Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Dear Friends,

I am not sure if it is the frequency and intensity of assault on civil society or same old apathy, I am a bit surprised how quickly we have forgotten the Farmers Protest. In those days, more than a year, we had all become bigger than ourselves. Now we are shrunk again. I wonder, if we do not mind?

It is always a pleasure to speak to someone who who takes deep interest in India. Professor Kenneth Bo Nielsen is from Norway and I have always learnt from how he looks at India.

A few weeks ago, at almost six months since the Farmers Protest were suspended, we spoke at the Nordic Asia podcast on the legacy of the protest. Thank you Kenneth for taking the voice to Europe.

Please listen. Link to podcast in the page. 30 minutes, English.

19
Apr

GroundXero: on Middle Class

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

yesterday I made a Facebook post and Pramod Gupta from GroundXero was kind to ask me if they can publish it.

Please read …

Dear Friends,

I was intrigued when Sumana Roy and Kunal Ray started their oneating website. In the past Sumana and I have cooked some projects together but they never materialised. In October, when Sumana asked me for an article on the Langar at the Farm Protest, I was happy it would be featured on oneating. Sukhjit Singh contributed massively to the article. Thank you!

The Farmers Protests were suspended in December ’21, but I am glad oneating has still featured this article, not only in English but translated into Panjabi by Jashan Preet Kaur and Hindi by Vandana Rag. Thank you so much. Through the protests I saw how Jaskaran Singh Rana’s photographs brought the events home and thanks to Gurdeep Dhaliwal, I am so glad JK Photography has contributed to the essay. Kunal has cared immensely for the essays. Thank you!

I think such documentation would be important when future activists and scholars try to map and learn from the largest protests in the history of the world.

Please click on these links to read:

English

Panjabi

Hindi

Dear Friends,

in the last 30 years since school, I have never taken a physical education class. I have walked a fair bit in my life, I am a walker, but have studiously stayed away from anything more than that much exercise. I am middle-aged now, stout; I do not care much for what I wear, how I look. I am food agnostic. Yet, one October morning last year, I enrolled for BARPS – a somatic technique conceptualised by dancer and somatic master Navtej Johar.

Here is my experience. Please read …

 

12
Mar

Panjab Elections: Comment in Woke Malayalam

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

on election result day, as the numbers were emerging, Woke Malayalam asked me for my comments.

Please read, they are here …

Dear Friends,

Pheroze Vincent is travelling Panjab and filing reports on the build up to elections. We were talking and I mentioned a big lacunae I have noticed over years of election reporting, opinion and exit polls – basically when we try to gauge the mood of the people.

The lacunae is: for various reasons such as most reporters being male, inherent patriarchy in society, the reports are largely from a male point of view. On ground, as I experienced last time, it is difficult to access women’s opinions. It is assumed women in a family will vote where men are voting. I find that problematic simply because women no longer vote where the men vote. They have their own mind.

In my view, last time in Panjab assembly elections, women who form nearly 50 per cent electorate, across class, religion and caste, voted in favour of one party.

I stated that to Vincent and he quoted me. Please see here …

Sorry this is an old post that somehow went into draft. My bad! Processed it today. It is from July 2, 2021.

Dear Friends,

recently AJ Singh contacted me to speak on the #FarmersProtest. Anand Vardan from The Public India and I spoke on various issues old and new: solidarities in the protests, January 26th, SKM, foreign funding, role in state elections.

Here is the interview in Hindi. 27.15 minutes.

31
Jan

PANJAB review by Pawan Gulati

   Posted by: aman

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to share this review of both the English and Panjabi translation by Pawan Gulati. I believe word of mouth the best endorsements – when readers read and write about the readings. Thank you Pawan Gulati ji.

‘Panjab Journey Through Fault Lines’ is 559 pages, amazingly microscopic peep into what lies inside out in present day Panjab by Amandeep Sandhu, a Bangaluru based writer and journalist. Published by Westland in 2019, it created a buzz across India but Punjab somewhat missed or ignored its captivating glow beyond one’s comprehension.

Now the book has come about in Punjabi as ‘Punjab: Jinhan Rahan Di Main Saar Na Jana’ translated by Yadwinder Singh and Mangat Ram, published by Singh Brothers Amritsar. Born in Rourkela, The writer’s connections with Panjab remained remote, though he studied in a Sainik School situated in Panjab.

Most of the earlier impressions of his motherland comes to him through his interaction with his father or ailing mother but the deep urge to connect with the roots and understand the real Panjab leads him to embark on this travel. From the surface, Punjab looks surreal to a stranger with its Bhangra, tandoori chicken, sufis, langer, Bhindrawala, green revolution, partition, five rivers and so on.

However, the three year travel in the hinterland, grain markets, border towns and villages, protest sites, university corridors besides meeting with common people, activists of various hues, stakeholders, students engaged in battling out fault lines of sociological operation – table of Panjab afflicted with innumerable ailments of body, mind and soul leads him to an altogether different Punjab.

What he finds out is indicated through a line of a popular punjabi lyric: ‘Jeho je tu smajhe Mahiya, oho ji mai hain nhi…’ on the very first page of this book.

The fault lines he grasps with his passionate, sensitive eyes are well captioned in 16 chapters as Satt (Wound), Berukhi (Apathy), Rosh (Anger), Rog (Illness), Mardangi (Masculinity), Dawa (Medicine), Paani (Water), Zameen (Land), Karza (Loan), Jaat (Caste), Patit (Apostate), Bardr (Border), Sikhya (Education), Lashaan (Corposes) and Janamdin (Birthday).

What he lays bare through his searching insights is a shredded Panjab bereft of hope, eager to escape the reality through suicides, drugs, migration or quick-fix jugaads. The chapter Rog (Illness) is a traumatic pitch where he combines the personal with the political in startling precision, with such passionate touch that one is about to cry. Looking at his mother’s cancer stricken body, he observes the ailments afflicting his State. One ailment leads to another, a bigger one but the super-specialists focus on one and allow the other to creep into fatal proportions, are contented that one ailment is at least under control, failing to view the catastrophic onslaught being brought about by the other. Here, his mother’s ailments turn into metaphorically the ailments of Panjab.

Without indulging into any far-fetched intellectual jargons, he neatly makes it obvious that Panjab has missed a holistic approach so far its body mutilated, mind and soul wounded by its very own masters.

To understand the problems faced by the state and its population, he delves deep, not satisfied with what the newspapers tell or the the narratives built over the years project, into the intricacies and dimensions experienced and perceived at micro level. Yet, he analyses the big picture ably aided by credible data to draw upon the wrath of times. The identities and resources both human and natural then reveal themselves as he journeys across the state as keen observer accompanied by some friendly activist, friend or reporter. Although, his search is to understand the present Punjab, the journey goes beyond the times back and forth mapping history, geography and psychology of Punjab.

His search removes his self-doubt and reaches the conclusion: Panjab is an extensive exercise in how to keep one’s faith alive- it tests the faith of those who believe in it. Sandhu reflects further that the only pillars that stood in the ruins of Panjab were its resistance to power and hegemony. He concluded the book in 2018.

A vibrant farmers movement in 2020 against agricultural laws displayed its stamina and courage creating a near hegemony on the discourse of Panjab, vindicating what Sandhu opined about the pulse of Punjab. Not just what it seeks to convey through its sober, steady and subtle narration leading from one point to another in wonderful cohesion, the style is markedly fresh, direct, uninhibited and yet full of microscopic depth of all labyrinths and nuances of Punjab polity and social spectacle at large.

Worth a read by one and all who cherishes or claims to know Punjab.

Dear Friends,

Over many months Raksha Kumar worked on a story probing of of the most well kept secrets of the Indian IT sector: caste.

She had a long discussion with me and quotes me in the story.

Please read here …

Dear Friends,

the year long Farmers Protest and victory has become a model for resistances across the world. Sonali Kolhatkar invited me to write this piece for YES! Magazine. Thank you!

‘One of the main slogans of the protests was “Kisan Mazdoor Ekta Zindabad,” or “Long Live Farmer-Worker Unity.” When young and old Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh farmers, supported by urban folks, came together, they negated the right-wing BJP ploy to divide society along cleavages of religion, caste, and gender. Instead, the protests united the farmers through their kirrt—work.’

Please read here …