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Showing posts from 2013

Politics - You are Everywhere

After being a student of Political Science for almost ten years now ... I realize the benefits I have accrued from this discipline. From being interested in studying civics, learning about rights, duties and government; I feel I have come a long way indeed as far as the systematic and scientific knowledge about politics is concerned and I certainly owe it to Political Science.

It is time we accept that politics is in an urgent need for redefinition. Far from the understanding that it is 'bad', 'negative', 'malicious', 'manipulative' and undesirable ... what I learnt is that politics is everywhere, is indispensable and the sooner we acknowledge it, the better for country. The benefits of learning Political Science in the academic domain are great. As for me, I attribute to this discipline the ability to let me think critically, not take facts on face value and question every form of knowledge that comes my way. It also helps one to be better at research…

Revisiting wounded souls in Pinjar

Film Review – Pinjar (The Skeleton) – 2003

Director: Chandra Prakash Dwivedi

Cast:Urmila Matondkar (Puro/Hamida), Manoj Bajpai (Rashid), Sanjay Suri (Ramchand), Kulbhushan Kharbanda (Mohanlal), Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Mohanlal), Sandali Sinha (Lajjo), Isha Koppikar (Rajjo), Priyanshu Chatterjee (Trilok)
Based on Amrita Pritam’s Punjabi novel “PINJAR” Violent bloodbath, massacres of scores of human beings and refugee exodus were the most powerful symbols of the partition of the Indian sub-continent. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi’s film Pinjar represents the pain of the partition which engulfed three communities of India – the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. The film is also the story of a family, essentially the journey of the daughter of the family – Puro (UrmilaMatondkar in a major role) and her transformation to Hamida, her loss of identity and her agony. Pinjar is set in 1946 which marked the pre-partition era. Even before the country was divided into two parts, communal rage had spread all over an…

Garam Hawa - A Classic on the Partition

Film Review – GaramHawa (Scorching Winds) – 1973 Director:M.S.Sathyu Cast:Balraj Sahni (Salim Mirza); Gita Shauhat Kaifi (Amina Mirza); Jalal Agha (Shamshad); Dinanath Zutski (Halim); Badar Begum (Salim's mother); Abu Siwani (Baqar Mirza); Faroukh Shaikh (Sikander Mizra); Jamal Hashmi (Kazim).
Based on an unpublished story by Ismat Chugtai The story of a shattered family A departing train, people moving to the land of the ‘other’ and families parting with their loved ones. GaramHawa (1973) begins with Salim Mirza (BalrajSahni) dropping his elder sister at the railway station to catch a train that will take her to Pakistan. It is the post-partition era during which hordes of Indian Muslims left their homeland to be a part of the newly created state of Pakistan. The Partition of undivided India, which led to the existence of Pakistan, haunts the national memories of both Indians and Pakistanis to this day. It was a complex event which has to be understood from many perspectives. To the v…

Lost and Found

Lost and Found A Tale of Renewed Friendship
Contributed by: Nidhi Shendurnikar Tere The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
To Love Across Borders - An E-book published from Canada by IndiReads on the eve of independence days of India and Pakistan in 2013

Dilip did not know how to use Facebook. His grandchildren mocked him for not keeping pace with time and technology. Reluctantly, he opened an account and despite his initial fear and apprehension, was hooked instantly. Retired, he now spent the better part of his day surfing the net, connecting and chatting with an ever-increasing circle of friends. Within a few months he had found far-flung cousins and had established contact with long-lost friends. But there was one who eluded him and each day, as soon as he logged in, he would trawl different networks looking for this one particular friend. “Who are you looking for Dada-ji?” asked his teenage grandson Rohan. “A friend.” And the search continued.
Dilip sat in the garden with his cu…

Where the media hurts! Media manifestations of gender based violence

My article published in the newsletter of the Women's Studies Research Centre - October, 2013. 
Media – A reflection of society? The heinous and brutal Delhi gang rape incident (December 16, 2012) which shook the nation’s conscience also brought to limelight the media’s role in covering and reporting events of national and social significance. Media’s reportage of the event brought scores of people on the streets of Delhi to protest against the crime. 24 X 7 TV news channels, newspapers, magazines and other mass mediums were filled with outrage and sympathy at the same time. The media covered every event related to protests by citizens, condition of the rape victim and the endless discussions that ensued on the need to change laws and policies related to women’s safety in the country. There is no doubt that the media’s role with regard to gender based violence is prominent in a country like ours – where gender discrimination and instances of rape, abuse, mental and physical agony, h…

Ek Doctor ki Maut

What happens when mediocrity is encourages and merit is trampled upon? What happens when you work hard and do not get the recognition? What happens when instead of supporting good work, the system pulls down people who do good and hard work? I think and believe that we have all the answers to the above questions immaterial of wherever we work. A 1990 award winning film tries to address these various questions in a researcher's life. What is important in the system - is it discovery, originality or contacts with the right people. 'Ek Doctor ki Maut' (1990), directed by Tapan Sinha with brilliant actors like Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi and Irfan Khan (yes he is there in the movie!) is the prototype of our Indian system of curbing talent and intellect at the cost of sycophancy, nepotism and bureaucracy. The story of an eccentric, but passionate and hard working scientist, Dr. Roy (Kapur) who is tirelessly and painstakingly working to find a cure for leprosy, the movie is a fl…

India-Pakistan Citizen Diplomacy and the Media

This is my article published in The News International, Islamabad

August 7, 2013

I’d like to know you better
Freedom of opinion/expression, positive change, scope for progressive voices, youth engagement, fresh perspectives, real time sharing forums, crystal clear means of communication these are some of the terms that Indians and Pakistanis used when asked how they view the media championing the cause of citizen diplomacy for peace between the two countries.
Given the difficulties of obtaining a visa to visit Pakistan for face-to-face interaction, I had resigned myself to remaining restricted to the social media and obtained these comments online. This is part of my ongoing research on the media and its role in helping foster peace between India and Pakistan.
However, I have not given up on the idea of promoting people-to-people interaction, or hope that lies in citizen diplomacy as it has been called since 1981 when a US State Department employee named Joseph Montville emphasized the…

Now a Chaupal for Indo-Pak Peace!

My article published in South Asia Monitor: Aug 2, 2013

A campaign towards Indo-Pak peace and friendship revives the traditional practice of ‘chaupal’ …As an attempt to enhance people to people communication across the border, to share views, experiences and stories of love and collaboration. Mission Bhartiyam, an India-based not for profit organization has come up with the idea of holding ‘chaupals’ (informal interactions) between people on both sides. Befittingly named ‘Aman Chaupal’ (Interactions for Peace), the pioneering venture is an initiative of Aaghaz-e-Dosti (Start of Friendship), a cross-border campaign working for India-Pakistan peace and friendship. Like-minded individuals from different walks of life have come together to strengthen foregone bonds and make people realise the power of peace. Aman Chaupal that commenced in July this year is about informal conversations and chats between people from both side…