december 2008 programmes

  

thursday 4th december
6.30 pm IIC Annexe Lecture Room
“The New American President” a talk by David Barsamian 

friday 5th  december
4.00 pm ‘The Never Ending War on Terror’ a talk by David Barsamian
  at Arafat Hall, Jamia Millia Islamia

 saturday 13th december
6.30 pm-" Bansuri Mein Gayaki ki Bandishein" by Abhay Phagre
                                                                                                                                               

wednesday 17th december
6.30 pm ‘ The Meaning of Culture ‘ a talk by  Pavan Varma.

                                                                                                                                    

thursday 18th december  
7.00 pm ‘AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT  ... A Tribute to Monty Python’ by The First City Theatre Foundation
OFF THE MANTLE #20
 

saturday 20th december
6.30 pm ‘The Indian Christmas’ – A talk by Robinson and Carol singing by The Delhi Youth for Christ Choir

 

 

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thursday 4th december
6.30 pm
IIC Annexe Lecture Room
“The New American President” a talk by David Barsamian
 

                                                 The election of Barack Obama has been greeted with enthusiasm, not only in the U.S. but in some other countries as well. It is understandable. People wanted change. The arrogant and criminal Bush-Cheney regime, arguably one of the most unpopular in U.S. history, is on its way out the door. America's long 8-year nightmare is almost over. Regime change will happen on 20th January 2009.
But what can we expect from the charismatic Obama? A kinder, gentler more articulate manager of the American empire or someone who will dismantle the American military machine and its worldwide archipelago of bases and use the money to benefit the people?  

It's too soon to say with certainty which direction Obama will take. However, he has surrounded himself with many unimaginative Clinton-era apparatchiks. His comments about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine, Iran, and rebuilding the American military should give one pause for concern. Unless progressive forces inside the United States apply pressure on Obama, it is quite conceivable he will not become the change we believe in. However, we can savor for the moment, the historical symbolism of a black man soon to be occupying a
house built by black slaves.


David Barsamian is the award winning founder and director of Alternative Radio, the independent weekly series based in Boulder, Colorado. AR presents information and perspectives that are ignored or distorted in the corporate-controlled media. The one-hour program is broadcast on public radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries. His interviews and articles appear in The Progressive, The Nation, Z and other journals and magazines. He is winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU's Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Award and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes. He is the author of numerous books with Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Eqbal Ahmad, Tariq Ali and Edward Said. His latest books are ‘What We Say Goes’ with Noam Chomsky and ‘Targeting Iran. He lectures all over the world. In December 2007, he gave the Eqbal Ahmad lectures in Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore. 

Collaboration with the India International Centre

  

friday 5th  december
4.00 pm ‘The Never Ending War on Terror’ a talk by David Barsamian
  at Arafat Hall, Jamia Millia Islamia

                                   The War on Terror began long before September 11, 2001.  From the Russian anarchists of the late 19th century to the ‘Irgun’ Jewish terrorists of the mid 20th century, from CIA operations in  Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Panama, Mexico and Colombia to the attacks on US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole. But George Bush’s biblical 'The Task That Never Ends' started with his retaliation against the Al Qaeda and Taliban based in Afganistan.

In May 2003, Amnesty International charged, “The ‘war on terror’, far from making the world a safer place, has made it more dangerous by curtailing human rights, undermining the rule of international law and shielding governments from scrutiny. It has deepened divisions among people of different faiths and origins, sowing the seeds for more conflict.”

In September 2008, the RAND Corporation presented the results of a comprehensive study for ‘Defeating Terrorist Groups’ before the US House Armed Services Committees. They recommended that The U.S. military not be “drawn into combat operations in Muslim countries where its presence is likely to increase terrorist recruitment." and recommended "ending the notion of a 'war' on terrorism" and "Moving away from military references. They also said that “there was no battlefield solution to countering terrorism."

However hypocrisy on the issue of terrorism is still mind-boggling. Washington defines the discourse and the media echo the official line. When the U.S. or any of its clients such as Israel and Turkey engage in terrorism it is by definition not terrorism. However, terrorism carried out by individuals and small groups is terrorism. In the "City of God," St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate captured by Alexander the Great. The Emperor angrily demanded of him, "How dare you molest the seas?" To which the pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor." St. Augustine thought the pirate's answer was "elegant and excellent." 

David Barsamian speaks today when India is faced with this problem in an acute manner, where separatist Naga groups, ULFA & Bodo agitators in Assam, Maoist Guerrillas in Andhra & Orissa, Islamic Jihadists in Kashmir, the Narendra Modi Government of Gujarat and the Hindu chauvinists of Malegaon & Khandamal could easily all be labeled as terrorists or freedom fighters or protectors of their communities depending which way you look at it.  

Collaboration Outreach Programme, JMI

 

saturday 13th december
6.30 pm-
" Bansuri Mein Gayaki ki Bandishein" by Abhay Phagre
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The word bansuri originates in the Sanskrit bans [bamboo] + swar [musical note]. It was usually played in folk music and it was only the genius of Pandit Pannalal Ghosh in the middle of the 20th century that transformed it into an instrument of Indian classical music. Using longer bansuris with larger bores and a seventh hole placed 90 degrees around from the line of the other six holes he managed to obtain better coverage in the lower octaves.

Indian musicians believe that ‘gayaki’ (singing), is the purest form of music, a gift from god. Instrumentalists have always dreamt of being able to play in ‘gayaki ang’ (vocal style) and sing through their instrument with the versatility of the human voice. For centuries, musicians attempted to create techniques and instruments which would recreate this technique. The present form of playing an instrument in this vocal style was perfected by Ustad Vilayat Khan on the sitar.

Abhay Phagre renders this evening some ragas of Indian classical music as well as some folk tunes in this style. His initiation into classical music was his training as a percussionist, tabla under Prof. Kiran Deshpandel. He graduated from the Khairagarh University of Music and began to express his musical creativity with the flute after training with Shri Ravindra Garuda at Bhopal and Pandit Ragunath Seth at Mumbai. He refined his knowledge with Madhup Mudgal in Delhi and Ms. Meera Rao in Bhopal. He has performed in many prestigious festivals abroad and is presently associated with All India Radio, Bhopal.

 

                                                                                                                                                     wednesday 17th december
6.30 pm ‘ The Meaning of Culture ‘ a talk by  Pavan Varma.

The system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning is what is defined as culture. This, ‘way of life for an entire society’, includes ‘codes of manners, dress, language, religion, rituals, norms of behavior such as law and morality, and systems of belief as well as the art.’

During the colonial period culture came to be identified with civilization as the ‘cultured’ west accomplishing its ‘mission civilizatrice’ in the ‘dark continent’ and in ‘barbaric Asia’. Fortunately the discussion on what constitutes culture has become more nuanced  and one can talk about ‘folk’ culture as being different from ‘high’ culture ( classical music, museum quality art) but not superior or inferior.

Discussions on culture have become more relevant with immigration and globalization. The German model of ‘leitkultur’ (core culture) says that minorities can have an identity of their own, but they should at least support the core concepts of the culture on which the society is based. This is contrasted with the American theory of the ‘melting pot’ where all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention and the recent British attempts at ‘multiculturism’, a policy in which immigrants  are permitted to preserve their own cultures with the different groups interacting peacefully within one nation.

In his talk this evening Dr. Varma discusses these ideas with a special emphasis on what constitutes the culture we seem so proud of, pointing out how India has always been a multicultural society and particularly the role of the state in promoting ‘culture’. As the retiring Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and as former Director of the Nehru Centre in London he is uniquely qualified to talk about a subject he has been involved with for so many years. He is a distinguished member of the Indian Foreign Service and is the author of over a dozen books amongst which Krishna: The Playful Divine, Ghalib: The Man, The Times, The Havelis of Old Delhi. His books on a contemporary subject include The Great Indian Middle Class and Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will Be India’s. His latest book Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra. : The Art of Making Love to a Woman is being followed soon by a less sexy work on the pivotal issues of culture and identity. He was conferred an honorary doctoral degree for his contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005.                                                 

                                                                                                                                      

thursday 18th december   99977777  
7.00 pm ‘AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT  ... A Tribute to Monty Python’ by The First City Theatre Foundation
OFF THE MANTLE #20
 
In the 1960s, the satire boom in England opened up the way for a fresh, inventive generation of young writers and performers to flourish on TV and to take comedy in a new and exciting direction. Among them were five graduates from the Oxbridge comedy scene - John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Eric Idle. Joined by an eccentric young American upstart named Terry Gilliam, the six decided to team up and work together on 'something new', and were given their own series, famously being told "you can have thirteen shows, but that's it". Having toyed with several names (including Owl Stretching Time and The Toad Elevating Moment), the group settled on the appropriately bizarre Monty Python's Flying Circus.Their writing effectively threw away the rulebook of traditional sketch writing, and the show grew into a phenomenon, so much so that George Harrison claimed the spirit of the Beatles had passed onto Monty Python. With a huge and growing global following, the Pythons were encouraged to continue working together on three hilarious and groundbreaking feature films, while the Flying Circus, which started it all, has come to be seen as probably the most ingenious and imaginative comedy show ever to grace British television. The First City Theatre Foundation celebrates the 20th edition of the Off The Mantle readings by paying tribute to the comic genius of Monty Python.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

             

 saturday 20th december
6.30 pm ‘The Indian Christmas’ – A talk by Robinson and Carol singing by The Delhi Youth for Christ Choir 

Christians have been settled in India since 52 AD with coming of St. Thomas the Apostle, about the same time that Christianity reached Europe. Since then Christians have settled mainly in Kerala, Goa and the North East. The celebration of Christmas  ‘feels’ different  with the mango and banana leaves, the ‘diyas’  the poinsettias and the elaborate ‘rangolis’ of Santa Claus. And the varied local customs, from  piety to joy, from urban revelries to rural solemnity, from Catholic to Protestant and between the Western and Eastern  Orthodox Churches and sometimes a mélange of all of them which gives a unique  flavour to  Christmas in India. 

Interspersed with carols and hymns by the choir Robinson examines this distinctive Indian Christmas with its blend of Western and Indian, Naga  from Kerala  Christian and the traditions of the Antiochians. 

Another characteristic feature of the Christmas in India is the music. The Delhi Youth for Christ will perform a wide range of hymns in English, Hindi, Punjabi and Manipuri drawn not only from the various regions but also the local musical styles of the group. 

Robinson is an alumnus of St. Stephen's college, Delhi, a Theologian, Meditation Practitioner and a Poet. He has an advanced certificate from Soon Bible Studies and papers on comparative religion. He is currently researching on the mystical and meditative aspects in various religious traditions. His book Christianity; An Indian Theological perspective awaits publication. He has a   published poetry collection. Reminiscences: The Poetry Of Communion. Robinson also conducts walks on specific themes in Delhi like the Churches of Delhi, Dargahs of Delhi apart from the old city and Mehrauli. 

The Delhi Youth for Christ is a movement working with young people enabling them to discover the purposeful life. They spend their time studying, teaching, counseling working with schools, college students and underprivileged groups. This volunteer group is composed of young people from Delhi, Himachal, Chattisgarh, Manipur, Nagaland, Kerala, Karnataka, U.P. and Punjab, a veritable United States of India. 

The Attic traditional home made Christmas cake and Hot ? punch will be served.