The Casteless Collective

The Casteless Collective is a Chennai based Tamil indie band. The band currently consists of 19 members including Tenma (leader and music producer), singers Muthu, Bala Chandar,  Isaivani,  Arivu and Chellamuthu, Dharani (Dholak), Sarath (Satti), Gautham (Katta molam), Nandan (Parai and Tavil), Manu Krishnan (drums) and Sahib Singh (guitar).  

Formed in the year 2017, the band was started by Pa. Ranjith and Tamil Indie Musician and Composer, Tenma, founder of Madras Records. The band’s name originated from the phrase ‘Jaathi Illadha Tamizhargal’ which was coined by the 19th century anti caste activist C. Iyothee Thass. He was a social activist who urged Dalits across Tamil Nadu to register themselves as Tamils without caste in the first Census in 1871. The band makes music to protest and rebel against the age-old caste-based discrimination and violence. Their songs are political which speaks against the inequalities of the caste system and oppression of women and minorities in Tamil Nadu.  

The leader and music producer of the band, Tenma was preparing to put together a group of indie musical artists for the Madras Indie Collective in 2017 when he got the idea from Pa. Ranjith, of training Gaana musicians for it. They prepared auditions for over 150 applicants and looked for artists who had a socio-political motivation in their lives as well as musical strengths. A mixture of Gaana, hip hop, rap and folk musicians were brought together. About 19 singers were selected for the initial ensemble.    

It has broken caste boundaries by engaging with the current social and political issues in the state. Instead of making music for entertainment alone the band has tried to eradicate discrimination through its music. Their main intention is “to create political awareness through music and art” because “art which makes us question discomfort is beautiful”. The band is a collective without caste which aims to eradicate caste based and religious discrimination through music.  

Jai Bhim Anthem (2018), Quota (2018), Magizhchi (2018), Vada Chennai (2018), Thalaiva (2019), Dabba Dabba (2019) are popular singles of the band.

The Casteless Collective had their very first concert on January 2018 in Chennai. It was their first performance in front of more than 4000 people. The 19 members including one female artist, all dressed in identical grey suits gave a wonderful performance. Their cries of “Jai Bhim!” were greeted with thunderous applause. They had not expected such a big enthusiastic crowd and it was a very emotional experience for all of them. This was also because most of the artists came from small backgrounds and they had mostly performed in one or two funeral processions. The instrumentalists who played katte and chatti were really overwhelmed as these instruments were restricted to only funeral events. 

It was not a concert that had people head-banging or jumping to the beat of drums. Instead, the audience listened to the songs with rapt attention. They broke into applause and shouts of agreement whenever the lyrics hit home. The Bhim Rap, a song on BR Ambedkar’s life and work, was met with a very enthusiastic reception. So was the Rap song that condemned honour killings in the name of caste and caste pride which was a major social evil in Tamil Nadu. Another popular track, Madrasin Magizhchi, spoke about the small joys of living in Madras, despite being poor.  

They say that people often ask them about the song lyrics and the stories about their experiences, so a discussion has begun. The band believes that social problems cannot be solved unless it is spoken about. Without discussions around caste-based discrimination one cannot attempt to eradicate the social evil. Their songs have already fulfilled their aim and created a stir among people. We hope that the band achieves greater heights and reaches out to everyone out there who has been a victim of caste discrimination and that it becomes successful in eradicating the malpractices of the system. 

Cyber Security – Nobody is Safe.

The need for Cyber security in the new world

I for one, got sceptical about the internet, when I was signing up for a newsletter for some website. The ones that end up being unread in the spam folder of the inbox.

As I was about to type in my details, an option popped up on my device, offering to type out the my details for me. The moment I clicked ‘ok’, it entered all my details, which even I, myself got wrong at times. Alarmed was not the word for it.

Being a law student, a paper in the current semester brought me up close with the nuances of cyber security and its relevance in this new age world.

Prior to that, me, being a victim of a cyber attack, never crossed my mind. It felt as the fort of the ‘big body corporates’ and hackers as we’ve seen in the movies.

The scene starting of with a shot of the outside of a high rise building and then the scene progressing into the interiors filled with people in expensive suits hustling and bustling. Then we were shown a guy Sitting in a shady corner, mostly, in a far away place, with blood shot eyes behind the specs, with the hoody on and staring onto the screen with the concentration of a heart surgeon conducting bypass surgery, not concerned about the realities of the world.

The power of what all a person can accomplish with a gadget connected to the internet is old news for us, but the intensity of the troubles are worth pondering about.

The need for educating people of all walks of life about the dangers of the internet and how to steer clear is indeed the need of the hour.

If systems of international banks can be compromised over the web, why not a person like you and me, who are unaware of the pool we’ve our legs dipped in.

Surely, it has made our lives easier, closer and more colourful, but don’t forget that there are two sides to every coin. We go about living our lives believing that the ‘common man’ will never be vulnerable to cyber attacks.

In the quest of becoming more social, we often get carried away on a few things. A couple of decades back and even now at times, the society as a whole gets sceptical of exposing sensitive datas like addresses, contact details and other stuff to a complete stranger.

But now, to fit in, we’ve all details from our DOB to mail ids and everything and anything on the web for people to access. What if it goes into the hands of the wrong kind?

Completely forgetting that everything about them is just a few taps away on some site.

Most importantly I believe conversations in the past were restricted due to the fear of getting punched in the face. But now the power of the internet has made anybody a ‘somebody’, a ‘keyboard warrior’; people, hiding away behind a screen, doing anything, feeling assured against not getting punched, at all.

Sure, we can justify all these, that we’ve progressed and become free thinking but people are still people.

We were taught not to step into the cars of a stranger but now we book and share cabs with people who we’ve never met.

Whole of my life I was asked to live by the rules and I believe that’s the best way to live. When all my peers started downloading movies and songs, from random sites, I’ve never felt the need; because I’ve always been certain that there’s nothing like a ‘free lunch’ in this world. People play it smart, by downloading pirated stuff, believing that they pulled a fast one, unaware of the threats posed by such sites.

Cyber security experts have time and again conferred that such articles are often kept out as baits for snatching the weak ones. You may never know when your luck runs out.

Everything comes with a cost.

The very websites that may host such pirated content may contain malware that might end up compromising your system.

Taking everything from basic details to bank info along with it. Enough to make you lose everything you own to your name in a matter of seconds. Losing everything you’ve had to strive for your entire life, gone, in just a matter of minutes, to download a movie or two, is something we can surely live without, right?

Most websites know us like the back of their hands with the algorithms they use. Next time when you see an ad for something you were searching for a little while back, coincidence, I think not.

Digital footprint is something that’s not talked about. It’s the track of what all we’ve done across the Internet. The track would itself suffice to tell a tale or two about us.

They say energy can’t be destroyed, same applies to data, once created it can never be destroyed. Every single time we send a doc or text to the Recycle bin and get it erased from there, we feel we’ve got it out of the system. But apparently what happens is that the data gets taken out from the view but will continue to be stored on the hard disk. The tech is so advanced that, nowadays anyone can buy a software and retrieve all kinds of data from your device.

The vastness of the internet has made us ever so negligent of what all we do. .

Every time we hear somebody being a victim of a cyber attack, we judge them, that very moment, that ‘they should’ve been more careful.’ But how safe do you think you’re? It might be somebody today, and you tomorrow. Think twice before your next type/leap.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

As the internet gets more and more entangled with our day to day lives, going the extra mile to ensure that no data is unnecessarily shared can make all the difference in all the world.

The internet is nothing more than a large network connecting and abridging the gaps between networks. It grants us access to everything and anything.

But always remember a bridge has two ends, what may connect us to everything, connects us to them too.

Beauty

One of the most unsparing habits of the human being is judging a person on the virtue of their looks that includes: complexion shade, height, figure, hair, etc. This ritual has been in the culture of all the individuals around the globe and has been followed through ages. Kings prefer attractive women; his ministry will be filled with people shorter than him. In present, it is an outrageous idea of degrading individuals on their looks. A person facing it may not be able to walk out from self-guilt. The idea of beauty is sprayed on the public by fraudulent cosmetics companies. We can take an example of Kylie Jenner who is a media personality and owns Kylie Cosmetics. She has prompted the idea to her customers that they can get looks like her if they use products from her brand. A tall man will always be held to be a leader, or an attractive woman will always be soft-spoken. We need to change this thinking pattern otherwise a lot of high potential souls will go wasted. In this 21century, spoke persons do outline the issue in a vilified manner. In the end, I would like to quote “No beauty shines brighter than a good heart”, by anonymous.One of the most unsparing habits of the human being is judging a person on the virtue of their looks that includes: complexion shade, height, figure, hair, etc. This ritual has been in the culture of all the individuals around the globe and has been followed through ages. Kings prefer attractive women; his ministry will be filled with people shorter than him. In present, it is an outrageous idea of degrading individuals on their looks. A person facing it may not be able to walk out from self-guilt. The idea of beauty is sprayed on the public by fraudulent cosmetics companies. We can take an example of Kylie Jenner who is a media personality and owns Kylie Cosmetics. She has prompted the idea to her customers that they can get looks like her if they use products from her brand. A tall man will always be held to be a leader, or an attractive woman will always be soft-spoken. We need to change this thinking pattern otherwise a lot of high potential souls will go wasted. In this 21century, spoke persons do outline the issue in a vilified manner. In the end, I would like to quote “No beauty shines brighter than a good heart”, by anonymous.

AI

Artificial Intelligence(AI) refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to mimic human actions and thinking. It is an umbrella term that includes any machine that can be programmed to exhibit human traits like learning and problem-solving. The ideal characteristics of AI are its ability to rationalize and take actions to achieve a specified goal. When hearing AI, people often visualize robots, all thanks to big-budget Hollywood movies and novels like “The Terminator” etc. People often think that AI is a distant future, but they don’t acknowledge how AI has already crept in our daily life. AI can do a variety of subtle tasks like creating a playlist based on your taste in a music app, defeating humans in complex games like Deep Blue, The DeepMind system, self-driving cars, etc.. AI is based on the principle that human intelligence can be programmed such that it is comprehensible to machines. The goals of Artificial intelligence include learning, reasoning, and perception to accomplish tasks that require human intelligence. AI is categorized into three categories, ANI, AGI, AGI. ANI, Artificial Narrow Intelligence embodies a system designed to carry a narrow range of abilities like facial recognition, play chess, provide assistance like SIRI, Google Assitant. AGI, Artificial general intelligence is at par with human intelligence., it can think, understand, and act in a way that is indistinguishable from that of humans. Today’s AI is speculated to be decades away from the AGI. ASI, Artificial superintelligence is hypothetical which would surpass human intelligence and capabilities, and would be self-aware. People often see AI as next big thing in technology but they don’t realize how AI has gotten knitted into our lives. We now rely on AI more than ever. Whether it be asking Siri to ask for directions, ask Alexa to switch on a light, or just listening on Spotify which creates a playlist based on our taste. Many more applications are being devised like transportation, manufacturing units, healthcare, and education. Tesla is making breakthrough discoveries in the field of AI, like self-driving cars, automated manufacturing. AI is being used in journalism too, Bloomberg used cyborg tech to make quick sense of convoluted financial reports. AI is also helping in medical services too, helping to diagnose diseases more accurately than ever, speeding up drug discovery. With so many benefits of AI, many advocate about it and even say that only luddites are worried about safety of AI but it is not so. As said a coin has two sides, thus every pro comes with a con. AI is not benign because it would follow our order and would accomplish the task at any cost without being able to think about the consequences of actions. Humans are affected not only by results but also by the method taken to achieve the result. For e.g. you might ask an AI to eradicate evil, but ultimately it would kill you because humans make errors which may unintentionally cause evil, like in the movie “The Terminator” or you could ask a self-driving car to reach a destination, it would not matter to it if it accomplishes the task by hook or by crook. You could end up and the airport covered in vomit. Although it had accomplished what you asked for, but not what you intended.Thus AI is a risky job, we’ve gotta be more careful with what the experts sitting over there are developing. If the tech could harm even one person, then it won’t be beneficial to humanity no matter how many benefits it might have.