On August 9, 2020 my colleague, friend and mentor Prof. Ilina Sen passed away in Kolkata, in the presence of her partner Dr. Binayak Sen and their two daughters, Pranhita and Aparajita. She was 69 years old and in the space of the number of years that she was with us, Ilina taught us the value of compassion, courage and determination as weapons of resistance in the face of adversity. I had first heard of her when I first got involved in the human rights movement in the 1990s. She and Binayak had settled in Chattisgarh, where the trade union movement led by Chattisgarh Mukti Morcha had brought together a radical, grassroots platform that included indigenous rights activists, mine workers, women’s rights advocates and others marginalised groups.
Dierhekolie Iralu, known as Kaka, impulsive and straightforward, sentimental, domineering at times but innocent like a child, foaming at the mouth when voicing convictions, but with an attentive ear to the views of others. He is the man who revealed the history and truth of the Naga people that no one before him had dared to divulge.
Nineteen fifty six – the year Kaka was born, India launched a full-fledged military invasion of Nagaland. Naga villages were burned to ashes one after another, and the helpless people were driven into the jungle. Shortly after his birth, Kaka wandered the jungles with his mother, and was detained as a political prisoner at the age of 8 months. During his boyhood, scenes of blood and gore were etched into his memory as he spent time with his grandfather, who was a doctor.
The sudden and untimely demise of Kaka D. Iralu amidst the unending Naga Peace Talk has left a void in the Naga discourse and it’s one big family spanning across the states of Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Myanmar. A towering figure who spoke truth to power and questioned the state and institutional power to reflect on its excesses on the Naga people. He is the author of “The Naga Saga”, “Nagaland and India: The Blood and the Tears: A Historical Account of the Fifty-Two year Indo Naga War and the Story of Those who were never allowed to tell it”, and “Uncovering the Political Lies that Have Covered Indo-Naga History from the 1940s to the Present”, and numerous writings on Naga Nationalism and social issues faced by the Naga society. His decision to self-publish his books remains an act of resistance and in academia it precisely animates the decolonial methodology. His selfless contribution towards documenting the histories, narrative and experiences of the Naga peoples despite numerous constraints have shaped understandings beyond academia.
“Ernesto Cardenal, the renowned poet and Roman Catholic cleric who became a symbol of revolutionary verse in Nicaragua and around Latin America, and whose suspension from the priesthood by St. John Paul II lasted over three decades, died March 1, 2020. He was 95.
RAIOT remembers Cardenal via two piracies. First, an interview on Liberation Theology and second, his most famous poem ORACIÓN POR MARILYN MONROE / PRAYER FOR MARILYN MONROE
For all that he had written there will be no posthumous award for Phrangsngi of the green house. You see only the well-connected shine and speak, even from their graves, to those giving awards.
Death (or perhaps rituals post-death) has a unique way to bring out one’s ideology in the open. This happened recently, when I lost my father to cardiac arrest, a month before the assembly election in Tripura was announced. My father would want me to come for casting of vote and to be with the family for a few days and relish the winter in Agartala. Perhaps, winter is the only season that people, especially in Agartala really look forward to, since summer and monsoon bring drought and massive waterlogging across the city.
“Aretha Franklin may have died today aged 76 but the music of “Lady Soul” will long be celebrated.”
Much before the world caught up with V S Naipaul’s Brahmanical rants wrapped in exquisite prose, Nissim Eziekiel, Indian Jewish poet and essayist of Bombay, had figured out Mr. Naipaul. This classic review of An Area of Darkness, Naipaul’s ode to defecation, which appeared in Imprint, has to be the pirated RAIOT obituary for Sir Vidia.
Sukracharjya Rabha was born in 1977, in a remote village Rampur in Goalpara district of western Assam. He started working with local tribal people to promote theatre. Within short span of time he authored and directed number of drama and got recognition as a unique theatre activist in the part of the country. He was honoured with the Bismillah Khan Yuba Puraskar from Sangeet Natak Akademi in 2009 for direction and the Aditya Bokra Birla Kala Kira Puruskar in 2010. On June 8th 2018, at the age of just 41 years he succumbed to a massive cardiac arrest. He is survived by his wife and two children. Maulee Senapati, filmmaker & Abdul Kalam Azad, an activist write pay their tributes.
If Asma’s vision for Pakistan had ever become a reality, it would be a much better place. But it is hard to talk about dreams. It is the reality of a country which shapes who we make of ourselves. Throughout her life, Asma stood with the oppressed and the marginalized, whether they be women, religious minorities, brick kiln workers or peasants. Asma, like her father, was on the wrong side of Pakistan’s historical consensus.
When we were sitting in the park in Surya Nagar, I had asked him about the title conferred on him by a magazine – The Henri Cartier Bresson of India. I had a feeling that he doesn’t enjoy the title much and he insisted on being called as the S Paul of India, if referred to as anything apart from his name. Most of us would kill to be compared on that scale yet Paul wasn’t.
I met Eunice first in very best way – in poems, just as she recommended. Women in Dutch Painting was the first book of poetry I remember reading, as opposed to poems in anthologies or single poems encountered and half-remembered.
The college authorities decided one day that they needed to ask women students not to wear skirts above the knee, and to ban students from smoking on the college grounds. The Vice Principal came to our classroom to make this announcement: its effect was marred considerably by the sight of Eunice at the back of the room, pointedly lighting up a cigarette with a trademark look of ironic amusement on her face.
Sadly, artistic excellence too is a package. She had many prejudices and narrow revivalist instincts that her mother, Mogubai Kurdikar, was at least free from – perhaps a part of her Maharashtrian modernity. Unlike Kumar Gandharva, she did not betray any antipathy towards Muslim musicians, but it nevertheless came as a shock to see her re-name Raga Jaunpuri as Raga Jivanpuri.
Zygmunt Bauman was emeritus professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds and had developed key concepts for the understanding of fundamental issues of today’s world, such as liquid modernity, time, space and disorder, individualism versus community, globalization and consumer’s culture, love and identity
John Peter Berger (5 November 1926 – 2 January 2017) was an English art critic, novelist, painter and poet. His novel G. won the 1972 Booker Prize, and his essay on art criticism Ways of Seeing, written as an accompaniment to a BBC series, is one of the most popular introduction to radical/leftists analysis of art.
2016 unfortunately felled a lot of greats, so our Music Section became a bit heavy on Music Obits, but we assure you that the odes and laments were all ours (no consultants were used) and when words failed we simply let the music speak for itself.
George Michael died this Christmas but his songs live on
Now her statues will come up all over the state, and for once I’m glad. In a few generations, all that will matter is that there is a woman’s statue as well, and that statue is not a mere kannagi who was venerated because she was a perfect wife, but of a woman who was a true and powerful leader of her own merit and her own making.
Loved by millions. Misunderstood by others. What no one can do is ignore him.
His enemies say he was an uncrowned king who confused unity with unanimity.
And in that his enemies are right.
In 1963, Kanhailal Heisnam had been expelled from the National School of Drama on for having taken leave without official permission. The real problem, according to scholars like Rustom Bharucha was Kanhailal’s inability to cope with the pressure of being expected to speak, write and work in English and especially in Hindi. These were languages that were unfamiliar and alien to him, just as he was alien in the space where he had arrived, albeit with much hope and optimism, as a student of theatre. Having been expelled, after a period of aimlessness, Kanhailal returned to Imphal finally in 1969 to begin his own work and established his theatre group Kalakshetra Manipur. However, unlike the far-more spectacular Ratan Thiyam, who even went on briefly to become the director of NSD in 1987-1988, Kanhailal remained for a long time on the margins of what was accepted and celebrated as ‘Manipuri ‘theatre practice at the nation’s centre.
This dead body is Raju Mistry’s corpse was the bewildering claim by the Police, which was then quickly corrected, to the right Dalit, Kamal Valmiki. The plan backfired and Police were now asked to produce Raju Mistry from my depths. All 15 policemen of my outpost have been suspended. One has been accused of murder. A few are on the run. But what difference does it make? The fascists are in Government and they have the judiciary in their pocket. Indict with impunity but your caste clout will guarantee your acquittal. Raju Mistry will return but not empty-handed. He has thrived as an outlaw after his escape. He has heard about Kamal Valmiki’s murder. He has rounded up the fleeing policemen. Only gangsters can catch the police that the police can’t catch.
I must have been a ten year old when I first heard of Cassius Clay, the American black boxer, the olympic and world heavyweight champion, and that he had become a Muslim and taken the name of Muhammad Ali.
Muhammad Ali was also a symbol of black protest, a cipher for the anti-Vietnam movement, a martyr (or traitor, depending on one’s perspective), a self-regarding braggart, and many more things beside. While there have been several sports icons, none have approached Ali in terms of complexity, endowment and sheer potency.
No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over
On a singer and a wrestler
2016 has dimmed the lights of two truly great artists –David Bowie and Prince. Both share a lot in common- their blurring of the lines of gender, sexuality and identity and their expansion of the vocabulary and possibilities of popular music. But in one area they differ. Bowie brought into pop music sensibilities from modern art, architecture and classical music but Prince developed into high art the popular black styles he loved. His work is art without being ‘arty’.
Man, we can just imagine the heavenly angels and the deep four poster bed