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15th of February 2014



If the Conducter is Dead, the Orchestra Stops Playing
Dr. Samiran Nundy is a gastrointestinal surgeon and Chairman at the Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Organ Transplantation at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi. He was a member of the committee for the Transplantation of Human Organs Bill of 1992 which put the brain-death criteria into effect. His clinical and research interests are the management of complicated diseases of the liver, bowel and pancreas as well as in the quality of Indian medical research and publications. He was founding editor of The National Medical Journal of India and Tropical Gastroenterology.


The Art of a Pious Death The Self-Conscious Practice of Sallekhana and Santhara
Dr. Shugan Jain is the director of the International School for Jain Studies. After working for 33 years as an IT consultant and traveling all over the world, he returned to New Delhi, his birth place, and dedicated his life exclusively to Jain studies, practice and teaching university scholars from North America and Europe. Dr. Shugan Jain is associated with a number of interfaith groups to promote religious harmony, peace and development, as well as educational institutions and social organizations like the Leprosy Council of India. Like all adherents of Jainism he is a believer in Sallekhana.


The Clinical Definition of Death
Dr. Ambarish Satwik is a New Delhi-based vascular surgeon at the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and a writer. His debut work of fiction, ‘Perineum: Nether Parts of the Empire’ was published in 2007. His polemical commentaries on medico-sexual matters appear regularly in various newspapers and magazines. He is currently collaborating with artists to produce a collection of illustrated essays.


From Death to Dreaming and Awaking
Prof. Susan Visvanathan is Chairperson of The Centre For The Study of Social Systems, School of Social Science at Jawarhlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She authored ‘Phosphorus and Stone’, published in 2007, which handles death and resurrection of Christ, and the agony of separation in a fictional form. She also wrote ‘The Children of Nature’ (2010), a work discussing Ramana Maharshi’s life and legacy while engaging with his death due to painful cancer.


Reruns of The Dead: Between Recycling and Re-Absorption On Cremation Cultures


Sabko ghoom phir ke yahin aana hai - Everyone, through their Merry Rounds and Repeated Journeys Have to Eventually Come Here
Dr. Ravi Nandan Singh teaches sociology at Hindu College, University of Delhi. His PhD thesis on ‘Representations of Death in Benaras’ takes a sociological approach to studying the ‘dead’, seeing them as an object of enquiry rather than the phenomena of death only. The locations of the ‘dead’ are the hospital morgue, the electric crematorium, the manual cremation grounds, the Ganges, and Aghorashram. His recent research, entitled ‘Ethnography of the Crematoria’, explored the ‘newly dead’ at the Danish crematorium in Aarhus within an initiative to “re-circulate the heat generated during cremation for civil use”.


Passive Euthanasia: The Patient's Point-of-View
Pinki Virani is a national award-winning author and activist. Passive Euthanasia is now law in India thanks to a historic Supreme Court of India judgment in 2011. This followed Pinki Virani’s public interest litigation as “next friend” in the Aruna Shanbaug case in 2009. A landmark law, it places the power of choice in the hands of the individual, over government, medical or religious control which sees all suffering as “destiny”. This best-selling author’s books are ‘Deaf Heaven’, ‘Bitter Chocolate’, ‘Once Was Bombay’, and ‘Aruna’s Story’.


Queer Suicides
Lesley Esteves is an Indian queer activist and travel journalist. Over the past two decades the rising Indian queer movement has witnessed queer people of varied backgrounds, ranging across class, geography, gender and sexuality in India, see death as the only escape from the relentless family, private and state violence, from unrelenting discrimination, from economic marginalization, from forced marriage. She fears that the recent pronouncement by the highest court of the land declaring Section 377 IPC constitutional, though benign, for it is hardly ever used against a “minuscule minority”, and their “so-called rights”, it will nonetheless push more vulnerable, stigmatized queers over a precipice.


Chamunda and The Heroic Death
Prof. Naman Ahuja is Associate Professor of Ancient Indian Art and Architecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi where his research and graduate teaching focus on Indian iconography, sculpture, temple architecture and Sultanate period painting. Some of his publications include: ‘The Making of the Modern Indian Artist-Craftsman: Devi Prasad’ (2011); ‘The Body in Indian Art and Thought’ (2013), his latest work, accompanies a major exhibition with the same title in Brussels for the Europalia and will open in Delhi in March 2014.


The Apparatives of Disappearances in Kashmir
Sanjay Kak is a political filmmaker and occasional writer for the magazine Tehelka whose recent work includes the documentary ‘Jashn-e-Azadi – How we celebrate Freedom’ (2007) about the conflict in Kashmir. He is the editor of the anthology ‘Until My Freedom Has Come – The New Intifada in Kashmir’, which was published in 2011.


Mothers, Blood and Lust
Prof. Nivedita Menon, professor at Centre for Comparative Politics and Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, is the author of ‘Seeing Like a Feminist’ (2012). An active commentator on contemporary issues in newspapers and on the blog kafila.org, she has translated fiction and non-fiction from Hindi and Malayalam into English, and received the AK Ramanujan Award for translation awarded by Katha. She has been active with non-funded, non-party citizens’ forums in Delhi on issues of secularism, workers’ and women’s rights, sexuality, and opposition to nuclear weapons.


The Story of the Cancer Cell as Conquering Revolutionist
Dr. Ellora Sen is a scientist at the National Brain Research Centre, Manesar, Haryana, where she researches on cellular signaling pathways. Cell growth and survival are regulated by complex cellular signaling pathways that can be disrupted to cause cancer. She is also interested in philosophy and wrote the essay ‘The Philosophical Quest of a Cancer Cell: Redefining Existentialism’.


Dying without Being Killed - Lives of Prisoners Sentenced to Death in India
Prof. Anup Surendranath specialises in constitutional law and human rights with a particular focus on equality. He is an Assistant Professor of Law at the National Law University, New Delhi, and Director of the Death Penalty Research Project. As a part of this Project, he and his team of researchers have undertaken India's first ever empirical research efforts in this field, conducting interviews with almost all of the 500 prisoners sentenced to death in India along with their families and trial court lawyers.


Death is not enough
Prof. Amitesh Grover is a performance maker, inter-media artist and game designer. His works have been shown in 11 countries and he has won numerous awards and artist residencies. He often develops his work in and through collaboration. He is an Assistant Professor at the National School of Drama in New Delhi. His current research explores the narratives of Oppari women in Tamil Nadu, who learn and sustain the tradition of mourning death for other families through the performance of songs, expressing sadness and crying.


It is Not Me Who Dies, It Is The World Around Me
Sopan Joshi is a reporter, writer and editor. He has covered agriculture, science and the environment among other subjects. He has examined and written about India’s agrarian crisis, reflected starkly in thousands of suicides by indebted farmers. He is the author of a forthcoming book on sanitation.


Physical Immortality - Sri Aurobindo and After
Prof. Makarand Paranjape is a fiction writer, poet and professor at the Language Department at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His recent works include the scholarly monograph ‘Making India: Colonialism, National Culture, and the Afterlife of Indian English Authority’ (2013), and a novel ‘Body Offering’ (2013). He is currently organizing an international conference entitled ‘Beyond ‘Man’: Monsters, Mutants, and Lonely Machines?’ in February 2014.


Death – An Intrigue of Philosophy
Prof. Saitya Brata Das, a faculty member at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, has a consummate passion for philosophy. To conceive a philosophy, not divorced from life, but rather nourished by it, he draws inspirations from diverse philosophical currents; the phenomenology of Emmanuel Lévinas, the religious thoughts of Søren Kierkegaard, German Idealist thinking of Schelling and above all the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato. He addresses the question of death and time, of law and justice, and the place of religion in today’s world. He is the author of ‘The Promise of Time: Towards a Phenomenology of Promise’ (2011), ‘The Wounded World: Essays on Ethics and Politics’ (2013).


The Missing Image
R.V. Ramani is a filmmaker based in Chennai, who originally graduated in physics from Mumbai University. He has worked as a photojournalist in Mumbai and later specialized in motion picture photography. In his practice as a filmmaker he developed his own style in making independent documentaries. In 2004 he was engulfed and washed away in the tsunami while filming it. Seven years later he turned that experience into a documentary film, conceived as a homage to his camera which was destroyed during the shoot. “When this camera died in the tsunami, in the process of recording it – and without finally resulting in an image – for me, that was a huge issue, opening up multiple possibilities.”


Mujhe chal basne ke lakshan dikh jaate hain - I Can See the Signs of Death
Sunita was trained by a delivery nurse in Dineshpur, Uttrakhand, after which she moved to New Delhi. She has been employed by private agencies that have sent her to work as an end care specialist, especially for the elderly. In her 34 years as a caretaker she has encountered many different kinds of death. She herself has undergone surgery for a cancerous tumor.


Travelling the In-Between - Why I Rather Gave My Dead Father a Bicycle Than a Horse on His Journey
Dr. Trinath Mishra joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1965, serving until 2002. He was the police chief of the Kumbh Mela in 1977, the supervisor in Allahabad in 1989 and the police chief of Benares in 1981-1983. He is the author of ‘The Hindu Book of the Dead’, published in 2010. This book critically discusses the concepts, beliefs and traditions found in Hindu mythology, as well as the secular classical works about death and its meanings.

Private Consultation:

Half an hour sessions with Inder Salim and Q
Only with reservation or pre-booking
Rs. 10 only

Check in for an exclusive one-on-one consultation about how you would like to spend eternity. Regardless of whether or not you believe that physical death is only a prelude to the afterlife, this consultation aims to help you to design your own special private entrance ticket into eternity. Q, an intriguing experimental filmmaker from Kolkata, known for his daring take on love, desire and life, and Inder Salim, New Delhi’s popular performance artist, will offer these exclusive sessions.
Make your reservations on the 15th of February, under the Peepal Tree besides the Mati Ghar, IGNCA. The check-in is open from 3:00 p.m. on the day.

Inder Salim is a performance artist practicing more than 15 years in India and abroad during protests, events and festivals. He founded the Harkat School-Unschool of Performance art, a nine-month long engagement with Sarai Reader 09 at Devi Art Foundation. In 2010 he organized ‘Art Karavan International’, a two and a half month long journey through nine cities in the north of India along with 30 national and international participants to conduct an open ended interactive action oriented processes. Presently he is an IFA grantee.

Q (Qaushiq Mukherjee)
is an independent filmmaker. His first feature was ‘Gandu’ (2010), an indie cult phenomenon. In 2009 he directed ‘Love in India’, an international documentary about sexual identity and the gap between genders, for which he won an Indian National Award; ‘Tasher Desh’ (The Land of Cards, 2013), a surreal adaptation of a fantasy play by Rabindranath Tagore, and ‘Sari’, a quirky documentary on the ancient Indian fabric. Q is also a singer and rapper, front lining the Bengali post-o punk rap band ‘Gandu Circus’. He started a progressive arts platform called OVERDOSE.

The entire content of Last Minute Exercise (Delhi, February 2014) will be made available (free and open access) by the end of March, 2014 at www.blackmarket-archive.com