Bahubali-2 and Sophiya

I had the opportunity of watching two very different films in Mangalore, recently. S.S. Rajamouli’s much acclaimed Hindi version of the original Telugu ‘Bahubali-2 Conclusion‘ and Harry Fernandes’ Konkani film Sophiya.

While Bahubali is brilliant for its special effects, graphics, and animation, the same thing can’t be said of its structure. I haven’t watched its first part – The Beginning. But those who have watched both the films tell me it is not necessary to watch the first. And they are absolutely right. There is  no reference to the “I”.

Bahubali

I must say the entire film stands on its graphics, special effects, and sound design. But the film is worth the 168 minutes you spend on.

The Konkani is an orphan child. Sad for the little Coastal language. The little spoken minority, endangered coastal language has been struggling to make films in the last few decades. In a fragmented yet highly competitive cut-throat commercial world, a minority language like Konkani can’t afford to create pieces of mass produced, massed consum-able arts. But that in spite of the lack of a collective history or talent pool or an avalanche of resources, it still has dared make a film is great news.

From a critical perspective, the film is a bore – though the hundred plus audiences in the second week of its release in a  multiplex screen seemed to enjoyed the film thoroughly! You hear your fellow viewers hum the lines of the songs happily!

From the story point, it is a very poor script and a plot. Nothing solid to hold on to. The same priest – the church – Catholic community environs. Konkani culture has not yet severed its priestly umbilical cords.Sophiya

And then there is bad casting of almost all the characters – especially the child (Annie), her dad Alwyn, the physician and everybody else. The child has been badly handled. The director’s inexperience (in spite of the claims of having worked with many filmmakers) stands out. Sophiya’s final song on the beauty of the land is a absolute out-of-place in its tune as well as relevance. The best I can say about it is it is a childish venture, gone fully out of control, with the absolute ignorance of watching some post-independence era films.

Cerritos Library in Los Angeles

From today on, intermittently, I will be uploading a few of pictures I clicked in the US.

Today’s consignment includes the famous and lovely Cerritos Council Library in Los Angeles, California. The Library is designed to attract people to read and fascinate them. No doubt, you will find hundreds of kids reading and playing in the library. Such an atmosphere fosters a good reading habits early in their childhood.

My second visit to USA

It keeps coming again and again! This time the visit to the US was very short – just about seven  days for official work at Seattle University, and another 12 days in Arizona and California.

Disneyland and Hollywood besides my friends, were special!

Though I had visited a few places on my last visit, last year, this time it was more fun.

Arizona was new – Phonix. All thanks to Ida.

Fear of the Indian Majority

Seemingly, the majority community in India thinks it is at the risk of extinction. Or, that is what the RSS and its sangh-parivar say, and make ordinary, gullible Hindus believe. Going by the big numbers of herded, unemployed youth at its various political rallies in the name of religion and “culture” (Hindu samskriti), it would seem so. Or the RSS, which stands of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (nationalist volunteer organisation), would have us believe.

Look at the way the poisonous organisation has spread its roots all over – from the most illiterate and poor folk to the highly literate and filthy rich, from villages to metropolises. The sangh parivar has succeed in hoodwinking a huge number of people – either by lies or by threats.

Currently, the politically ambitious organisation is busy terrorising Muslims in various parts of the country in the name of beef-ban. You simply can’t believe a Gujarat pogrom (February-March 2002), or a Muzaffarnagar (August 2013) could happen in a democracy.  Or that you could numb down an entire peace-loving, quiet and miniscule minority Christians community under the bogey of faked-conversions. Recently, after the political victories in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and machinations in Manipur and Goa (March 2017), things have become worse: in the state of Jharkhand in North India, the RSS has started a Christian-free-Jharkhand, and are forcing Christians to convert to Hinduism. The battlelines are clear: in the 2014 Parliamentary elections it was Congress-mukth bharat (Congress-free India), post UP-elections 2017, it is Christian-free Jharkhand. The RSS would tolerate no opposition to its dirty agenda.

The same organisation has forced tribals (STs/ original dwellers of the land) of India out of their natural resources-rich locales, and has completely numbed the entire dalit/ Scheduled Caste community, which the invader upper castes of India demonised, from the time it invaded India (Mohenjodaro-Harappa civilisation times). But when it needs foot-soldiers to abuse minorities in the name of “nationalism” and ‘foreign religions’, the RSS employs these gullible people to be their foot-soldiers. The idea is clear – if someone is caught red-handed attacking minorities and women, the hapless SC/ STs go to jails. If the illegal, inhuman operations successful, RSS cadres covet political chairs at the highest levels.

Benefit above all of unopposed political power.

Look at the political scenario today in India! Beginning with the prime minister of India, BJP’s national president, to all the chief ministers of the BJP-ruled states and top ministers – all are RSS-cadres, deputed by RSS to BJP, after they were tested and found successful to be staunch anti-minorities and firebrand Hindutva-vadis (fascists).  By the way, BJP is the political wing of the RSS, which today rules most of the country, and many of its federal states.

In this context, Apoorvanand’s article in an English daily  Tribune is very relevant.

————-  ——————-

Do we need interpreters?

Hinduism at risk from RSS

UNDONE: There was pride in the chaotic diversity that was Hinduism.

HINDUS need to worry. Not about Muslims being beaten up or killed on the pretext of cow smuggling or slaughter, or Christians being attacked on the pretext of conversion. Hindus need to stir out of slumber because Hinduism is in peril. It is not threatened by Muslims. For the last 150 years, Hindus have been led to believe that they would be drowned by the rapidly increasing numbers of Muslims. Not by Christians too, for they have not been able to convert all other Indians to a religion of foreign origin. Instead, there is a clear threat now of Hinduism being taken over by an organisation called the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Hinduism, a religion that is a way of life, as its adherents like it to be known, is now in the hands of organisations and people who want to transform it into an ideology of dominance over populations, which are seen, feared and abhorred as ‘others’.  Hindus better be warned. The pictures emerging from West Bengal should act as a wake-up call for them. This year, processions with swords and other lethal weapons were taken out in different parts of Bengal on the day of Ram Navami led by various affiliates of the RSS. Children, girls, women, men marched with these weapons chanting slogans in Hindi. The streets and lanes of Kolkata, Birbhum, Burdwan, Nadia, Malda, Midnapore and Darjeeling…..

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/comment/hinduism-at-risk-from-rss/389461.html

10 April.

It is ten days since we at St Josphs College Autonomous hosted Mr P. Chidambaram, former Union Finance and Home Minister.

That a was brilliant. Though an intellectual, a top-notch former minister, Mr Chidambaram was absolutely humble, simple and casual. No airs, no status of a minister!

He was sitting in my office, right in front of me, along with Prof. Rajeev Gowda, MP (Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of Parliament), Dr Aditya Sondhi, Senior Advocate and Addl. Advocate General, Karnataka, and Mr Veeraraghav, Resident Editor of The Hindu.

And then, it was my privilege to welcome all the dignitaries who wanted to listen to Mr Chidambaram, witness his book launch in Bangalore, and probably be a part of the panel which would grill the author and former Minister.

I was privileged to be part of that panel. Though it was very short panel, unlike our New TV Channels, it was very educative – both because it involved immense reading and planning on my part. Then to address him and to question him on the stage was a great experience.

After the panel, the former minister took questions from the audience, which were many, but always with facts and figures on his finger tips! The way he handled tough questions was absolutely brilliant! Thank you Mr John Thomas, thank you Mr Sugatha Srinivasaraju!

Another thing that benefited us the immense coverage by the local and national media! In Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and in Delhi- the event found a very special mention and coverage!

Pity of Indian democracy

Sad for Uttar Pradesh. The fascist party of India, BJP, was catapulted to power in UP, India’s most populous state with an absolute majority in the recently concluded (8th March) Assembly elections. The five states which went to elections: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarkhand, Manipur, Punjab, and Goa, have thrown disturbing results. Disturbing to every Indian and the future of India.

A well-performing, incumbent, and young  Akhilesh Yadav of Uttar Pradesh was shown the door for a hollow, long-talking, communal BJP led by pompously by Modi and Shah combine.

The duo, along with their communal gang of candidates and corrosive MPs like Yogi Adityanath, communally polarised the state; they abused Muslims and minorities, berated the already exploited Scheduled Castes, terrorised  Muslims, called them names, and talked of khabristan (Muslim places of burial) vs smashan (Hindu places), and spoke self-contradictorily of development and building the mythical temple in Ayodhya. How can you develop a state by dividing people along caste and communal lines? How can an invading race of Aryans from Mesopotamia, develop the country or parts thereof by isolating and exploiting the natives of the land, even if they look dark, less sophisticated, and poor?

To make things worse, an extremely right wing man, with a huge of criminal record to his credit -of inciting unilateral violence, especially 2007 Gorakhpur violence against Muslims) is appointed chief minister. He is supposed to be a Yogi : a man without passions, only a spiritual leader. He is supposed to console people, but went on inciting people. He is supposed to be healed, but the an keeps on using abusive, acerbic language against anyone not of the Hindu right wing.

This psuedo-Yogi terrorised anyone who did not subjugate to his fascist ideology. Now to put him in charge of the 200 million people with the most communally polarised and volatile religious atmosphere, shows nothing but contempt for civilians, on the part of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, the vicious RSS, and its entire sangh parivar.

The Greek philosopher Socrates had nothing but contempt for common citizenry (who are called idiotes in Greek, which means idiot) who selected their leader to rule. They were called so because, they were bereft of common sense and sophistication; acted on the spur of the moment. That is what we have today – be it in electing Modi or Adityanand, or their ilk in different states.

Another tragedy is the pathetic state the grand old party Congress is in today. Though Congress was the single largest party in Goa and Manipur, it was lazier than the worst of our students – just did not work to stake claims. And the power-greedy BJP, murdered democracy by staking claims [because the one who invites (Governor) to form a government ] in both the states are RSS workers, appointed by Modi’s government.

Such is the state of democracy in India. Such is the pity of our electoral system. Misery of Socratic idiotes.

Modi govt most anti-intellectual country has seen: Ramachandra Guha

Dec 06, 2015 00:42. PTI

Ramachandra Guha

Guha believes that the Modi government is the most ‘anti-intellectual’ the country has ever seen, evidenced by the appointments it has made so far in various educational and cultural institutions.(PTI Photo)

Renowned historian Ramchandra Guha said on Saturday that he believes the government at the Centre led by Narendra Modi is the most “anti-intellectual” the country has ever had, and is manifested in the appointments it had made in various educational and cultural institutions.

“I believe, as a student of history of contemporary India, who has watched every government for the last 45 years, the government in power in Delhi is the most anti-intellectual we ever had, and this is manifested in appointments,” he said while giving a talk on “Eight Threats To Freedom of Expression” on the first day of the fourth Bangalore Literature Festival here.

“Just look at the appointments of Pahlaj Nihalani and Gajendra Chauhan. What do their appointments show? It shows absolute contempt for scholars, literature… (http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/modi-govt-most-anti-intellectual-country-has-seen-ramachandra-guha/story-alOp8kBaCZoZHiYHCtqRGP.html)

Top 10 fake news that we (almost) believed in 2016: UNESCO declares Modi best Prime Minister

UNESCO and RBI had to step in and clarify that many rumours which were spread in 2016 hold no truth at all. Find out the ‘fake news’, we almost believed in 2016.

IANS  | Posted by Sanjana Agnihotri
New Delhi, December 26, 2016 | UPDATED 18:23 IST
Photo: PTI

From currency to salt- very little escaped the reach of fake or fabricated news in 2016. Rumours spread from WhatsApp and other social media into the mainstream media.

Institutions such as UNESCO and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had to step in and tell us what was true. Even Facebook and Google, two of the world’s biggest internet companies, sat up and took notice.

India is one of the biggest markets for several social media and communication companies. It has 160 million of WhatsApp’s one billion-plus monthly active users, 148 million Facebook users, and over 22 million Twitter accounts.

Also read: Here’s what most Indians were talking about in 2016

The potency of fabricated news came into focus after the 2016 US presidential elections. In the run-up to the ballot, fake news on the elections drew more engagement on Facebook than top-performing stories from major news outlets such as The New York Times, CNN, NBC News, or The Wall Street Journal, this BuzzFeed News analysis found.

Other countries witnessed the rise of fake news too, according to this Guardian report, rendering it a global phenomenon in 2016.

Also read: 5 mysterious social media personalities who shot to fame in 2016

Here are some of the most popular Indian fake news stories of 2016:

1. UNESCO declares PM Modi best Prime Minister

UNESCO has been one of the primary alleged sources of fake news in India.

In June 2016, fake news broke out on WhatsApp groups, and other social media, that the UN cultural agency had awarded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the title of best prime minister in… (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/top-ten-fake-news-that-we-almost-believed-in-2016-modi-best-pm-declared-unesco/1/843175.html)

A day in Byatha

As part of student education, I accompanied my Master students of Mass Communication, to Byatha village, on the outskirts of Bangalore Urban. Travel about 40-50 km out, and you see the stark contrast between Bangalore and Bangalore urban – no IT city! It is poor, rural Bangalore.

But it is much purer, cleaner, hospitable than Bangalore urban.

Our students are still enjoying the lovely place, ambience, cooking, discussions and debates, and visit to the village.

One of the best was the night trek to the forest – it was almost a meditation! We started our two hour long trek at 11.45pm and passed through leopard dens and grasslands and lay down on the grassland, and gazed at the translucent sky! Not a word spoken on the way! How else could I explain that?