Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bright Days

The bright days that we had
Are past us, a new world awaits
I have no expectations, I ask no more
But then how glorious it would be
To have a few more

I want to see more of you
There are times when I miss
And then times when I desire
Sometimes feels like fire
I have things to share
For which chocolates do not suffice
I am scared and scarred
Of these games of cat and mice
The new world calls me
To break the ice

I find solace in the sky
Feels like your gaze
I find discomfort even
Disappointment in my own place
Dreams fulfilled aren't a substitute
When desires subside
Even though i have
I fall short and miserably so
I need those few more
The moments we had are now past us
A do ask for more - let's call it a show
And have a few more

-Arpit Kumar
B.A. (Hons.) English; I Year
(written on - June 7 , 2009)

Panel Discussion on the Future of Theatre in India

The Literary Society organised an interactive panel discussion on the future of theatre in India on the 19th of November, 2009. The panel included Mr. Arvind Gaur, Founder, ASMITA; Ms. Misha Singh, Director, Black Cow Company and Ms. Kaustubhi Shukla, Member, Lakshya, Kamla Nehru College.

The discussion began with Ms. Shukla, who shared the motif of theatre in the university. She expressed her concern over the stereotypical approach towards theatre; theatre motivated by clich├ęd social causes like child labour and dowry. Theatre working with these issues is best suited to the form of street theatre – which, she believed, has become too monotonous. At the same time, she did not downplay these issues at all but stressed on the need to present them in a more entertaining manner. Being a final year student, she also shared her fears and doubts regarding working outside the support system of college life as a theatre professional.

Ms. Singh carried the discussion forward by delving into the problems faced by new-age theatre houses. She gave examples from her own experience, of how it was difficult to first get sponsors and then audiences for a production as hilarious as the Black Cow Company’s ‘Complete Works of William Shakespeare’. Lack of adequate sponsorship forces many a theatre house to transfer the burden on entry tickets, which then discourages people from buying them. A way out of this, she suggested, would be for people themselves to come forward and proactively demand their school/college/municipal authority to provide better infrastructure for theatres on a local level.

Finally, Mr. Gaur changed the flow of the discussion by making a passionate case for not just the survival but the growth of theatre in the twenty-first century. Critiquing the repressive cultural policies of the State, he argued that it was because of the confinement of theatre within elitist academic institutions that theatre is perceived as a dying art form. He drew attention to long-standing theatre groups like his own, ASMITA, which function completely outside the ambit of government or corporate sponsorship. Mass appeal and support, he said, should be the focus of any theatre group for it is through these alone that theatre can bring about changes in society. In this context, he opined, campus theatre has an important role in nurturing holistic individuals better equipped to engage with society.

The seminar concluded with a question-answer session after which each of the panelists summed up their opinions on the topic. The unanimous verdict: in spite of setbacks, theatre is still very much alive and full of transformative potential.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Music in Context




Music is an integral part of social life and social interaction. Having this idea in mind, the Literary Society, Ramjas College decided to hold a two day seminar, Music in Context on the 22nd and 23rd of October, 2009. Incorporating various genres of music, some members of the society made presentations on the type of music that appealed to them and its larger social connotations.

On the first day, proceedings began with Anubhav Pradhan and Rhea Srivastava making a presentation on the Bollywood music of the 1950’s and 60’s. Their presentation made the Natya Shastra’s theory of the ‘Navarasa’ the basis of exploring emotion in this genre of music. They supplemented the evolution and transition of music during this era by showing clips of the songs they had chosen for investigation. The next presentation of the day was made by Mihir Kumar Jha on contemporary Bollywood music. Picking up recent songs such as ‘Jiggy Wiggy’, ‘Tinka Tinka’, ‘Haddipa’ etc, Mihir tried to explore why these songs have such a huge following.

The second day started with a presentation by Ammu Sanyal on western folk music, ranging from the 1960's to the 80's, with special reference to Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. She focussed upon the story-like quality of this music, which is embedded with various social reflections and messages, and the centrality of lyrics in it. Abhimanyu Pandey introduced the audience to the music of the Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, while also explaining this musician’s contribution to the contemporary Tibetan society and to world music at large. The third presentation of the day was by Isha Banerjee, who spoke on the development of Goth Music in the 1980s. She gave a multimedia Power-Point presentation to demonstrate the 'gloomy, melancholic nature of the genre' and its focus on the darker side of the human psyche. The final presentation of the day and for the seminar was made by Kriti Sharma and Arpit Kumar on the Rock Music of the 1980's and its various sub-genres. The two elaborated upon the evolution of Rock with a sociological analysis of representative songs from its various sub-genres.

The seminar ended with a vote of thanks by the society’s president, Anubhav Pradhan, to all the participants, volunteers and the audience.

Monday, October 12, 2009

There's no point of reference

(Written, 18th August, 2009: inspired by a dream on the night before)

*

There's no point of reference

no sense of presence

only absolute darkness;

I am ruptured, floating

without any structure,

the darkness is cold and soothing

it reminds of the sweet winters

and then there's the white snow

trickling down so slow;

falling into a heap

as if making a snowman by itself,

after the motion was arrested

i don't know for how long

there was no time to know;

a slice of snow withered

off the heap ,as if unvealing a statue

so white and magnifique,

This withered snow undid the darkness

painting this canvas - white with one stroke

and so the statue broke

broke its silence

defying stone by delicate wings

like a butterfly out of cocoon

wings white , white o my fairy white
she whirled and tempted me

ruptured , floating , i followed

She brought with her dense white clouds

she sat on them sensuously

her white gown barely covering her chest

and one leg hanging down

and the other fixed under her thighs

the cloud flew over a path

structured like a rainbow

just no colors , white again

the only other colour

of her skin

her clinched fist opened

like a bud , does on a sleepy morning

her fingers delicate , inviting;

like she hid secrets

of nature in her bosom
ruptured , floating , i followed

The dense cloud , i couldn't touch

i had to climb

no sense of what;

she was no goddess

she was willing to bless

i was ruptured , she healed

her voice of the calm ocean

her eyes its blue essence

no darkness now

only white with snow

I went for the forbidden

sure i couldn't touch

she wasn't there anymore

only the white clouds

which weren't white anymore

poof ! went one and the other

and another, one by one

i fell into the black

spiralling spiralling

back to the darkness

where there's no point of reference

no sense of presence

only absolute darkness

-Arpit Kumar
B.A. (Hons.) English; I Year

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gray-black

The gray-black canvas
kept its promise
and hope wet our eyes
as another spell filled our parched hearts
with much needed bliss
The season of rains; when the dusty earth
rekindles its aroma
Does it lave away human trauma?
Dull colors above and the dampness under
A motor honk; an occasional thunder;
Drips; more drips
Fill puddles
And pools that mirrors
Our down-the-memory-lane trips
and help find answers..
As to why people grit teeth
yet try to smile
The weather seems fine as compared
to unperceivable guile
Shriveled thoughts precede corked speeches
of a murkier daily life
Hasty greetings and hurried farewells
lest things turn sore
And may explain why they fear strife
lest it lead them
to be marooned in the miseries of life
Dingy black alleyways and coal-smeared barrels
a half tarred road ;ditches; rails
All washed clean
For the heavens cry at the ordeal below
But we are better-off
We have seen wars and plagues and things in ruins
We’ve become... hollow
After a hard day
for another “gray-black” we pray
-Shibaji Ray
B.A.(Hons) History; I Year

Report: Politics Seminar

Student politics has for long been a matter of contention in India and when it comes to the University of Delhi, the idea of politics evokes all possible derogatory connotations. It was keeping these very negative associations in mind that the Literary Society organised a three day seminar-from 31st August to 2nd September-on Politics in Delhi University. On each day guests were invited to share valuable insights into the machinations of the system; later on, episodes of the satirical British sitcom Yes, Prime Minister! were screened to provide comic relief.

On the first day, Mr. Debraj Mookerjee, former Election Officer, Ramjas College, discussed the concept of isolates and advised the student community to shed their apolitical attitude. Being apolitical, he stressed, is to be indifferent, towards not just the supposedly dirty world of politics in the macrocosm but also towards one’s own problems in the microcosm. He emphasised the importance of participation, leadership and mobilisation-of individuals as well as ideas-for bringing change in the existing political system.


The second day saw Mr. Safwan Amir and Mr. Nayanjyoti, both former Secretaries, Ramjas Students’ Union, address the gathering. Mr. Amir shared amusing anecdotes from his wealth of experience as a student representative and talked about the nexus of power between the Union and the college administration. This, he hinted, was one of the primary reasons behind the widespread corruption and misuse of authority in the Union. However, he also indicted student community at large for being responsible for this sorry state of affairs and passionately advocated active involvement over passive rejection as the solution to the ills ailing our political system. His analogy of the lion and the lion-tamer-the former being unaware of its own superior strength-made an instant connect with the audience.


Thereafter, Mr. Nayanjyoti talked about the shallowness of so-called liberal intellectuals and their insensitivity towards poverty, unemployment and inclusive development. Highlighting the inter-connectivity of such seemingly diverse socio-economic phenomena as globalisation, neo-capitalisation, privatisation, he exposed the ideologies of indifference which liberal humanitarian education and pedagogy engenders. In the end, he appealed for participation in the political process not just for its own sake but with a sense of responsibility and interrogation.



The two presidential candidates for this year’s Ramjas Students’ Union election were invited to opine upon the relevance of politics in the University on the last day. While Mr. Sunil Singh was forced to cancel his engagement due to unforeseen circumstances, Mr. Manu Pande talked about bringing honesty and transparency into the system. He reminisced about his own apolitical attitude of the previous two years and stressed upon the urgent need to effect qualitative changes in the Union in particular and the student community at large in general. He also vouched to work towards creating a harassment and violence free atmosphere in Ramjas. Later on, he answered questions from the audience.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Climate change, people and policy

The decisions that world leaders, will make in Copenhagen, in December 2009, will be some of the most important that world will take for years to come. They are not only important for curbing climate change all over the world but are vital for security and sustainable development that South Asia hopes to achieve.
Climate change holds great significance for millions in south Asia. Flooding of the Kosi river has left millions homeless in Bihar and Nepal, cyclones such as the Nargis have displaced millions more in Burma, Bangladesh, and West Bengal, heavy rain storms have caused disastrous landslides all over the Himalayan range. And now a weakening monsoon and the drought like situation has caused thousands of farmers to commit suicide. Although none of these natural disasters can be directly linked to climate change the impact that global warming has on natural weather phenomena is undeniable. [1]
The most vulnerable to natural disasters are the poor who have had almost no hand to play in contributing to this intensifying problem and who have born the brunt, weather it be in death or in facing un-imaginable poverty.
The poor must be kept in the fore front of any policy making or deals that governments might strike internationally. The so far muted voices of the poor must be heard, only a co-operating world can see substantial change in the climate as well as living standers of millions of people.
India is contributing important steps towards reversal of this calamitous situation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has already set up the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC), eight missions forming its core.
(I) National Solar Plan (II) National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency (III) National Mission on Sustainable Habitat (IV) National Water Mission (V) National Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco-System (VI) National Mission for a Green India (VII) National Mission for a sustainable Agriculture and (VIII) National Mission on strategic knowledge for climate change.
Of these eight missions, the first two, the National Solar Mission and the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency are ready for implementation after deliberation by the Prime Ministers council on climate change.
For the remaining six mission comities involving different ministries have been set up, under the co-ordination of the Prime Ministers office. These comities include trained professionals and technical groups that have worked towards and prepared mission documents for each mission. Each mission has initiated research in its own field to be better equipped to handle the specific problems and deliver relevant solutions.
A more concrete example of implementing a sustainable plan is the government’s endeavors in the field of transport, identified as a major guzzler of energy producing pollution and heat.
In this regard the government is trying to promote the use of public transport and limit private vehicle use.
Apart from strengthening its policies within India, which include steps to increase the use of renewable energy and increase forest cover, India has taken various international decisions such as in July this year, world leaders including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh agreed to strive to keep global temperature rise within a two degree threshold.
A combined effort is needed, the world community has to come together to safe guard the futures of nations.
The world community also has to realize a statistical division of responsibility is not going to work, a developed nation with a population of 5.3 million (Finland) can not have similar carbon emissions to a developing country like India which is larger is size and has a much higher population.
Having said that, India must realize that following the western model of development is potentially disastrous. Not only do we have to reverse this catastrophic damage, we have to find new ways of equitable sustainable development. A stand India must take with the international community in Copenhagen later this year.
References:
1. The Hindu – dated August 31st 2009, climate change and development.
Ed Miliband and Douglas Alexander.
2 Economic and political weekly- dated August 8th-14th 2009, exploring
climate regimes by Lavanya Rajmani
K. Ammu Sanyal
B.A. (Hons.) History; III year

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

a critical appreciation- indifference /our salvation ?

nobody likes critics...at some point of time everyone has borne the brunt of harsh critical appraise .It is hard on the psyche(with cause and effect) intimidating ,overly/beastly patronizing,and more than anything seems to give the preacher a sense of sadistic satisfaction which is the worst part .many fine decisions turn awry at the slightest thought of a melancholyboring and painful critical session.also it can be slow and deliberate at times sometimes unseen and at other times very vague but all too obvious.

many are of the opinion that it is a healthy practice and an exercise to modulate and harness our capabilities technically - that may as well be true (when this institution is implicated in its true spirit).but things turn ugly when criticism becomes deliberate and is done for the sake of demoralising someone - which also upto a certain level depends on what the person being criticized considers as 'demoralizing or emotionally threatening/draining'also as it isn't easy for many to accept being ranked below what they think is their rightful position , many go over the edge taking drastic measures such as self-detention or develop suicidal tendencies or end up being segrated social outcasts.

however one should not get the idea that our degradation is the examiner's greatest trimuph .the examiner may just have a different point of view/opinion on a subject or may not have the versatility of ideas of the examinee (or bluntly speaking not have full knowledge of them) an examiner with enough goodwill intent will explain the reasons of being negated without sarcasm and as a gesture of acknowledgement may even offer help to the examinee

comparing itself is a hard task.it cannot be determined whether or not we tend to be true to ourselves, we are humans and obviously either due to preconceived prejudices tend to overlook sound facts often failing to differenciate between a prodigious entitity and a layman. however critical views reflect the mindset of the reviewer upto a certain point it shows whether the person engaged in criticizing is playing with one's insecurities ,whether the person is a hypocrite when it comes to the implication of ideas in practice.at other times it reflects the twisted ideas that goes on in the minds of both the individuals involved

some people compare critical mechanisms as pro neo-bullish ideologies which are fully commited to harassment albeit a psychological one. some have even agreed critics need mental ailment and a lot of love. some have even called it pure negative energy at work. maybe it is process of evolution at work and in a few years we find ourseives in a 'highly organized analytical world/a highly pessimistic collective group' based on the moment to moment choices we make.

sometimes critics do not meet the criteria of being one.... such pseudo-half wit-makebelieve/fake intellectuals have been responsible for the end of many rising and established talents which even sometimes has even consolidated their own reigns.this is true in all walks of life - and more than often is a reason for lack of revolution/change that is necessary for progress.it tends to trap life into a set pattern of grids and strong conservationism

it has often been argued that critics are what they claim us to be i.e people who've practically given up doing what they comment upon and therefore can be called sore losers.it is not necessary critics are always failure because there is no pure defination of failure as there is no pure defination of winning nobody is born a genius or a dunce...........its what when we choose to overide fate and move on .it is our sole decision to let things overwhelm us and remain inure or to look around and endure.whether we allow ourself to break out of a singularity/mould and see - as they say the veiled face of the moon

a question is whether criticism generates indifference directly or indirectly...........what is its potential to harm or benefit us (and if yes then in what way), is it the same for us ?- is it universal for all and what approach do we follow to endear itself to us /us to it ?is it a hit and trial method of trying to improve or degrade ourself in the long run.one thing we'll need to realize sooner or later is that there'll always be a critic whether there is an artist/inventor/philosophist/theorist and we might as well get used to them

we might ask ourselves what critics really mean to us ;individually and collectively as a societyand we may come up with conflicting answersbut maybe we need them.......... to survive we need them and their aura, siphon it into anything we can remotely call love/hate and need to ingest this heavy tonic....and i think is the reason we need maybe we desperately need this..... and maybe it is the need of the hour and maybe it is this difference which counts...which will countand i look forward to it......
- Shibaji Ray
B.A.(Hons.) History; I Year

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Change is in Me

I could hear them from a distance, their endless cry. The rhythmic counting of ek, do, teen, char that created a funny feeling. Then, followed by an entourage came the candidate who did a killing Deepika Padukone hand waving act before shaking my hand and asking for my precious vote. I am not that big a fan of Tata Tea so I didn't move my lips a little to ask her about her Job Profile. Elections, who cares? We made fun of them and continued our friendly banter.

After a while or so, we were again approached by this person who looked very nervous on his face unlike the very confident Miss Padukone. He told us how he planned to stand for the post of college president as an independent. Curious, by nature I quizzed him further to gain a little knowledge on how things worked. He was pretty cooperative and answered all our queries pretty well, that was the first time I got to know the date of voting. He introduced us to his agenda .The whole hierarchy below the president's post is nothing but a bunch of puppets and things can be changed only by the power of this post. He confessed that he knew he would lose. I actually knew that -the moment I heard him say the word 'independent'. He was a bright young fellow who had ideas, ideas that can lead to change.

Curious by the hope he held in his eyes - I googled a bit and found out what it was all about. In this year's general elections, In the South Bombay constituency a higher executive of ABN Amro bank named Meera Sanyal - fought as an independent candidate and created a huge roar in the media. She featured in every possible talk show and asked educated people to jump in. She lost by a record margin of votes in that constituency. But, as a result, of that hype - on an average 3 more independents contested on each of the 540 seats. That is roughly around 1600 more politicians to choose from, out of which even if 30% are honest enough that is around 500. Then we have a parliament with 500 honest politicians only if you vote right. That is the power of an individual in our society.

Another factor that might have never crossed your mind before is that these people who stand for Elections in Delhi University aren't here to gain popularity among their peers or to just see themselves in powerful positions. Most of them do garner the ambition of getting into hardcore real politics and by not putting up any resistance - we become the ultimate losers. It is not of any use to tell you how useless most of these people are because we are no better.

So, as we are about to select our own representatives soon - I push forward this appeal to you to go on the 4th of September to make a change. Otherwise, who knows Miss Padukone might just end up leading our country – one fine day. And remember the change is in me.
These links might help you to make up your mind.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/News/newdelhi/Defaced-walls-herald-DU-student-elections/Article1-445373.aspx

http://www.du.ac.in/du/Code_of_Conduct.pdf

Do try and search information about the candidates before voting, it just takes a minute - have a look at notice boards in the college. Enquire about the independents.

-Arpit Kumar
B.A. (Hons.) English; I Year

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Metro Trouble

I believe that a Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) like the Delhi Metro is not a feasible, long-term intra-city transport option.

Here’s why.

As an entirely electricity dependent MRTS, the Delhi Metro naturally consumes a considerable amount of electricity. Nonetheless, there seems to be no general consensus regarding its exact consumption- a paper on the Institution of Railway Electrical Engineers website claims it’s the largest power consumer in Delhi, a May 9, 2006 report on the Tribune website puts the same to 45MW, or 1.15%, of the average demand of 3,200MW and a write-up on the Metro’s website fixes total consumption to 75+45=120MW or 3.75% of the average demand of 3,200MW. Now, as anybody who’s spent this summer in Delhi knows, the last figure cannot possibly be accurate, for, first, as the channels and papers have been publicising, the total demand at the peak of summer in June was a staggering 1000MW more at around 4,400MW and second, since this figure is so patently obsolete and the Metro’s network has increased considerably since then, its net consumption of too must’ve gone up. There is, unfortunately, no clear figure for that.

Be that as it may, one thing is totally unambiguous: an over-whelming percentage of the Metro’s electricity comes from either non-renewable fossil fuels like coal and natural gas or from ecologically unsound hydroelectric power plants in the lower and middle Himalayas. This crucial fact has till now been consistently ignored by media and civil society alike, for even as we rightfully applaud the DMRC for installing a solar power plant on the Connaught Place station and justifiably take pride in it been awarded carbon credit validation by the German TUVNORD for the use of the innovative regenerative breaking technology, we simultaneously forget that at its core the Metro still functions on hazardous, toxic and ecologically unsafe technologies. Like a majority of successful corporate establishments, all the DMRC does is to stay on the right side of public conscience by adopting small, piece-meal green methods with great fanfare without changing it’s core base of unsound energy generation technologies.

What is urgently required, therefore, is a holistic scientific analysis by an independent, unbiased agency on the overall environmental impact of the Metro’s creation and its unfettered expansion.

First of all, it must be found out to what extent electricity generation in thermal power plants offsets the Metro’s commendable achievement of preventing emission of around 2,275 tonnes of vehicular carbon-dioxide. Indeed, even as we in Delhi celebrate the supposedly modernising influence of the Metro and felicitate it for it’s role in the reduction of vehicular pollution, we overlook the fact that the DMRC characteristically follows conventional Western wisdom of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ by increasingly buying power from a NPTC plant in far-off Orissa. All this happening in the National Capital acquires another, ironical dimension when we consider how the Indian Government cries itself hoarse in every international climate change forum about developed Western nations relocating all their dirty work to developing countries and so making them victims to their insatiable hunger for resources.

Similarly, a detailed study on the multi-nuanced ecological impact of the construction of the Metro too is in order. The DMRC claims to be “one of the most eco-friendly projects in Delhi” so it will be worthwhile to find out whether or not it sources construction material like bricks, cement, concrete, girders etc from clean, green and ethical firms instead of the popular run of the mill profit-maximising, unsound businesses. The affects of exposure-whether adverse or not and if so, how much-to fine concrete dust to construction workers and those living near construction sites too must be conclusively established.

Moving on, one must also consider the costs involved in maintaining the DMRC’s entire network. Whether or not the Metro makes profits, maintenance costs are bound to go up each year as its assets age. Gradually, in about a decade or so, it’ll be bound to phase out a majority of its existing rolling stock if it still wants to maintain its current high standards and afterwards major changes and upkeep would be required in all the stations as well. It is not wholly inconceivable that as time passes maintenance costs would slowly become a considerable amount of its expenditure so that the DMRC’s huge infrastructure and unmovable assets might just end up as an encumbering public liability. Once again, an unprejudiced investigation is in order to determine whether or not these will eventually become equal to or override the net income.

On the whole, I think the DMRC can really not be fully blamed for not being far-sighted enough to anticipate these issues: it is, after all, just a modern replica of a century old transport model carried out under the guidance of a smart and efficient yet aging man. What is surprising, however, is that nobody in Delhi seems to have realised that the Metro, in its current avatar, is only repeating old mistakes and so seems to be going well down the way of becoming an embarrassing liability for the city. Indeed, had even a fraction of the will and money spent in erecting the humongous Metro network been spent on refurbishing roads and revamping the bus system the need for the Metro would never have arisen and the transport problem solved without so much exertion. The very induction of air-conditioned buses in the DTC’s fleet, which will make available to the common citizen a facility till now the Metro’s complete monopoly, coupled with the increase in road space and, so, vehicular traffic raises serious question marks over the very existence of the project as some of its basic objectives get gradually defeated.

All of this is not to say that I am against the Metro. No, like all Delhities, I too have more or less enjoyed the Metro experience and do sincerely believe that by setting enviable professional standards it has brought about a sea change in and contributed immensely to the evolution of public attitudes and consciousness, creating, in fact, a whole new ‘Metro culture’ of discipline, responsibility and patience. Nevertheless the Metro is no holy cow and, more now than ever before, we need to evaluate the whole project in a radical, all-encompassing manner and ascertain its viability for the moderately long-term. That alone will be beneficial for the city.

- Anubhav Pradhan
B.A.(Hons) English; Third Year

Monday, August 17, 2009

The first lesson

Once in the realm of theatre, the first step is to impersonate -to act. The first step of acting is to understand that the term itself is a misnomer .The performer does not just mouth lines , he lives the character .On stage a performer's first duty is to let himself go , lose his own identity; in fact not just his identity but also his own circumstances . A character has some identity of its own and the actor is its bodily representation. If the performer, let's his own identity interfere then he inflicts injustice to the character - however this must not be misunderstood as a step away from improvisation.

Every performer has his own methods of enacting a character; but no matter who you are, an amateur or a veteran; nor does it matter, if you are playing the protagonist, the antagonist or a tree in the background - the primary step is to adopt the identity of the character, his space and his circumstances. Every character comes with a set of traits, good and bad. You gain the character's identity only after you lose your own; once that is done; these traits help the performer to step into the character's shoes.
Improvisation though is a tough cookie. One might question, on how can one character be enacted in many different ways without disturbing these set traits? To answer this, we must understand that these traits are guidelines and not rigid rules. A child who is modeling some clay is fascinated by cars, but it is his wish on how his car would be; what color will the clay will be and what shape the car will be. The child is the character, fascination to cars - his trait, the color of the car for instance is the improvisation.
But traits aren't the only constraint, which a character has - there are circumstances. A situation with which the character will deal. The actor's primary job then is to analyze , how the character will respond to these circumstances with the constraint of it's traits. Again , to keep in mind , there might be several ways to respond within this constraint because circumstances might and do have an effect on application of traits . Let's add a circumstance to the earlier example, the boy now needs the car to be such that he can race with. Now, won't the perception of color and shape change?
To finish, it is important understanding that the ultimate aim of the actor, is neither just to please the audience nor is it gain respect in the eyes of critics - it is to do justice to that character by living it. The actor must also be willing to shun his identity like everyday clothes to adapt to that life, to that space and time for a brief moment. That brief moment is sheer joy.
Arpit Kumar, B.A.(Hons) English, I Yr.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

THE ELECTION THAT WAS

Elections 2009 were in many ways a celebration of indian democracy , the 16th of may saw the indian national congress emerge as the single largest party and ending an era of regional caste-religeon based politics. when the first general elections were held in india , the times were tough - the country had undergone a painful division and had inherited an odious future . Few would have put their money on India as a successful democracy , but the people have proved time and again that this seventh largest country inhabited by the second largest population of the world is the ideal model of democracy .

In a broader view of space and time 60 years are as good as nothing . America has been a free nation since long and for the sake of study if considered an utopia has taken its time . India's growth in these 60 years of hard earned democracy is not just commendable but remarkable. The subcontinent continues to be in a state of anarchy and lawlessness yet india has been able to drive away these hindrances and has paved it's path to gain respect in the eye's of the world as an upcoming superpower .

One reason of this sucess is the clarity of India's voter who inspite of hate speeches , irrelevant issues and filth in Indian politics has had a simple vision for India . The three demands they put up should be fulfilled roti , kapda , makaan and the modification given this election season of bijli , sadak , paani . Everything that's between and else is all but flawed - communal and political in nature . Mandir , rath yatra , dalit ki beti and hate speeches are nothing but nice crispy entertainment for the educated middle class and crass useless for the rural Indian.

Many saw and predicted a hung parliament this time around and few could have imagined the real outcome. with the upsurge of the elephant , emergence of the volatile third front and a quite a comical fourth - the regional parties were all set to eat away a large share of vote of the two larger parties . Mayawati was garnering hopes of the PM's post because till the D-day everybody thought that she was the queen of UP if she had swept it , things could have been different but the congress's resurgence there and the left's debacle paved the way for singh to be king once again .

But one does raise a question was this verdict a disapproval towards the extremist-communal opposition or a verdict for the UPA's five year term ? Political commentators are united on it being the former but one cannot deny the credit that this government deserved , history is proof that the indian voter has voted for stability , for the assertive and not the aggressive , for dynasty as the lesser evil than for the power hungry.

Hence the elections 2009 were a victory for the INDIAN and DEFEAT for all others. JAI HO!


Arpit Kumar, B.A.(Hons) English, I Yr.