Showing posts from 2018

Discourse in an Unsteady Framework - Some Thoughts

One of the major ways to scuttle discussion in any reasonable format is to confuse the discourse. Of course, it does it help when the party to the discussion is itself incoherent in its positioning and stance on things and instead chooses to be reactionary. Reactionary isn't necessarily bad; it is however an exhibit of perceived weakness and a positive example of lack of preemption on the part of the exhibitor to see potential challenges emerging to its presence. What complicates it further is the presence of a certain level of fluidity - an overall structural body is not merely enough often times to get the desired level of coherence in discussion. This makes arguments stand oftentimes on slippery slopes -  you may feel your own position weak and against intuition. However, this shifting sand also allows us to fabricate positions and answers that can help to justify things seemingly off mark. It is essential to remember that the outer bounds is just a starting point of your pos

यादों की तकलीफ़

एक सूनापन है इस बेज़ार ज़िन्दगी में एक अधूरापन का सीने में एहसास है तेरी यादों का साया रहता है मुझपे हरदम बस कैसे भी तेरे आने की एक अधूरी आस है तुझसे जुदाई का दर्द तड़पाता है हर पल तेरी आवाज़ फिर सुनने की एक चाह है एक रोज़, हर रोज़ तू फिर मिल जाए मुझे इस दिली ख़्वाहिश ने आज ली परवाज़ है इस उजड़े चमन को कौन बाग़बान संभालेगा जहाँ ग़म के काँटो से सजी अब हर एक रात है कौन आएगा मेरे चश्मे नम को पोंछने आज किस मरहम से रुकता ज़ख्म से रिसता लहू है एक सूनापन है इस बेज़ार ज़िन्दगी में एक अधूरापन का सीने में एहसास है तेरी यादों का साया रहता है मुझपे हरदम बस कैसे भी तेरे आने की एक अधूरी आस है

Thoughts on The Idol Thief

Sripuranthan Nataraja (courtesy: The Hindu) Colonialism and imperialism, as the leftists would often argue, continues to manifest itself in many ways, even as the colonies are long gone. A fundamental manifestation in today's times are these galleries, museums and private collections dotting the global art landscape. Sujit Sivasundaram in his book ‘ Islanded’ had noted how the Britishers tried very hard to occupy the place of the Tri-Simhala Kandyan Kings of Sri Lanka by undertaking grand projects of legitimacy. One aspect of that was the blatant cultural appropriation by the British to show themselves as patrons of art through two primary ways - commissioning art works for their own glorification akin to the kings, and also to 'restore and protect' heritage of the past of the occupied lands. Further, much damage was undertaken in many colonies - the Taj Mahal was also up for sale but for the pittance being received for its 'inferior' marble. One standard wa

Import of Sabarimala Case and its bearings on temple control in India

The Sabarimala Shrine of Lord Ayyappa The Sabarimala case concerning the entry of women into the inner sanctum of the temple took a dramatic turn today, with the Indic Collective's J Sai Deepak, Ayyappa Seva Sangham's Kailashanatha Pillai and a bevy of others arguing effectively on the question of the custom's validity, constitutional rights of the living deity and the peculiar nature of Kerala society and the reasons why this entire case stands no ground. Suffice to say, the question of equality, morality and what constitutes right to freedom of religion has been fundamentally shaken in terms of the judges' core belief, and this will cast a long shadow on future judgments in matters related to administration and the jurisprudence of Hindu temple and matha traditions. While the final judgment is yet to be announced, the entire case has brought back into light the role of several vested stakeholders, especially the state controlled organizations running temples a

The Missionaries of Charity Case and the Duplicity of Media Narrative

Source: Zee News The shocking case of the sale of babies recorded in the Missionaries of Charity centre in Jharkhand is the latest in a series of cases of frauds perpetuated by organizations representing 'Christian interests' coming into limelight. There was an even more shocking case of St James 'hospice' in Tamil Nadu that was selling organs by literally killing off old people, recording more than one thousand patient deaths in less than 2 years time. Much water has flown under the bridge, and yet, the media does not have time to discuss the ghastly nature of such a case and many others; instead, efforts are found to say how these are mere aberrations in the otherwise holy, saintly efforts of a community and its clergy to uplift the poor downtrodden unwashed masses of India. There have been so many instances where several evangelical organizations in India have been allowed to become bigger than the law in more than one way. Various Church denominations o

The Problem of Pretentious Right Wingers

Of late, we have been seeing too many pretentious right wingers, who are essentially liberal wolves in the proverbial sheepskin, running around in awe of Dr B R Ambedkar. The group has no qualms in also placing him on a pedestal, claiming him to be the real father of modern India. This kind of fawning is utterly pretentious, completely devoid of facts, and misses out or ignores several inconvenient facts about the times, his political leadership and calculative decision making, and instead credits him with much more than is necessary. There are quite a few examples that could be highlighted about the role Dr Ambedkar truly played pre-1947, between 1947-50 and in the later periods. Suffice to say though that he was the last person who could be trusted, given his ever shifting stand on several topics. We may quote Ambedkar on his thoughts and views about Muslims, but he had openly advocated the partition of India, saying Indians would be better off without Muslims, utterly disregarding


"My lord, why do you bleed thus?" Trembled Loksaaranga, mouth agape He sat there silent, while dawn led to daybreak Frightened, Saaranga looked hither-tither, worries creased on his face Searching for an answer to a happening impossible in this holy space Knowing not what to do, Saaranga cried Till the tears were no more, and his mouth dried Falling into a stupor, he still held himself upright And started to chant Hari's name, his eyes shut firm and tight T'was then that those lamps standing therewent dim Paled by the brilliance of that unseen brilliance of the divine light Lo and behold! Hari stood firm and tall in front of him The scar on his forehead was still bleeding, the blood shining bright "Who was that poor soul that you hit with that stone?" He remonstrated "Know not what he means to me? How could you cast this sin on him?" "My Dear Hari, i know not who he is, what he means to you!" Cried Saaranga, scared in th

The Exclusionary Aesthetics of Our Cities

When Aesthetics Are Meant to Exclude (courtesy, Economic Times) India is obsessed with cities in extreme forms - one part is in awe of it, while the other is completely aghast by what is happening. Smart city, heritage city, sustainable city, green city - so many terms are flying around these days without an inkling of the significance of these terms, their implications and any modicum of an execution plan being put into place. Even the rationale of why we want city a certain way seems to be missing from the discourse - we want something, but are unable to explain what it is, and even more hopeless at understanding what we want. What constitutes a city is clearly a matter of conjecture to quite an extent; in any case, any city cannot have an exact bullet by bullet powerpoint presentation of what its smartness, its resilience and its adaptation will mean. However, with all of this raging discussion, we seemed to have forgotten to discuss important points about the make up of such a

Of Discourse and Language in 'Right Wing' India

The right wing narrative in India is full of contradictions, and struggles to have a united thought. It is mostly an umbrella of 'anything but the left', yet remains imbibed with scores of liberal leftist, Abrahmica rooted themes, ideas and memes, creating an environment where a huge population relies on borrowed terminology to express itself. The stark contrast with the contemporaries here, where the vocabulary is entirely self created and exclusive of any alternative ideas, cannot be missed by anyone. And yet, there is no attempt to address this question. Wherever attempts have been made, we tend to see a rash of silly terms being used, or transliterations being adopted in some format or the other to attempt being different. Truth is that the intellectual arguments needed to fight intellectual battles starts with the creation of the intellectual space. Further, the lack of any new ideas being penned down or written, while borrowing specific frameworks that come from outside,

Of Women in Rajput Society and the Questions of Sati and Mirabai - Thoughts and Experiences

Letter from Mirabai and Tulsidas' Reply (courtesy The recent outrages and controversy over the history of Maharani Padmavati of Mewar and the aptness of her valiant action has created quite a storm. One particular accusation that has been thrown around callously is the position and role of women in Rajput society, one of the most influential castes in Rajasthan, and having significant clout in almost all parts of north and east India in one way or the other barring perhaps Punjab, Bengal, and the Kashmir and Indo-Tibetan regions. The ancestry of Rajputs, mostly from the Gurjara Pratihara times, also has been discussed significantly even recently in the Swarajya article on the Karni Sena too . The article also highlighted caste tensions, more on which will be dwelt in another aspect in this article. Of course, I must qualify that my caste too is Rajput, though not from Rajasthan, but it is my observation that we have broadly the same cultural sensibilities despite