The ‘art of living’ in days of digital technologies and late capitalism: issues in identity politics in fragmented times

(I write this piece as form of self appraisal and understanding my state of emotional stasis. While at some levels it may sound self righteous, it actually is an exegesis of self and the times I live in. I'm fully implicated here and guilty of all attitudes and practices which have been spoken in tones of reprobation. Hopefully this and more such reflexive writing will form a part of a therapy for the pathology that has gripped me in these deeply disenchanting times. I have added my own images which compliments the narration) 
Recall and consider these moments, seemingly trivial but having far reaching import - you were out holidaying and you wanted a picture of self or with friends, family, in the company you were with. You sought someone around at a Taj Mahal, Ellora or Meenakshi temple to help you take a snap. Then think of days, not too deep into your past, when the cable connection went on the blink and you along with your neighbours fired the local cable operators for poor …

Gully Boy - flawed pedagogy on talent, success and its mistaken subalternity

Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is probably one of those rare Bollywood offering that has had both the masses and classes cheering and rooting for it. While we can leave out the masses and the film's box office performance for the moment, does the film really add much more to scratch as it is being made out by some critics? Encomiums for the film has emerged even from more left leaning news media sites i.e. The Scroll, The Wire and Huffington Post who all had very positive reviews. I was finally nudged to view the film when the more academic EPW too carried a piece, effusive of the film's supposed less than formulaic rendering of subaltern dreams. The plot and premise of the film, I avoid going into here which one safely assumes is well known by now.

When I came out of the packed multiplex, I was quite overcome with a sense of ambiguity and confusion. While the crowd probably was not dished a Salman Khan trash or Karan Johar’s shameless celebration of affluence, but then I wondered …

Tying up in knots...

... Struggles to redeem social sciences
Can one ‘train’ ‘trainers’ and render them as experts to help teachers teach social sciences better? In effect can it be taught in ways to help students find meaning and relevance in the world they socialize in? Can the elusive quality of citizenship informed by public reason be provided - social sciences’ raison d'etre, something which it is currently failing to do? We all believe it is feasible and an intense teacher training program will deliver the needful. But in my view and experience the teacher training program today by government, NGOs and other for profits have been able to crack no more than a fissure on this hardened nut of social science education and there are barely any possibilities of criticality germinating. Meaningful learning in social sciences and their morphing into critical citizens still remains elusive.

Indeed the focus as such has always been on what will work for students learning and understanding of social scienc…