Palingenetic myth and the making of Trump Train and Modi Wave

          The 2014 Modi campaign in India and the 2016 Trump campaign in the USA possess essential elements which are identifiably palingenetic – harbouring and propagating ideas of rebirth and regeneration of a nation dispossessed of it’s ‘former pride and glory’, appealing to the ‘true patriots’ (often steeped in ultra-nationalistic fervour) to rise in devoted support of the heroic male figure, a figure anointed as the only hope of a nation beleaguered on multiple fronts. Read More…

Sanjay Kak: माटी के लाल (Red Ant Dream). 2013

In interrogating the workings of Indian democracy, filmmaker Sanjay Kak‘s  माटी के लाल / Red Ant Dream (2013) traces and interweaves three distinct instances of a nation at war with itself: the Maoist movement in Bastar in Chhattisgarh, the Niyamgiri tribal resistance against industrial mining in Odisha, and the resurrection of the left movement in Punjab via the revolutionary spirit of the late Bhagat Singh. At two hours, it does call for your unwavering attention, for the stories that are told in this documentary film, will never find voice in the mainstream media vehicle. Ahistoric, and moving back and forth across the three instances mentioned earlier, Kak manages to wring out some striking voices and peoples who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice, of laying down their lives, in resisting oppression that threaten their very lives and livelihoods. In unraveling these peoples and their spirit, (often dubbed by the Government of India as “internal security threats’), Kak incorporates raw ‘found footage’ as well, which puts the audience right into deadly zones of conflict. Some images and content are disturbing, so, mature audiences advised. Watch.

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Kiswah, Nabeela, Maharshi, Madhu: Collateral Damage

Collateral Damage‘ is a student documentary film, produced in 2012, by the Sarojini Naidu School of Arts and Communication, University of Hyderabad, India. The film revisits the Kafkaesque policing and bureaucracies in the aftermath of the tragic May 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blasts in Hyderabad, India, and it contains interview material that will never be aired over regional and national television. The bizarre rounding up, and subsequent arrest, abuse and torture of about two dozen Musalman young men under the unmentionable ‘guilty until proven innocent’ ‘course of law’, challenges the most fundamental assumptions of a constitutionally guided, democratic republic. Indeed, there are a million mutinies in India, and India appears to be constantly at war with itself. What this film does is to lay bare the farcical investigative and interrogative apparatus of the state police (look out for the first hand accounts of these), as well as put a red/black flag to the Indian news media circus, which, in a complex interlacing with corporate, governmental and religio-political vested interests, creates the essential enemy, the ‘Other’ – anyone who has a Musalman name and visits a Masjid.

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