India

Here is the latest from my brother in India:

We flew to Chennai today (about 4hrs) and arrived at about 8:30pm. Apparently we’re walking distance to the Bay of Bengal and Kalakshetra1, the arts center down here. This state is totally different to northern India — different language and culture and a very independent streak. Tamil. Haven’t seen much yet, but looking forward to tomorrow.

BoysKiteInsideWashReflectionsHe also sent me more photos from India (click on any to blow them up):  a boy’s kite, inside wash, reflections (as it had rained a lot), kid’s bike, and Assam protesters.   When KidsBikeI asked about the protestors he said,

 Some other state in Assam wants independence. They were very serious, though, and not very happy about my shooting them.

I checked with google, and found that the Bodo tribals have been fighting for a state of their own called Bodoland for the pAssamProtestersast 25 years, but the protest in Delhi was on Nov 27, 2012, and I don’t think he was there then:

Bodo tribals protest at Delhi: demand judicial probe into Kokrajhar, deport illegal Bangladeshi settlers

An organisation of Bodo tribals of Assam today demanded a judicial probe into the recent violence in Kokrajhar, alleging “aggression” against the indigenous people by illegal immigrants had led to the clashes that claimed 90 lives and rendered several hundreds homeless.

The demand was made at a day-long rally near the Parliament House here by about 1,500 tribals owing allegiance to 77 organisations under the banner of the Coordination Committee of Indigenous Tribal National Organisations. 2

Here is an article on the history of the problem:

Violence in Assam Has Deep Roots

By SAMRAT July 26, 2012

Is it possible for an entire population to go spontaneously berserk?

That is what seemed to happen in Assam, where a sudden outbreak of riots between the Bodo people, a tribal group, and Bengali Muslims has led to 42 deaths and the displacement of an estimated 150,000 people in a period of less than a week. On Thursday, the federal government sent more troops to the region, adding to the 6,000 army and paramilitary forces already on the ground.

Appearances are, as is often the case, deceptive.

This current situation was actually building up for almost two months, and has roots that run decades deep. On May 29, a local Muslim youth group, the All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union, called for a general shutdown in Kokrajhar district and town, at heart of the Bodo tribe’s homeland. The immediate cause was the alleged removal of a signboard from a mosque on a plot of forest land near the town. The Bodoland Territorial Council administration, created when the Bodo Liberation Tigers, who were seeking a separate state within the Indian union, laid down their weapons in 2003, held that the mosque was an illegal structure occupying forest land.

The administration, run by a former Bodo militant leader, Hagrama Mohilary, prevented the protesters from forcing shops and offices to close. Local reports said eight police officers, a journalist, two tribal employees of the Bodoland secretariat and at least four protesters were injured in skirmishes. 3    

Lincoln

WOW.   A must-see.  Daniel Day-Lewis was Lincoln.  Loved the way he told Lincoln’s stories.  We in the audience were laughing along with the Senators.

Mr. Lincoln liked stories. He liked to hear them and he liked to tell them. And, he liked to use them to suggest a moral or evade a clear statement of opinion. Stories were an evasive tactic for Lincoln. His penchant for stories both prevented him from miscommunication or misinterpreted communication and forced his listeners to think about what he intended to say. 4

Was surprised to read that:

Liam Neeson was originally cast as Lincoln in January 2005, having previously worked with Spielberg in Schindler’s List.  In preparation for the role, Neeson studied Lincoln extensively.   However, in July 2010, Neeson left the project, saying that he had grown too old for the part. 5

Thaddeus_Stevens_-_Brady-Handy-cropDDL’s tall (6’2”) and lanky frame seemed just right.  Neeson seems too bulky, although he is 6’4”, as Lincoln was.  They’re both great character actors, but I think Neeson is always Neeson.  Just like, in Lincoln, Hal Holbrook was Hal Holbrook, rather than my namesake, Francis Preston Blair, and Tommy Lee Jones was Tommy Lee Jones rather than Thaddeus Stevens with his ridiculous wig, which is almost a character in itself – see original photo of Stevens.

John+Boehnertommy lee(Aside – I always thought that Speaker John Boehner sounded and looked like Tommy Lee Jones, but OMG has TLJ aged!  In his younger days he was more handsome than Boehner, however.)

David Strathairn as Secretary of State William H. Seward was fabulous.

Robt-T-Lincoln-ca-1865And Joseph Gordon-Levitt was Robert Todd Lincoln.  But then I’ve seen few of his movies and didn’t remember him from Inception.  He looked exactly like old photos of Robert Todd Lincoln, who I googled and found out that:

Following his father’s assassination, in April 1865, Robert Lincoln moved with his mother and his brother Tad to Chicago, where Robert completed his law studies at the University of Chicago.  He was admitted to the bar in 1867. In  1868, Robert Lincoln married the former Mary Eunice Harlan. They had two daughters and one son.

His mother‘s “spend-thrift” ways and eccentric behavior concerned Robert Lincoln. Fearing that his mother was a danger to herself, he was left with no choice but to have her committed to a psychiatric hospital in Batavia, Illinois in 1875. With his mother in the hospital, he was left with control of her finances. On May 20, 1875, she arrived at Bellevue Place, a private, upscale sanitarium in the Fox River Valley.

Three months after being installed in Bellevue Place, Mary Lincoln engineered her escape. She smuggled letters to her lawyer, James B. Bradwell, and his wife, Myra Bradwell, who was not only her friend but also a feminist lawyer and fellow spiritualist. She also wrote to the editor of the Chicago Times, known for its sensational journalism. Soon, the public embarrassments Robert had hoped to avoid were looming, and his character and motives were in question. The director of Bellevue, who at Mary’s trial had assured the jury she would benefit from treatment at his facility, now in the face of potentially damaging publicity declared her well enough to go to Springfield to live with her sister as she desired. The committal proceedings led to a profound estrangement between Lincoln and his mother, and they never fully reconciled. 6

Also have to give credit to Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln7, although a much more attractive First Lady.

But in addition to such great portrayals was the plot line.  I’ll bet none of us knew that votes were being purchased to pass the Thirteenth Amendment outlawing slavery.  And what a lot of arm twisting by the President himself.  It was all back-door chicanery.

Daniel Day-Lewis

myleftfootBack to Daniel Day Lewis.  Had first seen him in My Left Foot (seen at right), as most of us did, and where he got his first Academy Award.  (If you haven’t seen it, you must!)  And Gangs of New York (Bill “The Butcher” Cutting) and There Will Be Blood (Academy Award) when they came out.  Don’t remember him at all from A Room with a View.

I’ve been getting a lot of his movies from the library.   Recently got The Boxer (goes way too slowly – don’t bother), The Crucible (fabulous acting!), In the Name of the Father (great!), and Last of the Mohicans, which I thought was pretty good but that Major Duncan Heyward is the only soldier to survive an ambush was way contrived.  (Guess I should take it up with the author.)

1http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalakshetra
2http://www.newslivetv.com/regional/bodo-tribals-protest-at-delhi-demand-judicial-probe-into-kokrajhar-deport-illegal-bangladeshi-settlers.html
3http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/violence-in-assam-has-deep-roots/
4http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/inside.asp?ID=621&subjectID=5
5http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_%282012_film%29
6http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=433×615838
7http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Todd_Lincoln

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3 Responses to “India”

  1. Nancy Says:

    JGL has made a number of movies of different genres; most recently Looper and Premium Rush plus The Dark Knight Rises.
    My all time fave- 10 Things I Really Hate About You. He is a fabulous young actor; been following his career since he was a teen.

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