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  • Bombay - A Myth Shattered

  • Obituary: EMS Namboodiripad

  • Prithvi versus Ghauri: Insanity at loggerhead

  • South Asian Initiative

  • Politics of Theatre / Theatre of Politics



  • Bombay - A Myth Shattered

    directed by Teesta Setalvad

    Shot extensively throughout Bombay following the riots in December 1992 and January 1993 the film looks at the disintegration of community life during the 10 days in January that Bombayites remember as the most traumatic of their lives. It also focuses on the lesser known side - the ordinary people living in bastis, chawls and apartment buildings who put up a resistance.

    Individuals   $25
    Institutions   $50

    Distributed by Sabrang, Juhu Tara Road, Bombay 400049, India Orders can be placed with CERAS.

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    Obituary: EMS Namboodiripad

    The communist leader, popularly known as EMS, born on June 14, 1909 died on March 19, 1998. Born in a rich family in Kerala, he later donated all his property to the communist party. His political activities included fighting against orthodoxy in the Namboodri community, participating in the civil disobedience movement started by Mahatma Gandhi during the independence struggle which led to his first arrest in 1933. He joined the communist party in 1939 and headed the first ever elected communist government in Kerala in 1957. That government was arbitrarily dismissed by the then Prime Minister of India, Nehru, in 1959. He was one of the founder member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964 and remained its General Secretary till 1992.

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    Prithvi versus Ghauri: Insanity at loggerhead

    India's missile named "Prithvi," with a range of 350 km, successfully launched last year has now been matched by Pakistan's missile named "Ghauri". Pakistan's government claims that it was developed indegenously and that it has a range of 1,500 km.

    To reassure Indians and scare Pakistanis, George Fernandes, once a socialist, but now BJP's Defense Minister, said that India's Prithvi can strike anywhere in Pakistan which has a geographical depth of only 400 km. On the other hand, Lahore can aim at Calcutta, Bombay or Madras which are almost within 1,500 km range.

    No one can blame Pakistan for developing a missile once India launched its Prithvi. Nevertheless, the launching of these missiles, at a time when one begins to have some optimism about improving relations between these two countries is a development for the worse.

    Both countries are riddled with gigantic social and economic problems. An atmosphere of amity and increased economic cooperation between the two could do wonders to the lives of millions of Indians and Pakistanis. Instead, both are embarking on a suicidal path, which can only please imperialist interests fearful of the emergence of a strong and prosperous South Asia.

    During the Falkan war between Argentina and Britain, Nobel Laureate Latin American poet Pablo Neruda is reported to have commented that this war is like two bald men fighting for a comb. The launching of Prithvi by India and Ghauri by Pakistan is vulgar exhibitionism by two emaciated countries.

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    South Asian Initiative

    http://www.south-asian-initiative.org/

    Last summer Alternatives embarked on a project to bringing together our partner organisations in South Asia to form a common web site. The project involved sending a group of Canadian youth to assist the organisations in the countries of South Asia to build their individual web sites and then put them together on a common home page. The first phase of the project started by sending fifteen youth from Canada to organisations in India. In exchange the interns had the opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in the workings of popular organisations in India. By July 4, 1998, we will have a web site called southasian initiative which will host the web sites of the following organisations:
     
    1. Economic and Political Weekly (EPW)
    2. Communalism Combat
    3. Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad (KSSP)
    4. Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS)
    5. World Fishworkers Forum (WFF)
    6. South Asian Network of Alternative Media (SANAM)
    7. South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR)
    8. The Other Media
    9. Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (YUVA)
    10. Apnalaya
    11. Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF)
    12. People's Watch - Tamil Nadu
    13. Society for Awareness and Development Action (SADA)
    14. Centre for Literacy Education
    15. Confederation of Voluntary Associations (COVA)
    16. National literacy Ressource Center (NLRC)

    In the next phase, Alternatives is planning to take up similar projects in other countries of South Asia, starting with Pakistan. Internet surfers, keep an eye open for South Asia!

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    Politics of Theatre / Theatre of Politics

    On April 9 CERAS, in association with the Teesri Duniya Theatre Company and Playwrights' Workshop Montreal, organised a seminar with Javed Malik as a guest speaker from India. Shree Mulay, member of the EC of CERAS chaired the meeting.

    Javed is an activist scholar who holds a Ph.D. from McGill and teaches english literature at Delhi University, India. His talk focused on the inherently political and radical nature of the theatre as a cultural institution. He gave examples mainly from the theatre of the twentieth century. He also talked about the forms of theatre which not only deal with issues of immediate political concern but also seek to actively intervene in the politics of their time. He also briefly went through a historical overview of activist theatre in India. He showed a video on Safdar Hashmi, political and street theatre activist who was murdered by a political group opposed to them, highlighting the contribution of the street theatre in the contemporary political realities of India.

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