Author Archives: anant

  1. Portrait Studio Pictures by Tejinder Singh

    Leave a Comment
  2. Plaster on the wound

    Leave a Comment

    Eco systems of good health, air, earth , community , security , peace – while this is what life on the earth seeks ,  within the infrastructure and walls of city- urban life , welfare activity seems infatuated , a growing awareness  that all we have is a bandage that is trying to  heal a big infected wound. A wound that festers from being blocked from consciousness, kept at a distance from nature, forced to become technology-dependent, locked into stressful work roles and insecure spaces – at home and in public spaces.

    Seven artists art installations conceptualised around wellbeing or the lack of it within the urban sphere of city life – ranging from environmental pollution, lack of play areas for the child , discomfort and insecurity of women in public spaces , lack of basic infrastructure like clean toilets  on street level and urging to go back to Earth the natural way. Curated by Avani Rao Gandra, of Icon Art Gallery.


    ‘Who Raised The Stink ‘
    Art installation by Avani  Rao Gandra.

    Material: Tar, dead fish, plastic and wood
    A poetic dig on man bleeding the Earth. As we have one life so do we have one Earth, the stink of pollution we raise is subdued within the luster of plastic cities, the wind of the dead animals and fallen trees are anointed and plushed in glass facades. The buzz of city life silences the sounds of nature,the floating fish that die of toxins, the song of a hundred year old tree felled in seconds, haemorrhaging the Earth devoid consciousness nor conscience.


    “You or me”
    Art Installation by Sweta Chandra

    Our lives are open books of personal choices we make in mundane life – In what we want to perceive or see. My art installation revolves around these simple choice we make in life.

    I’ve always found it interesting to explore and play with space, illusion and our existence. “You or me “-  Metamorphic representation of placing the mirror or reflector to discontinue the tree reveals the constant change in focus we make to see the world around us. Either the priority is self “ME”  or the rest as “YOU”.

    I would like to extend the experience  with a quote of Rumi – “As you live deeper in the heart , the mirror gets clearer and cleaner”.


    Go Back To Earth
    Art Installation by Farzona Khan

    Material : Wood and Clay
    We are made of Earth and go back to Earth someday. The ladder represents  man’s aspiration’s centered around career, wealth, status. The steps that bring him stress, trauma and anxiety and ill health.  The work raises issues of the purpose of living, the earthern toys and vessels  seek a visit to prehistoric art and ancient ways of life and tradition bound living close to nature .


    Tree Of Life
    Art Installation by Archana Rajguru Biswas.

    Material : Wool and cloth
    With this work I want to show care for the nature. In the process of urbanization trees are being cut to enhance human life. But we are forgetting that nature is the dominating force; in that force human is just a speck  and  in our utter greed we are forgetting to take care of the nature.

    With the yellow and red thread warping around the tree I want to symbolize care, a tender hug to protect the gift of nature to mankind.

    Requesting visitors to hug the tree.


    The Eye Is On You
    Art installation by Sai Sheela

    Medium: Cloth and gloves
    The art work speaks about the how women are harassed in public and private spaces. The male gaze that discomforts a woman, her choice of attire and identity in her  body language. I hope to show the pain and uneasiness of women through these pieces of clothing  that  reflected visually by cigarette burned, torn and burnt clothes and retaining a certain sensitivity through flowers and gloves.


    MMS( Multimedia messaging service)
    Art Installation by P.Ravikumar

    Medium: Wood and mirrors
    The Public Toilet installed has alert mechanisms that sounds out a warning. The ugliness in using advanced technology to shoot videos discreetly or under pressure tactics and body shaming women through videos and MMS speaks of increasing insecurity for women in urban spaces. The installation hopes to be aware and to sensitize these issues .


    Seal  – Conceal
    Art Installation by Pavan  Kumar .D

    Material : Newsprint
    My concerns have always revolved around social issues and the immediate surroundings.

    Seal- conceal-is an installation which tries to put forward the changes in urban life due to technology and life style. The constant displacement of open land and encroachment have deprived the children of their childhood games and all the physical activities. Confining them to concrete four walls. I would conclude with a quote “we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”


    Avani Rao Gandra is an old friend of Do Din. Year after year, she brings curated work to display at the venue. Please come and enjoy.

  3. Identity in belonging and in movement

    Leave a Comment

    In the second Do Din – 2014, we organized our first workshop on politics and young people. The idea was to explore how in the span of one generation, the political idiom that inspires and mobilizes people appears to have shifted from equality – samanatha to freedom – azadi. We tried to trace the connecting threads between equality and freedom. We tried to see how both ideas need to be moved from the particular individual contexts to the broader politics. From Rameeza Bee in March 1978 in Hyderabad to Nirbhaya in December 2012 in Delhi.

    Since then, student protests across campuses in the wake of Rohith Vemula’s suicide in at the beginning of 2016, centre-staged ‘identity’ as a locus of politics in India like never before. What exactly is identity and how it is political are no longer objects of enquiry for privileged academics. They are questions that are animating new mobilizations, rearticulating collectives and solidarities.

    Gauhar Raza

    Gautam Bhan

    This year, we present two events focused on the question of identity. First, Gautam Bhan, queer activist and urbanist  will do a brief exploratory talk on identity and belonging. Second, Gauhar Raza, poet, scientist and filmmaker will lead a workshop to explore how different kinds of identities become politically salient at different points of time in history. Recognizing that all identities have two aspects – inclusive and exclusive, the workshop participants will be reflecting on how identities get constructed in mobilization opening up multiple possibilities for rearticulation and solidarity building. Please look up the schedule for the timings and join us.

  4. Health, medicine and the city @ Do Din 2016

    Leave a Comment

    Cities have historically been centres of advanced medical care. One of the first establishments set up in Hyderabad when it was founded four centuries ago was Dar Ul Shifa – the gateway to health and wellbeing. And the origins of townplanning as professional practice are deeply rooted in the medical and public health practices.

    Darulshifa, the oldest healing centre in Hyderabad (Image from Wikicommons)

    As part of our work on urban poverty, one of the things we have been concerned about is how households cope with illness – whether one time catastrophic illness which can often throw families into long time debt traps or persistent, niggling ailments which lead to lower energy levels, intra-household conflicts and depreciated earnings.Public infrastructure for primary and secondary healthcare has pretty much disappeared and the general urban environment is saturated with a variety of health hazards. In these circumstances, local community resources to create knowledge about health and wellbeing is critical. Recognizing this, at Do Din, we have three events focused entirely on health and the city.

    On December 22nd, a day before Do Din 2016, between 2pm and 5pm, Dr.  Anita Patil, director of PUKAR, Mumbai, will lead a workshop. The workshop will be held on the second floor of Gulshan E Khaleel Complex, the same building where Hyderabad Urban Lab is located. While women active in neighbourhood level communities  will gain in skills and understanding the workshop is also open to others interested in community health issues. Dr Patil brings decades of experience in community health research and training to run a workshop designed to help women learn skills to think about health beyond the personal and household level. In the workshop, the participants will identify health issues that need attention in their own immediate communities and learn skills to carry out research to find remedies.

    On December 23rd, Dr. Anita Patil will also make a presentation on the fabulous work Pukar has been doing in Mumbai in training barefoot researchers with a particular focus on health related issues. She will be sharing her work as a health researcher. This talk will be aimed more specifically towards individuals and organizations interested in community health issues and in democratizing research both from an academic and from practice points of view.

    On December 24th, Dr. Subhadra Jalali, a senior Opthalmic surgeon at LV Prasad Eye Institute will be speaking on vision and the city, with a special focus on infants and vision impairment. Over the past few years, she has been working with focused attention on the challenges of opthalmic care for premature babies. Our decision to bring to Do Din, a speaker from such a specialised field as opthalmic surgery is in large part driven by our realization that the relationship between medical practitioners and patients is one of the least understood in the public sphere. We have been engaged for some time in conversations with doctors on questions relating to how they take complex decisions, how patients and their emotional contexts matter to the process of healing and recovery and the emotional burden that doctors themselves experience in the course of their work. Who can illuminate these aspects of the doctor patient relationship than a dedicated practitioner like Dr. Subhadra Jalali ?

  5. Please do come to Do Din 2016


    How it began:

    In mid 2013, when Hyderabad Urban Lab was a fledgling urban research programme, some of us based in Hyderabad got together to discuss the possibility of organising an urban event that would truly reflect the diversity of life in our cities. The immediate impulse for this came from a vague dissatisfaction with the disconnect between technology and social life. People seemed to equate technology with multi-storeyed buildings with glass and steel facades. In Hyderabad this wafer-thin understanding of technology seemed  to be centred in the Western side of the city – by then known as Cyberabad. Our freewheeling discussions involving artists, activists, hackers, planners and very many people who just preferred to be known by their first names – opened up many questions.

    • What would it be like to bring information technologists face to face with people who work with other kinds of technologies, for instance scrap merchants, masons or cartographers?
    • What would it feel like to scratch the surface of our consciousness and see if there is something like a collective memory in cities – what do we remember about Rameeza Bee, whose fate at the hands of the police in 1978 infuriated everyone in the city to the point of bringing the entire city to a screeching halt? Do we remember of that day in 1970 when everyone in the city seemed to run helter skelter to save themselves from floods that never actually came ?  How did so many people remember exactly what they were doing at the time when the news of Sanjay and Geeta Chopra broke on the airwaves  in Delhi ?  
    • Did Hyderabad actually have a peculiar sense of humour ? What are its linguistic sources ? What sensibilities animated it ? Is there something like a city DNA ?
    • It was in answer to these and other musings that Do Din was born.

    As we tried to address these questions in practice, Do Din began to shape up:

    • To move the fulcrum of technology back into the city, and to make it accessible for different kinds of people from across the city, we sought and found a venue bang in the centre of the city – Vidyaranya High School. 
    • To reach deep into our collective memories, we invited elderly people to tell us stories that we could all relate to.
    • To break the barriers to our imagination of the city as an outside spectacle, we organized walks through neighborhoods along with residents.
    • To mark our acknowledgement of the simultaneity that city is we visualized it as a multiplex event – workshops, round tables, story telling sessions, art installations, photo exhibits all happening simultaneously. Lived experience of Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad came together in many different voices and colours.

    The event created a sense of belonging for many and organizing it again became a responsibility. 

    By the middle of 2014, we began receiving inquiries from people about plans for the Do Din 2014, we realized that we had triggered something in the city’s imagination. Do Din 2014 again brought together a range of urban experiences and renewed our commitments. The year after that we were just not able to pull together the event again, but here we are again at the end of 2016.

    Who is Do Din for ?

    The event itself belongs to the public, to the city although HUL does have certain privileges. Hyderabad Urban Lab feels a strong sense of ownership towards Do Din. But it is not a proprietory ownership. It is the kind that a curator feels towards the assemblage that is put together by the artists. It is the kind that a custodian feels – a matter of trust. For Hyderabad Urban Lab, Do Din is an occasion to renew our faith, reassess ourselves and find new directions in our work even as we recognise our limitations and the constraints we work with.

    What is Do Din 2016 all about ?

    Each Do Din is slightly different from the previous ones. This year, we note that there is an overwhelming sense of exhaustion, weariness, and uneasy watchfulness all around us. As we approach the end of the year, many of us seem to feel that the world in 2017 is going to be significantly different from what it was when we began this year – geo-politically, locally and nationally.  We need to reflect on all this at Do Din. But we want to anchor that reflection in a broader theme of well-being.

    What does it mean to think about well-being – for human life, for nonhuman life when the very conditions and infrastructures that made well-being and collective life possible seem to be wearing thin – coming off at the edges ? How should we think about ourselves ? What moral orientations do we need ? What technologies do we need to create ? What renewed commitments do we need to make to ourselves ?

    What exactly will be happening at Do Din 2016 ?

    We will be posting soon, the contexts in which these questions will be thought through at Do Din this year. Please be there. And of course you will be seeing more art installations curated by Avani Rao Gandra, hearing poetry from Gauhar Raza…