Wednesday November 21, 2018
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Maria Qamar pop art twist appeals Indian diaspora


BY NewsGram News Desk

New Delhi: Comic stories and caricatures are one of the most fun paperbacks to read. What makes them more interesting is a touch of wit and humour.

Maria Qamar, 24-year-old Pakistani-Canadian, inspired by the aesthetics of Roy Lichtenstein, offers a satirical and unique insight into desi culture.Desi3

She is bringing in her sharp-witted tone as well as her local experiences of the “desi world” that is normally referred to as ‘aunties’ to the mainstream, through her art. Her satirical take is especially being appreciated by the young people from the Indian diaspora.

The Indian diaspora enjoys these comic strips as it takes them back to their desi experiences. The comic talks about local aunties and people, emphasising on their everyday conversations.

She is taking up, what already exists [in our culture] and laughs about it like an inside joke. She is highly inspired by Indian aunties and tries to draw more of them and seeks inspiration from Hindi daily soaps and Bollywood.

Qamar was speaking to a TV channel, BBC, when she pointed out some interesting tidbits about the women in her (and our) lives. She talked about women in our families who like to gossip about our lives for no logic or reasoning. She wondered why some of them would try to become her mom by trying to talk to her mother about several issues related to her._86384344_f4b15bab-645a-4133-b9c0-a7c4f50067f1

She said that the women would try to know some of the intimate things like “bowel movements or blood type.” Adding how it might trouble you at times, she said, “Sometimes they plot to get you in trouble. Some of them even say they can use black magic… They go to extremes to make your life difficult,” she added.

Qamar has now turned into an entrepreneur and sells her work in exhibiting through her Hatecopy brand. She said the snowballing interest in her cultural expression had compelled her to alter the way she works on her art. As per the artist, she now treated her innovativeness more like a business.

“However, I refuse to do straight up cultural appropriation e.g. making Marilyn Monroe into an ‘auntie’. I won’t take that step,” she was quoted as saying to the news channel.

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Ethnic Indian Jai Sears responds to complaint against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada

Jai Sears wrote in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier

Mahatama Gandhi, leader of non violence

Jai Sears from Grenada, Caribbean has written a letter to editor in response to complaints against the statue of Gandhi in Grenada. Here is the text:

I write in response to a letter on Mahatma Gandhi entitled “Dustbin of history” written by Josiah Rougier and published in the Grenada newspaper, The New Today (Nov 3, 2017). In his letter, Rougier is asking the Government to remove the bust-statue of Gandhi which overlooks Sauteurs Bay in Grenada where East Indians arrived 160 years ago. Rougier’s opinion is based on the false notion that Gandhi was racist because the Mahatma reportedly considered Indians to be superior to black Africans when he referred to the latter as “kaffirs.”

Gandhi was only 27 years old when he made that contextual statement. If Rougier had done his research, he would have found that Nelson Mandela said: “Gandhi must be forgiven for these prejudices in the context of the time and the circumstances.” The quote can be found in “Gandhi the Prisoner” by Nelson Mandela published in 1995. Gandhi was a man; he was not god. And even god made mistakes.

In favour of Mahatama Gandhi
Photo of Jai Sears

Rougier must instead focus on the Gandhi’s vision of non-violent protest and his belief in satyagraha which inspired rebels and revolutionaries around the world. Gandhi’s ideas influenced leaders of the African National Congress and the struggle by Indians and blacks against white apartheid rule in South Africa. From as early as 1956 when he was 27 years old, Martin Luther King, Jr. referred to Gandhi as “the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change.”

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Following the success of his boycott, King contemplated traveling to India to deepen his understanding of Gandhian principles. The fact is that Gandhi saw people of all races, castes, colours and creeds as equal which led to his assassination by a Hindu fanatic in 1948. So who is this unknown Josiah Rougier? Is he as illustrious as the great Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? And is he disagreeing with his possible heroes?

A friend to all.
Jai Sears
Grenada, Caribbean