Two Short Poems on Rain

5 07 2010

Act I (With due apologies to T.S. Eliot)

I wait for the compassionate philharmony of lilac rains
to wash away the cruelty of April ,
for the electric of distant thunders
to short circuit the blue vitriol of my soul,
waiting to dream the curled up baby pink foetus sleep
in the arms of a wild wind.

Act II

Pelting my soul with icy shards of sweet melancholy,
the monsoons open my windows,
to a million forbidden republics of poetry, love and madness.
the summer sizzles and dies in its puddles,
like an ageing item number.

Wheezing at the smells of new earth
I succumb to my wounds,
and bleed out of my translucent wrapping,
to the luminosity of the nearest Wada Pav stall.

– K.P.Jayasankar


Bombay Rain

5 07 2010

I could never fathom

how monsoon bulletholes
hadn’t ripped apart the sky
of a beggar’s jigsaw smile

or the enigma of words



as he watched a tear
in his plastic tent
explode out of his universe

the shards of his tacit
pleas smothering him

and carving out his foot
swollen jackfruit yellow

how mere seconds later
he’d be laughing
and striking the Titanic pose
while sailing his boat to America
and back in the flood outside
Govandi station

how his father
Traced his weariness on the
drenched corners of a McD’s
Banner that became the side wall
of his makeshift home
with decrepit
railway tracks for a floor.

how the blind night never stole silently
into his tent. How she waited.
Crouching dog-like.
shaking her deathrattle.
Cursing in the Braille of

snickering in the corner as she
burnt her tongue trying
to bite the troubled dreams
of a family never knowing.

how he could
come out smiling
the next day. When his eyes
betrayed the sleepless

night of watching
the ooze of someone else’s
garbage licking the
edge of his charpoi.

water rising with the
audacity of anticipation

Swordlike in its quick
embrace girdling his youngest
daughter’s broken toenail.


It’s fortunate isn’t it?

That I am here


sipping hot chai that
his wife made for me
Before she left.

Ajinkya Shenava

Speakers at Frames of Reference 2009: A brief introduction

6 12 2009

Ashis Nandy: Inaugural Lecture on the 18th Morning at 10.30 am

Ashis Nandy (born 1937) is an Indian political psychologist, a critical theory based social theorist, and a leading social, cultural and political critics in contemporary times. A trained sociologist and clinical psychologist, his field covers a vast area of thinking such as public conscience, political psychology, mass violence, nationalism and culture.

He has worked on cultures of knowledge, visions, and dialogues of civilizations. He was Senior Fellow and Director of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) for several years before his retirement in 2004; today he is a Senior Honorary Fellow at the institute, apart from being the Chairperson of the Committee for Cultural Choices and Global Futures, also in New Delhi.

Part of the 2008 list of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals Poll, Nandy had received the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2007. In 2008 he was listed as one of the top 100 public intellectuals of the world by the magazine, Foreign Policy, published by The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Nandy joined the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, as a young faculty member. While working there, he developed his own methodology by integrating clinical psychology and sociology. He served as the Director of CSDS between 1992 and 1997. He also serves on the Editorial Collective of Public Culture, a reviewed journal published by Duke University Press.

Nandy has coauthored a number of human rights reports and is active in movements for peace, alternative sciences and technologies, and cultural survival. He is a member of the Executive Councils of the World Futures Studies Federation, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, The International Network for Cultural Alternatives to Development, and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties. Nandy has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the Wilson Center, Washington, D.C., a Charles Wallace Fellow at the University of Hull, and a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities, University of Edinburgh. He held the first UNESCO Chair at the Center for European Studies, University of Trier, in 1994. In 2006 he became the National Fellow of the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

Professor Nandy is an intellectual who identifies and explores numerous and diverse problems. He has written extensively in last two decades. His much discussed book titled ‘The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism’, which was published in 1983 by the Oxford University Press, India talked about the psychological problems posed at a personal level by colonialism, for both colonizer and colonized. Nandy argues that the understanding of self is intertwined with those of race, class, and religion under colonialism, and that the Gandhian movement can be understood in part as an attempt to transcend a strong tendency of educated Indians to articulate political striving for independence in European terms. Through his prolific writing and other activities supported by his belief in non-violence, Professor Nandy has offered penetrating analysis from different angles of a wide range of problems such as political disputes and racial conflicts, and has made suggestions about how human beings can exist together and together globally, irrespective of national boundaries.

About Second Edition Of ‘Frames of Reference’, Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, TISS, Mumbai…

2 12 2009

This is the second year when we, the students and faculty at the Centre for Media and Cultural Studies, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai are holding our annual seminar, called “Frames of Reference”. The theme for the seminar this year is ‘Constructing conflict: A critical dialogue on media representations’. In accordance with this idea of critically analyzing the representation of dissent in media and the political upheavals of the past few months, we have structured the seminars around three themes –

  1. Terror 24*7
  2. Naxalism: Deprivation, Resistance and State Response
  3. The North East: A Fractured Visual

The seminar is an endeavour to take undertake a critical appraisal of media and the modes, according to which it constructs and represents conflicts. Our attempt is to view how the media deals with conflicts in India, keeping in mind our sub themes for the seminar this year, which are the North East agitation, the ‘Naxalite threat’ and the hysteria around terrorism.

The seminar includes interactive sessions with media veterans, analysts and filmmakers as also student paper presentations. The entries for the paper presentations need to be registered with the organizing committee of the seminar and a soft copy of the paper mailed to by the13th of December, 2009.

We do hope that most of you shall choose to attend our seminar and make it a huge success.

Use me

8 10 2008

This public service ad by Karuna D’souza, Rajesh Ranjan, Smita Lakra and Shephalika Mishra is on the issue of littering. Being conscious of putting your trash in the dustbin, it says, is not difficult. ‘Use Me’ was made as an assignment for a video class on social communication in January 2008.

Speak up!

7 10 2008
A public service ad, directed by Pooja Das Sarkar, Nandita Mary Thomas and Subuhi Jiwani, tries to raise awareness about 10920, a government-run helpline for women. It was made as an assignment for a video class on social communication in January 2008.


Missal Mix, Radio TISS: 88.4FM

30 09 2008

From September 15-20, 2008, the second-year students of CMCS attended a week-long workshop in community radio with filmmaker and media activist Stalin K. It involved programming for a (hypothetical) TISS community radio station as well as developing individual radio segments. The week was spent interviewing people on a wide variety of topics and inviting them to record the songs of their choice in the CMCS studio. The result? This 38-minute programme.

To ensure a diversity of voices, students reached out to people across departments, professions, languages, classes, castes, genders, etc. The community members who participated in the programme include faculty, administration, maintenance, students, non-teaching staff, contract employees, security guards, canteen workers, etc.

At the end of the week, the students ‘narrowcasted’ the programme in front of an audience of approximately 50 people. To listen to it, please click on the link below. (The link will not stream audio but will allow you to download the file.)