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Askmebazar.com – Dystopian Hyper-Consumerism and Pushy Advertising : Adnan R. Amin

August 26, 2015

This is a guest post by ADNAN R AMIN

It was an entertaining skit.

It opens with an animated evangelist (played by a dashing Bollywood leading man) talking about the dangers of stress and how it drains us. To the applause of an enthralled, glazed-eyed audience, he presents a man quivering uncontrollably – tap-dancing even – from extreme work-related stress. With the uproarious consent of the crowd, the evangelist introduces the poor specimen to Askmebazar.com. Miraculously, the man stops shaking and starts browsing through shopping items. He is instantly relieved of his stress and bathed in a halo-like glow. As the plot winds up, he is seen drowning in a deluge of delivery crates and boxes.

“One Click Therapy.”

This is the comical, over-the-top television commercial from Askmebazar.com, an online marketplace. While undeniably funny, the positioning idea is discomforting, if not problematic. Once we get past the comedy and the antics, the message of the commercial is darkly dystopian. It seems to say: if earning gives you stress, spending will relieve that stress. Meanwhile, here’s an app just for that. Read more…

The Anthem of ‘Black Lives Matter’

August 26, 2015

MEERA NANDA has sent us this moving and militant anthem of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

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R&B singer Janelle Monáe released a blistering 6 1/2-minute protest song on Friday called “Hell You Talmbout.” [African-American slang for “what the hell are you talking about.”] The song’s premise is simple, and that simplicity is the source of its power. The lyrics are the chanted names of black Americans killed by police and vigilantes, followed by the phrase “say his name” or “say her name.” The chorus is an anthemic, gospel-leaning repetition of the song’s title. Monáe is joined on the track by a drum line and the members of her Wondaland Arts Society collective: Jidenna, Roman GianArthur, Deep Cotton, St. Beauty and George 2.0. All of the vocals are raw, several to the point of breaking. None of the names are sung.

At the moment, Hell You Talmabout is available as a stream only. Here is the link.

https://soundcloud.com/wondalandarts/hell-you-talmbout

And here are the lyrics. Note that some of the names are hyperlinked to tell you about the person being named.

Read more…

An Open Letter to Mr Adani on the Occasion of Onam

August 24, 2015

Dear Mr Adani

Writing to you from Thiruvananthapuram, where you recently signed an agreement with the Kerala government, undertaking the construction of the international container terminal at Vizhinjam off the Thiruvananthapuram coast.

The Malayali press went wild in their delight ; the politicians beamed in triumph (well, most of them. Some of them –guess who — could not, having discovered that they had shot themselves in the foot); the contractors and sundry middlemen in the construction sector rubbed their hands in glee. This is Onam season in Kerala, and Onam, you may know, is our national festival. You are very much in the talk here. To the contractors and our miserably corrupt and craven political class, you are Maveli reborn in flesh and blood. To the poor fisher people on what is arguably Kerala’s poorest coastal stretch, you are a newer version of evil Vamanan himself, threatening to banish them to the nether-world. There was a time when the political left in Kerala reinterpreted the Maveli myth as a vindication of the Welfare State. But since the welfare state has been almost as good as dead in the minds of Kerala’s mainstream political classes, the throne has also been conveniently empty.The mainstream press has set you up on it indirectly but definitely, and that’s pretty much evident. But Malayalees who love this land and are not blinded by hollow –false– national sentiment can see that not only are you the very opposite of Maveli, but also that this Emperor-figure has no clothes at all.

Read more…

A Different kind of India-Pakistan Dialogue

August 24, 2015

As NSA talks between India and Pakistan were suspended, another kind of cross border conversation was taking place.

The vocalist of Indian Ocean band, Rahul Ram along with Varun Grover and stand up comedian Sanjay Rajoura produced a song to the tune of Kishore Kumar’s ‘Mere Samnewali Khidki mein’ (from Padosan). Their song ‘Mere Samnewali Sarhad Pe’ is a delightful and gentle parody of the mirror image pathologies in both our countries.
In response,  Muhammad Hassan Miraj, who identifies himself as a Major in the Pakistan Army, wrote an equally disarming reply,  sung by Mujtaba Ali, with Ali and Kamran on guitar while Gul Durrani directed the video.
Here’s to cross border solidarities!

Of Hanuman, Pakistan and Bhaijaan: Prabhat Kumar

August 23, 2015

Guest post by PRABHAT KUMAR

Hanuman in the Enemy Land

What did our Ram-bhakt Hanuman do in Lanka, the land of his master’s enemy when he went there in the golden past? Everybody knows. What will Hanuman do, if today he is sent to Pakistan? Lankan voyage of Hanuman then, and cinematic expedition of his modern counterparts now (Sunny Deols of Border, The Hero, Ghadar, etc.), leave no room for imagination. Pakistan – the enemy land of India’s nationalist imagination – must be taught a lesson, as Rashtra-bhakt TV news anchors keep shouting from behind fire and embers on the screen.

We have seen on almost daily basis the bhakts, posing variously as Rashtra-bhakt or Ram-bhakt or lately as NaMo-bhakt. Bhakts, who persistently wish to annihilate the enemy land in TV studios, social media, or movie theatres. However, what a latest Hindi film Bajrangi Bhaijan shows is an unusual, or should I say, an abnormal bhakt. A bhakt, who does not want to destroy Pakistan! Lo and behold, he is a Hanuman-bhakt! He is called Bajrangi-Bhaijaan (Salman Khan). For, the word Bajrangi is a synonym of Hanuman, the ubiquitous monkey-god. He is bhaijaan because he is unable to lose his affection for a cute little girl even after knowing that she is a Muslim and, more than that, a Pakistani! Read more…

Open Letter to Odisha CM Re False Charges Against GASS Activist Debaranjan

August 23, 2015

 WITHDRAW FALSE CHARGES AGAINST DEBARANJAN OF GASS, ODISHA

To:

Mr Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister,
Government of Odisha

22 August 2015

 We, the undersigned, unequivocally condemn the foisting of a false case on Debaranjan, member of the Ganatantrik Adhikar Surakhya Sangathan (GASS) in Odisha.

Debaranjan has for several years now been deeply involved with people’s struggles in Odisha, first as a full-time activist in Kashipur, Rayagada district, then as film-maker, and most recently also as a member of the democratic rights group GASS. His has been among the consistent voices in Odisha for over twenty years against state repression on people’s struggles, atrocities faced by adivasis, dalits and other underprivileged communities, and against communalization of the polity and in society. This is the political context in which he is being targeted.

Last week, Debaranjan was sought to be interrogated by the Special Branch of the Intelligence Department while he was engaged in work on a documentary film in Malkangari district. Subsequently, a number of false charges were filed against him by the Malkangiri Police, including charges pertaining to molestation under Section 354 (b) of the IPC, and under sections 354 and 323. We believe these charges to be patently false and absurd, and constitute nothing other than harassment and part of the continued persecution of democratic voices in this country. Read more…

Public Secrets Now Proven – Ranveer Sena Terrorists Caught on Camera by Cobrapost: Kavita Krishnan

August 23, 2015
Bathani logo

Guest Post by Kavita Krishnan

The ‘Operation Black Rain’ film released by the web portal Cobrapost, based on secretly filmed boasts of the Ranveer Sena terrorists with detailed accounts of massacres of Dalit and oppressed caste labourers in the 1990s, has only confirmed public secrets that everyone in Bihar already knew.

Read more…

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