The loot of Colonization

“An estimated 1.64 million Chinese relics are owned by foreign museums. Even more than that are owned by private collectors. A great number were looted, stolen and smuggled out of China between the 1860s and 1949 when the country was subjected to colonial invasion and civil wars.
Because of the difficulties on the way to recovery of the stolen/ looted artifacts through diplomatic channels, or purchase them at a reasonable price is still the most practical way, however with the latest auctioned prices being rocket high, it is rapidly turning to be unpractical if not impossible…
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article5829613.ece
Put Vijay Mallya’s purchase of Gandhiji’s personal artefacts in that context

TV debates for political leaders in India

You must vote. Of course. It’s the way we live. But for whom ?
There seems to be no political agenda of any party. The only agenda is to malign or bring the other party down. Or to form alliances so that the seat count is favourable. But I have not heard one good speech, or seen one good manifesto, or heard anything that I have not heard for the last 20 years. There is no leader in India right now that seems to have a vision. Is there a vision for India ?
There has to be. As Pakistan loses it’s sovereign status and gets talibanized. As the US moves the war against the Taliban and the mythic Osama Bin Laden closer to India, and As the world reels under recession and the dream of India as an economic super power begin to fade. As the farmers in the interiors lose any hope of an economic miracle for themselves, and Naxalism takes hold of vast areas of rural India.
As India is threatening to tear itself apart in the East, in the North with Kashmir and in the South as the Tamil rebels migrate to India to continue to fight for their home land in Sril Lanka, what is the vision that will hold India together ? Where is the leader, where is the party that says that at these difficult times they have a particular agenda to lead the people and the country ?
So let them not hide behind petty games and seat counting. Lets invite them out in the open and debate each other on TV for the whole of india to see and judge for themselves. What is the Vision that Mayawati, or LK Advani, or Sonia Gandhi, or Manmohan Singh have ?
And how do we vote without knowing that ?

Obama gets it

But does everybody else ?
In a planet where 95% of the wealth is owned by 5 % of the people. Where 5% of the people consume 95% of the earth’s resources beyond their basic needs, and where global media has ensured that the 95% know how that 5% live, is it surprising that the world is in turmoil ? There will be no going back to the old financial systems. There will be no recovery of the global financial systems as we knew it , where the financial systems inherently are designed for the protection of the 5%.
This global meltdown is a great leveler that was a long time coming. It caught the innocent in it’s web and will cause a lot of pain to those that already live with their belts impossibly tightened. But it is the new beginning of a more equitable world.
Obama gets it, but can he handle it ?

Pankaj Parasher’s digital Art

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Film maker Pankaj Parasher has always been obsessed by the use of new technology in the medium of cinema. He was scoring his films himself through pro-tools and his computers before we even knew they existed, and now intends to make movies and tell stories through Digital Art. Here is one of his digital paintings that I particularly like. I can imagine a whole film in this style. It’s a whole new horizon of story telling through the visual arts. Pankaj is willing to speak to anyone that wants to discuss digital art with him on our blog. Just send a comment.

Gulal by Anurag Kashyap

Whether you agree with him or not, Anurag kashyap is one of the most compelling Directors in India. His innate rebellious natures transforms itself onto the screen so effectively that he is constantly challenging any preconceptions that you may have. Don’t expect easy plots or ‘armchair’ cinema from him. His characters and nature of his scenes are so compelling that you cannot help but accept his argument for the moment, only to think long and hard about it when you get home. Gulal is such a film and coming so soon after his path breaking Dev D, presents a completely different side of Anurag, a political one, not seen since his terrific ‘Black Friday’, Argue amongst yourselves later, but on screen his scenes and characters are explosive.

Hungry Hearts by Sohaila Charnalia

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It all began the day the four of us sat down to complain. Two of us had lives beating us down….anti-stress pills, rebellious kids, struggles to put in place careers that would have been easier to handle had we been men, or simply, if we had decided to compromise ourselves. The third grumbled about the tight family bonds that were strangulating her. While the fourth was fighting to keep her partner from straying. All of us badly needed a break from the whirlpool of inane activity that we called life.
`Let’s do a play’, one of us shouted…..

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true grit

I am in Udaipur filming here, and surrounded by great stories of the Rana’s and the courageous warriors of Mewar. Fascinating stories that make me wonder what true courage really is ? Does true courage need an enemy to provoke it ? Does honor need something dishonorable to fight against to bring it the fore ?
We often do courageous things driven by passion, by desire for change, or in the service of others. Gandhi ji had the courage to lay his life down for freedom. People make courageous films. But in each case there is an assumption of an opposing force. Is that something that is inherent in establishing courage ?
To me courage is the ability to live. Courage is the ability to be quite ordinary and yet be content, and not see life as a huge burden. Ambition or what we call drive is often driven by innate anger, which can turn completely negative.
But beyond all that true courage is the ability to be comfortable with the unknown and welcome it as the natural order of the universe. It is not just the acceptance of death, but also the acceptance of control as the great illusion. True courage is the ability live in the moment fearlessly and with immense love with no opposing force.

The Hungry Hearts Festival

Ok, so we tend to get a little patronizing about our own family members, especially when that person happens to be your younger sister. You kind of tend to pat them on their back and treat them like a child and then look back at your life and realize how utterly stupid that attitude was. It was a typical attitude of a Punjabi elder brother completely confused about his responsibilities towards her.
So now my younger sister Sohaila is doing things that make me sit up and take notice. Things in my own field. Things that are quite awesome. She has started the Hungry Hearts Festival in Delhi. They need support and I will let Sohaila’s own words take over. I am supporting them and if there is anyone else out there that would like to do so in any way , please write to Sohaila who has sent the following message :
Greetings.
I write on behalf of Hungry Heart Festival which is a society dedicated to bringing sensitive issues touching our lives, in the form of theatre and other performing arts in its various forms, to the Delhi audience.

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Slum Dog kids to campaign for Congress, Jai Ho !!

Azhar and Rubina, both about 10 years old apparently have been asked to campaign for the congress party in the forthcoming elections. Plans are being worked out now. From everyone complaining about Slumdog Millionaire because it show cases poverty in slums, to our Parliament congratulating the film makers and the Media circus taking off on the new found celebrities, our attitude to the film has been entirely schizophrenic.
Of course the kid’s lives can never be the same, and provided their eduction does not suffer, why not ? Why should anyone’s life not be bettered if it can.
But to use them at this age for electioneering ?? Congress has bought the rights to the song Jai Ho for the current elections too. So watch for Azhar and Rubina on trucks with loudspeakers blaring Jai Ho !!

The inner voice

As I sit here
as I often do
waitng for the first blush of blue
to lighten the dark of the sky
a moment so traqnquill
that God insists on teasing us with it
snatching it away
to remind us of the day ahead
I wonder
where is my inner voice
does it lie in the sounds of the birds twittering ?
does it lie in the gradual changing of the shades of blue
does it lie in the gentle breeze that lifts to rejoice the new day ?
how can it lie merely within me ?
and as I watch the first shade of pink emerge
in a cloud so soft
like a new born baby
how arrogant of me to try and listen for a voice
coming from inside my head
of even my soul, if there ever be one
for if there be such a thing
as an inner voice
than surely it must be shared
by the first blue of the sky
by the first pink of the clouds
by the first singing of the birds