Guest Post by Students of Delhi College of Art, with a statement in solidarity by students of Ambedkar University, Delhi (Department of Visual Arts)
[ This post compiles communications sent out by students of the College of Art, Delhi, their charter of demands (which include very basic and fundamental demands – and it is indeed a revelation that students have to resort to a strike to get this charter even noticed) and a letter in solidarity (see end of the post) with the College of Art students from Students of the Department of Visual Arts, Ambedkar University, Delhi. We are posting this to continue to bring to attention the condition of students of art, media and film in the country. Kafila has already posted articles on the conditions of the students of the Film & Television Institute of India. This post also needs to be seen in the context of the recent statement by the Minister of Culture, Government of India, about ‘cultural pollution’. Clearly, the rot is within institutions, and has not been caused, as the minister seems to think, by the ‘encroachment of Western culture’. We hope that this series of posts can contribute to a real debate about the state of art, culture and cultural institutions in India and the rest of South Asia. ]
Students of College of Art, New Delhi have been on strike for last thirteen days. The strike had to happen, when the individual voice of art students in the college was ignored and suppressed for years. This bundling up of dissent was inevitable.
Continue reading Appeal by the Striking Students of Delhi College of Art – Students of Delhi College of Art and Ambedkar University, Delhi
Guest Post by Suvaid Yaseen
Of late there has been a rising trend of Kashmiris – professionals, artists, writers, musicians et al presenting their works on Kashmir on a much wider level than before. The larger impression that comes out of it all is that the narrative has been taken up by the people for themselves. A welcome contrast to outsiders flying in and telling us what we want, how we think, and what is actually good for us.
So, every time a Kashmiri artist is presenting his/her work on Kashmir, the expectations among Kashmiris tend to go up. People start feeling that finally their narrative, of how they saw the things, what they went through, would be told to the world, bereft of the lenses of security paradigm through which Kashmir has been usually viewed – a strategic territory, with not-so-strategic, dispensable people.
This can be fortunate as well as unfortunate. On one hand there is a ready audience to appreciate and applaud your work. On the other hand there are expectations to ‘perform’. For the artists themselves, there are additional pressures of ‘balancing’ and having a ‘non-biased’ view from the other side.
Continue reading The Country With A ‘Balancing Office’: Suvaid Yaseen
Guest post by AKHIL KATYAL
Fire alarms at my postgraduate student house in London are always a ready excuse to hang out. Every time the highly annoying siren sounds off, I see students acknowledge it with a very odd mix of frustration and amusement. We clamber down the stairs making the familiar shrugs and smiles to each other, making it clear that we all really hate this. But something very peculiar happens after the first half-a-minute of the ritual rant against the housing management. People break out into conversations about what they were doing, or more usually, what they were just about to do if the alarm had not gone off. Some bring their mugs of coffee down with them and do the sip and chatter. Those in the bath-robes look awkwardly about as if they can’t find the right address. The front yard begins to look like a party, and like any other party I’ve been to in London in the last two years, it breaks into some very loud, talkative groups and some folks standing by themselves in the corners.
The alarms, 99% of the times, mean nothing serious. Someone has just smoked in their kitchens, someone has made pan-fried noodles and the smoke alarm has caught the whiff, things like these generally. So the siren by itself is a non-event, a formality. Except that it becomes something else all together. What is formally a situation of potential crisis becomes a pretext for running into others, for a bit of casual nattering. So much so that when the alarm ceases, some people look half resigned to end the banter. Some continue the conversations, some hurriedly get back to their rooms, and others seem half-reluctant.
Continue reading Loneliness Alert! Rounding up the Unusual Suspects
I walked into Anjali’s house. She lives in one of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement colonies in Bombay which were developed to provide housing for slum dwellers and railway slum dwellers affected by the creation of roads infrastructure in Mumbai. Her house is a one-room tenement. She has created a litte bedroom space by placing a large showcase unit which separates the living room and the bedroom. I sat down to talk with her when my eyes fell on the Mecca-Medina mosque photograph which was placed on the wall facing her kitchen, above her newly purchased washing machine. For a moment, I was not sure if I had seen correct. Then, while continuing the talking, I glanced carefully again. It was the Mecca-Medina mosque photograph which is usually found in the homes of Bohra Muslims, Shias, Iranis and Sunnis as some kind of a visible mark of religion or show of faith and practice (or perhaps something else, I am not sure). I was both intrigued and amused. Continue reading Faith, religion, ritual, identity, dogma – how do I understand this?