ravi grover ~ political punk activist & writer
He is one of columnist in HeartattaCk, one of my favorite punk hardcore fanzine. i have been thinking of emailing ravi some questions but only recently did i am able to do it. I’m really glades that he finally answer the questions.
He have strong views in certain issues and have been writing for quite some time for punk hardcore/DIY fanzine and alternative Publishing such as Clamor.
sireh// I am a big follower of your writing, especially in HeartattaCk. Which other publications have you write for?
Ravi//i don’t really remember everything I’ve written for because I’ve been writing since 1995. I’d say my more recent articles have been printed in Clamormagazine, an Asian American zine out Univ. of Berkeley called Hardboiled, AsianAmerican Revolutionary Zine, Trinicenter.com, Maximum Rocknroll, and a whole bunch of smaller circulation zines back in the 90’s.
Sireh// What do you think, being a minority in US punk community, in a sense the understanding between different cultures etc.etc?
ravi// The American hc scene is a smaller reflection of “mainstream” US’ attitudes and their perception of cultures – regardless of how many white American punks try to emphasize how “different” they are from the “mainstream.” Several times foreign cultures have been turned into trends in hc, such as the Hare Krishna fad (ripping off Hindu culture from India), the ska/rude boy scene (taking from Caribbean culture), etc. Not to mention when bands use pictures of oppressed 3rd world inhabitants on their covers to sell records and make themselves look political. I think most (not all) US punks are only willing to look at these cultures when it is in the context of music or talked about in a song. There is rarely an effort to actually study these cultures further or to criticize people who turn something cultural into a trend.
Also what I’ve noticed is that American punks will only talk to someone from another culture if that person is directly involved in the punk scene. An example of this is in Profance Existence #38 where a white American columnist states “The fact is that as punks we have more in common with other punk kids in Argentina, South Korea or Norway than we do with mainstream citizens of our own countries.” This statement is sad to me because it shows the attitude of some misguided American punks: they won’t talk to someone who lives in their community because they don’t share similar interests, but they’ll talk to a Korean simply because that person listens to the same music as they do!
sireh// What do you think about the war against terror? Is it a winning battle? I guess not and what do you think the initial reaction from the US public about this. Is it really worth it?
ravi// I think a lot of the US public support the War on Terror only because they are being fed misinformation on a regular basis. For instance a lot of Americans failed to understand why most of the world opposed the War in Iraq. But then when Americans who supported the war were asked their reasons for backing an attack on Iraq, a lot of them said things like “Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11.” We all know al-Qaida was behind the attacks but somehow the enemy was switched from bin Laden to Hussein. That’s directly because of the Bush administration distorting the information it was giving to the public.
The War on Terror can only be won in the long term through international cooperation and bettering the living conditions for people around the world. This includes the first world taking responsibility for the fact that they are directly at fault for horrendous poverty around the globe, whether through past
Colonial occupation or today through corporate exploitation. The first world needs to immediately start paying reparations to Third world nations, and developing nations need to unite and form alliances to decrease dependence on rich countries.
sireh// What are some of the projects you are doing now? Have you ever/ plans to go and tour South East Asia by yourself or with a band? Have you been to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia or The Philippines? Do people in US have good exposure to our scene in Malaysia? Just to inform you, Rambo, Power Of Idea (Japan) and Battle Of Disarm will be playing here this month.
ravi// I’m about to put out a South Asian zine called Vidya (which means “knowledge” in Sanskrit or Hindi). Also I will start writing a book on South Asian history and how it has been distorted by white historians. Particularly how Indian history has been falsified and rewritten by archaeologists to make it look as if Europeans had a hand in helping start up advanced civilizations in ancient Asia.
I have traveled throughout parts of Asia with my family. Specifically I’ve been to South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, India, and Nepal (these last 2 countries is where my relatives live). I lived in the Philippines for 2 years, attended International School’s junior high/middle school there, and my little sister was actually born in Manila. I would like to be able to visit both Malaysia and Indonesia the next time I visit Asia which will hopefully be next year or two years from now.
I am not involved in the scene that much anymore but when I was I don’t think too many people were aware of any Malaysian bands. This might have changed recently but I really wouldn’t know.
sireh// Okay, something lighter. How about influences in your life. Who have the most impact on you? And music wise, what is your favorite band right now?
ravi// Hm, that’s a good question, I’m not sure how to answer this. I’d have to say my travel experiences and meeting people from all walks of life has been very influential on me. My perspective on the world and on people has been largely shaped because of the fact that I’ve lived everywhere and because I have met people from every continent. I also think a lot of the negative people I’ve met in my life were very influential on me. For instance, my experiences with racism has shaped how I think I should treat people on a personal level; the fact that I have friends or family who are in much worse situations than me has made me acknowledge privileges on different levels causing me to stop worrying about trivial things.My favorite music? I have a diverse taste in music, but at the moment I listen to a lot of hip hop and Indian music.
sireh// You seem to be involved in many voluntary works and your view on politicis. Very interesting. I think coming this election, Bush should go or the killing will just go on and on and on. From you point of view, will be a good candidate to be UP president? It might sound silly and too idealistic, but I just want you view. I vote for Jello Biaffra any time!
ravi//I think Kerry is very corrupt and tied in greatly with big corporations. He is definitely the lesser evil if it comes down to him and Bush. I would say Nader or any other Green Party candidate is the best candidate but I know they Unfortunately have no chance of winning
sireh// I love Al Burian. What do you think about the guy and his writings?
ravi// He’s always got some interesting stories to hare.
sireh// have you ever have any problem with the government? I don’t know, during protest run or direct action activities?
ravi// I’ve actually been very lucky so far. Never been arrested or anything, the Worse that has happened to me is being racially profiled by police officers so I am fortunate in regards to political work
sireh// About the romantic side of you. Do you like to read literature, or you just read political stuff?
ravi// People assume I only listen to political music and read political literature. The truth is I’m into everything and read a diverse range of stuff. Lately I have been reading a lot of science fiction
Note: from s&c terpilih zine issue 1