Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Two Responses to the ‘World’ about Its Obsession with Alan Kurdi

A few weeks ago, a photograph of a toddler washed ashore became famous world-wide. Not only did the mainstream media receive it with the usual zeal with which sensational news is grabbed and broadcast, it also resonated with social media channels, wherein many people got something simple to express concern about. In a sense, it seemed to many that the ‘world’ had united for a common-cause, something linked to the salvaging if not (we don’t use ‘not just’) of human beings then of humanity for sure. Charlie Hebdo carried caricatures in its next issue that, many say, point to the decadence of European culture. We present below two responses.

Popular Art and photo-journalism are in crises

 

The questions for the first response are taken from what has been said of these two Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

“So close to the the end... Promo! 2 Combo children for the price of one”
“So close to the the end… Promo! 2 Combo children for the price of one”
“This proves that Europe is Christian. Christians walk on water. Muslim children drown.”
“This proves that Europe is Christian. Christians walk on water. Muslim children drown.”

Charlie Hebdo and their apologists argue that the true intent of these cartoons is to mock the systemic apathy of European culture, based as it is upon consumerism, reckless display of wealth, religious dogma, etc. On the other hand, CH has once more been accused of racism and islamophobia, of deliberate sadism targeting desperate populations. A glimpse of these debates can be seen here[i]. Continue reading Two Responses to the ‘World’ about Its Obsession with Alan Kurdi

Some Observations on Institutional Pride – The Case of South Point School

This is in response to an article by ex-South pointers who have celebrated the school. The objective of my response is to expose the regressive/reactionary philosophical underpinnings behind such celebration and also certain outright factual errors.

I hate institutional pride. Those who share this vice may have Daniel Bell’s blessings, but it sucks, big time. First of all, it is just the same as provincialism or communalism. Institutional rivalry is of terrible proportions already in Kolkata. It is astoundingly difficult to believe that those who ostensibly believe in some form of socialism as a better alternative can actually think that it is not only okay but even “cool” to engage in such institutional competitiveness.

I remember in my own South Point days how comparisons would regularly be made with other schools, whether in the context of academic or extracurricular activities. It is not that I have anything particularly against the elitism surrounding South Point – such mentality is manifested by students from a wide range of schools and colleges. It hasn’t changed one bit from the time I used to be in school and from my experience so far with the “radical” student organizers, they don’t do one bit other than to encourage this regressive mindset even more (hence the even more pressing need for this response), presumably as part of the plethora of populist tactics they employ on a routine basis to increase cadre base. As for South Point, the lesser I speak of it the better it is. It was a school which had only one motto – to make each student another brick in the wall, another cog in the machine and make them ready for the market. Continue reading Some Observations on Institutional Pride – The Case of South Point School

Death Penalty – It Just Couldn’t Get Worse, Could It?

I suddenly find myself confused over the issue of death penalty. I am not talking about the Yakub Memon case, I don’t even know its details ,only that it seems there is hardly enough evidence that he was “guilty” of the crimes he is accused of. So let alone death penalty, probably he should get a fairer trial. What I am interested in is to know why people actually oppose death penalty. I mean I totally understand the disgust with the brutal mentality that makes one seek capital punishment. For instance, I totally sympathize with those who oppose the brigade who say that harshest of punishments should be reserved for the rapists, that they should not just be hanged but their penises should be cut off etc. But my sympathies lie only to the extent that I believe such hate mongering will do humanity no good, wont get us anywhere better than the collective hell we all experience. What I don’t or rather fail to sympathize with [and this I admit is a more recent development] is the passionate denouncing of death penalty per se, as if that is way too inhuman or something. More inhuman than keeping someone jailed [especially considering the conditions in which inmates have to remain in India at present?] for a lifetime? More inhuman than having to come out of the jail and then face social persecution and wrath for the rest of the life? Continue reading Death Penalty – It Just Couldn’t Get Worse, Could It?