LiveWire Turns One: Here are 12 Articles You Liked the Most

In the past year, we’ve had stories from different corners of the country, talking about a wide array of important issues. There were satirical pieces, critical commentaries and poems of hope and despair touching upon issues like misogyny in popular culture, intolerant college administrations, divisive politics and almost everything else under the sun.

As LiveWire celebrates its first anniversary, here is a list of 12 such pieces which you liked the most, plus some staff favourites.

  1. Once Upon a Time in a Land That Was Secular In this personal piece, a Kerala-based author using the pseudonym ‘The Last Caveman’ recounts the summers of 1992 – the year of the Babri Masjid demolition – where one of his friends justified the unfortunate incident which took many lives. He then moves on to 2018’s vicious WhatsApp conversations to show how bigotry has now become a deep-rooted phenomenon.
  2. Uri’ Trailer: Brace Yourselves, More Toxic Hyper-Nationalism is ComingElections are around the corner and so are films promoting hyper-nationalist sentiments. The trailer of the film Uri: The Surgical Strike was no different. In this review, Tanya Jha unveils the high-decibel tone of the trailer which also not-so-subtly praises the ruling regime. The piece also highlights how capitalists are encashing upon nationalist fervour to mint money while further aggravating already-existing tensions.
  3. An Open Letter To Virat KohliLast year, in November, the Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli landed into controversy for asking people to leave India if they like cricketers from other countries. In an open letter, Vivashwan Singh from Bangalore spoke about the cricketer’s hypocrisy for keeping mum when he was should’ve used his popularity to condemn the ever-rising culture of hate and violence. The author unabashedly takes a jibe at him for posing for pictures with a prime minister who follows abusive trolls on Twitter.
  4. HNLU Student Protests: 
    • Hidayatullah National Law University’s Students are Rising Up Against Years of Faculty OppressionIn this piece, Naini Swami, a student at Hidayatullah National Law University, details how the appointment of Sukhpal Singh as vice chancellor in 2011 precipitated a steep decline in the university’s standards, and how women experienced the worst of these changes. Fast-forward to 2018, the student community mounted a full-fledged protest against the administration’s lies, corruption, sexism and discrimination after Chhattisgarh high court ordered Singh’s removal as vice chancellor.
    • College: Where Men Get Freedom and Women Get Curfews: Zeroing in on HNLU’s discriminatory curfew rules for women, Aabha Dixit, another student at the university, recounts how, after a week of protesting, women’s hostel in-timings were extended from 10:30 pm to 3 am. Victorious, but knowing the struggle rages on for countless others, she writes her article under the stars of a midnight sky and expresses her solidarity with the movement in other academic institutions around the country – hoping they will yield similar results.
  5. Hardik Pandya’s Misogyny on ‘Koffee With Karan’ is Yet Another Reminder of Our Culture of SilenceFor the first time, we saw Indian cricketers on one of the country’s most popular chat show Koffee With Karan. However, the conversation didn’t make sense at all. In this commentary, Tanya Jha brings forth the cricketer’s misogyny detailing how he used women as punchlines and trophies. The piece also shows how the other guest, K.L. Rahul, and the host Karan Johar were complicit by giggling at his sexist remarks.

    Image credit: Youtube screenshot

  6. For My Avva, Gauri LankeshIf she had lived, she would have been 57 today. Well-known journalist Gauri Lankesh, editor of the weekly Lankesh Patrike magazine, was shot dead at her residence in Bengaluru late on September 5, 2017. Two years later, on January 29, 2019, Esha Lankesh wrote a posthumous letter in remembrance of her aunt on the occasion of her 57th birth anniversary.
  7. Dear Amitabh Bachchan, It’s Time to Be the Change You Want to See in OthersIn 2018, the #MeToo movement finally came to India when film actress Tanushree Dutta outed Nana Patekar for sexually harassing her on film sets years ago. However, Bollywood’s most popular actor, Amitabh Bachchan, didn’t say a word and instead trivialised the incident by saying, “Neither am I Dutta, nor Patekar.” In this open letter, PhD candidate Vikas Singh Sai appealed to the actor to “be the change” he endorses in his films (Pink) and other places.
  8. Un-Dank Memes by Un-Woke Teens: India’s Offensive Meme ProblemIn this piece, 18-year-old law student Akshita Sharma critiques the culture of ‘un-dank’ memes which deride the “anti-merit” (as they say) reservation system, perpetuate caste-based stereotypes and suggest that women only belong in the kitchen. The author argues how the humorous and satirical memes need to target the oppressor and not the oppressed.
  9. The Yankee Twang Versus the Queen’s English: Accents abroad are hopelessly entangled in politics and class. In her article, Aparna Shankar, a student at Princeton University, talks about the tendency to read ‘ego’ and Western ambitions in the Yankee (American) twang but be blind to the same in the idea of a ‘Queen’s English’ 70 years post-independence. Speaking from personal experience, Shankar draws attention to how being outside India made her paranoid of her own ‘abroadisms’, lending a measured quality to her otherwise cheerful and haphazard speech.
  10. What Does a Guy Have to Do to Find a Flat? Be Married:  Jithin Emmanuel Jacob describes a conversation between his other two flatmates and ever-spying members of the housing association who decide to throw the three bachelors out for having girls over at their flats at odd hours. The piece shows how adults the in neighbourhood repeatedly infringe upon the privacy of residents who are not married.
  11. The Indian Version of ‘This Is America’ That We Have Been Waiting for Is HereAmerican rapper Childish Gambino’s song This is America spoke about being black in the US and the rising gun violence in the country. Rahul Samal re-wrote the lyrics to describe the mob-violence, crony-capitalism, and sexism prevalent in India. In Samal’s composition, ‘This is New India’ replaces This is America.
  12. To Hell With the Men Attacking Rajshri Deshpande For Showing Her Breasts on ‘Sacred Games’The Netflix web-series Sacred Games was one of the major highlights of 2018. However, many raised objections against the intimate scenes of Rajashree Deshpande’s character. In response, researcher Mitali Agrawal dissects our culture of patriarchy that detests women who take control of their body and exercise their agency.