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NOTA vote for Maharashtra

Ding dong!” Since returning from Jakarta, the doorbell kept ringing with the latest candidate soliciting votes.

All were taken aback to discover a firangi (foreigner) in their midst… and therefore obviously someone who cannot vote.

While I was off in Indonesia, Maharashtra’s chief minister stepped down triggering elections.

And there wasn’t much of a choice: (more…)

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Screening of “Jai Bhim Comrade” – Postscript

Update after screening:

What a remarkable experience! Over 1,000 people came… first came the friends and supporters of the film maker then as dusk fell, quietly at first a few then hundreds from the nearby slum quietly filled the back, side until every scrap of space was fully occupied. For nearly three hours, the audience was transfixed by the powerful thought-provoking film with its tough insights into our society, politics and people.

The inspiring Sheetal Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch (Photo: Jai Bhim Comrade)

The inspiring Sheetal Sathe of the Kabir Kala Manch (Photo: Jai Bhim Comrade)

At one point, the power cut and I’m sure more than one person feared the viewing was being halted by ‘the authorities’… so strong the message. A few minutes later, everything was back on track. When it was over, most silently moved on yet were clearly moved. A few older women from the slum came up to Anand and tried to touch his feet in reverence for sharing their story. He would have none of such obeisance and instead a lively discussion ensued until 10pm.

It is heartening to think this film could have such a special public showing – Fountainhead donated the screen, the sound system provided by another company for a nominal fee and the committee responsible for the venue charged no fee and several members came, sharing their support for more such events. Yet the cultural activist Kabir Kala Manch members remain in prison on suspicion (no proof) of being naxalites while the police responsible for the atrocity at Ramabai remain free…

I just discovered a WordPress blog and recommend you read specifically Sheetal Sathe’s story.

Everyday Asia

I’ve shared how there seems to be a subtle shift in India… a frustration with crippling corruption and ridiculous red tape of bureaucracy… and a will to see tangible change. So when a friend – Anand Patwardhan, well-known activist and documentary filmmaker – approached my partner for help organizing a public showing of his politically charged film “Jai Bhim Comrade” (naturally with no budget!), my partner was undaunted and determined.

He was also very clear:

  • If he could get all the permissions needed through sincere effort and above-board application process, duly providing legitimate documentation for requirements, he would go ahead with the event.
  • If one single hand reached out for money to line their personal pockets, he would not only halt the process immediately, he would make a very loud and public stink too!

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Kicking corruption – Screening of “Jai Bhim Comrade”

I’ve shared how there seems to be a subtle shift in India… a frustration with crippling corruption and ridiculous red tape of bureaucracy… and a will to see tangible change. So when a friend – Anand Patwardhan, well-known activist and documentary filmmaker – approached my partner for help organizing a public showing of his politically charged film “Jai Bhim Comrade” (naturally with no budget!), my partner was undaunted and determined.

He was also very clear:

  • If he could get all the permissions needed through sincere effort and above-board application process, duly providing legitimate documentation for requirements, he would go ahead with the event.
  • If one single hand reached out for money to line their personal pockets, he would not only halt the process immediately, he would make a very loud and public stink too! (more…)

Mute – Screaming Silently

I love this crazy maddening country India that I live in… however, as a  ‘firangi’ (foreigner), I cannot vote and therefore, have no say.

Often this makes me feel mute – not having the right to voice my opinions and frustration at certain situations. Or more positively, am restricted against playing a direct role in being part of any kind of political change. Fair enough, I chose to retain the citizenship of my birth – Canada, so this is the result.

This morning, my partner forwarded a marvellous film short that speaks to this. “Mute” is by a new company based literally around the corner for us called Handloom Picture Company. And while it directly talks of our circumstances in Mumbai, there is a universality to many elements in the message – it is worth checking out. (more…)

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