Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wow! This is my India!

This is in response to the comment at this blogspost.

Wow! This is my India! This is my India that can best be mapped under tin sheet roof. Earlier I got the sense of Yasu and her team mapping the geography of India as per perspective of migrant workers in garden city of Bangalore. Even as gardens disappear at rapid pace to give way for mega conglomerates to feast on glitter and shine on imagined India of 11% GDP with fly overs, sea links and airports, Yashu in this mail comes up with another map. This time it is map of time, the real time map of lives of her subjects of films, care and solidarity - sometimes imagined, sometimes through watchful eyes of ever robust yet sick system.

This map of time is distinct from hanging India maps from tin sheet roof at CIS campus: maps of space. This map has mental scribbles of Yashu herself. The migrant workers are "not allowed to bring their families, they are not allowed to make friends with outsiders, they are bunched up together, they are supposed to just build our cities and move on..."

What does this map indicate? Life in captivity? Life in slavery? Life chained to violent system? I always we have constitution of India that guarantees freedom of movement and freedom of right of life. We indeed have one. But that was suitable for the 1950s and 1960s. It is perhaps long outdated. It is only because of this that Yashu's scribblings here looks bit disturbing.

I feel Yashu and her team has touch some very 'disturbing' aspect of India Pvt Ltd. She encountered overpowering character of contractor who is hell bent to implement discipline so much to get India to shine if she still evades. Wow! this is my India that stand tall far above tin sheet roof tops. This is my India that is addicted to growth. This is my India that rejoices every fruit produced by Avtar Singh and Sanjeev. And Yashu has spoiled party! She picked on its fodder for burgeoning belly. She mercilessly entered the labour camps and found father figure - Avtar Singh! Perhaps he is a father figure to hanging Indias under the tin sheet roof. I am sure blooming Indias above the tin sheet roof has never known his existence forget about he fathering anything for imagined Bangalore.

Life in the labour camps is temporary. Life even outside is temporary everywhere. Sometime my ears echo the 'concentration camps' every time I read Yashu's mail. Surely my ears have gone bonkers, they are a gone case by now. There is magnetic filth inside them. They need some thorough clean up to listen to right things. My poor ears! Let me try reading again something else.

Who is going to see the film that Yashu, Ekta and Paromita are making? "how we are going to share the final film with them... as they are here today and gone tomo...their addresses are as temporary as them in my city." I guess that is a nature of migrant workers caught in spiral of economy and time. Brutally exploitative economy and restless time. They would still be working multiple shifts if earth slows down its rotation to 48 hours. The restless system, the restless motions, restless economy, restless minds, restless contractors, restless India, restless needs some remedy. Do you have it in you?

It is a same economy. Workers like Avtar Singh and Sanjeev are greeted with restless as variety of hospitality of Yashu's city. Is it something pioneering about Yashu's city? At all! This is one common thread that ran through few of maps for making change project that we have been privileged to be part of. My state of Goa corporate-state nexus is restless to dig and sell iron ore to China and Japan. Mining economy is restless. Kolkata city is restless to the extend it goes on relentlessly to demolish human habitats that like of Avtar Sigh and Sanjeev would be inhabiting, Riju is painstakingly mapping this restlessness. Restless 'Developments' across the country has brought about number of people to Bombay pavements. Devanshi of Yuva is doing her bit in mapping this. Global political economy as restless as ever and Diamond mining in Panna, M.P is example it restlessness. Anjuman has mapped this. There is restless of the Indian State to takeover forest lands and hand it over for carbon trading agreements. Kaveri and Ayyapa has been involved in checkmating this trend via their map in small way in Karnataka. And there is massive restlessness even 'peace hunting' to clear the way to corporates in southern Chatisgargh. Ram Bhat is mapping this. Gujarat government is found mysteriously dozing when it comes to revival of state's step wells. Kakoli Sen has highlighted this in her majestic installation with highlight of Vadodara. This too has lot to do not only in water security but also on restless trend in changing/manipulating history/memory. I am sure there are more cases, more interpretations.

So the restlessness galore widely. In Yashu's context is accessible and visible in direct raw sense.

My musings continues :) Surely be glad to meet up with you Yashu sometime soon :) I am glad that my mail was so hugely supportive and self-assuring. Surely there is way ahead here subject of explorations of not just for you and me but everyone on this list.

Sebastian Rodrigues

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