Raiot Posts

April 1, 2018 /

Easter is one of those times of year when even the most irregular churchgoer can feel impelled to don their Sunday best and attend a service. This joyful highpoint of the Christian calendar – and the darker-toned days of the Passion which precede it – may not nowadays have quite the same all-pervading presence in the secular consciousness as Christmas. But this time of year has captured the imagination of composers through the ages – not least because the Church was one of the few steady employment options available for composers for centuries. The result has been some of the best-loved, most enduring, and most ethereally transcendent pieces in the choral repertoire.

March 31, 2018 /

The quaint hillside house was larger than it had looked from the outside and the first room led to a wide hallway. She coughed mildly as she entered the aisle, her footsteps disturbing the dust that had settled undisturbed for a long time. The dust was now dancing in spirals in thin sunbeams that seemed to magically cut across her. Her backpack felt heavy, so she slid it off and left it on the ground. There were two broken windows on the west of this long hallway, or maybe it was large enough to be a room.

March 30, 2018 /

On 28th of March during the Madhavpur Fair held at Porbandar, Gujarat, the Chief Minister of Manipur, Nongthombam Biren unabashedly accepted the distorted lies about Manipur, its people and its history which has been long propagated by the Indian colonial discourse of dissolving Manipur in the Caste-Hindu fold forcefully. In an act of repeating the signing off of Manipur in 1949, Nongthombam Biren gave the above statements on the said day conflating facts with fiction, myths with history and thereby paving the way for Manipur’s fall and the loss of its identity.

March 30, 2018 /

Some Christians have a hard time reckoning with the reality of the crucifixion, and it is often glossed over in favor of the more dramatic (and positive) Resurrection on Sunday.  As solemn as Easter Sunday often is (at least in my family), it is usually easier for people to celebrate life than death. But the crucifixion is just as important as the resurrection.  They are two sides of the same Easter coin, and without a proper understanding of the crucifixion, we cannot hope to fully understand the resurrection.

March 27, 2018 /

One needs to constantly remind oneself of the impossibility of extrapolation especially when using few stories to stand in for the whole. For example, the reading of ‘Meitei women’ as ‘unique as they are deeply concerned about the society they live in and are involved in various social organizations,’ or ‘This little girl grew up, got married and like most Meitei women, got actively involved in social work.’ is remarkable in its lack of nuance and (mis) reading the parts for the whole.

March 26, 2018 /

On October 17, 2017, Meghalaya government issued a curious press release. It said that, that, “good numbers of AADHAAR CARDs are lying undelivered at Shillong GPO due to incomplete address of the addressee, given in the cover containing Aadhaar Card. The statement of Sr. Supiritendent of Post Offices, Meghalaya also made another shocking admission that, “most of the Aadhaar Card received at Shillong GPO do not have the complete address and simply mentioned the name of the person and address given as Shillong, hence it is difficult for the postman to deliver the same to the public.

March 26, 2018 /

I joined Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) as a PhD candidate in Modern Indian History in 2015. Except for a few months delay in getting hostel, the University was largely welcoming. There were of course protests and sloganeering on various national and local issues. I remember the Student Union was on a hunger strike for a new hostel to be constructed. While JNU was already known for its political culture, I found that inside campus many students were aloof to organizations of the campus and were busy in their academic or personal life.

March 19, 2018 /

The Tejas project was driven by ADA, one of the many agencies of the DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization), which was created by Jawaharlal Nehru. Not only was DRDO tasked with overseeing the Tejas project, they also contributed to many of the modules used in it. I remember working with folks at the Centre for Air Borne Systems (CABS), as they were working on a radar system for the Tejas – we were helping them understand the hydrodynamic impact of the radar on the aircraft. Other labs that played an important role were BEL, ADE, and ARDE. All these would not have existed without Nehru.

March 19, 2018 /

The feminization of the Indian man via the Khasi garment (traditionally worn by women) is used as a tool to ridicule and shame the ‘outsider.’ Yet, it is also a matter of the local tribal folks manipulating and exploiting the tourism industry, and the commodification of cultures and cultural materials, because hey, we can sell whatever the Indian tourist is willing to buy, and trust us, he would buy anything which exudes the aura of exotic tribalism. Often, this comes with a complete lack of knowledge or the complete lack of a desire to acquire knowledge of the various people and places he visits in Meghalaya. But wait, isn’t this just a probably unprecedented but almost natural repercussion of the grand endeavour called Meghalaya tourism?

March 18, 2018 /

When she took an afternoon nap, 
she was tigerish: “You sons of a vagina!” she 
would snarl, “you won’t even let me rest for a moment, 
sons of a fiend! Come here sons of a beast! If I 
get you I’ll lame you! I’ll maim you! …Sons 
of a louse! You feed on the flesh that breeds you! 
Make a noise again when I sleep and I’ll thrash you 
till you howl like a dog! You irresponsible nitwits! 
how will I play the numbers If I don’t get a good dream? 
How will I feed you, sons of a lowbred?

March 9, 2018 /

So how did Mr. Jemino Mawthoh lose his constituency? That is a worthwhile question that needs research and analysis for future planning. But maybe I am being optimistic that such a thing will come about. Mawthoh laments the fact that the UDP lost “four prestigious (Shillong) constituencies” to the Congress. So firstly, in the game of accruing numbers, Rambrai, Songsak, Amlarem is as “prestigious” as any Shillong constituency. Getting that into our heads will go a long way to ensuring victory. Numbers is what counts and numbers is what the UDP didn’t seem to be serious with. How many Garo candidates did they lend their full support and hard work behind? In all seriousness, it didn’t seem to have much of a tantalising appeal there even if they did. That is not the fault of the voters, it is the fault of the planners. The NPP (a fledgling party) had no problems calling people on board from across the state. Our cute little state parties don’t seem interested in the left hand side of the state. HSPDP, a party that is strongest in the West Khasi Hills can’t even cross over and get Garos on board. It is just a hop and a skip away!

March 7, 2018 /

“Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, speaking at a conference on Northeast made a few statements which did not go down well with many. At the conference “ North East Region of India—Bridging Gaps and Securing Borders” held in New Delhi’s DRDO Bhavan, the Army Chief commented that the region is bound to see migration which is being accentuated by India’s northern and western neighbours to destabilize the region and carry on a proxy war. And this is reflected in the growth of a party like All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) which grew much faster compared to parties like BJP and which allegedly enjoys the support of ‘illegal’ immigrants.”

March 6, 2018 /

What is the story behind the hung verdict of #Meghalaya #Elections 2018?
How there may have been more volatility than overall results suggest?
How the presence of a large number of turncoats contributed to the blurring of the lines between parties?
How did NOTA do?
While we wait for a resolution of the conundrum, data can reveal information on the outcome of this election, as well as on longer-term trends in Meghalaya electoral politics.

March 6, 2018 /

When no party gets a majority in an election there is unbridled enthusiasm among some legislators, individually or in small groups to help a party form the government. They cannot be faulted for this, elections are held to form a government, This leads to party hopping, the easiest way to create a majority when the electorates did not help is to put a majority in party in place.

March 3, 2018 /

Around 00:05 on February 19 2018, Indian armed forces shot dead Syed Habibullah after he allegedly “tried to enter the high security Air Force Station” in Central Kashmir’s Budgam district. The police spokesman said that the man, in his fifties, “appeared to be mentally challenged”—he was not wearing any footwear, had no winter clothing, and did not carry any identity card. Those who knew him told media-persons that “he used to roam from once place to another, not because he was mentally challenged but because he was distressed with extreme penury.” He was laid to rest in his native village of Soibug amidst pro-freedom slogans and clashes with the government forces.
 The name Habibullah translates as ‘the beloved of God.’

March 1, 2018 /

Black Panther, apart from its spectacular reconstruction of an “Afro-future, also encapsulates the reality of indigenous societies of North East India succinctly. I don’t think there is any other popular movie in recent times than Black Panther that has engaged with the questions of modernity and oppression. It may have its problems (after all it is a movie) but the message of Black Panther needs reflection.

February 28, 2018 /

After almost a year of rigmarolic churning of volcanic events – from vandalism, to criticism, to criticism of the vandalism and criticism, and finally full-throated endorsement – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat seems to have reached a moment of critical enervation, triggering an intellectual sluggishness of monolithic and polar responses. The film, and its legal and extra-legal instances of censorships fomented such frenzied passions that almost all sides of the political spectrum, from the right to the center to the liberal-left to the left…

February 26, 2018 /

Ka sain pyrthei ha kine ki sngi bad taiew ha Meghalaya ka shongshit bha namar baka Jingjied Nongthawain (Legislator) sha ka Iing Dorbar Thawain (Legislative Assembly) ka lah jan bha. Ka ia kawang ktieh para kyrtong ka dei ka khubor kaba ngi iohsngew ne pule man ka sngi ha man ki rynsan election. Haba iaid haki lynti synkien, ha iew ha hat bad haki jaka paitbah ka khana sain pyrthei ka da khluit hi tar. Ym tang ha kine ki rynsan hynrei wat ha ki social media (internet) lyngba ka whatsapp, facebook, twitter bad kiwei kiwei ruh ka thnam bha. Dei ha kaba kum kine ki por ba ki seng sain pyrthei ki ioh ka lad ban pynpaw sha ka pyrthei ia ki jingangnud jong ki naka bynta u paitbah bad ka Ri hi baroh kawei. Ki rynsan iatai kiba dap daki juban lak jong ki kyrtong bad ki seng sain pyrthei kiba sngewbang bad shngiam bha bad ba lada theh um haka kriah I kumba kam hoit shuh. Hynrei sngewsih ba kine ki juban lak baroh kin jah noh tang da dep election.

February 24, 2018 /

Can anyone tell me what differentiates one political party from the rest in this election season? Except for the Right wing BJP (a big no no) everyone else sort of looks and sounds the same. The reason is because they all believe in the same economic order. They have no wish to change it. This is why if we want true economic justice and harmony to come about Meghalaya must turn towards SOCIALISM.

February 23, 2018 /

The students across the four campuses of Tata Institute of Social Sciences: Mumbai, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Tuljapur have been protesting since 20th of February, 2018 against Privatisation of Higher education. There has been a series of demands that the student body has put up since the last 8 months. However, in the absence of acknowledgement of the demands from the side of TISS administration, the students boycotted the classes since 21st of February 2018.

February 23, 2018 /

On a cold day, some 27 years ago, Juma Sheikh, chowkidar of the twin hamlets of Kunan and Poshpora, Kupwara district in Kashmir, approached tehsildar Sikandar Malik with a letter written in Urdu signed and supported by thumb prints of the villagers. In elaborate and formal language the letter detailed the horrific ordeal of sexual violence and torture that they had suffered on the intervening night of February 23 and 24 at the hands of 4 Rajputana Rifles that had come in for a cordon and search. The victims reportedly ranged from a 60 year old woman to a 14 year old girl and a pregnant woman nearing full term. The men were not spared. Herded outside in the snow to makeshift interrogation centres they were subjected to various forms of torture like having chilli powder rubbed on the genitals or subjected to electric shocks in their private parts.

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.