Thursday, February 21, 2019

A man, a fishing net and a nostalgia- built up city and the canal in newtown

The canal seems to impress kaleidoscope continuously. As he had already showed how the canal transformed from it's Wilder appeal to a more domesticated kitsch, today he could spot a fisherman with his fishing net (khyapla jal in bangla) standing silently and waiting for the fishes to appear in the shallow water.

"We used to get so many different kinds of fishes here... The canal used to have connections to the nearby wetlands and fishing water bodies. The quality of water was also good. There used to be a tall palm tree - the spot where we used to place single valve fishing traps... I came today with an expectation to catch a few not so 'elite' fishes." The man with a net tells slowly.

Didn't you get to work today - Kaleidoscope asked. ''I didn't get a wage work today in the construction site so I thought of giving it a chance".

Kaleidoscope could see 'ambuja cement' written on the t-shirt he was wearing. Yes, it does tell a story of the man with a net and like many others facing an uncertain and unpredictable future. A future with cement dust, long working hours, no social security benefits- loud noise and cheap country liquor. It's perhaps much wiwor than the people who built up pyramids.

As kaleidoscope looks onwards he finds a glassy architecture of the postmodern consumer's extravaganza on his right side (quite significantly so) and similar glassy college building competing with the architecture, perhaps complementing the rootless and fleeting appearances of depthless presents.

Meanwhile as he walks pass the canal side road, he hears the sound of fallen leaves of times. Leaves that conceals stories of an infinite library.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Aggressive Nationalism and a Civil War Like Situation in India

As some, I mean even if it's few, it's a hopeful situation, amongst us are totally disgusted by the recent rise of aggressive nationalism in the country, it's important to explore the nature of language use especially the choice of words. 

Antinational and the trajectory of pro-nationals

There seems to be a recent rise of thin skinned people looking for antinationals to be annihilated. They are proudly making claims of nationalism as a way of life. The nationalism that makes them undermine the constitutional guarantee of free speech and ability to criticise nation and it's policies. Initially, you thought you could ignore them because they are uneducated and insensitive. Then you thought there will be administration to save you from such stupid gangs. Finally you realise that you are quite lonely here and not even the administration is that active to save you from those pack of goons.

They have a peculiar mode of operation that make everyone vulnerable. First they find out people having a slight difference of opinion. It's easy to find them online, because now a day people make it sure that they have an opinion and they make it sure that that opinion is expressed online. There is nothing wrong in it, but since one has the right to share his/her opinion opposite opinions are also available in the market. 

With the Pulwama issue hurting million's of people's sentiments, it's relatively easy to pump the flow of aggressive nationalism and carry away people's consciousness towards and singular and monolithic construct of nationalism. A nationalism that rests on hatred against a country- The Pakistan. A nationalism that quickly alienates one of our own provinces - Kashmir. A nationalism that promotes stereotypes of equating Muslims with Pakistan and henceforth terrorism. 

Who are the pro-nationals?

Pro-nationals are now having several categories. 

First, it's the people who accept the state as a monolithic structure and a machine that works beyond criticism. They also find it disturbing to criticise the state policies when so many Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed. 

Therefore, if someone has a slightest doubt in mind about the lack of security arrangements s/he bound to be an antinational.

Second, it's the people who subscribe to the hoaxes served hot in their WhatsApp Facebook tables everyday by some ITcell army of a particular political party with particular agenda in mind- such as anti-Muslim propaganda and sustenance of present regime. Their survival depends on the sustenance of the regime hence it is an ecosystem in itself.

Third, it's the people who suddenly find it's important to compete with others to show who is more Nationalist. Hence, all of a sudden some shopkeeprs are displaying the boards that they will not let people of Kashmir to enter. Or a stupid, insanely hoax looking message of some Cornel asking everyone to abandone Kashmir or kashmiri products- opportunists even from the highest constitutional positions even tweeted it.

Fourth, it's the people who are not only unemployed but also unemployable. This particular section subscribe to the fact that the country is female, and only test of patriotism is enchantment of Bharat Mata ki Jay. These section is the most dangerous one and behaves like a pact animal roarming around freely and targetting people online and offline. This section seems to be the most conspicuous one as well.

The mode of operation-

It's rather simple. They identify people making posts online. Like a school going girl said that even when people are killed on the opposite side of the border it's painful, or a school teacher arguing the technicalities of martyrdom. These people are isolated and vulnerable. Hence, initially they search for the profiles online, take screenshots and make the screenshots available to their instruments. 

Once the screenshots get sufficient attention by the specialists who usually add one or two more lines describing how heinious the crime has been made by a Facebook post it is usually released online in common and large groups. These large groups are also filled with fake profiles and because they constantly harp on the issue many others participate with the same sentiment. 

As a last step to the process locally available pact full of unemployed and unemployable goons launch attack on the property and the person.

Taken from sanchari sengupta's Facebook page

The language use-

Let me introduce you to the nature of language who usually find the country to be thier mother.

A lady was asked about the size of her vagina and how many penises she can take inside simultaneously. She has also been asked who is going to save her if she gets a gang rape on a famous alleyway of a famous mosque in Kolkata. Apart from these, slangs like being a characterless lady, or being an unlawful child etc. are quite regular. For men it's the question of his character or whether he will enjoy seeing their female family members getting raped!

Some of them carry national flag and hence if one questions the intent of the national flag s/he is immediately a branded antinational even by those who are apparently educated and occupying respected position in the society and in occupation.

While these goons are unleashed, their videos are circulated widely and a large section of the people appreciate the move in the name of killing "Pakistani" people living inside the country. When questioned they give a strange definition of democracy as the rule of the majority. They find the cultivation of such sentiments are absolutely needed and important because their country is otherwise in grave crisis.

Where does it end?

One cannot see the end immediately. Some people will bag electoral dividends from it and meanwhile the country will step backwards to a relatively much more darker times of prehistoric era when civilisation was rooted in sentiments coming out of killing (sometimes cooking and eating too) of fellow members of the same species in the name of apparent cultural differences 

Friday, February 8, 2019

School projects and photocopy centres - an evening in the knowledge hub called the googling

How school employs people in the name of educating our future generations is quite an amazing thing to work on. Those who are already parenting their school going children know but this is for people like me who are yet to step into the trap.

Schools will ask for some project works to be done by the student. What does the project work entail? Yes the end product is submission of a report filled with a few photographs and descriptions. How will you get those photographs? Of course you will Google them.

An around 50 year old gentleman came and asked for some wildlife photographs. He sat and choose. Took the printout and left the place.

It was more amusing when a charming girl came to the centre demanding some photographs on the history of India. From 1921 to 1947 she demanded she needs everything to be printed. The lady in charge of the computer was aback, so does Kaleidoscope. She smiled and told that 'no no I have the details'. She started selecting the photographs from the computer like this. She insisted to take prints with written details so that while pasting she doesn't confuse between salt satyagraha and Simon go back. The lady in charge and kaleidoscope laughed together. She further said she studies in some international public school, of course a private one with a certain degree of certainty that her madam doesn't know who looks like whom. The lady smiled saying 'she might use the same Google to check your answerscript.

Kaleidoscope enjoyed the whole story for his assignment over hours in the photocopy centre.

Just before you close the window let me tell you kaleidoscope went there to bind his promotion related papers which is about 157 pages of junk that no one will read but will kept somewhere in the dark corner of a public office. Now you know the value of project work, and the reason for which schools are giving emphasis on doing it!

Canal transforms - nostalgia and kitch in New Town, Kolkata

  There used to be an unimportant route of memories to meet river, often unchecked. Yes it did carry water and since until recent times it was a country side, the water was nicer. Just nicer enough to grow water Lily and some edible roots and underwater growths. Kaleidoscope could see villagers reclaiming the canal, collecting water Lily flower seems and roots to consume.

Just yesterday it was, kaleidoscope remembers unkempt spiking trees and bushes along with the reflection of the sky added some tales of past. Not to forget birds especially three different types of Kingfishers added extra attraction to kaleidoscopic imagination.
Meanwhile, blue-white encroached and parallel running lanes were paved. It was a slow but definite entrance of the state to reclaim and redesign the space, taking away from the lap of nature.

While kaleidoscope could see trees trimmed there is this recent addition - lightposts. Soon to follow the charaistic blue-white led drapes. Perhaps another end to the beauty as it is and an onslaught of transformation to something which can be best described as kitsch.

While kaleidoscope walked pass the kanak-champak flowering tree someone whispers from the tree "let there be darkness".

See how the trees added spring to the canal

See how the canal side looked before the addition

Friday, February 1, 2019

The spring has to come

As the canal side road continues to amaze kaleidoscope with one thing or the other. A sudden appearance of tiny little common kingfisher making it's typical water close flight, or momentary call of blak headed Oriole and awesome call of the kite from hundred feets above distracts him, pushes him towards some riverine past. Like the tale of thousands of missing love affairs and painful separation as the river has to leave a place and go towards the sea - the bigger picture, kaleidoscope waits for the monsoon to fill up the gorge.

The remembrance of the untold love affairs halts kaleidoscopic pace as he encounters a rudra palas on the other side of the canal - lonely and yet colourful. There may be fallen flowers, wait that would last forever but no regrets. The spring has to come.