Category: Words

July 1, 2016 /

In the second part of the ongoing series of interviews with Varavara Rao, founder member of Virasam, by playwright Ramu Ramanathan, the Maoist ideologue and Telegu poet narrates his revolutionary journey, about people’s movements in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, about writing and publishing revolutionary literature and how the movement has produced some great writers

June 30, 2016 /

In the first of the two part interview with Varavara Rao, founder member of Virasam (Revolutionary Writers’ Association), by playwright Ramu Ramanathan, the Maoist ideologue and Telegu poet reaffirms the role of an intellectual and reflects on the history of repression of the Indian states, and on the issues surrounding the statehood of Telangana

June 25, 2016 /

I was a reclusive geek back in college. Every day during the off period of two hours, I would tread peacefully from Shillong College to the State Central Library to sit there and read. There was a classmate of mine who would accompany me there.

June 24, 2016 /

The streaming begins and what you witness through Ranjan Palit’s lens is never a linear story. In Camera – Diaries of a Documentary Cameraman places before a viewer, collages—haunting landscapes and lives—from the fault-lines of Indian democracy.

June 15, 2016 /

His work is a demonstration of how to rescue inauthentic from the jaws of reality. How to make spontaneous look orchestrated and vice versa – an art where so many rights are turned into one big wrong. He has mastered the skill to turn all conversation into a monologue, and then ignore one’s own voice, remove irresolution, and erase all personal music in the service of his war-like ‘humanism’

June 14, 2016 /

Andrew Lyndem, 25, is nocturnal and starts his day at 3 pm ending it at the witching hour. Ratul Hajong, 24, is awake before him but in circulation around the same time. Together, they are Cryptographik Street Poets (CSP) a rap act in Shillong, Meghalaya. Touched by the civil rights/black power movements in intangible ways, their sigil is the raised fist of solidarity and revolution, the Black Panther Party logo. Although they live in separate homes with their parents, they are in constant society with each other.

June 4, 2016 /

Muhammad Ali was also a symbol of black protest, a cipher for the anti-Vietnam movement, a martyr (or traitor, depending on one’s perspective), a self-regarding braggart, and many more things beside. While there have been several sports icons, none have approached Ali in terms of complexity, endowment and sheer potency.

June 3, 2016 /

How I really wish that someday, you would stop taking care of us and set yourself free. I am longing for that day when you would go smoke some ganja, have some nice drinks and forget about the world. Your presence in our lives has vanquished your absence.

May 29, 2016 /

When I started observing your photographs a few days ago, I stood witness to this very manifestation of dissent, and sensed an inchoate breeding of camaraderie—an unsettling urge to respond—taking shape between us. I did not resist. I kept writing, thinking that I was writing directly to you: a peripatetic nomad. But to this very moment, I do not know you. When I call you a nomad, I am trying to describe your photographs—the itinerant obliqueness, an almost euphoric derangement of your frame. I wrote as if I was corresponding with a boundless romantic, myself being one in the first place. You narrated stories to me through your images; I responded with words.

May 28, 2016 /

Three hours into the run and I can start feeling the strain. Glycogen in the body has almost depleted and thirst has also started setting in. I have a last hard climb for about two miles and my long run is done. The uphill is hard, the body aches and the panting starts picking up, as I try and push a little bit more to end with a strong kick, I only get what nature gives me. I hit the stop button in my watch and bend my knees to catch my breath. As I recompose, the pain fades into the background and I am filled with a sense of deep inner peace and happiness. Why I love running? I don’t really know…I just love running.

May 20, 2016 /

The night has fallen long ago and I won’t be stalking sleep tonight. Their guns have stopped to roar for a while, but they will resume again. They have difficulty in locating me in this dilapidated house at night and I am taking its benefit. But for how long will odds favour me? I will be dead by the morning. Their bullets will have made holes in my body or they will burn this house and I will be charred and buried under its rubble. By whichever way, I will embrace death without a shred of fear; I have resolved it in my mind.

May 10, 2016 /

That’s the moment when I began to wonder, as somebody who easily, effortlessly thought of himself as both Indian and Kashmiri, about what it means to live in a situation where all my democratic beliefs in being Indian were up against what I was seeing, my experience of life, in Kashmir. I was enormously troubled, as you can imagine, by what I saw there, by what I heard and by the fact that every time I expressed my sympathy with what was the visible oppression of people around me, my neighbours would say ‘no, no you mustn’t feel badly. We know what happened with you people.’ But I was always in an anomalous situation. I was notionally a Pandit, one of those families that had left in 1990, but in fact I hadn’t.

May 3, 2016 /

Leicester City began this season as relegation favourites and now they are champions, thanks to Tottenham’s draw at Chelsea last night. This collection of cast-offs and journeymen started the season as 5,000-1 outsiders. It’s the most incredible story in Premier League history and John Williams, a football-mad sociologist at the University of Leicester, has been eagerly following their rise.

May 2, 2016 /

The Indian state’s dominant visual order invisibalizes the structure of its violence in Kashmir. It enforces a blindness and numbs the critical senses of its citizens. From the twin images of Kashmir as a ‘beautiful landscape’ and as a ‘hotbed of anti-nationals,’ it mobilizes the composite image of ‘paradise crawling with serpents’ to justify the military occupation. Can there be a counter-project to this mode of seeing and representation? Can artistic works agitate the dominant imaginaries, trouble the subtle ruses of state power, and, in the process, train a new disobedient sensorium? The images by Rollie Mukherjee that you see here answer these questions affirmatively.

April 28, 2016 /

The children in Nayanagarh Primary School, Jambani Primary School, Belpahari, Jangalmahal, West Bengal are all under the age of 10. But already they “know” that some languages are “worth” more than others and the one they speak at home is “worth least”.

April 24, 2016 /

At 77, Chapal Bhaduri is arguably Bengali folk theatre’s last living female impersonator, traversing and transgressing genders effortlessly and almost unthinkingly from his teenage. The youngest child of theatre artists, he was put on stage around the age of 8, but began his distinctive career in female impersonation in 1955 when he played Marjina in a production of Alibaba, and slowly attained fame as the highest paid ‘theatre actress’ by the 1960s. A decade or so later, however, Bhaduri’s preeminence as a female impersonator began to fade as women started entering the acting profession even in jatra, traditionally a male-dominated community.

April 22, 2016 /

2016 has dimmed the lights of two truly great artists –David Bowie and Prince. Both share a lot in common- their blurring of the lines of gender, sexuality and identity and their expansion of the vocabulary and possibilities of popular music. But in one area they differ. Bowie brought into pop music sensibilities from modern art, architecture and classical music but Prince developed into high art the popular black styles he loved. His work is art without being ‘arty’.

April 12, 2016 /

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill, 2016 has been passed in Lok Sabha. What does this Bill mean for people and what does it entail? Watch and read the interview of Prof. R.Ramakumar of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences

April 8, 2016 /

The most popular musician of Shillong, UN Sun is difficult to trace. Asking Shillong music scene regulars elicits surprised disdain. UN Sun is not on their throbbing playlists of bands and music from around the world. K-Pop is Korean, not Khasi Pop.

April 2, 2016 /

“Ironically, one of the most salutary features of the intellectual and activist work of the communists was its insistence on inclusiveness, its desire to involve people across religious, political, gender and class divides. “

April 1, 2016 /

Easterine Kire, who won the Hindu Literary Prize 2015 for her novel When the River Sleeps, beating stiff competition from heavyweights like Amitav Ghosh and Amit Chaudhuri, among others, talks to Dibyajyoti Sarma about her ‘spiritual’ book, and about being a writer from Nagaland