Queer Voices of Mumbai

Jeff Roy

8 July 2013

In 2012, I was one of four grantees to have been selected for the prestigious Fulbright-mtvU Fellowship. The Fulbright-mtvU program awards individuals with projects that explore the use of music as a base of mutual understanding between cultures. I proposed to develop a documentary about how music and dance within Mumbai’s LGBTQ communities help to empower and strengthen their individual and collective voices. The project was given its stamp of approval by music idols Foster the People, B.o.B, J.Cole and Diplo, as well as the Presidentially-appointed J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. And now, on July 19th,  2013, at the Godrej India Culture Lab, I have the wonderful opportunity of being able to present some of the fruits of my labor in the first public presentation of my documentary-in-progress following a year-long production stint:

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When the environment turns hostile

Gita Aravamudan

11 June 2013

The news report in The Economic Times dated 21st May 2013 said it all. 

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The extraordinary everyday - a hunt for new metaphors

Rohan Shivkumar

3 June 2013

The city of Mumbai is currently undergoing a rapid metamorphosis. As it seems to be in the throes of transforming from a post industrial city to a city imagined as a hub of financial, entertainment and information technology for the region, its physical form has undergone tremendous changes- often in extremely violent forms. Historical fabrics and environmental systs are ravaged into and new housing districts and glittering commercial buildings replace older neighbourhoods and slum communities. As the new violently rips into the old, as boundaries that connect transform into those that separate, new configurations are formed, new networks created.

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What India's demographic dividend means for its women

Chitranshu Mathur

20 May 2013

The Godrej India Culture Lab recently invited Roopa Purushothaman, an economist who has worked with Goldman Sachs and was a co-author of the famous “Dreaming with BRICS” report, for a talk on Women and Leadership in India. Roopa presented her research on India’s demographic dividend and what it means for women in India, especially in terms of education, employment and nutrition levels, and also spoke about her initiative called Avasara Academy, through which she is mentoring and educating adolescent girls from underprivileged backgrounds.

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Evanescence is just a word

Sampurna Chattarji

13 May 2013

In my new book of short stories about Bombay/Mumbai, the protagonist of the story titled ‘My Revenge on the Beast’ says: "In this city something is always disappearing. A piece of empty land disappears behind a sudden wall of asbestos sheets, so high, so closely guarded by uniformed men with red badges and black guns, it makes you wonder what could deserve such secrecy. You hear, as you pass, the whine of machinery, complaining, you hear the drone of earth-eaters, you hear shouts. Some months later you see the grey skeleton of a building towering above the asbestos skirting, no secrets now. It is ugly, pocked with holes where glass eyes will come. The piece of sky above the piece of no-longer empty land disappears. You never really saw the empty land until it disappeared. That’s when you remember the lean-to that had stood under the thickly clustered trees, the names of which you do not know, except, maybe, ‘tamarind’. You remember a squirrel leaping from tree to tree, signs of habitation, one gleaming aluminium pot, a broom, rich green grass that may have hidden snakes. You never realized how full that empty piece of land was until it disappeared."

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Urban Public Space and the World Class City

Rahul Srivastava & Matias Echanove

2 May 2013

When we valorize the idea of public space, we build on the virtues of the community, the commons, equality and citizenship. The fact that cities should have public spaces accessible by all is something that almost becomes an affirmation of mature national citizenship. No wonder the fact that the importance of public spaces in cities is scarcely questioned. What constitutes these public spaces, however, is more often a point of contention. From shopping malls to plazas, from sidewalks to parks, museums and pedestrian pathways, flea markets and bazaars – the contenders for public spaces are many.

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Farm Will

Parmesh Shahani

8 February 2013

I begin typing out this blog post in Mumbai airport as the police are lathi-charging young students in Delhi; Indian citizens who have stepped out to protest the violation of one of their own. My Twitter feed is scrolling rapidly as I'm following the action on the ground, full of rage and despair, like so many others in our country. A lot is to happen still. Manmohan is yet to ask "theek hai"? The girl (braveheart / Damini / Nirbhayi / Amanat / Jyoti) is yet to die. Several feet are yet to be inserted in several mouths by ourpoliticians and spiritual gurus. Dented-painted is yet to go viral. Ten-panel-talking heads neatly boxed and all talking the same time simultaneously on every channel (is the nightly newshour the new Ravan?) endlessly debating every second of the 'tragedy' - before, during, after, whether an award in her name is an honour or not and oh now for some 'breaking news', an 'exclusive' interview with the girl's father, savior, doctors, and what have you. The real 'breaking' takes place every five minutes, into commercials cleverly inserted by astute media-buyers, given that news is the new entertainment. (In contrast, what happens on Bigg Boss daily is news. How the boundaries blur, and how easily we forget... Urvashi Dholakia, anyone? Exactly.)

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Museum of Memories

Parmesh Shahani

10 January 2013

In this blog post, I want to revisit our Museum of Memories that we organized in December 2012. This was a one-day only event with live art, videos, dance, music, theater, fashion, technology, alternate reality games and more, all located within a 60,000 square feet empty Godrej warehouse that was scheduled to berazed the very next day. When I first stumbled across the warehouse in early November, I felt a strange connect. Appearances often conceal the true nature of things. What seemed like an ugly godown tostore agricultural feed from the outside, called out to me, telling me: look at me properly, see the beauty in my broken glass panes, my high ceiling dripping with shards of metal, my gnarled trees, my pocked walls, my soaring pillars. Recognize me for who I am. I am more than the sum of my parts. I am beauty.

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