Social conflict and Hindi cinema – a plea for resurrection of art and the politics of the possible

In recent years within the confines of what one sees as mainstream cinema there has been certain crop of Hindi films which have attempted to explore the seamier and often grisly side of our social existence – the world of crime, the underworld, violence, life on the margins, of the disenfranchised and the likes. Movies like Kaminey, Shanghai, Haider, Shor in the City, NH-10, comes to mind. What actually is seen distinguishing these films perhaps is not as much the themes (life of crime for example in itself has been de jure staple of popular Hindi cinema along with romance) but the treatment. Shorn of melodrama, crassness and kitschy sentimentality, many find certain refreshing use of film grammar even as they retain certain nativity (songs for instance like in Kaminey, Shor in the City or Haider). Many see in these films certain ‘realism’, where any gloss and glamour if present are viewed as more symbolic or metaphorical to build a plausible narrative – best exemplified in NH 10. I

Some problems with NCERT's history textbooks - a case in point

The NCERT history textbooks "Our Pasts" has been in effect for nearly 8 years now and it continues to be seen by many as best possible history textbook for school students written in post independent India. These particular set of textbooks from middle school (class VI) and above, themselves emerged in the context of the criticism of 'saffronization', that the preceding set of NCERT history textbooks, produced under the aegis of the then NDA government (in governance from 1998-2004) were seen to 'suffer' from. But with the NDA government back at the helm, and its education minister 'threatening' to once again review and change the educational policy, it is feared that history textbooks will be subjected to 'mytholization' , gross simplification in which large swathes of time and epochs under certain homogeneous cultural, social and religious categories will be 'lumped' together, like they were in its previous version. Indeed these

Social Sciences, CSR and the emergence of the Citizen - a view

( A truncated version of this article appeared in The Alternative) What does it mean for a corporate (for profit company) to be socially responsible? Also what does it mean for a citizen to be socially responsible? As such we seem to be living in a society where we see number of concerned individuals and a corporate class eager to 'improve living conditions' and participate in measures and efforts to fight poverty, corruption and provide access to a better quality of life. Nonetheless most, if not all efforts, at social intervention by civil society groups (the NGO's in particular that provide avenues for conscientious individuals to do 'something for the world of have nots, oppressed and dispossessed') and corporates do so without much recognition of certain lack of social and participative qualities whose absence greatly exacerbates, if not creates most problems of dispossession and disenfranchisement in the first place. For at several levels, part - if n