Raag and Roll : Meet Afghan Robab-Slinger, Qais Essar

Qais Essar doesn’t play in a rock and roll band, nor does he want to; he’s too cool for that. He’d rather stick to his guns and play the twangy lute he was born to strum: the robab, which, like he himself, hails from beautiful Afghanistan.

Compiling Rekha’s story

You get to read all that you want to read. But only a little more than what you already knew about the actor. If you were born in 70’s you already know most of the documented stories.

Mallikarjun Mansur: The humble perfectionist, who strode the Hindustani music firmament like a colossus

Mallikarjun always led a simple life and humble life. He worshipped music and wanted to share its purity and joy with all his listeners. Worldly success meant little to him. Even in the semi-coma condition he was in, before he bid adieu to the mortal world in September 1992, he would ask his son Rajasekhar to sing and guide him as to what he should improve.

Uganda: A brilliant genocide

From 1986 to 2006, President Museveni’s troops drove nearly two million Acholis, 90% of the population, into concentration camps. In all that time, the Ugandan military machine continued to be financed by the US.

Conflict between freedom of expression and religion intolerance in India

Historian Romila Thaper and prominent advocate Rajiv Dhwan also have expressed their deep concern over politicians supporting and propagating extreme religious nationalism. Increasing fundamentalism in Indian society is active in suppressing dissenting opinion and quite often refer liberal voices as an anti-national.

Open letter to SAARC leaders on Human Rights Instruments

In order to make SAARC more effective as a regional mechanism to combat impunity, promote basic rights of the peoples of the region, SAARC should reform from within to create a new mechanism. This body should be based on legal framework, a charter to guide whole body. The new mechanism should develop its identity as a part of the region by forging links with various institutions in the region dealing with issues of human rights and justice.

Shyam Benegal: The Pioneer of Parallel Cinema

Shyam Benegal is rated as a trend setter in so far as parallel cinema in India is concerned. It can be said that no director since Satyajit Ray has done more for Indian cinema than Benegal, endearingly addressed as Shyam babu by his friends and admirers. Benegal provides an alternative history of cinema in India, away from willing suspension of disbelief and which the mainstream cinema specialises and he has consistently drawn attention to myriad inequalities and disparities which scar Indian society, polity and economy. These basic, grim and stern realities of life were conveniently airbrushed by the popular cinema to create an artificial make-belief world.

Monetary Policy Making At Mint Road

This is a very lucidly written book which takes us into the heart of monetary policy making by the reserve bank. It gives us an idea of the pulls and pressures the governor has to bear in his work. It touches upon the theoretical underpinnings of modern monetary policy making but it could have been more interesting if it had discussed in a bit more details the theoretical debates in monetary policymaking.

Dreaming, scheming, never growing old: remembering Abbas Kiarostami (1940 – 2016)

I didn’t grow up with Kiarostami’s films. I discovered Abbas Kiarostami long after he’d become Kiarostami, during the same time that I began devouring everything having to do with Iranian culture. I vaguely remember visiting the Film Museum off of Vali-ye Asr Avenue in Tehran with my friend one hot summer’s day, when I was around 16 years old. I had no idea who the man in the sunglasses was, only that he was of significance where Iranian cinema was concerned.

The Indian Constitution: The wonderful consensual document that binds this heterogeneous land

Madhav Khosla sums up the key essence of constitutionalism as the following: A written constitution, independent judiciary with judicial review powers, the doctrine of rule of law and separation of powers between different organs and institutions, democratic government responsible to the people and elected through a transparent process, fundamental rights of the people (that are the cornerstone of the Constitution), the principles and practices of federalism, decentralised governance with power to the grassroots level self-governing institutions.

J&K: Time to break-up the fiction.

The Indian state has now to offer something tangible to satisfy most aspirations in Kashmir, and we are talking only about Kashmir. J&K is an artificial and recent construct. Its long past its use by date. We must also accept that reunification with the POK part of it is neither desirable nor feasible. Historically, culturally, ethnically and linguistically Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir have as much in common as Tamil Nadu has with Punjab or Assam with Gujarat. The destinies of the people of Jammu and Ladakh have to be delinked from Kashmir. Nor are they exactly happy to be dominated by Kashmir.