An artist’s rendering of insurrectionists marching on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Original illustration by Palash Das. © 2021 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

The Question

Beginning at noon on January 6, 2021, Donald Trump — at the time the U.S. President — was joined by others on the stage as he incited a rally of his supporters by telling them that the elections had been rigged and that they had to walk to the U.S. Capitol and “fight like hell” to “take back our country” with strength, not weakness. At least five people died as a direct result of this insurrection. The felony-murder doctrine is applied across the U.S. to convict individuals of murder, if they were associated with the commission of a felony, such…

Mahatma Gandhi leading protestors in 1930 to free India from British rule and their many oppressive laws, including the Salt Tax. Inset: Mahatma Gandhi imprisoned for sedition by the British invaders of the South Asian subcontinent (India). Original illustration by Palash Das. © 2021 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

The Question

The week of February 8, 2021, marked the beginning of the second impeachment trial — a political, not a judicial, trial — of Donald Trump, former President of the United States, after the House of Representatives impeached him based on a single article of impeachment, namely the ‘incitement of insurrection’. Trump’s lawyers filed an answer brief to the article of impeachment arguing that “[l]ike all Americans, the 45th President is protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution.” On February 13, 2021, in a vote of 43 (against conviction) to 57 (for conviction), the senate voted to acquit Trump…

Photo modified from a still of Season 2 Episode 6 (S2E6) of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, showing the actors Kapil Talwalkar and John Clarence Stewart. © 2021 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

When I happened upon NBC’s Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (ZEP) on my streaming service a month ago, I immediately fell in love.

A Powerful Combination: Emotion, Humor, and Music!

This television show has so much I find engaging: raw emotion, humor, and music, all blended together in an intelligent script. As a singer myself, I simply love how cleverly and seamlessly ‘heart songs’ — people expressing their innermost feelings through songs only Zoey, the main character, can hear — are woven into separate but converging plots. And as an Indian woman author interested in the various aspects of the human condition, I’m definitely a fan of how, in…

World map showing a selection of diverse ecological ethnicities. Original illustration by Palash Das and Maya Svevak. © 2021 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

The Question

In North America, especially in the United States, human beings are often color-coded as being either white, brown, or black. This type of color-coding is done for a variety of reasons, including for attribution of political and/or socio-economic characteristics. Sometimes the three-fold classification based on skin color is further reduced to a binary one, with white people on one side and all ‘people of color’ lumped together on the other side. Is color-coding human beings meaningful and/or effective?

The Facts

Let’s explore the scientific basis of skin color, i.e., pigmentation of the skin.

Epidermal melanin is important in the regulation of skin…

Original artwork by Maya Svevak and Palash Das. © 2021 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

There are myriad ways of being in and interacting with the world. All of these fall on a spectrum. Where you, I, or anyone else fall on this spectrum is determined at least in part by the radius of what I am calling our KARMALENS. Pronounced how it sounds — like an amalgam of the words Karma and lens — the term KARMALENS refers to an analysis of the world through the lens of Karma, i.e., of Cause and Effect.

How it works

Several thousands of years ago, scientists from the Indian subcontinent discovered the principle of KARMA, namely the principle of Cause…

The four paths of sanātana dharma (also known as Hinduism), based on the four interpretations of the concept of Shakti, the female creative power (middle). Clockwise from top left: the path of knowledge (gyāna yoga), the path of meditation (dhyāna yoga), the path of devotion (bhakti yoga), and the path of action (karma yoga). Original illustrations by Amalesh Das. © 2020 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

It is that time of year again, when over a billion people across the world celebrate Shakti, the female creative power. It is a time of phenomenal creativity, when building-sized temples, called pandals, are erected from sustainable, recycled, and biodegradable materials in almost every neighborhood in Kolkata, and many other villages, towns, and cities throughout India and the world. For each pandal, its architectural structure and decorations within, including the larger-than-life clay manifestations of Shakti, are crafted by talented artists, artisans, sculptors, weavers, and potters. Each pandal is unique, a marvel of human ingenuity and a work of loving dedication…

Set in the background of a women’s rights protest in the United States in the 1970s, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is shown from left to right: in the 1970s when she argued seminal cases on gender equality in front of the US Supreme Court, in 2016 at the Temple Emanu-El Skirball Center in New York City, and after being appointed to the US Supreme Court as only the second female Justice. Original illustrations by Palash Das. © 2020 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

United States of America Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away on September 18th, 2020, leaving behind a phenomenal legacy of progress toward equal rights for women and minorities. However, the vacancy she leaves behind in the Supreme Court may hastily be filled in such a manner that notable strides made toward social and environmental justice in the past 60 years are soon reversed. This probable outcome is of consequence to all of the world’s peoples and ecosystems, simply because the actions of the US have far-reaching effects on various aspects of life globally, including freedom, distribution of wealth…

Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall from the 2017 movie Marshall with the fictitious capital of Wakanda from the 2018 movie Black Panther in the background. Original illustration by Amalesh Das. © 2020 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

I learned of Chadwick Boseman’s death on August 28, 2020, just a few days after Jacob Blake, a black man, was shot in the back seven times by police as his three young children watched from inside their car in a small town in Wisconsin. I am not black. I do not have the experience of having ancestors that were enslaved and brutalized by white people and so cannot coopt ‘black lives matter.’ But I am a brown woman, whose country was invaded and pillaged by white men not too long ago. And so I too grieve. I grieve for…

“…I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ʺmake no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,ʺ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Thomas Jefferson, Letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, January 1st, 1802.

Original illustration by Amalesh Das. © 2020 Svevak LLC. All rights reserved.

Recently I watched with avid interest the 2020 national political conventions of both the Republican Party and the Democratic Party to formalize the nomination of each of their presidential and vice-presidential candidates for the upcoming federal election of the United States. …

Maya Svevak

Maya Svevak is an activist, artist, and author. She writes both non-fiction and fiction and is the creator of the universe of Svevi Avatar.

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