To New Beginnings!

Dear All,

Thanks for remaining subscribed to my hardly updated blog.

 I was under the impression that my stint with blogging, like many other short lived interests, was over. That was one of the reasons of my unaccounted hibernation in the blogosphere, along with other constraints like my hectic schedule.  However, I am pleasantly surprised to see that people still go through this virtually archaic space that I have created. I have recently had three new subscriptions which add to my sense of bafflement, but also of guilt for being so irregular and inactive.

So, here is the crux of the matter: I am planning to shift my blog to another domain called ‘’ which would hopefully rectify a few technical glitches that my current blog has. Being only a semi-literate in I T, hope is all I can do in this regard. But, I do plan to be more regular and responsible from now onwards as far as updating is concerned. Fulfilling resolutions have never been my strong point but I sincerely hope it works at least this time around.

The new blog’s address is this:   Hope you would remain interested.
                    Kalpana Sharma in H C U
Kalpana Sharma, veteran journalist and writer, delivered a lecture on the topic " Journalism as if Gender Matters" at the Dept of Communications yesterday. Me being a regular follower of her column 'The Other Half'  in 'The Hindu', was absolutely thrilled to finally see her in flesh and blood. It was almost as if someone very near to you had come to town! ( Well, I had the same feeling when Paul Krugman won the Nobel for Economics last year, courtesy the 'Paul Krugman column' in the same newspaper!)

She talked in length about how developing a gender sensitive approach is crucial in contemporary journalism. The talk was followed by an interactive session with the audience. Crucially, the 'inside view' that she as a journalist of immense experience could bring was clearly visible throughout the talk

To top it all, I also managed to have a little chat with Ms.Sharma after the session. It was a delightful evening, indeed.

N.B:  to know more about Kalpana Sharma, please check out this website-


Cycling, as always on the wrong side of the road
to the campus,
as unsuspecting as on
any Monday morning,
I  confront winter :
a tree all alone
with branches forlorn
and leaves stripped off;
yet, rides away, only faster,
no turning back
no second look.

Winter, I don't want to write about you.

The way you devour the colours and 
turn everything into a grey,
the way your every image
manifest loneliness,
oh winter, putting it down on paper,
I always end up
doing something i would never want to do,
a self portrait.

A poet died
back home
and I,
miles away
couldn't make out
what it meant.

He had died before also,
almost, I mean.
Like a frog run over by a truck
many a times he had
fallen down on the black mud
of the streets,
drenched in blood,
in wine,
spread eagled,
almost dead.

There were his other deaths too,
less physical,
but more intense.
Mostly murders, i guess.

Love hate lust
and folks like you and me
together had him dead
at the cross, many times,
and yet, from his blood,
holy in its unholiness,
they had risen like fire,
burning their way 
right into you.

They called him an addict,
made fun at his back,
but were silent as the stones 
when he rode,
with his 'bird' and the 'snake'*
like a king 
on the streets 
in the rain 
of molten, acidic,
black ink.

I asked a friend of mine
what it means when
a poet dies;
don't know why, but she said
probably it was a 
'trick question'.
May be 
that's what it could mean
when a poet dies.

A trick
to end the agony 
of being shackled to life.

A question
that keeps screaming
in your head, 
never letting you 

* In memory of the Malayalam poet A. Ayyappan who passed away recently. The poet who had led a tumultuous and lonely life remained lonely in his death also. His body remained unidentified on the roadside for hours.The poet had recently won the coveted Aashan prize.

* The poet's favourite metaphors, the 'bird' and the 'snake'
Dear friends, 
Due to the issue of word limit, i'm forced to post this article in  6 parts, each part a separate post. If you can take the pain of reading it from bottom to top, you would be able to read it as one article, which's how i wanted it to appear. Hope you would bear with the inconvenience!

(continuation of Tales from 6)

The Maoists have time and again proclaimed their reluctance to compromise with the “bourgeois democracy” of the Indian state. But when one takes a closer look, what’s happening in Dantewada doesn’t look like a struggle to capture the state at all.  Instead, what’s revealed is the sad plight of a people forced to take up arms when their last resource, the land, is being forcefully looted by a corporate-state nexus.  In their struggle for existence they’ve none to turn to, except the Maoists. So naturally, they become Maoists.  But it’s not the Maoists who have forced the adivasis to take up arms; it’s the vicious and unyielding exploitation inbuilt in the system that’s responsible.

The conflict that’s snowballing in to a full scale war in the Indian heartland is a cause of concern for every citizen in this country. With the murder of Azad (maiost spokesperson) in a fake encounter, the prospects for dialogue between the gov. and the Maoists have become bleaker. The Indrāvati river in Dankaranya is turning dead red.

“History had taught him
how dictators are  born
from the blood of the poor
time and again.

but at this moment
he’s with the these black people
singing the songs of liberation
under these tamarind trees”
                                          (There, Sachidanandan)

Today the Indian democracy is at crossroads, confronting the historic ‘ on whose side are you’ question. It doesn’t look like as if it can escape answering it, not this time.
Will it be able to stand at the side of these “black people singing the songs of liberation”? Shouldn’t it be?
(continuation of Tales from 5)
It was in 1980 that the Maoists, fleeing from AP, reached Dantewada, amidst the unorganised and exploited tribals. They had to build the organisation from scratch, and that’s exactly what they did. It all started when the Maoists intervened to secure better prices from the contractors for the ‘tendu’ and Bamboo products on which the sustenance of the adivasis depends upon heavily. They won over the peoples’ hearts with a relentless struggle against forest officials that saw the men in uniform retreating in to safety, out of Dantewada. The Maoists’ dominance in these areas is not an overnight phenomenon. It happened as a result of relentless struggle for the peoples’ rights along with ideological education and military training. Today the Maoists claim that there’s not a single landless adivasi left in the whole region.

But we also need to enquire here about the nature of the alternative put forward by the Maoists. It’s obvious that that in the last 30 years of their campaign they have been focussing almost solely on building up a well trained armed force. Till now, disappointingly, they’ve not been able to effectively intervene in basic issues of the people such as agriculture, health and education, nor have they managed to raise the standard of living of the people. Most importantly, the Maoists have failed to initiate Panchayathi raj institutions, a vital prerequisite of people’s democracy, which is promised to be heralded by the Maoists. Also, pro poor legislations of the state like NREGA and Forest Rights Act etc also remains largely under utilised by the Maoist administration which has denied the people the little relief that they could have got from their daily routine of penury and exploitation. Of course the Maoists were severely crippled as a banned organisation, no doubt, but even then there were things they could’ve done, if they were willing to shift the focus from arms.  It’s a fact that almost all the money tolled from the contractors was dedicated for the procurement of arms.

But the most disappointing aspect has been the rise in the violence unleashed by the Maoists in the last few months. One might even be able to justify the resistance they offered against Salvajudum, the tyrannical government sponsored militia which heralded a reign of terror in the villages. But the killing of civilians in recent times strips them off from whatever moral justification they had and points to a serious degradation in the organisation. It also offers a taste of things to come.  The ultimate casualty is undoubtedly the life of the poor tribal, caught in the crossfire between the state, Maoists and the salvajudum.