Antara Dev Sen (for Info only, not official)

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Antara Dev Sen

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    ...He held in his eyes the tenderness and wisdom of centuries, and in his palm the promise of an eternal universe. He made you think. Author, translator, editor, critic and passionate aficionado of films and music, Kunwar Narain was one of the greatest poets of our time. And a loyal keeper of our conscience. Yet when he passed away earlier this month, the English-language media was strangely silent. Except for a couple of articles, there was nothing. Could it be our ignorance? But he was no unsung, unheard, brilliant recluse. Narain had got all the big awards, from the Jnanpith to the Padma Bhushan, and he lived in Delhi. But he had one big handicap — he wrote in his mother tongue, Hindi. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on Nov. 30, 2017, 3:16 a.m.

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    ...Perhaps like little girls in your family, or kids around you. Except that Santoshi’s family was very poor. And for most of this year, the only food she got was the midday meal at school. On September 20, her school closed for the Durga Puja festivities. And on September 28, as Ma Durga killed Mahishasura, Santoshi died. With her last breath, she asked her mother for rice. But there was no food in the house — there hadn’t been for days. Her starving mother could do nothing but watch her little girl slowly and painfully die of hunger. Santoshi did not die because there was no food for her. Her family had a ration card and had earlier been living on the subsidised foodgrains they were entitled to. Santoshi died because the government snatched that food away. It refused to let them have their entitlement, for no fault of theirs. Except the huge, colossal fault of being born very poor in a country that is now too posh to care about the poor. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on Oct. 28, 2017, 12:55 a.m.

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    ...The Supreme Court is thinking about it. The debate on euthanasia gave us a passive euthanasia law. Now we are debating the “living will” — where a person could leave instructions refusing life support in case of an irreversible terminal illness or a vegetative state. Arguing for the legalisation of a living will, Prashant Bhushan, on behalf of Common Cause, noted that the right to reject treatment flows from our right to life. The government, however, believes such a will “may be misused in the case of elderly people who are treated like a burden by many”. Both positions have their merits, and the court has reserved its verdict for now. But the court has said the living will is “not postulated on the right to die but on the right to live, as the person is actually saying he wants to live only till he can without outside support”. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on Oct. 15, 2017, 12:35 a.m.

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    ...For thinkers are in danger. This is the age of hollow men, headpiece filled with straw, leaning together, with dried voices. We must not think for ourselves, or speak out. This is the age of submission, of silence. Why else would writers need police protection? Traditionally, writers were protected by readers, by a society that valued writers, artists, teachers, thinkers. But for years intolerance of inconvenient thought has been growing — now we have allowed it to escalate into the shameless murder of dissent. From banning books to vandalising libraries and burning texts, from attacking art to hounding artists and chasing M.F. Husain out of India, to brazenly harassing anybody who doesn’t conform to my idea of my country. From Salman Rushdie’s book banned to placate Muslims to Wendy Doniger’s book banned to placate Hindus, we have come a long way while staying rooted to the same spot. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on Sept. 12, 2017, 2:50 a.m.

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    ...It will be a dalit. That’s all we care about. We have reduced the highest position of the country to a rudimentary dalit versus dalit fight. Seventy years after Independence, when we promised ourselves equality and justice for all, we find ourselves on a parallel path where we nurture inequality, and dish out sops instead of justice. It buys us power in a deluded democracy. Just as we use gambling tokens in a casino and pretend it’s real money, we use gambling tokens in our democracy and pretend it’s real democratic choice. So it’s not a contest between a right-wing lawyer-cum-politician who believes in a Hindu India where Muslims and Christians are outsiders versus a liberal former IFS officer and politician who was India’s first woman Lok Sabha Speaker and believes in a secular India. It’s simply dalit versus dalit, and may the one hoisted on the biggest muscle win. There is something revolting about selecting a presidential candidate that gives out a hugely hypocritical message purely for electoral gain. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on July 19, 2017, 12:51 a.m.

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    ...(Is the cow protector in? – No, he is out to lynch.) Black humour deals with the utterly unacceptable. But if lynching is the new normal (and I don’t think it is yet), it hasn’t become so overnight. For years, we have prepared the ground for this brazen brutality that thumbs its nose at the law of the land. Back in 2004, Akku Yadav was lynched in a Nagpur court by a mob of furious women and men. We were shocked, but not unhappy. The dreaded serial rapist, extortionist and ruthless goon had been pally with the police, thus escaping the law for decades. We are all guilty, thundered a crowd of enraged women, challenging the court to punish them. A horde of lawyers sprang up in defence, pointing out that the attackers were actually victims. It was not murder, it was social justice. Sure enough, 10 years later, all the accused were let off. We smiled in relief. Overburdened courts at the mercy of a corrupt administration, crooked officers and callous police often fail to deliver justice. Then there is political expediency. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on July 11, 2017, 2:33 a.m.

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    ...The peacock is our national bird because it is very holy, said the judge as he retired from service, so holy in fact that it does not have sex, it sires babies through its tears. The peahen just needs to swallow the peacock’s tears, and voila! Her tummy is full of little baby pea people! Now that is truly revolutionary. Not only does the peacock — known for his spectacular struts showing off magnificent feathers all fanned out for maximum display to attract the rather plain Jane peahen — skip the real thing after the elaborate courting ritual, but he also breaks a big taboo, proving that real men do cry, and they cry powerfully potent tears. This is also revolutionary because it proudly tramples over lowly scientific realities, like the fact that peacocks, like most birds, don’t shed tears, or that in secular life they procreate the way most big birds do. But Justice Mahesh Chandra Sharma of the Rajasthan high court had reason to bring in the national bird. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on June 9, 2017, 1:27 a.m.

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    ...We are doing fabulously, corruption has been eradicated, reforms have made everyone’s life so much better, we now live in a clean and captivating Swachh Bharat, Sundar Bharat, we have jobs, food and economic growth, we are charging forth creating more wealth and everyone from farmers to industrialists have reason to cheer. Mr Modi is our Maximum Leader, we hear, who has put India decisively on the path to glory. He is also firmly on the side of the poor and downtrodden, and is working towards development for all: Sabka saath, sabka vikas. Meanwhile, every single day you see stuff in the news that makes you catch your breath and wonder what happened to your country. Lynching seems to have become acceptable. Majoritarian vigilantism has government sanction. Mob justice is a way of life. The police watches silently as citizens are killed. Institutions are losing their independence. History is brazenly being rewritten. Democratic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are scornfully cast aside. ...

    Deccan Chronicle on May 24, 2017, 4:28 a.m.