Anubha Bhonsle’s book ‘Mother. Where’s my country?’ begins with a lacerating description of a rape survivor’s memories. The survivor, herself isn’t suAnubha Bhonsle’s book ‘Mother. Where’s my country?’ begins with a lacerating description of a rape survivor’s memories. The survivor, herself isn’t sure about how to narrate what she went through – uses several props to thread her experience together, because really how does one explain the trauma, the betrayal, the intense violation in just a matter of few words?
This first page is symptomatic of pretty much how the book goes. AFSPA became a part of our pop political vocabulary following the release of ‘Haider’. A draconian law which was rendered invisible in mainland politics because of our little interaction with it, was suddenly given a tangible place in the many liberal debates that the society currently seems to be engulfed it. Bhonsle’s book will hopefully build on the idea of AFSPA and give its readers a more detailed view of what actually happens when law is merged with apathy and impunity. She pieces together experiences of physical and sexual violence being perpetrated on the civilians by the armed forces under the garb of AFSPA and national security alongwith the turbulent history of the state, of why the law got enacted and enforced in the first place. Intermittently there are stories of Manipur’s past, about its kings, dynasties, about how its status as a part of India was vague post independence? About how the king thought he is negotiating space and politics, but instead he signs up for a mangled life. There is intricate historical detailing of how Manipur went ‘from being an independent kingdom that was making transformation to democracy, Manipur found itself relegated to the position of a C Category State of the Indian Union..’( p.33). This book also challenges the idea of nation-state, whose problematic nobody seems to be aware of outside academics. It retells how India by force, political or otherwise, has annexed states to itself. It was the Britishers who annexed the states together to make colonial rule easier and effective, and till date it is the same idea of India that we seem to be working around. I hope this then generates dialogues about statehood and that of being ‘Indian’ and of belonging to ‘India’.
This book also details its reader about the Naga revolt and how brutally India suppressed it revolts despite the Nagas making it clear that they did not want to be a part of India. History lessons like these are very crucial to deconstructing the idea of Indian nationalism. How decides what consists of Indian nationalism, if all the points of view aren’t taken into consideration?
A large part of the book is also dedicated to narrate the stories of Irom Sharmila. There are heart rending exchanges between Bhonsle and her, it makes one question the idea of soverignity and war, that after all this violence, destruction and trauma, what would peace have to offer? Can it salvage this damage? Can it ensure a better future, which will forever carry such a blood stained history?
Needless to say that Bhonsle has done well in representing the picture as it is, but that is also where her slight failure lies. Her conceptions of violence, civil war and state policies remain too naive. Joe Sacco, a Maltese-American cartoonist and journalist, in the preface of one of his works says something to the effect of that when we refuse to take sides while representing stories of injustice, are we really being just ourselves? I leave this to the readers to answer for themselves. ...more
Spinning words from his magic yarn, on loop, over and over again. This world is divided into two kinds of people: who like Murakami, and who don't; anSpinning words from his magic yarn, on loop, over and over again. This world is divided into two kinds of people: who like Murakami, and who don't; and the twain shall never meet. I haven't read the prequel to this book yet, perils of having random books lined up for reading on your kindle. But despite that, never for once did I feel that I was picking up a string of a ball which lay somewhere deep behind. I would say that this book and its plot are an experience in itself and one need not have read the previous books to make sense of this one. The characters, watermark Murakami ones - strange, lonely, restless, seeped in existential angst yet living the post modern dream. Listening to American music, making spaghetti while talking american literature, driving around the city blasting 70s music on a snowy evening. It is strange and crafty that he can continuously churn characters which are particularly post world war II cultural amalgamations. A passing comment on how America changed the cultural scape of Japan, of what war does to humanity, to cultures. It kills some, it amalgamates some. No telling of one from the other.
You could almost get the musty smell of the old, damp carpets of floor no. 16. And I guess we all have our Mr. Sheep, whom we would run to in our minds, trying to make our lives a little more interesting, pushing us to achieve something. The detached characters forming warm friendships in the most atypical of ways. Playing situations over and over again in their heads, trying to make sense of the past. Brushing it all of, shelving it for Mr. Sheep, while building their lives. Takes time to realise when the flight to the alternate reality is taken, and when the feet recoil in a fetal position in their active 'real' lives. Mr Sheep, emblematic of the good in this otherwise forsaken world, where finding friends is not tedious, where having someone to love you and look for you is not an extraordinary event where you have to announce it as a certain relationship. For theory buffs, there is ample of Heidegger's being and time housed in pouches all over the text.
The strongest reason for Gantz scoring a 4 star rating from my end is because it is manga. Kidding. The story line is hyper - very violent and very seThe strongest reason for Gantz scoring a 4 star rating from my end is because it is manga. Kidding. The story line is hyper - very violent and very sexual. I wouldn't call the plot ambitious in any sense since they have taken a lot from other stories and were too lazy to hide it. I had high expectations from it, but didn't seem to add up to much in the end.
But the little that it adds up to, that tiny part is amazing and has made my journey through the lanes of narrative so haunting and sublime.
The dark and grim portrayal of humanity resonates with most, and the questions tend to get deeply philosophical. At certain instances, I felt lost after reading a page and had lean back and ponder for a bit.
Will not watch the movie to massacre the experience....more