Sunday, July 31, 2011

Delhi Slutwalk Arthaat Besharmi Morcha

Delhi Slutwalk Arthaat Besharmi Morcha 2011 took place on July 31, 2011. 
SlutWalk, now a global campaign, was started in response to a Toronto cop's outrageous remark that women should dress appropriately to avoid getting raped.   Umang Sabharwal is organiser of the Delhi chapterof SlutWalk. Close to 200 people gathered at Jantar Mantar to participate in the march to protest against society's perception that victims of sexual harassment ask for trouble by dressing scantily.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Gig Week

Delhi’s first independent and upcoming artist’s summit The Gig Week will be held at various venues across the city.

The Gig Week is a music jamboree that plans to highlight unique acts alongside the usual staple of wailing guitars and rocked-out lead vocals by angst boys.

Barefaced Liar, Urban Soundscape, Jester, Big Bang Blues, Katai Bum and Colossal Figures are six Delhi acts scheduled for the first week of August.

Established names like Them Clones, Advaita and Cyanide will also be the part of The Gig Week that will take place between 31 July and 6 August in Delhi.

The gigs have been planned across Delhi nightclubs such as G-Spot, Cafe Oz, Turquoise Cottage and Cafe Morrison.

TimeOut will organize a week-long festival featuring upcoming bands and singer-songwriters.

Visit “The Gig Week” page on Facebook nearer the dates for timings and venues.

31 July
Jester + Fire Exit
First off the block is Jester, a funk band from Delhi, followed by Fire Exit, who describe their music as “progressive alternative rock”.

1 August
MindFlew + Shantanu Pandit + Urban Soundscape
MindFlew are a four-piece alt/psychedelic rock band. Shantanu Pandit multitasks with his mouth organ, flawless guitar strumming and soulful vocals. Completing the evening’s line-up is rock, progressive and psychedelic outfit Urban Soundscape.

2 August
Rounak Maita + Cobbled Street + Anuradha Sajjanhar +Doppler Effect
Mumbai-based singer-songwriter Rounak Maiti is partial to minimalistic acoustic guitar. Cobbled Street’s music is equal parts jazz, world music and a cappella vocals. Anuradha Sajjanhar offers a breezy listening experience. Doppler Effect’s music is a blend of rock and funk.

3 August
MoonShadow Frequency + Bhaanu Mendiratta + Dementia
MoonShadow Frequency from Gurgaon dabble in psychedelia, funk, alternative rock, blues and trip hop. Bhaanu Mendiratta’s mellow John Mayer-ish voice can give you goosebumps. Adding a darker edge to proceedings is New Delhi-based progressive metal experimental band Dementia.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nirupama Rao: Guts is grace under pressure

The crisp Mysore silk saree, a small bindi in place, coiffed hair, minimal make up, a Fendi handbag and smart shoes…she has been running up the South Block staircase to her office for 14-hour work days for the last two years now.

She does this with the same ease when she runs up Air India One, to fly with the Prime Minister to various capitals around the world for his summit meetings.

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has a fascinating persona. She retires as foreign secretary at the end of this month, but only to take over as India's ambassador to the United States.

By her own admission, she is looking forward to the new assignment. However, no job could be as exciting as the one she currently holds.

Few people, if any, ever doubted that she would be India's top diplomat one day. After all, having been an achiever all her life, the foreign secretaryship seemed destined for this soft-spoken lady with a steely determination from Kerala.

A family friend once told me that she has never stood second in any exam --- always a topper. Academic laurels sit easy on her delicate shoulders; there are no signs of intellectual snobbishness. She hasn’t got to where she has by bullying or by playing politics. Her quiet competence, pleasant demeanour and non-threatening personality have won her friends in the bureaucracy and in the political establishment. But, she is no shrinking violet.

Nirupama’s introduction to the harsh glare of the media was when she took over from Raminder Jassal as the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in 2001. India had just won the Kargil War but had invited President Musharraf to Agra for peace talks. As the joint secretary in the External Publicity Division of the External Affairs Ministry, her initiation into the job was a proverbial trial by fire.

 The Agra summit failed, Musharraf went back angry, and the media from both countries was livid. This being his second attempt at peace with Pakistan after the Lahore Bus Yatra, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee did not have much domestic support for the peace talks in the first place.

The Agra talks were an unmitigated disaster. As the MEA spokesperson, Rao had the tough job to defend India’s decision to invite President Musharraf, an international pariah then, and furthermore, to send him packing without so much as a joint communiqué.

It was Rao’s first experience of dealing with unruly and angry Indian and Pakistani media, anxious to know what exactly happened and both were not satisfied with the trickle of information that was being given to them.

That was ten years ago. But not much has changed. As foreign secretary now, Rao sits at the high table during India-Pakistan talks.

Her last week at the job also involves chairing meetings at Hyderabad House and attending the India-Pakistan foreign minister-level talks.

Asked what was the biggest challenge in her two years as foreign secretary, a candid Nirupama said: “Neighbours”.

Ties with Pakistan have swung from bad to worse to aggressive to awkward in the past two years. Rao, who loves to speak in metaphors with literary references, says that one of the hardest challenges was to take the India-Pakistan relationship off life-support and bring it into the incubator stage.

She is following the Prime Minister’s agenda. Evidently, Rao has a smooth working relationship with Dr. Manmohan Singh.

As foreign secretary in the UPA government, she has handled visits of heads of state of P-5 countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and accompanied the Prime Minister to several multilateral forums. She counts among her success the setting up of the public diplomacy division, starting 300 Passport Seva Kendras and the evacuation of Indian nationals from Libya.

The public outreach of the MEA is the legacy that Nirupama Rao will be most remembered for.

Nirupama Rao has earlier been the Deputy Chief of Mission in Moscow, Minister of Press Affairs in Washington D.C., Ambassador to China and the High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. None of these were easy assignments. She has earned her spurs as a diplomat.

Ernest Hemmingway once said: "By 'guts,' I mean grace under pressure". Grace under pressure ---- that is exactly what her colleagues say of her years in China and Sri Lanka.

Rao is also probably the most media savvy of foreign secretaries that India has ever had. She is witty, knows the value of sound bytes, speaks in measured tones, answers to the point, and never hums and haws. She is always ready to laugh at a humorous comment, even if it leans on the politically incorrect
She can quote at will from Shakespeare to Churchill, share a cup of tea with you and even sing a song on request.

She can be sharp too, but she couches the punch with a smile before you can even realise what hit you!

The relationship between bureaucrats and journalists is often an awkward one. We have to ask questions, and more often than not, be critical.

Naturally this doesn’t endear us to those in the government, especially senior officers. Some are mature enough to know that it is our job to question, our role being of watchdogs in a democracy. But no one likes being questioned.

Nirupama Rao has endeared herself to the media because she doesn’t talk down to them. Even a cub reporter gets her/his question answered with patience and a liberal dose of humour. Nirupama Rao will be missed in Delhi.
Smita Prakash / ANI

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Extended Fable ... Really ....

Aravind Adiga
The face of this tower, once pink, is now a rainwater-stained, fungus-licked grey, although veins of primordial pink show wherever the roofing has protected the walls from the monsoon rains.
As his Man Booker Prize-winning The White Tiger brilliantly demonstrated, Aravind Adiga is a master of the telling anecdote, the quirky detail, and the unexpected.
You would never call Adiga a subtle writer; he can, indeed, seem a bit ham-fisted at times.

On Marine Drive, the real-estate broker Ajwani watches representatives of every race of the city around him: burqa-clad Sunni Muslims with their protective men; Bohra women with their Mother Hubbard bonnets chaperoning each other; petite sari-clad Marathi women, jasmine garlands in their braided hair, nuggets of vertebrae in their fatless backs glistening at each twist of their excited bodies; two thick-shouldered sadhus, saffron robes streaming, chanting Sanskrit to the waves; shrieking clumps of college students from Elphinstone; the baseball-cap-wearing sellers of fried things and chilled water.
Through the residents of a middle-class housing society in Vakola, Adiga coheres a universe in which greed, hypocrisy and arrogance destroy human relationships for a larger, quintessentially amoral Mumbai good. It’s a neighbourhood that Adiga describes as “a cluster of ambiguous dots that cling polyp-like to the underside of the domestic airport”—coincidentally, peripheries of the corrugated setting of Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire. The variegated bunch of families of Vishram Society are selling their residential building to a powerful real estate don, a simulacrum of the all-powerful in Mumbai. 
Last Man in Tower
Clumsy attempts to coerce Masterji to sign increase his intransigence, based on a principled refusal to be bullied but also bolstered by private guilt associated with the memory of his wife. Adiga's genius is in making the developer's offer so extreme; at about 400 times the average Indian income, it is future ease on a plate, which seeming generosity casts Masterji's resistance in a perverse light. Adiga exploits this tension in an increasingly hostile atmosphere. The residents' amateurish conspiracies are unconscionable but Masterji's indignation bears a whiff of selfishness, which allows an intriguing ambivalence in the reader's loyalties.
“Last Man in Tower” stays within this new zone of ethical ambivalence, expertly guiding the reader’s sympathy first Murthy’s way, then Shah’s, bringing episodes from their past into the mix to make rational decisions appear questionable, and questionable ones rational.
Last Man In Tower is an extended fable really, a study in how far civilised people are prepared to go to get the things they want and how easily they can find ways to justify it. It's a slippery slope of a story _ to begin with, the people of Vishram Society use reasonable means to persuade Masterji to change his mind. But they edge closer to iniquity. No one among the vast cast of characters is wholly good or bad: not even Shah the property mogul.

Delhi Couture Week

Epitome of grace and beauty, Sharmila Tagore, walked the ramp for designer duo Ashima-Leena on the third day of Delhi Couture Week. Sharmila was dressed in a beige and dull gold ghagra with red-green dupatta.
Sonam Kapoor was in Delhi on Sunday for designer Manish Malhotra’s couture show on the third-day of the ongoing Synergy 1 Delhi Couture Week. Manish designed an opulent, heavily embroidered red backless overcoat and a splendid white lehenga for Sonam. This time Manish tried to inculcate British influence into his collection which was an amalgamation of traditional and contemporary silhouettes.

Veteran actor Shatrughan Sinha turned a bit emotional as daughter Sonakshi walked as a showstopper for designer duo Shantanu-Nikhil on the third day of ongoing Synergy1 Delhi Couture Week on Sunday. Apart from Sonakshi's parents, the front row also witnessed Jas Arora and sitar players and brothers Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash.
There was drama, fun and lots of bling on first day, first show at the Delhi Couture Week. Varun Bahl opened Day One of the Synergy 1 Delhi Couture Week 2011.Model Tinu Verghis opened the show for Varun in a high-shoulder crimson velvet jacket, which was paired with heavily embellished teal-coloured lehenga and bright-coloured velvet jutis. The designer was cheered in front row by Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit Nene.
The showstopper model Bhavna Sharma looked graceful as she walked the ramp in a multiple bordered lehenga with jewel embroidery and antique crystal detail. While Adarsh Gill proved her competence with shimmer and embroidery, Shantanu and Nikhil's rendezvous with cocktail couture was like a breath of fresh air (just like the theme of their show). Anju Modi, Ashima-Leena and Manish Malhotra went back into the books of history to dig out yesteryear techniques and brought alive the style of old world couture to the ramp. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ-ಪ್ರಾತ್ಯಕ್ಷಿಕೆ, ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ, ತಾಳಮದ್ದಳೆ ಪಸರಣ-2011

ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ ಬಯಲಾಟ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿ, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು, 
ದೆಹಲಿಯ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿ ಆಫ್ ತೆಂಕುತಿಟ್ಟು ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ, 
ನವದೆಹಲಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಆಯೋಜಿಸುವ
ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ-ಪ್ರಾತ್ಯಕ್ಷಿಕೆ, ಪ್ರದರ್ಶನ, ತಾಳಮದ್ದಳೆ ಪಸರಣ-2011
ದಿನಾಂಕ 4,5,6,7 ಆಗಸ್ಟ್ 2001
ರಾಜಧಾನಿಯಲ್ಲಿ ಹಿಂದೆಂದೂ ನೋಡಿರದ ಅಪೂರ್ವ ಕಲಾಸಮಾವೇಶ

ಡಾ. ಎಂ ವೀರಪ್ಪ ಮೊಯಿಲಿ
(ಸನ್ಮಾನ್ಯ ಸಚಿವರು, ಕಂಪೆನಿ ವ್ಯವಹಾರಗಳ ಖಾತೆ, ಭಾರತ ಸರಕಾರ)

ಮುಖ್ಯ ಅತಿಥಿಗಳು
ಡಾ. ವಿ. ಎಸ್. ಆಚಾರ್ಯ
(ಸನ್ಮಾನ್ಯ ಸಚಿವರು, ಉಚ್ಛಶಿಕ್ಷಣ ಇಲಾಖೆ, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸರಕಾರ)

ಡಾ. ಪುರುಷೋತ್ತಮ ಬಿಳಿಮಲೆ
(ನಿರ್ದೇಶಕರು, ಅಮೇರಿಕನ್ ಇನ್‌ಸ್ಟಿಟ್ಯೂಟ್ ಆಫ್ ಇಂಡಿಯನ್ ಸ್ಟಡೀಸ್)

ಶ್ರೀ ಕುಂಬಳೆ ಸುಂದರ ರಾವ್
(ಅಧ್ಯಕ್ಷರು, ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಯಕ್ಷಗಾನ ಬಯಲಾಟ ಅಕಾಡೆಮಿ, ಬೆಂಗಳೂರು)

ಭಸ್ಮಾಸುರ-ಮೋಹಿನಿ (ಬಡಗುತಿಟ್ಟು)

ದೆಹಲಿ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕ ಸಂಘ, ರಾವ್ ತುಲಾರಾಂ ಮಾರ್ಗ, 
ಸೆಕ್ಟರ್-೧೨, ಆರ್ ಕೆ ಪುರಂ, ನವದೆಹಲಿ -೧೧೦೦೧೧
4, ಆಗಸ್ಟ್, 2001 ಸಂಜೆ 6.30 ಕ್ಕೆ

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi’s Campaign Against Untouchability in Karnataka released

Mahatma Gandhi’s Campaign Against Untouchability in Karnataka, written by Dr. G.A. Biradar, Archivist, National Archives of India, New Delhi was released on  16th July, 2011  at Gandhi Peace Foundation.
Book being released

Professor Mushirul Hasan, Director General, National Archives of India, New Delhi released the book.   Dr. Venkatachala Hegde, President, Delhi Karnataka Sangha was present.

Dr. Gollalappagoud Appasahebagoud Biradar has made a unique attempt to go into Mahatma Gandhi's       campaign against untouchability in Karnataka, rather the most parts of Southern India. Based on his scholarly study and field experience he has developed an insight into the subject and discusses in considerable details, Mahatma Gandhi's campaign against untouchability in Karnataka, rather the large part of South India, like, Madras presidency, including Davangeri, Sandur, Bellary, Bombay presidency. He has attempted a balanced view through an analysis of legislation and people's opinions, including administrators’ and judges’. Based upon his analytical survey, his field study and scholarly study, he has justified Mahatma Gandhi's campaign against untouchability in Karnataka, the fruits of which are very much seen in the remote corners in villages and towns of not only Karnataka, but the whole country, in the shape of legislative measures, administrative action towards people's welfare, and well-being; mass awakening, popular will and support. 
Dr. G.A.Biradar’s book “Mahatma Gandhi’s Campaign against Untouchability in Karnataka” is indeed an exemplary work of documentary nature providing the researchers working in Polity and History, Socio-Economic System, Human Rights and Ethics etc. with the primary data. Present book is an outcome of the full and proper exploitation, in positive sense, of the original documents preserved in the National Archives, New Delhi. I wish to congratulate Dr. Biradar on throwing fresh light on the untapped sources and dwelling at length on an untouched aspect of the freedom movement in India.
The author has ventured to strike a balance between the success or otherwise of the campaign in Karnataka. The response of the Savarna Hindus to the appeals of Gandhiji to eradicate untouchability from the Hindu social fold was spontaneous, whereas the same from the very beneficiaries viz the Hirijans was very poor. The Sanatanists, on the other hand, put protests here and there during the campaign. The officers loyal to the British Government reported that people used to participate in the campaign out of curiosity to see the person of Gandhiji rather than to involve in the campaign. 
Dr. G.A. Biradar, author of the book said: A great historic movement such as the Indian struggle for freedom is necessarily a complex and multi-faceted phenomenon, and strength came to it from many sources. One such solid source of inspiration for strengthening the national movement was the Harijan movement. No doubt Mahatma Gandhi was instrumental in starting the Harijan movement and by doing so he broadened the base for the national movement. Lokamanya Tilak, the great patriot and leader then held a view that the freedom struggle should be severely limited to the political arena, and it should be isolated from the attempts then being made to reform the traditional structure of the Hindu society. The issue then took the form of a controversy between the orthodox and the social reformers. The pre- 1921 years of Indian national movement was dominated and in the hands of upper class people. Therefore, the nationalist movement was confined to largely urban areas. While Tilak was politically non conservative and he was socially a conservative. Mahatma Gandhi was politically and socially a liberal leader. He tried to bring the people of all classes of society to mainstream political movement irrespective of their social status to fight the British rule in India.
Dr. G.A. Biradar is the author of 3 books and about 20 research articles. Born at Golageri village in Bijapur District of Karnataka, he had had his Primary and Secondary education in his native place. Graduated from G.P. Porwal College (KUD), Sindagi in Bijapur District. He has completed his Post Graduation and Doctor of Philosophy in History, Gulbarga University, Gulbarga. He served as Guest Lecturer in History, Gulbarga University, Gulbarga and as Part Time Lecturer in History, N.V. Degree College, Gulbarga for over 3 years. Presently, Dr. Biradar is an Archivist at National Archives of India, New Delhi.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

a pestering journey

tropical cinema’s
a pestering journey

documentary / 66 minutes \ india / 2010 / HD
malayalam, english, punjabi, hindi, tulu

realization: k r manoj \ script & research: ranjini krishnan, k r manoj
image: shehnad jalal / montage: mahesh narayanan, ajay kuyiloor 
location sound & sound design: harikumar madhavan nair \ music: a s ajithkumar 
sound mixing: n harikumar / production design: suresh viswanathan 
media design: b priyaranjanlal \ produced by: tropical cinema

National Film Festival
Sirifort Auditorium 2, 

10th July 2.00 p.m.

A voyage through two pesticide tragedies in post Independent India, a Pestering Journey is an attempt to interrogate the legitimate forms and technologies of killing available in a culture. Taking a pestering turn, the journey blurs the boundaries of nature and culture, of self and other, of life and death and many other comfortable binaries we inhabit. It tries to ask how much regard for life a culture should have to ponder over the question, what a pest is.

Pestering Journey unravels the many interwoven layers of culture and agriculture and foregrounds the logic of green revolution. In an atypical move it challenges and changes the idioms of pesticide and genocide and reveals the claims over knowledge and expertise which pushes a pesticide like Endosulfan to a dubious position between poison and medicine.

In the 1970's,  while my state, Kerala,  was being celebrated as a model of social development by various national and international agencies, Kasaragod, the northern district of the state was subjected to a new agricultural experiment.  Pesticides and fertilizers were the unsung heroes there.  It took us almost a quarter century to realize what was happening there in the name of development; but by that time the place had become a killing field. For many of us, it was not merely pesticide tragedy; in fact, we had never witnessed human suffering of this magnitude in our life. This documentary is my attempt to reflect upon the multiple layers of silent and evasive forms of violence that has been circulating in a culture.

I started this journey from my home state and slowly realized that the pattern is alarmingly the same in almost all Indian agricultural fields. The train that has been renamed as 'cancer train' by the locals of Punjab entered this journey as a metaphor of a social body that has been made sick.  My steps were shaky at moments, while I was in close contact with another person's suffering. Thus this film for me becomes contemplation on facing and representing human suffering.

The documentary moves through five locations in three different states of India.
The cotton fields and villages  in Malwa region, Punjab
The rail path that connects Punjab to Rajasthan which passes through Bhathinda and Bikaner
Regional Cancer Research and Treatment Centre, Bikaner, Rajasthan
The state owned cashew plantations and neighboring villages in Kasargod, Kerala
Premises of Hindustan Insecticides limited, Udyogamandal area, Kochi, Kerala