Tibet Recall: Meandering Concerns

Poetry and Science: Through the Tests of Time

Abanti Bhattacharya & Agneya Singh 27 March 2015 Gauhar Raza & George Szirtes 20 March 2015
“She disciplined her memory to give up counting her losses. She gave her suffering one name: exile.” Opening her A Home in Tibet (2013), Tsering Wangmo Dhompa unveils the inescapable torture that time, remembrance and even hope became, for her mother, and a whole people. “My mother,” she adds, “My mother did not return home during her lifetime.” In Old Norse, heimr was the residence, the home, but also, the world. Homeless, world-less. Suddenly, the stories of generations get stuck in time. Without a space, without a world, this is what a people permanently risks: meandering only in memories, with their concerns whirling helplessly, like a destination-less exodus, calling in solely on the shrinking islands of exile lands. So, why is this memory not reaching at least our minds, as 28 March was, in 1959, the date of the dissolution of the Government of Tibet by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China? Caught in-between politico-religious plays, Tibet would fall prey to an era too familiar with wide-scale displacements, not so different perhaps from those of South Asia or the Middle East, a decade before. But, as peoples stay apart, and as we prefer chatting of economic capacities than of the project of genuine multi-cultural cohabitations, histories indeed become just memories. A people remains in a hospitable land for ten, twenty, fifty years. There, in a few hilly towns; there, in one or two colonies of our big cities. Segregated, still, until memories fade, and perhaps soon, die. As LILA Inter-actions looks up north, and looks around, to recall and remember the question of Tibet in India this week, Abanti Bhattacharya addresses the passivity imposed upon Tibet in the realm of geopolitics, caught between the interests and anxieties of its two giant neighbours: China, and India. Agneya Singh keeps the flame alive, and shining, celebrating the force of resistance of the Tibetan struggle in India, even as it suffers from a lack of leadership, and accountability. He reflects on the arts as possibly the needed new space for the metamorphosis of this energy, to continue transforming memories into change.Read button
On the fast track, still, there are moments when an intimation or two arrive to remind us of how human language is closely involved in the design of our physical world. And one remembers some of the earliest narratives on nature, various creation myths from diverse¬†communities. When did our language give rise to a gap in communication between the human world and the rest of nature’s creations? When did a radical opposition come in between our knowledge and our creativity as they figure in our universities, affecting our very mindsets? It seems it is no longer the Word that is first, but words. The words of our languages, deaf to one another. Today, the words of science should limit themselves to the knowledge born of objective observation, while those of poetry would not dare step out of the subjective beautification of emotions. It is long back, indeed, that poetry was wedded to science, and the couple has since seemingly fallen into a Platonic love-hate companionship, through the tempests and the deserts of those slow¬†centuries. But the most familiar and once cherished symbols of our skies, sun and moon, reveal their dance, still, and align, like a few words becoming sentence and perhaps verse. Here is our chance to revive the youthful passion of the old couple. As the celestial event of a total solar eclipse meets the World Poetry Day in our calendars, scientist Gauhar Raza walks the memory lane, and tries to spot how the simultaneous growth of his two passions could only reveal their deep intimacy. Writer George Szirtes resorts to his quill, no, his keyboard, to muse over the new romance of the poet with science‚Äôs dearest offspring: technology. As techne gets smaller and smaller, inserting itself in our spaces and times, making becomes naming. New doors open for language and creation, but new challenges, too.Read button

The Islamic State: Hiding in Plain Sight?

The Union Budget: The Rules and the Divides

Come Carpentier de Gourdon & Omar Sheira 13 March 2015 K. Shanthi & Ritu Dewan 6 March 2015
Ashes to Ashes. Richard the Lionheart meets George Orwell. Thoughts of a remote past must have crossed the mind of the Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh last month, when, locked in his final cage, he saw the trail of fire coming his way. A subconscious, collective picture of the many so-called heretics and political resistants burnt at the stake in the distant Middle Ages. A taboo for humanists today, we would think, after all the progress our globalised political morality has gone through. Poking right where it hurts: the Islamic State and its warriors know us intimately. Frozen stare before our screens, us the post 9-11 worldwide-connected, subliminally fed with the snippets of Terror and its War, we are still hooked to the sensorial, like a drug addict with a permanent IV. IS is neutralising us in our dead angle, in our fantasy of a total show business that would leave nothing unseen. A spectacle standing for nothing else than itself, the twisted projection of an ideal, absolute destructive force, spot-on for our oldest fallacy: that one can be an outsider, a pure, passive observer. Under the derm¬†of the Islamic State and its sensible, thus we must go this week on LILA Inter-actions. Come Carpentier de Gourdon reflects on the possible causes of the mutant-like DNA of the Islamic State, and questions the genuineness of the helpless, Manichean discourses of the ‘Western coalition’. Omar Sheira inspects the phenomenon and its growth through its internal dynamics, and points towards the lack of an indigenous state-building initiative in the Arab countries, as the fertile ground for such extremes.Read button
Everyone for themself. Nearly one and a half century have¬†clearly not been enough to prove Herbert Spencer wrong on his dark twisted fantasy. The latest Union Budget, for 2015-2016, shows how even the financial possibilities of a Union can facilitate the openly pro-business tastes of a government: sharply cut the funds planned for the social sector, claim a ‘democratic’ sharing of responsibilities, and demand of the States to now use their own Governments’ resources to try satisfying those programmes. New methods for old ideas: Holi inaugurates another refreshing spring of acche din… Survival of the fittest is thus still the melody for the underprivileged majority, but now the contagion has also reached State administrations, intra in their increased tensions with the communities, and inter, as a new level of competition will now rule over the mutual relations of the States. Visibly,¬†more¬†inequity is the only commonality¬†evenly shared across the society and its structures, starting with our most fundamental social and cultural architecture. While most countries of the world will celebrate the International Women’s Day shortly, we are attempting a connection¬†between the coincidences of this¬†context, and look specifically at the effect of the new Union Budget on women. This week on LILA Inter-actions, K. Shanthi¬†deciphers the technical details of the new Budget and shows how just letting the numbers speak already gives many hints. Ritu Dewan draws the multiple conclusions of the economic dependency expected of women, and she demonstrates how the Budget betrays the very ineffectiveness of the prevalent mantras of development.Read button

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed by the writers are their own. LILA Inter-actions will not be responsible for the views presented.

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