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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Dark Day for Democracy in Malta : Assassination of Investigative Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia

Noted investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a strong car bomb blast a day back. Described in the words of MaltaToday's editor Saviour Balzan, "Definitely a brave journalist...courageous - most of the times,reckless too."

A significant part of the Maltese journalist community and her own family have reckoned to the fact that the establishment had a major role to play behind her assassination. The 53 year old woman authored a blog called 'Running Commentary',which was read more widely than all the top newspapers and e-papers in the country combined. 

Daphne had been exposing the loopholes in the governmental administration and the contrast between the extremely luxurious lifestyles adopted by the officials and that of the common masses in Malta. She had also been active in reporting the crooked intentions of the big businessmen and industries. 

Photograph Source : Euronews

The mafia style murder that has been devised to eliminate her voice have left the people of Malta in sheer shock. The direct question to the purity of the functioning systems have been questioned repetitively ever since "the dark day of democracy" surfaced up on 17th October. 
Extremely similar to the Indian state authority's response on the murder of investigative journalist Gauri Lankesh,
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Free Verse Scribbles : Conscious

(Moonlight, a Study at Millbank exhibited 1797 by Joseph Mallord William Turner )

Who do you think shall take command? Or ever conquer domains? I would rather sit down in a quiet nook And philosophise the vision of learned men Who slipped into the course of time Thirty-eight thousand moons ago. Would rather take up a pen To walk through nightmares and wars Won't satiate your king's hunger and the juridical principles That advocate the cause of mortal assassination of thought. Would rather fly kites,chase trains at early dawn Expose my wounds to the night And silently whisper my lover's name Into the quiet in the woods And when the ruins Of a naked civilization Surfaces on the corneal dilusion of eternity Somewhere,a ship will sail Serene,solaced - towards a fleeting gallow Of black holes and light years Succumbing on ethereal energy
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Freedom of Expression is a Birthright : Guest Post by Shaheen Ummalil

From the author : Here is a protest in the form of a short video on the issue of freedom of speech and expression. Watch it (use headphone), share it and be a part of the protest.
"Freedom of Speech and Expression is not just a constitutional right, its BIRTH RIGHT"

Stay updated by connecting to us here.We need and welcome anyone and everyone who would like to advocate to the cause of ensuring freedom of expression and a free, functioning, truthful press.

(Photograph Source : The Wire)

If you wish to write for us or collaborate or communicate any issue even by concealing your identity, we will ensure your voice is heard without revealing your name.
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Monday, October 9, 2017

Exclusive Interview of Film Director Kavitha Lankesh

Kavitha Lankesh – So, let us begin with you guys. What is the immediate problem that you have been facing in the fields you are involved with respectively? 

Us -  To admit the truth, both of us are still students, basically. So, the universities across India – including the universities we have been pursuing our higher education from are losing viability in terms of allowing their students to freely express their own viewpoints about everything beginning from the university campus to societal taboos and political rights.A glaring example is Presidency University (previously known as Hindu College), which has an eminent history of over 200 years and its brilliant scholar alumni. Ever since 2011, the intensity of increasing oppression against students against basic rights like that of freedom of expression have been increasing at an amazing pace altogether! 

[Kavitha – I would be interrupting a little…Would you like to help yourself with a towel? You are drenched... 

Us – No…umm…I guess it’s fine.

Kavitha – I totally think you should…

Me – Okay,then…]

The last two months observed violent protests at Jadavpur University premises against the Mamata Banerjee govt. regime’s attempt to completely abolish the student’s rights to form any kind of unions in the university premises and brought a proposal of establishing a so-called apolitical student’s council wherein the representatives would be chosen by the Vice Chancellor, who - quite ironically is appointed by the state itself.

Kavitha – This has been coming down in several forms actually. The entire state machinery is attempting to curb our voices, be it individual or collective. It does not matter if you are a student, an artist or an activist ; either you keep your voices down or they will ensure everything on their part to silence you totally and completely. For how many years have you been facing this kind of treatment in educational institutions?

Us – Ever since we can imagine, perhaps. To be more specific, though – the intensity has been increasing highly in the last decade or so.

Kavitha – Look, I am not what one would decipher from the term “activist”. I am not an activist but I try to project the wrongdoings and mishaps and taboos of this society through my films. But filmmakers, too – have been facing similar issues lately. As a matter of fact, even a decade ago, you would not have to worry as much about censorship issues. While there remains a chaotic ambiance about pornography being open and visible to minors in the country and while the govt. still continues to be ignorant about the same, you have to worry a hell lot about portraying the economically and socially downtrodden in your films since a single use of cuss words or abusive language where it is necessary to portray realism would be censored by the board in lesser time than a blink of your eye.
Gauri was very vocal about all these issues. She voiced her opinion on everything beginning from the lower caste problem in India to the rising saffronisation of the general masses. 

Kavitha Lankesh (Left) and Gauri Lankesh (Right) in their younger years

Us – There are the Ambedkarites who focus on the annihilation of the caste system from the country and there are activists like Jignesh Mehwani who emphasise on the gradual upliftment of the lower castes. What were Gauri’s perspectives on the same?

Kavitha – As I had told you previously, I am not an activist. I do not know the tiniest details about these issues. There are a number of people who are working to bring her work in focus, and I can help you to reach them somehow, if need be.

Us – Was Gauri extremely vocal against the BJP and RSS?

Kavitha – She was. As vocal about these issues an individual can be. She was concerned about the people here, she would try to expose all the wrongdoings that went against the interest of the commoners.

Us – Was it this spirit that cost her her life? 

Kavitha – Indeed. She was so vigorously bold and would work hard day and night for the weekly tabloid. And she was very picky about finding commercial sponsors. Mostly, the paper would run on the money she earned by selling books authored by herself and our father. She even used money from her insurances to make sure the workers in her office got paid well at the right time.
It also is quite tough to run a weekly tabloid in Kannada. But she was rigid about it, and very, very dedicated to the work she had taken up.

Us – Was there any difference between Gauri and her father?

Kavitha – I could not spot any. She was very similar to him, extremely dedicated about work, dedicated about a writer’s duty to the people. She got herself another chair beside our father’s chair as a mark of respect to him. 

Us – The BJP and a part of the mainstream media have been trying their best to put the entire blame of her murder on Naxalites. What would you say about that?

Kavitha – Look, that is just not true. She was trying to bring some of the Naxalites back to mainstream life. She was trying to communicate with them, help them understand the context of modern day politics. It was not the Naxalites who took her life. Her murder was a part of the silencing propaganda taken up by radical nationalists and orthodox fundamentalists, who have been playing the two sides of the same coin in recent times in this country.

Us – How would you describe her political orientation?

Kavitha – She was a leftist…but never of the extremist kind. She was a part of the larger movement, she would support a local BJP leader if he would have been working truly well for the betterment of the commoners in this state. She had had interactions with Jignesh Mehwani and Kanhaiya Kumar and was quite friendly with both. She was supportive of the JNU movement. Her entire team had been investigating the murder of scholar and professor M.M Kalburgi. She was concerned about the murder of intellectuals by fundamentalists, just like all other progressive journalists in this country.
In fact, seven other left-leaning jounralists and scholars have been threatened in the week that followed after her murder. The far right in this country has left no other options open to put the blame on.

Us – How would she perceive the crisis in Kashmir or that in the north-eastern states? 

Kavitha - Coming back to this, you have to go through her work in order to find this out. The most important part is that her work is being translated in English so that more and more people can come up and learn about the cause behind and for her dedication.

Us – What drove her to take up the role of an activist?

Kavitha - What I remember is the transition we saw in her when the 2002 Gujarat Riots were going on. She suddenly became very determined about taking up the necessary steps she could individually to stand against such incidents that caused nationwide bloodshed and trauma.

Us – Speaking of languages, what exactly is the issue in this state about Hindi being the national language?

Kavitha – The common people in this state started the movement against Hindi being a national language since they had absolutely no relations with such an imposition previously! They have known Kannada to be their medium of expression ever since birth and just because the state wants to impose something on you does not mean that it has to be accepted readily. 

Kavitha with her daughter Esha photographed a few years ago

Us – What was Gauri’s take on Lingayats?

Kavitha – All of the Lankeshs’ are Lingayats but that does not necessarily signify that we are religious people. In fact, she would rather react quite rudely if you would determine her religion before listening to her say on it. She was an atheist, and so are the rest of us. We even had a group of family members and friends on a certain social media outlet where we would actively speak against orthodox Hindutwa and BJP and RSS but currently, we are too afraid to voice ourselves ever since the incident took place. It has been tough for all of us, and especially for Esha – she is still just in eighth grade.

Us – What was the motto of the Lankesh Patrike?

Kavitha - The motto of the tabloid was to expose the govt.’s misdeeds. P.Lankesh and Gauri, both were anti-govt and anti-state activists. Both of them tried their level best to expose the scams and misdeeds of the authority against the interest of the people.
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Rise of Fascism in India : Guest Post by Fred Curran

While many in the west are frightened of their own local fascist manifestations, India is descending deeper into its own fascist abyss. And we are not paying close enough attention.

The recent murder of Gauri Lankesh shined some light on the state of affairs in India to those in the west. Lankesh was a journalist working on an article exposing corruption in the BJP, India’s Fascist Hindu Supremacist Party. Her murder is just the latest in a string of strikingly similar assassinations of BJP critics.

In India, the BJP and the broader Hindu Supremacist Fascist movement in power now is at once just as brutal as any supremacist fascism globally and yet much more sophisticated. The BJP has paid particular attention to its presentation and is disturbingly well orchestrated. It comes as no surprise that the BJP has in the past used PR firms tied to Tobacco companies to push its agenda and clean up its image.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Political Doctrine of All That Has Been Lost

The problem with all "revolutionaries" of this century is that they cannot predict when it's about to rain.The madman sees no glory in what is about to come,but he knows what is going to come shower on him the night lying next to his senses,crawling up like an earthworm in its shallow nest.

He who swallowed two bullets down his throat last night is haunted by gallows of heaven,of empty apartments and blatant,sleepless nights.Of as comradeless a situation as this,come ravens flying across the deathly spirits of grey.We go on swimming like carps in stealthy ponds,in evenings were fireflies come swarming in late autumnal eves.

The poet never writes about a heartbreak,the taste of sunshine runs a chill down our weary bones.Even dystopia looks like an organised event,a microphone or two,speakers magnifying patterns of sounds in vain like a bat circling around a Banyan tree - aimlessly defying the layers of time that have gathered in the air in between.

('Guernica' by Pablo Picasso ; Source : Wikipedia)

The reflections awaken at midnight,not even the silent clock has any idea about this recurring occasion of terror.Of the little time in our hands,infinity rises like a drowning Sun - about to delve into theories of big bangs that never happened.

On a day as such,you will spot a face or two who disappear out of nowhere.There have always been a dreaded list of strangers who walk away at night,like an owl's whisper to an empty dawn.The serenity of running away clings to our shadows,accumulated around the corner of our lips."What do you believe in?" "What do you believe in?",they say. 

Back at night,when all the noise is gone,the song in the  head circles across railroads in the country.The leap of the summerbird,the map of galaxies on a Syrian boy's face 
half-burried in sand as old as the embodiment of wombs,the story of you and I,the calls in the dark,the surrounding tales of butterflies and torn pages lost in storms ; where would you manage to bury your face when the siren sounds,anyway? Where would you run away? 

There were footsteps that lead to inter-galactical planes a while ago.When you look back,the track is lost,the keys are gone,the maps are burning in hell,melting into lubricants and ice caps all at once.The stark odour of genocide in your hands will never fade out into nothing,a distraction or two will take you up and down the hillside once or twice - what is a revolution,anyway? Of creatures as petty,as idiotic as homo sapiens,as downtrodden,as poor as us - who destine waves into record labels and cut down a soulful touch into commands,a rotational specter
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Oscillation Blues : A Culmination of 6 Distinct Blends of Absurdist Fiction + Magic Realism

(Painting : Café Terrace at Night by Van Gogh)

The Monument 

A rope was hanging from the top of the tower.Swinging in mid-air,it leapt across the memories of heaven and glimpsed through windows that had been bourne out of nowhere right at the heart of the sea.Across burial grounds and ashtrays,the peaks of mountain ranges swam their way to rise across the sunbeams that played hide and seek around and beneath her eyes.

The Cultivator 

Brewing in mid-noon in the depth of ploughed land,at the mercy of concentrated fragments of crystalline nutrients that would bear fruit in no time,gradually succumbing on the fertility that lingered on her bosom - they sang a merry song of the valleyes and the caves.
Then,it reverberated across the galaxy and turned into a beam of light right before our eyes.

(Painting : Darkness Breaking by GC Myers) 

The Adaptation

'I' am his name.It soon happened as though the wind had run past our souls and fragmented them into nothing before we knew it.His name is unheard in the fiercest of warfare,amidst the glory lights of civilization illuminating the heart of cities and embracing the spring that caresses the cheeks,breasts and legs of young souls.
I heard that he faded amidst silence a light year ago,before my birth in his hands,from his womb,succumbing on his soul lifetime after lifetime.

(Painting : Darkness Breaking by GC Myers)

The Alphabet

A world fluttered like a whisper in my dream the other day.Someone placed it on a leaf and imagined it was a canoe that carried the engravings layered across labyrinths and the sky that begins right after the exoneration of fate.A whisper,hence,in the ultimate analysis - is a perpetual touch.

(Painting : The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau)

The Violin

The stiffness of a string was carved into waves high and low,of the kind that travels through your skin right into the verse that floats from your eyes to your lips
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Justice For Pansare,Dabholkar,Kalburgi,Gauri Lankesh : Guest Post by Ecosocialist Activist Gary Stuard

The recent murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh is another confirmation of the increasing threat the Hindu Right and its fascist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Narendra Modi, pose to Indian democracy. Her assassination follows the earlier murders of senior communist leader Govind Pansare,activist Narendra Dabholkar,writer and scholar MM Kalburgi, all who dared to critize the extremism and violence of the BJP, including its suppression of freedom of speech and expression, its support of India's age old caste system, and its support of violent assaults against Muslims in the name of protecting "Hindu values". 

Those close to Lankesh report that she was ready to expose scams associated with industrialists and BJP leaders. 

Leftist, Greens, progressives and liberals throughout the world must declare solidarity with those fighting for democracy and civil/human rights in India, as well as oppose the U.S.'s and international capitalism's efforts to seize control of India's government in its pursuit of profits.
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Two Abbas Kiarostami Short Film Picks To Instantly Brighten Up A Mundane Day

'The Bread and Alley' or simply 'Bread and Alley' is the first short film that was made by Iranian film director Abbas Kiarostami and has been promoted by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults.The 10 minute short film consists of one of the very predominant components of Kiarostami's work - children! 
It begins with a kid aged around six or seven,who has to cross an alley to reach home but is confronted by a vulgar street dog everytime he attempts to pass through the place.The simplicity of movements,the serenely long takes,the zero artificial approach and minimalistic conceptual development makes this a simply brilliant effort to portray cinema as an intermediation and not some pompous business show or sponsor oriented dualistic business and art going hand in hand.This stuff is more gorgeous than you can think it is.

The next pick in this post would be an eight and a half minute long project including no separated "takes",barely 5-6 cuts in the entire culmination and a rather 
non-exaggerated,simply beautiful flow of dialogue between a child and an invisible conversant.
The little girl loves movies and wants to be an actress but when a role is proposed to her in which her long,beautiful hair is cut by a jealous girl,she refuses to take part in it despite persuasions and attempts to convince her that the film is a big job and it means a certain kind of gain to her.Then,the conversant asks her to play the role of the jealous girl instead but she refuses again.At the end of the film,several little girls say a "No" to the same context consequently.

The very last scene focuses on another little girl with beautiful hair swimming in a pool,fluttering like an autumn leaf in her own,spontaneous freedom of happiness.
This short film is capable of restoring faith in a soul suffering from serious lack of connection or brutal alienation of thought.A must,must watch that in a moment shows us life is big,bigger than
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

What Killed Gauri Lankesh? : Article on Youth Ki Awaaz

The flow of words with an emphasis on exposure of the truth can be lethal – history perhaps is the biggest proof to this notion till date.Beginning from the uprisings in the belated 18th century France to the modern day ‘big’ democracies of the world,the attempts to silence voices that share instances capable of changing what apparently resembles truth is observable if you take a keen look into the chronological outflow of these incidents.

“Nigger!Get your hands outta my pocket!” was the last thing the assassin of Malcolm X yelled. The autopsy identified 21 gunshot wounds to his chest, left shoulder, arms and legs, including ten buckshot wounds from the initial shotgun blast.Five decades later,in the heart of the “largest democracy in the world”,Muslim men are murdered for the consumption of beef,students from the minority communities strangely disappear and nothing but brute force
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