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Hindu supremacists stall play in India - Index on Censorship | Index on Censorship

The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti’s (HJS) unmistakable glee knew no bounds. It had scored a hat trick of getting Ali J, a play centred around the partition of India and communal riots, and seeking to demolish every argument advanced by Hindu fundamentalists, off the stage.

First it was Mumbai, when on 6 February the organisers of the prestigious Kala Ghoda Festival, fearing violence from HJS and political party Shiv Sena, were cowed into calling it off. On March 9, the Chennai Police, citing “law and order problems” asked the troupe to cancel the show. And on 12 March, an hour before the play was about to start, Bangalore cops barged into the theatre and told the performers to clear off from the premises.

The memorandum submitted by the HJS, a revanchist organisation dedicated to “rekindling righteousness” and reawakening (Janajagruti means “mass awakening” in Sanskrit) Indians’ pride in their ancient culture, reads like a study in jingoism laced with vicious communalism. Evam, the Chennai-based theatre group producing the play, is accused of hurting religious sentiments and assaulting nationalistic pride because, among other things it shows an inter-faith love affair, depicts the persecution of Muslims, advocates jihad, depicts Jinnah as being a taller personality than Gandhi, and overall militates “against the established moral principles of Indian society”. These bellicose claims must be greeted with incredulity because as Karthik Kumar, the director and lead actor asserts in an interview to a national daily, none of these purveyors of “Indian morality” had even watched the play. Moreover, as Kumar categorically says, the crux of Ali J’s message was to recall the horrors of partition and caution against the purveyors of hate who indulge in polarising people on the grounds of religion.

This spate of censorious incidents leads one to a number of questions. What is the provenance of organisations like the HJS and the Shiv Sena? What motivates them to claim a sole monopoly on the interpretation of history? And, does the state bear no responsibility in thwarting their efforts?

The systematic rewriting of history and imposing myths upon established facts is a critical component of the Hindu nationalist ideology, for, the doctrine of Hindutva mandates not an India of cultural and ethnic syncretism, but a “Hindustan” in which rabid Islamophobia runs riot. It isn’t the first time that the depiction of partition — the goriest and most viciously communal episode in South Asian history — has been attacked by Hindu supremacists.

In April 1974, M.S. Sathyu’s film Garam Hawa (Hot Wind) — the heartrending tale of the “scorching, simmering and debilitating winds of communalism, political bigotry and intolerance” incurred the Shiv Sena’s wrath. Salim Mirza, the protagonist, was a study in resilience and religious tolerance. Even when everything around him is charred in the communal inferno, he refused to leave India. Bal Thackeray, the Shiv Sena supremo, was so enraged at this humanistic portrayal of a Muslim that he threatened to raze to ashes every single theatre and screen which showed the film. The premiere at Bombay’s Regal Cinema was stalled because the police played mute bystanders. Only after a special screening was hastily arranged for Thackeray and he was satisfied that a Muslim had to stay back and join the Indian (read “Hindu”) mainstream was the film allowed to go on.

Tamas, a television serial carrying pretty much the same message as Garam Hawa, encountered similar opposition in 1988. It didn’t help that the government of Maharashtra, citing possible law and order problems, effectively played tango with the champions of censorship. It could go on air only after the Supreme Court rejected the government’s apprehensions as unfounded.

It would indeed be short-sighted to reserve trenchant criticism only for the bullies who squelch freedom of expression, for more often than not, the government is equally complicit. This is because India’s constitution is unequivocal — that restrictions on speech can be imposed only if “public order” and not the “law and order situation” is in jeopardy. Last year, the Tamil Nadu government took this specious and patently illegal plea while stalling Vishwaroopam, a film which some Muslim organisations found offensive. The courts have clearly stated that “law and order” was narrower in scope than “public order”, and these two should not be interpreted interchangeably, and it is incumbent upon the state to protect the fundamental right to speech in the face of onslaughts.

'Noah' screenwriter attempts to explain why everyone in his movie is white. "The race of individuals doesn't matter."

odinsblog:

racebending:

If you’ve seen Darren Aronofsky’s Noah, you may have noticed something a little weird about the semi-Biblical, semi-apocalyptic cast of the movie: they’re all white. Even the extras.

In an interview with The Higher Calling, Noah screenwriter Ari Handel spoke about the reasoning behind the lack of racial diversity in the cast.

“From the beginning, we were concerned about casting, the issue of race. What we realized is that this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people. Either you end up with a Bennetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise. You either try to put everything in there, which just calls attention to it, or you just say, ‘Let’s make that not a factor, because we’re trying to deal with everyman.’

Looking at this story through that kind of lens is the same as saying, ‘Would the ark float and is it big enough to get all the species in there?’ That’s irrelevant to the questions because the questions are operating on a different plane than that; they’re operating on the mythical plane.”

In summary, white people are stand-ins “for all people,” and no other race could possibly qualify for “everyman” status. Ari Handel’s reasoning is that the only way to dispense with the issue of racism is to remove everyone who isn’t white. Asking what happened to all the other races is akin to nitpicking about whether the arc would float or not. It’s just silly, OK? “The race of individuals doesn’t matter,” which is why they made absolutely sure that all of those individuals were white. Or something.

Unintentionally, Handel managed to illustrate everything that’s wrong with the ongoing attitude towards casting actors of color in major Hollywood movies. White people are the norm, and everyone else is just a distraction. God forbid anyone attempt to be as diverse as the cast of the Star Trek, which debuted in 1966 and included a grand total of two non-white characters.

[READ MORE]

Normative whiteness at work.

"The race of individuals doesn’t matter"…as long as they’re all White

(Source: hellotailor)

Inspiration porn is an image of a person with a disability, often a kid, doing something completely ordinary - like playing, or talking, or running, or drawing a picture, or hitting a tennis ball - carrying a caption like “your excuse is invalid” or “before you quit, try”.

Let me be clear about the intent of this inspiration porn; it’s there so that non-disabled people can put their worries into perspective. So they can go, “Oh well if that kid who doesn’t have any legs can smile while he’s having an awesome time, I should never, EVER feel bad about my life”. It’s there so that non-disabled people can look at us and think “well, it could be worse… I could be that person”.

In this way, these modified images exceptionalise and objectify those of us they claim to represent. It’s no coincidence that these genuinely adorable disabled kids in these images are never named: it doesn’t matter what their names are, they’re just there as objects of inspiration.

But using these images as feel-good tools, as “inspiration”, is based on an assumption that the people in them have terrible lives, and that it takes some extra kind of pluck or courage to live them. For many of us, that is just not true.

If we even begin to question the way we’re labelled, we slide immediately to the other end of the scale and become “bitter” and “ungrateful”. We fail to be what people expect.

Stella Young: We’re Not Here For Your Inspiration (via callingoutbigotry)
If you are 35 or younger - and quite often, older - the advice of the old economy does not apply to you. You live in the post-employment economy, where corporations have decided not to pay people. Profits are still high. The money is still there. But not for you. You will work without a raise, benefits, or job security. Survival is now a laudable aspiration.

Quoted from Sarah Kendzior’s “Surviving the Post-Employment Economy

“In the United States, nine percent of computer science majors are unemployed, and 14.7 percent of those who hold degrees in information systems have no job. Graduates with degrees in STEM - science, technology, engineering and medicine - are facing record joblessness, with unemployment at more than twice pre-recession levels. The job market for law degree holders continues to erode, with only 55 percent of 2011 law graduates in full-time jobs. Even in the military, that behemoth of the national budget, positions are being eliminated or becoming contingent due to the sequester.

It is not skills or majors that are being devalued. It is people.”

Her work is frank, speaking of a reality I hope that will never be mine. At the same time, it gives me a strange comfort to know that I am not alone.

(via sextus—empiricus)

I will always reblog this quote.  Hits way too close to home for me.

(via missbananafish)

The most salient part of this, to me, is the underscoring of the fact that there is no “right” college major where you’re guaranteed a job forever. Conservatives love to pretend college graduates working minimum-wage or freelance jobs just didn’t “pick the right major” - those foolish fools studied the arts or literature or something else frivolous, so they deserve crushing debt and no job security! No. There is no magical college major that will let you sidestep the jobless recovery.

(via teh-den)

la-belle-laide:

wilsoncenter:

What do Rwanda, Afghanistan, and Iraq beat America at? Having women in congress/parliament

Countries with better representation of women in government than the United States (hat tip to our Women in Public Service Project):

  1. Rwanda - 56%
  2. Andorra - 50%
  3. Cuba - 45%
  4. Sweden - 45%
  5. Seychelles - 44%
  6. Senegal - 43%
  7. Finland - 43%
  8. South Africa - 42%
  9. Nicaragua - 40%
  10. Iceland - 40%
  11. Norway - 40%
  12. Mozambique - 39%
  13. Denmark - 39%
  14. Netherlands - 39%
  15. Costa Rica - 39%
  16. Timor-Leste - 39%
  17. Belgium - 38%
  18. Argentina - 37%
  19. Mexico - 37%
  20. Tanzania - 36%
  21. Spain - 36%
  22. Uganda - 35%
  23. Angola - 34%
  24. Serbia - 33%
  25. Nepal - 33%
  26. Germany - 33%
  27. Macedonia - 33%
  28. Ecuador - 32%
  29. Slovenia - 32%
  30. New Zealand - 32%
  31. Algeria - 32%
  32. Guyana - 31%
  33. Burundi - 31%
  34. Switzerland - 29%
  35. Portugal - 29%
  36. Trinidad and Tobago - 29%
  37. Austria - 28%
  38. Ethiopia - 28%
  39. Afghanistan - 28%
  40. France - 27%
  41. Lesotho - 27%
  42. Tunisia - 27%
  43. Belarus - 27%
  44. South Sudan - 27%
  45. El Salvador - 26%
  46. Bolivia - 25%
  47. Iraq - 25%
  48. Laos - 25%
  49. Canada - 25%
  50. Australia - 25%
  51. Sudan - 25%
  52. Lithuania - 25%
  53. Vietnam - 24%
  54. Namibia - 24%
  55. Kazakhstan - 24%
  56. Singapore - 24%
  57. Liechtenstein - 24%
  58. Croatia - 24%
  59. Poland - 24%
  60. Kyrgyzstan - 23%
  61. Latvia - 23%
  62. Bulgaria - 23%
  63. Philippines - 23%
  64. Pakistan - 23%
  65. United Kingdom - 23%
  66. Malawi - 22%
  67. Mauritania - 22%
  68. Czech Republic - 22%
  69. Eritrea - 22%
  70. Uzbekistan - 22%
  71. Luxembourg - 22%
  72. Peru - 22%
  73. Italy - 21%
  74. Boznia and Herzegovina - 21%
  75. China - 21%
  76. Greece - 21%
  77. Cape Verde - 21%
  78. Estonia - 21%
  79. Dominican Republic - 21%
  80. Cambodia - 20%
  81. Israel - 20%
  82. Moldova - 20%
  83. Bangladesh - 20%
  84. Honduras - 20%
  85. Monaco - 19%
  86. Tajikistan - 19%
  87. Mauritius - 19%
  88. Slovak Republic - 19%
  89. Indonesia - 19%
  90. Sao Tome and Principe - 18%
  91. United States - 18%

(source: World Bank)

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