Everybody Loves A Good Riot

This here is a 360 video of Friday namaaz at the Rangrezi masjid in Lisad, a village where 13 Muslims were killed in the Muzaffarnagar Riots of 2013.

Play the video, and tilt your phone left, right, up or down to explore the mosque. If you are watching this on your computer, click on the screen and drag your mouse to look around this space.

I shot this video last week in Muzaffarnagar as part of “Everybody Loves A Good Riot” – an immersive multimedia project detailing western Uttar Pradesh’s “riot economy”. The story features 2 more 360 videos like the one above, as well as a text story to mark the 3rd anniversary of the Muzaffarnagar riots. Experience the full story here

[Audio] Funky Protest Music: Delhi Sultanate on Music, Politics, and Cultural Appropriation

Earlier this month I caught up with Delhi Sultanate, a member of the SkaVengers – a Delhi based reggae ensemble – around the launch of their new album XX or Double Cross to talk about their music, the unlikely journey of Udham Singh, a Indian revolutionary best known for assassinating General Dyer, and “Why Reggae?”.

Apart from the interview below, we’ve also got links to some of their music – listen, learn and enzoy.

 Here’s the video for Frank Brazil


[Kafila Audio] Dilli Tha Jiska Naam: Recollections of a Forgotten City

Last week I caught up with Shubhum Mishra, a cartographer/geographer/urban planner, in Sundar Nursery – a Mughal garden turned  colonial green house spanning 70 acres in the heart of Delhi – that shall should be open to the public sometime next year.

Shubhum has just transliterated Intizar Husain’s famous book – Dilli Tha Jiska Naam – from the original Urdu/farsi script to devnagari, in the hope of making this incredible resource more accessible to north Indian readers. In this conversation he reads excerpts from the book and I asked him why modern Indian cities are so spectacularly ugly.

Listen in for a fascinating description of Chandini Chowk and “Old Delhi” – back from when “Old Delhi” was the only Delhi around.  Shubhum will respond to comments on the site. His book is now available in most book stores around the city and you can buy it here


[Audio: Hindi] Prashant Jha on Upper Caste Madhesis taking the Sorry Pledge

In the second instance of what I hope will become a regular feature on Kafila, I caught up with fellow journalist and Kafila contributor Prashant Jha on the We Are Sorry Campaign for Social Reform in Madhes , where upper-caste Nepali Hindus acknowledge they have benefited from the centuries long oppression of pretty much everyone else.

In our conversation Prashant addresses the substantive and well-founded criticism of the pledge [another example of upper-castes setting the terms of debate and discourse, largely symbolic] as well as broader questions of Nepali politics and nation-hood.

He will respond to comments on this site. Let me know if there are any particular themes you would like us to explore in our new audio work. All audio files in this series are freely downloadable, and shareable – so you can download them to your phone and listen on your commute to where ever.


[Statement] Does the “Liberal Cause” need Tejpal? Complainant Responds

Earlier today, the Mid-Day newspaper carried a short piece arguing that the so-called “media trial” of Tarun Tejpal, for raping a junior colleague, had damaged the “liberal” cause, at a time when personal freedoms are under assault in India. The article concluded by hoping that Tejpal would make a “come back” – presumably to save us all from the Big Bad BJP.

The article is not just profoundly misogynist and ignorant, it also conflates all resistance to oppression in its many forms with Tehelka and Tejpal’s transactional and dubious politics.

Here we reproduce the complainant’s response to the Mid-Day piece:

Fighting patriarchy, sexual violence and harassment at the workplace should be the cornerstone of any progressive politics. For TT’s supporters to claim that all should be forgiven because the liberal cause needs him is completely bogus. There was nothing liberal about the source of Tehelka and Think’s funding, or the fact that stories in the newsroom were killed whenever they threatened the editor’s friends.

If Tehelka was so righteous and embattled, how did its editor in chief amass huge properties in Delhi, Goa, Mumbai and Nainital? If a media trial destroyed Tejpal, how does he continue to pay his huge and expensive battery of lawyers? Finally — whom does this delay in the ‘fast track trial’ benefit? What kind of justice should one hope for when wealthy and influential criminals are lobbying with journalists, politicians and industrialists to hold an international conclave under the guise of “liberalism”?