Meredith Stephens sails the Australian coastline, recording her experiences with words and her camera. Click here to read.
Ravi Shankar treks up to Tilicho Tal at 4940 m. Click here to read his trekking adventures.
Dan Meloche visits a contemporary Canadian novel written as an animal fable to draw an unexpected inference. Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes
In From a Kafkaesque Dream to the Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Rhys Hughes brings out a new strain of tunes that grew out of Jeff Simon’s unusual journey and it continues to persist beyond his life. Click hereto read.
Mozid Mahmud explores Kabir and his impact on Tagore, which ultimately led to a translation of the great medieval poet. Click here to read.
Ravi Shankar travels in the freezing cold of Himalayan splendour and shares magnificent photographs of Mt Everest. Click here to read.
Meredith Stephens shares a photographic and narrative treat from Tasmania. Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Dan Meloche revisits a hundred-year-old classic by Herman Hesse that is based on Buddhist lore. Click here to read.
P Ravi Shankar takes us to a trekkers’ life in the Himalayas. Click here to read.
Meredith Stephens explores Tasmania on a boat and with hikes with a gripping narrative and her camera.Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes
Ratnottama Sengupta explores beggary in fact, films and fiction. Click here to read.
A photo-essay set in Tasmania by Meredith Stephens. Click here to read.
P Ravi Shankar takes us on a trek to the Himalayas in Nepal and a viewing of Annapurna peak with a narrative dipped in history and photographs of his lived experience. Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Anasuya Bhar takes us into the literary world of Satyajit Ray, the world famous film director. Click here to read.
Meenakshi Malhotra ponders at the exclusivity that reinforces divisions, margins and borders that continue to plague humankind, against the backdrop of the Women’s Month, March. Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
A tribute by Keith Lyons to the first New Zealand Booker Prize winner, Keri Hulme, recalling his non-literary encounters with the sequestered author. Click here to read.
Rebanta Gupta explores two films of Satyajit Ray, Kanchenjunga & Charulata to see what a sense of isolation can do for humans? Click here to read.
Rakibul Hasan Khan explores death and darkness in Fakrul Alam’s translation of Jibanananda Das’s poetry. Click here to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Sanjay Kumar gives us a glimpse of how theatre has been used to transcend trauma and create bridges. Click here to read.
Camellia Biswas, a visitor to Sunderbans during the cyclone Alia, turns environmentalist and writes about the potable water issue faced by locals. Click here to read.
Sayantan Sur looks into environmental hazards due to shoddy garbage disposal. Click here to read.
Shernaz Wadia explores Western Australia. Clickhere to read.
The Observant Immigrant
Indrasish Banerjee explores why we need a genre in this novel-based essay. Click here to read.
Rupali Gupta Mukherjee visits a restored palace in the heartland of Bengal. Click here to read.
Rakibul Hasan Khan discusses Bangladeshi poet Sofiul Azam’s poetry from a post colonial perspective. Click here to read.
The Observant Migrant
Jayat Joshi, a student of development studies, takes a dig at unplanned urban development. Click here to read.
John Herlihy’s last episode in his travels through Burma. Click here to read.
Suvrat Arora muses on the impact of a classic that has been coloured with biases. Click here to read.
The Observant Migrant
Poets, Poetry & Rhys Hughes
Meenakshi Malhotra through folk songs that are associated with Durga Puja explores the theme of homecoming. Click here to read.
Candice Louisa Daquin applies Gandhiism to her own lived experiences. Click here to read.
Sameer Arshad Khatlani dwells on the tradition of education among Muslim women from early twentieth century, naming notables like Ismat Chughtai and Rashid Jahan. Click here to read.
John Herlihy takes us through more of Myanmar with his companion, Peter, in the third part of his travelogue through this land of mystic pagodas. Click here to read.
Ratnottama Sengupta, who has edited an encyclopaedia on culture and is a renowned arts journalist, gives us the role ‘kanthas’ (hand-embroidered mats, made of old rags) played in India’s freedom struggle. Click here to read.
Abhishek Sarkar explores the colonial setting up of the Calcutta detective department in 1887. Click here to read.
Candice Louisa Daquin ponders over the impositions on people to declare themselves happy. Click here to read.
John Herlihy takes us through more of Myanmar with his companion, Peter, in the second part of his travelogue. Click here to read.
Anasuya Bhar explores the history of the National Anthem of India, composed by Tagore in Bengali and translated only by the poet himself and by Aruna Chakravarti. Click here to read.
Candice Louisa Daquin discusses the concepts of a life well-lived. Click here to read.
John Herlihy explores the magnificent sites of Mandalay in company of a Slovenian friend in the first episode of his quartet on his Myanmar. Click here to read.
Bhaskar Parichha explores Tagore’s interactions with Odisha, his impact on their culture and the impact of their culture on him. Click here to read
Candice Lousia Daquin explores war and peace through history. Is peace possible? Click here to read.
Subhankar Dutta reflects on the role the police has taken in a pandemic torn world. Click here to read.
Keith Lyons gives us a brief essay on how we can find freedom. Click here to read.
In a tribute to Bollywood legend Dileep Kumar, Ratnottama Sengupta, one of India’s most iconic arts journalists, recollects the days the great actor sprinted about on the sets of Bombay’s studios …spiced up with fragments from the autobiography of Sengupta’s father, Nabendu Ghosh. Click here to read.
In Richard Hughes: The Reporter Who Inspired Ian Fleming, Bhaskar Parichha showcases a journalist who wrote globally, spicing it up with humour. Click here to read.
‘Did life change or did I change from the events of the last year,’ ponders New Zealander Keith Lyons who was in the southern state of Kerala when the first cases of Covid-19 were detected in India last January. Click here to read.
A photo essay by Penny and Michael B Wilkes on the American bald eagle to commemorate their Independence Day. Click here to read.
A tribute by Julian Matthews to the great talented star who died amidst ignominy and controversy. Click here to read.
Amrita Sharma has written a memorablia on the Punjabi poet, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, who wrote in the 1960s. Click here to read.
Parneet Jaggi talks of the influence Guru Nanak on Tagore, his ideology and poetry. Click here to read.
In Amrita Sher-Gil: An Avant-Garde Blender of the East & West, Bhaskar Parichha shows how Amrita Sher-Gil’s art absorbed the best of the East and the West. Click here to read.
Keith Lyons talks of his experiences of seasons in different places, including Antarctica. Click here to read.
Anasuya Bhar explores the various lives given to a publication through the different edited versions, translations and films, using Tagore as a case study and the work done to provide these online. Click hereto read.
Tejas Yadav explores identity from the context Heraclitus, Rumi down to his own. Click here to read.
Prithvijeet Sinha uses Gaman (Departure), a Hindi movie around the pain of migrant workers, as a case study to highlight his contention that lyrics and songs convey much in Indian films. Click here to read.
Kazi Nazrul Islam’s fiery essay translated by Sohana Manzoor. Click here to read.
A short piece by Bhaskar Parichha that makes for a witty comment on the forthcoming Indian elections. Click here to read.
Over 150 Authors and Artists from five continents have written on mental illness in an anthology called Through the Looking Glass. Candice Louisa Daquin, a psychotherapist and writer and editor, tells us why this is important for healing. Click here to read.
Meenakshi Malhotra explores the role of masculinity in Nationalism prescribed by Tagore, his neice Sarala Debi, Gandhi and Colonials. Click here to read.
Sohana Manzoor explores the social relevance of a dance drama by Tagore, Natir puja. We carry this to commemorate Tagore’s birth anniversary. Click hereto read
Nishi Pulugurtha explores the campus of a famed university with her camera and words and shares with us her experiences. Click here to read.
Debraj Mookerjee reflects on how syncretism impacts greats like Tagore,Tolstoy, Emerson, Martin Luther King Jr, Gandhi and many more. Click here to read.
Mike Smith reflects on a short fiction by Russia’s first Nobel Laureate, Ivan Bunin. Could it be a precursor to flash fiction? Click here to read.
Anu Karippal explores the world beyond the margins drawn by ideologies. Click here to read.
Penny and Michael B Wilkes take us on a photographic journey with a narrative in San Diego. Click here to read.
This essay by Bijan Najdi, translated from Persian to English by Davood Jalili, talks of Najdi’s concept of poetry. Click here to read.
Ratnottama Sengupta, eminent journalist and daughter of Bengali writer Nabendu Ghosh, has been a force behind translating Bengali literature and bringing it to the doorstep of those who do not know the language. In this exclusive, she discusses how translations impact the world of literature. Click hereto read.
An exhaustive account of the inception and the fruition of the Kali Project by Co-Editor Candice Louisa Daquin. Click here to read.
Devraj Singh Kalsi gives a unique perspective on the Farmer’s Protests. Click here to read.
Ratnottama Sengupta journeys to show how past and present are interlinked in art and pays tribute to a polyglot, Maniklal Chatterjee. Click here to read.
While skirmishes continue to line the borders of India, Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, explores the deeply embedded syncretic elements in the heritage left behind by the founder of Sikhism. Part of his legacy still lives on in Pakistan. Click here to read.
While the impasse over the McMahon Line continues and the outgoing POTUS rages over not only the election results but also the Yellow Peril, John Drew gives us an interesting perspective on the perception of both these giants, US & China. Click here to read.
Candice Louisa Daquin, a senior editor by profession, reflects on the US Poll results. Click hereto read.
Celebrating the festive season off-season with Keith Lyons from New Zealand, where summer solstice and Christmas fall around the same time. Click here to read.
Anwesha Paul explores the pace of our lives and the concept of FOMO in context of today’s race towards ‘doing’. Click here to read.
Gita Viswanath and Nikhila H explore the how the world of moviegoers has changed with time and with COVID19. Click here to read
Pratyusha Pramanik explores the impact of social media. Click here to read.
Bhaskar Parichha explores how news is chosen selectively to sway public opinion. Click here to read.
In this tribute, Azfar Hussain takes us on a journey into the world of Madam Rokeya who wrote more than a century ago in English, Urdu and Bengali. Her books talk of women, climate and issues related to patriarchy. Click here to read.
A part of Bichitro Probondho (Strange Essays) byRabindranath Tagore, translated by Chaitali Sengupta from Netherlands. Click here to read
Arindam Roy discusses the evolution of the goddess at the intersection of history, politics and religion. Click here to read.
Dr Meenakshi Malhotra delves into the relevance, history and iconography of Kali as we draw nearer the date of Diwali and Kali Puja. Click here to read
Pratyusha Pramanik, a researcher in Humanistic Studies, explores the impact of a desire to cancel out people from social media. Click here to read.
Keith Lyons applauds the Mahatma from New Zealand. Click here to read.
Dustin Pickering applies Satyagraha to US protests after reading My Experiments with Truth. Click here to read.
Rakhi Dalal says it all through this quotation of Martin Luther King Jr. Click here to read.
September 2020 edition
Dustin Pickering argues that Joyce is what we need during this pandemic. Click here to read.
An exploration of Utopian dreams by Sekhar Banerjee. Click here to read.
Soma Das takes us on a journey through a genre of books called cozies.
Essays, August, 2020 edition
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Essays, July, 2020 edition
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This essay assumes a personal and historical tone during time of global unrest. It is my response to the murder of George Floyd and seeks to re-imagine what could be from what is. (Click here to read more)
Born in Nyeri, Kenya, in 1940, she died in Nairobi in 2011. Wangari Muta Maathai founded the Green Belt Movement, which has — through networks of rural women — has planted over 30million trees. Africa’s future has been the subject of fierce debate with the international media: full of warnings about environmental and economic collapse. ( Click here to read more)
This essay evaluates the fundamental assumptions of Plato’s theory of mimesis, in light of Nietzsche’s questions concerning the “will of truth”. It undertakes this examination through a discussion of two movies: Rashomon (1950) and Certified Copy (2010). The use of films to critique the assumptions is in line with Plato’s use of the word mimesis “with a primarily visual significance; mimesis suggests image, a visual image related to imitation, re-presentation” (Melberg, 10). (Click here to read)
Yet it might have turned out differently for Tendol Gyalzur. Her parents and brother were killed as they fled Tibet. As an orphaned refugee she was adopted in Europe. She had every reason to be bitter, every reason to hold a grudge, every reason to hate. It took great courage for her to return to her childhood homeland which had been invaded by China. It took huge sacrifice for her to work with those occupiers who’d orphaned her. And it took a deep love for her to admit that sworn enemies were actually capable of love. (Click here to read more)
Lately when India has been undergoing the massive crisis of the Corona epidemic and the offshoots of its mishandling, we have also seen the pandemic being used to demonise a particular community in India. These hate mongers, operating through powerful medium of TV, and widespread social media which also has resorted to Fake news has intensified the Hate against religious minority. In this vast phenomenon, it seemed that all is lost as far as amity between people of different religions is concerned. Despite this broad generalisation one feels happy when one comes to know of few incidents where religious communities come forward to help each other.
(Click here to read more)
Globally, three million children a year die of hunger or malnourishment according to theworldcounts.com. The site also notes the number is dropping steadily. In a May 2019 editorial ,Voice of America reports, “Today, some 821 million people suffer chronically from hunger. And although this is significantly fewer people than the numbers we saw a decade ago, hunger still kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.” (Click here to read more)
Whether revisionists and debunkers agree or not, the Café de Flore on Paris’ Boulevard Saint Germain is a living institution. Since its founding in 1870 it has existed as a café and a second home for French-speaking writers, artists and intellectuals of the likes of Apollinaire, Camus, Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, and frequented by Hemingway and Truman Capote. In the 1920s and 30s, the Flore was the meeting place of the Right, after World War II of the Left. Forming a triangle with the famous but touristy Deux Magots (today taboo for the Parisian intelligentsia) and the Brasserie Lipp just across the street, the history of the Flore has always been linked with Paris, culture and political ideas. A remarkable vocation! (Click here to read more)
I have an instinctive abhorrence for blood-sports. I can remember when many years ago Woman’s Hour on BBC’s Radio 4 misjudged its audience and promoted a female bullfighter in a spirit of misguided equality and was roundly condemned. So, you might find it surprising that one of my favourite Kipling stories is about a bull-fight. ‘The Bull That Thought’, from the 1926 collection, Debits and Credits – home of several favourites, including the clever ‘The Eye of Allah’, and the poignant ‘The Gardener’ — is one of those Kipling stories that stands out, not merely from his own work but from just about anything else one might have read. (Click here to read more)
I’ve been negligent in failing to acknowledge my gratitude to op-ed writers at the New York Times for their frequent doses of insidious misinformation which demand disassembling and refutation. They didn’t disappoint on May 5, 2020. In the lead op-ed, “Will We Get Used to the Dying?”, Editor-at-Large Charlie Warzal expresses his gut-wrenching feeling that Americans are already beginning to adapt to Covid-19’s deadly consequences. After informing readers that the Federal government has ordered an extra 100,000 body bags and that a reliable computer model projects 3,000 deaths per day in early June, Warzal suggests that most Americans are likely to “simply carry on with their lives” and finds parallels with the indifference now shown toward mass shootings across the country. (Click here to read)
I believe in stories. I am looking for stories. And, yes. I can describe myself as a story lover. But, naturally, there are some stories I don’t want to know anything at all about. “Net so genau-au (Not too many details)” as Austrian artist Ostbahn-Kurti used to sing. ( Click here to read)
The situation in Bangladesh is really at a problematic stage. Being one of the most densely populated countries in the world, if not checked, the pandemic will cause a devastation that nobody has yet encountered anywhere. The close proximity and the number of people also are the reasons behind our tension—how to control this mass? The city of Dhaka is home to 160,000,000 people. (Click here to read)
The COVID lockdown taught us what is essential for our sustenance. Most of the carbon emitting vehicles and airplanes are grounded. Our consumption has come down to our basic essentials. Continents jumping tourism has come to a standstill, so has the neoliberal globalisation. It is good time for globalisation to fail and save our planet. Pollution has come down. Cities have become serene. Rivers have become clean. We’ll have to wait for authentic studies to confirm how much carbon footprint did we reduce. (Click here to read)
A literary work is often a code that reveals distinct things. Sometimes these things are simply too advanced or the logic of them too cruel. The Taming of the Shrew is one of Shakespeare’s most performed plays and its language is easily read and understood. However, the embedded symbolism may pass by even the most astute mind. (Click here to read)
The media, the Indian as well as the international, have covered the continuing plight of the inter-state migrants resulting from the nation-wide lock-down announced with a calculated abruptness, not uncharacteristic of the Government of India (GOI) judging from the disastrous demonetization and the hurried and thoughtless implementation of GST. (Click here to read)
It is hard to predict how long the terrible COVID-19 pandemic will last, but at some time in the future it will end, and we will be faced with the problem of rebuilding the world after the enormous economic and human destruction which the disease will have left in its wake. The pandemic has thrown light onto the world’s political and economic systems, and has shown them to be wanting. Most people today do not wish to return to the old normal. That “normal” was part of the problem. The post-pandemic world must be a new and changed world! (Click here to read)
For Begum Akhtar loneliness came rather belatedly — after her marriage to barrister Ishtiaq Ahmed Abbasi. With marriage came the ban — no music, no concert. How can a Begum sing publicly?However, Akhtaribai Faizabadi, as she was known before marriage, couldn’t have lived a day without a recital because she was born for it.
( Click here to read)
The underlying human horror and destruction from the nearly worldwide COVID-19 disease is truly daunting. Not to undercut the seriousness of the devastation, but this type of happening is hardly new. For example, consider the Black Plague that wiped out half of Europe and the fact that many British people are immune to Smallpox unlike many Native Americans whose ancestors were never exposed to the disease. (Click here to read more)
Our admiration, interest, and respect spikes for countries where the spread of Covid-19 is flattened or limited with early measures. As we track global statistics on a daily basis, any country with less than 1000 cases makes us react with Wow and How. As we scroll further down the list, those with 500 or less than 100 cases make us feel positive and we conclude: This is the place to live. These may or may not be counted as fantasy lands or ideal destinations in normal times, but when it comes to survival, we salute them for keeping citizens safe in these dark times. (Click here to read)
In the uncertain and unsettling time of the COVID-19 crisis, we may be wise to consider our good fortune and family. We are fortunate, in fact, that our family bonds exist and we have loved ones at all. This testifies to God’s ever shining mercy. However, in the current crisis we should also consider those who are distant from us and less fortunate. A variety of faiths teach mercy to the needy. (Click here to read more)
There is a proverb in Persian and Urdu that could be roughly translated thus — ‘A collective death has an air of festivity’. The great Urdu poet, Ghalib, however, would have not subscribed to this notion as was made evident from an episode in his personal life. Once afflicted by his financial and existential miseries, he had foretold his own death the following year. There broke out in the given year an epidemic that claimed many lives in the city, but luckily our poet survived. (Click here to read more)
If I had to choose a place to be to sit out the coronavirus pandemic sweeping over the globe, there are probably few places better than the South Island of New Zealand. A significant number of the world’s super-rich have invested in the Southern Hemisphere nation, some even buying residency through a controversial and secretive ‘Investor Plus’ scheme. Tech startup incubator for Reddit, Dropbox and Airbnb, Sam Altman, Pay Pal’s Peter Thiel, and the co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman are among those who have invested, buying secluded boltholes and luxury bunkers. (Click here to read)
The most recent data indicate a decrease in the number of coronavirus infections in Italy. That means we could get out of the epidemic in the coming months. But why do we expect this trend? It is explained in the field of Science called “epidemiology” that studies how epidemics spread. (Click here to read)
The word “prophet” is rooted in the Greek word prophetes, a word that breaks down etymologically into “to speak before or foretell”. A soothsayer is considered a prophet in the sense that he foretells events. Such is the soothsayer in Julius Caesar who tells Caesar to “beware of the ides of March” when he was doomed to assassination. The Prophetic books of the Old Testament inform the people of Israel what God desires of them and what will happen if they disobey His commands. (Click here to read more)
We live in a world in extreme crisis. By the estimates of the Global Footprint Network, the human species currently consumes at a rate 1.7 times what Earth’s regenerative systems can sustain. Yet billions of people face a daily struggle for survival that strips them of happiness and fulfillment of their human potential. ( Click here to read more)
Camus, as a writer, receives mixed response from the readers. It is understandable when some readers avoid reading him, because he seems a difficult writer whose works are taken to be disturbing. Some readers appreciate his writings though they do not agree with him. While for some, Camus’ ideas are irrelevant when compared with those proposed by existential philosophers. Although Camus is often categorised as an existential philosopher but he himself never approved of that. (Click here to read more)
During the first few decades of the feminist movement, it was assumed that women as a social group, as a political constituency could organise themselves as a unified entity in order for them to give voice to their demands. Underlying this assumption was the belief that women’s oppression was a more or less universal fact and so there was a measure of solidarity in the hurt claims that women were voicing.(Click here to read more)
A poet warrior embraces compassion, action, duty, and dream. Henry Miller writes, “All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.” One’s leap becomes one’s light. The darkness illumined is one’s spiritual landmark. To seek beyond one’s perilous comfort is an act of defiance in a world where complacency is sanctified. (Click here to read more)