Friends, Mini Anthikad-Chhibber from The Hindu covered the White Swan event last month on Literature and Mental Illness. She quotes my controversial remark:
Amandeep, on the other hand, said there is no such thing as non-fiction, as everything one writes is coloured by what one chooses to highlight and what one ignores. “We should open stereotypes instead of perpetuating them, literature should be used to build bridges rather than exclude.”
Thank you for the event White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, Pavitra Jayaraman, Manoj Das, C K Meena, Dr Ajit Bhide, Subrato Bagchi, Dr Prabha Chandran and others.
Please read …
Tags: C K Meena, Dr Ajit Bhide, Dr Prabha Chandran, literature, Mental Health, Subroto Bagchi, White Swan Foundation
Friends, sometimes it happens almost magically that you discover a person from a completely different geography and connect with them through a primordial tribal kinship of experiences, thoughts, and practice.
I met Cristina Vidrutiu through the Schloss Solitude Blog and discovered her work with illness narratives. We conversed and she asked me questions which made me probe my own practice as a writer – shed light on what I am trying to do with my life. Upon seeing them published, I can now say that these answers are my credo as a writer.
Thank you Akademie Schloss Solitude! You make possible these wonderful connections.
Please read …
Tags: Akademie Schloss Solitude, illness, madness, Sepia Leaves, Writer
Friends, this time when Lakshmi Karunakaran travelled with me to Punjab she saw things that even I was blinded to because of my gender and caste and class privilege. Things that shame me and keep Punjab violently feudal.
We know Punjab is hurting. We also hope elections will bring a change to Punjab. No, they won’t. Unless, Punjab seriously mends its deepest faultlines: land and caste.
My piece in The Caravan Magazine. Thank you Surabhi Kanga. I strongly believe our education is no use if it does not help us examine and correct ourselves. The Dalits of Punjab too march to emancipate themselves, like Dalits around the nation. The time has come!
Please read … please support.
Tags: Balad Kalan, Benra, Dalit, Jhaloor, Land, Panchayat Land, Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Punjab, Sangrur, ZPSC
Friends, my interview with Kiran Doshi whose wonderful and insightful historical fiction Jinnah Often Came To Our House is short-listed for The Hindu Prize 2016.
Please read …
Tags: Gandhi, Jinnah Often Came To Our House, Kiran Doshi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Muslim League, Partition
Friends, on November 8, 2016, the Indian Prime Minister made 1.3 billion of us citizens of the nation foreigners in our own country. Our high denomination currency notes were declared no longer legal tender. I was to travel to Taipei for a talk and could not get Dollars in the banks.
My quote on Facebook was picked by Your Story and Anil Lulla interviewed me. Please read …
Tags: Demonetization, Dollars, India, legal tender, Prime Minister
Friends, on November 26, at 10 AM, I will speak at the Taipei Biennale on the topic: ‘The Writer as a Memory Maker’.
I will talk about the bloody birth of our nation in the wake of the greatest migration in human history which left 1 million dead and 14 million displaced. Yet, how as a nation we seem to be condemned to never learn from history. How our gestures of public history – museums – are shaped. How our discourses are built on excluding narratives of caste, gender, tribals, and minorities. How chasing the dystopia of material development, through corporate capitalism, we are ignoring the core strengths of our diverse nation. What then is our future? All these with special focus on Punjab. I will also discuss the draft novel I wrote in Germany – The Memory Maker – which is currently, justly, gestating.
I will share the video when available. Please read …
Tags: India, Memory, Migration, Pakistan, Partition, Punjab, Taipei Biennale, The Memory Maker
It is a measure of some satisfaction that even after years of its release readers and scholars are engaging with ‘Roll of Honour’. Here is Manjinder Kaur Wratch’s scholarly article on the book in Muse India’s latest issue. Very thoroughly she draws out the larger context of the book and presents it very well.
‘As a writer of testimonial fiction and non-fiction, Sandhu lays bare the Punjab crises in a nuanced manner, and fittingly problematises it from a non-partisan viewpoint.’
Thank you! Please read …
Tags: 1984, Manjinder Kaur Wratch, Muse India, Punjab, Roll of Honour
Friends, it is a pleasure that Akademie Schloss Solitude invited me to write for another edition. This time a digital Atlas. The questions were:
Q: Would you say that your (artistic) practice is political?
A: Yes, it is. For me, the unspoken personal is political. I write to give voice to subjects our society likes to brush under the carpet – give voice to the marginalized. My intention is to find ways to restore human dignity through language.
Q: If so, how would you describe its political dimension?
A: I believe writing is a space where it is possible to honestly dissect the self and the violence of the society around us. My books are coming-of-age testimonial fiction.
Then they carried an excerpt from my current writing. Please read here …
Tags: Akademie Schloss Solitude, Homing Pigeons, India, Pakistan, Schloss-ghost
Friends, over the last decade Punjab has been much maligned over the drugs issue. The issue has become a huge plank for political campaigns, police bullying, addicts being marginalised, and the system collapsing.
Yet, it needed a good doctor to pin-point the issue and suggest a course of treatment which is stupendous in its simplicity. That is exactly what Dr Dharamvira Dv Gandhi is suggesting: change the way we look at drugs, amend the draconian NDPS Act, 1985, to lay out which are ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs, decriminalise the addict.
He is proposing the amendment in the Winter Session of the Parliament, starting November 17. I really hope the Bill goes through. This is a much needed change on our own ‘war of drugs’ and stands to make political parties accountable for their rhetoric.
I understand, given our mindsets, this could cause a furore but let us discuss, debate, make informed choices, instead of staying apathetic and suddenly turning around and blaming the system. The incidence of drugs is a symptom of systemic collapse. We are the system.
Please read …
Tags: Dr Dharamvira Gandhi, drugs, NDPS Act, Punjab, The Caravan
Friends, my review of Ranbir Singh Sidhu’s novel ‘Deep Singh Blue’. What struck me immensely about the writing was that it is without crutches, the writer creates and inhabits a world within language alone yet it is deeply rooted in the human experience. Kudos! Thank you Omair Ahmad for the opportunity.
‘DSB is a dark bildungsroman – a coming of age novel – about different types of unbelonging: in cultures, in the community, in the family, in relationships, in place and in time. The protagonist is lonely, immensely lonely, but the novel is not about loneliness or about an emotional or cultural pain. Instead, DSB explores the deep angst of being and a human’s relationship with the world.’
Please read …
Tags: America, Deep Singh Blue, Diaspora, Migration, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Sikh, US