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Monday, October 8, 2018

On Cracking the Entrance Tests to the Departments of English, Comparative Literature, International Relations, Philosophy and History at Jadavpur University : What it Takes, How to Prepare + Queries and Answers

This year, I had to take a strong decision. By the onset of my last year at high school, I had realised it inside that I wasn't going to enjoy studying Economics in the long run. Yet, I was deeply intrigued to explore for some more time, and if I'm not very wrong - also subject to  a certain extent of family pressure as well as peer groups creating a shadowy image of 'humanities'. Now, for me, The Perspectives had made it big before I had passed school, I had written for The London Economic by then and was well aware, if not definite that social sciences were my niche - any day, anywhere. I had taken the entrance tests to most of the departments of the Jadavpur University in the 'Arts' category and had managed to get through them all except for one in 2017 as well, even though the ranks were not as good as they were this year.

So, the big decision was that I wanted to change the academic discourse I had been pursuing my major in. By November 2017, I had bagged an internship with The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and no one in the whole wide world would support my decision to alter the subject after that. And to make things worse (or maybe, better) I started feeling very indecisive regarding what to study exactly, presuming I would have got into the departments had I taken the tests again. Before the tests were conducted, the state government started intervening into the internal matters of the university, since it is an autonomous institution - and one of the most respectable, if not the most respectable institution at the heart of Kolkata at this hour. I had scored 469/500 in my H.S examinations in 2017, and had a rank around 23 in the state of West Bengal. That, as I would compel you to believe is nothing glorious - I have extremely doubtful regarding how our answer scripts are evaluated and I despise the syllabus and am radical opposed to the method followed into teaching students the way they are taught things across all the boards in India currently. It is no different from a conspiracy into tricking students and leading them to believe there is nothing as dull as academia on this planet. 

This was the second pressure that now began to take a serious toll on my health (experienced psychosomatic impacts of anxiety, anyone?). I had been diagnosed with COPD earlier on this year and was struggling to maintain and live and keep convincing myself that my life was normal and my lungs were honestly doing better than the ambiance and disease was trying to convince me. There's one thing that still makes me feel highly associated with academia. Even if I'm literally dying, am extremely sick or worried or emotionally unstable, I still can logically analyse things around me and in my opinion am one of the most steel-nerved of people I've met in my life. And to be very honest, I couldn't study a hell lot during the break. Also, I was confident enough not to sit for my Economics semester and that in turn instigated an unbearable amount of pressure I was subjecting myself to. I think I lost a little weight (on top of being very underweight) and on the day it was finally declared that the students had won the movement and that the examinations would be conducted and that the admission would not be based on simply the marks obtained in the high school final examinations did I feel a little relieved. 

On the day of the first examination, which was English, and for which nearly 4,000-5,000 students compete every year, I wrote an essay on one of the four topics (and the only one which I happen to remember) - 'The bookshop at the end of the universe'. Now, let me tell you something very intriguing, most of my friends who prepared for the test didn't even make it anywhere across the long list that they upload on the website! The same thing had happened to ma back in 2017, and I was very perplexed and morose since this was the only dept. I couldn't get into. This year, I was in no hurry getting into JUDE because I knew I was going to take up Sociology anyway, which I did. The sad thing was that I ranked 3rd in the merit lists for all of English, Comparative Literature and International Relations. 

The only proper tips I can assure you is to be fiercely passionate about what you're writing, while never loosing the analytical perspective to it. You must be able to strike a balance between both. Also, include citations and quotes in case of English wherever you can. You should also probably try to maintain a neutral tone unless you can assure you know how to write political satire veiled in sheer wit found in untraceable amounts across your script.

For Comparative literature, I was feeling too lousy to write down anything unless I figured Carol Ann Duffy's 'Anne Hathaway' was there in the question paper. It was a poem I previously had not come across but it instantly felt oh-so-orgasmic! That was possibly the only questions I went as passionate as I could have about. The rest of the question paper, to me, was uninteresting. I am not very interested in literature personally if something fails to inspire me instantly and would never have pursued literature as an academic option no matter how many people asked me to. 

For International Relations, I believe you need to have a minimum pre-conception regarding current incidents, world news and political science in general. A little bit of knowledge in history, philosophy, sociology will go a long way into guiding you through the course of the entrance test. However, the discourse itself is pretty much clerical and highly UN-oriented, so there's a lot more diplomacy to it than science. 

For Philosophy, I had forgotten my admit card at home. So, I reached the campus late by an hour and the people were extremely speculative of my presence in the room. The MCQ part of it was ridiculous. Any 1st grader would do it instead of you in a matter of seconds. The subjective questions were very direct, yet not uninteresting. I finished my paper exactly in 45 minutes and managed to rank 6th in the merit list. I had been ranked 2nd back in 2017 and most so called good students usually get in, if they don't do too bad. Also, Philosophy has a nice, reputed faculty out there and is considered one of the two best institutions
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Sunday, October 7, 2018

On Spending 1825 Days Together. Here's to You, The Perspectives...

When I began sharing things I believed were important (and continue to believe, in a sense) - on a cloudy day when the sky was hanging low and I was unsure of one's purpose in life, I had no idea we would make it here one day. I had no idea what I was going to study or if I had in intricate connection with academia that I felt was growing stronger with every passing day. I had no idea what one could do with the crisis of alienation growing wider between our sense of 'self' and the notion of 'community'. Today, keeping aside all that we have 'achieved', I believe more than anything else, The Perspectives has been my best friend. And I wouldn't mind romanticising it and exaggerating it because believe it or not, I have had the chance to rest my head on his shoulders every time I've felt like a lie, everytime I've felt the horror of not being able to reach out when necessary. 

Today, we are followed by an Academy awardee, several Grammy awardees, journalists, authors, actors, politicians, media houses, show hosts, inspirational speakers and entrepreneurs on Twitter. We have interviewed academicians including Noam Chomsky among others and all the other things that I have done in my own life are somehow connected to the amazing confidence boost The Perspectives has been giving me for ages now! The transition from a clumsy, little child with too many questions to an young adult with dreams, tolerating several hundreds of shades of psychedelia together, tolerating sleepless nights, tolerating broken hearts and all the barriers that have come our way. I am blessed, I am lucky and I am extremely grateful to have reached here, where at least I know people who collectively dream and talk of change, of resistance. The resonance of pathos around us, the galactic dominance of Nihilism, the sheer terror of isolation are among the few things that we have surpassed. Here's to the spirit of life, here's love - to the eternal distance that we've metamorphosed into closeness under the veil of time. 

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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Save The Kachhua Wildlife Sanctuary (Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary) in Varanasi !

The world's only freshwater turtle sanctuary is at extremely high risk of getting erased. And we'd like you to know that this happening right inside Modi's constituency - none other than Varanasi. Prior to this, the infamous Yogi Adityanath (the current Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh) has been known to make ruthless statements against women, against Muslims and his 'disciples' have been known to incite hatred and Islamophobia quite fervently throughout the state (and who knows if not beyond?) 
It should not be a matter of wonder to us that another simultaneous target would be the biodiversity of the land, the treasure of the land that it had held close to its soul ever since forever. In the latest report that was published on The Wire regarding this issue on 24th September, written by the Award-winning environment journalist Bahar Dutt, we can see how the causality of "anthropogenic pressure" has led the local conservation board to believe that denotifying the sanctuary would be the best solution! Dutt has aptly argued that if a sanctuary or a certain place is meant for conservation, then in the worst of situations, there must be effort to save the same. There lies the very essence of conservation vested in sustainability of resources. 

The Kachhua or Turtle Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) is the only freshwater turtle sanctuary in the entire world and is home to several rare, endangered species of turtles and fish. We must not let big capital and political authoritarianism devastate our own natural habitat. This land belongs to them as much as it belongs to us. And as we have known since times immemorial, "If you haven't created something, you do not have the right to destroy it." We have collected 102 signs in seven hours so far. We need your help to take this message as far and wide as possible. This petition has been issued with a target of reaching the Supreme Court of India, National board for wildlife, World Wildlife Fund, International Fund for Animal Welfare, World Society for the Protection of Animals and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).Let us gather in numbers and make our voices heard. 

Sign the petition now!

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Friday, September 7, 2018

Time is a Strange Dimension

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August and September are both very intriguing months. It isn't the gentle core of summer that is whispering 'slumber' to your veins and there is vigour in the air. The occasional rain might slow down your spirit but nonetheless, you must walk and keep walking until there is light. "The cultural reference of a clock, is another clock" often ticks like a moment in the soul. For true as it might be, time right in front of me turns into a physical form of distance so often that I am compelled to believe the astral tendencies of light, of odour, of touch and of all sensations I have ever come across. Time, like a galactical phase in twilight and an empty heart of a tin soldier drums across the valley of reason, often imperialistically occupying areas that do not belong to it. 

To put it in simpler terms, it is getting harder everyday to accommodate space for dreaming in the moonlight. The way I return home, with a backpack or a fancy tote slacking on my shoulder, ever-eager to eat down my entire fridge after starving due to overwork and with kohl-smudged eyes with workload still attached to my own existence like an invisible halo, I can't help but feel sorry sometimes (while most of the times on the contrary, I do not). I am currently working on the development of two papers, one that would be mostly based on bibliographical and journalistic research and the other on extensive research on at least 6 demarcated academic disciplines. On the top of that,I am authoring another piece of work for a certain annual magazine, have written for a brochure and a local magazine in this while, and am working as an editorial assistant intern for an oral history preservation organisation.

This essentially means I am studying for more than I ever have in my life, driving myself more cynical than I ever have, trying to gasp in air that smells serious all the time. Now, I do not regret this at all. I have never felt so fulfilled with work and so well-placed, well-oriented in a very, very long time. But since this is happening, I get really tired by late midnight and then before I realise anything, I am but running again. I do not get to listen to a lot of different music, do not get to relax much, do not get to work on material that does not define 'work' in the time/space or the intertwined zone I'm currently concerned with. This will continue for at least, the next 6 months - and might continue even further. I am genuinely sorry for not being able to get back in a pace I used to write for the blog (it has been cut down to a 1/3rd of the previous pace) but I swear that the content delivered will not compromise with quality. So, even if I'm coming back every once in a while with one very serious article, that would mean I have dedicated more than half of my life's energy
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Friday, August 24, 2018

Book Review : 'The Waste Land and Other Poems' by T.S Eliot

1922 was one interesting year. Thriving like a clear sky amidst the darkest of days between the two world wars, 1922 germinated as a tiny pod constituted out of the distressed imagery and materialisation of the minds of several artists and authors around the world. T.S Eliot was one among them and his poems 'The Waste Land' or 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock' have indeed stood the test of time.

I got my copy of the edition I will be reviewing, one published by Faber and Faber - and unchanged since 1972 fascinates the reader's mind. How relatively simple sentences when sequenced (in apparently a non-sequenced manner) could create complex flavours and portrayals of utterly delicate as well as the darkest of emotions is indeed important. 

Now, personally, I am not very fascinated by Eliot's poetry compared to that of Maria Rilke or Pablo Neruda or even Arthur Rimbaud. A pungent efficacy in convincing people through stronger tones, stronger undertones and solid use of the weapon language imparts to you is what attracts me best. Eliot's style, on that context, still lingers some pretty romantic ideas that I personally have never been much attracted to. 

(Photograph Source : Abebooks)

'The Waste Land', on the contrary, despite it's intricately poetic constitution and eloquently descriptive nature is somewhat symbolic regarding the expression of strength ; strength of a kind very intimately linked with the urge of existence. 

'The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufock' has a certain cognitive rhythm to it I don't think any poetic enthusiast would at least be able to ignore with ease. But it is 'Two Choruses of the Rock' where you begin to find absolute modernist vibes, which is enlightening enough to steer you through some of Eliot's other works. 'Landscapes', on the other hand, have a flowing texture, a serene outlook and an overall compact,crisp depiction of figments of imagination the poet had encapsulated beautifully. 

Summing it up, for people who are intrigued by classic English literature and yet have a knack for contemporary European literature, or both ; or say, would prefer Fellini and Kubrick over the French New Wave directors, you would love
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Book Review : 'The 51 Day War' by Max Blumenthal

When I first got this book, I was still in my 9th Grade. The crisis situation in Gaza came to me as a shock more than anything else. I had drone sounds playing in the head when I tried to sleep. It was a case of psychosis I wouldn't speak at all about. All of these compelled me to maintain distance until this year. And then, it took me almost an entire academic year to go through the pages. It is not a very lengthy doctrine - in fact it is brief in terms of depiction and cohesive only in a certain philosophical sense. What was pathetically tough was the dangerously naked description and portrayal of the war provided in every single nook of the book. Not for one tiny moment did Blumenthal shy away from admitting the chronological happening of the events that constituted the war and were in turn, constituted by post-war sensitisation of the issue by the 'liberal' media in the West.

The entire book is an original portrayal of events that took place, and there is no digression into the depths of the eloquent array of crises born out of it from a very academic perspective. So, if you are on a look-out for documentation that substantiates predetermined course material, this would not be of much use to you unless you're trying to change the shape of how academics, especially in Social Sciences functions in the modern times. If, on the other hand - you want to learn a thing or two about investigative journalism and how to focus on facts within an otherwise diplomatic discipline like, say International Relations or Sociology, this book could definitely help. 
The statistical inference included in the book typically tries to stay as authentic as possible and there is hardly any instances where dilusion of facts is visible. As a matter of fact, it was quite baffling to believe how a book like that ever got published in the modern times, after all that we have been subject to in the last three decades. 

Also, the tenacity to survive in a place where there is constant and consistent shelling, missile attacks, bombing and bullets fired out of nowhere is quite admirable. If it weren't for an even more crisp criticism of the UN officials and the fake role that the organisation as a conglomerate plays there, the book would have been a complete 10/10. But I doubt if the American Censor board would allow that anyway. 

Apart from a conscious critique of the state and not the immediate institutions that play a role in executing the commands that are initiated by people who march to the beats of the drummer above altogether, the book is a good account of the truest of events that actually occurred and unfortunately is recurring in Syria for decades and decades and decades. 

As far as the idea of scoring goes, it is not entirely unfavourable, even from the perspective of sheer anarchy. If that be the case, then I would give it a 4/5 stars, since it lags behind in the ideation part. And once you're throwing the reader in an utterly miserable dystopia that looks like hell has come alive (which is well the true case and has been since forever) - you're supposed to guide them towards thinking about creating a solution, whether existent or not is something that you do not take up in your hands. Since unguided Nihilism
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Two Old Ballads To Make Your Heart Leap ⁓ Covered by Jim McCann and Liam Clancy

When I listened to this song for the first time, I was confused about how intriguing the cognition that is produced by folk music and the people who are used to singing a particular kind of the several genres that constitutes this dynamic array. What was also important was the number of rude comments I took notice of since the pictures used were that of Ireland, the singer was Irish whilst the song was of American origin. But of a different America, of course. The forgotten America - the victim to the genocide of the veiled lords who rule the geographical area today. 

The breathtakingly soft approach that Clancy had adopted during covering this is admirable, to say the very least. Also, the overlapping of the two rivers - Missouri and Shenandoah coupled with the ballad-like feel drenched with a perennially melancholic tone to itself sounds and feels like a dream. Fans of folk music from the world over, this song has been written for you. 

(Photograph Source : Spotify) 

(Photograph Source : Irish Examiner) 

'Boolavogue', as a song, is categorised a ballad but most certainly also incorporates certain very fierce and rebellious entities within itself. Covered by the ah-mazing Jim McCann, 'fabulous' is the only word that comes to mind while judging the qualitative value of the song.
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Sunday, July 8, 2018

Are 'Psy Ops' replacing Humanities and Social Sciences?

There is no other way to state the fact as directly. The American state machinery is filled with liars. You're taught deception and adaptabilities to attributes related to the same which includes notions, such as how you are supposed to outsmart the portrayal of genocide into more of an arcading platform, more like simulation hypothesis than say distant, irrelevant things such as real-life crises. 
Now, the question is, even if we admit that movies including 'The Hurt Locker', and Sylvester Stallone's big break in the 'First Blood Series' are absolutely reflection of modern hypocrisy and idiocy intertwined into a single entity, just imagine the mass who enjoyed and admitted enjoying these films, and re-discovered the American dream in blood, terror and illegal, illegitimate geopolitical annexation and imperialism concealed in a veil that is not so easily recognisable. Now, how many people would conform to Socrates' "I know that I do not know." in a nation flocked with no-it-alls who can't do away with more liberalism than what comes with real life materialisation of A-rated movies. 

Now, how many of you have actually managed to face the terror of alienation as a sarcastic intellectual? If you statistically measure the increasing number of 'dumbed' people criticising the urge to know, criticising the inquisition in knowledge, criticising curiosity, you should know you are going the right way. And this kind of alienation is as much collective3 in nature as it can be linked to individualism! How can you imagine being 'alienated' if 'the others' are not existent at the first place? The PEW research regarding Americans reading books blew my mind (perhaps neurotic people should now learn to take things easy). It claimed that one out of every four Americans hasn't gone through a single book in the past year or in their entire lifetimes! 

In the textbooks that we go through, the syllabus is often way too comprehensive to not let us know, or to ignore what has been engraved way beyond the ink and prints. The essence of a book must be philosophically analysed before the content is judged - which is the only way the content can be judged, again. But beginning from the tender age of fifteen-sixteen, we are pushed onto the verge of a shadowed tale of missing chronology. And what is even scarier is that we do not know, and we do not know that we do not know. We do not know the whole truth about Saddam Hussain, we do not know the much about the murder of Muammar Gaddafi, we do not know much about Bashar-Al-Assad, we do not know the truth behind the fundings of the ammunition used by ISIS and the mechanism of the atrocities committed by them. We only know of 'Islamic terrorism', signifying some collective noun that is linked with terms including Afghanistan, Kashmir, Hamas, Gaza, Fatah, Aleppo, Syria, ISIS, Kurds, Murder, Terrorism, Terrorism, Terrorism.....∞. 

The role played by the states together with the education system as a whole is creating a void of both necessary information, factual evidence which together creates the thrust required to make people think in the era of numbness. It is as if the psychological warfare
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Friday, July 6, 2018

The Attack on Islamic Culture : A Sadistic Approach to the Futile War on Oil

"How futile is war?" is a question you perhaps would like to ask an artist wandering in the sullen streets of a heavily rainy Paris. There was a time when I read a four-year-old kid write a poem asking a prince not to harm a tree. And then you see those muddy feet and unkempt hair of little people by the riverside, in all of our suburbian alleyways. "How futile is war?" circumferences like a humming, gravitating tune inside your head, functionally impaired to be of any help - apparently. Lord Rutherford's gold foil experiment materialised in a human world. And who wouldn't agree that they use more to conceal and worsen the situation; a fraction of which would have been enough to change the situation eternally. 

A still from Bahman Ghobadi's 'Turtles Can Fly'

If the world was so concerned with clusters altogether, maybe for at least a matter of decades, we could have discussed continuity in the UN instead of vulnerable targets and how to predate on a successful heritage of rich, potentially threatening rich culture and knowledge. With this, coincidentally, a few religious values have been associated, complicating things further. But as from testimonies collected from Syrian refugees, we know the extent of pertaining religious harmony at the heart of war. Hence, the incidents at Rafah or that in Aleppo is neither sheer negligence nor the mortification or parallel contextualism to blatant theories of nothing. The murderers and the murdered have names and addresses. 

In the twenty-first century, we somewhat propagate hatred through a certain mechanism promoting the methods of induction. It is as if we are human machinery provoking sadistic pleasure out of glorification of a past that never was ours. Zeynep Tufekci's take on programmed dystopia illuminates a certain theorisation that we, despite having a faint conception about have always managed to shove it down our shoulders consoling the curious one who lies inside us of conspiracy theorisation instead. From an individual's perspective, sitting right here, typing this piece after almost finishing Max Blumenthal's 'The 51 Day War' is nothing more than flying paper planes with messages written on their bodies from a dark cellar that permits of no other method to reach out. Now, believe it or not - you're the medium, you're the intermediation and you're the part of a larger social experiment that was conducted during the infamous Holocaust. And there at least lies two-three genocides beginning from that of Native Americans/Red Indians stretching to the aboriginal Australians that you're not supposed to utter a word about. 

The 'resistance', on the other hand, is a complicated term to decode. Even though the militant forces often join hands with the larger left-leaning political alliances, the region shadowed is their source of obtaining ammunition. Lenin had once remarked, "Capitalists will sell us the rope we will hang them with!" After all these years, the contrast and irony in the very ideation
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Poem, A Day : Day 3 ⁓ 'Secrets 1'

First of all, I am really very apologetic for getting the third post of this series supposed to be containing ten poems is coming off so late. I cannot even explain in a go what I had to go through in the last ten days and I had been devastated, inside and most of it was even showing in my external approach. So, basically, I have been able to get over a lot of it and thankfully I have been blessed to be free from all the terrible things that were happening.
For now, I just made my mind to complete the two promised series of works and still indulge in the kind of interactive work that often is a result of joint efforts. Here's to the obsession with Vincent, surfacing again, even in my poetry. Here's to you. Here's to you, yellow. 

Bedroom in Arles by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888 (First Version) 
(Photograph Source: Wikipedia)

The ones who live in the woods 
Have now begun reckoning reverberation 
I live in your viscous gallery of numbness

Here, fall brings mellow lights of freedom.

Auspicious, you glare into the core bottom 
Of spiral motion, of your nasty fate, of truth 
The eclipses rise on the pits of your shoulders 
Cordially, fall lights up the mellow taste of freedom.

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