On the Presidency Attack

Talking to Presidency College alumni after it was stormed by a violent crowd of men carrying TMC flags and weapons, it’s kind of crazy how familiar the students are with the idea of violence. “See, cracked heads, black eyes, that sort of thing is a regular feature. Especially on days of college elections, that’s expected,” one alumni told me. Another student calmly told me about the time he’d been beaten up to the point of falling unconscious. “It was a day of college elections,” he said by way of explanation. Everyone I spoke to impressed upon me that a little … Continue reading On the Presidency Attack

On Kolkata’s Art Scene

This article first appeared in Mint Lounge. The Kolkata Frieze There are two “B”s in the Bengali alphabet. They look and sound exactly the same. The alphabet also has one obsolete vowel and a curious accent called the “biswarga”. The biswarga, pronounced “bishorgo”, can be replaced by the exclamation mark, making it one of those elements of the Bengali alphabet that isn’t essential. Kolkata-based artist Jayanta Roy punned on biswarga when he titled his 2009 exhibition B-Swarga. “We say many big things about how art can change the world, but it’s as useless as thebiswarga because there are so few people who are actually … Continue reading On Kolkata’s Art Scene