In it, I was basically trying to disconnect religion and celebration of festivals. I would request you to read this article with that mindset, because otherwise, 1.57 billion people are likely to be offended, which is definitely not my intention.
As you may all know, today is Bakrid.
If you know me, I think you already know what’s coming.
Goats. Slaughter. Cruelty.
My boss, Arjun, brought up an interesting point today. He pointed out how Nepal completely banned the Gadhimai cow slaughtering festival, where 200,000 cows are slaughtered meaninglessly and right in front of each other, once in five years. Even I remember signing an online petition against the festival, although I don’t know if that made a difference. But he said how nobody even bothers to raise a voice against slaughtering of millions of goats during Bakrid. Even if someone does, their voice is drowned, because newspapers like to pick up stories like this one instead. (Seriously, just read that headline.)
This afternoon, when we were discussing it, I said it’s completely horrible to slaughter animals, especially in people’s homes, where there are children watching. When we’re supposed to be teaching children to love animals, they watch their family axe one in the neck instead. Seriously, there’s no love lost in this country as it is. Why add to the unpleasantries?
My colleague was (a bit too) quick to point out to me that Hindus are no less. That Brahmins slaughtered and ate meat before too. I was a bit irked because my argument had/has nothing to do with religion. Whether it’s a Hindu or a Christian or a Muslim slaughtering a cow or a goat, I’ll hold it against him. In fact, the whole cow-slaughtering festival in Nepal was a Hindu affair and I am dead against it. My whole argument is about the lack of rationale. Any person with the ability to rationalise his actions, should not be slaughtering anything. That’s about it.
Even if you want to eat mutton, or as the festival calls for it, distribute it to the needy, then go buy mutton and give it to the needy. There’s a certain procedure to slaughter animals and believe it or not, the kind way of slaughtering them is officially called the Humane Method. There’s a reason it’s called “humane.” Ideally, you’re supposed to render the animal unconscious and then slaughter it, if you have to do it at all. Not hold it by its hands, legs, pin it down and then struggle to slit its throat with a regular house knife and let the poor animal bleed to death. (The fact that the Humane Method is not practiced in most meat shops is a completely different story by itself. But that’s no justification for this.)
My point is, it does not make sense to carry on a tradition that has lasted thousands of years simply “because it’s there!” Heck! I don’t think most people even realise the significance of Bakrid! In fact, the story goes that Allah, to test the faith of Abraham and his son, Ismail, asked Abraham to sacrifice his son through a recurring dream. When Abraham agreed and was in the process of slitting Ismail’s throat, he was shocked to see that there was a lamb instead of his son. Basically, Allah saw that Abraham was so faithful that he was ready to sacrifice someone as dear to him as his son, and replaced his son with a lamb.
The whole idea of Bakrid stems from this story. You’re supposed to sacrifice something dear to you. Not a goat that you buy off the internet the previous day. There’s nothing near or dear about that.
So, please rethink your values and principles, not as a religious person, but simply as a person. Think about it from a non-violent angle and please put an end to this mindless practice.
Since listicles, as they are called, are so popular these days, I thought I’ll write one of them. Trust me, I didn’t know they are called listicles either. Sounds creepy. Anyway, that’s besides the point. I know none of you are probably reading this, and are most likely to just skim through the headline of all the points, which is what I usually do with listicles.
Getting to the point, I have been watching football for around five years now. I support Arsenal. Strangely enough, I never knew about Arsenal (or EPL or football) during The Invincibles’ era. I began following football in around 2008/2009, and I don’t even remember why. But over the years, following Arsenal’s games has moulded me into an ardent follower of the team and its ethics, and now I’m a fan of the game itself. I’m not forcing girls to follow football. Just merely putting down the plus points. They’re just my thoughts, so don’t start an argument at the end of it. Peace. : )
Here are 8 reasons why girls must follow football. (I’m writing from personal experience)
1. You stand out among your girlfriends: From what I have seen, girls seldom follow football. In India, I mean. (If you’re Dutch or something, this listicle isn’t for you). But in India, there are movies like Bend It Like Beckham, where a girl playing football has been glorified so much! That’s how rare it is. You’ll stand out among all your girlfriends for that reason alone. When you’re low, feeling like you’re a nobody, this will probably make you realise how different you are from the rest and it’ll make you feel important.
2. You can chill with guys easily, if you have to: A couple of days ago, one of my friends, Bird, certified me as a “bro.” It was during a casual conversation we were having with two other friends, Rahul and Guntoo. He said, “Dude she plays football. She’s a bro.” Well, I liked being called a bro. It’s like being in the inner circle. Not saying I want to be a guy. I like being a girl and I love my girlfriends. But sometimes, it’s nice to be in the loop when guys are discussing football and Fantasy Premier League all the time and you can contribute instead of staying mute, or instead of being made to hang out with some other guy’s girlfriend simply because apparently “girls can’t talk football.”
3. Your weekends are made (and for cheap): I think most people like to hangout at pubs or cafes on weekends, and that can be an expensive affair! If you’re a football follower, however, it’s the opposite. You tend to ensure that there are no meetings when you have to watch your team’s game. If my friends call me out for a drink on a Saturday evening, or if my parents call me to visit someone, the first thing I do is check Arsenal’s schedule. If it’s to someone’s house, I ask them if they have subscribed to Star Sports. If we’re going out to a cafe, I call and find out if they’ll keep the match on. (Most of the times, cafes and pubs in India prefer playing cricket (even old matches) over live football). Anyway, there’s nothing I look forward to as much as a good match! You can call your friends over, make popcorn, watch the match and have a really fun weekend at zero cost. International breaks and those two no-football months after EPL is over are almost torturous! I’m telling you, the sport is addictive!
4. Football increases your general knowledge: I’m not even kidding. Once you begin to follow football, you learn of new names, new countries, new languages. You learn to connect names to countries. You know how they say that men are better at geography? It’s probably so because they follow sports. After I started following football, I learnt about so many countries, like Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Bosnia-Herzegovina, etc. I learnt to distinguish players country-by-country just by learning their names. Of course that’s possible only to an extent, with names like Nistelrooij, Vrij, Sneijder, or Neuer, Gotze, Muller. I’ll never know where Papa Bouba Diop is from by reading his name.
5. It will be one of the few constants in your life: You know, I don’t even know how football happened to me. One day, I said “I sort of like Arsenal.” And being one of the most pampered cousins, I was suddenly showered with Arsenal merchandise from all directions. Calendars, jerseys, mugs, flags, books, (used) tickets to Emirates, banners, scarves, posters, piggy banks, my God! Name it, I have it! Before even I knew it, everyone around me had made me a fan. Automatically, I had some direction to follow in my life. I began following all of Arsenal’s games, read up books and articles and made it a vital part of my life. My yoga sir says, “Nothing in a human is permanent. Your body changes and deteriorates. Your thoughts change, thereby making your mind fickle. But your soul is the only permanent thing.” I think when you support a football team, you put not your body or mind, but your soul in it. Your support for a team becomes the only permanent thing, the only constant in your life, when everything around you and inside you changes.
6. It increases the success rate in your career: Ok, I’m not entirely sure how it will work in something like an IT profession. Maybe you can build good rapport with your boss, provided he’s a football follower and impress him enough to give you a promotion. But if you’re in the field of journalism, like I am, knowing football or any sport for that matter, can put you on TV. Since women sports journalists are always in demand, if you know the sport, you’ll be sure to get hired. I think this works mostly in TV media though.
7. It makes you feel like part of a community: When the player of your favourite team scores, you get off your sofa at home and jump, hop and dance all around your house. All this for something that has no direct impact on your life whatsoever. When a player from your team gets injured, you cover your mouth watching the replay of the Stoke player (most likely) ramming into your player. You swear at the guy who made the foul, along with a million others who are swearing in their houses at the same guy. I don’t think such massive numbers ever come into consensus over anything else! So if your team loses and you’re sad, you have a million people to share your sorrow and no one will ridicule your sadness, except maybe your mom. You are a part of a huge football family, and you can be proud of it.
8. You’ll be that awesome person destroying gender stereotypes: I can actually count the number of girlfriends who follow football on one hand. Actually, on three fingers. Really! I’m not being sexist or feminist fail or whatever else you might name me. It’s the truth. In fact, the only other football fan, who is also a friend, Sanjana, suggested to me this point. Seriously girls, sometimes, guys just like making fun of girls by asking them easy questions when they know that girls don’t know the answer. It makes the whole gender look dumb. Take a look at this video. It’s of a guy asking Mumbai girls questions like “Which country does Messi play for” and girls are responding with answers like “Chelsea.” “Who will win in a match between Netherlands and Holland?” is a question, and the girls pick one of the two. :-/ It’s not the girls’ fault that they aren’t interested in football! But these kind of videos are trying to make the whole gender look dumb, just by asking a handful of girls something they aren’t interested in. So it would be nice to defy the guys their dumb laughs once in a while. Shaving your head or walking around with armpit hair (ew) like the Fastrack ad encourages you to, is not an entirely pleasant way of destroying gender stereotypes. You can be a little more moderate and follow football instead.
That’s all! A good way to start is by following the English Premier League, which airs on weekends in the evening on Star Sports. Or contact me and I’ll guide you. I’m not forcing you to watch football, but you’ll never know how awesome it is, until you give it a shot.
Disclaimer: I sent this to my friends to review before publishing it. They all warned me about getting into gender-bias arguments n stuff. I don’t mean to demean anyone or any gender through this post. Just saying that to follow football is a healthy habit. Sigh. I hate having to put disclaimers. I don’t like to people who pick on everything that’s written. I’m a peaceful person and mean no harm. Anyway, hope you enjoyed reading it. If you did, thank you! : ) If you didn’t, well, go read something else. : ) The internet has lots to read.
Here is another listicle I had written before listicles became mainstream.
Ok I’ve been reading a lot about this Wendy Doniger and her book The Hindus – An Alternative History.
When I got to know of the book and how Penguin was going to destroy all the copies of the book in India (I use the word destroy, because the word pulp only paints a picture of tomato juice in my head), I wanted to know why. My sister logged onto Twitter, read a few lines about how the cover picture is of Krishna sitting atop a group of naked women (on one of their backsides, mind you), and how Shiva chopped handsome, young Ganesha’s head off because he suspected an oedipal relationship.
I know all of you are ranting on about lack of freedom of speech, and Siddharth Varadarajan has cancelled his contract with Penguin and Arundhati Roy wrote a sarcastic open letter to Penguin. But somehow, I find it hard to swim along the tide this time.
When I read parts of the book, I was outraged. I’m really not a Hindu nationalist or as some angry ‘pseudo secular’ people term them, “Hindu fascists.” I’m just a normal girl, who says a couple of shlokas if she gets scared at night while sleeping alone, simply because her grandma taught her those lines, which of course don’t make sense to her. They simply comfort me. Yes, I am a Hindu. But I’m not religious. In fact, I believe some of the customs are ridiculous. (I’ve written about those before.) And if this writing could anger me, how do you think it’ll impact religious people?
I understand that Wendy has researched on Hinduism for the better part of her life and she is entitled to her opinion and she has every qualification and right to write a book about it. But publishing such a book in India can only cause outrage. It’s like publishing a soft-porn ish book on Islam in Afghanistan or a sexual account of Jesus’s life in the heartland of America. Would anyone be cool with that? In fact, no one would be cool with that even in India. One must understand that India is not ready for such books. I could probably digest all those sexual connotations in the book and carry on with my life, but would a 23-year-old like me pick up a book on religion and read it? I doubt it. Unless they’re into literature studies or something, the chance of liberal-minded youngsters reading the book is slim. So who would read such books? The middle-aged – my parents, your parents, grandmothers, whoever. And people like Siddharth Varadarajan and Arundhati Roy might be open-minded to such “blasphemous” writing, but the average reader will not.
When just about 74% of India is literate, i.e., they know A B C, you think they’ll understand the complications of modern religiosity? Heck I needed to go to ACJ to learn about all that and the leftist college made me a little liberal in my thoughts, which I suppose is a good thing. But it’s really not alright to hurt the religious sentiments of others.
My sister says India has double standards. If the same thing was published about Islam, wouldn’t publishers succumb to intolerant people and pulp that as well? If you so desperately want to read the book (because that’s what the ultimate agenda is when you publish a book), go find the pdf online instead of ranting about it all day. I have it open on another tab right now. It’s not that hard. If you want to pay for it, then buy an e-book. No one is stopping you from reading it.
In a country like India, religion is something dear to everyone. It’s something they rely upon. And I’m not saying this only with respect to Hindus. Faith is what keeps Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains and people of all other religions strong. There is no place where religious people can achieve community and solidarity like at a temple or a church. So you can’t go about hurting religious faith.
So what can come out of such a book? Nothing but anger, incite and negativity. Even in the West, it’ll make people believe that India is an extremist patriarchal nation. Because that’s what the book represents. India is patriarchal, I agree, but not as exaggerated as it is in Doniger’s book. The thing is, if you go through her book, it’s really interesting. She has written about the possible origin of the vedas, of how humans came to be, how people began to worship cows, vegetarianism, about suras and asuras, it’s pure research. Maybe what Penguin could have done is edit the “blasphemous” parts of the book and publish it.
At this point, it’s not even about freedom of speech. It’s about maintaining peace and happiness. Ok I sound like a hippy, but isn’t that the ultimate pursuit? Happiness? I read Meena Kandasamy’s poem the other day, here it is. It’s just so full of anger. She is always so full of anger and sarcasm. I want to shake her and say “Be Happy For GOD’S Sake!” Oh wait…
A small comparison: In the case of rape issues in India, women can’t be rebellious and say, “I’ll wear less clothes and step out. Because they can’t tell me what to do. Blah blah blah.”
It’s not about being rebellious. It’s about being patient. It’s about waiting for the society to be ready for such things. It’s about co-operation. We’re in the process of getting the country ready for such things. That’s why we’re still a developing nation. So for God’s sake, just wait for when the time is right and then publish any book you want and people will either accept it or do away with it. They won’t make you pulp it.
I just got done reading To Kill A Mocking Bird, for the second time. I was a kid the first time I read it and I didn’t understand it. Anyway, as soon as I finished it, I watched the movie. I’m now in love with Boo Radley aka Arthur Radley. (For those who don’t know him, he is a character who is left a mystery and has not more than 3 minutes of on-screen time). But the way Harper Lee has written about it made me cry when Scout saw Boo. And the execution of the scene in the film is superbly done as well. Naturally, I fell in love with him and went to ‘Like’ the Boo Radley page on FB (because if one does not represent his like on FB these days, it isn’t counted. Sigh). I was surprised at what I saw. It was a rock band page called The Boo Radleys.
I read up a bit more and saw that The Boo Radleys was an alternative English rock band named after the character. They were alive and kicking from 1988-1999 and have five albums and quite a few singles under their name. I was surprised to see that they were quite a well-known band. But I don’t think they really have songs about Boo Radley or anything to do with To Kill A Mocking Bird.
So I decided to look up more such bands/songs. It is common knowledge that Lord of The Rings has a tonne of songs written about it in the list of all-the-world’s-music archives. Best known among songs are those by Led Zeppelin I’m sure. The Battle of Evermore, Ramble On, Bron-Y-Aur Stompand Misty Mountain Hop. Robert Plant sings about ‘the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair. But Gollum, the evil one, crept up and slipped away with her,’ and ‘The pain of war cannot exceed the woe of aftermath, the drums will shake the castle wall, the ring wraiths ride in black,’ Wow just thinking about these connections somehow makes me go back to that age. I know I wasn’t born back then but this connection makes everything come alive, sort of, doesn’t it?
While we’re discussing Tolkien, there is a huge list of bands I must mention. Of course, it helps all rock bands that Gandalf was a pot smoker. So, obviously, Black Sabbath sang about him in their song Wizard.
Other well known bands, (that I didn’t until now know got their names from LOTR) are Gorgoroth, Norwegian black metal band. They are named after the dead plateau of evil and darkness enclosed by the Ephel Duath mountains in Mordor. Also, Amon Amarth,Swedish death metal band. Amon Amarth is the elvish name of Mount Doom. Who knew!I know my friends even listen to these bands. But not once had I given a thought about their names.
Did you know, that there is a band called Cirith Ungol(pronounced Keerith Oongol)? LOTR readers will know that it was one hell of a maze on the way to Mordor and Cirith Ungol was part of the maze. It was also the place where Shelob reigned (In Elvish it means “Pass of the Spider”). Shelob was a wicked giant spider who engulfed any enemy in her web and ate them. So the band named after Cirith Ungol formed way back in 1972. They were a heavy metal band. Their other choices of names were Minas Tirith, Khazad Dum and Uruk Hai. Gosh Uruk Hai? Seriously? I hated that ugly prick!
i’m still reading up, and if I list all LOTR bands, it’ll take up this entire post space. And I’m hardly doing a 5000-word thesis. So let’s just say almost all the “cool” sounding characters, mostly the bad ones, have bands named after them. Oh and also, there was a very famous band called Hobbit that was active in 1980’s.
Moving on, up next is Harry Potter. Apart from Weird Sisters, (HP readers will know what I’m talking about), there is an American band called Harry and the Potters. They are not only a music band, but they also perform plays and they’re still active. Their albums are titled Voldemort Can’t Stop the Rock and Power of Love. Personally, what I love is that there is a parody of this band called Draco and the Malfoys. I absolutely relish these Gryffindor-Slytherin wars. They’re so entertaining!
This is weird, because I didn’t know which other book to look up and randomly typed in Jane Eyre. And I actually found a song on Youtube by a Jane Eyre Rock Band. That’s just so bizarre. Can’t possibly put the two together. I suppose Google can throw up an answer for absolutely anything! Well, I’ll keep researching and adding stuff to this post. If you know of any band, feel free to let me know.
I was asked to write a column on something sports related as an assignment and I chose to write about the North London Derby. As a journalism student , this is one of the most difficult things I have done – being an Arsenal fan, writing about the North London Derby WITHOUT BEING BIASED. I have to admit I wrote the words ‘scum,’ ‘c**k sucker,’ ‘shite hart lane,’ ‘bald headed jackass,’ ‘yiddo,’ ‘chimp,’ etc. and backspaced quite a few times. It wasn’t easy. This is what I wrote though.
Of the many storied rivalries in the history of football, one of the most celebrated and volatile is the North London Derby, Arsenal vs. Tottenham. The Gunners and Spurs have wrangled over victory in their neighbourhood for more than a century with the same vigour and ruthlessness that they began with in 1909.
Arsenal, which was a Second Division Team, moved from Manor Ground to Highbury, just four kilometres away from White Hart Lane in 1913. They went on to beat Tottenham, which was then a First Division Club at White Hart Lane, with a smashing 5-1 score line in a War Relief Fund match. This intensified the competitive spirit and the need for vengeance among the Spurs. The Spurs didn’t get their revenge until 1921 when they quenched their thirst with a 2-1 victory.
Until 1976, both teams had been more or less at par with each other, with 31 victories to Tottenham, 28 victories to Arsenal and 17 games drawn. But from 1977-80 and 1987-90, Tottenham saw six consecutive losses. They faced a drought of victories from 1997 to 2010, one year (2003-04) of which was when the Invincibles reigned at Highbury.
Tottenham felt partially gratified when victory came after 17 years in the form of a Premier League victory (2-1) on April 14th, 2010. This day, when Tottenham also broke a run of 68 games of continuous losses away from home against the ‘big four’ clubs, is incidentally celebrated as St. Hotspur’s Day by Spurs fans. This celebration day was originally declared when Tottenham beat Arsenal 3-1 on the same date in 1991 in the FA Cup semi-final.
To even it out, Arsenal fans celebrate St. Totteringham’s Day on that day in the season when Arsenal have gathered enough points to be mathematically assured to finish ahead of Tottenham in the league table.
Both North London teams have witnessed certain players who have changed the contours of this iconic contention; a few players have created a stir among fans and players alike by shifting loyalties to the rival club. Sol Campbell, Pat Jennings (Tottenham to Arsenal) and Emmanuel Adebayor and William Gallas (Arsenal to Tottenham) are among the few whom fans consider treacherous.
Adebayor, who ended his glorious career with Arsenal in 2009 with 143 appearances and 62 goals from 2006, was transferred to Manchester City from where he was sent to Real Madrid on loan. Much to the vehemence of Arsenal fans, his next transfer was to Tottenham in 2011, with whom he signed a permanent contract in 2012.
In the 2012-13 season of the Premier League, during the first North London Derby at Emirates in November 2012, Adebayor scored a goal in the first minute, gifting Tottenham the lead. But he was almost immediately sent off for a nasty tackle on Santi Cazorla. The Gunners went on to win the game with a 5-2 score line, the second win with the same score line against Tottenham in 2012. Tottenham, following the previous season’s routine, beat Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Lane in February 2013.
Every player’s/fan’s worst nightmare is to lose against the rival club. At times when emotions run like cold steel through veins, every element involved with the club, for those 90 minutes, experiences a feeling of oneness with the club, its history and its spirit. Be it an Arsenal fan or a Spurs fan, during a North London Derby, nothing else matters.
“Hark now hear,
The Tottenham sing the Arsenal run away,
And we will fight forever more because of Boxing Day.” – The Spurs
“When I was just a little boy, I asked my mother ‘what will I be?’
‘Will I be Chelsea? Will I be Spurs?’ Here’s what she said to me.
‘Wash your mouth out son! And get your father’s gun!
And shoot the Tottenham scum! Que sera sera!’” – The Gooners
‘Free speech is like money. Some people just have a lot more of it than the others.’
This thought resonated across thousands of minds around the globe when the vocalist of Rage Against the Machine, Zack De La Rocha, belted out ‘Bulls On Parade’ with guitarist Tom Morello sending a 13,000 strong crowd into a frenzy.
Rock music and activism have always gone hand in hand. Since the origin of rock in the 1950s, through the Golden Age and the Progressive until the current Punk and Alternative age, there have been bands that have voiced out their political opinions in cheeky ways.
Rage Against the Machine, an American metal band, popular for its leftist political views have been active since 1991. The rap metal band is best known for its songs Killing in the Name of, Testify, Bulls on Parade, Fist Full of Steel and Wake Up, all of which brew leftist rants against corporate America.
The controversial band has rubbed the American government the wrong way on several occasions. At Saturday Night Live in 1996, they almost went on-air with inverted American flags on their amplifiers and drum kits. This sort of rebellion seemed to be a precipitate of the 70’s Classic Rock era that saw bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath.
The advent of these rebellious bands took place more than a decade ago. Now, in 2012, we still have bands that are in the spot light for all the wrong reasons. Pussy Riot, a Russian feminist punk rock band was arrested in August for staging anti-Vladimir Putin protests in public places in Russia. They pulled the last nerve when they rallied at Moscow’s main cathedral, against the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting the president. Three of the band members were sentenced to two years in prison.
Within hours, worldwide protests to set the band free broke out among punk-rock fans. Twitter handles appeared hoping to give the band moral support.
Despite these protests, two of the band members, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, have been sentenced to two years imprisonment and are serving time in prisons in remote parts of Russia. A third member got away thanks to the international outcry.
This injustice brings to mind the lyrics of RATM’s Township Rebellion:
“Rebel, rebel and yell
‘Cause our people still dwell in hell
Locked in a cell Yes, the structure’s a cell”
This injustice is also unfair because there have been a plethora of bands/band members that have gotten away in spite of atrocious behaviour in public; although not necessarily politically offensive, just outright assaults on human sensibility.
For instance, Jim Morrison, vocalist of The Doors, was charged for ‘lewd and lascivious behavior in public by exposing his private parts and by simulating masturbation and oral copulation.’ He was sentenced to three years and 150 days of imprisonment but his death turned out to be his saviour. Jim Morrison died in Paris before he could serve the sentence and was even offered a posthumous pardon by the state of Florida for his lewd behaviour. In 1998, band members of German metal band Rammstein, of the Du Hast fame, were charged for continuous acts of (brace yourself) Sodomy on stage. They were arrested for just one night and slapped a fine of (believe-it-or-not) $25.
The list of such downright despicable bands is endless and will mentally scar you. I’ll spare you the shudder. Ozzy Osbourne, Marilyn Manson and Cannibal Corpse are just few of the others who contribute to such appalling acts.
Pussy Riot seem rather subtle and innocuous in comparison to the bands from the 70’s-90’s. Their voice is the voice of liberty and dissent. They are the voice of several Russians who do not want to be jailed for thinking that there should be a separation between the church and the state. Pussy Riot were jailed for what Russia ludicrously called “blasphemy.”
But in a world where blasphemy as a crime is indeed a historic thought, Pussy Riot are considered heroic. They have been deservedly nominated for TIME’s Person of the Year 2012. They are considered inspirational and courageous for standing up for themselves and against the country.
Roger Waters, vocalist and guitarist of progressive rock band Pink Floyd, shared a message of solidarity with Pussy Riot saying, “We greatly respect your bravery and resolve. I was much encouraged by the anti-Putin, pro Pussy riot and Freedom demonstrations in Moscow, we are with you. There are more of us willing to stand up to errant authority, in the fight to create free societies with just laws, than there were yesterday, and there will be more tomorrow. Our numbers are growing.”
On December 10,, 2012, a Russian priest, (mind you, a priest) Sergei Baranov, who made statements supporting the band and said what Pussy Riot did was “necessary protest,” reported to Czech Radio that he’s been receiving threats and intimidation from the church and the state. “The band is only expressing their opinion. Coalescence of the state power with the church is one of the biggest problems plaguing the country,” he said.
On asking Darya Golovko, one of the members running the solidarity campaigns for Pussy Riot in Russia, whether Nadezhda and Maria might be released soon as a result of the campaigns, she said “I do not want to guess on chances of their early release. It is not law and logic that has guided the Pussy Riot case so far. We keep our fingers crossed though.”
With respect to support from India, “I personally have not encountered information about solidarity activities in India. There are some Indian nationals living in other countries and possibly participating in solidarity actions there,” she said. Golovko also added that international support gives power to the imprisoned.
India today has many such rebellious bands, one of which is, Imphal Talkies –a band from Manipur as is evident from the name. They are based in Delhi and compose songs about problems plaguing the North East. They have been featured in The Dewarists and Tehelka’s The Music Project.
Most of their songs are in protest against the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Their song Qutub Minartalks about a man taking the Qutub Minar away from Delhi to Manipur until Manmohan Singh repeals AFSPA. Although composed in a folk genre, the song has a haunting tone to it. Their song India, I see blood in your hands sings about the activist Irom Sharmila, Kashmir, Gujarat, suicidal farmers and everything from East to West and North to South. Their music very subtly brings to the fore year-long built up frustrations and inner hate.
Be it RATM, Pussy Riot or Imphal Talkies, the rage doesn’t end with their music. All of them have inculcated activism into their lives and believe they are here to fight for justice and freedom of speech.
Pussy Riot’s release
Of course the Pussy Riot story has a happy ending! After nearly two years of being arrested (eight months after I wrote most of this article), Nadia and Maria were released on December 23, 2013, despite them not having completed the two-year sentence. Both band members believed it was not an amnesty but just a PR stunt by Putin, ahead of the Winter Olympics that Russia is hosting in 2014, and that their attitude towards him hasn’t changed. But the fact remains that they are out of prison and the band can reunite and continue making music, hopefully in a safer way, without being imprisoned, without having to live away from kith and kin.
See what the world thought of them being imprisoned here.
To support Pussy Riot and stay updated about them, follow them on Twitter here.