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KINDLE INDIA

Ideas

Imagination

Dialectics

September 2012

1st September 2012 `30

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KINDLE Ideas

Imagination

Dialectics

Editor in Chief: Pritha Kejriwal Managing Editor: Maitreyi Kandoi Senior Editor: Sayantan Neogi Assistant Editor: Sayan Bhattacharya Web Editor: Shubham Nag Roving Editor: Mukherjee P Feature Writers: Meena Kandasamy, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Saswat Pattanayak, Poornima Joshi, Nitasha Kaul, Joykrit Mitra, Nidhi Dugar Kundalia Columnists: Amit Sengupta, Teresa Rehman, Thomas Crowley, Luis A. Gomez, Mainak Bhaumik, Rohit Roy, Shabbir Akhtar, Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal Designed by : Kindle Design Studio Art Director: Soumik Lahiri Art Executive: Shuvam Dey Sarkar, Sumit Das Marketing Manager: Priyanka Khandelia Senior Marketing Executive: Souvik Sen Marketing Executive: Priyanka Nair Finance Manager: Binoy K Jana Finance Executives: Dibyendu Chakraborty, Vishal K Thakur Co-ordinator: Priyanka Mullick Head - Logistics: Arindam Sarkar Printed at: CDC Printers Pvt Ltd, Tangra Industrial Estate - II (Bengal Pottery), 45 Radhanath Chowdhury Road, Kolkata - 700 015. Distribution: India Book House IBH Books & Magazines Distributors Pvt. Ltd. Phone # 022 4049 7401 /02 Email: contact@ibhworld.com Vol 3 Issue 6 September 2012 For subscription queries: SMS kindle (space) sub to 575756 or write to info@kindlemag.in For advertising, write to us at: advertising@kindlemag.in For marketing alliances, write to us at: alliances@kindlemag.in Owned, printed and published by Pritha Kejriwal on behalf of Ink Publications Pvt Ltd. Printed at CDC Printers Pvt Ltd and published from Kolkata. Ink Publications Pvt Ltd is not responsible for the statements and opinions expressed by authors in their articles/writeups published in ‘Kindle’. ‘Kindle’ does not take any responsibility for returning unsolicited publishing material. Visit: www.kindlemag.in RNI NO. WBENG/2010/36111 Regd. No. KOL RMS/429/2011-2013

Editor’s Note

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he poet who is not a realist is dead. And the poet who is only a realist is also dead. The poet who is only irrational will only be understood by himself and his beloved, and this is very sad. The poet who is all reason will even be understood by jackasses, and this is also terribly sad…” said Pablo Neruda, in his Memoirs. 48 issues plus one bitter black humour special later, one knows, the only way out from dark dungeons, is perhaps to be a little more expansive – in thought, ideas, dreams and hopes, even challenging reason and rationality at times to etch new possibilities. To be able to hold on to irrational hope, and to have unreasonable resilience in the face of despair, it is perhaps not enough to only critically reflect on the times. It requires imagination to look beyond the debris and the chaos towards a place of beauty and peace, ideas to reach there, and a new set of dialectics to build the roads and bridges. Scientific research and philosophical quests have always opened new doors for us. New theories and ideas have sprung up like yellow spring on purple mountains, changing entire landscapes, heralding entire new seasons. Soaring imagination, rigorous experimentation, and painstaking research have established seemingly impossible ideas, have fulfilled improbable dreams. This very year, we travelled previously unimagined distances. We reached the depths of our inner cosmos through miniscule particles inside the Large Hadron Collider and as Curiosity travels on Mars, we are that much closer to the elusive secrets of life.

scientific methods and poetic imaginations have rescued and redeemed us time and again, and just as a new world is always being created underneath the cool, dark depths of the earth, it should also be our prerogative to transform everything into the language of hope. And henceforth, ideas, imagination and dialectics will be our new tools to devise a magazine that endures the depths of despair, the shackles of reason, the chaos of reality and the test of time. There is this little ‘Book of questions’ which lies unpublished in a neat little stack on my desk. Here’s a thought from the book, as we publish our 50th issue… Why do the same seasons keep inviting each other? Why don’t they make new friends to call over sometimes? A new season that rains sunflowers And has pink clouds? Or another season, with some temperature Between warm and cool When leaves would turn lavender And the hills would be covered with blue snow And it would always smell of cinnamon?

Just as poets and scientists bring us new songs and stars from untouched aspects of the earth and the sky every day, just as

Pritha Kejriwal Editor in chief, Kindle Magazine pritha@kindlemag.in September 2012

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This Idea, that Imagination and this and that Dialectic

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nd everybody knows that the Plague is coming Everybody knows that it’s moving fast Everybody knows that the naked man and woman Are just shining artefacts of the past Everybody knows the scene is dead But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed That will disclose what everybody knows – Leonard Cohen Now, in such critical, reflective, journalistic times…why such an idea of an idea, idea of imagination and the idea of a dialectic. Did we really needed the change? Do we really need to change? Yes. Simple. Look at the incidents that shapes us, shakes us, batters us. The Bodoland chronicles, the north-east witch hunt that takes over rational cities. Some zealot in Raza Academy-Mumbai spewing venom without knowing the reason behind the reasons. And we are left with a trail that shakes us out of the critical, reflective stupor. Longform journalism is the new buzzword, a little socially responsible agenda flows into the magazine-tabloid-weekend pullout culture. We need to stitch together disfigured faces. We need to stand up against those who shake the communal cauldron. Step by step. Bit by bit. Between defeat, despair and brutal battering. We need to be slow yet steadfast. Wounds must heal. Gashes must be filled up. Terror needs to be torn apart.

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I don’t drink RDX. I drink thandai. I don’t chew Ammonium Nitrate. I chew Banarasi pan. I am into Muktanad. Not hushed conspiracy theory whispers of constipated voices. Between essence and resilience; muftis and mahants; bread and butter; wreckage and reaffirmation, life has to go on. The voice raging in my head says: row the boat, row the boat to the shore. We do need to preserve the dying filament of the bulb. Across moonless nights, plastic nightmares, teflon days… the arc of my story bends as the white gasolene lamp is swarmed by bees. The line between reality and hyper-reality is thin. That is where idea-imaginationdialectic becomes the trinity that shapes us. The wall is precariously tilted. Our only ballistic missile is normalcy… That is why we have decided to outgrow our critical, reflective selves and get into the realm of a new rhetoric. The one in which our fringe sympathies are more overt than covert. Borrowing from the lines of the legendary Punjabi Dalit writer Sant Ram Udaasi, we are saying: Keep on smiling, dear sun. Keep on lighting up the shanties of the workers. When they don’t have anything? At least they can demand a little more sunshine. And as we emerge out of these shadows, we know with this change of our tagline, Kindle begins to climb a new mountain. And our oxygen supply in the climb is the implicit power of idea, imagination and dialectic. And that inspiration will keep us close to the periphery without losing out on the big picture.

Parnab Mukherjee Roving Editor, Kindle Magazine parnab@kindlemag.in


Contents Volume 3 Issue 6 September 2012

Imagination

I d e a s

18 36 48 66

14

Imagining Life without Memory

Dialectics

by Mukherjee. P

Idea of a Movement by Pritha Kejriwal

The Idea of Home: A photo essay by Shankar Sarkar

28 54

Imagining a World with USSR

The Idea of a Paradise: An Interview with Aamir Bashir

56

24

The Dialectics of Loss: An interview with Sarnath Banerjee

32

The Dialectics of Shifting Images

by Meena Kandasamy

by Saswat Pattanayak

Imagining a Sporting Nation by Shubham Nag

The Idea of Illicit Love by Poornima Joshi

20

Dialectics of a Genocide

Imagining a Winter Desert: A photo essay

by Sayan Bhattacharya

by Sarika Gulati

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Dialectics of an ageing Democracy: An Interview with Ashis Nandy

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Kindle celebrates its 50th issue with some prolific and critical voices who have followed the magazine closely over the last four years

NOAM CHOMSKY: Very pleased to learn that you are reaching the 50th issue. The magazine has been a welcome regular source of lively and informative commentary and discussion. Good luck as you proceed to the 100th.

BINAYAK SEN: My congratulations to Kindle on the occasion of its 50th issue. During this short period, Kindle has set up a trend of taking up interesting and relevant issues and of dealing with them in a radical and rigorous fashion. I hope that the Kindle team will be able to keep this going for a long time to come.

SHYAM BENEGAL : It’s a refreshing change from the kind of magazines at present. It has perceptive and intelligent, thought provoking articles on subjects, ranging from politics to literature to history and humanities in general. The best part of the magazine is that it challenges the notions of the prevailing mainstream culture.

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FAROOQ SHAIKH :

KIRAN NAGARKAR : Literary magazines that not only encourage reading but also critical appreciation are seriously lacking in India. Magazines trying to do this are not only audacious but also valuable. Kindle is a fine journal that has survived despite horrendous struggles. When we read this magazine, we begin to look at ourselves with a certain self esteem because we don’t have to depend on foreign journals anymore.

Have rarely seen a magazine with a more well deserved and swift upward graph in terms of quality or reader acceptance. You are a unique example and your readers like me are addicted fans. Lage raho Kindle walon.

NANDITA DAS : Kindle tries to highlight an issue in all its nuances and goes beyond the mainstream to focus on stories, voices, people and lives that need to be documented. My best wishes.

September 2012

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T H E I D E A O F A M O V E M E N T : I M A G I N I N G T H E D I A L E C T I C S O F C H A N G E Pritha Kejriwal

Movement of the Anonymous

T

he world has moved fast, since the first flight of the Sputnik till our curiosity landed on Mars. History has hurtled through narrow and wide lanes, defied gravity, shunned bullets, braved winds and torrential rains to enter the present – tired, worn out, tattered – and yet, we can’t shut our doors to it, just as we can never shut our doors to love, life, joy or sadness. So, as we open our doors to this timeless pauper, she tells us the story of time. It’s a story of countless books, of countless songs, countless lives, countless deaths, seasons, revolutions, trials, discoveries, inventions, wars, treaties, paintings, guitars, mandolins, poetry, declarations, bazaars, languages, glaciers, rivers, forests, birds, empires, kings, leaders, universities, anthologies, salt, pepper, suicides… The stories rising from the deepest void and the darkest smoulder, the stories of man’s eternal search for meaning.

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India at 65 A million experiments are underway at any given point of time; all kinds of magic and mystery keep appearing and reappearing before our eyes, and it’s easy to be seduced by a new kind of knowledge everyday, by new frameworks and new canons. But sadly, the more we have tried to radicalize ourselves, the more we have tried to denounce old canons, the more we have tried to reconfigure ourselves, we seem to have fallen again and again into the same traps, same patterns of inter-relationships, same power equations, where the numbers of oppressed have kept growing. Poverty remains, inequality remains, casteism remains, oppression remains, and every organised movement (that we know of ) to combat these, have proved to be grand failures, be it the so called anti-corruption brigade, the Dalit activism, the Maoist uprising, the ‘youth for equality’ outfit, the slut walks and pride marches, the Kashmiri movements, the left


movement or the electoral processes; they have all revealed such gaping holes in their basic premises, that their very raison d’etre have slipped through them, and every grand celebration of democracy, secularism and sovereignty has been reduced to an oxymoron.

copious amounts of empirical research, taking into account everyone and everything, from the most obscure and faraway to the most obvious and the closest – by creating endless reams of statistics, all kinds of charts, formulas, graphs to arrive at rational, logical conclusions.

There is such an immense dichotomy between the India of haves and have-nots that the dialectics of change need to be thoroughly re-examined, redefined and re-imagined. And instead of losing ourselves into the post-modern capitalistic discourse of no meta-narratives, and directionlessly building new, frail and fragmented frameworks everyday, there’s a definitive need to reestablish a more universal framework of social justice.

New, faraway, obscure words; tired, old, word-out words; unknown fears; known enemies; a schizophrenic’s dreams, a poet’s dreams, a rioter’s memories, a victim’s memories, ideas, imaginations of every kind: Adil’s poetry from Bhatiar Galli of Gujarat, Shyamali Khastagir’s diaries from Jadugoda, the number of people who died in Manipur, Gujarat, Kashmir, number of skeletons found in Kalinganagar, the number of jobless, homeless, songs of Bant Singh, the shoe of Jarnail Singh, and the shoeless feet of so many school going children…everything should be collected, nothing should escape the diaphanous nets of this project, which would ultimately chart for us, the outline for a new revolutionary role.

The Project of Modernity One of the leading philosophers and sociologists of our times, Jurgen Habermas has called modernity an ‘unfinished project’ which has tremendous potential for human emancipation, and that we could arrive at a more humane, just and egalitarian society through realising our full potential for reason and rational discourse.

Poverty remains, inequality remains, casteism remains, oppression remains, and every organised movement (that we know of) to combat these, have proved to be grand failures

The original idea of India also rested somewhere out there, where seeds of social equality were sown on the firm and fertile grounds of a committed socialist discourse. Much of that ground has been lost and eroded over the years, and the only way it can be restored is through

The new dialectics

From new revolutionary standpoints shall emerge new movements and newer dialectics. Smaller changes would continuously progress and transform into bigger and better changes. The deep void and the smoulder would still remain, but history would progress on more dialectical, meaningful terms. Occupy Wall Street

September 2012

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The Dialectics of Loss

These pictures are a part of a series of drawings titled ‘The Gallery of Losers’ by Sarnath Banerjee for the London Olympics ( picture courtesy: Sarnath Banerjee)

“What happens to the high jumper when he loses, he practises for like seven years and then he can’t make it through to the finals, but then he cannot abandon and become a doctor the next day or become an accountant. He still has to go and jump. So what motivates that jumper despite the loss?” Here’s what inspired graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee to create the ‘Gallery of Losers’… why is the idea of winning vulgar and there is grace in losing. By Shubham Nag. What inspired you to come up with the ‘Gallery of Losers’? I was in Sao Paolo doing a series of interviews, using the comic book format in 2008. My project was to understand the sort of inner workings of Sao Paolo and I chose about fourteen people, whom I would include in this series. There was a liftman, a football philosopher, there was a maker of B-grade movies (like those cult horror films), a fashion promoter, a security guard and one of them was a Judo Olympian – Douglas Vieira. At the Los Angeles Olympics, he lost at the finals to a Korean underdog because the Korean was good at floor and he was good at throwing. So, when 24 | KINDLE INDIA

I was interviewing him in his small 1 bedroom flat in Santana, at the end of the interview, his daughter got this bag, those blue Scandinavian Airlines bags, and inside this bag were paper cuttings of Douglas Vieira. Very tentatively, he brought those papers out, which spoke of his past achievements and things like that. When he did that, suddenly this hulk of a man became extremely vulnerable. It was very human that he still had those yellowish papers. So the next day, Douglas Vieira invited me over to his dojo in central Sao Paolo. In the dojo, he threw me twelve times, to show me how it is like to fall. And as he threw me, he didn’t actually throw me, he would pick me up and gently throw me on the floor, and with each

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fall, I understood more and more that judo was not about throwing, but about falling. And that whole art of falling, four years later, became a proposal, which was the “Gallery of Losers”. It’s basically about people who almost made it, and Douglas Vieira was definitely the inspiration for that, because when Olympics asked me to put forward a proposal, this is what came to my mind that Olympics should not be about winning, but all about losing. And that’s it. One thing led to another, and that’s how the project happened. You talk of the art of falling, how do you define the fine line between losing and not winning?


Not particularly. Not more than the Chinese people or the Britishers or the Americans are. Our education system perhaps is… but I don’t think we are any more result-oriented than the other countries of the late capitalist world. At least India has spaces, where you can slip out. So, I don’t think India can be singled out in this matter. Corporate middle class India is… and it is like shit. But we cannot judge entire India through the mirror of a small section of people who are into lifestyle, who eat rubbish, read rubbish and go to the gym. I mean one cannot use the same prism to look at India.

based in Calcutta and of course, I look at things from that prism, but that’s just one of them. From this issue, our tagline is changing from ‘Critical Reflective Journalism’ to ‘Ideas. Imagination. Dialectics.’In that context, if you were to re-ideate the way we play sports, and re-imagine the world and the definitions of sports, then how would you? Wow. Are you seriously asking me that question… haha… I am not trying to reimagine anything. I am just a surveyor and interpreter of other

peoples’ imaginations. I hardly ever try to reimagine things, rather work with the knowledge that is floating around from the foundations, and then make sense of the world, the way it is. I am not an ideologue or someone who tries to redefine pathways. I am more like a William Bogart kind of a character, who reports but with his own bias. I am not a Leo Tolstoy sort of a character who opens up knowledge forms and proposes reason. I know my limitations and I stay within that.

Is this series connected to your bengaliness? You are a Bengali, and Bengalis are known for celebrating or romanticising everything, so does that relation exist, with respect to this series? The self is created through language, through people… and it is the self that generates all this art and stuff, you are not trying to emulate someone. You are just bringing out what is inside. And that whatever is inside you is perhaps the mixture of all the influences that created the self. I grew up in Calcutta and read a lot of Bengali literature, still do. I think I would be unfair upon myself and of course to Bengali language and Bengali people to say that I look at things from the prism of a Bengali. That is probably one of the yardsticks of looking at things. So, I don’t think that regional or language thing works beyond a point. However, after saying this, I should say that yes, some of my characters, as my mother puts it, looks dangerously close to someone who could be from Maniktala Market as well. Doesn’t matter whether they are from Serbia or from Hungary. But that’s because of an assimilated self of a certain childhood. But then I have perhaps, spent not an equal amount of time, but a reasonably large amount of time in Delhi. And later on England, then France and now, Germany. So, your self goes through lots of modifications that’s coloured by a lot of things and you don’t remain an inner being. So yes, it’s a dangerous question to answer. My foundations are Sarnath Banerjee September 2012

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The idea of a real utopia may be a fractured one, with many fault lines, and yet it must thrive in our imaginations faultlessly, so that, in the pursuit of our ideals our directions are never compromised. History stands as the greatest testament to the demise of the USSR, and yet, if we could retrace our steps back to the USSR, the destination still holds the promise of another world. Illustration by Soumik Lahiri Saswat Pattanayak re-imagines the revolutionary road. 28 | KINDLE INDIA

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“I

greet you, Soviet Union with humility: I am a writer and a poet. My father was a railroad worker: we were always poor. Yesterday I was with you, far off, in my little country of great rains. There your name grew hot, burning in the people’s breasts until it touched my country’s lofty sky! Today I think of them, they are all with you! From factory to factory, from house to house, your name flies like a red bird! Praised be your heroes, and each drop of your blood, praised be the overflowing tide of hearts that defend your pure and proud dwelling! praised be the heroic and bitter bread that nourishes you, while the doors of time open so that your army of people and iron may march, singing among ashes and barren plain, against the assassins, to plant a rose enormous as the moon upon the fine and divine land of victory!”

If Soviet Union of the past was marred by saboteurs and opportunists, the future Soviet Union will be marked by equally intense uncertainties, if not more – considering the levels of coexistence that already exists between the oppressors and the oppressed today

Neruda’s ode to the Soviet Union invites us to reinvent a world where bread, rose, land and peace are gifted to our future generations; where the working poor are united, proud and victorious. A world where the idea of communism comes to fruition, where men and women work in solidarity to promote socialistic values, where exploitations of labour cease to exist, where dehumanizing effects of profits do not motivate individual success quests, where children draw flowers and birds – not guns or tanks; where elderly citizens are not abandoned to their tragic fates, where women are not commodified to sell a bottle of perfume, and where men do not become conscripts to avoid unemployment.

Americans will no longer be afraid to recreate the America of their collective dreams. As Langston Hughes once imagined:

And such a world will emerge. A world with a stronger, mightier and more resilient Soviet Union. For us to emulate a systemic model that ensures socio-economic equality is not merely a desired imagination, it is a dire necessity. With Soviet Union, there will be uncompromising opposition to imperialistic forces of the world – not by temporarily occupying street corners or sloganeering anarchies, but through internationalist and authoritative party strictures that acknowledge the need to unite workers of the world to wage revolutionary struggles against the elite NATO czars. With Soviet Union at the helm, no longer will American rogue power dictate the flow and distribution of capital, media or cultural reproduction. No longer would the colonial powers of the past dare raise their ugly heads to indirectly control their former victims – the indigenous peoples of Africa and Asia. No longer will the Nazis and the Fascists and their cloaked successors succeed in institutionalising race hatred. No longer will multinational corporations spread their fiendish or friendly wings into territories of native marketplaces. No longer will the factory workers be afraid of their bosses, farmers of their feudal lords, students of their unpaid loans, or the sick of their medical bills. Even the

“Put one more s in the U.S.A. To make it Soviet One more s in the U.S.A. Oh, we’ll live to see it yet. When the land belongs to the farmers And factories to working women and men— The U.S.A. when we take control Will be the U.S.S.A. then.” Not just the U.S.S.A., the rest of the world too will pay heed to the unprecedented might of the working lot, and this time more than two-thirds of the world map will unfurl the red flag. Red flag symbolises revolutions, not just in its riveting crimson form declaring bloody wars on battlefields, but it also signifies radically transformed human thought processes. The world as we mentally map today will have to be reconfigured with Soviet resurgence, because with its coming, we shall not be gloating over billboards and skyscrapers and luxury cars, and our societies will no longer be having spike in the billionaire club memberships. Mexico and India will no longer be flaunting their national disgraces as the most celebrated on the covers of Forbes magazine. Parasites will no longer be rejoiced as glories. Subconsciously, our generations of self-centred, egotist, family-centric, tradition-flaunting, racist, proud heritages of having been the nobles and the royals and the landlords and the entrepreneurs and the professors and the doctors and the various success stories attached exclusively to our unique bloodlines will be arrogantly abused and denied their worthy/holy recognition. September 2012

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Illustration by Soumik Lahiri

5 Takes: The Dialectics of shifting images

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Single screen theatres have been shutting shop with relentless regularity. Hollywood keeps capturing new markets with 3 hour long video games, hackneyed sequels and prequels. Indie directors get coopted into the studios to helm these ‘Save New York’ campaigns, while little gems from war torn countries only breathe in festivals

Jean Luc Godard : Cinema is dead! Godard would stop making films; it merely re-emphasized his all consuming engagement with the medium. He worked on TV, dabbled with the digital medium. His latest film Film Socialism continues his project of completely discarding narrative (this one is largely un-subtitled) to write visual essays that talk about politics, philosophies, childhood, families and so much more. And yes, the master has uploaded the entire film on YouTube, albeit at super speed! So the screen may or may not have shrunk, the spaces may or may not have altered… but the caramel popcorn at the swish plex, the sweat and grime onscreen, the videos of the Burmese

journalists being shot captured on phone, then uploaded on Youtube instantly for the world to view and the seeders and leechers – all jostling for space, eking out an uneasy peace till the next development is round the corner. They all tell a million stories, narrate a million ideas… they are the moving images. (5 takes is the Iranian auteur’s Abbas Kiarostami’s tribute to the Japanese master storyteller Ozu. The writer could not think of a more apt title for his essay celebrating the moving image.)

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S H A N K A R

S A R K A R

The Id ea of Hom e This ongoing project “Who am I?” started in 2000 at the place where I stay with my mother. The location is Sethbagan in Kolkata, India. People call this area a ‘red light’ district.

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These stills reect a dialogue and a debate with my mother through my camera. She was trafďŹ cked to Sethbagan from Malkangiri in Orissa (this is also where I was born). Circumstances forced her to become a sex worker.

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Dialectics of an ageing Democracy “As for socialism, I don’t think anything is left of it, even in devout socialist and communist parties. They pay lip service to it but, in practice, they operate within a liberal or cryptoliberal framework. As far as secularism is concerned, I think it has fared badly. Old-style secularism has, in recent times, has given us nothing but communal violence… You can have custom made riots in India today.” Ashis Nandy (in conversation with Ramin Jahanbegloo). Ashis Nandy is one of the few intellectuals in India who captures the imagination of the reading public. In this interview, he talks about hollowed out constructs of socialism, democracy and the changing idea of freedom. By Sayan Bhattacharya. What is a cliché to you?

talk about it?

Let me think… One thing which has been said or used many times and therefore has lost its sharpness and therefore doesn’t really convey much.

Yes atleast the way we talk about it because we cannot alter the Constitution… we can only make the public more aware of the fact that they are speaking clichés, that the Indian democracy has lost some of its charms. It has enormous achievements like the peripheries of society have gained a lot. The power structure has changed dramatically but this is accompanied by large scale larceny and misuse of the powers of the state.

So when we say India at 65, what is the biggest cliché about that? (Pauses) That India is a democracy, world’s largest democracy. Could you elaborate on that? By this time we should have been able to accept that India is a democracy and demanded more from it, after 65 years. But we are not doing that. We are just happy with the idea of democracy though it has hollowed out and we have lost out on many fronts like freedom of speech, freedom of organization, freedom from torture, so on and so forth. Yet, that silly cliché is repeated ad nauseam that India is the world’s largest democracy. So how do we reimagine democracy or atleast the way we 52 | KINDLE INDIA

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What about the term socialism… the journey from Nehruvian socialism to Ambani’s Antilla? Even socialism is a cliché. Young people are not enthused by it or even by Marxism (laughs). In human affairs, any concept which is used repeatedly and is used to justify yourself loses its sharpness in the long run. It doesn’t evoke the same image that it did when it was first introduced in the public discourse. After 200 years socialism looks like a very tired cliché because we all know that it is not working well. Socialism now means only moderating the sharp edges of capitalism. That’s all. Its futuristic emancipator potential has


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T h e i d e a o f K i n d l e b y E k t a S i n g h a , a r e a d e r

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I m a g i n i n g

t h e m i n d s p a c e o f a m a g a z i n e b y R o u d r a M i t r a

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The idea of

MACHISMO

The alpha male who is meant to protect Mother India from nefarious villains as opposed to the shy, quiet boy who picks up the camera to stoically live through trauma... the ear splitting growls as opposed to the silent gazes... Sayan Bhattacharya tries to decode patriotism through a televisual lens.

A still from the film Roja

A

nother Independence Day went by… the usual flag hoisting ceremony at every school, club, housing complex, localities; the picnics; the serpentine queue at the butchers’, at the movies; the speeches; flowers and Lata Mangeshkar’s time tested Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon on every channel… However if I were to assign a particular marker to this year’s 15th August, then among all these constants, what would stand out is a show on CNN-IBN. With a grand jury and massive public participation, the channel pronounced the greatest Indian since Gandhi in a mega show (meaning a show with sound bytes from Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan, artists belting out Hindi chartbusters, a reality show winning dancing troupe doing the patriotic routine and some speeches). While all these components are intrinsic to any celebratory show, what concerns me here is Rajdeep Sardesai’s choice of co-host, the star of all stars, Amitabh Bachchan. 64 | KINDLE INDIA

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Amitabh talking about Indira Gandhi’s efficiency, Atal Behari Vajpayee’s poetic prowess and Rajdeep lapping it all up… the two of them discussing the nation, the nominees… and as if all this isn’t entertaining enough, to have Bachchan reiterate what he had invoked on his blog sometime back. According to Big B, compulsory drafting of all citizens— above the age of 18, in the army, for at least 3 months to inculcate a sense of discipline in them— is the key to a nation’s progress. Not just that, he goes on to add that because our independence was achieved through indiscipline and unruliness (boycotting British clothes and so on), in post Independent India, we continue to adopt the same ideals of indiscipline in our daily lives, without realising the altered context. I could barely suppress a chuckle, hearing that. Bachchan’s voice segued into my mother’s… As a kid, one way to make me see her way was the threat, “Either you listen to


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kindle magazie september 2012