Is Deglobalisation Modern?

The meltdown is real and it is showing across media and digital. State power lies in the legal and security apparatus, and no amount of soft power and business can help. The passport control queues are the greatest equaliser available. The ability of the tech class to undermine the political elite will bite back in ways unforeseen as the non globalised class, the rural white poor who have realised that they cannot eat their globally mobile passports while living on food stamps. The ban on visas for a few selected (fragile and poor) countries is the biggest hint of de-globalisation and the resurrection of walls, which were present but are amplifies now. The 9/11 backlash is not over. It is just getting started. Social Media reactions although algorithmically skewed, are currently a rough draft of history as the real time archive of events.

The modern is being curated every second. This backlash is also a revolt against modern values, privileging primal biases. The man from a ranch from Montana cannot place Mogadishu, without googling it. The realtor from NY is no better, with properties in Pune and Kolkata. The ‘Us versus Them’ binary is the process of othering and othering is symbolic violence. The world has changed forever.


The Spin: From DeMo to ReMo

The ‘Remonetise India’ Campaign sponsored by the powerful Times Network is an amazingly skillful spin on humanising the impacts of Demonetisation, deploying celebrity power to influence the english speaking middle class to use less cash (the entire point of the demonetisation debate), so that the rural hinterland has access to cash, and they can keep their jobs. Such a deep indictment of the crisis. Glamour does not band aid the situation.

Demonetisation at an awards show

Stardust Sansui Colors Awards 2017, the presenters Abhishek Bachchan and Retiesh Deshmukh crack a joke by paying ‘Homage’ to the 500/1000 rupee denomination note, making every one stand up on the pretext of honouring the departed souls for the past year. The celebrities cracked up. Another anecdote in the popular imagination regarding demonetisation.

A scribble about research 

The technical aspect in a research project is the structure, the approach in attacking the ‘proverbial’ research question. The structure of the research question is deconstructed in the form of the research method of the problem at hand. The research method can utilise the quantitative survey for data collection, mapping out the magnitude of the research problem, or follow a qualitative approach via in depth interviews, focus group discussion or structured observation
Many research problems combine both approaches and triangulate the findings to make sense and meaning of the data collected. 

Raees : Politics as Sub Text 

Raees is SRK’s comeback vehicle as Salman’s Wanted in 2009, or Rajni Saar’s Kabali. The film is surely a cinematic upgrade to Rahul Dholakia’s films on 2002 carnage. The portrayal of the prohibition in Amdavad, is as filmy as it can be. But the film is more about the communal politics of Naroda Patiya, the train burnings and the marginalisation of the minorities in Gujarat. The prohibition is a metaphor for the facade it is. The home delivery of alcohol is very real. Ask the business traveler to Vadodara. 
SRK calls himself very apolitical in an interview to film critic Rajeev Masand, but this is as backhanded Political it can be, and cinema is as aesthetically political with a small ‘p’. 
Nawaz adds the meat that SRK need to add to the korma that he is shown cooking in the movie. Atul Kulkarni has a presence as always, albeit in a short part. The music is mediocre by Ram Sampath, and is not reflective of the period which this film is depicting. 
The Urdu and the Gujarati is not authentic, it is too mainstream Bombay for my liking. The illustration of real estate as a vehicle for vote bank building is shown with the change of zoning regulations. The ULCRA law politics is evident. Ultimately, the entrepreneurial air of the state is applauded in the punchline. A film where there is concerted effort to depoliticise it in the communication, but is all about it in the subtext and the nuance loudly blaring in the megaphone of the silver screen. 
#changethinker #moviereviews #raees

Bursting the Social Media Bubble

Just to burst the Burj Khalifa Indian Flag Bubble, Pakistan’s flag was projected on its National Day last year. Nothing else, the nationalist exuberance really gets to me on Social Media. The armies of the gulf including the Trucial States were trained by the Pakistani Army since the 1950’s. Foreign Policy needs to be evaluated within a wider historical context.

Celebrating Republic Day

India as a republic in 1950 was an audacious step for a country which had its two arms severed off and had been independent for three years and only one fifth of its population literate with the princelings still holding on to their privy purses and zamindaris. It was unprecedented democratic experiment at its time with Ambedkar Saheb rightly critical of the underlying feudalism and casteist structures once one has stretched its structurally democratic veneer. Communities have been relegated to the margins as the tropes of participatory democracy in the five year celebration called the election, where illicit funding, dynasty, corporate media and elitist intellectual elites obscures the discourse. The power resides in corporate money and the political classes, and policy is curated in Lutyens rather than Jantar Mantar. The people’s democracy is really a caste based, corporate centered system where few oasis of driven excellence drive the system. India is held together by centrifugal forces of survival and status quo where transparency is only demanded of citizens rather than the power classes. The Republic as nomenclature is hijacked by a media channel, rather than a sacred democratic sentiment. May the real democracy stays relevant in terms of public service delivery to Bastar, Kohima, Viruthanagar, Anantnag and Gadchiroli. Bharat Mata Ki Jai. Jai Hind.

Remembering Basha Dibosh

The Language Day in the south Asian context is a pivotal, watershed event which changed post colonial politics for ever. The blood spilled and lives lost by the language activist martyrs set the wagon rolling towards the eventual self determination of the Bengali people in 1971, after a genocide perpetrated by the Pakistani Army. The events of Language Day were a consciousness shifting moment for Language centred identity building across the post colonial and non aligned world.

As an Indian Bengali, growing up in the Persian Gulf, the Bengali Language was an anchor in a world of plural identities and the memory of the Language Day played a monumental role in emphatically placing the Bengali Language at the heart of the tapestry of identities in a post globalisation era. As the world is heading back to a time where national borders matter again, language is a crucial shared cultural resource for a wider humanity. I pay my heartfelt respect to the martyrdoms of the Language movement in Bangladesh

DeMo and Lit Fests: Popular Imagination Captured 

Jaipur Literature Festival in January 2017, had a high-powered panel on titled ‘The Theater of Demonetisation’ as a creative act; as a work of creation. Polyglot Sanjeev Sanyal called the demonetization event as a leap into the dark. The theory has little to say, other than that there will be pain. The empirical perspective calls it unprecedented, without any faint clue. The Singapore example was stated again, the shock treatment was a signal to change behavior; ‘shock the system in to a new space’. While Social Scientist Shiv Vishwanathan explores a different metaphor- that of a B grade Bollywood movie, which is badly scripted. It is a failure of story telling, the good professor quipped.