Saturday, December 29, 2012

Taslima Nasreen on rape and punishment to rapists

"Everywhere the woman is merely a body. Her brains are not important. 

Rape has been a weapon of war. Armies do it. Communities and castes inflict rapes on women as a strategy to dominate.

Capital punishment is a rather easy, hassle-free solution for the government. It's a lot more difficult to make men cease to see women as sex objects."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Who is a public intellectual?

"The intellectual’s job is to think past the culture: to question the myths, metaphors, and assumptions that limit our collective imagination. The founder of the breed was Socrates. As Kazin also said, an intellectual is someone for whom ideas are “instruments of salvation.” 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gary Gutting on Derrida

I agree that you should take Derrida seriously, but I’d advise thinking carefully before committing large amounts of time to reading him. He’s especially frustrating if you try to pay him the complement of a rigourous close reading.
In 3: AM MAGAZINE, Gary Gutting is interviewed by Richard Marshall.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Jeanette Winterson on value of life

 I am interested in the real value of my life. My net worth is not what I own; it is what I am.

There is such a thing as society and we need it. We need community, friendship, civility, neighbourliness. Those things are easily destroyed, and destroyed most easily when the dominant ideology is as follows: turn all of the planet and all of its people into one vast moneymaking machine.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Oh my God

Oh my God is a hard-hitting satirical film that slams the organised religion in a compelling way. Today I saw it on my laptop, and liked a lot.

My profuse thanks to Umesh Shukla, director and writer of the film. His was really a brilliant concept, and  he had, like a master film-maker, turned it into a serious, and at the same time an entertaining movie.

I wonder how he had the censor board pass the film. The film would sure offend a lot of people and raise their hackles with its direct and scathing attack, of course justified, on religion.  

The Bollywood, it seems, has now some thinking guys as directors and writers.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Lawrence Ferlinghetti turns down the 50,000 euro Hungarian PEN Prize

Since the Prize is partially funded by the present Hungarian government, and since the policies of this right-wing regime tend toward authoritarian rule and the consequent curtailing of freedom of expression and civil liberties, I find it impossible for me to accept the Prize in the United States. Thus I must refuse the Prize in its present terms.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Did Salman Rushdie know it?

My own unscientific theory is that he knew his satanic novel would create a controversy, maybe even the odd riot, but that it wouldn’t be bad for sales. What he did not anticipate is the scale of the outrage on what Muslims saw as an assault on their identity at a time when their faith was being demonised. That is where he fell short—and has had to pay a terrible price for the error.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kudos to Mamata Banerjee

Kudos to Mamata Banerjee for her historic stand against the FDI and other reform push policy of UPA-2. She has walked out of the UPA, and her ministers will resign on Friday.

It seems somewhat surprising and unexpected specially in view of her not-so-good track record of ruling West Bengal for over a year.

You could only expect this move from the Left who claimed - do they claim now - themselves as the champion of the poor and the down trodden. But Mamata has done it, and how well-timed it is!

 Of course, it entails great risk for her personal career as well as the future of her party Trinamul Congress, but it is going to get her a great mileage in terms of her image as a people's leader.

Who, among our politicians, are concerned about the plight of the common man? It's not certainly the triumvirate who rules India now.

So, is Mamata the new messiah?

Unlikely. She lacks the mindset and capability of one.

There is probably a cool and intelligent brain, perhaps of another human being, behind her decision.

Yet she deserves our kudos. Doesn't she?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Pankaj Mishra on Buddha

"He struck me as a very profound thinker, perhaps the greatest the subcontinent has produced, someone who stood well out of the mainstream of classical Indian thought, and was also astonishingly modern in his diagnosis of the human condition. He was particularly trenchant about the concept of the self-directed, self-seeking autonomous individual — something that in our own era has been the basis of social and political and economic models that we associate with Western modernity and which have now been exported across the world."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Idea of Power!

" I put an individual in a seat of honour. But he has no idea of his powers. He is acting as if he is the PM or the President. Those working in various commissions are misusing funds to buy vehicles and property."
- Mamata Banerjee as in a report published in the Hindustan Times dated August 15, 2012.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Kiran Nagarkar on Mumbai

Mumbai has deteriorated beyond repair. We are not in a desperate state - we are much worse than that. The housing situation is insane. I don't think i can afford a hut in Mumbai today. There is no notion of infrastructure, resulting in monu- mental disaster.
Real estate developers build higher and higher sky-scrapers which come with readymade slums, for who will do the washing and cleaning for the rich? The city is divided between people who have water and those who don't. This was one of India's leading cities. Now, we are not at the bottom of the pile but well below the bottom.
When the British ruled us, their laws made sense. They were here to exploit us. They built chawls for mill workers where 40 families shared four bathrooms. But people continued to live this way well after, chawls may be a dying institution but the living conditions of the poor haven't changed much - this is precisely why chawls are so important while writing the Bombay novel.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Scavenging in rubbish baskets for food in Greece!

"There’s irony in the fact that in the midst of the most affluent civilization history has witnessed people are scavenging in rubbish baskets for food. That’s the kind of contradiction I think Marx was talking about. I also stressed how much Marx admired the way that capitalism had in a very short space of time accumulated such wealth—material, spiritual, cultural—but that it couldn’t do that without the contradiction of generating inequality at the same time; we’re seeing a stark instance of that in Greece today. So that’s the kind of thing I’d point to to show the relevance of Marx. Even within the anti-capitalist movement, Marx is not a majority presence. One has to say that. It’s partly because of the discrediting of Marxism by Stalinism, which will take a long time for the Marxist left to recover from. But I’m not myself madly concerned about whether people stick the label “Marxist” onto themselves as long as they take a critical stance towards the present situation. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Ashis Nandy on Mamata Banerjee's diktat

"I would advise Ms Banerjee to seek the help of psychiatrists in Calcutta. I would diagnose her as suffering from incipient paranoia. She sees enemies and controversies against her everywhere...She is taking upon herself the responsibility of interpreting the constitution of India when there are far better people than her to do so... All sorts of people manage to come into power these days, from nuts to psychopaths to paranoids... and I am afraid West Bengal has been saddled with a chief minister who seems to be suffering from paranoia...Mamata Banerjee should be advised to dismiss all the editors of all the newspapers and become the editor herself. She should even draw the cartoons herself. Then she would not have any reason to grumble.... We are stuck with a nut."

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Montek's great assessment of Indian poverty!

We have long since appreciated the talent of.Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the deputy chairman of Planning Commission. But what he has put forward this time about poverty has left us enthralled. Why don't the Nobel Committee consider him as the next candidate for the Nobel in Economics?

Jug Suraiya has an interesting take on Montek's new definition of Indian poverty, but being a wise and clever guy, he does not even for once mention his name.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Arundhoti Roy on capitalism

For some time now, I was missing Arundhoti Roy: no new writing from her in a long time. What was she doing,  I wondered. Now she comes up with a brilliant essay on CAPITALISM in the Outlook Magazine. Read it in print if you want to savour it in full.

By calling their tower Antilla, do the Ambanis hope to sever their links to the poverty and squalor of their homeland and raise a new civilisation? Is this the final act of the most successful secessionist movement in India? The secession of the middle and upper classes into outer space? 

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Can Taslima return to Kolkata?

Taslima Nasreen, the controversial Bengali author, has always wanted to come back to Kolkata. The Left Front government then headed by Budhadev Bhttacharya threw her out  way back in 2008. With the change in regime, she became more hopeful. But as things stand, her chance of returning to live in the city gets slimmer each day. In today's interview with the Hindustan times, (sorry no link available), she says:

"But now I see that Didi, too, does not want me in Kolkata. Many pro-Mamata intellectuals had assured me once that I could be back in Kolkata once she came to power.The silence of those who had earlier led a number of 'Bring back Taslima' campaigns during the Left Front regime has been all the more astonishing and enriching! I don't yet think that they have started disliking me but I don't understand why they did not raise their voices this time."


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