Contemporary Muslim identities: A collaborative art project

This is some groundwork I have been doing on a project on contemporary Muslim identities, which is a collaborative art project with the Indian Institute of Art, Culture and Democracy, Bangalore.

A glimpse at the history of Islam in the Indian Subcontinent reveals a fraught and battered consciousness, one that seeks both representation and cultural, political and judicial recompense. The partition of the Indian subcontinent has led to a cultural divergence that has led  to and manifested itself in a failed republic and a linguistically assertive populace on one hand and a defensive marginalised minority on the other.

Implications of the Nuclear Liability Bill on the expansion of civilian nuclear energy in India.

an essay I was attempting on the Nuclear Liability Bill-

The issue of nuclear energy in India is crucial given the energy deficit and the necessity of providing electricity to the under-developed and rural areas as a basic amenity. The Bill for nuclear liability is seen as an important milestone in realizing India’s energy goals, and is a step towards realizing the 123 Agreement or the Indo-US Nuclear deal.

 The Bill however has various glaring flaws as has been pointed out by critics in the opposition as well as civil society groups; it seeks to benefit the operator and not the supplier in the event of  a catastrophe; the victims cannot sue the companies or suppliers since the operator is liable to pay damages…

women’s issues in India

An essay I’m writing on women’s issues…

India ranks as fourth in the world among countries that are detrimental to the lives of women. Indian social mores are highly limiting when it comes to women’s freedoms and their sense of identity.Women in India find themselves oppressed by the structures of caste,race and religion and find it difficult to negotiate with them in order to live.

Among some of the problems which women face in India are domestic violence, female foeticide, bride burning, dowry, sexual harassment, rape and denial of human and legal rights.Issues of women in India are numerous and teeming but with globalisation and the women’s movement things are likely to get better.

Fro women in India the lack of human rights is a consequence of many factors, from religion to colonialism to the youngness of the nation state.Crimes against women in India are rampant and a lot of them go undocumented or under-examined and legal recourse is rare and extremely hard to come by when sought.

making sense of Indian politics

this is a small essay I wrote for an interview at an instructional design Firm called Gapskills,  ‘Making sense of Indian politics’

Making sense of Indian politics

Growing up in India is an interesting process for a young woman and one’s decisions are often dependent on the current political mileu of the state.
Indian politics is a complex terrain, hard to understand, but it is of great importance to a thinking individual in India to understand its ways, and India being the world’s largest democracy, understanding and participating in politics is necessary and can construct as well as develop a citizen. Traversing Indian politics is tenuous but not impossible, and is a struggle, given the culture, demographics, poverty, colonialism, and diversity of India as a country and as a new nation state.
The Indian parliament has just introduced a bill that is vying for 33% reservation for women in parliament, and this bill is being contested. The attitudes towards women in religion and Indian culture reflect a deep bias and discrimination, and women in India find it difficult to represent themselves in any vocational or political sphere. The state’s policies towards women reflect this but there have been some landmark changes and legal judgments that seek to and could better the status of women in the country.
One of the main aspect of Indian politics is caste based parochialism which is reflective of the Indian social system of stratifying people into vocational communities and based on a hierarchy of skills. In a democracy this could and has been a deterrent for progress and development.
The rising trend in Indian politics in the post independence decades is of vernacular, local indigenous, and decolonizing nationalistic movements. A lot of these trends are an assertion of pride related to local identity, but have engendered caste and social ostracisation and feudal violence against ‘others’, immigrants and outsiders.
Communalism is a big part of Indian politics because of the history of religious conflict and the diversity of communities. Because of the partition of the country in Pakistan and Bangladesh, and the massive genocides that ensued, the residue of partition still continues and plagues the polity.
The preamble to the Indian constitution states that India is a socialist republic, and the founding writers of the Indian Constitution imagined it to be a class free society. And as a result of this the State has held a tight and focused policy towards internal development in the public sector till the nineties. India has thus benefited from the ideals of socialism, culturally and intellectually. The state’s attitudes towards globalisation and free market capitalism have loosened in the past two decades and globalization has brought with it new opportunities and inroads for growth.

For young people living and in India this is an exciting period of change as well as a challenging time of development and growth.

an incident in abuse

On New Year ’s Eve Hyderabad really comes alive with revellers on the streets everywhere. A friend and I were out and I got harassed by goons in a car, and owing to the fact that he was African and I was in a short skirt, we were even more targeted. What was more terrifying was that we were in the old city, in Mehdipatanam and one of them continued to intimidate me mentally. We were left holed in his room, because I was afraid to step out. Owing to the fact that everybody in this area with power seems to know everybody else, it’s hard to go unnoticed…

survival at the edge

I need to blog this because I have a voice.

This is a story that you may find useful if you’re an Indian woman.I have  had to place two complaints against my family for sexual harassment and mental harassment.I now live in a different city from them.I haven’t had enough sleep because they don’t want me to sleep, and abuse me in every way they can.

My brother thinks of me while he masturbates.My father thinks about me while he masturbates.

Competition in the field does not help.People I have worked with years ago want me to acknowledge them to the extent of giving up working, and going into purdah.Among women where you expect solidarity, there are those who would use sexual harassment as a tool to get ahead.

a summary of ‘subh-e-azadi’ and ‘yahan se sheher ko dekho’ by Faiz

A summary I did of Faiz’s poems , ‘Subh-e- Azadi’ and ‘Yahan se shehar ko dekho’

The poet writes this work on the eve of Indian independence, with a sense of melancholy about the fruits of labour, he verifies that this is not the independence that was sought after. The poem begins on a dark note with disillusionment, the bittersweet nature of the triumph. It goes on to describe the single mindedness with which the voyages of this journey resisted the temptations of fancy., and when dawn finally appeared, when the storm clouds cleared then came a sense of clarity between the struggle and the goal. The poet then goes on to describe that the comrades are changing, how in which gratification is sought more than angst, and the pain of partition does not weigh on their apparent disposition. The fine breeze of dawn has just passed by and the wayside lamp barely noticed. The gravity of night has not lightened, and the time for redemption has not yet arrived, so the poet urges his comrades and compatriots to keep walking, for that destination is not in sight.

Yahan se shehar ko dekho

In this poem the poet is writing as a response to the 1965 roits in Karachi. In the dismal picture that he paints , the city looks like a maze with exit, like a prison , with no freedom and where repression reigns. The city he describes is one with a faceless crowd where no one is allowed to grow, where every man is a potential victim and every women a slave. He describes the lazy anarchy of the morning as a thankless hopeless circular prison walk.

My residency

I’m on the verge of losing my residency.I haven’t managed to get a Visa on time and the organisation seems to have left me out their budgeting process because my passport took a long time to come through given that I haven’t been in this city for more than a year, wasn’t planning to move back here when I moved, couldn’t get the documents together on time…

We’re into the fourth day of the six week residency.I’m going through a travel agent in order to get the Visa made, and he says that it could take about seven days for the Visa to come through.

The organisation says ‘better luck next time!’, but I’m not willing to let this residency go…I need it desperately right now…the energy, being in Pakistan…1947, 1961, the Urdu, a chance to work with Citizen’s archive of Pakistan, having a show in Karachi…

I feel really culturally drained right now,  and this residency and making work around the theme ‘State of being so divided’ promises to be cathartic as well as rejuvenating…It would be a pity to let it go.