Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto - A Visionary against the odds

I never realized I had inadvertently admired this phenomenal woman, a woman of substance, Benazir Bhutto, subtly wanting her to win the looming elections again in Pakistan. Having achieved what is seemingly impossible - a leadership in the extremely male-chauvinistic and now-fanatical Pakistan, she was not only a visionary but also a revolutionary...braving the odds and having the soul to face any eventuality.
Her assassination has exposed the level of political unrest prevailing in Pakistan now. It's only at times like this, we feel the whip-lash of extremism, a pungent reminder that our world is still so full of hatred. Her paternal grand-father's roots are in Haryana, India, before the partition. So, do the brave have to sacrifice themselves for being the front-runners of revolutionary change? Or do they have to lie low for fear of the back-lash that's ever-present in non-progressive societies?
Maybe this is an ode to a woman of strength and true courage which millions of men lack in today's world to stand up for our rights. An unsung an unsung leader.
(pic courtesy: indiaabroad)

Friday, December 21, 2007

India, Pakistan - No Borders?

Can this ever happen? Although it seems like it's wishful thinking now, I think there is a possibility of that happening maybe two or three generations down. Well, I'm not saying this outta the blue, but look at the Yahoo article as on Dec.21st, 2007.
Nine mainly ex-East bloc countries on Friday tore down their borders to join a European zone allowing 400 million people to travel from Estonia in the east to Portugal in the west without showing a passport.
"The free movement of people is one of the main rights of human beings," European Commission president Jose Manuel Barrosso said as he hailed the addition of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia to 15 other states already in the Schengen Treaty zone. Many European leaders have welcomed the pulling down of internal frontiers as a new sign of the continent overcoming its Cold War division.
When one part of the world can tear down their boundaries like this, why can't other parts of the world be like it too. And I'm not just talking about India and Pakistan here, that was just to illustrate a point. Ofcourse it comes with its own fears and insecurities, but a belief and hope is all what we need to make it happen.

Germany's GdP police union warned Thursday that the extension of the Schengen zone eastwards could unleash a crime wave. The lifting of border controls with Poland and the Czech Republic in particular was "an invitation to criminals," union chief Josef Scheuring said.
Many Austrians also fear higher crime, according to a poll released by ORF public television poll which said 75 percent of Austrians opposed the lifting of barriers.
In Warsaw, the head of the EU's border watchdog, Frontex, Ilkka Laitinen, warned that illegal immigration would be the price Europe paid for Schengen expansion.
Once people enter the zone, whether legally or otherwise, they would be free to move across all member states, he said.

Check out the response, where it's clear that people truly want to give peace, trust and understanding a chance.
Nevertheless, political leaders were eager to play down such fears.
Schengen "is not about criminality, it is not about insecurity or fear. It is a bigger zone of peace, security and stability," the Austrian chancellor said.
The expansion has taken years of preparation, with newcomers obliged to join the Schengen Information System (SIS), which provides police and customs officers with information about people, vehicles or goods.
The 15 older signatories to the treaty were: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Here's the full article from Yahoo: "Europe celebrates tearing down of borders"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fall...into your heart!

Lead by example!!

This is a very simple video of how you can be the change and do something about a situation instead of complaining and doing nothing about it. Anyone can be our what are we waiting for??

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Documentary clip on Summer School for Designing a Society

This is the initial 3 minutes of the documentary I did on the summer school I attended at Gesundheit for the School for Designing a Society...if you need a copy of this movie please contact Rob Scott

Composing Utopia with words

Articipatory Music and other weird things by Jessica Corey-Butler
Last weekend Articipatory Music happened at the Olympia Community Free School during “A giant party for a better world,” the Love, Imagine, Network, Kindness (LINK) Symposium, an extension of “A World Beyond Capitalism,” The Third Annual International Multiracial Alliance Building Peace Conference. An activist folk music collective called Riotfolk performed and a Secret Café fund raiser was held, benefiting a residential permaculture project. And eight people created compositions, but not made out of notes and played on flutes and guitars.


Articipatory Music was an idea originally born when it’s facilitator (and creator) Michael Gaiuranos attended a summer session with the School for Designing a Society, held on Patch Adam’s Gesundheit! Institute in West Virginia.

Initially, Gaiuranos thought he was going there to compose music with the experimental musicians associated with cybernetics.

The second time he attended the school, he recalls, “I knew I was aiming for something else.” He credits the school for “encouraging me to do weird things.”

As such, he feels his extrapolation of one exercise he had learned where participants composed responses, one inane and one an elaborate ideal, and then negotiated within larger groups.

“That was the really really really interesting part,” Gaiuranos remembers, adding, “How do you negotiate your Utopia?”

would you like to read more and more....?

Designing Freedom - Stafford Beer

This is a part of the collection of articles under the title READINGS THAT MATTER TO ME which was suggested by the School for Designing a Society.
This excerpt is from the article Designing Freedom by Stafford Beer
1. The Real Threat to “All We Hold Most Dear”
The little house where I have come to live alone for a few weeks sits on the edge of a steep hill in a quiet village on the western coast of Chile. Huge majestic waves roll into the bay and crash magnificently over the rocks, sparkling white against the green sea under a winter sun. It is for me a time of peace, a time to clear the head, a time to treasure.
For after all, such times are rare events for today’s civilized man. We spend our days boxed in
our houses, swarming in and out of office blocks like tribes of ants, crammed into trains, canned in aeroplanes, locked solid in traffic jams on the freeway. Our unbiblical concern for what we shall eat, what we shall drink, and what we shall put on is amplified and made obsessional by the pressure to consume—way, way beyond the natural need. All this is demanded by the way we have arranged our economy. And the institutions we have built to operate that economy, to safeguard ourselves, protect our homes, care for and educate our families, have all grown into large and powerful pieces of social machinery which suddenly seem not so much protective as actually threatening.
Mankind has always been in battle with his environment. But until quite recently in history his
battles were on a reasonable scale, a human scale.
For more on Designing Freedom click here.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

American "Fall"

Here's a fabulous pic of the wonder that is 'Fall' in DC, US. This was shot with our new DSLR Nikon D40X camera. Enjoy.


After ages, I had an opportunity to step into a college and that too in a place where the culture, environment and people very different from what I was exposed to, almost a decade ago. Recollecting those old days of my college I went searching for the class room in the City college or New York, NYC, where our documentary film Wings of Evolution by Accessible Horizon Films was screened for the students pursuing their studies in Urban education in the U.S.

The response was very good as there were a lot of students who raised a lot a questions. Although addressing a group of people was very much new for me, handling the questions seemed to be easy because I had to explain what I did, unlike struggling to answer for curriculum based educational system.

One of the question that interested very much was "Would you make sequel for the documentary after 4 or 5 years?" I look forward to revisiting the school after few years and know how the students and the school evolved in the mean time.

Our special thanks to Carol for screening the documentary.

Related Topics

1. Documentary Film - Wings of Evolution
2. World Wide Postcard Sharing - Connecting the kids together all over the world
3. Siragu Montessori School - A School for underprivileged and homeless children in chennai

Evano Oruvan - A Tamil Indie film's Commercial viability

First of all, this is not a movie review although I'll write a little about the film itself as part of the film watching experience. Surprising and intriguing - are the words that best describe what I felt. Being an indie film fanatic myself, I couldn't bear some reactions to 'Evano Oruvan'. Context: Matinee show of the film in Pondicherry, 3rd day from release. Tons of people arrived at the almost 1000-seated theater, say about 95% of the seats had butts in them. Multiple reasons for the crowd - Sunday afternoon, Madhavan starrer, etc.
Personally, I went because the director Nishikant Kamat is a friend of mine whom I had met at Los Angeles at IFFLA when our film 'Men of Burden - Pedaling Towards a Horizon' had its world premiere in April 2006. And also because I had seen the Marathi version of the film(Dombivli Fast) which had garnered several international awards and wanted to see how the Tamil version had shaped up.
The film was pretty much the same in terms of its delivery like its Marathi version but I felt it a little lacking in the narrative and the dialogue was a little less audible with the other dominating sounds. (btw, Sangeetha's hot as hell) One of the thoughts that struck me was the reaction of the regular Tamil-movie-going population that made me think as the movie went along. For the fact that it was a break from the regular song-and-dance movie, I wanted the people to love the film because I personally believe in the power of the indie film to make one think as opposed to the factory churned movies by the Tamil/Hindi film industry. I wanted the indie filmmaker to succeed commercially, so bad. Every scene I wanted people to sit back quietly and listen to the dialogue and think, and look at the lighting and enjoy the subtleties of the scene and the composition. Those things never happened.
But most of my expectations were shattered when many in the audience were jeering at the 'monotony' of the film. People were talking on cell phones, letting their phones ring, not paying attention to the meaning of the film, some even chatting and shouting that they were gonna get out, because there were no songs and fights and 'slow-mo' intros of the hero. For a few moments, I was irritated at their indifference to such a film but what could I do, the minority that I am, in the world where people go to the movies to fulfill their escapist fantasies. So I'm still wondering what is the world that I am living in, that is, with my sensibilities as an indie filmmaker and supporter with international cinema as my study guide...I'm left thinking where is that balance between art and commercial cinema. Ahh, the cliched question.
And this, especially at a stage where I'm leaning towards commercial viability but still can't tear away from the indie scene. It's a tough road to be on.