Earlier this month, rumors surfaced on Twitter about Ali Sethi, one of South Asia’s most reputed musicians and the man who brought ghazal to contemporary times was said to have supposedly married Salman Toor, an American artist of Pakistani origin. While both have been highly praised for their work, it seems as though simply rumors of their union (which have been refuted by Sethi) spurned South Asian masses against the two artists, which brings into question of how we can continue our formation of new traditions, if we deny such cultural icons the opportunity to be themselves and therefore, fully realize the true capabilities of their art.

 Toor is a famous Pakistani artist, credited for his depiction of male homosexuality and intimacy in his artworks, with his most famous exhibit being “No Ordinary Love.” The solo exhibition attempts to capture brown men in scenarios of comfort, where they have regained autonomy over their queer identities and can shape the narrative surrounding their sexuality, something which Toor was deprived of during his childhood back in Pakistan. His paintings also question the colonizers’ lens and point of view.

By creating private, deeply comfortable spaces, I hope to give dignity and safety to the boys in my paintings. Somehow, this also makes me feel safe and comfortable, solidifying my context in this culture as a queer man from a Muslim cultural background.” – Salman Toor in an interview with Design Pataki.

Sethi, on the other hand, is one of Pakistan’s only openly queer public figures and has been credited for reviving the ghazal and making it relevant in modern times. His most recent global sensation, Pasoori has also said to subliminally underline fluidity and redefinition of gender identity and the freedom to love who one’s heart desires. The song, which mixes Turkic and South Asian elements, poses a certain duality given the Punjabi lyrics but it can be said that it speaks of the perseverance of love in the face of adversity. Sethi’s use of Sufi motifs, which are notoriously and conveniently ambiguous, allow for the expression of homosexual love, something seen in Sethi’s previous works like Rung. The juxtaposition of traditional garb with bright eclectic colors all through the music video can also be indicative of a mixture of tradition and modernity.

One would think that the peoples’ love for these two artists would transcend such regressive beliefs but mere rumors for their marriage sparked conflict on social media. Accusations of violating Islamic beliefs, derogatory memes, and calls for boycotting Sethi’s performances by his fans ran rampant on Twitter.

This incident brings into question the place of art in our community, and how we look at personal expression and its intersection with identity. If we cannot accept the two of our most loved artists, who’ve entered our homes and hearts through their music and art, who’ve been sources of joy and entertainment, who’ve reinvented and preserved South Asian culture –  then what is the purpose of our traditional values?


Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/07/03/saffronisation-of-cultural-expression/

Image credits – luhringaugustine.com


Chaharika Uppal

[email protected]


 A nerd’s deeply personal take on social media vilification of the nerd archetype across pop-culture . Read on for more. 

Humour is tricky business. Tracing back to the rasa theories of sentiments and emotions, every humour has an origin and the origin of our laughter too can be traced to different causalities. It can either be sourced as a something that makes us laugh through the display of deviance in an attempt to domesticate something that is wrong with society, or in what I wish to term as humour of a low order, it can emerge from a need to make a standing example of a non-conforming entity, who happens to stick out due to a deviance inherent to their character.

Such humouring of identities of “other” often unconsciously result in vilification of archetypes in popular culture which fuels social media content which on the grounds of generating humour to run their dubious algorithms end up putting on sacrificing social responsibility at the altar of parodying the non-conformist – in the case of this article the figure of the nerd. The nerd figure has long been relegated to a realm of marginality in popular imagination, one which has resulted in social media content creators to repeatedly generate humour at their cost. The normalisation of the same has become so exceedingly widespread that the archetype of the nerd figure now borders on the level of almost being a villain despised by one and all.

Take for example the widely popular film from recent years of Indian cinema – 3 Idiots. The supposedly antagonist in the film is the typical nerd figure as seen through the character of Chatur Ramalingam is repeatedly made to be the butt end of jokes due for no fault of his. He simply has a vision of academic achievement which is not in concurrence with that of the protagonist and in order to prove the point of the protagonist the nerd figure is not only made an example of the in the most vile ways possible but also made to take part in one of the most insensitive dramatisations of a rape joke in recent cinema history. Even in a film like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani or something as cult as Kal Ho Na Ho the heroines are nerds who have their hair tied in buns and wear glasses and spend their days engrossed in books and academia. In order for them to be desirable by the hero, they have to shed their persona of the “typical nerd” and have hair flowing, while sequin dresses grace their lithe bodies. There is no room here for appreciation of a life spent behind the pursuit of knowledge – be it out of individual will or out of societal pressure, a deeply pertinent argument which is often relegated to non-existence.

Social media pages dedicated to generating humour based out of educational spaces and the lives of people involved in academia thrive on humour which emerges at the expense of nerd archetypes. Meme carousels take great pride in criticising students who spend hours devoted to studying and suffer from severe bouts of depression and performance anxiety by reducing their issues to the simplistic phrase – they are a topper and they always lie about the preparation. The truth of the after more often than not is different. The idea of the nerd as someone who deliberately gaslights their own readiness in order to feed off the mediocrity of others is a problem which completely exterminates the immense expectations – familial, societal and professional – the students have to cater to. To be someone who chooses to win and internalises winning comes at the cost of knowing that one is consciously ascribing an identity of marginality to oneself – an ascribing which should be free of any sort of shame or stigma.

Such humour further perpetuates a cycle whereby these students not only end up doubting their own self worth but are never allowed to take pride in what they believe to be a philosophy of life that must be adhered to. Humour for the sake of entertainment is of course something that should be and must be encouraged. But humour that is indulged in without realising the exact impact it has on marginal identities in society is something that should be shunned especially in our largely current virtual world where a single meme transcends time and space and more often than not does more harm than good when left unchecked.

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]

On the occasion of World Heritage Day, we take some time out to point the spotlight on lesser known monuments which are rapidly headed towards disintegration due to constant neglect.

Long queues neatly separated by steel railings. Constables stationed outside and inside the premises. A two digit price ticket for Indians and a three digit price ticket for foreigners. Tour guides who speak better English than you, seated in anticipation just after the air-conditioned ticket counter. Spick and span washrooms. Expensive audio guides. Well-manicured gardens. Informative placards stationed after every five metres. The Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is lavishly groomed as a tourist spot, and meticulously well preserved as a monument. One could almost call it “pampered”. And why shouldn’t it be? Having towered over the capital’s skyline for nine centuries, it is a reminder of the country’s architectural supremacy and the city’s rich cultural heritage, aweing every single person seeing it for the first time.

A couple of minutes’ walk from the Minar along a secluded, peaceful road dotted with some posh nightclubs, designer boutiques and leafy canopies suddenly opens up to the bustling cacophony of a messy mini metropolis, Mehrauli. On the Mehrauli roundabout, opposite a noisy bus depot, lies a domed structure, visible to every passer-by courtesy its huge size, but acknowledged by none, except for some adventure-seeking tourists. There are no constables, long queues, tickets or ticket counters, tour guides, manicured gardens and most importantly, tourists.

The monument itself is run-down. A few vagabonds sleep inside the circular corridor. Four children play cricket in the courtyard. Some tobacco and paan hawkers have set shop inside the premises. If you look closely at the dirt stained informative placard at the entrance, it reads “Adham Khan’s Tomb”. Locals refer to it as “Bhool Bhulaiya” and it is well known only as a landmark, helpful perhaps while giving directions to delivery boys, and certainly not as an important heritage site, in spite of being built by one of the greatest rulers of the subcontinent, Mughal emperor Akbar.

Despite being in close proximity to the Qutub Minar, the treatment that most of the monuments and heritage sites in the Mehrauli and Hauz Khas area receive is a far cry from the one received by the Minar. Some have it worse than Adham Khan’s Tomb. Rai Pithora, the once grand citadel of the Rajputs lies in shambles and some of its boundaries are even used as garbage dumps. Most of the Sultanate era baolis or stepwells reek with stinking green water and are a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

There are hundreds of historical sites peppered across the city, in Old Delhi, Zamrudpur, South Extension, North Delhi, Central Delhi, Tughlukabad, Palam to name a few. Many of them are recognized by the Archaeological Survey Of India, but still find themselves in miserable conditions. Some are not recognized and remain unidentified even by the locals. Apart from being uncared for, they also fall prey to two menacing issues – vandalism and encroachment.

“X was here”. “Y loves Z”. “Long live the X party”. Acknowledgements of romance and pledges of loyalty to political candidates scribbled on the walls or pillars greet the beleaguered tourist who visits the monument once in a blue moon. Besides this, climbing atop delicate structures as well as sticking advertisement posters on the monument’s walls also count among the rampant acts of vandalism undertaken by irresponsible citizens.

In areas like Mehrauli, Chandni Chowk and South Extension where heritage sites exist simultaneously with residential areas, encroachment into the monument premises is common. Homeless people use them as shelter. Children use them as playgrounds. Residents use them as garbage dumps. According to ASI rules, construction within 100 metres of a monument protected by ASI is prohibited. But it is hard to implement the rule in a populous city like Delhi where unauthorized constructions are prevalent. In fact in a recent report by ASI in response to a Right to Information (RTI) application, Delhi ranks first in the country in terms of monument encroachments with the number crossing 300.

One might attribute this to the domino effect. Once a person vandalises or encroaches, and is not reprimanded, others follow suit and soon the number rises. “Doing the same in heavily guarded and respected sites like the Humayun’s Tomb and Red Fort would be unthinkable for even the most desperate of vagabonds and mischief mongers. So why aren’t the rest of the sites as heavily guarded?”, said a professor of sociology at the University Of Delhi on the condition of anonymity, questioning the unequitable treatment of monuments by authorities. These issues would have been nipped in the bud had there been stricter measures and punishments against them when they started coming up initially. The goal now should be to limit any further damage and if possible, allot funds for the refurbishment of the damaged sites.

Why should lesser known heritage sites be refurbished if they don’t attract any footfall? Well the very reason these sites don’t attract people is because they aren’t refurbished. With nothing worthwhile to see, nothing worthwhile to read, nothing to transport them back to the past, there is no incentive for them to visit. Add to the fact that many decrepit monuments are located in secluded and unguarded areas, thus making them unattractive to potential tourists. And even if they do not attract as much tourists as other well-known monuments, they need to be well maintained and well preserved for the sake of historical and cultural integrity. India’s rich culture and heritage is what makes it so unique, admirable, respectable, and the neglect of historical sites sabotages this reputation.

Nevertheless, the ASI has done credible work in handling an extremely long list of heritage structures. In fact, even the meticulously handled affairs at well-known historical sites is something that they need to be lauded for. Non-governmental organizations like INTACH and the Aga Khan Trust have done well in complimenting the work done by the government and have helped fill up loopholes. As citizens, it is our duty to provide constructive criticism and awareness so that the ones who wield the power and authority to take action know that their job isn’t done yet.

Feature Image Credits: Panasonic 4K Imaging Club

Araba Kongbam

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As COVID-19 has resulted in a war-like situation around the world, we are not only battling the disease but also our mental conflicts. Seeing this, an alumnus of our university has started an initiative that will not only help us to utilise our time better, but also showcase our talents. Read on to find out.

Being under quarantine is not easy and with a lot of time to spare, people tend to only suffer physically but also mentally. In such situations, all one needs is a way or a platform via which they can share their emotions. The platform ‘The Talented Indian’ is providing people with just that.

They have started the initiative #CreativityAtHome to help people make better use of their time. It is worth mentioning that the platform has a huge audience and thus provides a good medium for us to showcase our talent.

The Talented Indian is a digital media platform started by DU alumnus, Akash Kamal. He along with a couple of friends started this project six years ago with a single aim, ‘To explore the unexplored talent of Indians’. The platform has come a long way since.

The word “Talent, as Akash Kamal defines it, is not only confined to the performing arts but also includes poetry, storytelling, photography, sketching, sculpting, etc. We also cater to bring out the stories of people engaged in entrepreneurial activities, social service, and philanthropic activities. For us, every person is uniquely talented and we aim to create a level playing field for every artist while appreciating their craft.

Talking to us about the inspiration of this idea, he says, “Some time back I happened to meet a corporate executive of a major MNC. He was not only an exotic painter but also a versatile musician. While being so good he never had enough time to invest in his talents. On seeing his artworks I thought of giving him and so many like him a platform where they can showcase their talents. Thus we started the initiative. And even though quarantine has locked us inside our houses, it has given us one thing in abundance, time. Apart from this, sharing your talents helps a person to feel better, mentally and in a time when news channels are filled negativity creativity serves as a great getaway.”

One can showcase their talents or artworks via tagging The Talented Indian on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. If the artwork is shortlisted, it gets featured on the website. Also if the talent showcased is exceptional then the creator is live streamed on the platform’s social media. 

Featured Image Credits: Recent submissions to #CreativityAtHome via (The Talented Indian via Twitter)

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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In times like today, when the nation burns and dissent curbs, where does the agitation divert to? In times like today, when the nation burns and dissent curbs, we seek solace in art. 

Protests. Music. Posters. Slogans. Paintings. Doodles. Protests. Years back these must have been random words stringed together, today, they are all part of a revolution to seek the truth and preserve the tarnishing ideals of our democracy. As more streets echo Hum Dekhenge, self-composed songs, witty slogans, posters, graffiti, social media too simultaneously creates content on all platforms. 

Throughout history, art has remained a crucial part in evoking the idea of nationalism. The Swadeshi Movement was laid down on the ground rock foundation of art- from Raja Ravi Varma to Abanindranath Tagore, their legacy still thrives in the very image of ‘Bharat Mata’ which has been appropriated by the other side of the wing, time and again. Historically, the world has not been much of a pleasant place politically, to begin with, ravaged with wars, suppression, overturned democracy and conflict for power. 

Image Credits: The Hindu
Image Credits: The Hindu

The Emergency 1975-77 amidst all the press restrictions paved way to one of the most iconic political cartoons which still finds a place in politics and journalism books. The Common Man by R.K. Laxman till date stands relevant in the sphere of political art. Keeping the art- ‘art’ aspect out of it, any content created by anyone is art- poetry, literature, paintings, everything is art.

Globally, too, graffiti, poetry and photography have rather been more dominant on social media. From Trump to Brexit, Syria to Hong Kong, protests have been largely dominated and propagated with art as a backbone.

Image Credits: The Guardian
Image Credits: The Guardian









Sharanya Vajjha, an amateur Artist and Political Science student says, “I really feel it’s a creative and articulate way to show someone that you disagree. Visuals are a far more effective medium in making a point, then why not make it instrumental in showing our resistance?”

Instagram today is a platform for everyone with a voice, with the rise in citizen journalism, all forms of art have emerged to be an influential way of criticising. After 15 December (Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) Violence) and 5 January (Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Violence), Instagram stories and Twitter, was flooded with creative posters, slogans, poetry, and songs.

Bol Ke Lab Azaad Hai Tere!, Azaadi, Hum Dekhenge!, Inquilab Zindabad!, dominated both the streets and sheets (literally). Idle backseat doodlers are leading protests and slogans with their art, brave images of JMI and JNU students fighting back, have become a digital symbol to show solidarity.

Who said art is for the weak-hearted?  Walking the streets of Delhi today, every wall shouts “Jai Bhim” and “No CAA, No NRC”. Bangalore’s walls are painted in shades of the OG Shah-Modi’s colour. Kolkata is well, painted in red. Political art is silent, yet screams the most.

Disha Arya, an amateur photographer covering the protests all over Delhi says, “Photography as an art form lends you an eye on different perspectives which are not observable otherwise. I hope to inspire nationalism with what I click and wish for an urgent realisation against the ongoing fascism and curbing of dissent expressed.” 

Modern urban politics have largely been incited and popularised to reach its maximum extent, solely due to creativity. People often perceive art to be apolitical, however as history has it, apolitocal art is just an oxymoron.

Feature Image Source: @afsaanehoor on Instagram 

Anandi Sen

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A strong ballad that reminds you of the quintessential essence of Music, Harry Style’s Sign of the Times echoes our struggle for equality and keeps our hopes alive for the young must conquer. 

There’s a special thing about Music and lyric – it’s eternal presence; the ever long availability and it’s the ability to feed in artificial and human memory makes it a significant instrument to strike the chords of change that are hard to achieve otherwise. These crisp, short, hard-hitting words in sumptuous symphonies or in an amalgamation of rock and roll deploy a certain kind of adrenaline rush. Coupled with the popular stars who have an increasing base and reach, the theme of political and social relevance often finds a place in their approach and outset that promulgates important messages. 

From Beatles to Beyonce, music together with other performance arts has been an important tool to achieve social objectives, from racism to mental health and in dealing with events like elections and gun violence in the states. ‘Every revolution has a sound,’ the echoes of the modern struggle for equality is well observed in many songs but for many specific reasons I choose Harry Styles debut solo single ‘Sign of the Times.’

A subtle and splendid number from the ex One Directioner, was a surprise to many that harkens back to David Bowie transcending the 70s to modern geopolitical context, ‘Sign of the Times’ takes somewhat an eschatological end born out of the political suffering. 

The lyrics of the song are just like the untangling of the complexity of an extreme simpleton, basic words, strong sentences, construct hard phrases that leave ambiguous interpretations. The song is about the pangs of a dying woman who is being separated from her child after childbirth, she has five minutes for being all the moral and didactic to her child who needs to ‘conquer the world’ as the reality approaches, but is that it? In an interview with Rolling Stone, Styles talks about the ‘Fundamentals’ that inspire him for this piece, things like Equality, Human Rights. Styles compels us to think about these basic things that are often sought to be an obligation on the part of the authority are due essentials on the part of every single being. 

In a further exchange with the New York Times, Styles takes on the political upheaval and catastrophes ensuing the show of political superiority in the world, he talks how the outside chaos in the world can’t be segregated from his song. He says, “We’re in a difficult time, and I think we’ve been in many difficult times before.” Further quotes, “But we happen to be in a time where things happening around the world are absolutely impossible to ignore … It’s very much me looking at that. It’s a time when it’s very easy to feel incredibly sad about a lot of things.”

The current situation appropriately explains the lyrics and the feelings that a significant amount of population carries in times of distress, the sense of freedom, the idea of hope to calm the human emotions that are inevitable in a crisis as such. Sceptical about it? Remember the lines. 

“Just stop your crying It’s a sign of the times We gotta get away from here We gotta get away from here Just stop your crying It’ll be alright They told me that the end is near We gotta get away from here”


Image Credits: spin

Faizan Salik

[email protected]


Ever thought about capturing lights with physics and even with tossing your camera? Look no further, because there’s kinetic photography. 

Kinetic photography is also known as camera toss photography. However, that’s not all you need to do in order to take pictures. 

As complex as it sounds, it just needs patience, practice and the knowledge of some skills, and an inexpensive camera. Don’t worry about the quality of photos since kinetic photography can make pictures from an old camera look great too!

Owing to its dynamic nature, it’s recommended that you start out with a somewhat dark room with a single source of light and then experiment with more sources of light to play around with complexity in your shots.

As for the settings, use slow shutter speed and adjust the ISO and aperture accordingly. ISO is usually set low and aperture is high when the shutter speed is slow.

Before proceeding further, ensure that you’re in a safe environment and more importantly, ensure the safety of your camera. Then, press the shutter and go crazy! Swing your hands, go zig-zag! The best part of kinetic photography is the independence it comes with. You can also explore (with caution) tossing your camera in the air. 

Here are a few pictures which were tried by DU Beat photographers:













EXIF Data:

Shutter Speed: 5 seconds


ISO: 100


Photography by:

Surabhi Khare

[email protected]

Saubhagya Saxena

[email protected]

Fests seem to be a significant part of the whole college experience. And these fests are incomplete without a thrilling concert on stage. From sports fields to tour buses, several independent, signed, and Bollywood artists have toured the various colleges of India for their fests.

Here we count down five significant artists who are a popular sight at many a college concert. The following musicians and singers are featured in here in no particular order, just on the basis of genres and the space they have among the college-going youth. Many college fests take place over the course of two or three nights. The usual pattern is a rock band or a DJ making people jump for the early days, while playback singers from the film industry take over the final days.

  1. Electronic Dance Music (EDM)

Gurgaon-born DJ Zaeden is a popular pick of the new age electronic music producers. Zaeden has struck a chord with the youth, having performed at many colleges of University of Delhi (DU) and other technological institutes. Zaeden’s set usually features his originals like ‘Never Let You Go’, along with dance covers of Coldplay and Maroon 5 songs.

But if you want to hear remixes of mainstream film music, then DJ Chetas and NYK to a lesser extent could be your choice. Chetas’ rise is remarkable as his work might seem pretty mediocre in the face of new-age DJs like Ritviz and Mojo Jojo. Still, Chetas knows how to market himself. His career took off with making themed mashups of Bollywood songs that were featured on the 9X TV network; soon his mashups and remixes found their way in the fest circuit increasing his brand name.

Still, the most original music producer in this scene is Nucleya. With hardly any remixes, he cuts straight to the chase whipping out his classic trance tracks like ‘Bass Rani’ and ‘Laung Gavacha’. Sometimes, if colleges have enough funds, they can even call up foreign DJs to add to the star value. For instance, Quintino in his Indian tour leg even managed to perform his sets at IIT Kanpur and BITS Goa last year. In Delhi’s Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) it was rumoured that this year, the mask-wearing DJ Marshmello or Alan Walker (another DJ who likes covering his face) would headline their fest. But these were just rumours, as in the end, it was DJ Chetas who performed.

  1. Acoustic/ Rock

When it comes to light acoustic vibes, Prateek Kuhad is the top pick. Featuring a three-piece band, he smoothly sings and plays his guitar while the audiences just swoon. A critically acclaimed songwriter, his track list has both English and Hindi tunes, usually with slow instruments and themes of love and life. With most of his followers being millennials, it’s only apt for the ‘Cold Mess’ singer to be a sensation at college fests.

But when it comes to rock, there’s an even bigger force to be reckoned with—a band called The Local Train. The rock band is a recent phenomenon that started out with their first record ‘Aalas ka Ped’, an instant hit amongst a modest fanbase. Two albums old, they are touring all over the country performing in nearly every Hard Rock Café, and nearly every college fest. Churning out songs in a mix of Hindi and Urdu, their tracks like ‘Khudi’ and ‘Aaoge Tum Kabhi’ deal with various themes like following your dreams and waiting for a lover; stuff which appeals to the dreamy college kid. It’s safe to say that The Local Train is not so ‘local’ anymore!

  1. Film music

This is where the fest gets fully mainstream. Bollywood artists usually have many singles from film’s soundtracks, which make for popular music content for the fest audiences. Duos like Vishal-Shekhar and Saleem-Sulaiman are big hits in this regard.

Then there are popular Punjabi artists too in fest line-ups, like Diljit Dosanjh and Guru Randhawa. They sing originals as well as songs featured in films. While the background musicians manage the performance, and the singers’ bravado gets the crowds jumping, some do not consider them as true performers. A case in point is Diljit’s concert at Rendezvous (the annual fest of IIT Delhi), where many fans noted how the singer was lip-syncing for most of his songs.

Then there are a few other artists who manage to perform a varied set of both film and independent content. Farhan Akhtar assisted by his band Farhan Live! starts off his fest shows with songs from his popular films, Rock On and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara; adding in ballads from albums of his own. Assamese Bollywood singer Papon (who recently performed at Hindu College on top of a Red Bull tour bus) also manages to play a few non-film tunes. Amit Trivedi has also sung his MTV Coke Studio songs for many a college fest. On a side note, Amit Trivedi’s concerts are truly a team effort. He not only introduces all his background singers and musicians to the audience but sometimes gives them the stage to perform their exclusive pieces.

Featured Image Credits: Aakarsh Gupta for DU Beat

Shaurya Singh Thapa

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India’s acclaimed writer, director, scholar, and voice of rebellion Girish Karnad passes away at the age of 81.

Girish Karnad (1938-2019) was an actor, film director, multilingual writer, playwright, and Rhodes scholar. He passed away on 10th June at the age of 81, after suffering from degenerative pulmonary disorder for some time. His sad demise has left a void in the abstract world of art and literature. One of the most revered personalities has left behind a long lasting and unfaltering legacy.

Born in Maharashtra and brought up in Karnataka, he began writing plays in Kannada at a time when they were heavily influenced by western literature and marked the coming of modern play writing in Kannada. Yayati (1961) was his first novel based on the predecessors of the Pandavas. Tughlaq (1964) till date remains one of his most acclaimed plays. He debuted as an actor and screenwriter in Kannada movie Sanskara (1970). His directorial debut was the film Vamsha Vriksha (1971) based on a novel, which also won him a National Film Award for Best Direction. He has also showcased immense talent in several Bollywood films, most recently Ek Tha Tiger (2012) and its sequel. Rakshasa Tangadi, a Kannada play on the Battle of Talikota, remains his final work.

Karnad is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Jnanpith Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, National Film awards and many more in the South and North Indian Cinema.

His contribution to activism remains invaluable. A champion of free speech, he was a critic of hard-line Hindutva and later the Babri Masjid incident. Further, he was also a proponent of secularism and multiculturalism, women’s rights, and identified as a liberal. He did not confine himself to films and plays, but fearlessly voiced himself for any cause. At an event at Bengaluru – which Karnad attended wearing a nasal tube, due to his deteriorating health – he wore a placard around his neck which said: Me Too Urban Naxal. Karnad commented, “If speaking up means being a Naxal, then I am an urban Naxal.”

In his biography, Aadadata Ayushya, he revealed how his mother intended to terminate her pregnancy when she conceived him. But due to delayed arrival of the doctor, his mother left the clinic. He went on to dedicate this biography to the doctor. Today the world mourns the death of this multitalented individual who could weave stories with colossal depth and meaning.

Kalrav Vashishtha, a first year B.A. (Honours) English student commented, “We had ‘Broken Images’ by Karnad in school, and I loved it. A few years later, I realised we just had a portion of it in our syllabus. It shocked me to the core to read the rest of the play. A masterful manipulator of words, he turns the whole play upside down with such haunting realism. We just lost one of the best writers in the country and the void can never be filled.”

His contributions in over ninety films in both Hindi and Kannada, thirteen directorial works, several plays and translations earned him places in institutes like Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Nehru Centre in London, and Sangeet Natak Akademi, among many others.

The master playwright was cremated in a quiet ceremony. He is survived by his wife, Saraswathy Ganapathy, and two children Radha and Raghu.

Feature Image Credits: Zee News


Shivani Dadhwal

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Is it the purpose of art to suit certain political sides? Is it necessary that it subvert opinions? The age-old question of the politics in, and of art remains, but should its consumption be denied solely based on that?

Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize-winning writer, said, “Ignoring of things is as political as the addressing of them.” The significance of the activist cum writer’s words becomes more evident when one takes a good look at the current
discourse surrounding art in India. With the elections about to commence amid a fervour of political blameshifting,
staining of opposing strategies, and the power play of the entire nation, ‘propaganda’ is a word found commonly
conjunct with films these days. There is certainty that this theme of thought cannot be let go off without a patient
analysis, unlike the way it has been conveniently ignored by the members of the film fraternity meeting with the Prime Minister as fansin-awe instead of citizens-in-power.

The Accidental Prime Minister, Uri: The Surgical Strike, PM Narendra Modi, a biopic on our Prime Minister, are some of the films with nationalist, or an explicit political sentiment endorsed in their content. It is foolish to deny the
agenda meant to be fulfilled by them, to target the audience that is soon going to vote. But a question that arises in the storm of posts filled with the criticism of these films is: is art essentially only political? The answer to this should not be the direct conclusion to the question: should art be dismissed solely based on its political propaganda?

At the risk of inviting backlash, the answer to these questions is a plain negative. This does not deny that ‘personal is political’, but the purpose of art was not to live up to the standards of morality, simply because morality may change according to cultures, subjectivities, and circumstances. Even if one disagrees with the politics of a certain artwork, making that the primary reason for its non-consumption or criticism is a problematic course of action. If individuals decide that the dismissal of art on the sole criterion, i.e. its impact on the mindset of society, is the road to take, then a dangerous form of censorship rises to the pedestal. It is the misguided way of justifying a curb on free speech.

One of the parameters for the consumption or criticism of any art, according to academicians James Bruce Ross and Mary Martin McLaughlin, is the context in which it is placed, and the political baggage of it cannot be left behind. To look at art as art, not a  theoretical course or an argument in itself, it is important to first consume it with patient judgement. There will always be a political debate brewing in its context, and if the dismissal of art is confined to it, then there will probably be not much art left to consume without a feeling of guilt towards one’s political and ethical ideologies. It is absolutely possible to be critical of art, but it is only through its consumption that one can become informed, and misinformed choices are not the way to take in the attention-grabbing era of political marketing.

Feature Image Credits:Artmajeur

Anushree Joshi

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