ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Somebody s Other

Theoretically haded, politically charged, the construction of the Other in contemporary India is almost inextricably linked with the spectre of communalism by which entire communities are being differentiated,.ostensibly on the grounds of religion which has become a pretext for unleashing alt kinds of violence in an increasingly fascist mode. As this 'banality of evil

Anatomy of Official Cultural Discourse-A Non-Government Perspective

Anatomy of Official Cultural Discourse A Non-Government Perspective Rustom Bharucha No cultural discourse focusing on Indian realities can afford to evade the sheer depth of contradiction, if not confusion, that underlies different interpretations of Indian culture' determined through differences in location, history, culture and language. While paying lip-service to these differences, the tragedy and pathos of official cultural discourse is that it assumes a unitary position that subsumes all contradictions within predetermined and homogenised categories and premises. While this makes for an ordered, and occasionally eloquent, discourse, with high-sounding humanist sentiments, it also affirms an 'integral' view of Indian culture which is illusory, if not downright false. A most nuanced example of such discourse is available for scrutiny in the much-awaited and sadly-neglected report of the Haksar Committee.

PERSPECTIVES

Writing about Hindu-Muslim Riots in India Today Gyanendra Pandey The dominant nationalist historiography that insists on the totalising standpoint of a seamless nationalism needs to be challenged not only because of its interested use of categories such as 'national' and 'secular' but also because of its privileging of the so-called 'general' over the particular, the larger over the smaller, the 'mainstream' over the 'marginal

Ninasam A Cultural Alternative

Rustom Bharucha Though decisions about Indian culture are becoming increasingly centralised the cultural centre in India today is not to be found in any of the major institutions in Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras or Bhopal, which continue to be isolated from the needs of the people. This centre may justifiably be located in Heggoddu village in north-west Karnataka where an institution called Ninasam has spread theatre and film culture in the state. A study of an institution which provides not only alternatives for Indian theatre but also scope for mobilisation and growth of culture at large.

Notes on the Invention of Tradition

When people 'invent' tradition ('authentic'or 'spurious', through acts of'culturalpreservation'or 'subversion'), they unavoidably imply that they are no longer in touch with its immediacies. Yet an illusion is often maintained whereby the 'invention' is placed within the mainstream of tradition itself.

Haraam Bombay

Haraam Bombay! Rustom Bharucha Salaam Bombay! exemplifies the peculiarly privileged status of the NRI in India today. Our non-resident gods (and goddesses) have been wooed for some time now with all kinds of economic privileges and sanctions. In cultural terms, the implications of catapulting to NRI assets are perhaps even more problematic than in the spheres of banking and industry. For what we are really addressing here is not just the control of our material resources but the representation of our culture itself IN the aftermath of the Raj revival, there appears to be a new interest in the west for what could be called the 'real' India

Letter to the Dead

Letter to the Dead Rustom Bharucha In the aftermath of Safdar Hashmi's death the possibilities of appropriating the politics of street theatre have intensified. Today, his group, the Jan Natya Manch and other street theatre groups have gained a new credibility among not only marginal social groups but the establishment and distinguished literati whose works have had nothing to do with the realities of the street. While this solidarity is welcome at one level, let us not be taken in by politicians using Hashmi's death as a confirmation if their own dubious morality I WILL not pretent to accept your death. Nor will I offer condolences to your comrades and family. The gesture seems trite. My solidarity (at the moment) will have to be expressed through questions, not the brandishing of a fist or the support of festivals in your name.

Peter Brook s Mahabharata-A View from India

Peter Brook's Mahabharata exemplifies one of the most blatant (and accomplished) appropriations of Indian culture in recent years. Very different in tone from the Raj revivals, it nonetheless suggests the bad old days of the British Raj, not in its direct allusions to colonial history, but in its appropriation of non-western material within an orientalist framework of thought and action, which has been specifically designed for the international market.

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