Saturday, October 31, 2009


Three tragic events complete 25 years -- Indira Gandhi's assassination, the consequent Sikh massacre, and the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

25 years on, the Sikh community is still in search of justice. I am posting a small note Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) have sent which I think captures the horror of 25 years. The CJP is also fighting a long legal battle to get justice for the 2002 Gujarat riot victims. If India's secular party led by a Sikh Prime Minister failed to dispense justice to a votebank it nurtures, what to expect from BJP's Narendra Modi...


CJP Sabrang Commemorate Years of Sikh Massacre, Demand Justice for the Victims
Twenty-five years ago Delhi, India’s capital, burned and no Sikh was safe. Eminent writer Khushwant Singh sought shelter at the Swedish embassy in Delhi, Justice SS Chadha of the Delhi high court had to move to the high court complex. His residence was not safe. Even General JS Arora, the hero of the Bangladesh war, had to flee for safety.
It is a shocking tale of impunity and non-deliverance of justice that there has been no punishment of the guilty. When the Indian Parliament met in 1985, it condemned the tragic and condemnable assassination of the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. But alas it has to pass a resolution condemning the massacre.
Though the official death toll in Delhi was 2,733, victims’ lawyers submitted a list to the officially appointed Ranganath Misra Commission recording that 3,870 Sikh persons had been killed. Of the 26 persons arrested on November 1 and 2 by the police, all were Sikhs!! Only nine cases have led to convictions so far. In all, 20 of the accused have been convicted in 25 years, a conviction rate of less than one per cent.
The culture of impunity against politicians of the ruling party and policemen displayed during the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre has perpetrated a culture of impunity that was evident in the post-Babri Masjid violence in Bombay and again in Gujarat in 2002.

Teesta Setalvad
Javed Anand
M.K. Raina
Rajan Prasad
Ram Rehman
N.K. Sharma
P.K. Shukla

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Awesome Ansel Adams

Photographer Ansel Adams dedicated all his life to landscape photography, and captured some amazing pictures. Largely he worked in black and white, and was sceptical of colour photography which arrived later.
Time magazine has put up a nice gallery on his colour work captured in a new book. Do check Ansel's pictures

Time magazine also put greying Ansel on its cover in 1979. You can see
Time Cover

The magazine paid its tribute to the master in an obit in 1984

To see Adam's black and white work, do check this slideslow

To know more about how and what shaped Adam's love for landscape photography, read his biography

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Media sell out during polls

Once you have a Medianet, then you can only have comparisons with it.

While eyebrows were raised about Medianet, and advertising masquerading as news, the role media has been played during the just-concluded assembly elections is currently being debated in Mumbai.
Marathi newspaper Loksatta wrote about the phenomenon of newspapers and tv channels rolling out "packages" on the candidates in the fray, and openly doling out the advertorial space masquerading as `news' to anybody who paid. Loksatta carried scathing articles on this including a piece by its editor Komar Ketkar last week.

Senior journalist P Sainath has also raised the issue on the Opinion page of the Hindu in an article titled: The medium, message and the money

In rural areas, election is the ultimate opportunity for smaller newspapers to make money. In Nandgaon constituency in Nasik where Chhagan Bhujbal's son Pankaj contested and won, an estimated 200 newspapers exist according to a local media watcher. In some Edit page articles, I found even the mobile number of the writer was published. Perhaps for instant access to those who want to plug.

Some of the news items also had a striking similarity with each other. They were reports about campaign meetings, and after two or three paras, the newsitem listed a long list of names who were present at the meeting. "When you see the list, you know its paid," remarked someone who pointed the trend to me.

Commenting on the state of affairs, a former journalist remarked that Medianet was much better compared to this!

Three poems

Three of my favourite poems by Kamala Das...The cover of her collection, The Old Playhouse and Other Poems, is beautiful, but my "picture upload" option is not working and hence I can't upload it. But it can be seen with a simple google search.

The Looking Glass
Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as
Woman. Stand nude before the glass with him
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier. Admit your
Admiration. Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under
The shower, the shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he
Urinates. All the fond details that make
Him male and your only man. Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of
Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood, and all your
Endless female hungers. Oh yes, getting
A man to love is easy, but living
Without him afterwards may have to be
Faced. A living without life when you move
Around, meeting strangers, with your eyes that
Gave up their search, with ears that hear only
His last voice calling out your name and your
Body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.


Until I found you,
I wrote verse, drew pictures,
And, went out with friends
For walks…
Now that I love you,
Curled like an old mongrel
My life lies, content,
In you…


The Freaks

He talks, turning a sun stained
Cheek to me, his mouth, a dark
Cavern, where stalacities of
Uneven teeth gleam, his right
Hand on my knee, while our minds
Are willed to race towards love;
But they only wander, tripping
Idly over puddles of
Desire……can this man with
Nimble finger-tips unleash
Nothing more alive than the
Skin’s lazy hungers? Who can
Help us who have lived so long
And have failed in love? The heart,
An empty cistern, waiting
Through long hours, fills itself
With coiling snakes of silence……
I am a freak. It’s only
To save my face, I flaunt, at
Times, a grand, flamboyant lust

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The tunnels of Gaza Strip

A few years ago, there was a stunning picture that won the World Press Photo of the Year, and captured the Israel-Palestine conflict and the mutual mistrust in one single frozen moment. The picture showed an Israeli armed soldier, and a Palestinian man facing each other eye-ball to eye-ball, defying each other with extreme hatred in their eyes.

Similarly stunning was a documentary on how Reuters Israel-Palestine photo bureau works. The bureau had Israeli and Palestinian photographers capturing both the regions of the divide under the leadership of Reinhard Krause. Whatever their individual political opinions, they covered the conflict bravely and with great objectivity. "Calling the Shots" is the name of the docu. Incidentally, Krause is now in India as the India head of Reuters pictures.

Time magazine's new photogallery throws another perspective on this bloody conflict that has been going on for so long. It shows how Palestinians survive the Israeli blockade of goods, and find innovative and desperate ways to smuggle in goods from Egypt through dozens of manually dug
tunnels in Gaza strip.

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to change the statusquo?

Another election over in Maharashtra. People voted to power a government which cared little about the farmers dying in the cotton belt of Vidarbha, most of its representatives were in their Malabar Hill bungalows the night Mumbaikars battled the unprecedented cloudburst of July 2005, who did little before and after the July 11 2006 serial train blasts, and the Nov 26 terror attacks.
When the farmer suicides peaked in Vidarbha,Prime Minister Manmohan Singh travelled to the region guided by senior journalist P Sainath, who had been consistently writing about the issue when much of the English media wasn't. Singh announced a Rs 3750 crore package, but didn't give in to the primary demands of the cotton farmers - a complete loan waiver, better minimum support price for cotton. From Aug 2006, the suicides increased to over a 100 per month.
The demand for a complete loan waiver was rejected by the government. Nothing happened on the increasing the MSP for cotton - assured price by the government for cotton price. 2007 passed. With Lok Sabha elections due in May 2009, the government got into action, and inked the Rs 70,000 crore loan waiver in March 2008 budget. The package was implemented from July 2008. I am not denying that the waiver helped farmers, but the timing of the waiver showed that it was aimed more at getting the UPA voted back to power. In May 2009, UPA formed the government on its own.
Much has been written about the state government's role in the other three emergencies the city and its people faced. As the Oct assembly elections began nearing, the Maharashtra government got into an overdrive. It partially released the findings of the Ram Pradhan Committee probe report into Nov 26 terror attacks. It doled out sops worth Rs 20,000 crores in a series of cabinet meetings. It showcased the Bandra-Worli Sea Link Project and touted it as its achievements. That it was in the making for years and it cost almost four times of Rs 400 crore originally allocated didn't matter.
In 2003, the government promised it would set up new power projects and by 2009, it would make Maharashtra loadshedding free. In 2009 manifesto, it makes the same promise but extends the date to 2012! Large rural hinterlands get power switch offs upto 12 hours. Children there have to study during the day or in candle light at night. Even Thane on the outskirts of Mumbai has four hours of loadshedding. The autos, which run in CNG, have to queue up for upto three to four hours to fill up the gas because the petrol pumps can't function due to loadshedding.
People are just fed up of voting. A close friend's father, who has been a regular voter, and a loyal Shiv Sena voter, skipped voting this time. He was unhappy with the whole process of electoral politics which, he feels, is an eyewash. He said politicians are just bothered about the power and wealth the profession brings, and has no connection whatsoever with their primary role as people's representatives who should work for the people. Quoting Greek philosopher Polybius who wrote that monarchy turns into tyranny soon, and democracy grows into a mob rule.
I found another example of a young 22 year old voter who, equally disenchanted with the sham, atually went to the booth to cast a protest vote. But, the poll officer in charge himself did not know the "protest vote" process, and drove him away.
What is the way out of this? If you are not voting, then can you really complain that the system does not change? What is the use of such complaining? And if we all don't speak and actually give this proces the time and energy it demands from us, then how will change happen? A government that did not perform well gets voted in for a third term is really disturbing.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Online campaign against Shivaji Statue

Usually Bollywood is quick to bow down to the political leaders/parties because they don't want to take panga, stand up for their rights.

But, music director Vishal Dadlani has decided to take on the government for trying to erect a Rs 350 crore statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji at Marine Drive.
The statue would be taller than New York's Statue of Liberty, and be created on an island opposite the three gymkahanas - Police, Willingdon CLub, Parsi Gymkhana on the Marine Drive waterfront.

Dadlani says he means no disrepsect for the Maratha warrior, but strongly opposes the politics of statues and wastage of public money on such monuments which serve a specific votebank, not the people. He says Rs 350 crore could be utilised for lots of other essential things like improving Mumbai's infrastructure, educating children, or any other worthy cause.

Dadlani launched Small after the Nov 26 terror attacks, and filed a PIL in the Bombay High COurt. He plans to do the same against the Shivaji statue, and is currently collecting signatures on this portal. He says he will file a PIL once 25,000 people sign and oppose the project.

Do visit the website and have your say. So far, 19555 people have signed in.

You could also read my story

A blog of letters

A visit to the Blogs of Note always reveals an interesting blog. Thats where I discovered the French Toast Girl listed in the favourite websites list. Another interesting one, Letters of Note, sources interesting letters written by people - famous and not so famous and compiles them in different categories.
Beethoven's letter to his brothers is on the homepage. Also click on categories. I clicked on love, and found a love letter by a mother to her new born child. Another by painter Frida Kahlo to her husband Diego Rivera, and Winston Churchill writing to his wife Clementine.

Do check the blog

Obama's other awards

Obama's Nobel prize has become a joke ofcourse. Time Magazine has put together a hilarious gallery photoshopping the US President at other possible award ceremonies that he could attend if the world adopted the Nobel's standards for winning.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

When Dear Octavio came to Mumbai

Found this fascinating excerpt written by Octavio Paz on It is part of "In Light of India", a collection of essays Paz wrote during his travels in India. He visits The Gateway of India, and The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai and meets WH Auden's brother there

Read on:

We arrived in Bombay on an early morning in November 1951. I remember the intensity of the light despite the early hour, and my impatience at the sluggishness with which the boat crossed the quiet bay. An enormous mass of liquid mercury, barely undulating; vague hills in the distance; flocks of birds; a pale sky and scraps of pink clouds. As the boat moved forward, the excitement of the passengers grew. Little by little the white-and-blue architecture of the city sprouted up, a stream of smoke from a chimney, the ocher and green stains of a distant garden. An arch of stone appeared, planted on a dock and crowned with four little towers in the shape of pine trees. Someone leaning on the railing beside me exclaimed, "The Gateway of India!" He was an Englishman, a geologist bound for Calcutta. We had met two days before, and I had discovered that he was W. H. Auden's brother. He explained that the arch was a monument erected to commemorate the visit of King George V and his wife, Queen Mary, in 1911. It seemed to me a fantasy version of the Roman arches; later I learned it was inspired by an architectural style that had flourished in Gujarat, an Indian state, in the sixteenth century. Behind the monument, floating in the warm air, was the silhouette of the Taj Mahal Hotel, an enormous cake, a delirium of the fin-de-siècle Orient fallen like a gigantic bubble, not of soap but of stone, on Bombay's lap. I rubbed my eyes: was the hotel getting closer or farther away? Seeing my surprise, Auden explained to me that the hotel's strange appearance was due to a mistake: the builders could not read the plans that the architect had sent from Paris, and they built it backward, its front facing the city, its back turned to the sea. The mistake seemed to me a deliberate one that revealed an unconscious negation of Europe and the desire to confine the building forever in India. A symbolic gesture, much like that of Cortés burning the boats so that his men could not leave. How often have we experienced similar temptations?

Once on land, surrounded by crowds shouting at us in English and various native languages, we walked fifty meters along the filthy dock and entered the ramshackle customs building, an enormous shed. The heat was unbearable and the chaos indescribable. I found, not easily, my few pieces of luggage, and subjected myself to a tedious interrogation by a customs official. Free at last, I left the building and found myself on the street, in the middle of an uproar of porters, guides, and drivers. I managed to find a taxi, and it took me on a crazed drive to my hotel, the Taj Mahal.

If this book were a memoir and not an essay, I would devote pages to that hotel. It is real and chimerical, ostentatious and comfortable, vulgar and sublime. It is the English dream of India at the beginning of the century, an India populated by dark men with pointed mustaches and scimitars at their waists, by women with amber-colored skin, hair and eyebrows as black as crows' wings, and the huge eyes of lionesses in heat. Its elaborately ornamented archways, its unexpected nooks, its patios, terraces, and gardens are both enchanting and dizzying. It is a literary architecture, a serialized novel. Its passageways are the corridors of a lavish, sinister, and endless dream. A setting for a sentimental tale or a chronicle of depravity. But that Taj Mahal no longer exists: it has been modernized and degraded, as though it were a motel for tourists from the Midwest ... A bellboy in a turban and an immaculate white jacket took me to my room. It was tiny but agreeable. I put my things in the closet, bathed quickly, and put on a white shirt. I ran down the stairs and plunged into the streets. There, awaiting me, was an unimagined reality:

waves of heat; huge grey and red buildings, a Victorian London growing among palm trees and banyans like a recurrent nightmare, leprous walls, wide and beautiful avenues, huge unfamiliar trees, stinking alleyways,

torrents of cars, people coming and going, skeletal cows with no owners, beggars, creaking carts drawn by enervated oxen, rivers of bicycles,

a survivor of the British Raj, in a meticulous and threadbare white suit, with a black umbrella,

another beggar, four half-naked would-be saints daubed with paint, red betel stains on the sidewalk,

horn battles between a taxi and a dusty bus, more bicycles, more cows, another half-naked saint,

turning the corner, the apparition of a girl like a half-opened flower,

gusts of stench, decomposing matter, whiffs of pure and fresh perfumes,

stalls selling coconuts and slices of pineapple, ragged vagrants with no job and no luck, a gang of adolescents like an escaping herd of deer,

women in red, blue, yellow, deliriously colored saris, some solar, some nocturnal, dark-haired women with bracelets on their ankles and sandals made not for the burning asphalt but for fields,

public gardens overwhelmed by the heat, monkeys in cornices of the buildings, shit and jasmine, homeless boys,

a banyan, image of the rain as the cactus is the emblem of aridity, and, leaning against a wall, a stone daubed with red paint, at its feet a few faded flowers: the silhouette of the monkey god,

the laughter of a young girl, slender as a lily stalk, a leper sitting under the statue of an eminent Parsi,

in the doorway of a shack, watching everyone with indifference, an old man with a noble face,

a magnificent eucalyptus in the desolation of a garbage dump, an enormous billboard in an empty lot with a picture of a movie star: full moon over the sultan's terrace,

more decrepit walls, whitewashed walls covered with political slogans written in red and black letters I couldn't read,

the gold and black grillwork of a luxurious villa with a contemptuous inscription: EASY MONEY; more grilles even more luxurious, which allowed a glimpse of an exuberant garden; on the door, an inscription in gold on the black marble,

in the violently blue sky, in zigzags or in circles, the flights of seagulls or vultures, crows, crows, crows ...

As night fell, I returned to my hotel, exhausted. I had dinner in my room, but my curiosity was greater than my fatigue: after another bath, I went out again into the city. I found many white bundles lying on the sidewalks: men and women who had no home. I took a taxi and drove through deserted districts and lively neighborhoods, streets animated by the twin fevers of vice and money. I saw monsters and was blinded by flashes of beauty. I strolled through infamous alleyways and stared at the bordellos and little shops: painted prostitutes and transvestites with glass beads and loud skirts. I wandered toward Malabar Hill and its serene gardens. I walked down a quiet street to its end and found a dizzying vision: there, below, the black sea beat against the rocks of the coast and covered them with a rippling shawl of foam. I took another taxi back to my hotel, but I did not go in. The night lured me on, and I decided to take another walk along the great avenue that ran beside the docks. It was a zone of calm. In the sky the stars burned silently. I sat at the foot of a huge tree, a statue of the night, and tried to make an inventory of all I had seen, heard, smelled, and felt: dizziness, horror, stupor, astonishment, joy, enthusiasm, nausea, inescapable attraction. What had attracted me? It was difficult to say: Human kind cannot bear much reality. Yes, the excess of reality had become an unreality, but that unreality had turned suddenly into a balcony from which I peered into -- what? Into that which is beyond and still has no name ...

Translated by Eliot Weinberger


Octavio Paz was friends with Pablo Neruda, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez until they fell apart over their political views.

In 1976, he wrote:
Between what I see and what I say
Between what I say and what I keep silent
Between what I keep silent and what I dream
Between what I dream and what I forget:

Paz came to India in 1951 for the first time, and returned in 1962 as Mexican ambassador to India. In the next six years, Indian history, culture and mythology had a deep impact on him. His concepts, his style changed. "Maithuna" comes from that period where he experimented with spaces, structure of his lines etc, and even wrote poems in shapes of pyramids, hanging words etc.

So here's Maithuna

Translated from the Spanish by Eliot Weinberger

My eyes discover you
and cover you
with a warm rain
of glances
A cage of sounds
to the morning
than your thighs
at night
your laughter
and even more your foliage
your blouse of the moon
as you leap from bed

Sifted light
the singing spiral
reals-in whiteness
planted in a chasm

My day
in your night
Your cry
leaps in pieces
your body
washing under
your bodies
Your body once again

Vertical hour
spins its flashing wheels
Garden of knives
feast of deceit
Through these reverberations
you enter
the river of my hands


Quicker than fever
you swim in the darkness
your shadow clearer
between caresses
your body blacker
You leap
to the bank of the improbable
toboggans of how when because yes
Your laughter burns your clothes
your laughter
wets my forehead my eyes my reasons
Your body burns your shadow
You swing on the trapeze of fear
the terrors of your childhood
watch me
from your cliffhanging eyes
making love
at the cliff
Your body clearer
Your shadow blacker
You laugh over your ashes


Burgandy tongue of the flayed sun
tongue that licks your land of sleepless dunes
hair unpinned
tongue of whips
spoken tongues
unfastened on your back
on your breasts
writing that writes you
with spurred letters
disowns you
with branded signs
dress that undresses you
writing that dresses you in riddles
writing in which I am buried
Hair unpinned
the great night swift over your body
jar of hot wine
on the tablest of the law
howling nude and the silent cloud
cluster of snakes
cluster of grapes
by the cold soles of the moon
rain of hands leaves fingers wind
on your body
on my body on your body
Hair unpinned
foliage of the tree of bones
the tree of aerial roots that drink night from the sun
The tree of flesh The tree of death


Last night
in your bed
we were three:
the moon you & me


I open
the lips of your night
damp hollows

a rush
of unchained water


To sleep to sleep in you
or even better to wake
to open my eyes
at your center
black white black
To be the unsleeping sun
your memory ignites
the memory of me in your memory


And again the sap skywise
(salvia your name
is flame)
of blazing snow)
My tongue
is there
(Your rose
burns through the snow)
(I seal your sex)
from danger drawn

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Manna Dey Poll

Thank you everyone for participating in the second poll on Dadasaheb Phalke award winner Manna Dey's songs. Hope you also hummed some of those golden melodies. That was the idea behind the poll. Because, they don't compose such songs anymore, and very few can match Mannada's versatality in singing them.

Seven people voted in the poll that listed 20 songs. Chalat Musafir Moh Liya Re from Teesri Kasam, Phir Koi Phool Khila from Anubhav, and Aye Meri Zohrajabeen from Waqt got three votes each or 42 per cent of the votes. Tum Bin Jeevan Kaisa Jeevan, Laga Chunari Mein Daag, Phool Gendwa Na Maro, Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala and Tu Pyar Ka Sagar Hain secured two votes each, and Sur Na Saje, Kaun Aya Mere Man Ke Dware, Poochon Na Kaise Maine Rein Bitayi, and Hasne Ki Chaah Ne secured one each.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cannery Row

Like the intro of news reports, the first lines of novels, novellas have always fascinated me. The writer may not have actually spontaneously written them, and may have laboured over them. Nevertheless, what lines...

John Steinbeck wrote a number of very famous novels like Pulitzer winning The Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, but my favourites are his novellas - a form in between a long novel and a short story. Here's how he begins Cannery Row:

"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, 'whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,' by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, 'Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,' and he would have meant the same thing."

Do you remember any other such examples of opening lines?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Poll results

The first poll on the blog was over yesterday. I asked "Which news channel do you find the loudest and hate the most?" Eight people participated in the poll, with an overwhelming 62 per cent or 5 votes going to Times Now, which is the leader among the English news channels. One vote each went to IBN 7, India TV, and CNN IBN.

Talking about Times Now, Shoma Chaudhary, executive editor of Tehelka news magazine, has written an interesting cover story criticising the way the tv channel handled the debate on naxalism. Chaudhari points out that the Centre is planning a major offensive in naxal-dominated states in Nov called Operation Green Hunt, and rues the lack of sensible debate on the issue in civil society. "The discourse on naxals is marked by propaganda on one side and infantile ignorance and simple-mindedness on the other," she writes. She points out that the creation of pro-government Salwa Judum battling naxalites has only driven tribals back into the arms of naxals. One activist suggests that instead of a military offensive, there is a need to send health workers and school teachers under protection to ensure that development penetrates deeper. Do read.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A journey into visual history

The World Press Photo competition is arguably the world's biggest news photography contest receiving over 95,000 images each year, and some of the world's leading photojournalists come together to judge that one image which gets honoured with the World Press Photo of the Year prize.

That the competition is based in The Netherlands is not a surprise. The Dutch have a great tradition of supporting culturally valuable things, going by the way the Vincent Van Gogh and Rijks Museums (which houses the Dutch school of painting led by Rembrandt among others) have been built and managed in Amsterdam.

Indian photjournalists participate each year in large numbers, but India has won the coveted World Press Photo of the Year only twice in the 54 year-old history of the competition. Both for iconic images of tragedy. Delhi-based photojournalist Pablo Bartholomew won it the first time for his picture of a half-buried face of a Bhopal Gas Tragedy child victim in 1984. India won it again in 2005, which was the 50th year of WPP incidentially, for Arko Datta's picture of a woman mourning the loss of her kin in the Tsunami that hit South India.

Today onwards, WPP Foundation has kicked off a new initiative -- an online archive of some 10,000 contest winning pictures that provide a visual record of more than 50 year of human history. The archive will provide each year's prize winners in chronological order since 1955!

The first winner of the competition, started nationally by Dutch union of photjournalists before it went international, was a picture of motor-cross rider tumbling down his motorbike at a competition in 1955.

You can see this one ofcourse, and scores of other iconic images that have won the prizes. For instance, that unforgettable image of a naked girl running away from a napalm attack in Vietnam which arguably changed American public's perspective of the Vietnam war, and forced the government to stop the war. Others including the self-immolation of a Buddhist monk, a defiant Chinese protestor braving the tanks at Tiananmen Square, and James Nachetwey's scar-faced face of the Rwanda ethnic violence.

You could go on this visual history journey