Essays

Chipping Away At Time’s Edifice

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)

Unbowed, She Stayed

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)

Mimesis and Movies: Plato, Kurusawa & Kiarostami

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)

One Life, One Love, 300 Children

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)

Can Humanism Survive the Onslaught of Hate

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.

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Pandemic Paxicide

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)

Rebellious Thoughts at The Cafe Flore

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)

A Fresh Perspective: The Bull that Thought

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)

COVID 19 & The New York Times as an Ideological Gatekeeper

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)

The Idiot, Goethe, and the Comet

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)

Broken Glass and Shattered Dreams: COVID 19 in Bangladesh

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)

Global Pandemic and Global Warming

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)

No One Is Tamed, No One Is Equal

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)

COVID 19: Governance and Scientific Temper in India

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)

Rebuilding after Corona

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)

Begum Akhtar: The ‘Mallika-e-Ghazal’

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 Economy Lemurs and Us

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)

After the Pandemic

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)

Strangers in our Midst

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)

Pandemic and Poetry

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)

Countdown to Lockdown: Fear and Loathing in the Trolley Race at the End of the World

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)

Corona Virus: What’s Happening

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)

Poetry as Utopia and Apocalypse

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)

Corporations are Human Creations. We Can’t Let Them Threaten our Survival

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)

Cavorting with Camus and The Myth of Sisyphus

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)

Do you think solidarity between women is possible?

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)

The Poet as a Warrior

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)