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Sourav Roy : View Blog Posts
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Sourav Roy

“Who kills the Punjab CM?” was decided based on a coin toss between two Sikh policemen. 17 years later, among the 1,338 Indians currently on death row, why is he more important than others? Read my latest article on NRI.Filed under: Politics...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Politics
  May 19, 2012, 11:35 pm
An under-appreciated fact about Indian politics is the influence of women in it. This is extraordinary, especially when we consider the oppression of women in the subcontinent for ages. India’s two major religions- Hinduism and Islam, have in the past been practically hostile to the emancipation of women, when compared to the western cultures. Yet, women power in Indian politics in unmatched! Well, has it done any good to the nation?- is the question we must ask.We have to agree on the fact that, except maybe Mamata Banerjee, most powerful Indian women leaders had their paths paved by male patrons. Mayawati and Jayalalitha were the protegees of Kanshi Ram and MGR, respectively. Both Sus...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Economy
  May 19, 2012, 12:28 am
I wonder why there was hardly any newspaper editorial or television show that depicted the importance of labour-day. Labourers constitute a major part of any successful society, whose presence account greatly to the progressiveness of the society. I wonder if we have become so busy commercializing events and festivals that we forget to even acknowledge days like these?It is interesting, how events and festivals, as they became popular, tend to lose their meanings. Diwali, for example, today is neither seen as a harvest festival nor as a religious one signifying Rama’s return to Ayodhya or Lakshmi’s emergence during the churning of the ocean. Today the lovely act of lighting diyas is a mi...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  May 2, 2012, 12:06 am
In-spite of 24 hour coverage of the recent ‘Parliament vs Military cold war’, our ‘intellectual’ media heroes terribly failed in identifying or addressing any of the real problems the series of events posed. Read my latest article on the NRI.Filed under: Philosophy, Politics...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Philosophy
  April 23, 2012, 11:15 am
In the 1992 British general elections, Neil Kinnock led the British Labour Party, which eventually lost. With that he left politics and became a university president. In 2000, Al Gore lost to George Bush, after which, he left politics and became an environmentalist. When these leaders withdrew following a defeat, their parties got a chance to make fresh starts with new leaders, new ideas.Compare this with the Indian democracy. In Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha an autocratic and corrupt leader, was voted out in 1996. Her successor Karunanidhi, another autocratic, corrupt and dynastically obsessed leader, was voted out in 2001. Jayalalitha came in again, and was voted out in 2006. Then Karunanidhi ...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Politics
  April 4, 2012, 8:28 pm
“To provide the most educative and enlightening material. To promote right thinking and Living among people. To strengthen the moral fibre of the society. To help acquire and sustain knowledge, success, health and happiness.” - this is the Mission Statement of Wisdom Magazine, a low-priced magazine for kids (and adults like me). Wisdom was founded in 1973, and since then edited by Dr. K V Govinda Rao, until recently, when the visionary left us!Well, in an issue in 2009,  had written-“Some times we face an amusing question: Where do we belong? Before we go in quest of answer, we must realize that we belong to ourselves. We are an island within ourselves. That island can be as...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  April 1, 2012, 9:45 pm
Our minister of environment and forests recently said- “More than 14 species of birds from India are on the verge of extinction due to poaching, excess use of pesticides, harmful chemicals, and loss of habitat. However, the “National Bird” peacock is not currently under the threat of extinction” This strongly reminded me of a film that had once given me sleepless nights- Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds‘The film depicts various bird species joining together to wage war against the human race. “They’re coming! They’re coming!” were the words yelled, when the generally harmless fine feathered creatures decided to turn on man. The birds in the film were angry. They knew t...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  March 27, 2012, 2:00 pm
When Kurosawa, aged 84, wanted to make a film on his dreams, people knew it was going to be a masterpiece. The prospect of sitting and being two hours’ worth of a person’s dreams is, on the face of it, not a very pleasing one. One’s dreams properly interest only oneself. Making it worthy is indeed a tough task, which none other than Kurosawa could have accomplished. Dreams, was intended to be Kurosawa’s last film, although he made two more films later!Dreams was the first film that Kurosawa wrote all by himself. Here, ordinary questions of likelihood do not apply. Analyzing the intention, composition or punctuation becomes difficult, with the ever changing story and style. One mo...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  March 21, 2012, 7:00 am
The recent assembly election results have clearly shown that, while Congress is loosing grounds in state level politics, the BJP too has failed to capitalize on it in building a stronghold beyond the north-western part of India. While Congress seems all set to fall in the 2014 general elections, the question is- Will BJP rise?In a democracy, not just a strong governance, but also a strong opposition becomes a necessity. In today’s Indian politics, neither the governance, nor the opposition has shown sign of any strength. BJP has the potential, but it terribly lacks leadership and vision at present. To be able to become a truly national party, and not a north-Indian party with limited reach...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Politics
  March 20, 2012, 7:00 am
After failures in numerous other states, the Congress General Secretary has clearly failed to work wonders for the party again. Not that he was expected to, but a respectable show in UP would have strengthened his credentials as a leader. Despite multiple shows by him and his sister Mrs Vadra (who still claims to be a Gandhi) in Amethi and Rae Bareilly, two of Congress strongholds, they lost 8 of the 10 seats there!Will the Congress, one of the oldest and democratic (well, it claims to be one!) parties of the world be able to trust Rahul again? I hate the very thought of it, but if I was a congressman, I would have loved to dump Rahul. His presence in the party has led to a party that ...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Politics
  March 7, 2012, 6:07 pm
The punctuation of Yojimbo cannot be explained by camera cuts and speed alone. Yojimbo, more than any other Kurosawa film, deploys music and movements to enforce punctuation. The beginning and end of the film are like overture and postlude. The heroism of our protagonist is accompanied with a musical theme and distinctive styles. The subtle interplay of these punctuational movements eventually create magic!In the scenes where Mifune gets both sides to fight each other and sits and enjoys on the fire tower, the camera is deliberately placed very low so that not only Mifune, but also each side in the battle is visible. They emerge, therefore from either side of the screen, just like they would...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  March 7, 2012, 7:00 am
Kazuo Miyagawa had worked with Kurosawa before just once- for Rashomon. In Rashomon, Miyagawa did not only what Kurosawa envisioned, but also presented his own ideas- like the low angle photography which enforces comic aspects of the woodcutter’s version, and the long swordfight shots, to make the entire duel slightly ridiculous. Since Rashomon, both Kurosawa and Miyagawa, rose to international fame but could never work together, since they worked for different companies. When Kurowasa had his intent clear of making Yojimbo visually stunning, against all odds, he chose Miyagawa!Miyagawa’s style in Yojimbo, consisted of almost perfectly balanced, yet unsymmetrical framing, very peculiar i...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  March 6, 2012, 7:00 am
Riots are essentially modern and urban in nature. Historically, even in the worst riots, such as the ones post Babri, rural India was mostly quiet. Have you wondered, why it is so? This can be explained using clash of identities theory. Indians carry several identities, like religion and caste. Every once in a while these identities clash, leading to mass violence, especially when political leaders play identity based politics.Modernity has changed the basic structures of our lives, such as the way we relate to one another and to the natural environment. These impacts have come as much because of changes in social organisation. Modernity is a complex phenomenon, and it majorly involves reor...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Philosophy
  December 23, 2011, 10:49 pm
Other than the uprising, 1857 also marked a lesser known revolution in India. It was the year, the Calcutta, Bombay and Madras universities were established. ‘Revolution’ may be equated with violent and rapid change, but this was ‘the revolution‘ that was proactive, the changes which they unleashed were slow and incremental, but forward-looking.These universities produced the generation of men and women who led and staffed India’s freedom struggle, and later fueled both nationalism and democracy in India. Now, the times have changed. Unfortunately, increasing number of bright, young students study abroad. Earlier, in the social sciences, the major debates about Indian societ...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  December 22, 2011, 4:32 pm
As the year is coming towards an end, let’s look back at one of most inspiring events of the year. In July, when Mumbai city was sadly shaken by a series of bomb blasts, citizens resorted on technology to provide and seek help. Phone networks were jammed, and there was no way to reach anyone over phones. So instead, Twitter and Internet became the channel to exchange information.As police and emergency personnel tried to take stock of the situation, and secure the city, some techies quickly created a google spreadsheet to coordinate help offers. Three hash-tags quickly trended on Twitter- #heretohelp, #needhelp and #mumbaiblasts. These hashtags were later used to populate data for nume...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Sankalp
  December 21, 2011, 5:35 pm
The samurai journey to the village is a mosaic of tiny scenes where they are being followed by Mifune in a series of wipes, who wants to join them. When they reach the village, Mifune utters a prophetic and much mature remark- “Whew! what a dung pile. I’d certainly hate to die in a place like that.”Kurosawa interlinks very short and funny scenes with wipes. Not just in Seven Samurai, he does so in Sanjuro as well. The cuts and pans of Seven Samurai are remarkable. Mifune’s scene with the armour is another example of Kurosawa’s fine editing. Mifune here directly acts into the camera. Also, each shot here is a bit shorter than the one went before. The tempo is accelerated by the cutt...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  December 21, 2011, 6:00 am
Seven Samurai is composed of three distinctive groups of people- the farmers, the bandits and the samurai. There are over a hundred farmers, forty bandits, and just seven samurai. Kurosawa keeps these three units apart in various ways.The credit music is low drums and this becomes associated with the bandits, who appear in the opening sequence. The farmers’ music is folk- flute and percussion, while the samurai music is low humming male chorus. The three kinds of music are never together.Other than distinction, the other beautiful compositional aspect of this film is motion. There is no shot in the film that has no motion, either in the object photographed, or in the movement of the camera...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  December 21, 2011, 4:00 am
Directors are usually reluctant to translate history on celluloid. They are instead inclined to offer new interpretations of history, shed light on little-known facts about their subjects, and even raise questions that were missed. On the contrary, the title of Shyam Benegal’s film- Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose – The Forgotten Hero- itself tells a story! Nobody remembers what he did, except to say that he was a great big hero. Few people remember that he challenged Gandhi, or that he was married. The film’s narrative is brilliantly broken into three parts. These are headed under Itmad, Ittefaq and Qurbani after the motto of the Indian National Army. The film brilliantly captures the v...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  December 20, 2011, 7:00 am
As science is getting bigger, a small particle is becoming big news. Scientists claim that they are very close to the discovery of the fabled Higgs Boson (or as some say, God particle). Their experiments at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva is boiling down on the particle believed to be the fabric of the universe. Well, a great part of this can be attributed to Satyendra Nath Bose, the man after whom Boson was named!So what’s the big deal? In Layman’s terms, this discovery would explain how tiny elementary particles gain mass, and perhaps, point to the origins of the universe. Finding the Higgs Boson would bring us closer to a understanding of the fundamental processes that gover...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Nature
  December 18, 2011, 1:48 am
There are moments when a person is reborn. There are moments of sheer pride. Then, there are moments when one feels the immense joy of being. Recognition and opinions do not matter as such moments have honesty written all over them. Rahul Dravid, in a recent spellbinding speech in the Bradman Oration ceremony, spoke of such moments. It gave us a glimpse of the thought process of a man who has given Indian cricket so much to treasure. Althouh I will highly recommend you watch the entire speech, what I found most fascinating was the way Dravid concluded-Before I conclude, I also want to talk briefly about an experience I have often had over the course of my career. It is not to do with indivi...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  December 15, 2011, 5:15 pm
Historically, Japanese cinema has heavily dealt with the dilemma of a person entrapped between love and duty. Many Japanese directors like Ito, Itami, Yamanaka, Mizo and Kobayashi have dealt with this theory in a historic backdrop. Well, Kurosawa goes a level deeper in Seven Samurai and conveys to us that there never was such a contest. The contest is indeed, between the real and the pretended. Kurosawa delights in resenting the pretended- that is, the illusion, and delights in revealing it as illusion.Reality is much more difficult to deal with, and the major theme of any of his films is the search for reality. Most of these searches result in failures, which indicate the appropriate nature...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Film
  December 14, 2011, 10:30 pm
Taj Mahal is undoubtedly, the most magnificent mausoleum on earth. It indeed is one of the greatest wonders on earth. But history cannot deny the fact that the Taj Mahal is magnificently useless. Taj Mahal shows all that had gone wrong with the Mughal rulers.It comes as no surprise that Taj Mahal signifies the beginning of the end of the Mughal Empire. It served no purpose except to pamper the ego and whims of an individual. Taj Mahal is a testament to how wealth ceased to be an instrument of production or growth or security of a nation. The Taj Mahal, as it stood in its awesomeness, also attracted invaders to India. This is a lesson for every society, organization and even individual. Whe...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Economy
  December 14, 2011, 4:10 pm
Which is the cleanest village in Asia? Well, let me claim this proudly- the cleanest village of Asia is in India! Nestled in the pristine East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, the residents of the picturesque village of Mawlynnong have learnt to live at harmony with mother nature.This village is located around 90 kms from Shillong and is a community based eco-tourism initiative. The road leading up to Mawlynnong has some of the most panoramic and breathtaking views in the country. The community has made collective effort to maintain the ambiance of a clean village. The village offers picturesque natural beauty, a trek to the living root bridge at a neighboring village Riwai. The village also off...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Culture
  December 12, 2011, 4:37 pm
This year, Sunita Murmu was one among the 26 children who were honored by our President with the National Bravery Award for exemplary acts of courage. 16-year-old wage labourer Sunita took a tormenting experience of victimization and became a maverick for justice. She demonstrated more audacity, courage, and tenacity of spirit than all of the adults in her village combined. Sunita was just another tribal girl from Birbhum, one of West Bengal’s most backward districts, with little education. She had no idea of her rights and spent her days working as a daily wage laborer to support her parents. Her life, however, turned into a nightmare the day her love affair with a non tribal boy from the...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Education
  December 11, 2011, 12:43 am
Recently, you asked social media and internet intermediaries (like Twitter, Facebook, etc) to exercise due diligence to block material deemed, threatening, abusive, harassing, blasphemous, objectionable, defamatory, or otherwise unlawful in any manner whatever. Well, Mr. Sibal, who decides whether something is abusive or objectionable? You!?By the same logic, will mafia movies and soap operas be banned for being abusive and hurting communities? What about the debates on objectionable matters in news channels? What about our freedom of expression? Will you be the first one to read what we, 120 crore Indians wish to express, and then decide if it is appropriate or not? Don’t you know that ...
Sourav Roy...
Tag :Politics
  December 9, 2011, 3:34 pm
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