Monday December 11, 2017
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139-day FTII strike ends, protests to continue

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Pune: FTII students who went on strike on June 12 against the appointment of Gajendra Chauhan as its chairman returned to their classes on Wednesday but said protests against the BJP member will go on.

The Film and Television Institute of India students said they will continue to protest in a “peaceful and democratic manner” against Chauhan, who they say is not fit to head the country’s premier film institute.

Ranjit Nair, spokesperson for the Students Association, told IANS that the strike was over.

“We have come to realize, after our long-stretched negotiations with the government, that the government is a bully,” a miffed Nair said.

He said the students will now invite people from all over the country who face similar problems.

“The strike will escalate now… It’s time to register our protest all over again and take it to different heights,” Nair said.

He said filmmakers and academics should come forward and take the protests forward in Mumbai.

The students held multiple meetings with officials of the information and broadcasting ministry but there was no end to the stalemate.

The government refused to buckle over Chauhan, forcing the student community to blink.

Chauhan congratulated the students for ending the strike, and told IANS over telephone that it was time for them to return to their classes.

The decision to end the strike followed the government’s “incongruous approach” towards the students’ cause, said another student leader, Reema Kaur.

“The 139 days of strike have not only made us stronger but more aware of the state that we today live in,” said Kaur, a final year student of editing and a part of the core committee of the Students Association that spearheaded the strike.

“We voiced ourselves loud and clear but it is the government’s adamant stand and incongruous approach towards our valid demands that has made us completely lose faith,” Kaur told IANS.

“Looking at the ministry’s unrelenting approach and the amount of our valuable time spent, we have decided to end the strike and resume classes.

“However, our voices will not shut, but grow louder. The protests shall continue democratically and in the peaceful manner as they have,” Kaur added.

(IANS)

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People from East Java Community Organisations Demand Demolition of a Chinese God Statue

Protestors claim the representation of a warrior god fails to reflect Indonesian culture

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Chinese god
Kwan Kong, warrior god, fails to reflect Indonesian culture. Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of people from East Java community organizations rallied in Surabaya on Monday, demanding that a statue of a Chinese god be demolished.

Claiming the representation of a warrior god known variously as Kwan Sing Tee Koen, Kwan Kong, Kuan-Ti or Guan-Yu fails to reflect Indonesian culture, protesters gathered in front of the East Java Provincial Legislative Building to demand the statue’s demolition.

The brightly colored, 30-meter-tall statue at the Kwan Seng Bio temple in Tuban, East Java, is now draped in cloth. Local Chinese Indonesians, a minority in the world’s most populous Muslim nation, contend the protesters do not understand that the Confucian god marshals people against the war. And a local official said the only problem with the statue is that it lacks a building permit, a snafu caused by an internal dispute at the temple.

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Religious divides raise tension

The protest over the statue of the Chinese god comes during a time of religious tension in Indonesia.

Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, center, is escorted by prosecutors as enters the court room for his sentencing hearing in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 9, 2017.

In Jakarta, Islamist protests against the Chinese Christian governor, Basuki “Ahok” Purnama, turned violent during his recent re-election campaign. Purnama is now serving a two-year sentence for blasphemy after losing in April to Anies Baswedan, who was backed by hardline proponents of political Islam.

In July, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo issued a decree banning the group Hizbut Tahrir, which advocates for a global Islamic caliphate. And while Indonesia is an officially secular country that recognizes six religions, Islamic sharia law has been on the rise.

An Islamic group member covers his face with Hizbut Tahrir flag during a protest against the decree allowing the government to disband organizations deemed to run counter to the secular state, in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 28, 2017.

Didik Muadi, who coordinated the Tuban protest, told local media that many consider the statue an insult to Indonesia. The enormous figure has dominated the local landscape since it was unveiled in July by Zulkifli Hasan, chairman of the People’s Consultative Body, who told local media he hoped the statue would become a tourist attraction.

Statue’s height seen as menacing

That didn’t sit well with Didik Maudi. “If they want to make a memorial statue, it should not be that high,” he said. “Maybe it should be a maximum of two meters, and inside the temple, if it is a memorial. This statue is so tall, it’s as if the god of war has taken over Tuban, and we can’t allow that!”

The chairman of the Regional Association of Chinese-Indonesians in East Java, Gatot Santosom, said the Tuban protest was based on a lack of understanding of the god depicted.

“They misunderstood and thought the statue is of a general, that we worship a war general, but that’s not true,” said Gatot Santosom. “What we worship and respect is what he symbolizes – loyalty, our loyalty to humanity – and he defends justice. That’s what we worship, not the war, no.”

Where’s the building permit?

The 30-meter statue at the Kwan Seng Bio temple in Tuban, East Java drew outside protesters earlier this week who contended the image of the Chinese warrior god – who protects against war – does not represent Indonesian culture.

Abu Cholifah, a member of the Tuban Regency Legislative Body, said the debate about the Tuban temple statue was an effort by outsiders who wanted to turn a statue of a Chinese god into a political issue in a nation with a long history of persecuting the Chinese community.

“The people of Tuban, actually, have no problem with it, because the statue has been there for some time,” said Abu Cholifah. “I think [outsiders] politicized the issue for their own interests. As far as the people of Tuban, no one is politicizing the statue.”

If there is any issue with the statue, Abu Cholifah said, it is that the local government failed to issue a building permit before it was erected.

“Every building in Tuban must have an IMB,” Abu Cholifah said. “But because there is an internal conflict in terms of management of the temple as a foundation,” no IMB was issued.

(VOA NEWS)

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Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune to Screen Films Made by its Alumni from August 5

Authorities believe that renowned artists like Naseeruddin Shah, Rajkumar Hirani, and Subhash Ghai were FTII students once and it will be interesting to watch what they did when they were stepping in the world of cinema

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FTII
FTII is the latest entrant to adopt the practice of outdoor screening. Wikimedia
  • Films previously made by students of FTII to be screened for the larger public in  a short-film festival
  • FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration
  • Padaarpan is scheduled to begin from August 5

Pune, July 29, 2017: In the year 1976, a direction student at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Saeed Mirza made a documentary titled ‘An Actor Prepares’, in which he interviewed acting students at FTII on what they felt about their prospects in Bollywood as part of his final year project. One of the persons interviewed in the film was his batch-mate Om Puri, who was pessimistic in his outlook. During his student life at FTII, Om Puri acted in five diploma films namely Amrita, An Elusive Dream,  Khukari, Navjatak, and Duniya Chalti Hai. However, none of us heard or watched those films, only until now.

The Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune has now decided to conduct public viewing of a series of diploma films by its alumni over the years. The public screening of these films, which will be free of any cost is to commence on August 5.

Since its inception in 1960, students have made diploma films as part of the academic curriculum at FTII. However, these films were never accessible to the larger public. “The diploma films made by the students as part of their final year project work generally do not see the light of the day. So, we have decided to screen them for the public at our premises once in a week”, said FTII director Bhupendra Kainthola, calling these diploma films “goldmines”, as reported by PTI.

Bhupendra Kinthola is the current director of FTII.
FTII Pune director Bhupendra Kainthola in conversation with students. Wikimedia

FTII is one of the finest institutes for films in the country. Over the years, it has produced a fine list of noted actors, filmmakers, cinematographers, editors and technical staff for the Hindi, Tamil and Kannada film industry alike, that include names like Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Girish Kasaravalli, Rajkumar Hirani and Resul Pookutty. Actors like Raj Kumar Yadav, Naseeruddin Shah, and Shabana Azmi also make the list of prominent FTII alumni.

The scheduled film screenings, which will be no less than a short film festival, will be called ‘Padaarpan’ meaning baby steps, and will be held starting Aug 5 at the institute’s main theatre which has a capacity of 200 seats. Advertisements will be given out in newspapers about the screenings of these movies, entry to which will be free of any cost and on first come-first serve basis.

According to the PTI report, the inaugural event will be attended by veteran actor and FTII alumnus Shatrughan Sinha, who as a student had acted in a diploma film titled “Angry Young Man”. Sinha’s diploma film would also be screened on the occasion, said Kainthola.

Sinha was a student at FTII
Veteran actor and FTII alumni Shatrughan Sinha. Wikimedia

FTII continues to be a landmark institution with its students winning most national awards and short film competition in the student film category. More recently, a short film Afternoon Clouds, made by Payal Kapadia, a student at FTII was also screened under the Cinefondation category at the 70th Cannes Film Festival in May this year. The film was among the 14 works of fiction and two animation films nominated in the short film competition category, which was open to film schools across the world and received over 2,600 submissions.

However, such masterpieces by FTII students have remained unknown to the wider audiences.

In the past, FTII new and old film projects have been aired on DD Bharati in 2007, before the practice was discontinued for reasons unknown. In 2008, Lok Sabha TV had screened 15 students’ film under a section titled ‘First Cut’.  The practice was restarted in 2013 with DD Bharati showcasing some of the films but the period was short lived.

Today, FTII has nearly 500 diploma films in its archives that are now in the process of restoration.

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The decision of conducting public viewing of past diploma films again will not only help students’ work get greater exposure but also create an opportunity for the larger population to witness quality work of film students and be a part of a short-film festival.

Officials at FTII are already in the process of finalizing the films to be screened. “They have been selected either based on their selection for national and international awards or if any famous personality was part of it”, Kainthola told PTI.

Gajendra Chauhan, former FTII chairman also believes that this will be a good initiative as people will get to view the works of their favorite artists when they were students.

ALSO READ:10 Small Budget Indian Films that prove you Don’t need Superstars or High Budgets to sell it!

In 2016, the possibility of Prasar Bharti to start a new channel to screen diploma and documentary films produced at various national film institutes was considered. A proposal to screen the films at Doordarshan was also submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry which is still pending.

– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Heard of Tandoori Momos? : Tibetan Refugees Contribute to Indian Cuisine

The Tandoori Momos have become so popular in the Indian cuisine thanks to the contributions of Tibetan Refugees

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Tandoor Momos
Momos. Wikimedia
  • The momos are a delicious contribution to the Indian street food
  • Given an Indian touch, the Tandoori Momos have gained popularity very rapidly
  • Some even call this soft power strategy branding it as a threat to Indian culture

July 12, 2017: The Indian public loves Tandoori Momos but that is due to the  Tibetan Refugees, who sheltered in India and have successfully added the dish to the Indian cuisine.

It is not clear if momos are exclusive to Tibetan tradition considering the strong influence that China has exerted in the region. It is more likely a Chinese tradition if we look at the wider Dim-Sum categories.

Momos was a cheap dish, making it favourite among the peasants. Made of flour, meat, and local spices, the momos became a part of every common household.

The Dalai Lama’s entry to India in 1959 in search of a new home (in the form of Dharamshala) brought with it a few Tibetans. A sizeable number more penetrated in the 1960s. Not surprisingly, the Indian government that was accommodating refugees from other different states also welcomed the Tibetan people with housing.

ALSO READ: “Do not Stand and Drink Water” : Here is Why it is often said so!

Slowly, the diaspora came to the capital Delhi, providing them with an opportunity to set up road side stalls to sell their special artifacts and decors, particularly Janpath which is a busy street.

The diaspora was now in Delhi, continuously shifting towards east and northeast. They saw the Punjabi idea of food becoming the quickest way of recognition and interaction. Momos, as it seems, were easy to make roadside. Pork was added upon entering into Calcutta.

By the 1980s when its popularity peaked, other cultures like Bengalis, Nepalis, and Khasis entered the momo-making business.

It soon became like the present situation today. Momo sellers could be spotten in every Delhi market. Outside colleges, offices, bus stands, everywhere.

Once again, momo business started growing again, even entering the region of Jammu and Kashmir.

It so happened recently that a BJP legislator, Ramesh Arora, organized a protest against momos even going till the extent of branding the food “more dangerous than alcohol or psychotopic drugs” as the teenagers are getting hooked on to it.

ALSO READ: Food Lovers: Indulge in Gluttony this Dim Sum Festival in Maharashtra

According to www.scmp.com report, Mr. Arora and co. actually feel that the momos are a threat to the Indian culture and cuisine, and that the dish is a soft power strategy of China (unaware of the fact that dumplings is more closely associated with India than China).

The protests were carried out with slogans and signs such as “Momo- the silent killer”. Going one step further, in the only air time that he is expected to get in his lifetime, Arora tried warning the nation that Chinese cuisine causes cancer of the intestine!

Demonstrations and protests, as it seems, can emerge out of nothing and for absolutely nothing. This cruelty to momos was watched by thousands who took it as a part of the daily media coverage, only with hilarity.

– prepared By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394