Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Voice - The Musical Rang De Basanti

Pentagram the Indian - Electronic-Rock and now "punk" band is back with another album. I have listened to their earlier album - Up. Up had pretty well balanced songs with decent lyrics and music. As it was more of an electronic album than a rock album - it created more of squeaky, creaky and monotonous sounds. I used to listen to Up when i get back to bed, my thoughts and their creaky-squeaky sounds clash and i used to slip from thoughts to sound and sound to thoughts and finally in to slumber without much hassles. As usual, the tape was flicked by someone and then back to good old rock.
"Voice" the new single aired on VH1 caught my attention because there was a lot of hoopla behind it . VH1 and Nokia together wanted the audience to shoot a video for this single. It is nice way of cost reduction - wonder Vishal has done some 6 sigma course in streamlining processes involved in music to earn better profits out of it. The video which shows some incoherent clippings by some maniacs around the country and some quotes and captions floating across the screen. Quotes include - smoking kills, no reservation, my voice and so on. Now that very well squares up the much needed social commitment, earning musicians should show.
After Rang de Basanti, the Indian entertainment industry never really ventured in to this very new arena of social changes and the valiant struggles involved in it. Though RDB proved to be a success, bollywood never had the guts to go in that direction. It is because of the unpredictability involved with the movie going masses. The trend ended there, with RDB. But now Pentagram is back with "voice" in a much cheaper and affordable way to kindle the revolutionary mindsets of the x-box crowd (Check the Video).
Lyrics of this song is also baffling. Definitely you will find people who will identify with this song. Now that should be the reason why VH1 is promoting this song and why Vishal- the lead singer of this band and very successful bollywood music director took the risk of making this album.
are we gonna ask the questions that scare me

I suppose, we need to constantly ask disturbing questions, ain't it?

are we gonna break the bonds of silence -
Not really. if so, ain't there so much of silence?

will i find the truth in my reflection -
How will you and me answer this, for, this should be a self inquisitive question.

will i see the meaning of my defiant -
Most probably not because we are not endowed with such a longevity
cuz there are words that must be said -
Enough and more!!

and there are words that must be heard
Very true - But whose, mine? Yours? or from those crowd in the video? Oh... no!

and that they're not as really quite absurd
May be not, but the video doesn't suggest so!

and there's a footstep in the clouds
True, all i know is that, for sure, the crowd in the video doesn't have their legs planted on earth!

and there is warmth in drops of rain
Hmm.. May be up there in the clouds, yes it might be warm - but down here rains have moulded themselves in to these devilish macho creatures wrecking havoc! it is not any more the light romantic drizzle!!

and there's a meaning to the words i say
Are you talking about the gringopalagos caviar and cataviore salad??
i need a voice now
Oh... i am helpless

come be my voice now
Me?? No way!!

find me a voice now .... yeah
Helpless.. again...

come be my voice now
Me?? No way!!

give me that choice now
Hey what the heck? I thought choice is the buzzword of this century!

you be my voice now
Bhaaak Saale.. Voice..!!
I thought i will disect this song-Lyrics in black, Comments in red. I dont have any kind of business interest in flogging this venture. I dont beleive in this song, its motive - selling "voices" for better choices, against reservation, against smoking, against the so called system that tolerates and accomodates everyone. Yes it is repressive and chaotic but it moves on taking time to dole out justice and equality. There is another section of crowd who have been waiting for years and years - always scorened at, who beleives in myth and magic and reel out of poverty. Voice & Choice is not all "Voices" ,for, i beleive - it is not me who needs a voice but someone else . This is only the musical Rang De Basanti!! I am hoping to see some crowd back on streets and occasional mails thronging my inbox quoting Pentagram!


Darling of an insipid introspection,she blossomed like a ravishing flower,nodded her head in all directions for the currents of wind that blew across, but was omnipotent and later omnipresent.she was called "silence", an effort of diligence,the outcome of a sacred surveillance."i am more sinned against than sinning"!
"Bob, what are you rebelling against"? - against-> a placid and lucid status-quo that every normal bloke knows is disgustingly tough to disrupt!.All i need is a little time,besides time is all that a man needs, the rest is nothing but illusion.status-quo inevitably turns out to be an essantial illusion.


yeah,"what" remains as a word coined for questioning,however better than "why"

trapped inside some clean ironed clothes,
i choked and suffocated,
the rebellion seems to bein vain,
there seems to be no get away -

It is like chasing a fortune that started running to the opposite direction long back.Fortune to the "right" and me to the "left"- the obvious choice,but here it happened that fortune long back started running to the "right". oh! someone like José Arcadio Buendía proved in vain that earth is a sphere. All i need is a little time and on the sphere i am expecting a bizzare clash with that "fortune" who turned his back to me and started running.It can be the apogee of the rebellion.There is no rebellion without a cause and for sure no rebel without a cause.Mesmerized one's fail to identify the cause, as jose saramago in his lovely tale "stone raft" tells :It is a common knowledge that every effect has its cause,and this is a universal truth,however,it is impossible to avoid certain errors of judgement,or of simple identification,for we might think that this effect comes from that cause,when afterall it was some other cause,beyond any understanding we posseses or knowledge we think we have!
For sure the cause and effect relationship still holds a point or more!
tuck! there is a blockade! a suicide bomber in the way! kudos to him!

Want some hope?

Casino Royale with all its glitz and glamour dragged us in to 2007. Daniel Craig being christened as the best bond after so and so. Discussions about all the new gadgets,guns,gases,lasses and all those sun glasses. Bond is a fancy show piece; he has always struggled between his suaveness and his credulous amorousness. He made us (or at least me) think, that almost all girls are vulnerable. All you need is to dress up well and talk a bit squarish. I stopped watching movies for their action, style and its slickness. For all that matter James Bond doesn't bother me anymore. All he did in the late eighties were to run behind a Caucasian; who always wanted to torpedo some philanthropic activity By United States. I did gobble a lot of that shite but eventually i am out of it. I know that though he might run a long way more and might seduce a 100 more girls. He is not worth watching. For he is immoral or rather those stories don't hold any kind of scruples to relate to. Bond never saved us; neither will he do in the future.
When Bond hatched his plans to bust another bearded terrorist holding a glass of shaken Martini (In a Noida Multiplex) ; we had mothers of 40 children crying outside a paedophiles house. A gulp of martini and fell down a drop of tear. There is neither bond nor the local superman- The police, to address their problems. Well, in the same city with beefed up security and the compound walls reminding alcazars sat Naresh Gupta’s 3 year old son nibbling some pop-corn watching James Bond' swashbuckling stunts. The bitter truth to confront is that; he was also missing for some days but was back in a week or so, probably a lump-sum amount was paid. Media was there scouting for him; It turned out to be a bloody mark on the investment scenario in India. I don't remember though; the stock market would have plummeted some marks on that day for sure. For the mothers of 40 children who were brutally murdered did not have the nifty points to plummet and all their missing children was pushed in to a septic tank. The chief Minister did not visit the area because he believed in a superstition. These issues never bother the bulldozing stock market or the investment scenario. Amar singh the pumpkin headed realtor of Mulayam would have been busy attending a sassy party thrown by some obscure socialite and was probably having a stirred martini.
Rang De Basanti Thronged the Indian Silver screen with a thud. A masala cleverly weaved out of the historical struggles and the present scenario did some serious blood boiling for the multiplex going crowd. Then came the reservation ruckus; the Indian audience who were catered with the usual boy-girl love affair and the complexities involved in it; were easily gullible and RDB clearly exploited it. A RDB inspired crowd expecting to conjure a valid struggle against reservations thronged the streets of Delhi and other parts of the nation. Emails poured in; asking for help and support for this struggle for equality. Effigies of Arjun Singh was burned all around the nation; ludicrous comments like "making the boundary short for a reservation candidate" started spreading around. The up market, illusion-ed new rich in India rarely understood the nuances of this issue. Mere selfishness and inspiration gathered from a movie made them protesters.They claimed, no one in India is persecuted anymore in the name of caste, People who availed reservation in education stood galaxies away in their quality and what not. The ruckus was brought to an end with some stringent measures by the government.
Barely 6 months after this fiasco a Dalit family in khairlanji was butchered in the name of caste. Where were all the equality champions? Nobody protested nor talked about equality excepts Dalits who torched the Deccan queen Express. A drunken coot ran over some construction workers sleeping on the pavements of Mumbai; an old man who got injured was lying in front of a Govt hospital as it did not have enough space to accommodate him. He was shown on the T.V; don't know if anyone came to help him out. Champions of equality seemed to be uncannily busy. No effigies, no road blocks but just some visuals on T.V. Then came the battle in red bastion; the battle of singur. A struggle mired in mystery; A struggle by the peasants for their land in a state ruled by the communist party of India. People who believed in opportunistic politics did not wait long; they joined the bandwagon. For sure anything detrimental for agriculture will effect the nation , According to Boucher, 22 percent of India's gross domestic product comes from agriculture, but two-thirds of the population work in agriculture . Fast developing nations are always strangled with these kind of problems; after a decade or more of land grabbing the Chinese government has brought out policies to refurbish their agriculture sector. Mass discontent over the land grabbing and increased number of protests against these policies forced them to reverse the tide. We tend to realise bitter facts in a slower pace than rest of the world. Considerable increase in the contributions by Service sector and Manufacturing sector is not forgotten. Mass migration from the hinterlands towards burgeoning cities is not a new trend but this has happened on a large scale in the last decade due to our sloppy concern for this sector.
India; essentially a conglomerate of states, rolls over because of a constitution and a democracy which most of us decry about. But this electoral system has been the thin line that has moved this country ahead; if it was not in place, a country like India which incorporates so many languages ands cultures could not have succeeded. Progress and growth has been slow but a decently transparent system which ineffectively/effectively works helped this country to stay together than disintegrating. But regional jingoism has never been on the low in this nation. Increasing disparities and living conditions has forced many of this issues a bloody ending. Professionals migrating to different parts of the country in search of jobs has been a trend for long; Many a places have choked out of this influx and many despise this incoming crowd. The irony involved in this issue is; we only restrict our views to the migration of the middle class; to square it up - The migration of a doctor or an engineer or may be in lesser terms; a Professional . What goes unnoticed is a barrage of crowd that crosses their village boundaries in not so plush state transport buses and on their foot to the nearest burgeoning metro. Bangalore; a city rife with discontent about this influx has so many construction workers from all over India and i suspect their numbers to be more than that of any professionals and dogs that loiter in this city. Travelling to the outskirts of Bangalore in State run buses will reveal this fact. The decline in the rewards offered by agriculture has pushed many a lives to toil in the construction sites under rugged conditions.
Came 2007 and came articles on glossy pages about the lingering hope. Hope about a booming market, justice to everyone, no discrimination or torturing in the name of caste and creed, about a million healthy babies being born, more and more cell phones and what not. We had 2 bombings, some communal rives; an ayodhya shoot out, An-Afsal to be hanged and very few number of farmers around the country suiciding (Lets not forget, in Maharastra the government has prescribed "art of living" courses for these "suiciding farmers"). For sure there has been growth in some sectors and this has been beneficial for some who are not exactly the part of majority- Including me. Hope is quintessential for life, for, without it, life will be seemingly abrupt but glorifying the glimmer of hope and extrapolating it in a unreal way is not the answer . Nor is articulating about it in a way that it does not touch any issues on the periphery. I went through so many magazines that came out with their year ending issues and none of them differed in the contents they carried; It was all about hope and the hopeless confined to small columns as snippets. Are we evading the truth?
Read the magazines.

Kozhikkode.. not much.. but..

Etched are reminiscences of a rich tradition and history in the lanes of this city. I have always walked in S.M. street and adjoining places, noticing the 1st storey of the old buildings that are dotted in these narrow lanes. I have always noticed: there are glitzy shops in the ground floors of these old structures; (one among them is the Standard Watch Co; in SM street; a glitzy salwar shop occupies the ground floor and on the dilapidated 1st floor, this watch repairing shop) Everything new occupy the ground floor as if it shows a reluctance to encroach the past. It is a place where some dilapidation stands as direction sign to the glorious past, resting on top of this peripheral glitz; they are the structures that lived centuries; many were libraries; some coffee shops and the walls of some of these places would have witnessed the Ghazal nights and gatherings of that sort in these places. Have always wondered about these places and have looked upon them with great curiosity; but due to my inability, never could gather more info about this unearthly abodes! I am not being a retrograde by wanting those dilapidated structures there anymore; but they push me in to sudden reality; it just makes me remember the evolution of city. It makes me realize and draw a picture of my life; where I lived.

This sleepy town was the fulcrum of trade that happened between kerala and middle east, how can miss china? Because all i am going to tell is about China. Beypore port which makes Uru's (Huge sea vessels) still sell some of them to customers on the other-side of Arabian Sea. Zengh-He, a Chinese ( Eunuch-Muslim, Truth thy information ) admiral, who belonged to Ming dynasty, who now is being considered as one of the pioneer sea man, visited the shores of calicut many a times. Though not much of what Zeng-He did and created is not any more; but nuances is what make history gripping, thus calicut also doesn't seem to be out of this. In this; article, it says the spice bazaar in calicut operates its costing not on computers but with hands with a kerchief covering this process. Security?? Unix?? This queer way of costing was devised by the Chinese and locals to over come the barrier of language! Necessity is the mother of invention; any arguments? courtesy: praveen. Western travellers; Ibn Batuta and Marco Polo also did land in Kozhikkode and the scriptures left over by them explain it better than anyone .All these very well make a brief about the history of kerala, which for sure is not recorded any school text book out there.

Music and Food is also a speciality of this sleepy coastal town; where Vasco De Gama descended and this incident which is supposedly an ungracious day in the history of this nation. Ghazal masters and the great Baburaj, Kozhikkode Abdul Khader and many of them, who made mark in the film industry and literature hail from Kozhikkode. The kozhikkodan biryani is a delicacy which can explain a lot about the varied cultural influences and evolution that happened in the city. It has always helped and promoted its distinguished sons and daughters. On the intellectual map of kerala Kozhikkode holds a place which is undeniably great. Attempts to sabotage this- known-truths about the cultural tolerance and acceptance that people in kozhikkode hold is well ,an ongoing practice and it has culminated bloody sectarian violence in places like Marad; which in fact was a bloody stamp and drub on this city's secular face. Music, food and sports have always stood across these differences and has been enjoyed by everyone discerning caste and creed.

Intellectuals are an important part of Kerala society. There is a chunk of them in calicut too; who argues and theorizes from Shakespeare to Karl Marx. I have been lucky enough to know an awful lot of them. In Alakapuri bar, former Meriya Bar ; Nalanda Hotel (Not that i was binging around in all these bar's) and these kind of places witness these kind of argue-theorizing sessions. All well and good; it all ends in Marx and if someone is "out of that Marxist box" might even suffer an "intellectual besieging" - That person is not any,more sought after in these sessions. Differences are many and rivalries are too much. All of these might get a saucy turn; when the "spirits" are on. Some of them; theorize sitting right in the middle of the city; SI apartments (Near fathima hospital!). I wont call them; being in an ivory tower because they are not entitled to be addressed so. Topics range from Pasolini to the importance/impulse of diving states in India Linguistically. These questions are not asked on their own; everything is explained and argued and deconstructed in the shadow of politics and in the end inevitably Marx. So Khasakinte Ithisaam became a Bourgeoisie novel; Pinarayi vijayan is a social democrat; dividing states linguistically affected revolutionary movements that were present at that time, Europe is disillusioned that; they can compliment Human-work force by technology as there is a shortfall in birthrates and so on.

Football is quintessential for any one in kozhikkode; Worldcup 2006 did witness a glitzy display of support for different nations; that are dotted on different continents. I have always noticed a particular affinity for Argentina in kozhikkode. Maradona did the trick, for sure. Brazil too have many supporters and EPL did help England garnering some support base too. I remember some matches i watched in the corporation stadium; the gala atmosphere with packed stands witness; timely betting for the first goal scorer;first corner and what not. People in kozhikkode for sure immerse themselves in Football. Calicut has produced greats like Olympian Abdurahiman and so on. Bureaucratic hurdles have always mulled this game to develop over the years. When sevens (A game of football, where there will be 7 members in a team) seasons starts off in Kozhikkode and the adjacent district Malappuram, Players from various African Nation's descend in Kozhikkode and they will timely picked up by club officials and sign them on for a season. I have watched this affair with utmost curiosity, as they come down knowing the season, but not invited by the clubs. They are picked from the Railway Station as they get down!

My life and my knowledge about Kozhikkode is limited; These days it has almost shrunk to home-Kidson Corner-home-Relatives home-home. I might have missed out on lot; there will be more to add; issues to forget and learn from, but it is a facscinating sea-town with Kalanthans for sharja Shake, mananchira square for a mild nap for hundreds; Cee pee cool bar for Faluda; and for all those fried an broasted chickens- a Chick King too. (Not much, but nice!!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Visiting Ejipura.....

Once i had read about the demolition drive in Ejipura, i wanted to visit the site and offer some kind of help within my capacity. However, my work schedule prevented me from doing this. Eventually on 26th January i managed to get to the site.

By then, the whole place was razed down by bulldozers. Some families took shelter under the huge concrete sewage pipes at the site, some of them were loading their belongings to a goods-auto but was unclear where they will head to. Some elderly people who had no where to go and had pets that they weren't keen to leave behind moved on to the footpath across the road.

On the whole, displaced people and animals were fighting a lost battle against a group of policemen and ruffians employed by the builder who is going to develop the site. Reports suggests that on 26th morning, the prospective builder distributed 5000 Rs to the families who got displaced but the amount in offering reduced to a half by afternoon and many families that i met at the site did not get any money.

Very few from the civil society was around. Me, a friend, couple of others who were supplying tea to the displaced families, a girl who was frantically talking on phone seeking help and some foreigners were the only people who were present there.

The scene turned tense when someone who had a camera started clicking pictures. Ruffians pounced upon him and resisted his attempts at clicking pictures, policemen also lined up behind the ruffians. Some women who were feeling bitter about the forceful eviction (rightly so) started some last ditch arguments. While all this was unfolding, the bulldozers relentlessly scooped the debris and deposited it at the periphery of the site creating a mud wall.

After spending an hour or so, i felt completely drained seeing the helpless people, kids and animals. I was also very jittery as ruffians and policemen hovered around there. I bid good bye to my friend and got back. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I-league starts today!

Yes, I-league starts today. AIFF and their allies in IMG-Reliance has managed to rope in Ten Action + as the broadcaster.

Here is an interesting take on I-league and how crucial is this season going to be for the competition itself.

Follow I-league comprehensively on my twitter avatar fni, where i aggregate the best of the news on football in India for you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A short Nehru Cup preview

Nehru Cup is back again. Matches are live on Neo-Sports/Prime starting today with India taking on Syria. I am late to the show, so i wont delve in to the finer details regarding the team and so on. A good account is available here

What excites ?

  • Wim Koevermans takes charge of the national team.
  • Expecting some Dutch flavor and total football tactics. Welcome change from the Bob-ping-Houghton era.
  • Youngsters and players who are on form are selected to the team unlike earlier, where big names and veterans automatically got inducted in to the fold.
 The skeptic's problem!

  • 600 Rs.  - This isn't probably the time for haggling but some skeletons have tumbled out. Unconfirmed sources say Indian national football team players receive only 600 Rs as daily allowance and they don't have a thing called match fees yet. More of that here.
  • Sponsor less - This edition of Nehru Cup is going to happen without the backing of a sponsor. ONGC, the public sector company which had backed the tournament since its reinstatement in 2007 did not show the same kind of mercy they did last few years. Testing times indeed. Catch more of that here.

As always , i am supporting this team with a belief that better is yet to come. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Do we need artificial football pitches in India?

All you need to know about artificial football pitches is in the shared Guardian article.

I am trying to analyse this in the Indian context.

I have always been circumspect about the proliferation of art-pitches in Indian football stadiums. This drive saw a decent grass pitch in the Bangalore football stadium being replaced with a art-pitch. I was surprised, because the Bangalore football stadium pitch was a decent enough pitch by Indian standards. 

I am not a big fan of art-pitches in football, but i think it is time we ponder upon this. The opinion differs from people to people. Stadiums across the world have installed art-pitches even though it is not very popular in U.K. Playing on a grass pitch offers a zizekian type of mental satisfaction but the serious impacts on environment, especially in summer, to maintain a grass pitch should motivate us to think the other way. 

Grass pitches need good maintenance. It would be absolutely difficult in Indian conditions to maintain a perfect grass football pitch. Considering that most football stadiums are owned by the local municipal/corporation authorities, when summer hits and drought sets in, watering and maintaining a football pitch would be the last thing on their mind.

Pitches also effect the pace of a football match. There is a considerable difference in the pace of a football match in i-league, when it is played on an artificial pitch. The wobbly, patchy grass pitches tend to cut out the fluidity of movement. As broadcast is the main source of money for any football league, a match played on a wobbly surface will be utterly boring. Turn on Tenaction + and watch an I-league match played in the Salt Lake Stadium and you will understand what i am trying to say.

On a short term, artificial pitches could prove a great deal in developing football in India. It will offer a great playing surface where kids can replicate their skills to perfection that they learn from Television and Youtube. Good pitches will also make I-league matches more "visually appealing". When football associations start owning stadiums, we can think of grass pitches.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Peasant revolt in the 6th century AD

I have been eagerly reading up a book by the eminent historian R.S.Sharma called India's Ancient Past. I may write down a review of the book and the reason why i picked up R.S.Sharma's book to know about India's ancient past at a later point of time. However, that is not the point of this post. While reading up the chapters on South India, i came across this interesting section called The Kalabhra Revolt.

R.S.Sharma says that Kalabhras are a tribe that overthrew the once powerful Cholas, Cheras and Pandyas of the South India, somewhere in the 6th century AD. The interesting aspect of their ascendancy to power was that it was not a traditional conquest, but more of a peasant revolt against the existing social order. He also says that this tribe had the patronage of the Buddhists, as that was a flourishing religion in the south at that time.

As a radical force that waged war against the existing social order, probably Kalabhras set the tone of the Dravidian fight against the Brahminical order, which is still thriving in the Tamil political landscape. Typical of the popular culture, this period in South Indian history is called the dark ages.

The land grants offered by the rulers greatly helped some sections of the society and the peasants, who were an integral part of the economy were marginalized by this unequal distribution of land. Sharma emphasizes that the ascendancy of Kalabhras and their 75 odd years of rule was forced out of the injustice meted out by the rulers at that time.

It is also interesting that the vestiges of the rulers ousted by the Kalabhras joined forces to oust them from power. The Chalukya's of Badami, the left over Pandyas and Pallavas fought together to bring an end to the so called evil empire of the Kalabhras.

This juncture in history is so important and fascinating because it shows that injustice meted out to people wont last long and the general populace will fight the tyranny at some point. It is also notable that not much of written evidence exists of this period. Kalabhras being a revolutionary state did not have much time to pen down their achievements, but were mostly tied up resisting the overtures of the rulers they dethroned trying to return back to power.