Art or literature is a way of seeing, but a seeing that dismantles the essentialist tendencies of cultural knowledge.
Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee
Teaches poetry at Ambedkar University, New Delhi. He is a frequent contributor to The Wire and has written for The Hindu, The New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Guernica, Outlook and other publications.
What is a nation worth if my friend is scared of returning home? What is a religion worth if it rejoices in the humiliation of another religion?
Voices like Gandhi’s risked their lives, tirelessly telling us how to overcome the deathly traps of majoritarian nationalism.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s response to the crisis at home is starkly duplicitous and false.
Lankesh’s views have been relentlessly against what she considered a fascist project taking over Indian democracy. Her silenced voice has spoken so much and so many times, it is impossible for even walls not to hear her.
If those who completely discredited the ethical considerations of Gandhi’s battle can get away with appropriating him, a host of issues will come under severe question.
Rosie in ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ exists because there is an enforced denial of desire in the world.
EPW’s trustees are fully aware of the current attack on free speech and institutions, including the media and universities. It is bewildering, therefore, to see these concerns completely missing in their statement.
Lynching is a modern form of tribalism, where enemies – differentiated by religion, race, caste or ideology – are bracketed for elimination.
In the erotic sculptures of Khajuraho, the distinction between the sacred and the profane is dissolved. Eroticism is not regarded profane but a sacred measure of the divine.
A free press guarantees the critical space where people respond to the government’s declarations and methods, and voice their criticism and dissent. To governmentalise the press through coercion would mean dissolving that space.
The character of a German fascist in Borges’s work shares uncanny similarities with Nathuram Godse – both consider acts of bloodshed more honourable than inconsequential acts of apostolic service.
In attorney general Mukul Rohatgi’s arguments in favour of Aadhaar, the body is reduced to its exchange value.
The perverse obsession among Bengalis for old customs merely confirms the anxiety of their decadence.
What happens to the idea of democracy when a man loses his autonomy, is forced to experience an animal helplessness?
If cow protection entails the joining of forces between the moral and the state police, the law will simply allow lawlessness in its name.
In any man who dies there dies with him, his first snow and kiss and fight, it goes with him…. Not people die but worlds die in them. ~ Yevgeny Yevtushenko, ‘People’ In A Precocious Autobiography, the Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko, who passed away on April 1, recounted […]
Poetry that listens to history can contribute to the recovery of the past, of the many pasts that make up the fragmented memory of this nation.
In tyrannical times, poetry needs to speak less, tell more.
The oblique nature of structural violence leaves invisible marks on a Dalit student’s body and psyche that no autopsy can reveal.
The cowards who fear the power of thinking should not delude themselves into believing the argumentative Indian can be so easily silenced.
Racist movements exploit the tensions between democracy and nationalism and use the crisis to its advantage, as evident in the US and in India.
What the home ministry’s new guidelines on how the disabled must show their respect for the national anthem tell us about the politics of pure nationalism.
“I always was rushing,” Rohith Vemula wrote, “Desperate to start a life.” But the beginning could never take place, it was fatally elusive.
The charkha in Gandhi’s hands stands for a lot more than the act of spinning. Featuring Narendra Modi on the 2017 khadi calendar is a dangerous misappropriation.
In a world where women are simply handed down their limits to be followed in every sphere of life, Dangal kicks at conventions through pure act, through the sheer body of the female.
If nationalism, the way its sternest adherents argue, is a deep and overwhelming sentiment, then why do we need a disciplining machine to enforce that sentiment in us?
What the Rohith Vemula and Najeeb Ahmed cases tell us about how India’s relationship with its ‘others’ – the minorities – is pathologised by the enforcement of exaggerated discourse of difference amidst unrecognisably similar lives and cultural practices.
The world needs a whole generation of young people, who refuse the diktats of family, private property and nation, to create the new road Dylan sings for with hoarse urgency.
A selection of unforgettable verse by 21 poets from around the world.
Gandhi’s famous sojourn in Noakhali was the ultimate test for the idea and practice of non-violence. It failed.
The Hindu-Muslim relationship needs to exhaust its ethical possibilities, not by disregarding or forgetting history but hearing what it constantly fails to tell us about each other.
As long as the Indian nation ignores the injustices it has perpetrated from the very beginnings of its existence, freedom will continue to mean nothing but the celebration of a date.
After Irom Sharmila broke her 16-year hunger strike, she made a striking statement on politics: “People say politics is dirty, but so is society.” The statement is remarkable for two reasons. One, it breaks the shallow middle class binary between politics and society, and challenges the temerity of Hindus who […]
It is easier to be united in outrage against a singular, spectacularly brutal act of violence than against the normalised, everyday violence of the state anywhere in the world.
The Bengali poet Bhaskar Chakraborty is not very well known to readers outside of Calcutta, a city that constantly enters and leaves his poems.
The nation is its own enemy when it thwarts the blossoming of radical diversity – and tragically, this is what the Brexit promises for Britain.
A song of real grief cannot be merely sentimental, but something that even within its private world, sings a context, provides a historical echo, and even gives a political meaning to the situation of life.
It is our lack of knowledge about Shakespeare’s heart that makes him incomparably enigmatic, more so than any other playwright or poet in history.
In Octavio Paz’s book The Monkey Grammarian Hanuman, as Jason Wilson has argued, is seen as “a metaphor of pensée, the total flow of the activity of the unconscious, without control or regulations.”