Government: Of, By, For the People?

Counting on Beauty: The Quantum of Our Values

Sudheendra Kulkarni & Ananya Vajpeyi 26 May 2014 Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma
& Ambroise C. Bukasa
19 May 2014
Today, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is forming a new government in India. For the first time since 1984, a single political party has got the majority of the seats in the lower house of the Parliament. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) having won 282 out of the 543 seats in the 16th Lok Sabha, will now be the deciding authority at the Centre. Apparently, Narendra Modi, who is set to swear in this evening as the Prime Minister of India, was the mastermind and the key player engineering this success, based on a hugely advertised ‘development’ agenda, thus bringing the ‘Coalition Era’ to an end. A lot of hope has been generated among various sections of the society, but, given the Hindu Nationalist background of the BJP, fear and scepticism abound, too. Even if 70% of the electorate votes against a party, it is possible for it to get a clear majority in the house: the irony of calling ours a representative democracy is stark here. In this week’s Inter-actions, Sudheendra Kulkarni assesses without concessions the deficiencies of the supposedly democratic institutions in the country. Ananya Vajpeyi returns to the election results and reflects on how to reclaim secular times for India.Read button
No, this exchange on beauty is not a symptom of our Nero syndrome. The recent political churning in India has exposed the network of instant gratification in which we are trapped. It has rendered the beauteous possibility of the ideal of freedom irrelevant, but has also brought home to us the urgent need to reclaim the pure sciences and the arts as political spaces, and their profound pursuits as acts of lasting ethical value and creative inspiration. Through this Inter-action, we wish to remind ourselves that the shape of any governance can truly serve us only if we use pure numbers and principles of harmony in our political architecture. We warn ourselves against larger than real numbers that would distort our vision, and the jumbled beats that would hurt the music of our understanding. On the 40th birthday of the Rubik’s Cube, for the second issue of our series on beauty, we welcome Anoor Ananthakrishna Sharma, acclaimed Mrindangam artist, who unveils the mathematical DNA of the architecture of Carnatic music, and highlights its infinite possibilities. Congolese mathematician Ambroise C. Bukasa celebrates his discipline as the admiration of the flawless and the mysterious.Read button

Us, Sex Workers: Means for a Meaning

Vital Beauty: Of Stones, Flesh and Raptures

Nalini Jameela & Luca Stevenson 12 May 2014 Benoy K Behl & Rosalyn D’Mello 5 May 2014
What an irony: the practitioners of the world’s oldest profession are still bound to justify that theirs is indeed… a profession. “Sex work is work,” an assertion in the face of the popular stigma surrounding prostitution, has nonetheless become an international slogan to unify sex workers from around the globe. National and trans-national organisations are now able to bring forth the cause of millions of workers. But few would rejoice when assessing today’s scene. This week, LILA Inter-actions starts a new series focusing on the areas where sexuality and economy intersect: Sex and the Market. Its first debate attempts a studied look at sex work and its regulations. Nalini Jameela, author of The Autobiography of a Sex Worker, defends prostitution as an occupation of dignity, in times marked by the lack of a deeper understanding from the public and the state. Luca Stevenson, from the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe, calls for the consultation of sex workers in policy-making, and underlines how legalisation is not the final step to answering these challenges.Read button
The beautiful was certainly our earliest wonderment. Aesthetics, the discourse and study on beauty, would become one of our eternal fields of inquiry. However, several major schools of thought, across the globe, soon took a reductive turn: from narratives of a fundamental harmony, they picked the human out and began to focus on its activities, its creations, its artifacts. Art would thus be the exclusive domain of the beautiful. But beauty, natural, cosmic, precedes and transcends the human craft. Flowing through the latter is an energy, an organic flow: vitality, life itself. For the first debate of our new series, Ecstasies: Conversations on the Beautiful, photographer Benoy K Behl discusses how the early Indic philosophy of aesthetics located beauty in the very continuum of the life force, connecting cosmos and tradition, deities and humans. Writer Rosalyn D’Mello’s strikingly immediate style encounters the beautiful in the delirium within a palmyra fruit, in nature’s play of violence, and along a beam of light tracing the contours of desire…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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