Sunday, December 30, 2012

Rest in peace..we failed to save your life

Finally the girl who fought valiantly for her life; first from the rapists and later in the hospital has been laid to rest. She surely has found peace at last. But one fervently hopes that the fire that she kindled will not die until concrete steps have been taken to tackle the crime that is growing the fastest (700%) in India. But it is not an easy task at all especially since the mentality of our leaders have not changed at all. I took part in a few discussions in FB and elsewhere and in all, the most number of reasons cited for rape was the women’s way of dressing. Now if this was the real reason, I would gladly embrace it since we are desperately looking for solutions. But it is not. Have a look at the following report from KSA and see for yourself. It says that nearly a Quarter of Children Raped; Up to 46% of Students Suffer from Homosexuality.
Guest - No, I’m sorry, the study was directed at university students. Twenty-three percent had been raped during their childhood. For 62% of those, the rape was never reported. This was because it was one of the victim’s relatives. In the study, it was mentioned that more than 16% of the rapists were relatives, specifically 5% were siblings, 2% were teachers, and 1% were parents. In another study, which was conducted by Dr. In’am (al-Rabu’i), who is the president of children’s studies at the Armed Forces Hospital in Jeddah, she mentioned, or warned, that in the coming years we will suffer as a society from extremely widespread cases of homosexuality. The reason for this is the increase in the cases of sexual assault of children (brought) to the hospital, as well as the societal violence inflicted on children. She also mentioned that the hospital had on average three sexual assault cases per week.

So I hope we have killed the myth that a well dressed woman does not invite rape. In fact I would have posted a picture that made it crystal clear, except that it is too crude.

Actually KSA can take an example from Kuwait where no dress code exists. In malls one can see people not overtly modest or immodest. Not that rapes are rare but I think the stats are much better than that of KSA.

Now coming back to India, we saw how this “Empowered” lady scientist spoke her mind:

Khargone: In a shocking reaction to the Delhi gang-rape victim, Dr. Anita Shukla ironically blamed the victim herself for the crime committed; at a seminar in Khargone,M.P. The police department had called for a seminar on the topic, ‘Sensitivity towards women'. 
She commented, ‘The victim should have surrendered when surrounded by six men, at least it could have saved her intestines'.

However, women can stop such incidences by showing their maturity under such circumstances.

ow! And there were none with a spine to give this lady a dressing down.

With such women in galore at even the “National Commission for Women”, do we really stand a chance to fight rape effectively? Maybe it is these women whom our President’s son was calling “Dented and painted”? Not that I agree with that dimwit!

This lady must be at an age where she has fought and lost many battles but the girl was not. She was young and she fought her tormentors.  And if this was her fault, I would say that she was not a coward but a brave one indeed. 

I also listened to the doctor who justified the moving of the girl to Singapore. I listened as he praised the kindness of the government in issuing the Passport in 2 days time. Bloody! When will educated ones like him utter the truth! That they were only doing their job. That they are not a charitable institution or a philanthropist to exercise kindness. That they are there with the tax payers money and to do a job. 

One also continues to wonder why the girl was shifted. Though very likely it was in fear of the protesters. 

As a nation we already stand ashamed of everything and now even of our doctors too. We have all become a bad lot!

Justice Verma has asked for suggestions to be sent to his email. Cynical as I am, I think this is only a PR exercise. I am sure he has neither time nor inclination to read millions of emails that would be sent; half of them angry outpourings. But do go ahead and write and don’t listen to this cynic.

The committee headed by former chief justice of India JS Verma sought comments from the public in general, particularly eminent jurists, legal professionals, NGOs, women's groups and civil society members on reviewing the existing laws in a bid to provide quicker justice and stringent punishment in cases of aggravated sexual assault, an official statement said. 
The comments can be sent at or through FAX at 011-23092675.
As for me all I want to tell him is to change! And if he can, change the attitude of his counterparts too. Next time a rape comes up in courts and the lawyer representing the rapist comes up with the following usual questions: 

1. Why were you out at that time?

2. Why were you wearing a jeans (or whatever) ?

3. Why do you roam around with your boy friend and not with your Father or brother?

4. Many more standard questions..
To all such questions all I want is that he THUNDER from his chair that the question is IRRELEVANT!  That he asks the lawyer to move on to the real issue. If he still does not get it maybe he can picture that it is his son (note that the GENDER is changed) who got raped and mauled. Will the above questions make any better sense? Can our judges see that a girl has been attacked and that all she is seeking is justice against her attackers?Nevertheless, let me wish that the following would be done ASAP. 

Police stations shall have specially trained personnel to handle rape related cases. Let them have a separate office for the same. Let there also be NGO’s who shall coordinate with the victim from the time of the filing of the FIR until the case is settled. Let these policemen be trained to be sensitive else we shall have more suicides like the recent one in Patiala.

As the news came in, the accused were finally arrested and three police officers sacked. But it was too little too late. The mere first-information report (FIR) had been registered 14 days after the rape.

The suicide note names the rapists and also accuses cops of repeatedly calling her to the police station and asking "uncomfortable" questions.
There needs to be a change in attitude from all including our judiciary, police, politicians and the ordinary citizens if rape laws are to be effective. No more blaming the victim and finding excuses for the rapists. As for punishment, I hope the six will be hanged very soon. Maybe the next one can be given 100 lashes daily for n number of days since killing is too quick. I don’t recommend killing, instead let them feel the pain and then left in jail for a longer period of time without any bail.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A nation's shame

If I ever wanted to join in a protest, it was the one that happened yesterday. Nothing would have stopped me but alas I am far away from it all and the only space that I can vent my feelings is on this blog.
The whole world shared the angst of Indians yesterday. But is anything going to change? Yes the rapists have been arrested and the law will take its course so why protest is the question many are asking? Because history just repeats! We have low rape convictions and even if convicted while the rapists may get a few years the victim is hounded for the rest of her life.
The conviction rate in rape and molestation cases in India is a dismal 27 per cent. Long drawn trials and pressure on the families of victims are some of the major reasons for this. Police norms and behaviour are a deterrent to many rape victims who do not lodge any complaint against the crime at all, say experts.

The stigma surrounding rape needs to change. We as a society feels that the life of the girls ends with rape. The first emotion that comes to our mind is that of defeat. The more emotional kills the victim even if she was his beloved daughter and we call it as saving the "honor" of the family! 

Even our movies have reflected this time and over. After a rape, the director either kills the victim or lets her commit suicide. It is seldom that we see the victim fight it out and come victorious. Late Padmarajan, the acclaimed Malayalam movie director did try to work around this in his movie "Nammuku Parkkan Munthiri Thoppukal" where the heroine after being raped by her step father is married by the hero. I can also remember a Hindi movie which dealt with the same subjemmct. Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai There must be others too. But in each one of these movies, the director has made sure that the victim shall never be blamed for rape! In real life this rarely happens. As soon as a rape is done we look for excuses. We wonder how she was dressed, where she was at that time and with whom. And mostly why at that time of the day! Even the Delhi CM had this same question. We also wonder if she was a sexually active individual. Everything about the victim is thoroughly examined but we seldom worry about the rapists. For the society he is just another male being excused for his libido. Yesterday I heard a lady doctor say that rapists are people with psychological problems and that they are not normal. How sweet! Are even the school bully’s psychological cases who only shuts up when another bully mightier than him appears on the scene? So is the case with most rapists. They are just bullies who grew up without being reprimanded when they should have. Maybe it is time these bullies are recognized. It is time they are confined to their houses specially at night since they have no business outside. Instead don't ask the women folks to confine themselves at home.

There was a season in Malayalam movies where a rape scene was a must. We had famous rapists; Janardhanan, T.G. Ravi, Jose Prakash and many more. The rape scenes were taken in such a way that the male audience enjoyed every bit of it! Rape was done mostly as revenge.

But why should the life of a girl be over after a rape? If she was involved in an accident and suffered the same injury why your views are different? Yes, we as a society need to change our views on rape.

And have you seen how the crowd jeers and jostles when a rape victim appears in court? I am sure many of those who were protesting yesterday would appear with a different mindset if the poor girl is brought to the court. Why? Oh! Why?

The girl is fighting for her life and if she succeeds she will be taking baby steps once again. It will not be easy to regain the trust that she lost on this world. On top of that our society will not make it easy for her. Let there be fast track courts but can we have a virtual one where the victim is not required to appear physically? Aren’t we a nation selling IT to the world but can’t implement the same for our own needs? Or let all these women organizations make it a point to appear along with such victims while protecting the victim from further humiliation. Will they do it?

As for our police; reforms need to be done urgently. They should no longer be at the beck and call of our politician when many of them have got away with violence against women.

  • 6 MLAs have declared that they have charges of rape against themselves in their sworn affidavits submitted with the Election Commission of India at the time of their election.
  • Of these 6 MLAs with declared rape cases, 3 are from SP namely Sribhagwan Sharma, Anoop Sanda and Manoj Kumar Paras from Uttar Pradesh, 1 from BSP namely Mohd. Aleem Khan from Uttar Pradesh, 1 of BJP namely Jethabhai G.Ahir from Gujarat and 1 of TDP namely Kandikunta Venkata Prasad from Andhra Pradesh.
  • 36 other MLAs have declared that they have other charges of crimes against women such as outraging the modesty of a woman, assault, insulting the modesty of a woman etc.
  • Of the 36 MLAs who have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, 6 MLAs are from INC , 5 from BJP and 3 from SP.
  • U.P. has the maximum number of MLAs (8) who have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, followed by Orissa and West Bengal with 7 MLAs each.
  • 2 MPs, namely Semmalai S of ADMK from Salem constituency in Tamil Nadu and Adhikari Suvendu of AITC from Tamluk constituency in West Bengal, have declared that they have charges of crimes against women, such as cruelty and intent to outrage a woman’s modesty etc.
Each party has one or two “heroes” who have got away with crime. With such people guarding our interests will any good come out?

There has not been any reform since our constitution was formed and when I believe that only an independent police force shall work, many fear the same. Why should it not work when it works in many developed/democratic countries?

India's police are governed by archaic and colonial police laws harking back to 1861. Under the Indian Constitution, policing is a state power, which means that state governments have the responsibility to provide their communities with a police service (the national government has the responsibility for policing in union territories). Most state governments have a police law that adopts or reflects the basic ideas of the 1861 legislation.
Our Supreme Court has issued directives but not a single state has yet implemented it.

The Court's directives seek to achieve two main objectives: functional autonomy for the police - through security of tenure, streamlined appointment and transfer processes, and the creation of a "buffer body" between the police and the government - and enhanced police accountability, both for organisational performance and individual misconduct

But before all this happens, we as a society can do much more.

Maybe the policeman can take his family out at night? Watch a movie and use the bus?

Maybe the youngsters can take their girl friends in a group and travel on these buses? 

Maybe we shall approach the policeman when we are eve teased? Since it is these who get more bold and commit crimes like rape.

Maybe our policemen will be more sensitive and so also our judges?

Maybe.. maybe more older women shall start wearing jeans! Ah…… 

Edited to add:

How the Indian system, society works against rape survivors

A traumatic event like this scars and haunts you through life. And you need tremendous courage to stand up and face the world. For that you need sustained and professional support and counselling, both of which the child did not get.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Oh My God!

Finally finished watching the Hind movie OMG. I did try to watch earlier with Hubby but since I can only understand basic Hindi and when I found him guffawing where I had no clue, I left it halfway. I heard him mentioning the movie to many and finally when a family came over he put this movie to show them. He asked me again to watch it and I agreed on one condition that he shall explain when I couldn’t understand. And thus I finally watched this brilliant movie. 

I know I am late in writing about it and might be repeating what others have already written but yet I cant help writing a few lines. 

For the religious and the atheists  it would be hard to accept the entire movie.  A part of it goes entirely against their beliefs but for people like me this movie echoes my own thoughts. In my opinion, the movie should have shown the mindless rituals of all faith and not just Hinduism. But then this movie may not have seen light since the other two faiths are not as tolerant as the Hindu faith! A ban would have been slapped immediately. Maybe it can be cited as the tolerance of the majority but still.

The term salesman is apt for the men of God! They sell God while pocketing the money for their own use.  They interpret God as per their whims. Here in Kuwait, priests are deputed for a year or two and the position is a coveted one! They are paid very well and in addition, they get a good sum by way of allowance and other religious rituals that they perform. On top of that when they are about to leave, they set out on a begging spree and collect from house to house. The recent one left with over a crore of money!  For the majority, such an amount is not possible even if he spends his entire life slogging in this desert!  If any reader  is under misconception, this money is not for the Church since for that we have frequent visits from Bishops and priests. But this money would probably be used to build the typical mallu mansion while this priest would seek a congregation where maximum benefit with minimum effort is required.

The Bible has around 250 verses on money. 

1 Timothy 6:10 
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:19-21,24 (KJV) 

These salesmen or priests are the guardians of this book and yet they who preach from the same cannot practice! 

As for Hinduism, Lakshmi is the Goddess of wealth so I guess the interpretation of money itself may differ. 

Recently for a Church function the dignitary was a well known liquor baron! So what is the use of these salesmen? Cant God be approached directly? Will he stop you from reaching him? 

In a recent article on Babri Masjid demolition and nation building Subramanian Swamy writes thus: 

Masjids, like churches, are not religious places in the sense a temple is--masjids and churches are places not of, but for worship, i.e., buildings which serve as facilitation centres for namaz and prayer. Namaz can be read anywhere, even on a railway platform. In USA, the VHP buys disused Churches and converts them into temples, and yet no Christian there objects. 

But temples, once it is shown that prana prathista puja was performed to build it, is where God or the deity resides, and therefore a temple belongs to God forever. As Union Law & Justice Minister in 1991, I got our government’s legal team to prove this to the satisfaction of the House of Lords in Britain, to bring back a Nataraja statue taken from a disused Thanjavur temple. 
He says the following too: 

Of course, merely because of this fact about masjids and churches, no one in a democracy can take law into his own hands to demolish these masjids and churches. Nor will the Hindu public wait forever for justice. 

But is it true that a Temple is different from the Church or the Mosque? 

So on twitter I mentioned that a place of worship is special for those who worship in it and that one cannot say that a Temple is different from a Church or a Mosque. I also mentioned that in some churches the altar is considered special and is constructed after special prayers and if the church is need of demolition/renovation it is lowered down as it is. Personally I don’t agree with any of this. To me none of these structures hold any special regard except for it’s historic relevance if any. But that is my personal opinion and I cannot impose it on those who hold a place of worship close to their hearts. 

But suddenly I find that God is indeed concerned with Geography and language too! 

The following tweets came in reply"

special prayers in which language? 

let such worship be done in bethlehem,mecca,madina,jerusalem,gaza strip,rome,itali 
To this I asked if the NRI Hindus board the plane to come to India and worship! Or if all Hindus pray in one language. Is the Hindu God's sphere of influence only in India and does he understand only a language unique to India?( In Christian churches too they use Syriac during liturgy and only the priests understand what he is talking! )

And if this is what religion can do to a person's way of thinking then what is use of it? 

As for the Atheists, they cling on to their faithlessness and cite many valid reasons too. For them like in the movie, there is no Krishna or Jesus or Mohamed to make appearance and make them believe! 

Even Justice Katju has strong words on religion and the divisive ways it works in our country.

When I said that 90% Indians are fools I said an unpleasant truth. The truth is that the minds of 90% Indians are full of casteism, communalism, and superstitions. 

But holding and citing such views is not easy. It can be a lonely journey midst your circle of relations. Majority doesn't want to leave the beaten path and gets angry and agitated when they find a few who does.

Edited to add:

I felt that this post will not be complete if I do not mention Sanal Edamurakku who may soon be arrested because of such salesmen of God!

Delhi police attempt to arrest Sanal Edamaruku
With this dramatic turn of events, Sanal Edamaruku’s persecution has reached a dangerous new level. Exposing the “miracle” of the water-dripping crucifix at the Velankanni church in Mumbai as a plumber’s problem, he incurred Catholic fury beyond all trademark forgiveness. Highly alarming is the fact that the Catholic side has managed to secure considerable support from Indian government agencies.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

All about Norway

Norway has once again grabbed the headlines! This time an Indian couple was arrested in Norway after scolding their child for wetting his pants! Earlier another Indian couple Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya lost custody of their two children, Abhigyan, 3, and Aishwarya, 1, in May of last year. 

But the fact of the matter is that if India was Norway even for a day, every Indian parent would be in jail! 

Short of strangling, "normal" Indian parent would have committed every other offense that may put them in jail if they were in Norway. We scold, threaten, pinch and many even use the cane to put our children on track. What track, only God knows! If you look at my blog and the most popular post, it is about me punishing our son for lying. I have always wondered if some Child Authority in the world is monitoring this blog to one day arrest me and put me in jail! Yes, I did beat him that day! Of course not severely. Luckily our children have not given us much chance to exercise our parental authority. They have been well behaved and now that they are old, I have realized that it is no longer necessary. But for most Indian parent, the crimes that put you in jail in Norway are a part of their own growing up. There is no way they will change overnight! Anyway this post is not about parenting but about Norway so let me get on with it.

The Nordic country as you know tops in the happiness index.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Norway has been declared the world's happiest country. Just as unsurprising, the Democratic Republic of Congo came last.
The United Nations Human Development Index 2011 measures happiness in different countries based on factors such as income, education, health, life expectancy, economy, gender equality and sustainability.
So when I mentioned this during a discussion on FB regarding the arrest, a friend pointed out the following as a reason for the same:

As per United Nations, Monthly Bulletin of Statistics, April 2001, the Number of marriages per 1,000 people per year in Norway is only 5.1 :)

So marriage seems to be the culprit. But it is true that most children in Norway are born out of wedlock and there is no stigma attached with it. Most couples are like Brad and Angelina! If Bragelina started thinking about marriage after their kids (six of them) started bugging them, Nordic couples too think of marriage only after a couple of children. 

The willingness to accept so-called “open unions” or “uncertified marriages” in the Nordic countries has been under way for a very long time, many decades before the term “same-sex marriage” was even coined. In Finland, for example, attitudes to marriage started to change substantially after World War II. During the period 1950 to 1984, there was a sharp increase in the number of unmarried couples.
“Since the late 1960s, the practice of cohabitation had become increasingly common, so much so that by the late 1970s most marriages in urban areas grew out of what Finns called ‘open unions,’ according to the Encyclopedia of Women’s History.
But there are various reasons why they opt for such a union. 
But there are various reasons Scandinavian couples decide to wait. Putting a priority on education, career, or buying an apartment are some of the reasons. The high cost of a traditional wedding is another. “If you have children you may not be able to afford to get married. A wedding can be very expensive,” observes soon-to-be-married Malin Larsson of Sweden, currently on paid parental leave to take care of her young daughter.

If an expensive wedding is one reason then India has every reason to follow the Scandinavian formula! 

As for government: 

Norway is a unitary parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy, with King Harald V as its head of state and Jens Stoltenberg as its prime minister.

India too can follow the same. Declare the Gandhi family as the reigning King or Queen and get on with governance! 

Norwegians have done pretty well in governance and statistics proves so.

Norwegians enjoy the second highest GDP per-capita (after Luxembourg) and fourth highest GDP (PPP) per-capita in the world. Today, Norway ranks as the second wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.
Now I read that the Indian couples are indeed in trouble since they burned and belted their child!

Parenting can be stressful and one can lose sanity very easily but it is always good to remember that it is your own genes that is inside them and there are many things that just cannot be corrected by being cruel to them. You may watch your own shortcomings in them and would badly want to correct it but it is always better to do it in a gentler manner.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BP pays for it's negligence...

So the British giant BP has been suspended from US for 1 year and this is after paying millions in compensation.

2:47PM EST November 28. 2012 -
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is suspending British oil giant BP Exploration and Production Inc. and affiliated companies from further federal contracts, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday.
The total cost of the spill response has hit $9.5 billion, Europe's second-largest oil company by market value

BP pleaded guilty Nov. 15 to numerous criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 people and caused the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. The charges included 11 counts of misconduct or neglect of ship officers, one count of obstruction of Congress, one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Clean Water Act, and one misdemeanor count of a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Compare this to Bhopal Gas Tragedy and one should cry! More than 30,000 have been killed and the agreed compensation was a mere 750 crore IRS. If one thinks that the entire amount reached the victims and their kins then we are not talking about India. Dow was asked to increase the compensation since the number of deaths had increased but they refused to do so.

In an affidavit, Dow Chemicals has said it will not pay more compensation for Bhopal victims as the settlement reached in 1989 for USD 470 million was more than adequate and fair.

Not only did people die, but an entire generation faced deformities and the ground water in many areas are still contaminated. But why should we blame the foreign company when it is our own government and judiciary who is at fault. Anderson was given a safe exit from India by our own government. 

Seven of the eight Indian company officials have now been sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Bhopal. The eighth has since died.
Anderson was briefly detained immediately after the disaster, but he quickly left the country and now lives in New York.
Last July, the court issued a warrant for Anderson's arrest and ordered the Indian government to press Washington for the American's extradition.

This was in 2010 and has the government done anything to seek Anderson’s extradition? The government will wait until he dies. Dow still operates in India under various guises. Where is our government and judiciary?

On the basis of the bench's ruling, a Bhopal court had last year awarded two years to UCC (India) chairman Keshub Mahindra and other officials.
The apex court had sought responses from UCC, Dow Chemicals Company (which owns UCC since 2001), Mcleod Russel (India) Private Limited which holds 50.9 percent stake in Union Carbide India Limited) and UCIL (currently known as Eveready Industries Limited).

The latest fire disaster from Bangladesh is another example of how multinational firms lower their standards while operating out of a third world country. These giant brand owners make huge profit but fails to compensate or make their suppliers follow basic norms. Why should they when none complains! If their own citizens exploit them then do they have a right to expect a fair treatment from a foreigner?

NGOs slammed Walmart over a fire that killed at least 112 workers at a Bangladesh factory that supplied apparel for the retail giant. While Walmart says it has not confirmed that it has any relationship to the factory, photos provided to The Nation show piles of clothes made for one of its exclusive brands.

I fear the same in case of FDI too. India already has an exploited lot and it will only add to their woes when multinational firms makes an entry. They are not going to raise their standards since their aim is only profit. And when this profit is going to be shared with those in power who is going to raise a finger for the exploited?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

This paradox shall never end?

The above has become too common these days!

Most of us are over weight yet we dont stop eating more than we should! We over eat and then sweat it out on the exercising machine or on the grounds; yet we shall not decide to do away with the reason for the over weight. Because of this we have a new set of professionals, related only to losing weight. We have exotic places just for losing weight and exotic doctors waiting to scalp away a bit of you. And then we have producers who produces more than what we can consume and trying to market it by any means. Then we have food authorities willing to put expiry dates on every item so that they can be thrown into the dust bin. we also have big, fat and gaudy weddings that end up with lots of food that go waste. We also have festivals after festivals which makes us to hoard food.

It is a losing game indeed! But if we look at the other side of the story, 90% of men (not to talk about the children!)  in India like the one below sweat it out to have a quarter of the food that is being wasted into their stomach!

While India leads in poverty, it is not bad when it comes to obesity! 

The obesity ratio stands at 12% and India comes close to the following nations: Spain: 13.1% Ireland: 13%  Germany: 12.9%  Portugal:  12.8% Finland: 12.8%  Iceland: 12.4%  India 12.10%  Turkey:  12%  Belgium: 11.7%  Netherlands:  10%  Sweden: 9.7%  Denmark: 9.5%  France:  9.4%  Austria: 9.1%  Italy:  8.50%

Though I try my best not to waste food, I still need to reduce the intake. How about you?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dreaming of a white Christmas

It is not that I have ever experienced a white Christmas.. but this is the time of the year that I love to listen to Christmas songs.

It takes me back to my childhood and my favourite month: December. In the place I grew up; Peerumade, December made a very noisy appearance. The wind made a howling sound that is so unique to this area. The weather turned cooler and the air was filled with the smell of Eucalyptus. The howling wind tore down the twigs and leaves and at night the sound reached a crescendo. But this was also the time for the year-end holidays. The school at that time had a January to December schedule and the whole December was off. And since one has finished the final exam for the year there was no more studies too. Luckily tuitions had not made an appearance and we children were free to do what we wanted. Actually the exams were not forgotten since the results had to be faced sooner or later. But to douse the fear each time it made an appearance, all one had to do was to play the game of pebbles. One throws it up and try to catch it each time it comes down and if you can do it nth number of time, you are sure to pass! How easily we found solutions to our fears when we were younger!

It was also the time for Christmas cakes. There were no bakeries nearby and the cakes had to come from the kitchen. My mother would have soaked the dry fruits in rum and the baking would start after a week of soaking. She makes enough for us and to gift to relatives whom we would visit. She made one of the best cakes and I am yet to taste one similar to hers! I remember the day our lab; Floppy stole one whole cake to feed her hungry puppies. Since the cake was left to cool on the dining table, she somehow crept in and stole one away! I don’t think she was taken to task for that.. she was too cute and loving!

December was also the time of the year to start fresh and this thought made one happier. Resolutions were made to study harder and to fight less with the siblings. Since we were five, fighting was an invariable part. There were lots of games and lots of fights!

December was also the time for Christmas Carols. Even though the congregation was small, the Christmas Choir was a must each year. The choir practice was mostly done at our place and a good supply of hot snacks and tea made appearance.

It was also the time for Christmas tree! There were no fancy decoration items but yet the tree was beautiful. It was also the time to receive Christmas cards and to see the ones who remembered our family. The cards would be stacked against the trees. Some would contain snaps of the family; new additions and others we children have never seen.

And now.. December is the time to forget everything! One works even on a Christmas day and the only tradition that I follow is the Christmas Tree. And that reminds me that it is time to take down the Christmas Tree  J

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Diwali

A very happy and prosperous Diwali to one and all.

May the festival of lights dispel any kind of darkness that we may have in our minds.

May it help us to reflect it's warmth and light to those who are not fortunate.

May our citizens rise up and be kind to those who cannot afford to have a Diwali.

May our nation rise up and shine!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Conflict of Interest

Why did one have to wait so long to know that Mukesh Ambani is one amongst the list of black money dealers?

Guess it is conflict of interest and this afflicts not just the major parties: Congress and BJP but the media and even the voters!

One can understand the reluctance of the Congress since the list would have contained their favourites, but why did the BJP not make it public? Did they not have an access to it?

I remember how only 6 names were offered to be revealed and the promise that the rest would be revealed once a case is registered. I did wonder in my blog how they selected the 6!
Yesterday, the government has offered to reveal 6 names, while they have yet again given the same old excuse for not revealing the rest.

The Centre has assured the Supreme Court that it would reveal the names of persons who have stashed black money in foreign banks after registering a formal case against them.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium, appearing before a bench headed by Justice B Sudershan Reddy, said the government has issued show cause notices against the persons accused of having black money in foreign banks and once a case is registered against them, their names will be made public.

In case of the media, Reliance now has its own media mouth. All they have to do is either twist the facts or suppress the facts. Not that other national media is devoid of corporate or party interests.
Reliance makes a major foray into media sector

Reliance Industries, India's biggest listed company, is expanding its footprint in the media sector, with a major investment in the TV18 group which will effectively fund a consolidation with the Eenadu TV media group.
In return, the Reliance will get preferential access to content from TV18, which runs television channels and websites including CNN-IBN, CNBC-TV18 and Colors. This content can then be distributed through Reliance subsidiary firm Infotel, which is setting up a 4G wireless broadband network across the country.
With Tuesday's deal, the Reliance, controlled by billionaire businessman Mukesh Ambani, will have a major stake in a cross-media enterprise, spanning digital divides to encompass print publications, news and entertainment broadcasting, consumer Internet, film production and e-commerce.

As for the voters, at least a major chunk of the middle class is heavily invested with Reliance and its likes. I am sure most of them were painfully looking at the stock market when Arwind Kejriwal made the expose twice. If there is someone looting, one might as well share the loot!

But to BJP’s credit, it did make an attempt to give more attention to the black money. In fact Adwani promised the voters that if BJP comes to power at the center, they will pursue the same seriously. But unfortunately the voters did not take BJP seriously. Or was there a vote rigging. These days one is not sure of anything!
Why am I saying that?
Did it suddenly dawn on me that BJP is better than Congress? (2 main National parties).
Frankly speaking it hasn’t. Sitting far away from the election heat and die hard voters who may influence my opinion, it was easy to watch both parties impartially. And none of them scored better until I picked up just this from Adwani.
"If NDA returns to power then we’ll force Indian citizens to bring back their wealth to India and use the money here.”
 Even before Kejriwal’s revelation, reliance was already under scanner but nothing further happened.

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India has come down hard on Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), suggesting the company grossly overstated its development costs in India's largest gas field, possibly causing "significant" financial losses to the exchequer.

As the production-sharing contract involves profit-sharing with the government, a higher capital expenditure results in the profit being lower for the government than it would be otherwise, which the CAG has explained in its 200-page June 7 report to the petroleum ministry.
The CAG report has revealed severe irregularities and violations on part of private operators and government departments and ministries.

And now the government is seriously trying to gag the CAG!

New Delhi, November 11: Battered by various CAG reports on alleged scams, government says it is "actively" considering a proposal to make the official auditor a multi-member body. Minister of State in Prime Minister's Office V Narayanasamy says Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has become "more impatient" and he wants that all constitutional bodies to work within their parameters. "It (making CAG a multi-member body) is under active consideration. The government is actively considering it," he told PTI in an interview.
Will this conflict of interest ever be resolved? I think not in a democracy!

Thursday, November 8, 2012



1 boy is equal to 8 girls


A heated discussion between a few men, since a to-be FIL was putting up unnecessary demands. Normally this is the job of the groom’s father but here the tables were turned. The men were trying to instill some sense of pride and courage upon this would-be groom who seems to be already trembling under the FIL. How can it be allowed? It is a man’s world and one needs to show these lower folks their places!

The person who uttered that 1 boy is equal to 8 girls is a Father to two lovely girls! I guess how much they deny, in their hearts every parent craves for a boy child. And the boys, while they grow up, imbibe from the society a pride in being a boy while the girl does the opposite. She grows with a sense of inferiority complex which destroys her. She becomes weak when she is required to be strong.

But why am I writing this here? Because I did not confront him when he uttered it and hence lost a golden opportunity to vent my anger.

But if you thought only India was home to such horrors, look at the following from the most forward country (so they think) in the world!

In US Currently, a woman makes 77 cents to each dollar a man earns.

On November 17th, the Paycheck Fairness Act went to the Senate for vote. The bill would have provided “improvement and modifications” to the Equal Pay Act of 1963. President Obama called it a common sense bill. Nonetheless, it failed to pass due to an overwhelming surge of Republican opposition. Democrats voted 56:1 in favor, while Republicans went 1:40 against it.

To mourn the death of the Paycheck Fairness Act, check out our homage to some of the more ridiculous laws regarding women on the books. Hopefully, some will soon be repealed. Let’s just not send them to Congress to do so

1. In Maryland, a woman cannot go through her husband’s pockets while he is sleeping. Not even if she really wants a piece of gum.

2. In Vermont, a woman must obtain written permission from her husband if she wishes to wear false teeth. Because women really lead with their teeth in wanton, uncontrolled sexuality.

3. In Tucson, Arizona, women are not allowed to wear pants. No word on the stance on booty shorts or thongs.

4. In Carrizozo, New Mexico, it is illegal for a woman to appear unshaven in public. Rejoice, razor industry, rejoice!

5. In Dyersburg, Tennessee, it is illegal for a woman to call a man on a date. I don’t want to live in a world where equal-opportunity drunk dialing isn’t free to all.

6. In Carmel, New York, women may not wear high heels within the city limits. They are obviously just protecting their citizens, as this move effectively disqualifies the city from ever letting a “Sex and the City” sequel to be shot in their town. Good move, Carmel!

7. In Michigan, a woman isn’t allowed to cut her hair without her husband’s permission. But what if her husband cuts it for her?

But then we saw how the Republican's lost the presidential election because of the their foolish utterance on rape and women in general. Obama got votes from more women than men. The Guardian explains it well.

The ancient Greece was worse; it seems a woman would be executed if she ever saw an Olympic event!

In the Iliad, in the Olympic-like funeral games for Patroclus, you can read how important it was to be the best. Those who won were expected to be the best even before winning: Entering the contest if you weren't the best (kalos k'agathos 'beautiful and best') was unacceptable. Women, foreigners, and slaves were not considered to be tops in arete 'virtue' -- what made them best.
Greek Philosophy on the Inferiority of Women 
The two most influential philosophers, both in the Graeco-Roman world into which Christianity was born and in the world of Christian theology of the Middle Ages, were Plato and Aristotle. We will briefly discuss the views of each.

In Greek society, women's status was very low. A woman's main function was the reproduction of children, especially of sons.
Plato's attitude to women was ambivalent. In some of his writings he advocated a fairer deal for women. In his idealised Republic he foresees an upperclass of ‘guardians’ among whom the chattel status of women is abolished (i.e. she is no longer owned by her husband) and in which women were to receive equal education to men.

On the other hand, he ascribed the inferior status of women clearly to a degeneration from perfect human nature. “It is only males who are created directly by the gods and are given souls. Those who live rightly return to the stars, but those who are ‘cowards or [lead unrighteous lives] may with reason be supposed to have changed into the nature of women in the second generation’. This downward progress may continue through successive reincarnations unless reversed. In this situation, obviously it is only men who are complete human beings and can hope for ultimate fulfilment; the best a woman can hope for is to become a man” (Plato, Timaeus 90e).
According to Aristotle, man rightly takes charge over woman, because he commands superior intelligence. This will also profit the women who depend on him. He compares this to the relationship between human beings and tame animals.
‘It is the best for all tame animals to be ruled by human beings. For this is how they are kept alive. In the same way, the relationship between the male and the female is by nature such that the male is higher, the female lower, that the male rules and the female is ruled.’ Aristotle, Politica, ed. Loeb Classical Library, 1254 b 10-14.

India’s most famous early legal code, The Laws of Manu were complied over the years between 200 - 400 C.E. While the position of women in early Vedic India had been good, these laws illustrate the efforts of the Brahmin elite to restrict women’s legal independence in this later period.
  • “Women must always be honored and respected by the father, brother, husband and brothers-in-law who desire their own welfare.”
  • “If the female members live in grief, the family is destroyed. If the female members are happy, the family flourishes in all directions.”
  • “Women shall receive one-quarter share of the inheritance of their parents. If a man has no sons, his daughter may inherit everything he had.”
  • “Brothers should give one-forth of their inheritance to their sisters for their sisters’ dowries.”
  • “In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, and when her lord is dead, to her sons; a woman must never be independent.”
  • “A father sins unless he marries his daughter off when she reaches puberty.” (no wonder the Khaps very recently echoed the same!)
  • “Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; they give themselves to the handsome as well as to the ugly just for the fact that he is a man.”
  • “A husband should be worshiped as a God.”
  • “Even in the home nothing should be done by a child, a young or even an old wife (woman) independently.”
  • “A wife, a son, and a slave, these three are declared to have no property. The wealth which they earn is acquired for him to whom they belong.”
  • “Women, shudra (or sudra, lowest of four castes), dog and crow embody untruth, sin and darkness.”
  • “Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling they may appear to be; for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on both the families. Considering it the highest duty of all castes, even wealthy husbands must strive to guard their wives....lest the seed of others be sown on your soil.”
  • “It is the nature of women to seduce men in this world, for that reason the wise never remain unguarded in the company of female.”
  • “A woman should not go to a meeting place; and they should not dance like the young, but sit at their proper places.”
  • “This is the first law...A wife cannot be dismissed from the marriage by a slave, separation or abdication.”

    “A man can leave a barren woman after eight years and one who only gives birth to daughters.”
  • “A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men.”
  • “If a woman should happen to merely to overhear recitations of Vedic mantras by chance, hot molten glass should be poured into her ears.”

The roots of the Judeo-Christian sexual prohibitions, as well as the sexual prohibitions of religions such as Islam, spring from ancient Jewish tribal law. During early times wives were considered "property" and laws were specifically codified to protect three things: livestock, wives and dwellings--an order or importance that seems clear in Jewish law.

The Christian church still treats women second to man. There are many rules that bind her from birth to death that makes her different from a boy. Not that every household follows these rules. But it is in the subconscious mind and comes forth when needed! If I die tomorrow I can only be buried in the Church that my husband belongs to and never in my Parent’s church. Parents unconsciously pushes the girl child away from them as soon as she is capable of standing up. Since she will never belong to them it is better to train oneself early in life!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Collateral damage

What is Collateral damage ? Wikipedia says thus: Collateral damage is damage to things that are incidental to the intended target. It is frequently used as a military term where it can refer to the incidental destruction of civilian property and non-combatantcasualties.[1][2]

But collateral is also used by banks; "collateral security" means additional security to the main obligation in a contract. 

So why didn't the banks seek collateral security when Kingfisher Airlines asked for loans? Is it because Mallya was an MP? 

Now we hear that crores will be written off since Mallya is not personally liable. The salary for the staff at KF, as well the whole loan can easily be covered by Mallya. Instead this playboy is busy holidaying in UK and advising Indians. He dares talk about India when all he has done is rob them.

"Last year's race was a tremendous success. I'm sure we can expect an equally spectacular event this year. Buddh International Circuit always looks after us very well and I know that they have been working hard behind the scenes to fine-tune the circuit and facilities even more.

Today our FM says that our farmers are honest but only poor and hence loans should be given to them. What sympathy! If only a miniscule % of money that the banks indulge in the way of loans given off/ written off for the biggies, is used in better ways, this country can support the hardworking farmers in a big way. The below is the story of one farmer who killed himself - Nagalinga Reddy. There are scores of others who die for the lack of a 1 or 2 lakhs and whom the banks hound without any respite. When banks don't mind writing off loans in crores for a few, the rest are forced to depart from this world.

He was $9,000 in debt to three banks, one cooperative society and moneylenders. Bank officers regularly came to visit, and one bank took legal action. The moneylenders regularly harassed him. He avoided the ignominy of having the cooperative society post a public notice saying his land would be auctioned only by paying them a small sum.

Our FM continues to say the following:

The finance minister further said that if a corporate borrower fails to pay the loan, it is the bank which suffers, not the borrower.

And why dear FM? Why should the banks suffer? Have you made specific laws to make it thus?

People like Mallya continue to be an hero to many since they seem to get away with anything. His only business is the business of indulgence. He has also carved a generation to copy this way of living too.

Can Mallya be brought back to India to pay for the collateral damage?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why this fixation?

Yet another discussion in Twitter made me realize that the media fixes our focus on certain issues, states etc. It all started with the BBC article on Haryana and "Why rural sexual violence remains rife in India" … The reasons for the same has been blogged, discussed fought over upteen times by many. The following are some of the reasons that we have been hearing and is reported by BBC.

"I'll tell you the main reason for these rapes," explains Suresh Koth, one of the elders.
"Just look at what's in the newspapers, on television. Topless women. This is what's corrupting our youth. After all this is India, not Europe."
One council elder was reported as saying that girls should be forced to marry young to protect them from rapists. Others routinely blame Western influences.  
But when I tweeted that topless women are elsewhere too but why rape happens mostly in Haryana, I was asked if there is a basis for "rape happens mostly in Haryana".  This made me check into existing reports and the result was scary. Haryana is behind some other states! Please have a look at the following chart:

This means that while the nation focus on Haryana, rapists in other states are getting away. What attracts the media towards Haryana? The Khaps?

Now if you are wondering like my friend if MP has more rapes due to to it's high population then why not Punjab (479)  and Chhatisgarh (1053) which is similar in population to Haryana (733) ?  

When it comes to major cities Delhi (453) is a hopeless case and Mumbai (221) comes second in the incidence of rape.

And if less women are reporting to the police in Haryana, the media should be picking up even less. So are the women in MP least bothered when they are raped? Or is the local and national media hesitant to print it? If so why? 

Ahmedbad in Gujarat, Asansol in WB, Dhanbad & Jamshedpur  in Jhakarnd, also Bangalore in Karnataka were the  best cities for women and children during year 2009 since no rape was reported. Unfortunately it has changed drastically. I have added the 2009 figures later.

But why is our media fixated on Haryana?  To shame someone? The government in power? But whatever, it is good if authorities compared such data to see why rapes occur in some states/cities and not in others. What are the factors that aid the rapists? The media did report in general about but when it comes to individual incidence the readers as well as the media seem to prefer Haryana. Until I looked at this report I was under the impression that there is no state worse than Haryana. Also I was under the impression that Bombay is a women friendly city but although it is not as bad as Delhi, it still comes second. 

As for Kerala, it is worse. It has also become number one for overall crimes. But I do wonder if it because crimes are reported without any fear in Kerala unlike some other states.

The original reports can be downloaded from this site and the following is a copy of the discussed matter.

Incidence of Rape in Year 2009 - State Wise

Incidence of Rape in Major Cities - Year 2009

Blog Archive