Instead, the Indian media has ascribed to itself the role of an amplifier of the government propaganda that took two nuclear states to the brink of war. To make matters worse, between 2013 and 2019, editors of channels and publications have been sacked and replaced, primarily because of their criticism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. I have no formal training as a writer or a photographer, I taught myself and learnt by doing, failing and creating my own grammar. But the number of anonymous sources willing to disclose classified and conflicting information to reporters who cited them without corroboration points to a serious crisis in how information is reported to the public. Second, there is a clear distinction between speaking against the powerful and claiming to speak on behalf of the "voiceless". The constant making and remaking of who is a citizen, who is not, is accompanied by a profoundly dehumanising process. The Hindu Centre for Politics and Public Policy, Supreme Court forms expert panel to probe any regulatory failure on Adani issue, India makes renewed push for consensus at G20 Foreign Ministers meeting, Hindenburg Research report on Adani Group | Supreme Court verdict on expert committee on March 2, High debt on Vedanta books puts investors on tenterhooks, Employees Provident Fund: How to activate UAN online, 1947: Madras Devadasis (Prevention of Dedication) Act passed, RMA 0-1 FCB, El Clasico highlights: Barcelona leads on aggregate after beating Real Madrid courtesy of a Militao own goal. Bhawan Singh, who photographed the Nellie massacre, said he had never seen anything like it. Say, for instance, do we need a James Nachtwey to fly to war-torn Bosnia? I had a very stable home to come back to. India and its Borderlands: Suchitra Vijayan in Conversation with Sharjeel Usmani, Book talk with Suchitra Vijayan, author of Midnights Borders, Crisis at the Border: Contestation, Sovereignty, and Statelessness. Theyre screaming all the time, its just that we dont listen to them. Her distinct and bold voice made her very popular with the younger crowd. We perform rituals of freedom in a right-less societywe dont ask if the rules, laws, and policies that are put in place are fair, just, right or equitable. Founder & ExecDirector: @project_polis @watchthestate ; Teach @nyugallatin Writer Manhattan, NY Born April 14 Joined May 2008 8,013 Following 80.8K Followers Tweets & replies Tamil Movie Articles Trisha | Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya | Tamannah | Anniyan | Aishwarya Rai", "Bigg Boss Awards for each contestant in Bigg Boss Tamil 4", Suchitra: I can sound sweet, sexy, bold or sensual,, Crossover episode with Bigg Boss Tamil; Fearless Award, Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer Telugu for the song 'Nijamena' from, Nominated: SIIMA Award for Best Female Playback Singer|Best Female Playback Singer for the song 'Sir Osthara' from, This page was last edited on 23 February 2023, at 09:35. In 2020, Suchitra took part in the fourth season of the Tamil reality television show, Bigg Boss Tamil hosted by Kamal Haasan. This is a tightrope that you walk so well. 2:16. Speculation and conjecture were repeated ad infinitum, and several journalists even took to Twitter to encourage the Indian army. This discrepancy is just one example of the confusion and misinformation spread to the public by deeply flawed media reports. This language drums the idea of the fundamental importance of justice, and such language is inalienable: it can easily be defined and empathetically understood. As she travelled 9000 miles over seven years across Indias borders, some drawn so hastily that they cut across fields, homes and courtyards, she met men, women and children, finishing with endless notebooks, over a thousand images and more than 300 hours of recorded conversations. Her quest took her to the farthest ends of the India-Bangladesh/ China/ Myanmar/ Pakistan borders. How "The Family Man" champions the carceral security state. This is the age of erosion of citizenship rights, a kind of ongoing attrition against human rights, civil liberties, and in the case of India, an accelerated dilution of fundamental rights. ", "Documentary photography has amassed mountains of evidenceyetthe genre has simultaneously contributed much to spectacle, to retinal excitation, to voyeurism, to terror, envy, and nostalgia, and only a little to the critical understanding of the social world.". If she wasnt real she would be a marriage between a meme and parody. I spoke with Suchitra by email in July about Midnights Borders, the power of literary nonfiction, new possibilities of Indian American literature, neoliberal politics, and the importance of supporting underrepresented stories. This contributed to the long-running, brutal silencing of Kashmiris and their struggle for self-determination. Respond to our political present. We have already chosen silence and obfuscation even before the pushback has arrived. Q: Since publishing the book last year, what reflections have you hadgiven that its relevance is increasingly ascertained by 2022s interpersonal and geopolitical violence? I test my practice of writing or being a photographer against this rule. They took my land, they stole my life, they stole my future, they took my nightmares and they stole my dreams too. Ali went missing in 2018. What do these events have in common? Her YouTube channel 'Suchislife' has all her updated work. Take a look at theseevents: The vast infrastructure of detention centers being built in Assam and outside; a politician from a ruling party incites violence by saying, goli maaro saalon ko, and remains free; a minister, a Harvard educated technocrat, garlands and celebrates men for the grave crime of lynching; Dr Teltumbde and other BK 16 [the 16 arrests made in the Bhima Koregaon case] political prisoners remain incarcerated with little, no or manufactured evidence for being dissenting subjects; and a standup comic is arrested for the crime of existing as a Muslim. They all have very specific and carefully curated origin/immigrant stories that cleverly exploit the model minority trope. [1], Suchitra joined Sify for a year, after graduating. That changes how you write and photograph a place. In recent years, the narrative of hate has escalated with the reelection of the right-wing Narendra Modi government in 2019. I came with my privileges, also lets not forget prejudices. More than two weeks after the attack, our analysis finds that no news site had rectified the errors in their reporting, leaving these misleading facts as a matter of public record. In this stunning work of narrative reportagefeaturing over 40 original photographswe hear from those whose stories are never told: from children playing a cricket match in no-mans-land, to an elderly man living in complete darkness after sealing off his home from the floodlit border; from a woman who fought to keep a military bunker off of her land, to those living abroad who can no longer find their family history in India. Opinion | After Pulwama, the Indian media proves it is the BJP's There are enough stories of people parachuting into communities to do human interest stories.. For far too long, they and their progeny have held power to shape the political understanding of our social worlds. She responded to an ad for the post of an RJ in Radio Mirchi. How did you achieve empathy in your writing, without the privileged lens that is common in journalistic canon? I wrote a book along with it comes love, scorn, and sometimes even ridicule. Suchitra Acharjee - Graduate Assistant - The University of Texas Rio I can see small cracks beginning to appear. While Nehru was still declaring this victory, the slaughter began. In season two, a quick flashback resolves the plotline from the previous season. This media blitzkrieg resulted in the erasure of two important political trends. Gokhale claimed that it struck the biggest camp and that a large number of terrorists were killed. Also, we shouldn't forget that the border making project is central to capitalist and neoliberal logic. What we can do is attempt micro-histories of events, timelines, or local communities. What changeshave youobserved in the way you treat your subject after finishing your journey and book? India's Press Crackdown: The Silencing of Journalists in Kashmir Suchitra is a sought-after performer at corporate and other such stage shows. We need to think about border practices, policing, and national security policies within the larger historical and political contexts. For instance, if you went to school with, say, Indias most powerful publisher, or your dad plays golf or socialised at the Gymkhana with the politically powerful and the culturally influential, then that system is built to get you the resources. She lucidly explains the complicated history of the McMahon Line, how the India-China border is the result of a fabrication perpetuated by the British colonial administration. Her work looks at theories of violence, war, and human nature. The people in the text fear statelessness, unknown violence, and being forgotten. Includes previously unreleased investigation under #JackStraw. The third thing is: were going back to relitigating everything. How did writing this book affect you? Three hundred million people who had been considered less than subjects under the British rule, divided for years by religion, language, class, and caste, would all be united under one book: the revolutionary Constitution given to India by Babasaheb Ambedkar. Midnights Borders , Suchitra Vijayan includes a photo of the pillar, which becomes a cricket stump for boys on either side of the border most days. That capacity to be able to go away and then come back profoundly affects how you write because then you are still rooted. 'Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India' review: A Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. As I say in the book, Kashmir changed me, it gave me political and moral clarity to always stand with those fighting for their peoples freedom and dignity. Dear reader, this article is free to read and it will remain free but it isnt free to produce. She entered the show on day 28 as a new contestant and was evicted on day 49. First, the escalation in the counterinsurgency war within the Kashmir Valley under which hundreds of activists were arrested and several Kashmiri civilians killed in gun battles was grievously underreported. The controversy surrounding the Rafale deal and allegations of corruption against the government were suddenly sidelined, as was the order for the eviction of more than a million forest dwellers (that was later stayed) and a hearing on the repeal of an important constitutional clause before the Supreme Court. The book was originally going to be a photographic body of work, which changed when I started writing. This Life Draws Attention to Life Behind Bars and the Transcendent Power of Rap, Wrestling with Reality in The Big Door Prize. It took a long time to get the voice right. They continue to. Suchitra Vijayan on Twitter: "RT @project_polis: Writing fiction in a Thats part of the political imagination that I believe we need for political movements or any sustained acts of resistance. This article was published more than4 years ago. "Fighting for justice and human rights in India is a long and lonely battle" Nishrin Jafri Hussain, the daughter of Ehsan Jafri (from 2019) Nine years ago, she began documenting stories from her travels along the borders of India. In our social and economic life, we shall, by reason of our social and economic structure, continue to deny the principle of one man one value. In this podcast, Vijayan discusses with host Alex Woodson her 9,000-mile journey through India's borderlands, which formed the basis of the book, and she discusses the violent and continuing history of the 1947 partition, the stark differences and similarities along South Asia's various borders, and what "citizenship" mean in India in 2021 and As a spy working for TASC, Tiwari has to juggle being an underpaid government employee as well as an absent husband and a perpetually late and distracted father. Categories. Especially when you can be charged with sedition for a tweet or arrested for the crime of committing comedy while being Muslim. Suchitra Vijayans new book, Midnights Borders: A Peoples History of Modern India, takes a deep look at such stories by prioritizing the experiences of the silenced victims as well as lesser-known accounts from victims of state violence. He writes about how when the Constitution was adopted, "We are going to enter into a life of contradictions. Suchitra Ramadurai, known by the mononym Suchitra, is an Indian radio jockey, popular playback singer, songwriter, composer, voice artist, dubbing artist and film actress. There was an NDTV programme, where somebody said Should Indias constitution be secularist? Suchitra is now a singer-songwriter as well, composing music on her own and in collaboration with Singer Ranjith. In the first season, when he and his team are tasked to thwart the terrorist attack Operation Zulfiqar, the plot moves from Mumbai to Kashmir. Midnights Borders, a work of narrative reportage, is the fruit of this journey. 582.1K views. She was part of a music band at PSG. L.L.B., Law, The University of Leeds, 2004 M.A., International Relation . Our borders had become a spectacle, and we the cheering mob, she says, as she calls for purging hatred for the sake of posterity. A t a time when right-wing nationalism is crescendoing in India and across the world, Suchitra Vijayan's Midnight's Borders raises pertinent questions about the very foundations of India's nationalism the cartography of South Asian nation-states defined by arbitrary lines drawn hastily by the British colonial administration. I think these are fundamental questions of freedom and dignity. She is the founder and executive director of The Polis Project, and the author of Midnights Borders: A Peoples History of Modern India, recently published by Context, Westland. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, GQ, The Boston Review, The Hindu, and Foreign Policy, and she has appeared on NBC news. . Photograph of Suchitra Vijayan courtesy of Suchitra Vijayan. I almost never forget, I remember entire episodes or events since I was six years old. As a Bookshop affiliate, The Rumpus earns a percentage from qualifying purchases. None of this helps in telling richer, more textured stories. She still does a radio show called Flight983 on Radio Mirchi, on Sunday evenings (79 pm). Is photographing a woman, who was gang-raped by the Sudanese army and put on the cover of TIMEpractically naked, able to stop the war? It seems that they have a different eye for these women, who they describe as cunning, deceitful, and in some cases, prostitutes'. Husain Haqqani: Pakistan released the Indian pilot. The book is a prelude to what was coming, and is also a impassioned plea to my readers to ask some fundamental questions of what it means to live in a country like Indiawhat is the function of a state when its primary preoccupation is no longer the citizen but a performance of an ideology? It was not going to be easy as she quickly found out. MacAdam reviews Suchitra Vijayan's book Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India Read More. The public is sold a lie as the attack is framed as a gas leak. FII Media Private Limited | All rights reserved, "Imagine how it would be for someone coming from a Dalit/Bahujan, Muslim, Adivasi, working class background, who wants to come into thisit is especially difficult if youre a woman coming from these backgrounds. But its also important to constantly take account of who is writing about this India to an Indian and global audience. You need to write what you seethats why you started this project.. Suchitra Vijayan and Francesca Recchia In this era when Indian armed forces and the police act with absolute impunity, a handful of local news outlets play an essential role in reporting and. Already a subscriber? Suchitra Vijayan (@suchitrav) / Twitter The taxi driver who describes the Egyptian revolution in five minutes to an American columnist (who speaks no Arabic) is sadly where the genre is today. In addition, she is an award- winning photographer, the founder, and executive director of the Polis Project, a hybrid research and journalism organization. In the popular depictions of India circulating in the US, we rarely see the stories that the nations jingoistic governments have shoved under the carpet. Suchitra Vijayan is the executive director of the Polis Project. Its about what people like me should do. What do you think the future holds? Vijayan: Most Indian American writers, especially many of them who occupy the broad spectrum of literary to punditry, come from immense privilege of caste and class. Founded in 2009, The Rumpus is one of the longest running independent online literary and culture magazines. Suchitra is a BSc graduate from Mar Ivanios College (Trivandrum). Also, I am an unknown and insignificant entity. Suchitra Vijayan Ali lived right on the edge of the India-Bangladesh border. Also read: Examining My Caste And Its History Is Eye-Opening: A Personal Essay On Casteism And Ancestry. Suchitra Vijayan: The Indian state has always used excessive and extrajudicial violence on communities that resist, whether its the borderlands, peripheries, or mainland Now the international viewfor instance while the Gujarat riots of 2002 brought critical international media attention and criticism, and [current Prime Minister] Modi was banned from entering the US, India was able to effectively manage global public opinion. History and memory is localwhich means its almost impossible to write about India. Suchitra Vijayan was born and raised in Madras, India. Suchitra was married to actor Karthik Kumar between 2005 and 2017. It is here that even the most civilised amongst us begin to make excuses for repression, brutality, and violence. Midnights Borders is part investigation, part meditation on the lines drawn on land or water that separate India from its neighbours. A poll asked if its OK to be white. Heres why the phrase is loaded. March 06, 2021 04:50 pm | Updated March 07, 2021 08:05 am IST. Over the past 15 years, small democratisation through social media has enabled challenging these practices. I think the way that news and mostly disinformation makes its way to us, we think of violence in very particular waysas disjointed. Why do you think India has gotten away with this so far? She is not alone. This affects who gets to document, and whom. Aruni Kashyap writes in English, and his native language Assamese. These are edited excerpts from the interview: 'Midnight' seems to be a metaphor for multiple things both freeing and frightening. After her Twitter page was hacked in 2016, and the pictures and videos released by the hacker went viral under #suchileaks, following a spate of bad press owing to the fact that she only released a statement on Sun News saying she was focused on shutting the page down, Suchitra left for London to pursue culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu. The two press briefings by the foreign secretary and Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson entertained no questions. How does one think of violence, how does one make sense of all this, how does one retain a sense ofnot exactly humanity, but ratherempathy for the other? The original vision of the book also has newspaper cuttings, and found maps. You can find them on, The #GBVinMedia Campaign: Media Reportage Of Gender-Based Violence, #IndianWomenInHistory: Remembering The Untold Legacies of Indian Women, How To Write About Abortion: A Rights-Based Approach, The Crowdsourced List Of Social Justice Collectives Across Indian Campuses. Vijayan is no stranger to stories of violence. document.getElementById( "ak_js_1" ).setAttribute( "value", ( new Date() ).getTime() ); Your email address will not be published. The publishing landscape, including Indian publishing, is deeply flawedit is upper class, upper caste, and deeply alienating for anyone who doesnt come from already established and existing networks of privilege. More importantly, reporters need to engage with what it means to administer what has been called the worlds most militarized zone. Only then can the country answer a more fundamental question: Just what should be done to create conditions that allow Kashmiris to choose their destiny? A: Writers are very strange creatures. There are enough stories of people parachuting into communities to do human interest stories. Second, border policies are about "performance and articulations of citizenship". Global Ethics Review: Midnight's Borders, with Suchitra Vijayan Thoughbordersare conventionally recognised as real or artificial lines of spatial and political demarcation, there may also be an arbitrariness to them. Many of the stories didnt make it to the book because it became dangerous to identify people. RT @project_polis: Writing fiction in a dystopian world - @kiccovich in conversation with @mohammedhanif . I feel very uncomfortable talking about this, or rather I dont know how to discuss this without centering myself. The black and white pictures accompanying the chapters add a thousand words more. [2] She became known as Rj Suchi, with her popular morning show Hello Chennai. This income helps us keep the magazine alive. Suchitra tweets @suchitrav. This means that, for the longest time, the depiction of violence and marginalised communities has been problematic. She has also been appreciated for her honest and positive-humour-filled judging at reality shows like Vijay TV's Airtel Super Singer, Sun TV's Sun Singer, Asianet's Music India, and Bol Baby Bol on Gemini TV and Surya TV. To repurpose an old sayingall infamy is now good virality. What is the emotional and artistic cost that one pays as a writer while crafting these narratives? She studied Law, Political Science and International Relations, and was trained as a Barrister-at-Law and called to Bar at the Honourable Society of Inner Temple. Although Vijayan critiques the state and its complicity in violence and erasure of lives, she refrains from villainizing the men who serve the state. So here, 'Midnight' functions as a moment of violent birth, but also perhaps the foundational violence that becomes codified in various ways, especially in the bodies of people farthest away from power. Vijayan: There is an elusive distance between the photographer and the photographed that cant be bridged. But who gets to speak for so many of us? Having been trained in law, Suchitra Vijayan initially worked at the United Nations war tribunals in Yugoslavia. suchitrav. Rumpus: In such a climate, what do you think is the responsibility of the diasporic Indian writer? Midnights Borders perhaps also critiques the widely read body of work available as Indian English Writing (IWE), a literary canon that has so far told the story of India but seldom demonstrated social responsibility by acknowledging the atrocities India has committed silently within its borders.
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