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... I wish to present Ramjas College as a text. It is true the college has been the epicentre of certain events over the past few days. A seminar was called off. Ideological battle lines were drawn. There was violence. Consequently, many newsworthy narratives spun out of these events. The present analysis will try to look beyond those events. Moments dissipate, texts remain. Readers would, right at the outset, wish to ask, why Umar Khalid (a JNU PhD scholar), was invited to speak at the seminar. The correct answer is what George Mallory said when asked why he wished to climb the Everest. He replied, “Because it’s there.” Or more brazenly, “Why not?” Having said that, I, as a teacher in Ramjas College, wish to state that this does not necessarily imply that the college subscribes to Umar’s political views. ...Indian Express on Feb. 24, 2017, midnight
...Amrita Dutta’s ‘Don’t be Miss Congeniality’ (IE, November 1), begins well, evaluating two recent artistic products in the market — the Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury-directed film Pink and the latest Chetan Bhagat novel One Indian Girl. She says many contemporary media moments have been about women’s issues, set off by the outrage that accompanied the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. Amidst so much conversation, she believes, “It is almost inevitable that popular culture wants in on this fascinating narrative.” But, she urges, while feminism is growing, it must not be appropriated by the frivolity of popular culture. To be meaningful, it must be a “serious, disruptive force.” We will look at this divide — between the serious and frivolous, between male and female participation in feminist moments across texts, between what popular culture theorists call the battle between the Utopian (escapist) and the ideological (serious) — later. Let’s begin with what truly prompted this piece. ...Indian Express on Nov. 10, 2016, 12:04 a.m.