[Reader-list] Re: Clarification on the matter of allegedlyCancelled Screenings

zainab zainab at mail.xtdnet.nl
Tue Aug 28 16:10:28 IST 2007

Dear all,

I am not sure what is happening here. I have not seen the movie that Sanjay
has made and hence I don't know what the content of the movie is. On this
note therefore Sanjay, can I request you to help me organize a screening of
your film in Bangalore? I would certainly like to see the film to
understand the context of this thread of conversation on the list.

A couple of things that have been on my mind with regards to this thread of
conversation. I have visited Kashmir and have also been to the Kashmiri
Pandit camps in Jammu. Undoubtedly, both sides are suffering as a result of
the ongoing conflict in Kashmir. But it appears to me that memory and
history is so strong that constantly, we are hearing the same rhetoric of
displacement. By putting this so bluntly, I do not mean to belittle the
trauma of displacement and the violence that the Pandits have suffered from
and the displacement that the Kashmiri Muslims are suffering from both
symbolically and actually. So, are our memories and histories so strong
that we will never communicate with each other? Is that possibility of
moving beyond our histories and memories so absolutely impossible? The
rhetoric of rape, torture and violence at the hands of Yasin Malik and his
cronies are not any longer good enough to justify the anger against the
film that Sanjay has made and the anger against Sanjay himself.

The other thought is about this discussion about freedom of speech and the
nation. The Indian state is as much guilty, if no less, of the violence and
atrocities in Kashmir. Why use torture and violence to keep a piece of
territory and group of people together? Why rig elections in J&K to install
some stooge of Delhi's as CM of J&K? Why send in the army in such large
numbers that it is disconcerting even for an outsider to breathe freely in
the Valley? What is this fear of disintegration? Can disintegration of 'the
nation' happen with the click of a finger? Is the 'Indian nation' so
fragile? Disintegration is likely when you force people to be with you
rather than give them a choice to decide. It is like my parents forcing me
to live with them at home and emotionally threatening me the possibility of
disintegration of the family. Despite all the tortures that the Modi
government inflicted on the Muslims in Gujarat, is there a single Muslim or
a single person talking of the possibility of Gujarat separating from
India? I ask once again, what is this fear of disintegration and who is
perpetrating this fear?

It is not about Shuddha and Jeebesh rising above the nation that gets them
to say the things they say. It is the belief that the nation is not the
primary social and determining force of our lives. It certainly is not the
primary moving force in my life and I would not want it to be. I do not
want the nation entering my house tomorrow and telling me to behave in
certain ways because otherwise, there may be disintegration. Those who
speak about the nation curtailing freedom of expression when there is
threat of 'disintegration' must speak for themselves.

Finally, to defend Sanjay's film by saying that he is expressing a point of
view is as much a lament as those who lament the loss of home and believe
this is good enough reason for a film not to be screened. It seems like we
are all becoming The State and The Police in one way or another.


On Tue, 28 Aug 2007 00:25:26 +0530, "Sanjay Kak" <kaksanjay at gmail.com>
> Dear Shuddhabrata
> Since my name (or at least one very like mine) is at the center of some
> what has been going on in this space, I *should* be grateful to you for
> taking the trouble to get the college concerned to give a clarification
> these two remarkably well discussed *non*-screenings.
> But I find I'm faintly disappointed with your responses: I mean, I was
> actually beginning to enjoy reading what new act of villiany My Name
> be up to next, or where the hidden skeins would lead the intrepid
> unravellers, or indeed what new threat might be posed to the Nation next
> by
> My Name... (But you've already had a sneak preview of that have'nt you,
> after the thrilling Cancelled Screenings and Secret Funding chapters,
> we've
> had a hint of Threatening Phone Calls a few days ago, did we not? Watch
> this
> space, there will be more to come...)
> I know you would like a return to the Sarai Reader List as a place of
> observation, reflection, whimsy, insight and other worthy ideals. But why
> would you want to spoil our party? I havent had so much fun since I read
> the
> odd chapter of the new Harry Potter. And most of your 3000 odd
> seem quite happy with all this too: why mess with a winning formula?
> Best
> Sanjay Kak
> On 8/27/07, Shuddhabrata Sengupta <shuddha at sarai.net> wrote:
>> Dear All,
>> This is just by way of clarification of something that has disturbed
>> many on this list, because it also involves an attack on the character
>> and reputation of a person.
>> A particular posting, made by Rashneek Kher <Someone "well connected"
>> got RIK screening Cancelled> made on the 25th of August said that
>> Ashok Pandita's film was cancelled after being confirmed for screening
>> at Kamala Nehru College, allegedly at the behest of Sanjay Kak.
>> On being requested to provide a clarification regarding this matter the
>> faculty in charge of Wide Angle Film Society and the Principal of Kamala
>> Nehru College have communicated to me that -
>> "The Wide Angle Film Society of Kamala Nehru College was not prevailed
>> upon by any individual or individuals to schedule or cancel any film.
>> The college and Wide Angle Society are fully within their rights to show
>>   or cancel any film screening without having to be accountable to any
>> individual or body."
>> This clearly indicates that the charge made on this list against the
>> person concerned (Sanjay Kak), that he used 'connections' to stop a
>> screening and arrange one of his own film is unsubstantiated and
>> baseless. I knew this for a fact as early as Friday, but wanted to wait
>> until I have a formalcommunication with the relevant people concerned in
>> Kamala Nehru College before making any statements in this regard.
>> I think communications of this nature are serious attacks on the dignity
>> of this list and its members, and I hope that everyone will join me in
>> insisting that list members desist from such all such allegations and
>> attacks, in the interests of a healthy climate of freedom of expression
>> that we all enjoy on this list.
>> regards,
>> Shuddha
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