Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Memory's children

Whoever the homeland may belong to, it is not merely a piece of geography. It is also not just history. Nor is it the rivers of the region, or the mountains. It is all those things that keep getting absorbed in your very being whether you want it or not. It constantly nurtures your mind, heart and soul. Keeps it alive... It is our land that gives us a vision. Gives us strength to see our country and see beyond it. To connect with our place and times.

- Krishna Sobti, Memory's Daughter, trans.

The state government would have us believe that normalcy has been restored in Nandigram. A "new sunrise", they're saying. I wonder what that means. All those women who were raped. Is the government going to dictate to them what normal is? Is 'normal' handing a red flag to you after your women have been raped and murdered, your men beaten up and burnt alive and your houses razed to the ground?
The burden of the past, it is a great one. Will anyone forget?

There is no activism in me. Just a lot of rage. And severe, numbing shock. I look at photographs we spare our readership. Photographs of rape victims, of men with faces so badly smashed all you can see is coagulated flesh, not even the eyes can be made out. No, these will never be published, there is only so much intrusive journalism - we try not to cross the line. But I see the pain, I see the blood, I see a torn sari and mauled limbs and stains.
There must be a way out. Please, God, let there be a way out.

p.s.: Please, spare me the inquisition. The last and penultimate paragraphs are not necessarily related.


Unknown said...

And calcutta burns tonight :(

Poorna Banerjee said...


I saw some pictures that my baby brother took after he came back from Nandigram, and I could not stay to see them all... had to run for the bathroom midway.

I hate this. I hate this.

Sam said...

Dark times ahead!! Very dark... i don't think i understand the issue anymore... after what happened yesterday at Kolkata... suddenly everything seems to be so... duplicitous!! Who's guilty??
And why??
As my sister, a current presidencian, said, "nandigram is going to burn kolkata alive!!"
I'd rather hope not!!

Rapid I Movement said...

What the fuck's suddenly with this "minority" issue all over now? I thought it was a humanitarian issue all the while. Bloody hodge-podge!

Unknown said...

There's a way out of this. There is. Because I believe there is.

Kaichu said...


Kaichu said...

( ... because bloody blogger tells me that 'the required field [i.e. the comment space] cannot be left blank', when that was just what i was aiming for.

this has gone beyond words, for a long time now.)

Unknown said...

You are not alone :)

mojo said...

"let there be a way out"...ditto to that, but somewhere deep down i have a sinking feeling....

rainbeau_peep said...


yes. and there are families who have no use for relief materials, because they have no place to store them in. no home, no utensils, no clothes. nothing.

right now, more like alimuddin street is burning nandigram alive. and we're sitting here blogging about how bad we feel. it is a strange kind of helplessness that education brings. sometimes i think i'd much rather throw a stone, break a window, do something - just draw attention to intense, paralysing anger.
but we know better, don't we. the educated elite, sitting smug in the government's false assertion that we matter.

well. u know. most of politics, i reckon, is about politicizing distress. in india, we communalise it. but it is true that most of the rural-affected belong to the Muslim minority. the taslima issue is just a trigger for the expression of deep discontent.

Yea. I hope so. The trouble is, we have the luxury of saying, "Gosh. I'm sick of talking about this. I'm sick of reading this in the papers." It is important, I suppose to keep talking, to keep the pressure on.

i know what you mean. but i think we should not give in to speechlessness. i think.

rimi di,
i know. i also know how privileged i am. i just wish i could put it to good use.

Madhura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madhura said...

"I look at photographs we spare our readership."

Look no offence dude and i really like you...but please don't give me the bull shit about "sparing the readership". For frankly, my dear, the readership doesn't need to be spared. And if you can see it, then so can we. And we all know that ABP is a business organisation so i must say there can be no idealised journalistic claptrap. We all remember I hope, how shamelessly ABP & TT tagged along with the government during the Singur clashes during December 2006, when all day long we had seen the brutality of the police personnel live on TV. What the media is most often doing, is indiscriminately revealing names or releasing unblurred photos. If they can do that, I'm sure nobody would mind watching gruesome pictures. Maybe it would make them stop eating their breakfast while perusing the front page. maybe it will make some sit up and take notice. Maybe it will prick the self-satisfied consciences of those who thought they had fulfilled their duties as thinking, sensitive citizen's by taking part in a march.