Crime Vs. Politics

अपराध बनाम राजनीति।

अपराध क्या है? राजनीति क्या है? क्या दोनों एक दूसरे के पर्याय हैं, या फिर पूरक हैं? अपराध के बिना राजनीति के क्या मायने हैं और राजनीति की अनुपस्थिति में अपराध के क्या मायने हैं? इन बातों पर सोच रहा हूँ। सुबह का समय है। बेंगलूर का मौसम अभी बेतुका सा है। वो जो बच्चा होता है घर में, जिसे किसी ने बताया नहीं कि मेहमान के आने पर क्या करना होता है, मौसम का हाल अभी कुछ वैसा ही है। बारिश हो रही है और नहीं भी। हैइसेंबर्ग साहब को यह मौसम ज़रूर भाता।

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A Random Seminal Treatise on Headache

Headache is perhaps the most dangerous weapon of nature against man. No matter how many nuclear weapons you have made, you still have a headache saving them from hackers. No matter how much wealth you have made selling beer in Aidin, you still have a headache of running around in a court of London. In a way, it is a great leveller. It’s almost like nature knew that she would be screwed up by us human, so she put one of her own in our head – an ache.

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Yard of the Bards – Orwell and the language of politics

It was only the beginning of summer and the day was 2nd April, 2017. Having already experienced a hot March we had to forego our usual meeting spot in Cubbon Park to find a better venue and a better time. Freedom Park, we thought would fit our needs apart from being the metaphorically appropriate venue for the subject we had chosen for discussion – “George Orwell and the language of politics”.  As the sun went down, they walked in one after the other eventually turning into a diverse group of interesting minds.

George Orwell had been a lot of things in his life from imperial police to teacher, but he is remembered the best as a writer, novelist and an essayist. Although Orwell did not live past 1950, his works have continued to influence not only his readers and other writers, but also the political culture of all these years. His creations rendered a new adjective to the language – Orwellian indicating a totalitarian regime and a set of whole new terms which continue to be relevant even in the modern societal and political discourses.

Introductions done and the ice molten, the group began with the reading of an excerpt from Orwell’s 1940 essay – “My Country Right or Left”. The excerpt was about Orwell’s memory of the First World War. That set the context for the first round of discussion which began with a question of “Are we living in an Orwellian world? “.  While some opined we probably are living in a post-Orwellian world which is worse than the Orwellian, there were also others who agreed it could be a reverse Orwellian effect. The discussion took off from there touching on the political scenario in India, in the USA; Gandhi, Hitler and the rewriting of history to suit the narrative of the rulers. The group also quoted examples of Standing Rock of North Dakota and delved a little deeper into the Aadhar scheme in India,

The group then went on to talk about doublethink, thought police, the concept of unpersoning with examples from the story of Nikolai Yezhov and the power of the ruling system as seen in the Tiananmen square massacre. The non-existence of privacy, the idea of alternate truths, winnability vs representation, corruption vs efficiency etc. were discussed too and out came some interesting questions which also drove the discussion. Some of these probably did not have a conclusive answer at the end, nevertheless we want to leave them here for our readers to ponder over.

How much of Orwell has come true today?

Is there a collective “We” who can be represented? Can this collective “Us” be represented at all? If yes, what would be the quality of that representation?

How powerful is the system? Is our view of the system a reductionist view?

Do we have constitution for the people or people for the constitution? Or is it what me make of it?

p.s: Our next event will be held on April 29, 2017 and the title is “Munshi Prem Chand and his Social Realism” . Follow our Facebook page for more updates on the event.

Irom Sharmila & the thick lines between activism and politics.

 Irom Sharmila (Iron Lady) has decided to quit politics after her poor performance in the assembly elections of Manipur. She got a meagre 90 votes which is sad but what is sadder is that she has decided to call it quits! After this, many media outlets are projecting her loss as the elegy of Indian democracy.

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वैलेंटाइन’स डे, अम्मा, और हमारा प्यार।

फिल्म डॉन में अमिताभ बच्चन ने दो भूमिकाएँ निभायी हैं। उनमें से पहला किरदार नकारात्मक है। डॉन एक बहुत खतरनाक अपराधी है और उसके ही शब्दों में ११ मुल्कों की पुलिस उसका पीछा कर रहीं होतीं हैं। फिल्म शोले में जय और वीरू टुच्चे चोर हैं। फिल्म डर में शाहरुख़ खान ने एक बेहद संगीन और जुनूनी आशिक़ का किरदार निभाया है। फिल्म स्पेशल छब्बीस में अक्षय कुमार ने एक ठग का किरदार निभाया।

ये सब मैं आपको क्यूँ बता रहा हूँ? इस से पहले कि मैं उसका जवाब दूँ, मैं एक बात और बता देता हूँ। अभिनेता प्राण शायद अब तक के सबसे हरफनमौला कलाकार रहे हैं। कहा जाता है कि उनके नकारात्मक किरदारों को इतनी नफरत मिली कि एक वक़्त पर दर्शकों को यकीन हो गया कि प्राण निजी ज़िन्दगी में भी वही हाथ में चाबुक लेकर घूमने वाले पूंजीवादी हैवान हैं जो गरीब किसानों का खून पीता है। लोगों ने अपने बच्चों का नाम प्राण रखना बंद कर दिया। Continue reading “वैलेंटाइन’स डे, अम्मा, और हमारा प्यार।”

Yard Of The Bards – A revolution is simmering in your neighbourhood!

The expansive Cubbon Park seamlessly transforms into a cultural melting pot of the city on weekends. There are so many events happening at any particular time that one shouldn’t be surprised to find a couple of poetry events underway in two different corners of the park at the same time. However, when one is faced by the question – how much is enough? it becomes clear that no number of such events would be enough. Imagine a city, a village or a town with lines of the named and unnamed poets and vacillating voices of various developmental philosophies of the time, floating in the air. What pleasure it would be to see people discussing ideas and just ideas everywhere! Utopian dream? Maybe, but this group doesn’t care.

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पिलपिलाते हुए आम लोग।

ज़िन्दगी है, ज़िन्दगी में मुलाकातें भी होती रहतीं हैं। मुलाकातें होतीं हैं तो बातें भी चल पड़तीं हैं। हम हिन्दुस्तानी राय रखने में ऐसे भी बड़े आगे हैं। राजनीति, क्रिकेट, मज़हब, चलचित्र- आप बस मुद्दा उठाइये और चार पाँच विशेषज्ञ तो आपको राह चलते मिल जाएंगे। पान थूकते, तम्बाकू चुनाते, ताश खेलते विशेषज्ञ से शायद पाठक का भी पाला पड़ा ही होगा। तेंदुलकर को किस बॉल पर क्या मारना चाहिए, ये मेरे कॉलोनी के गार्ड से बेहतर शायद ब्रैडमैन को भी ना मालूम हो। Continue reading “पिलपिलाते हुए आम लोग।”

Another open letter to Shri Rahul Gandhi

Dear Shri Rahul Gandhi

I am angry and this is a serious letter. So I am not going to throw cheap banters at you. I have also consciously decided to not throw any personal insult at you. I will go ahead with this letter with an assumption that this country has to put up with you till some real leader is allowed to surface on the national scene from your party.

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Culture Crops – Banning the termites!

“…but how can we ban porn access?” – cried the person in khadi kurta and a squeaky clean white dhoti.

“Why not?” Another person pounded his heavy fist on the desk and stood up in anger. Dressed in khadi kurta and squeaky clean white dhoti, this man additionally had a Gandhi topi (cap) on his head which was gravitating towards the floor in a strange way as if it had life in it and deep down in its cardiac cavity thought that the head that it housed didn’t deserve the place. Continue reading “Culture Crops – Banning the termites!”