Monday, June 13, 2011

Government pouts, Protestors die, as does Husain, and Teach Yourself Hip Hop

Baba Ramdev breaks fast (no pun intended) while Swami Nigamanand dies fasting, M.F. Husain dies in exile, and Debdoot Das releases his second Quick & Dirty Guide.

While the nation is held captive by name calling and pouting by senior statesmen clinging fast to their "elected representative" status, in the same hospital ICU where Baba Ramdev was, Swami Nigamanand, who had been fasting for 73 days (Ramdev broke his fast on the 9th day) over illegal mining and its effects on pollution in the river Ganges, passed away, with no difference made to the government, the media, or the illegal mining.  And here I am, thinking that the events of my personal life are ironic!  Click here to read an article by Surajit Dasgupta on the action against the movement.

Anna rocks on, in spite of being abused and vilified by people we have elected to power.  The civil society movement against corruption now has a hotline that will give you updates on the status of its struggle.  You can call 09212123212 for the latest.You can also visit the website of India Against Corruption to hook up with the movement in your city.  In the face of elected representatives dismissing the people's anger as a conspiracy by the Hindu right wing (which naturally makes the entire issue of corruption irrelevant) and a movement with the support of a few thousand, each one of us who throws our weight behind this team of "right"-thinking people will make a difference.  Click here to view contact persons in your city.

If you are interested in reading more about this issue, you may want to read my earlier post on this blog written after the police lathicharged and teargassed unarmed and sleeping protestors in the middle of the night.

M.F. Husain's life, almost out of a Thomas Mann novel, from his beginnings as a film billboard and sign painter to dictating his own million dollar price tags for his works, from his hand painted directions to the venue of his son's wedding to his serial muses in Madhuri Dixit, Tabu, Anoushka and Vidya Balan, from the endless fantastic tales of his bizarre habits and behavior to his love for fine food, is an artistic statement by itself.  Hounded by Hindu right wingers for violating their moral sensibilities, Husain spent the last years of his life as a citizen of Qatar.

The Irani tea shops of Mumbai, the Azad Hind dhabas of Kolkata, and conveyor belt eateries of London will continue to spin tales around his contributions to their establishments for years to come.  His death is a loss, not only for the world of art, but for the world of liberal thinking.  Read my humble tribute to this master who is now being grieved by his attackers as the Picasso of India, and whose last rites, according to them, should be performed in his motherland.

On to more uplifting developments.  Have you ever wondered what makes some men and women are more attractive than others?  Well, science has been trying to figure it out, and has spread its probing tentacles in every direction, statistical, symmetrical, body fat ratios, you name it, and they have sent their sniffer dogs that way way before you thought of it.  One of the confirmed findings is that certain dance moves do make a potential mate appear more attractive than others.  This explains the popularity of dance across cultures and time.

Salsa is one of the most popular contemporary dance forms the world over.  Debdoot Das, the brilliant young filmmaker from Kolkata, is also the maker of the world's hottest selling instructional DVDs on Salsa and, recently Hip Hop.  He is also one of my closest friends.  Read more about his Quick and Dirty Guides, as well as about our friendship.

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