sick, the other day I said my daughter was sick; you see, I’m in the business of collecting charity money from candidates contesting the upcoming elections and so far I’ve received Rs.10,000”.

January 16, 2018 /

Attacks on Dalits are often viewed only from the perspective of violation of their basic rights and dignity. A lot of attention this time has been paid to the political context of Dalit mobilization, and the recent state of their relation with the dominant Maratha caste in the area. Analyses from such perspectives often miss the actual elephant in the room, namely the caste Hindu society to whom their attackers belong, and from whose normative world they derive their justifications. Confronting this elephant is crucial at present.

January 15, 2018 /

Yes, we will be hospitable; yes, we welcome you; yes, we will host you; yes, we will feed you well; yes, we will offer you what we have, and yes, we will host you on our terms. Yes, to control of numbers to ecologically and otherwise sensitive areas.  Yes, to local guides, small business, shops and eating establishments.

January 12, 2018 /

If one was being parochial one would have only said that Kalikho Pul’s Suicide Note is one the most important literary sources to understand politics and governance in the North East of India (relevant parochial sections highlighted in green in the english translation). But this Suicide note is also a key public document which lifted the tattered veil of judicial incorruptibility (highlighted in pink in the english translation). Today when 4 senior most judges have broken ranks to point at the rot in the judicial system under the present CJI Mr. Dipak Misra, it is important to revisit the suicide note, for here was the fuse which finally ignited the firework today.

January 5, 2018 /

Mamata Banerjee should not have poked her nose with half-baked knowledge and make polarising statements like she did yesterday and that is what is highly condemnable. For anyone who is in the know of political developments in Assam, such wild statements are at the least laughable. Updating the NRC is an attempt at bringing a closure to the vexed foreigners’ issue in Assam, an issue over which thousands have lost their lives in Assam. Even though there are many daunting challenges after the final NRC is published and there are many loose ends to tie.

January 4, 2018 /

An aspect that I have come to associate with Shillong is nostalgia; a longing for a city that once was. This relates to the colonial past, when the city was less populated, greener and cleaner, but also to a more recent postcolonial past. Among middle-aged people – those I mainly socialise with – this longing is mainly for the city of their youth; a city prior to violence and protests, a peaceful and friendly place where you go to meet a friend or watch a movie late in the evening without fear. But as many of my interlocutors lament, this ended in the 1980s with increasing ethnic conflicts, curfews, rallies and underground activities. The past – the 1960s and 70s – appears as a time of innocence, freedom and possibilities in a world that was opening up. While I suppose it is a universal feature to cling to memories of the formative period of one’s youth, Shillongites seem especially besieged by a nostalgic mood, a collective commemoration of the past. That life for many in the city has improved materially doesn’t seem to alter such cravings for the city that once was.