“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.” – Agent Smith (Matrix, 1999)
Was Smith an Observer or an Agent, when he removed his spects! The sweat on Morpheus the distinction of him as a human being!
We are at crazy times. There is an epidemic of selfies, solo traveling, rampant boredom, crisis in mental health and the curious appearance of people who hang a DSLR on their ass and call themselves filmmakers, editors and founders. Professors, Judges, Authors, Journalists do their work without understanding the culture and history of more than half the population. They are in Tinder, Grinder and cinder of all the ashes in the hangout bars. They are upper caste. And while they write, speak and document, they are effectively burdening history with their holy shit. In India’s caste society, there is a pattern to this madness, where the useless upper caste is searching for sweat. And simultaneously talking about metaphysics, aliens and ghosts. These convenient idealists are the Gandhians of social movements, Environmentalists in all the green panels, and the head of the polit-bureau in communist parties. The struggle here is to remember, who they are, who we are, and why we should communicate: to create and destroy whom and what?
The Sabha offers a geographical narrative through print and digital media. The aim is to highlight the political nature of the everyday as experienced across different domains of inequality-caste, class, gender, ethnicity, race, disability. Where views and opinions are from non-static people in motley sabha (meeting of individuals/collectives) of producing, feeling, acting and thinking: university students, transgenders, workers, farmers, travelers and artists. And we is grammarless.
The Sabha is an attempt to build a responsible, peaceful and thinking society. It’s function is to make visible the stark inequality that exists at the intersection of multiple layers in our society. We want to interrogate “human nature” and its relationship with the environment. Without making anything holy in particular.
The Sabha was started in December 2014 and the editor was supported by the Criminal Justice Fellowship at the Centre for Criminology and Justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai for two years (Aug 2015 to Jul 2017).
As represented by the top political leaders of India and U.S.A, crime is the mirror of our society. It helps us to identify what has gone wrong within the faultlines of power of law and media, state and market, people and citizens. While we are publishing, we are also trying to link daily struggles to global politcs, from particular sexuality to ontological universality in longitudinal sense, where the narratives are linked geographically, to decapitalise the data fed from certain regions and capitalise on the problems it manifests.
All the spaces are important, whether digital or print. At the present juncture, we have very few media outlets which are not owned by corporates or politicians. They control our mind by feeding us their point of view regularly, diverting us from the important issues. We are not meant to be parasites. We are humans. We can exist peacefully with other human beings and the environment. We aim to bring you news and opinions not only from uneducated experts but also illiterate, educated experienced people. From academic to non-academic spaces.
The Indian ‘National media’ hardly covers the north-east and southern states. Perhaps, for them the world is only the government of USA, China, and Pakistan. And over here ours. We are people before citizens. We will bring you content in geographically equitable form, from Europe as well as Africa, from North America as well as South America, from Mankhurd (a slum) of Mumbai to Hauz khaas (popular hangout place) of Delhi. Of the people too.
The journey has been random, which moved as the people and environment contributed. So it started with a print edition and now we have a YouTube channel and websites, with a limited social media presence. Presently we are planning to make it inclusive with three editors Female, Transgender, and Male, who with help of university students, will take it forward maintaining by sustaining its core essence. We are also looking for student unions and faculties across the world to collaborate in content in particular, to diffuse the shared chaos and silence. We don’t advertise till now, so we are also trying to reach out to people through crowdfunding, which will help us to keep it running. We need to be present tangibly in physical space as well as in bytes of virtual, however small it may be: to keep on saying the truth in real, including the imagination, in all the forms of communication, we are staying alive.
I had finished engineering in 2008 from SASTRA University, Tanjore, Tamil Nadu and along with quintals of engineer produced, I joined an IT job in Wipro Technologies. After one and half year, I left Wipro to press more keys than ctrl, c and v. This was followed by a period of volunteering in different organization teaching life skills through adventure in Shimoga, rehabilitation work in Ladakh. Then, I was thrown out of an organization for being unprofessional (because I could not get an internet connection from BSNL office and I refused to meet a director who was allegedly corrupt in Leh). There was mixed feeling of guilt and bitter coldness. I was out of money, and it was the first time I borrowed money from my father after I had started working. I applied to Dr. RML hospital and got a job to interview schizophrenic patients for couple of months. Here, everything was normal as no one was questioning one’s actions. After spending a couple of months, I realised how smart and wise the patients were. I wanted to be in the development sector and google sent me to TISS: the number one institution for Social Work in India according to some survey. I wrote the exam, and got selected for the interview. It was during that time that I decided to travel more before sitting in class again after four years.
Editor – Abhishek Kumar Tiwari