20
Apr

Comment on Nanak Shah Fakir in Hindustan Times

   Posted by: aman   in Punjab

Friends, my comment piece on the ban on the film ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’ in today’s Hindustan Times.

The issue with the movie is that: ‘In Sikhism, we do not give a physical representation to the Gurus.’ Yet, for more than a hundred years Sikhs have been turning towards image and idol worship – ‘but prasti’. I do not understand these calls for bans every few months. The bans are becoming a joke while the need is for reconciliation over the events and ideologies of the past decades and reform in the religion.

‘If the Sikh clergy now resists ‘Nanak Shah Fakir’, because it depicts the Guru in a human form, it would do well to consider how blasphemous the Sikh community has been with the images and icons of the Gurus.’

Please read

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20
Apr

An Article on Akademie Schloss Solitude in The Hindu

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Friends, here is a piece on the Akademie Schloss Solitude Fellowship in which I make an argument for more such Fellowships. Hope the article can initiate discussion and action towards more Residencies on the Indian Ocean rim and mainland. Thank you Mr Jean-Baptiste Joly and The Hindu.

Reead here

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25
Mar

A Film on Benaras

   Posted by: aman   in Other

A short candid film by Lakshmi and me on our  interaction with ‘A Boatman in Benaras’ who holds forth on birth, life and death. Hope you like viewing it. (7  minutes).

Please see here

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25
Mar

On Rourkela for Solitude Atlas

   Posted by: aman   in Other

The Solitude Atlas is the current publication project of Akademie Schloss Solitude, which will be published in 2015 on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. The 143 participating authors, all former or current fellows at the Akademie since 1990, were invited to hand in a subjective text about the cities they are living in. I extended the definition a bit to etch in words a connection between the town I was born in and Germany – a realization which hit me strongly in the recent days.

A big thanks to Srikant Kuanar who allowed me the use of his gorgeous panoramic picture of the Rourkela Steel Plant. This piece posits a historical way of looking at identities that goes beyond the narrow ways in which we are sometimes forced to define them in recent days.

See here

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Happy, humbled, and proud to announce the publication of an anthology on different kinds of writing around young boys – ‘Being Boys’ by Tulika Books. The idea of the collection is to overturn popular stereotypes about boys – the usual dominant male image that is enforced from all sides as they grow up, and pressures conformity. Thank you Deeya Nayar.

Happy because given all the gender related changes our society is experiencing and the horror of atrocities against women, I feel there is a crying need to talk about boys, to shape narratives around how boys grow up, could grow up. Humbled because the other authors are really first class and I wonder how I am there. Proud that my story ‘Rinku’s Hair’ is part of the anthology.

Bless, buy, read more here

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India’s drive to drum up support for ancient science has attracted a lot of international support: England, Germany, Czech Republic.

Illustration by Lakshmi Karunakaran, please read here

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Preeti Singh read and reviewed Roll of Honour. Then she interviewed Daljit Ami, the translator, and me for her article on the book and the process of translation. I wish more such pieces are written on the efforts of translations between languages worldwide, all books.

Read on

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10
Jan

Termite Attack and Lost Policy for Antiserious

   Posted by: aman   in Other

Sumana Roy and Manjiri Indurkar remain kind to me on their satire and humour website Antiserious. They published a new piece on something that affects most of us while we take care of the piles and piles of documents in bureaucratic India.

Read on

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10
Jan

The Brown Sahib’s Gaze in the Hindu Literary Review

   Posted by: aman   in Other

When I was asked to review V S Naipaul’s seminal book An Area of Darkness, on the occasion of 50 years of its being banned, I approached the text with a mixture of feelings: respect for the craft of the writer but also a bit of apprehension about how he has talked about India in his articles, books, etc. I made sure I read him closely and question my own assumptions about Naipaul’s India. Unfortunately, he did not give me a chance to vindicate himself. It is sad, but it must be said that through his career Naipaul has played to a western gallery, a stereotype.

‘Thank you for your supercilious attitude, Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul. We could really have done without your writing. Yet, while I was reading the book on a plane, a foreigner in the seat next to mine quickly took down the name of the book and told me she would read it. It is, after all, by a Nobel laureate. ’

Read full review on the book that is freely available now.

 

 

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For a long time now Prof. Rajesh Sharma of Punjabi University has remained supportive of my efforts to write about Punjab. When Roll of Honour was translated into Punjabi Gwah de Fana hon to Pehlan he invited the translator Daljit Ami and me to a joint reading at the university. Since the VC Jaspal Singh had already heard me speak at the university in February this year, he kindly consented to grace the occasion. The Guru Granth Sahib studies department lend us their beautiful horseshoe shaped well lit and airy hall.

The reading was a jugalbandi between Daljit and me. Each of us read out same sections of the book to give students a flavour of how the text feels in the two languages. We also commented on our work and on how we worked together. Prof Jaspal Singh was moved enough to present his experience of the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi of which he had been a victim.

Here is Rajesh Sharma’s account of the presentation in which he appreciates the novelty of our approach and raises further questions on the phenomenon of translations. I am humbled. Please read

 

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