Posts Tagged ‘Caravan’

Why modern Kannada films loathe Bangalore City

14 October 2011

The depiction of the “City” in Indian cinema has changed from one of unbridled optimism and opportunity in post-Independent India to the ossification of the great urban dream in the post-liberalised phase.

No City exemplifies this cinematic trend better than Bangalore in which Karnataka’s urbs prima is shown by contemporary Kannada films (like Majestic, Kitty, Jogi and Duniya) in the eyes of Kannada-speaking migrants as a seedy capital of crime, injustice, unemployment, exploitation and worse.

The film scholar M.K. Raghavendra detects at least five reasons for this “unconcealed loathing” of Bangalore by Kannada films, in an article in Caravan magazine:

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1) Unlike mainstream Hindi cinema which has a large constituency spread across the nation, “Kannada cinema defies the expectation of a pan-Kannada reach: earlier, it restricted its vision to princely Mysore (made up of Bangalore, Mysore and the remainder of southern Karnataka) and it continues to exclude Kannada-speaking regions beyond.”

2) “Mysore, during its rule by the Wodeyar dynasty, was regarded as a ‘nation within a nation’ and, to a large degree, has retained its exclusive culture ever since the time of British India. Vestiges of this sentiment lingered on in Kannada cinema, which was born in 1930s Mysore, even after linguistic reorganisation…

3) “Linguistic reorganisation did not create unity in the way it was anticipated. Bangalore became the capital of Kannada-speaking Karnataka, though it was only a few hours away from Tamil-speaking Tamil Nadu, Telugu-speaking Andhra Pradesh and Malayalam-speaking Kerala. As the two sections of Bangalore grew into each other, the city came to exhibit an unusual degree of cosmopolitanism.

4) The IT industry and IT-enabled services favoured those with an English-medium education. “These companies started to recruit from all over India and estimates show that presently only 10 percent of the jobs in the new economy are held by Kannada speakers. Since these companies pay their employees substantially higher wages, the spending power of non-Kannada workers—increasingly visible in new consumption trends—has become a talking point in Bengaluru.”

5) “Another reason for the disaffection of Kannada speakers is perhaps the endless expansion of Bengaluru, marked by the entry of private builders. Families that originally owned bungalows, as well as farmers on the periphery, succumbed to the needs of the ever-expanding city. Those now occupying the apartments in the city are new entrants to Bengaluru, with visibly greater purchasing power. Farmers who gave up their land in exchange for the compensation available to them have realised its soaring value too late. Given this troubled history, Bengaluru may be expected to represent more than simply an archetypal ‘city’ for Kannada cinema.”

Photograph: A still from Jogi, starring Shiva Rajkumar, in which a country bumpkin attempts to find his feet in Bangalore.

Read the full article: Meanings of the City

3 reasons why ban on cow slaughter is ridiculous

27 September 2010

Vinod K. Jose, who watched cows in his upper-caste neighbour’s house in Manipal being looked after by a servant belonging to the Koraga tribal tribe who ate beef, on why “Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010″ is fraught, in Caravan:

1) People who coexist with cattle—the ones who get their hands dirty looking after the animals— should not be left out of the debate against those who make higher moral claims of militant vegetarianism, those who preach the doctrine of the sacrosanct bovine, yet watch the animals eat plastic and urban waste and return no physical care to the animals.

2) Cows were not ‘sacred’ during the Vedic and post-Vedic periods. Indra had a weakness for bull meat, and Agni for bull as well as cow, the texts say. Taittiriya Brahman says: atho annam via gauh (verily the cow is food). And in Charak Samhita, the Ayurvedic medical text, cow’s flesh is prescribed as a medicine for various diseases.

3) Beef contains 22.5 proteins while rice has only 6 to 8 percent and wheat only 10 to 12 percent. Also for its essential amino acids, animal proteins are qualitatively better than vegetable proteins. This is also a reason lower-caste Hindus continue to eat beef in spite of ritualistic Hindus making it a taboo.

The right to one’s food preference has to be respected just as much as another’s right to avoid a particular food.

Read the full article: The beef over buff

Also read: Is ban on cow slaughter ‘majority appeasement’?

The cruel, repressive regime of Colonel Sanders

Leaves so large you could serve a thali on them

Why Delhi shouldn’t host Commonwealth Games

11 October 2009

joel statement and t#1D0E8AJOEL ELLIOTT, an American freelance journalist working as a “staff writer” at Caravan magazine in Delhi since May this year, has been the subject of a bizarre torture incident.

According to a signed statement issued by Elliott, a recipient of the Payne Award for courage, he was assaulted by Delhi police personnel on the morning of October 6, allegedly for “trying to steal a taxi”, while in fact he was only seeking cover from the rampaging cops who were pounding some other person in the darkness.

Elliot, who claims he was “tortured” by the police and “inhumanly treated”, has now left for the US.

Below is the full text of Eliott’s signed statement, released by Caravan, in which he demands a compensation of half of million dollars for “the pain and suffering and mental anguish” inflicted upon him.

Two things stand out in this extraordinary incident:

# One, India’s home minister P. Chidambaram exhorted Delhi-ites to “behave better” in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games a few days ago. Are the beasts in khaki exempt from this rule?

# Two, the ear-splitting silence of Sheela Dixit. The angelic chief minister of South Delhi is usually dripping milk,  honey and nectar in her convent school accent. Why is she so silent at such an outrage?

Delegates of 71 Commonwealth countries are currently inspecting facilities in Delhi to see if the City is ready for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. What they are looking for is to see if the bricks and mortar are in place.

The plight of Joel Elliott is proof that an even more important prerequisite—the Capital’s heart—is not.

There may be holes in Elliott’s account. The whole thing may be a publicity stunt for a just-revived magazine. Perhaps he was wrong to have hit back at the police when the first blow fell on him. Etcetera. But, even if you assume the very worst about Elliott’s account, is this how the police mete out justice, to Elliott or any other person?

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joel statement


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