Skip to content

Archive for

Global Dialogues 2014 Contest for Young People

What is Global Dialogues? 

Established in 1997, Global Dialogues combines the creative genius of young people, the magic of cinema, and the power of the internet to cultivate positive social change.  The project helps communities better understand the obstacles and struggles faced by their youth, and in this way, helps to foster overall empathy, compassion, and unity within the entire community.

What’s the Global Dialogues contest all about?
Global Dialogues invites you to come up with an original idea for a short film about HIV/AIDS, sexuality, violence against women, or alcohol, drugs & sex. The best ideas will be turned into films by some of world’s greatest directors and young cinema talents. The Global Dialogues films, each proudly displaying the young authors’ names, are viewed by millions of people every year on TV and on the Internet. You can see the films they’ve produced so far at

Who can participate?
The Global Dialogues contest is open to all young people worldwide who will be under the age of 25 on 31 March 2014.

(If you are older than that, you may participate by working in a team led by someone who is under 25.)

When’s the deadline?
All entries must be submitted by midnight GMT on 31 March 2014.

What are the contest prizes?
The contest entries will be examined by a series of juries. There will be 20 winners of the international contest. Each of these winners or winning teams will receive a cash prize of US$125, as well as the possibility of having a film based on their idea made and shown on TV and the Web. In addition, the top 3 winners or winning teams will receive special cash prizes:

Grand Prize: US$2,500
Second Place: US$1,250
Third Place: US$625

Winners of the international contest will receive their prizes on or before 31 July 2014 at the address they give on their Participant Questionnaire. Only one prize will be given to each winning team.

How to participate?

Topics: Your idea can be about any topic related to HIV/AIDS, sexuality, violence against women, or alcohol, drugs & sex. On the next page, you’ll find a list of suggested topics that you can use if you wish.

Story form and language: It’s up to you to decide what form your idea will take. Most participants in Global Dialogues contests write short stories, but you can also send in a video, a theatre play, a comic strip, a song, a poem.… Anything is possible as long as the text is in one of the official Global Dialogues languages: English, French, German, Hindi, Bahasa Indonesia, Kiswahili, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian or Spanish. Length. If you write a story, it may be up to 10 pages long (maximum). Recorded songs or videos may not be longer than 10 minutes.

Resources: As you create your idea, please talk to organisations or individuals in your community who can provide you with good information on the contest issues, or visit credible sources of information online. You can take part alone or in a team.

For more info, get in touch with the Global Dialogues team on TwitterFacebook or on their Official Website.

Of Matrimonia

It shall be high wedding season in North America shortly, but throughout South Asia, weddings are celebrated year-round with much pomp, even if the circumstances are mundane and replayed ad nauseum for both participants and attendees. Recently, Tasveer Journal featured the work of Mahesh Shantaram, a self-described “cubicle-bot” who left the Beltways of Washington, D.C. to study photography in Paris and later, work as a wedding photographer in India. Through the course of his work, Shantaram recognized a full-fledged allegory for the tenuous and unfolding middle-classes of the subcontinent.

Everything that’s great about our country and everything that’s wrong with it can be summarised by a single wedding. Today, I’m able to express that more sincerely through this long-term project that is evolving into a form of visual poetry rather than a hard-hitting critical essay. Matrimania is the ‘dark’ narrative from a world that I’m very familiar with. It helps me balance the ‘sweet’ narrative that I construct in service of clients. That balance is necessary to preserve one’s view of life.

To read more about Shantaram’s work, as well as view a few images from Matrimonia (which will soon be developed into a documentary), click here.

Aamer Hussein on the Short Story and Why We Need to Talk About Them

Short stories and novels have traditionally always been set again one another as if one is better than the other; as in  all comparisons, this is far from the truth. It is also incorrect to think of short stories as mere ‘chapters’ of a novel. Short stories are complete worlds unto themselves.  The death knell of the short story, once heard at least fifty times a day, seems to have quelled over the past many years, I believe for two reasons 1) the rise of MFA programs where mostly short stories are work-shopped and so writers graduate with collections they seek to publish and 2) the increasing frequency with which short story collections are  short listed, and win, major awards.  I’m always trying to get people to read short stories especially those who say they have no time for fiction:  five, ten, fifteen pages– yes, you do have time!  A wonderful short story writer, the Pakistani Aamer Hussein talks about short stories and shares insights from writers Ben Okri and Hanan al-Shaykh and many more.

Stories are regularly taught to budding writers as the core element of their craft. But (Lydia) Davis and a handful of others, mostly in the U.S., are among the minority who remain devoted to practicing the form. Gone are the times when a Borges, or a Carver or a Paley ignored the novel with panache. Today it is often belated recognition with a literary prize, or a death, that sends us off to our shelves in search of forgotten volumes of short fiction. read rest here

Katha 2014 Short Story Competition

Deadline: March 30th, 2014 / $ 7 per submission

Katha Fiction Contest 2014


First Prize: $300 • Second Prize: $200 • Third Prize: $100 • Two Honorable Mentions


1. One submission per individual; $7 per submission. (Paid by check or paypal)

2. Submissions should consist of one short story or extract from a longer work up to 3,000 words in length.

3. Entries should be unpublished works and should not have won previous awards or contests.All entrants will be notified of the results by e-mail by June 30,2014. Winning entries will be considered forpublication in upcoming issues of India Currents and Khabar.

E-MAIL YOUR STORY as a Word File Attachment to:

In the Word file, include only the title and the story itself.

How To Pay:

A Paypal account is required for online payment.

Log onto to submit payment.

If you do not wish to pay by Paypal, you may send a personal check, cashier’s check or money order.

Please make checks payable to India Currents with Katha 2014 in the memo line and mail to:1885 Lundy Avenue, #220, San Jose, CA 95131.

How To Submit:

Write this statement: Here is my submission for Katha: Desi Fiction Contest 2014.

Title of Story:? Word Count:? Name:? Address:? Email Address:? Payment Method: (Check or Paypal)? Payment Transaction ID: (Check Number and Date or Paypal transaction code)

Brief Biographical Statement:(Include publication or award history if applicable)I warrant that I am the sole author of, and have exclusive rights to the enclosed material. I hereby release fullrights for the enclosed material or any segment or portion thereof to Katha and its sponsors, and authorizeKatha to use my name and work in any publicity or promotions for Katha. I also understand that if my storyis not shortlisted for publication by the Kathasponsors, the rights will revert back to me on March 30, 2015.—(your full name)


Submissions not following the guidelines will be automatically disqualified from the contest.

Disqualified Entrants will not be notified.


India Currents is a leading Indian-American monthly with features,reviews, opinion, analysis, and a detailed calendar of Indian events. For more information:(408) 324-0488

Khabar is the largest Indian American publication in the Southeast. For more information: (770) 451-7666 mailto:451-7666

Haunted Embers and Flames

In Feroz Rather’s short story “The Last Candle,” the reader is plunged knee-deep into effusive prose from a narrator-protagonist who may or may not be dying. A meditation on the past and present of Kashmir, “The Last Candle” is also a powerful testament to the stories we tell to sustain our selves in the midst of unmitigated acts of violence. Framed by the darkened bedroom of an unnamed present, we step back into a pristine valley of schooldays, scalding hot stoves, and morning rituals bound to be broken up by everyday terrorism. Soldiers ransack a shop in broad daylight, beating a suspect and leaving spectators in a weary panic. Any saving grace from these regular horrors must be found in the pages of past glories, and in epics yet to be fulfilled:

We stood looking into each other’s eyes, suspended in an ether of delicious unease. Then she lowered her gaze. The tips of the leaves crackled and began to catch fire near our feet. She ran back to the house and emerged with a book: Habbah’s Love Songs for Yusuf. I spread open both my hands. She placed it on them. On homemade paper, the songs were written in a flowing calligraphic flourish with a reed pen. The book, as I learnt decades later, was compiled by her great-grandfather a year before he was killed in the last half of the nineteenth century while leaving a mutiny against begaer, against the disgrace and misery of forced labour, against the soldiers of the despotic Dogra king.

You can read the rest of Rather’s story here.

Literary Heroines Who Have Influenced Bangalore Writers

To celebrate  2014 International Women’s Day, The Hindu, asked women writers from Bangalore who their literary inspirations were. It was interesting to see that out of the six writers not a SINGLE writer mentions a heroine of South Asian origin while only two writers mention  colored heroines, Shikha Malaviya credits Janie from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God  and Anita Nair credits O’Lan from Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. Instead we have the usual influences: Emma Bovary, many Jane Austen characters, Scarlett O’ Hara. This of course implies that the reading material many of us, including myself, were exposed to while growing up was limited to British and American writers, and  that, for those of us who were most comfortable reading in English there were, at the time, few South Asian novels/stories either translated into English or written in English. Times have, of course, thankfully changed!! And hopefully newer writers will state not only the Western staples but also influences from within their own cultures.

Writers interviewed: Anita Nair, Shikha Malaviya, Andaleeb Wajeed, Anjum Hassan, Shashi Deshpande, Shinie Antony.

Hermione Granger to Annabeth Chase, Katnis Everdeen and Daenerys Targaryen may be the stars in today’s bestsellers, but names like Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Darcy ( Pride and Prejudice ) or Emma , Scarlett O’Hara ( Gone With The Wind ) or Emma Bovary ( Madame Bovary ) have endured over the years for their strength of character, whether as heroines or anti-heroines. Literature has always brought forth admirable women and, some for their beauty, some for their wit, some for their strength, some for the lessons they taught through their mistakes. But most of all, they are remembered for being who they were, and their writers, become as much heroes of their stories, remaining in the hearts of their readers.

read rest here

Writing and Rebellion

What happens when a writer’s large, looming figure overshadows her work, when her personality and celebrity take precedence over her art? This is the kind of question a detractor would ask when talking about Arundhati Roy, Booker-prize winning author of The God of Small ThingsThe End of Imagination, and many other essays and articles. Reporter Siddhartha Deb writes about Roy in the upcoming edition of The New York Times Sunday Magazine, profiling her over the course of a few weeks. Roy is due to come out with a new novel soon, but in the time between 1997 (when The God of Small Things was published) and the present, she has continued to write extensively both in India and elsewhere about myriad causes, including: Indian nationalism; the occupation of Kashmir; the injustice of the caste system; and the rights of various indigenous groups as they struggle to maintain their sovereignty. Roy describes the decisions that went into becoming a political writer:

“There is nothing in The God of Small Things that is at odds with what I went on to write politically over 15 years,” Roy said. . . . . It is true that her novel also explored questions of social justice. But without the armature of character and plot, her essays seemed didactic — or just plain wrong — to her detractors, easy stabs at an India full of energy and purpose . . .  But for Roy, remaining on the sidelines was never an option. “If I had not said anything about the nuclear tests, it would have been as if I was celebrating it,” Roy said. “I was on the covers of all these magazines all the time. Not saying anything became as political as saying something.”

Read the rest of Deb’s engaging profile of Roy here.

Submission Call for Issue # 3

Jaggery is open for submissions for its summer issue, deadline April 15th.   Please submit stories, poetry, articles, reviews, and art you might want to send us.
“Jaggery, a DesiLit arts and literature journal, connects South Asian diasporic writers and homeland writers; we also welcome non-South Asians with a deep and thoughtful connection to South Asian countries, who bring their own intersecting perspectives to the conversation. (By South Asia we mean Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, The Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.)
We publish art, essays, fiction, poetry, reviews, and an advice column. We prefer original, previously unpublished submissions; we solicit reprints only in exceptional cases. We accept simultaneous submissions, provided you let us know immediately if your submission is being published elsewhere. We’re purchasing ongoing worldwide digital rights, for use in web and possible downloaded forms (ebook, PDF, etc.). Six months after publication, you may request to have your work removed from our online archive. We follow a blind submission review process and pay $25 for prose/poetry/art.”