Originally posted on The Stockholm Review of Literature:
I showered for more than 3 quarters of an hour, expelling the phantom smear residue of adrenaline from my skin, cleaning my very nerve endings, I dreamt in the shower, with my traveling tête-head mind the dreams I give into and over to before I return to bed.
Upon exiting the communal shower a man approached me in the corridor, guest of a hotel chambre neighboring the bathhouse-closet which I was to lock before returning the rental key to the reception. He was old, gray mustache like a moth that survived catastrophe but wearing ash heavy on its very wings and it perched warm under his warm nose, his afraid cataract eyes behind thick black-rimmed glasses—I wonder if cataracts come from a need to preserve water and fluids in times and places of drought, despite grief and sadness. His one grief-eye was magnified bigger than the other. A long…
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Yesterday I went for a walk with the last un-cremated goddess of happiness, we sat by the river bank to eat some black bread by the river, imported from the Slavic territories, full of nutrients and even a Russian worm, he stood up to salute us and we cut his head, or his ass off with a fat-knife. The river bank had overflown and then the water skirted back and we sat on stones and old coins of bankrupt third world currencies rejected by a Swiss-minded Charon, stones and coins and bits of bone turned to coral pressing through our clothes. Then we noticed something horrible, luckily most nature mystics and most poets have been made extinct before seeing it, with the exception of us two: styrofoam, floating in the blessed Styx river, where we had washed our legs together as children.
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Cemeteries of empty graves. A cremation, a defiance of the necropolis, a final humiliation of the dead. It is possible to humiliate, to murder those who are already dead. The genocide in Iraq.
The academicism and its polite war against dead writers and dead artists in the West–a campaign which pales by comparison, anything in the West pales by comparison, here they have not seen the youth of the cypresses.
Originally posted on kaleidoscope:
Ritwik Ghatak & Partition
India’s moment of liberation from the British was also a moment of rupture: with independence came partition on 15 August 1947, in what was one of the greatest ironies of 20th century history. Partition did not mean quite the same thing for Punjab and Bengal – the two provinces that got divided on the eastern and western borders of India – but there was one aspect that was common to both: most ordinary citizens found it difficult to accept the fact of partition and their lives changed beyond recognition once they became refugees.
And yet, as far as Bengal was concerned, Partition hardly had any immediate thematic impact on film or literature. The first Bengali novel to deal with partition came out only in 1955 – Narayan Sanyal’s Bakultala P.L.Camp. But it was highlighted on celluloid much earlier – in the 1950 classic, Chinnamul (“The Uprooted”)…
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It seems the same people who a few years ago said all politics, and particularly activism was childish, too idealistic or just about sex, an attempt to save the world disguising sexual hysteria, are today the most militant activists. How did it happen? But they have radicalized into a new vigilanteism without changing their political views, usually center-right or center-liberal, one iota—except, maybe, in that once they became more political, they became more themselves, more intolerant, willing to actively patrol as censors and punishers. It is probably for the best: the wall of numbness and catalogs of new furniture disappeared leaving a naked, political animal. Aristotle surely did not invent his favorite Greek idea: man is a political animal, zoon politikon, the son and zoon of politik.