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Tibetan Artists Silenced at Dhaka Art Summit: Ahmad Ibrahim

February 8, 2016

This is a guest post by AHMAD IBRAHIM

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These pictures, which depict blank walls, are symbolic of the attack. Pictures of the original art cannot be shared due to copyright issues.

On the 7th of February, Tibetan artist Nortse and Indian artists Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam had their photographs and art installations removed at the behest of the Chinese ambassador to Dhaka from the Dhaka Art Summit taking place in Shilpakala Academy in the capital of Bangladesh. The art project by Nortse was titled Prayer Wheel, Big Brother and Automan (2007) which showed the artist don traditional Tibetan clothes along with modern objects to show the surveillance that marks their lives. .Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam produced a piece called “Last Words”, which consists of five facsmilies of five last messages written by the self-immolators in Tibet, along with their English translations. Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam depicted Tibetan monks in the act of self-immolation as a way of political and religious protest against the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese government. At the end of the 6th of February, both artists were still depicted on the walls of the Art Summit. On the 7th, what greeted the visitors and patrons were blank stretches of white wall with white frames. It was as if the works had never existed. This is not the first time the Chinese government has tried to shut down political art work that aims to show the real face of Chinese occupation of Tibet. What is even more reprehensible is that it happened inside the walls of an institution that was proclaiming itself to be a haven of bold art and artistic expression. That the Chinese government could go to such lengths to silence an exhibition happening thousands of miles away shows the depth of their oppression over an entire country. Since February 2009, 142 Tibetans have self-immolated in their homeland, 120 dying from their actions.

A link to Tenzing Sonam’s twitter:

A Facebook link to a picture when the exhibit was still standing. 

Ahmad Ibrahim is a Dhaka based journalist.

If You Can’t Beat Them, Join ’em – Or, Ente Dinkeswara!

February 8, 2016

A new wave, nay, tsunami, of (THE) Faith has risen in Kerala. Soon, it will sweep the Nation.  This is the mighty thrust of Lord Dinkan, now known all over Kerala as Dinkamatam – or Dingoism.

…. Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red/ Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O Dinka,/ Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed ... [from ‘Ode to Dinka’ by the early Dinka devotion poet Muroidea Muridae Murinae, later stolen by Shelley and rewritten as ‘Ode to the West Wind’. Note that Dinkan, or superhero airborne rat and Shelley’s West Wind are both powers of the Air]

If you don’t believe me, visit this url:

https://www.dinkoism.com/ Read more…

Vocabulary of justice and being

February 6, 2016

After the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in Suresh Kumar Koushal v. Naz Foundation (2014) overruling the Delhi High Court’s decision, the National University of Juridical Sciences brought out a special law review issue assessing the judgment. Prof. M.P. Singh, the constitutional scholar and former vice chancellor of the university, wrote an article praising the judgment for its judicial restraint, in which he described the use of constitutional litigation by sexual minorities as a case of “misplaced hope in courts”. Prof. Singh prefaced his article with a cautionary extract from Judge Learned Hand that warns us against “placing our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws, and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes”. Prof. Singh similarly suggests that what activists ought to do is to educate legislators rather than pin their hopes on the judiciary. Underlying these opinions seemed to be an unwritten rule of an economy of hope (that one could have a little but not too much of it) but the essential trait of hope is that it is greedy sentiment that demands the impossible, and the Naz judgment with its rich evocation of dignity, liberty and equality had already proven that we could not just demand but hope for the impossible.

Read more…

Stop the attack on Rohith’s mother! Solidarity Committee for Rohith’s mother Radhika

February 4, 2016

STATEMENT BY SOLIDARITY COMMITTEE FOR ROHITH’S MOTHER RADHIKA

We believe there  is a concerted effort on the part of the powers-that-be to diffuse the nation-wide mass protests against Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s death and caste discrimination in higher educational institutions. They are keen to demonstrate that Rohith did not face caste discrimination by claiming that his mother Radhika is not a Dalit. Rather than addressing the critical issues that his death and the protests have raised, these misdirected attempts seek to dissolve the issue in narrow legalese. And thereby somehow save the people named in the students’ complaint from the stringent penal provisions of the SC/ST Atrocities Act. This malicious campaign is unethical, illegal and undemocratic. Read more…

The Terror That Is Man: Shaj Mohan

February 3, 2016

Guest post by SHAJ MOHAN

Manifold is the un-homely, yet nothing is more un-homely than man — Sophocles

The middle of the previous century is understood to be the termination of all kinds of containments of man, having witnessed the worst containment in the Camp[i]. This termination resulted from a crisis that is both philosophical and political: what is the de-termination of man such that he is not the contained? A summary of this scenario is found in a trivial understanding of Foucault’s statements concerning “the end of man” (The Order of Things) and Derrida’s deconstruction of the notion of the “the end” in his essay “Ends of Man” (Margins of Philosophy). As a result of the exigencies of the philosophical and the political, the concept of the state located itself, in the occidental domain, away from the containers. The State would no longer claim to be the clergy and the sovereign of containers such as race and religion. Instead, the State demanded only the right to primary containment—first Indian and then Muslim, first British then White, first Spanish then Basque. The list, the differences, the classification and the management of all the other containers—religion, caste, language, race, public, private—were left up to the new clerics, the new academic disciplines and the NGOs. If all containers were opened up then everything should have flooded out and mixed to form a substance of a new world of people; rather, a substantiality for the in-terminable formation of people. This new people-substance should have dissolved the traces of all the containers, the way science-fiction often imagines the future to be. It should have left for us tales which are the negative of memories, that is, taboos, or myths. For example, the tales that we received about incest from the ancients, the tales of cannibalism in fairy tales, the tales of the world’s resistance to Nazism. Read more…

Disability, Language, and Empowerment: Dorodi Sharma

February 3, 2016

This is a guest post by DORODI SHARMA

In 2009, as a writer for a disability news portal I got a note back with one of my stories from the director of the organisation. “Suffering from disability”, I had written about someone. The note said “I have been a wheelchair user since the age of 15, and trust me I am not suffering.” Over the years, the first document I shared with new employees of the disability rights organisation I worked for in Delhi was a document on ‘disability etiquette’ that outlined not just terminologies but also the acceptable ways of interacting with people with disabilities. Yes, even in the 21st century we need to coach people on ‘interacting’ with a section of humanity. The discourse on importance of language has taken a new meaning when recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi called people with disabilities ‘divyang’ or people with divine abilities. The reaction to this has been outrage, to shaking of heads, to complete indifference. But it is important to talk about language when it comes to disability because it reeks of charity and reflects the patronizing attitude that prevents people with disabilities in India from getting their due.

Let us be very clear, disability is part of human diversity. Disability is as normal or abnormal as being a man, woman, gay, lesbian, person of colour, or any other variation of being human for that matter. Why then do we look at disability as something that needs to be ‘overcome’? With the proliferation of social media, we are now faced with innumerable ‘inspiration porn’ posts. Yes, inspiration porn. As described by Stella Young, Australian journalist, comedian, and activist – inspiration porn is objectifying people with disabilities for the benefit of non-disabled people. Young said the purpose of these images is to inspire people, to motivate them, so that they can look at them and think “Well, however bad my life is, it could be worse. I could be that person.” Precisely for that reason, people living with a disability are tired (and angry) of all the euphemistic terminologies used about them. No, they are not specially-abled, or differently abled, or ‘divyang’ for that matter. They are persons with disabilities and disability is a crucial part of their identity, just like one’s gender, race, or nationality.

Read more…

Missing the Forest for Trees – Caste System’s Shadow on Rohith’s Suicide : Sanjay Kumar

February 3, 2016

Guest Post by Sanjay Kumar

(Photo Courtesy : Prokerala.com)

Mainstream politics over Rohith Vemula’s suicide is becoming hot and ugly. Although whisper campaigns against Rothith’s dalit identity were on since his suicide, the BJP’s central leadership had been relatively quiet after HRD minister’s rather shrieky ‘appeal’ to not play caste politics over his suicide. However, now it seems daggers are out. The party in power, whose two ministers are accused of creating conditions leading to Rohith’s suicide, has decided that Rohith’s non-dalit status is the dog it is going to beat to counter its anti-dalit image. Rohith’s mother is a Mala, a Scheduled Caste, who lives seperately from his father, a backward caste Vaddera. He got an SC certificate on the basis of showing that he grew up in his mother’s Mala household. BJP’s strategy may look petty, but it is based on the age-old great Hindu tradition which can not contenance any violation of the privileges of the patrilineal system. After all, marital rape does enjoy legal sanction in India to this day. Read more…

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