‘Nirbhaya: The Play’ and the Simple Power of Stories Being Told From their website. I am very skeptical about testimonial-based works of art, particularly performances. I haven’t seen or read many testimonial-based plays or  ’verbatim’ shows that haven’t left me squirming and cringing in their wake — usually because they are melodramatic, over-acted, full of unmitigated angst and hardly ever provide any real interpretation or analysis. Lately, I have been personally ...

On Sunday night (March 16) Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen, prominent Sri Lankan human rights defenders, were taken into detention in Kilinochchi under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. This followed the arrest of Jeyakumari Balendran and her young daughter on March 14; Balendran, the mother of a disappeared former LTTE cadre, has been outspoken about political disappearances in Sri Lanka, ...

Originally published here. ———————————————————————————————– The Namal Rajapaksa Twitter fiasco: Sri Lanka, sexism & political correctness Subha Wijesiriwardena is a Sri Lankan blogger and theatre practitioner currently living in Bangalore, India. The Namal Rajapaksa Twitter fiasco of March 4th revealed to us a grea

BEYONCE: The Dilemma of the Post-Feminism Feminist In the TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie, now widely famous because excerpts of it have been featured in a song off the all-new Beyonce album (titled BEYONCE), she says the best feminist she knows is her brother, who is, she assures you, very masculine. Adichie is very much a spokesperson for the young, articulate, optimistic post-feminist world she inhabits: the ...

Indian Supreme Court’s Ruling on Gay-Sex: Can Congress Stand Up to India’s Right-Wing? The Indian Supreme Court’s ruling today which once again criminalizes gay-sex, and thereby in principle homosexuality, has sparked angry protests and evoked much disappointment across the nation and in the region beyond. In 2009, in a landmark moment in Indian and South Asian history, the Delhi High Court ruled that the section of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized ...

It’s been three months today since my mother died. Her death has been everything like her life: big, tremendously powerful, changing everything, moving everyone within its reach to powerful and exciting revelations about their own lives, their own existences, their own choices. This was her; allowing choices to define who we are, allowing these definitions to shape what we want, ...

Tarun Tejpal, the iconic founder and Editor in Chief of Tehelka, India’s award-winning magazine for political reportage, has stepped down following accusations of sexual assault from a journalist who works for the magazine. For those of us who admire and follow brave independent journalism in the region, Tehelka, and Tejpal himself, were symbols of hope; of people standing by and ...

I’d forgotten that most people don’t know as  much about Sri Lanka as one always expects, in India People raise their eyebrows, intrigued, suspicious; ‘Why do you know so much about India? Indian politics?’ They don’t know the first thing about Sri Lanka ‘There was a war? Really?’ ‘Do you have your own language? Does it have a script?’ Lost ...

What happened in 1983, I wasn’t there to see it – but of course, I, like many others of my generation who came after, are privy to a collective memory, an experience felt by association, by default; the muscle memory of our parents, relatives, their friends and their relatives, passed on through stories, recollections, little photographic bits, fragments. In every ...

I was reared and raised by feminists – men and women both – so I’ve always had a pretty simple relationship with the idea. Needless to say I’m always a little shocked to find young women that, for one reason or another, reject the idea. I contributed a small piece to the new issue of Options, published online by Women and Media Collective. 

Tehelka is one of India’s leading independent English language news magazines. It’s an award-winning publication now well-known for its top-quality reportage of politics and news in South Asia and for its daring ventures in investigative reporting.  I have been an ardent admirer and reader for many years, and now I’ve been published in it for the first time. My piece ...

Drawing the Battle Lines Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and its supporters at a rally in Maharagama, Sri Lanka.Photo courtesy of AFP. Published originally on Groundviews and subsequently on Firstpost. The growing anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka is pushing us to respond in numerous ways:  we are talking, flustered, hopeless and helpless, shouting in outrage (when no one will listen), holding our knees to chests, ...

Buddhist Monks on Rampage in Sri Lanka Photograph via Colombo Telegraph. There is video evidence of a recent attack in Colombo, Sri Lanka where a Buddhist monk leads a mob in attacking a Muslim-owned establishment. Hear that crowd cheer. This is the beautiful tropical island paradise we want to promote to tourists and spend our days waxing lyrical about? This is the suddenly booming economy we’re so ...

Remembering in Jaffna Nallur Kovil, Jaffna (2013) The only thing apart from a small makeshift shrine in this room is a cot; a good, old-fashioned baby’s cot made from sturdy wood. The cot is stuffed with photographs; mostly black and white photographs, presumably old photographs, in their frames. The cot is almost overflowing with these photographs, artefacts from the life and history of ...

One Billion Rising in Sri Lanka One Billion Rising, 14 February, Colombo. Photo courtesy of Tehani Ariyaratne. We are rising to end violence against women on Valentine’s Day, 2013. Rising because we can; we must. Because we as a society are responsible for what happens to our women. Because it’s important for our sons to know what we know, that they learn what we have learned. ...

We Will Never Know Her Name Thousands take to the streets in Delhi to demand justice. Yesterday morning the young 23 year old woman who was raped and beaten in Delhi on December 16th, succumbed to her injuries, giving up the harrowing fight for her life in Singapore – far from her home, and removed, I presume, from many of her loved ones. While she was ...

The Felling of a Tree The Reid Avenue trees. (Colombo, November 2012) Originally published on Groundviews.  When I heard that the large, beautiful trees that pave Reid Avenue in Colombo were being felled, my heart broke. I was so stirred inside – and it was hard to explain to anyone else why this particular incident had moved me so much. When I came to Bangalore, my ...

Bombay The Taj Hotel through Gateway of India. Within minutes, you know you’re in a big city – the real thing, I mean. No pale imitation, no wannabe, no fading erstwhile glory. A real, live, breathing, thumping, bumping big city. The kind of big city – they exist all around the world – that takes your breath away, the kind we ...

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