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.

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