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Modi propaganda video is add-on treat at many ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ screenings

Scroll.in, November 12, 2015

Music video driven by censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani is playing during the interval of the Salman Khan-starrer at many cinemas.

Modi propaganda video is add-on treat at many ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ screenings

The magnetism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not spared audiences turning out for Prem Ratan Dhan Payo. A 5.30-minute video singing the praises of the prime minister and the Centre’s achievements is playing during the interval of Sooraj Barjatya’s latest movie at several multiplex chains across the country, including PVR Cinemas and Inox.

The video is the brainchild of Central Board of Film Certification chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani. It is an expanded version of his recent Mera Desh Hai Mahaan, Mera Desh Hai Jawan. Nihalani has dedicated the video to the prime minister rather than the nation that he has been elected to lead. Nihalani, who is also a movie producer and distributor, had previously made a campaign video for the Bharatiya Janata Party before the 2014 general election, called Har Har Modi.

Nihalani’s latest paean to the man he calls his “action hero” is, like the prime minister itself, in election campaign mode. It appears to have been made to coincide with the Bihar election, since it prominently features popular Bhojpuri singer and actor Dinesh Lal Yadav „Nirahua“ and other personalities from Bhojpuri cinema. The video, directed by Munesh Rawat, celebrates the achievements of Modi and name-checks the various schemes his government has introduced.

The song compares Modi to Mahatma Gandhi. Burly men representing India’s multi-faith diversity pound their chests and declare their love for the prime minister, alongside a montage of Modi’s various meetings with world leaders. In one meme-worthy moment, Modi, or a likeness of him (perhaps the hologram he used during his 2014 prime ministerial campaign) is shown meditating on the top of an icy mountain.

Nihalani did not respond to a text message request for information from Scroll.in about why the clip is being screened during shows of the movie, which stars Salman Khan and Sonam Kapoor.

Read more: Modi propaganda video is add-on treat at many ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’ screenings

19. November 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News

Modi, Zuckerberg on the Same Page

The Hindu, September 28, 2015

Srinivasan Ramani

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in California on Sunday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugs CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook headquarters in California on Sunday.

The Prime Minister achieved an instant „connection“ in a Q&A held at the Facebook headquarters.

If the reactions to Narendra Modi’s answers to a set of pre-determined questions asked by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a Q&A held at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park were anything to go by, the Prime Minister achieved an instant “connection”.

Speaking in Hindi to an audience largely drawn from Facebook employees, many of whom were of Indian origin, the Prime Minister spoke on a number of issues related to the impact and power of social media.

Welcoming the role of social media in connecting people and government in a large democracy such as India’s and also as a tool for diplomacy, Mr. Modi asked other world leaders not to avoid social media. “I used Chinese social media to wish their PM on his birthday. The huge reaction by the Chinese people surprised me. I wished the Israeli PM in Hebrew and he replied in Hindi,” he said. Mr. Zuckerberg appreciated the Prime Minister’s emphasis on using social media as a means of governance.

At FB, emphasis on deregulation

At a Q&A held at the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park here on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that his government was keen on furthering India’s advantages in its demographic dividend, its democracy and overall “demand” by focusing on deregulation and in easing business activity.

“It is easy to turn a scooter, but much more difficult to move a train. The things we are trying out will cumulatively work out later,” he said.

He spoke on the need to expand the government’s initiatives to enhance infrastructure and ease of business and the need for women empowerment.

The packed crowd were largely appreciative of the answers. An engineer said he was impressed with the answers, but felt that PM could have been more specific about initiatives taken by his government.

The Prime Minister’s visit to Silicon Valley has not received as much attention in the U.S. media as the Pope’s visit or parleys between U.S. and Chinese presidents. But the welcome accorded and importance attached to the Prime Minister’s visit by Silicon Valley top executives, including Mr. Zuckerberg, has been clear to those covering the events.

Read more: Modi, Zuckerberg on the Same Page

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who continues to pitch ‚Digital India‘ in Silicon Valley, addressed a Townhall session with CEO Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook Headquarters. Read more at NDTV: PM Modi at Facebook Townhall Q&A With Mark Zuckerberg: Highlights

30. September 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News
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Animated Videos Use Humour to Aid Mumbai Police Helpline for Women

Feministindia.com, August 23, 2015

Mumbai-police-helpline-womenEeksaurus, a Mumbai based animation studio, have launched three awesome short videos to spread awareness about Mumbai Police Helpline 103 to report violence against women

By Team FI
A woman walking down an alley gets accosted by man. Unperturbed she uses her secret weapon, her jacket sprouts porcupine like thorns whereupon she proceeds to hug her assailant. A message splashes across the scene advertising the product as Porcupine Jacket which alas will only be in the market twenty years hence. So till then, Mumbai women are reminded to call Mumbai Police helpline number, created especially to be used in cases of violence against women – 103.

This animated video was the brainchild of Suresh Eriyat, the Director of Eeksaurus – a Mumbai based company that makes advertising film using animation. So far four videos have been made out of which 3 which were launched online in April 2015 have been endorsed by the Mumbai Police- being ‘Porcupine Jacket’, “Bagzilla’ and “Inter-galactic Pest Control”.

Nilima Eriyat, Executive producer of Studio Eeksaurus, spoke to FeministsIndia on the subject

How was the idea conceived?
The idea came in the wake so many gruesome rape cases in the country and out of an intention to spread awareness about the Police helpline which not many women are aware of. As a part of our services to the community, Eeksaurus sets aside time and budget every year for such projects where we feel that contributing with what we are good at- films and communication is better than monetary grants where we don’t know where the money ends up going.

What kind of research did you do to arrive at the concept?
When we came to know about the Police helpline number 103, and the Mumbai police told us they can reach any crime scene within few minutes of the victim making a call to them, we asked a lot of people if they were aware of such a helpline number and to our surprise, while everyone knew 100 was the police number, no one knew of 103 as the women’s helpline aided by women beat officers. This was startling and we felt a huge need for the citizens to have useful information. That was the starting point for Suresh to come up with this thought of making a series of films in a comic, tongue in the cheek approach so that women felt empowered by the information of having a helpline number they could rely on.

Why did you think of using humour to send the message?
We have seen that almost all communication that is created around women’s safety issues are using live action, showing real people and made very morbid, which actually sets in more fear than empowers women to deal with the issue. Therefore, Suresh felt that using the medium of animation, and making it humorous will make the communication memorable- where the whole point is for women to remember the police helpline number and be assured that help is a few minutes away. In our interaction with the Mumbai police, we have learnt that the police can land up anywhere in Mumbai within a few minutes of the victim making a call to them. So when we have such an efficient system and the police who vouch for it, we felt that this helpline number must be known to as many people, especially women.

What was the reaction from the police to the concept which is different from normal awareness videos?
To our pleasant surprise, the Mumbai Police applauded the films and Suresh’s effort and initiative as a citizen for doing his bit for the society and gave us permission to endorse the film using the Mumbai Police logo and highlighting the helpline number. We are proud and assured to know that our Police force is a bunch of open minded, progressive people who are constantly improvising and ideating on ways to make our city a safe place.

Are these videos only limited to online media or is it being planned to be shown on television or cinema halls?
There is talk of them going on cinema screens and we have approached the metros and buses to play them in a loop for maximum reach to the masses of the helpline number. However, there is a fee we are being asked to pay to play the films on Public transport which we are not willing to do, considering we have pro-actively created them for the benefit of the society and we think that such content should be played on as many screens across the city as it in the interest of the public.

Have you received any concrete reactions to the ad as in quantitive numbers of views or qualitative comments?
The Mumbai Police, commissioner Rakesh Maria and Jt. commissioners Dhananjay Kamlakar and Atulchandra Kulkarni (crime) felicitated Suresh in a special ceremony in Mumbai in April 2015, presided by the chief minister of Maharastra, Devendara Fadnavis, which in itself was acknowledgment of good content where the police further chose to endorse it. We have the films on YouTube and our FB page- Eeksaurus, where we have an outreach but not in the numbers we would like for the awareness of the helpline number. A lot of press coverage has been made, but the real success lies in as many people watching the films and remembering the helpline number 103.

Read more: Animated videos use humour to aid Mumbai Police helpline for women
Read more: This Artist Created 3 Futuristic Products That Help Women Fend Off Creeps, In Order To Popularise 103 Women’s Helpline

25. August 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News

Savifa geht – CrossAsia kommt

Liebe Kolleginnen, liebe Kollegen,

mit Unterstützung der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) bauten die
Bibliothek des Südasien-Instituts (SAI) und die Universitätsbibliothek
Heidelberg (UB) die Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Savifa auf.

Vor dem Hintergrund einer Kooperation zwischen SAI, UB und der
Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin geht Savifa im August 2015 vom Netz. Zentrale
Module von Savifa, wie die Bereiche E-Publishing, Digitale Sammlungen,
die Odisha Bibliographie wurden bereits in die von der Staatsbibliothek
zu Berlin aufgebaute Virtuelle Fachbibliothek CrossAsia [1] integriert
und sind dort unter neuem Gewand zugänglich. Neu eingerichtet wurde der
sogenannte “Blaue Leihverkehr” mit einer verlängerten Leihfrist von
1 Jahr für Material in südasiatischen Sprachen.

Ziel der drei Partnerorganisationen ist es, CrossAsia zu einem
Informations- und Rechercheportal für alle Themenbereiche der
Asienwissenschaften auszubauen. Im Mai 2015 wurde bei der DFG ein
gemeinsamer Antrag für einen Fachinformationsdienst Asien (FID Asien)
gestellt, so dass im Falle einer positiven Begutachtung auf CrossAsia
weitere Dienstleistungen für die Asienwissenschaften entstehen. Für
die Forschung sollen neue attraktive Dienste und Mehrwerte geschaffen
werden, wie z.B. eine Rezensionsplattform oder der Ausbau des Bereichs
Elektronisches Publizieren.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen aus Heidelberg
Nicole Merkel-Hilf

25. August 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter DFG-Netzwerk, News

When Technology Meets Ramzan

The Hindu, 30 June 2015

Jaideep Deo Bhanj

Not just youngsters,but elders too aretrying their hand at these mobile apps. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

Technology has changed the way visitors experience the streets of Old Delhi during the holy month of Ramzan.

The minarets of the Jama Masjid, lit up to accentuate the red sandstone and white marble, provide the perfect backdrop for a stroll through the narrow streets that surround the mosque to absorb the festive spirit that bathes the area well into the night.

Every year, tourists throng the area to explore the delicacies sold on the roadside stalls, either in large guided groups led by those who provide context to the entire experience or by the smaller bunches who like to explore the area on their own in the hope that each visit will spring a surprise that turns out different from their previous visit. Guided by smartphones that have dedicated applications listing down must-try foods and experiences, technology has changed the way visitors experience the streets of Old Delhi during the holy month of Ramzan.

Mohd. Ismail, whose family has lived in the area for many generations, says that earlier people would ask around and throng known hotels. Now, they are guided by websites and mobile apps that take them to try new places. “There are so many shops selling kebabs and other delicacies that it is often hard to choose which one to stop at and which to avoid. Now, with everybody posting photos and writing reviews, people have moved beyond eating only at Karim’s or Al Jawahar, which are the famous brands.”

It is not just tourists who are looking to explore the area and have used technology to their benefit to better their Ramzan experience. A number of mobile applications are now helping Muslims who are fasting to keep track of their day as well as help them with their prayers.

Apps like Ramadan 2015, Ramadan Legacy and Muslim Pro are among the popular apps that curate a better Ramzan experience. They have features like accurate timings for prayers, Qibla locator, closest mosque locator, full audio Quran, halal restaurants as well as a complete directory of prayers that are supposed to be said at particular times. The apps also have features that help you plan the month, set goals and select companions to motivate and encourage them. They have features that help maintain a journal, share reflections and provide access to a vast library of knowledge and reading material.

Talking about Ramadan Legacy, which was started to help Muslims around the world with their fasting experience, founder Shahbaz Mirza says the idea came to him in 2014 when he launched an online book called the Ramadan Action Plan that received thousands of downloads. “In 2015, our challenge was to digitise a month that is over 1,400 years old and simplify Ramadan for Muslims across the world. Muslims are turning to their smartphones for guidance and connectivity. Ramadan Legacy provides an authentic and seamless way to enhance and capture your annual Ramadan experience,” says Mirza.

For Faraz Khan, who is always on the move, the app helps him keep to his schedule and observe the fast the proper way. “It is not just the youth, but even the elders in my family who are using the app. For youngsters like me, it’s a bit like Facebook as we share experiences that only members of our community will understand.”

Read more at: When technology meets Ramzan

1. Juli 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News

Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back

Alexa Altmann

Image credit: Panel from ‘But What is Basic Space?’ by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan

Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back” is a collection of visual stories by 14 young women produced during a workshop organized by the Indian feminist publisher Zubaan and the Goethe Institut and held by Indian graphic artist Priya Kuriyan and Larissa Bertonasco and Ludmilla Bartscht, German co-editors of Spring Magazine. As a response to the public outrage and debates following the 2012 Delhi gang-rape case the artists visualize narratives of resistance, desire, anxieties and anger in regard to gendered norms and expectations which range from the voyeurism of rape reportages and the wish to loiter untroubled in public parks to female foeticide and stigmatisation regarding skin colour.

Lauded for its rich and diverse artistic expressions “Drawing the Line” includes stories which call forth solace and the celebration of female solidarity as well as chuckles of approval by the ”liberating portraiture of women’s so-called quotidian wants: Going nude, not dressing to impress, bra-less at work, scratch in public anywhere, spreading their legs when sitting”.

Image credit: Panels from ‘That’s not Fair’ by Harini Kannan & ‘Basic Space’ by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan

The anthology is, as workshop organizer Bartscht concludes, “… not about turning everything on its head or about fighting back using the same awful weapons” but instead about being “brave, strong, full of love and goodwill.
As such represents “Drawing the Line” equally the assertion of young women artists in the male dominated sphere of the comic book genre and in the ongoing discourse on gendered safety and propriety in which the artists seek “to reclaim the narrative on their bodies, minds and lives.


8. Juni 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News
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Controversy over Racist Advertisement Featuring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan


Alexa Altmann

An ad recently published in The Hindu for the luxury brand Kalyan Jewellers has sparked a controversy over colonialism, racism, child-labour and slave-fantasies as well as over public image projection and accountability. The depiction of movie-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in the fashion of a European colonial-era aristocrat, bejeweled, poised and shaded from the sun by an undernourished black child-slave, has prompted the outrage of several feminist and child rights activists as expressed in an open letter to Rai Bachchan and Kalyan Jewellers. The authors equally draw attention to the racist implications of the slave fantasy depicted in the advertisement by referencing the colonial heritage of comparable historic portraitures and to the romanticisation of child servitude. While Kalyan Jewellers promptly issued an apology and withdrew the image, Rai Bachchan’s publicist declared the final layout featuring the black child-slave was edited without the actress’ knowledge and consent and thus only the responsibility of the brand’s creative team. The activists countered by questioning this statement and Rai Bachchan’s alleged lack of control over her own public image. They demand Rai Bachchan to take a clear stand, both as an icon and in her role as UN Ambassador, against racism and the trivialization of servitude as well as take full responsibility for the commercialization of her public image projection.

5. Mai 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter Allgemein, News

#GoHomeIndianMedia was an international relations disaster waiting to happen

SCROLL.IN, 04 May, 2015

Ranjona Banerji

#GoHomeIndianMedia was an international relations disaster waiting to happen

Social media and TV news in India have turned Nepal’s tragedy into a display of self-aggrandisement.

Over the weekend, the hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia was the top trend on Twitter. The message came from the people of Nepal, who were sick of the way the Indian media was covering the earthquake of April 25.

In many ways, this was an international relations disaster waiting to happen and was foreseen by many. Almost as soon as the Indian media heard of the earthquake, bad journalism began. It started on Saturday morning with many anchors finding it difficult to fathom that an earthquake cannot be covered like a cricket match or a film release. It needed a bit of serious thinking and planning. But true to form, it became a contest between two impulses: to say “India is the greatest” and “I’m a better channel than you”.

The Indian government was indeed prompt to respond to the plight of Nepal, a neighbour and a very old friend with a shared heritage. The Indian Armed Forces is experienced in relief and rescue operations. But having done that, Indian nationalism on social media and on TV news went into chest-thumping overdrive. The focus was on the enormity of the Indian rescue effort and the personal involvement of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The implication was twofold: India was doing everything and Nepal was incapable. Add to that shoddy and sensationalist reportage, especially on television, where grieving survivors and their families were asked how they felt about the deaths they had witnessed or had heard about. As one person pointed out, earthquake victims felt they were being treated like characters in an Indian soap opera.

Geopolitical battle

The Indian media also took huge umbrage to the fact that Pakistan had sent Nepal either beef or packets of beef masala as part of their aid package. It did not occur to any of our televangelists that it was up to Nepal to be offended or grateful. We just cornered the problem as our own, decided that Nepal was upset because it was a “Hindu nation”. This, in the eyes of many Nepalis, turned their tragedy into our geopolitical battle.

But it was on social media that the nationalistic triumphalism was on full display. The fact that India had helped Nepal now had several subtexts. India had helped because of Modi’s efficiency. India had never helped anyone before Modi was sworn in. No other nation was helping so generously ‒ unsaid but by implication. The Indian Armed Forces were the greatest and more in the same vein. The Indian prime minister did not help by saying that his Nepalese counterpart had learnt about the earthquake from Modi’s Twitter account (although he did say that India felt Nepal’s pain).

For a person of Nepali origin, watching the aftermath of the earthquake on Indian television, the message was clear: Nepal would be finished if it wasn’t for India and Modi. Many TV channels had the Indian prime minister permanently on their screens as a backdrop. The backlash therefore was strong, with almost 60,000 tweets, according to some reports, carrying the hashtag #GoHomeIndianMedia.

Big Brother attitude

The reaction to this phrase in India was even more intriguing. Those who had warned that Indian self-congratulation on the aid to Nepal was trumping India’s generosity felt justified ‒ even if they had been slammed, threatened and abused roundly on social media at the time. Initially, a few right-wing social media regulars felt quite happy at this shaming of the media ‒ which they often categorise as “paid” or “presstitutes” and agents of every party but the Bharatiya Janata Party.

However their satisfaction soon turned to rage. The criticism of the media was seen as a criticism of India itself, which is oddly amusing given how the media is usually abused. But it was soon evident that the #GoHomeIndianMedia demand elliptically referred to India’s aid effort as well. Nepal’s editorials pointed out that many of the Indian rescue efforts were aimed at getting Indians to safety. The Indian media rode on Armed Forces vehicles when that space could have been used to help the people of Nepal. The anger harked back to Nepal’s old and simmering discontent about India’s patronising “big brother” attitude in the neighbourhood.

The right-wing on Twitter – which had in no small measure contributed to making India seem like an ungracious bully – now turned on Twitter itself and the people of Nepal. Some users wondered how the people of Nepal, under siege, managed to find the time and the internet connections to tweet their anger. The head of Twitter India was offensively and aggressively interrogated about where the hashtag originated from. The conspiracy theorists of the right-wing had returned to the same old bogey: it was evil, anti-national paid media Congress agents who had started this trend to malign Modi and his hard work. Thus, they denied the people of Nepal even that inalienable right to be angry when they wanted to. If any of these worthies had bothered to read any of Nepal’s newspapers or websites, they might have got an inkling of the mood in that country.

So here we are. A wonderful opportunity for selfless help in keeping with our high image of ourselves lies shattered around us. Each little shard mocks us for our failed attempt at self-aggrandisement. A little generosity of spirit would have served us a bit better, perhaps.

Read more at: #GoHomeIndianMedia was an international relations disaster waiting to happen

4. Mai 2015 | Veröffentlicht von Alexa Altmann | Kein Kommentar »
Veröffentlicht unter News

Indischer Film jenseits von Glamour und Stereotypen

Das 11. Indische Filmfestival in Stuttgart, 17.-20. Juli 2014


Ein Festivalbericht von Fritzi-Marie Titzmann und Alexandra Schott

Im Laufe einer Dekade hat sich das Indische Filmfestival in Stuttgart einen festen Platz in der Welt der indischen Filmfestivals in Europa und im jährlichen Kalender Indien-Begeisterter gesichert. Das Festival, das bis einschließlich 2011 unter dem Titel „Bollywood and Beyond“ lief, konnte auch in diesem Jahr wieder mit einem abwechslungsreichen Filmprogramm überzeugen. Das Rahmenprogramm reichte von den sogenannten „Tea Talks“, u.a. zur Parlamentswahl 2014 in Indien oder dem boomenden Online-Heiratsmarkt, über Tanzworkshops bis hin zu kleinen Musik- und Tanzvorführungen sowie dem Shah Rukh Khan Wunschfilm.

Das komplette Programm mit Kurzbeschreibungen zu allen Filmen findet sich unter:

Lesen Sie den kompletten Bericht auf dem Informationsportal zu Südasien suedasien.info unter:


13. August 2014 | Veröffentlicht von | Kein Kommentar »
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Participant Index Seeks to Determine Why One Film Spurs Activism, While Others Falter

You watched the wrenching documentary. You posted your outrage on Twitter. But are you good for more than a few easy keystrokes of hashtag activism?

Participant Media and some powerful partners need to know.

For the last year Participant, an activist entertainment company that delivers movies with a message, has been quietly working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Knight Foundation and the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism to answer a question vexing those who would use media to change the world.

That is, what actually gets people moving? Do grant-supported media projects incite change, or are they simply an expensive way of preaching to the choir?

Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/business/media/participant-index-seeks-to-determine-why-one-film-spurs-activism-while-others-falter.html?_r=0

8. Juli 2014 | Veröffentlicht von | Kein Kommentar »
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