Saturday, November 29, 2008

Consequences of Nuclear Conflict between India and Pakistan

If we thought Mumbai was bad, lets all eyeball a post from NDRC published in 2002 which lists what will happen if there is a full blown nuclear conflict in the region. Lets to our non-existent Gods that our leaders are smarter than we think they are:

Mumbai Attacks and the Indian Youth

I was watching interviews of some young people in the aftermath of the Mumbai attacks on ndtv... their frustration and pathos towards their leaders and politicians was overwhelming. My empathy towards them resonates in this track which I must have heard five times already just now.

(Stigmata by Ministry)

Stronger than reason
Stronger than lies
The only truth I know
Is the look in your eyes
The look in your eyes!

Just like a car crash
Just like a knife
My favourite weapon
Is the look in your eyes
Youve run out of lies!

Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Theres a ton locked in your empty eyes
Get out of my life!

Im chewing on glass
And eating my fingers
Im not the one
Whos run out of lies

Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of lies!
Youve run out of time!

Cutting my face
And walking on splinters
I lost my soul
To the look in your eyes
Your eyes!

You ran out of lies!
You ran out of lies!
You ran out of lies!
You ran out of time!


O, you have empty eyes!...
They tell me nothing, nothing but lies

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

how to make a louder blank noise?

Society in India suffers from an epidemic social disease deceptively called eve teasing. Read Train to Chennai if you need a reminder or if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Stuff like that happens as an everyday occurrence in the society there. A parenting magazine's tips on how to deal with this are a clear measure of the desperation.

I believe that problems like this can be solved by citizens like you and me. All one needs is a social movement to channel your energies through. Fortunately for us, the hard work of getting such a thing in place has already been done. Blank Noise is a grassroots organization in India which takes on this issue.

In a post on their blog this morning blank noise asked folks to post questions to them. I wrote up the question below:
"What is blank noise’s plan for moving from a fringe urban phenomenon to the momentum of a true national grassroots movement? In other words, what is the plan to inject this into the consciousness of the main bloodstream of India’s social fabric?"
In the process of thinking this through, I got caught up in the labyrinth of possibilities and ended up with this post which keys in suggestions as they came to me. Blank Noise must have already thought of most of them and may even be acting upon some of them. The common thread across these thoughts and suggestions is to shift focus to spreading this movement to mainstream while maintaining its strong internet and urban presence:

Blank noise should get streamlined as an organization.
A more streamlined, transparent, structured but flexible blank noise will help the movement immensely:
  • Manifesto: Publish a high-level manifesto which is abstract enough to not cause any conflicts and still serve the purpose to bind and rally all involved individual to a common set of beliefs and goals. Go multilingual in publishing this.
  • Funding: A core team should go around for some real funding, and establish a base of operation with a few full time participants/employees. I think that given the clear understanding of this problem in certain economically well-to-do sections of the society, it should be possible to raise a decent amount of money for this cause. It is important to raise enough money to run this operation on a sustainable and long term basis. It will make sense to get registered under societies registration act 1860 as a Citizens Organization and in other countries to enable funding.
  • Structure: Create a transparent and well defined organizational structure with permanent and rotating positions within the organization. The permanent/renewable positions could be a few key ones which are held by folks who can get more actively involved. These permanent positions could form the executive board. The rotating positions could be more transitional where the people could handover and move on if they cannot give time anymore. Each position has a well defined role and responsibility. There could be quarterly and yearly meetings with continual online communication. Examples of positions is listed below, the first four could be permanent:
    • President
    • Treasury and Fund Raising. There should be a clear budget in the plan and 100% transparency on obtaining and disbursement of funds.
    • Operational
    • Media Liaison
    • Universities Liaison with separate positions for North, South, East and West
    • Schools Liaison with separate positions for North, South, East and West
    • Community Liaisons with separate positions for any large community in India. This could be based on religion with separate liaison officers for each of the religion or something else which allows for the ability to tap into existing communities. The suggestion of liaison officers based on communal divisions might seem odd but I think that a structure which reflects the reality of India's social fragmentation and having appropriate people leading those engagements will lead to better results.
    • Legal council
  • Advisory Board: Strengthen blank noise by creating an advisory board which consists of well known individual with influence in their area. From managerial/operational skills to government influence to media influence to community influence. Include people from diverse backgrounds. Expect advice and introductions from them and not any direct work. They should also be able to represent and promote blank noise publically.
  • Partner: Strengthen blank noise by “officially” linking up with other related NGOs.
  • Endorsements: Get media sponsorship and recruit some well known celebrities as ambassadors.
Launch an advertising campaign in most Indian languages.
Approach this professionally as a matter of selling a stronger moral position to the society via short, hard hitting, tangible TV, Radio and print advertisement campaign which people can relate to with a sense of quiet urgency. All we should look for is a mass acknowledgement of the problem in the society, a correction will most certainly follow. Examples :
  • Parents telling little boys that this is wrong.
  • Little boys and girls confronting men on streets
  • Women wearing bands on their hands for each time they were harassed that week.
  • Mothers being harassed in front of their watching children.
  • Situation reversal: let men imagine what this is like by reversing the situation.
  • Tap into the sense of pride which people feel in India of being on higher moral ground than other cultures, ask: when did it start?
  • An iPod/iPhone like campaign where the victims of these daily attacks just narrate an incident which happened with them, then stare at the audience from the tube for a few seconds and then say, "Next time you see this, please say stop"
  • Ensure that the organization is seen as rational and not discarded/portrayed as overzealous, fanatic and irrational by media/society.
Work with student and teaching bodies in universities, schools etc.

Connect with people in larger settings
For example take permissions of movie theaters to do a small 4 minute skit live before the movie starts of a street level harassment; at the end of it ask people sitting there to do just one thing: acknowledge this social problem and stop atleast one such incident from happening that week.

Encourage and actively seek participation by men too.
For example, create mass interventions which involve not just women but some with ONLY men too.

Reach the poorer sections of the society.
Most of the urban populace in India is widely disconnected from poorer sections of the society. Maybe a consideration for working in apolitical fashion with the leaders of organizations like VHP, RSS, SIO, SCM is warranted. This issue is most certainly common to and indifferent to religious affiliation. Other organizations should also be looked at.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Had almost given up on this one

I love the sound of royal enfield and the noise of traffic has its own rhythm. I remember a few years back I'd found a live online sound feed where local train service operators and their central office would intermittently chatter.... I kid you not, I think it was on and the transit service was san francisco bay area's BART. I'd just put my headphones on and program on my computer all day with that ambiance.

Sometime in November I'd found this audio clip of an auto rickshaw in India on soundsnap and also various recordings of the beloved royal enfield. Bless the soul of all those people at soundsnap. I first heard about soundsnap from this post on wire to the ear.

The various traffic conversations and ensuing noise was what lead to this most recent track called Public prosecutions. I've been working on it for a while and was finally able to crack it to my satisfaction just last week. I know its not right to sneak it into the album but it was always meant to go there so I'm just going to add it there.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

John Cage and Dhrupad Hindustani Vocals

Got a flyer home today about the otherminds festival and from their site wandered of to discover Amelia Cuni and heard some samples posted at the mp3 page. Some really good stuff in there.

Also heard stuff from John Cage Solo for Voice 58, 18 Microtonal Ragas. Having heard so much hindustani vocal music it was intriguing to hear this in -what I'm guessing to be- part Italian.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

South Asian Music Community

I was exploring the various communities rallying around around south asian musicians/artists and came across a whole bunch of them. In no particular order, here is a nice mix of cheesy, sincere, dying, upcoming or thriving communities:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Avant-Garde and Experimental South Asian Music

I am constantly probing around for more and in my search I recently went out to the Internet looking for musicians who are pushing the boundaries on South Asian music. Not necessarily from people of that origin but anyone pushing the envelope on sounds emanating from that part of earth. I was looking for the avant-garde and experimental musicians who are infusing the amazing heritage of music from South Asia with fresh sounds and ideas? It was, by and large, a disappointing journey and I'd like to believe that this was mostly my failure at finding them.

I heard loads of bhangra, trance, house and hip hop... apparently that last one is called bollyhood. People seem to like that stuff.

In my opinion, the astists who stand out of the crowd are Nitin Sawhney, Karsh Kale, T J Rehmi, Talvin Singh, Badmarsh & Shri, Dj Cheb I Sabbah, Bill Laswell to the league of Badawi, Muslimgauze and Raz Mesinai. If you know of others that you'd like to point out, especially any independent ones, I'd love to hear about them.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The main website is up. You can read the liner notes, listen to or download all the tracks off the album "for the quiet ones" there.