Sayan Bhattacharya

Sayan Bhattacharya

Sayan Bhattacharya likes to believe that he writes for pleasure but pursuing a PhD means that pleasure is always difficult if not impossible. He can be praised, criticized or consoled at

  • This photograph is symbolic of the subject matter of the article. It shows a somewhat dispiriting aerial view of Kolkata city at dusk time. The photograph has been taken from the rooftop of a city high rise. The right hand side of the photograph has the setting sun, and the sky is filled with an overpowering haze of dust. The sprawling city below is a mix of buildings, some of them high-rises in the horizon, and some trees as well, but there is little to cheer about the scene. In the forefront, from the point where the photograph was shot, is a rooftop security rail made of a steel netlike structure that cuts through the left and lower parts of the photograph. The security rail seems to jag through the photograph, creating an impression of dissonance. Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
    Vartanama Apr '21

    Against gratitude

    By Sayan Bhattacharya

    Sayan Bhattacharya questions the normalization of inequity all around us – something we must not give up on if humanity has to continue breathing

  • This photograph is representative of some of the thoughts expressed in the article around the futility of the approach of liberal academics and activists in responding to current socio-political challenges. It shows a round dinner table inside what appears to be a dimly lit dining room in a convention centre. The table is set out for a meal with wine glasses, knives, forks and napkins on the table, and 10 chairs around it. The table also has a jug of water, salt and pepper containers, and a couple of lit candles. To the right of the table is a French window that shows some plants and daylight outside. The window has ceiling high curtains on one side. Right behind the table is a large rectangular mirror with an ornate frame mounted on the wall. The mirror reflects a corner table lamp, chandelier and other elements of the dining room. It also reflects the author who is clicking the photograph on his mobile phone camera. There is no other human visible in the photograph. In all likelihood, the dining room will soon witness participants in a conference indulging in animated conversations over a lavish meal. In time, the room will empty out and fall silent, the conference too will draw to a close with several resolutions and promises, but little may change in relation to the problems deliberated on during the conference – all quite symbolic of the phenomenon of arguments and counter-arguments inside an echo chamber, which has little or no impact on the world outside. Photo credit: Sayan Bhattacharya
    Vartanama Aug '19

    Comfort of echoes in a chamber

    By Sayan Bhattacharya

    Sayan Bhattacharya points at the inefficacy of queer activisms in India in the face of larger socio-political challenges

  • The photograph is an image from the 2009 film ‘Eden Is West’ (‘Eden à l'ouest’) directed by Greek-French filmmaker Costa Gavras. It is a long shot of a medium-sized motorized boat full of people standing or sitting on the edges, presumably undocumented immigrants. As the boat crosses a calm sea, it leaves behind a wake in the water. In the background the sky is aglow with the sun setting behind distant mountains. The entire scene is one of melancholy. The film ‘Eden Is West’ is a drama centred around the undocumented immigrants living in the European Union. The image has been used in a representational sense here. Photo courtesy: Google Images

    No Eden anywhere?

    By Sayan Bhattacharya

    When I was asked to write the 'Varta' editorial for this month, I was in a fix. How does one write about yet another year ending and another beginning?

  • This artwork shows the poster of the 4th birthday event of ‘Varta’ webzine to be held on August 5, 2017 at the Alliance Francaise du Bengale’s premises on Park Street in Kolkata. The foundation day falls on August 1. The poster headline says: “Queer Lives of the Media: A Panel Discussion”. Next to it is the graphic of a handheld loudspeaker. The text of the poster says: “How has the media helped the queer movements in India? Or has it created more barriers for them? What if it has done both? Why did queer movements feel the urge to create their own media content? What are those histories? Come and explore these questions and more with a panel discussion and also celebrate ‘Varta’ webzine’s 4th birthday! Varta is a forum for publishing and advocacy work around gender and sexuality, in particular queer issues. Panellists: Soumitra Das, senior journalist who writes on culture and heritage; Dr. Subhagata Ghosh, founding member of Sappho and Sappho for Equality, and Editor, ‘Swakanthe’ (In Her Own Voice); Sukhdeep Singh, Editor, ‘Gaylaxy Magazine’; Sanjoy Kr. Gayen, Editor, ‘Dream News’; and Pawan Dhall, founding member and Editor, ‘Varta’. Date: August 5, 2017. Time: 7:30 pm onwards. Venue: Alliance Francaise du Bengale, Park Mansion, 57A, Kolkata 700 016. Light refreshments will be served post discussion.” The visual in the background over which the text is printed shows a newspaper clipping from an article titled ‘Sad to Be Gay’ published in ‘The Statesman’ in the early 1990s. A sketch of two women holding hands and sitting close to each other can be seen in the article, but the text is faded out. The article was sourced from the Counsel Club Archives maintained by Varta Trust. At the bottom of the poster are the logos of the event organizers – Alliance Francaise du Bengale, Varta Trust, Kinky Collective and Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival. Artwork credit: Alliance Francaise du Bengale.
    Happenings Aug '17

    ‘Queer Lives of the Media: A Panel Discussion’

    By Sayan Bhattacharya

    Sayan Bhattacharya will anchor Varta webzine’s fourth birthday event at Alliance Francaise du Bengale on August 5, 2017, 7.30 pm onwards Varta webzine completes four years on August 1. The path was...

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