A New Year’s Message

By Antara Jha (National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad)

You could sit and judge the choice of typeface. You could also try and read this.

I don’t have a right to preach. I haven’t done anything that’s worthy enough. And even if I do something, it’s not going to amount to anything substantial. It’s not going to result in anything concrete.

We live in a bubble, so secure, so warm, lit by the fires on the BBC, that it’s comfortable not to know what’s going on, on the outside. Yes, I know, we don’t all own  television sets and not everyone buys newspapers. Along with BBM updates, maybe RSS updates might be worth checking . Stumble-upon is bookmarked on your browser, you could try looking at Google news too. But that’s so much of an effort isn’t it? And then we can sit, cosy with our coffees (with extra coffee powder) and discuss what a sham Indian politics is. Modi, won. Elections are over, how many of us have marked fingers? Cynicism is brilliant, jaded is in. We’re so cool that we can pretend to care, for the five minutes while we’re on that topic, then we’ll go back to discussing how sleek the iPhone 5 is. We could not care less.

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Defense

By: Mrinalini Shinde

“There are so many in this gathering who wish the candle well. 

But if the being of the candle is melting, what can the sorrow-sharers do?” 

— Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

I refrained from writing about the recent incident of rape in Delhi, because honestly, there wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been said. However, a conversation with my mother a couple of days back, gave me a renewed sense of perspective on the issue, and I decided to put it down.

My mother called me in the middle of the night, saying how worried she was. I’ll be interning in New Delhi this spring, and my mother was losing sleep over it. She said she was afraid for my safety, especially in light of my nature. I told her not to worry, both of us aware of the emptiness of that reassurance.

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Natural Born Killers & The Violence of Media

Shashank Reddy

Natural Born Killers has definitely got to be one of the most messed up (in a good way) movies I have seen in a long long time (I think the last one was Guy Ritchie’s Revolver). The movie is written by Quentin Tarantino, so obviously there is a lot of stylized violence. It is directed by Oliver Stone, which is the first mindfuck of the movie, because this is universes apart from any other film that Oliver Stone has ever directed, and by universes, I mean parallel universes so far across time that not even the TARDIS can cross between them (though some Stone touches such as combining different camera and film formats are very heavily used here too). The movie is a character in and of itself. Continue reading

On Patriots & Partisans

Patriots & Partisans, Ramachandra Guha’s latest offering is THE book I have been waiting for a long time. Essentially a collection of essays, the Patriots & Partisans does something few other books have attempted in the recent past, it offers a full blown, virulent defense of Indian liberalism (not liberals mind you). The book is divided into two parts, the first part dealing with a wide range of issues, from right wing hate mail to a fervent defense of Nehru to a fascinating essay on the beauty of compromise; the second part deals with issues of language and culture with the most interesting essays being on the death of the intellectual bilingual and the EPW respectively.  Continue reading