Writer's Clan

Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai

A Documentary by Nakul Singh Sawhney, ‘Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai’ recently aired on Netflix, belongs to genre of ‘controversial’ movies which are released after being banned in a number of states due to protests.

Based on the real events that led to the Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013 and the aftermath of it, the documentary attempts to tell a story through the eyes of the various stakeholders who were involved, whether they desired or not, in the communal violence that shook the roots of Hindu-Muslim unity which was prided amongst by the various villages of Western Uttar Pradesh districts.

The genius of the film lies in the slow progression it makes towards the major issue of communal violence. As an audience, there is not a moment where the filmmaker seems to be imposing his own ideas or belief as to what conspired. The narrator, while facilitates an easy interpretation of the story, nowhere seems to take a biased opinion except for stating the facts. It is the statements of the people involved, be it the small girl sketching her family’s figure and describing what happened or the elderly of the village who are shown to discussing the parties who they think were responsible and for whom they are going to vote. The documentary successfully builds a logical trajectory as it takes the audience with it in unravelling the layers and finally reach the tipping and the triggering point of the whole incident.

Not limiting itself to the incident, it further shows us the differences that exist in general amongst the people and the range of contrasting opinions that can exist because of the lack of education and awareness amongst the rural societies of India. If educated and aware, the lack of proper platforms to air their grievances on and the lack of proper institutions (read: legal aid), also serve as a detriment to performing the functions of responsible members of a society. The interviews of stakeholders ranging from the immediately affected to the ones that closely witnessed and anticipated the likelihood of such violence, including a special segment on women whose honour was used as a typical scapegoat for blaming the cause as well as the resultant violence, is applaudable.

An alumnus of FTII and a filmmaker who has had close connections with other political and social issues such as honour killing, Sawhney’s attempt is successful in the sense it strikes just-the-right chord with the audiences and the rest of the population of the country who might be completely unaware of the actual reasons leading to the incident. The instances in the story makes the audience realise the gravity of the riots which have almost become an everyday part of the news articles and headlines. A small boy of hardly 10 years old mumbling “Humari dukaan phunk di” because of the trauma that he suffered and going completely quiet after, the school headmaster who was completely ridiculed and made to leave, the change in slogans of the various farmer’s associations and the deplorable conditions of the various refugee camps set up in the aftermath etc.

Heartbreaking on one hand, the documentary endearingly captures the change that the riots inspired in the otherwise united and friendly community of religious differences. The movie concludes with Gorakh Pandey’s message that a day would dawn when the poor and the unarmed would stop getting scared and that is the day that the rich and the wicked should fear! Sawhney succeeds in portraying this message with utmost honesty and dignity making it a must-watch for every Indian, if not to discover the details Muzaffarnagar riots, but at least to understand the basic fabric of ‘us’ as a nation and never letting others use it to our disadvantage.

Writer's Clan

Your Expectations

If I were upto your expectations,
And walked and talked with your decision,
I wonder who I’d be.

If I were upto your expectations,
And my hopes and dreams depended on your visions,
I know, that I wouldn’t have been me.

If I were upto your expectations,
And my career was decided with your precision,
There wouldn’t have been any diversity,

If I were upto your expectations,
And we’d walk the same path,
We would’ve lost our own identity.

Writer's Clan

Storms and Tranquility

Part Two

She counted the scars on me while I pretended to count the city lights to distract myself from her touch. She says smile is the ailment to all the pain we have within ourselves. So I always smile at her with broken, stitched lips with the hope that may be my smile heals her pain like her smile heals mine. I had lost all faith in worldly relationships until I met her. It all made sense at once. All the great loses I have had in life is worth this one win I have in the facade of a best friend. No, it isn’t love attraction. Neither are we love struck. We are pain struck like so many people of this generation. We are just lucky enough for this once in life that we connected to each other like each nerve of mine connected to hers. I had believed someone could understand me only if they had my mindset but she came throwing reality onto me like a rock. She said its not the mentality that connects, its the stories that do. I had believed scars only rot us as a person and she showed me how scars could beautify us as a person. I was taught to keep my things to myself and be insecure of what I have. She comes off as a person, I want to let free and still be secured of having her for a lifetime. I believe its our pain that found each other so we could share it with each other. She is a mind of infinity talking about destinies.

“In the end, we all leave it up to destiny,

It’s our tryst with the destiny.”she said.

~Simran. Riyaz


Writer's Clan

Later or soon.

The sun will die,
so will the moon.
Sorrow will come,
later or soon.

To shread you to piece,
to break your heart,
you’ll forget,
the peace you had in start.

It might shake you to core,
and leave you sore,
but be prepared,
for what’s in store.

Loads of joy,
will bring you to sense,
with the peace again,
you’ll commence.

The love will live on and on,
whether it’s dusk or it’s dawn,
you’ll smile after you frown,
the moon will again come to town,
the sun will again have it’s crown.

Writer's Clan

Brooke Ellison – The Venturous Lady

From quite a long time I wanted to write about Brooke Ellison, a quadriplegic who is a politician but ofcourse she is one amongst us.

It all began when she was coming back home, on her first day of junior high school. A young girl, eleven year old, strolling while swinging arms and singing melodies, all breezy and happy. Little did she know, that the car rushing towards her would bump into her and snatch away her independency leaving her paralysed from neck down.

After spending days in hospital and rehabilitation centres, she somehow survived the grievous accident but now was dependent on her mother. Now came the time for school, an inquisitive and enthusiastic student like her would have never missed school. But given her condition she couldn’t have done it, if it wasn’t for her mother who managed to help her out with it. Her mother became her chaperoning hero, accompanying her everywhere. Brooke became the first quadriplegic student at Harvard. She not only graduated but also secured a doctorate degree from Stony Brook university. Ellison teamed up with director James Siegel to create the winning documentary “Hope Deferred”, which aims to educate the general public about embryonic stem cell research. Brooke Ellison ran for New York State senate as a Democrat in 2016 but was defeated by the Republican incumbent, John Flanagan.

The reason why I wanted to write about her is to make the common oblivion public out there aware of some people who are famous yet not famous. We focus on issues related to religion, caste, creed, nationality etc while ignoring the people who are worthy to know about as they spread positivity by showing how they suffered yet emerged victorious. I would surely suggest you to watch the movie ‘The Brooke Ellison Story’ and feel the sufferings of Brooke and her mother, how they kept moving on to fetch the ultimate goal of ‘education’.