Tag Archives: democracy

Chennai High Court – Do you know how to spell DEMOCRACY ?

A bunch of people , men and women of various ages, who subscribe to a political ideology in a democratic nation (Chennai, India) decide to perform a symbolic act , the removal of the mangalsutra/Thali, to support the emancipation of women in a patriarchal society . No one was hurt or could possibly be hurt in that event.

What’s the big deal? Let this tiny fraction of the society do what they want to do and go home. You watch their event on TV or don’t watch it. You agree with them or don’t agree with them. You do what you want to do. Maybe organize an event to counter that symbolic gesture to promote your culture. Simple..Right? That’s how democracy works. Right?

Apparently not. Well, another group of people’s sentiments were hurt…that is a big deal. You see this “sensitive group of people” , the guardians of ‘Indian Hindu Culture’ as they call themselves , can’t tolerate freedom of someone else’s expression.

I understand such zealous-fanatical-about-culture entities  exist in our society….but the High Court? What were the Justices thinking? Or rather were they thinking?

Here’s some news coverage on this issue:
The Times of India articles says:

At a special sitting that began at 8.15am, the Madras HC reversed an earlier order and stayed DK’s programme. A bench comprising Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M Venugopal said fundamental rights, freedom of speech and expression along with freedom to assemble peacefully could not be exercised if it destroyed the fabric and ethos of Indian culture, and caused law and order problems. The sitting was held in Justice Agnihotri’s residence. The bench gave its order at around 9am.”

Is the High Court bipolar? Give approval for the event one day. Revoke it the next day!

So if a criminal, with enough proof to be sentenced to death, has a bunch of goons who can cause law and order problems if they don’t like the verdict , will he or she be sentenced to prison one day and set free the next day?

Do they really understand what true Indian culture is ? Know that Hinduism is a tolerant religion ?

Someone please submit a petition to the High Court, that Indian men in Tamil Nadu are hurting  Hindu/Indian sentiments and destroying the fabric and ethos of Indian culture by walking around in western wear…by not wearing the traditional Indian dress of Dhoti. By not wearing the Metti. By not wearing the thilak/namam on their forehead. Will the high court then order all men to dress as per Indian tradition?Overriding their personal freedom to wear what they want?

No more of this western ‘Hindu/culture eroding’ dress:
Only this Outfit embracing true “Hindu/Indian culture”

Justices and people of India, please remember India is a ‘DEMOCRACY’ not  ‘ D  E M O C R A Z Y’.

From Raptors to Mascots….

image

4th grade students from a New Hampshire school had drafted a bill to name the red-tailed hawk the official state raptor. They visited the state assembly  as part of a lesson on how a bill becomes a law. They wanted a civics lesson and instead they got several lessons on the cold, harsh realities of politics , freedom of speech and abortion!

Their bill was crushed. That’s fine. That was part of their lesson on the democratic process. The lesson that they were not prepared for came when Rep. Warren Groen, a Republican from Rochester said,

“[The red-tailed hawk] grasps [its prey] with its talons then uses its razor sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb, and I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.”

Why? Why tie this vote about red tailed hawks to abortion/women’s reproductive rights?

If Planned Parenthood needs a mascot based on the merits of how a living creature treats its prey….it should pick us humans as the mascot….the ones at the top of the food chain. We not only tear apart our prey (cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, tuna etc.) limb by limb with sharp tools we also dredge it in  bread crumbs and fry it in boiling oil.

Bills about Red-tailed hawks are frivolous, a waste of precious time as one lawmaker says…..She’s right…What we need instead is a bill that proposes that no man or woman should ever be allowed to vote on any woman’s right to choose what happens with her body.

It’s time to stop the lawmaker’s tug of war on a woman’s uterus and for everyone to mind their own business.

—————————————————————————————————–

Photo credits: The picture of the Uterus is from healthtap.com and the tug of war is from http://www.teachengineering.org

India is not alone

The blog, tweets and comments  defending Indian’s government ban on the BBC documentary ‘India’s daughter’ makes one claim: “The rest of the world , even so called developed nations, are no better when it comes to women’s right and safety. Solve your problems first before pointing fingers at me”.
It’s a very valid claim. If you google “TOP 10 countries with highest rape”, you will find that India is wedged between US and UK who lead and trail India respectively. If you take India’s huge population in comparison to the population of UK and US the statistics would paint a much brighter picture of India. But lets not forget that the incidence in India is less than the rest of the world due to a significant population  guarding its women like ‘flowers’ and under-reporting.
Rape and misogyny is not just an Indian problem. Governments, Feminists and gender equality proponents all have a huge challenge on their hands throughout the world as shown in this WHO info-graphic:
The supporters of the ban use the above statistics and are responding:
“I know my house is dirty….you don’t have a right to point it out because your house is equally dirty”
A mature response from the Indian government should be like one or more of the below, instead of a ban on a documentary:
1) A call for Collaboration:
“Thanks for pointing it. By the way you too seem to have the same issues. Why don’t we work together to solve this to make the whole world a better place”
2) A chance to lead the world:
“I’m going to do these following steps to fix the problem <list the steps>. You also may want to implement the same in your country’
3) Offer help:
“I thank you for your concern for the welfare of our society. Let us know how we can also help you”
Here’s a compilation of misogynistic pubic statements made by prominent US citizens that rival  our world famous Indian defence lawyers: ML Sharma and AK Singh
The fact remains that the US government did not ban the above post or any such videos in the media.
I commend the actions of the Indian bar council that has issued notices to the two defence lawyers for their misogynistic remarks in the documentary “India’s Daughter”.
It’s great to see a portion of India taking positive action! Its time to lead the world in meaningful change.

“Je suis India’s daughter” – Indian goverment stop defaming your daughter

India’s home minister has threatened action against the BBC, after it aired a film in the UK featuring an interview with an Indian rapist on death row.

The video that I managed to watch before it was taken down in Youtube shows the story of the victim’s meaningful life , the sorrow of her parents on losing her in this horrific way and the abject poverty and harsh environment that bred her killers. It shows the deep rooted bias against women ,in the psyche  of a portion the Indian society and passive acceptance of this bias in the remaining portion of the Indian society ,that facilitated this crime. It shows the massive response from another portion of the society – mainly women’s group and students – that banded together with unprecedented efficiency and demanded quick justice.

Here’s the link to the documentary..if its still working:

Now more than 2 years after this incident and uprising , when everyone has returned to their normal lives, without much meaningful change to prevent such incidents or stricter laws for rape (the frequency of which hasn’t abated), comes this documentary. And it gets banned in India. 6 men took Jyothi Singh’s (the victim)  right to her body , her intestines and her life. Now the Indian government has taken her right after death- the right to have her death become a meaningful one.

I will never understand the reasons that the Indian government has for this ban. I only know that the reasons, if any, are not pro-women. If they are concerned that this video will portray India and its criminal politicians in bad light, then they should focus on removing the bad elements ,not remove the spotlight.  The government cries that this documentary defames India. They are wrong; they are the ones defaming their daughter; our daughter; by banning this.

We need the debate that showing of this documentary will open up. We need the mirror that this documentary holds to a portion of our society so people can recognize themselves, the part they play and then…effect positive Change !

I keep emphasizing “a portion of our society” so that we all understand that there is another portion of the Indian society that is doing all the right things. But that ‘good’ portion needs to grow in size and infiltrate and influence the government.

There needs to be stricter laws, swifter justice for sexually based crimes against women in India to prevent these gang rapes in the short term.

For long term and lasting change, there needs to be education for boys and girls equally; education mandated and available easily to all children of all economic strata; with campaigns to remove the gender bias deeply rooted in the society.

The Indian government is working on ways it can ban this video outside India. My request to the international community is this… You all said “Je Suis Charlie”….Please now say “Je Suis India’s daughter”.