Conflict Politics

It isn’t necessary to put words in bold or neon to make someone understand that conflict is perhaps one of the defining features of the human condition. The fact that we, as human beings can enter into conflict with other people, resolve them and move on without biting each other proves that we are as capable of aggression as we are of compassion. I know that this idea of tolerance as in the acceptance of difference or diversity is being challenged by the day. Events around the world make us rethink if we qualify to be seen as people after all? How can the same person, who claims to be sane be the source of such vitriolic hatred in times of conflict? It is in these junctures, that in my personal life, I try to be as self-reflective as possible. Not all conflicts can be resolved over a cup of coffee. Conflicts in real life tend to be fatal, literally. Therefore, whenever I see people at arms or trying to one-up each other, I try to reason by appealing to both their intelligence and their sense of empathy. I make sincere attempts to reason with myself to see both the sides of a dispute. Though this does not work out mostly, I strongly believe that in the end honesty is appreciated by both the dissenting individuals and groups. In a patriarchal society like ours, most of the conflicts stem from the ever fragile male ego. The inherent toxicity leads certain men to prove that they are no less, which leads to all sorts of mishaps. It has its roots in the upbringing where boys are told not to cry or asked to play with guns and not dolls. It is this inherent relation of identity with power from such an early age that makes them blind to the feelings of the ‘other’. That is why when they come into conflict with others they cannot let go of what they want which gives birth to violence. Be it acid attacks or petty gang wars, they stem from an attitude of not tolerating conflict or difference. I feel that this is the most important lesson that I have ever learnt, which is to respect opposing beliefs (to a certain arbitrary degree). Outside institutionalised education, it is Life which teaches us the most via interactions.

During the later part of my school life, I joined the classes of a rather popular teacher whom I expected to be no less than the usual run of the mill. To my great interest, my teacher did not fit that model. As I started opening up, we would often end up talking about anything and everything other than the venerable ‘subject’. We have had fiery debates and one such long-standing debate or a conflict of interest has had a long-standing impact on my life. He pointed out that our ‘English Medium’ generation is losing out on the immense beauty that regional literature has to offer. The problem lies in our orientation to our mother tongue. Since forever, we have been subtly taught to treat something ironically named as the ‘mother-tongue’ as something secondary. This treatment can only be justified if the other language was called ‘father-tongue’. The syllabus also, it seemed was very politically designed, as it contained mostly obscure texts whereas the English counterpart was much easier. The generation growing up with the illusory blanket of ‘Globalization’ must be encouraged to love their roots. This was my argument in response to my teacher that the syllabi were very politically designed to veer the students away from their mother tongue. He did agree to my proposition, but also replied that if we, do not take responsibility to start a culture which would lead to the re-popularization of the regional culture, then, who will? These words rang deep inside the chambers of my heart and made me re-think on whether I been too complacent! I saw a new window of perspectives open in front of me. Then I understood, all we needed was a little push. We did not have that. The fact that I have to resort to English as a medium of communication for this subject is very apt and deliciously ironical drives the point home even further.

As I said earlier, not all conflicts can be resolved with such ease. Certain conflicts are manufactured and installed in the social psyche to keep the hate factory alive. Such a conflict is that of India and Pakistan that has to some extent shaped our identities. With the wave of nationalism currently prevalent, some people would go so far as to say they are Indians just because they are not Pakistanis. Same was the case with me who started with ‘demonising the other’. I remembered distinctly that it started with cricket. It always starts with cricket. Any random Indian mobile cricket game would instantly pit India against Pakistan. This is how violence and conflict are kept alive through the micro spaces of culture. Whenever there is any national issue or religious tension, people indulge in the common rhetoric of hate. The idea of conflict is built into the human condition but that cannot be a basis to say that humans do not lean towards resolution. Resolution is also a part of human nature. The need for normalcy in a liberal democracy, no matter how much of a free fall it is in, is as important as the existence conflict. Unfortunately, more often than not, the hunger for the violence of conflict supersedes the need for resolution. Let’s try our best to douse the fires of hatred in whatever small way we can while weeping and bleeding somewhere inside for the sake of humanity.

Pulwama Massacre

Dr Partha Banerjee wrote a fiery article in Bengali on the Pulwama attack, here’s the link to that:

https://goo.gl/DcTstr

I translated the same in English:

https://humanitycollege.org/2019/02/16/pulwama-massacre-and-the-politics-of-hate/

Do read, react, comment and share the thoughts.

Image Courtesy: https://images.indianexpress.com/2019/02/pulwamablast3-759.jpg

Kaashi: the city that wasn’t!

Kaashi, or Varanasi, is one of those places to surely feature on anyone’s Freudian bucket list.

It is one of the oldest cities in the world and it makes sure you understand that while roaming about in its organic lanes and by lanes and by by by lanes and so on.  My last trip to this place wasn’t my first, but I can say that it was the first time I looked at it through my own eyes. I won’t be documenting the various places of “so-called” worship because everyone does that.

The hotel where we stayed this time was a remarkable one (hold your hats folks!). It made me wonder about a lot of things, most of all, I wondered if Dante had decided to include the 10th circle of hell, it would have been something like our place! Sounds Warm, doesn’t it?

I am not really a shutterbug, but an entire canvas of myriad experiences made me want to document this unusual journey.

I have heard a lot of talks, especially from the foreigners that they come to Varanasi to “find” themselves! This time I realised a teeny tiny bit of how that happens. One fine evening, I found myself sulking in the audience of the evening prayer, which happens at the ghats. Therefore, I decided to take a walk by the ghats and explore the literal margin of this antique city. I jammed my earphones in and started to walk. What song was I listening to you ask? Oh, I was listening to American Idiot by Green Day. Is this Globalisation? Multiculturalism? Post Modernism? Frankly, I don’t care.

Look at this boat, sailing the lands forever!

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If you stand with your back towards the river and look up towards the skyline, believe me, for a moment I thought I was there in favelas of Brazil!

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Nature, I believe, has its own rhetoric. A place called “juice bar” is promoting their brand by showing the way to the burning ghat of all places. I am not going to elaborate on this beautiful irony and destroy your poetry.

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Let me remind you, this graffiti is in Varanasi, beside the Vishwanath temple, on the lap of the Ganga.

I’m j-u-s-t saying!

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These two holy souls are here seen drawing their daily dose of inspiration from a heavenly conflict between Ray Mysterio and Randy Orton.

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I have never had the guts to visit a burial ground, you can call me a coward in that respect. But, here, an inexplicable urge led me on towards that “fatal” place. Is this the force that nature has? Was this what Wordsworth meant?

I kept moving, felt more alive as I did. And when I reached I felt a wave of souls moving through my body. Scores of logs were stacked on all the sides, as the vehicles for the dead. Looking at them made me wonder, someday some log would be mine too!

I don’t really know if dusty the real term to describe the place, because the dust has- me, you, and everyone: the biggest family on earth.

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Bodies piled on another, wrapped in white, all set to be launched into eternity. A “grave” situation you’d wonder, right? I am not sure if I can say that because as the enlightenment was dawning upon me, my castle of glass was immediately shattered by a nonchalant tea seller nasal screaming “lebuuu chaiii” (lemon tea). Oh yes, who wouldn’t want refreshment while disposing of the dead!

The power of this place was such that I wanted to go there day after day to drink life from the dead.

Also, every damn creepy house I saw above a few flights of steps, I thought that it was the abode of the great MOCHLI BABA! ALAS! I never found it. Sad.

I have finally reached a moo point

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amar kotha ti furolo
note gaach ti murolo

By the way this was the most stylish guy I found there:

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oh, the swagger!

All the pictures as you have already noticed are shaky. No! I am not imitating Mrinal Sen or something. It’s just that I wanted to give a feel of the bustling life through these pictures. The city was moving and so was I.  This definitely not all, from a personal perspective, this trip also featured one of the best co-incidences I have ever seen in my life. I couldn’t believe something so poetic could ever happen to me! What the co-incidence you wonder? Maybe, I will tell you someday over coffee, but it has to be your treat!

I hope you enjoyed this trip.

 

 

 

One fine Opportunity

The sporting dreams of millions in our country have been thwarted in the past owing to countless obstacles. Of late, Lady Fortune has finally turned her nonchalant head towards us with a blessing of hosting a grand event. Hope we, INDIANS can take this a launchpad to give the countless sporting dreams a decent trajectory.

I wrote this article for the lovely folks at Ink elan– check out our page and leave us a ‘like’ for your daily dose of beautiful art.

Here’s the link to my post

“One fine Opportunity” (click it)

Please leave your feedbacks, they are important to me.

I dedicate this writing to the sports fraternity of my country— let us unite so that we may prosper by leaving the obstacles behind!

Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC)

image courtesies

https://goo.gl/Rficcd

https://goo.gl/Gey57Y

The Last Ball

Two groups of women were battling for supremacy on a foreign turf. But, the fight, irrespective of the context, seemed familiar to many others who observed it from a great distance. The world had never seen anything like this before.                                                   Like many other high-born women, Raima was also traditionally sold into another household.   Putting her dreams in the dumpster, she took charge of the kitchen during day and kisses during the night. The noble Pal bongsho had just acquired a new scapegoat.

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The match was nearing a nail-biting conclusion when the gods of thunder from all mythologies joined heads and decided to intervene. The ominous clouds came from all directions to dampen their spirits. To their utter shock, nothing could deter the spirits of these amazons.                                                                                                                             Raima wanted to be a player herself but failed, as maintaining a chaste demeanour was considered more important than the very unwomanly barbarianism she was interested in.

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It was a do or die situation now, the last moment of action would seal the fate. On one side, a burly lady was charging in to deliver at a great pace and accuracy; on the other hand, a meek Raima was attempting her first roti. Stakes were high: pride of the team and the soshur-bari were at stake on both the sides. The lady delivered with great pace but it was dispatched with equal vigour. Raima flamed one side of the roti for far too long: it was burnt!

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The girls’ team were distraught, it was the first time they had reached such a stage but couldn’t capitalise on it. Raima was shocked on seeing the shape of the roti and had started imagining the unimaginable.

Just when everything was falling apart, the girls saw the entire stadium giving them a standing ovation. Kottababu was taken aback by Raima’s grim look. He went beside her, smiled and said “ashte ashte hobe” and hugged her tight.

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It was then that these women realised, the apparent defeat is just another stepping stone for success.

What if a war is lost? The battle is there to be won!

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Glossary

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roti– a type of flatbread

soshur-bari– in-laws’ house

kottababu– head of the family

ashte ashte hobe-give it time

Image Courtesies

https://goo.gl/Qttuc3

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https://goo.gl/xL5XEw

 

 

 

 

Peace,Protection,Patriotism.

A hand rises amidst the sea of heads…

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*silence*

The speech begins as the mic lays out a high-frequency screech…

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Hello,

You might want to sit back and clear your mind (or your bowels if you want to) for this. The matter is serious and has already gotten out of hand. So, I have decided that enough is enough, and speak on behalf of my community.

Considering the majority of my audience, I assume that most of you might have used us over and over again till we have given your senses a sore.

You have oppressed us, ogled at us and even thought of exchanging us, but we didn’t complain. You judged us by our “brands” and our so-called features, we suffered in silence. We charged your soul with hours of emotions: laughter, anger, angst et all! Yet you resorted to other means of entertainment leaving us high and dry! Did we retort then?

Then why do this to us now?

Why do you keep breaking us over and over again? It is true that we can’t speak or say a word against your supremacy, your control, it seems we are to only dance to those signals you throw at us!

So, think before shattering us, breaking us with your pseudo-brutality, because remember-

What goes around comes around!

Yours Truly,

The Television Union

and its predicament after the face-offs of arch rivals.

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The silence is broken by a young guy draped in mono-colour…

How can you be so cruel, madam? You can be a very good orator and everything but you can’t randomly sexualise this matter for your ends! Do not think that we all are sitting ducks here! Do we not understand your propaganda? You are deliberately trying to make us empathise with your problems by giving it the subtext of a sexual harassment! We do think that your issue demands an answer but please don’t use one of the most pressing issues in our society for your benefits!

The young man has to stop now as he realises that the lady has already left without paying heed to his comments.

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I, myself, standing right at the corner of this very room was carefully observing the proceedings till now with a solemn brow while impersonating a serious Sukanto. But, me being dormant thus far now feel a need to say something to you, my friend… Be it the communal, sexual issues or the protection of certain lactating herbivores- every issue demands our undivided attention, true, but do you know what we need more at this crucial juncture…. unity. Why do I, a mere narrator/writer thus far, feel the need to say this to you (without being a character in my own story)? I do because it is not the race for the throne which is a real threat to us it is the things that lie beyond the wall. Period.

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image courtesies:

https://goo.gl/qfr9qs

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