Friends, if you want to understand Punjab, read this letter. Observe how the powers that be use multiple methods to silence people: they appropriate the meaning of language, turn public infrastructure towards their own private gains, favor the coterie, create their fiefdom, use coercion and compensation to divide people such that voices can’t rise in opposition … Yet, the people of Punjab will speak, they will ask questions.
An open letter to Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh by Daljit Ami. Translated by me.
‘Does your qualification, of being India’s most experienced chief minister, now stand dwarfed in front of your son’s business acumen?’
It is a bit long, bear with us. India Punjab is now a small state, its problems have very long histories.
Please read here ...
A day ago I put up a mock post on Facebook saying I was starting an Indian Grocery store in Germany. I got over 75 comments and 275 Likes. Friends were so encouraging. It is nice. I felt a lot of people have by best interest in their mind.
Yet, I have a different interest. I want to write. I want to write to get reviews like this one Sakoon N Singh did for ‘Roll of Honour’. To be reminded of greats like Amitav Ghosh and Agha Shahid Ali in a review by someone who has been an insider to Punjab all these decades and is a Professor of English literature. Thank you Sakoon. I am touched.
‘… here is an attempt to unearth Punjabiyat as a more valid marker of identity as opposed to religion. Sandhu does a good job with deconstructing a lot of Punjabi lore, Sikh shabads and mannerisms in an attempt to take the wider readership into the heart of Punjab.’
Please read, you will relish this review. …
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …