Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Corona Virus: Difficult Times and the Haunting Utopia

Satyaki Roy

I hardly care for days and time these days. It hardly matters to me if it is a Sunday or Monday. Only day and night makes sense; other minute dimensions of time seem to be irrelevant these days. We are locked down. We need not and should not move around to ensure safety of our lives. The monstrous pandemic is gaining strength day by day and the number of affected people as well as the death count rises fast. Suddenly everything comes to a halt. The sky has never been so clear, even one can see the different shades of blue contrasted with bright silvery sunlight. The calm and quiet that the virus brought to us, to homo sapiens, might be a cause of wonder for other living beings whose existence humans hardly recognised in their busy life. Now in metro cities you can hear birds chirping, cows and buffaloes mooing loudly, they cross busy roads without being perplexed by the cacophony of heavy traffic. The pride of humanity, of thinking that the planet and the nature should behave according to their whims alone gets a big jolt. We feel debilitated and scared not because of missiles thrown by powerful countries but by microorganisms that threaten to corrode our bodies en masse.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Coronavirus and Deficient Regional Health Infrastructure may lead to Community Outbreak in North Bengal

Abdul Hannan
It is well-known fact that all the northern districts of the State of West Bengal i.e. Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, North and South Dinajpur, Malda, Murshidabad etc. is considered to be unskilled labour supply zone in most of the cities of India and the migrant laborers are engaged in various kinds of urban services typically known as Unorganised Sector in economic terms. The region is also surrounded by national and international borders and gateway of India’s North-East including Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. The mobility of people is relatively very high through land ports and surface transportation system across borders. The recent outbreak of coronavirus is likely to impact this region adversely due to sudden closure or lockdown and return of migrant labourers from various parts of the country to their native places for many reasons. 

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Corona Epidemic and Neoliberal Capitalist Globalisation: A Counter Narrative from Kerala, India

K. P. Rajesh

Kerala is a small southern state in India once again captured the attention of the world by the way in which it has been dealing with the corona epidemic that spread out all over the world. Two catastrophic incidents happened in this society in the recent past, in which one was the severe flood affected the society in 2018 and it killed around 500 people and 140 people were missing. It was one of the worst disasters in the history of the state. There had been minor floods and landslides that happened before, but nothing like this had ever happened in the state after its formation in 1956. Literally the state submerged under water and the sufferings of the people was inconceivable. The Kerala state machinery and all sections of the society engaged in a difficult task and rescued as many people as possible, and the state under the rule of Left Democratic Front (LDF) took massive measures to rehabilitate the people who lost everything as part of the flood.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Hindi Media: Clearing the road to Hindu Rashtra

Abdul Rahman

How it is that the country’s highest court finds it convenient to go against its mandate to protect the constitution and instead protects those who violate it? What makes it perfectly fine for the police to implicate a human rights activist, Harsh Mander for criticising the police and the court for not doing their duty and provide protection to those who have been clearly responsible for large scale violence? What makes the culprits of Delhi violence the hero and heroes as villain? Answer to all these questions is one: Hindi media. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

Parasite: deciphering the real con

Rahul Vaidya

‘I tried to express a sentiment specific to Korean culture, but all the responses from different audiences were pretty much the same. Essentially, we all live in the same country, called capitalism’. – 

Director Bong Joon Ho on his Oscar winning film ‘Parasite’

The criticism of Oscars as celebration of predominantly white, male and extremely cloistered notions ‘what constitutes good art’ has been growing over the years. And despite the furor over #oscarssowhite and #metoo as well as issues of gender pay gaps etc., the attempts by Hollywood and western art world to address the questions of race and gender have been few and far between. Given the long list of nominations for films either celebrating the lost glory of the West (Once upon a time in Hollywood, Ford vs. Ferrari) or melancholy nostalgia of a world long lost or under siege and beyond repair (The Irishman, 1917); little seemed to have changed.

But then something historic happened at Oscars this year. Director Bong Joon Ho’s Korean film ‘Parasite’ not just won the Best International Film as was expected; but also ended up with Best Picture, Best Director, Best original screenplay awards. Its win as Best Picture is quite historic in that no ‘foreign film’ had ever won Best Picture award so far. First Cannes, Golden Globes and then Oscars have all provided their canonical approval for ‘Parasite’. As much as it is novel for an international (and non-European at that) film to achieve such laurels, it is also quite extraordinary for a film that is entirely about class and class struggle to achieve the mainstream critical approval. What is it that sets ‘Parasite’ apart in terms of its politics as well as aesthetics and also ensures such wide approval of audience and critics alike worldwide? I would like to put forth few points in this regard.