The Forthright http://www.theforthright.com Thu, 21 May 2015 06:47:52 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Aruna Shanbaug: A Tribute to the ‘Iconic’ Nurses http://www.theforthright.com/aruna-shanbaug-a-tribute-nurses/ http://www.theforthright.com/aruna-shanbaug-a-tribute-nurses/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 06:46:16 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3809 Aruna Shanbaug passed away on 18th May 2015. This is a tribute to the noble soul and to the nurses who took care of her all these years. The face of euthanasia debate in India died from pneumonia after being in persistent vegetative state for nearly 42 years. Much has been written about her. I am sure generations to come will know about this woman, who despite being in a vegetative state, moved the country.

I would like to thank Pinki Virani who filed the plea for euthanasia for Aruna. But for Pinki, India would have forgotten her magnificent yet melancholy daughter. Of course, for Aruna emotions didn’t exist or perhaps they did – I don’t know, I don’t even want to enter in her heart and feel her pain. Not because I am indifferent but because the thought itself terrifies me. When I read her story for the first time in the March of 2011, I couldn’t sleep for days. Her pain so real, I could almost touch it. I could feel the cold, dog-chain around my neck that choked Aruna. I could see myself splattered in blood. I experienced the breathlessness she might have endured. That man who sodomized her was strangely standing in front of me and I could do nothing. Nothing. The sheer helplessness of the circumstances makes me deranged in an aggressive way. I just don’t want to enter her heart, feel her emotions or live her life. Aruna’s tragic life is an epitome of meanness life can bestow upon human beings. Each time I read about her, my faith in the Almighty is left questioned. I tear up in a way I would hate to tear up again. If there is just one prayer which can be answered, then let no one ever suffer her fate again!!

As a child my father would recite to me stories about great women. He would quote these ordinary looking women, whose courage and affection made this world a better place to live.Jeanne d’Arc, Rani of Jhansi, Chandbibi were a regular feature in my bed-time stories. Once he told me the story of ‘the lady with the lamp’, Florence Nightingale. The nurse who served soldiers wounded in war. She never married because she was convinced marriage would interfere with her ability to follow her calling to nursing. Initially I didn’t believe someone like her would have existed and thought it to be a made up story. Today I know of about a hundred Florence Nightingales existing in the campus of King Edward Memorial Hospital. These nurses took care of Aruna without complaining, tirelessly for 42 years. They fought against the euthanasia plea and celebrated when honorable Supreme Court ruled in their favor. For them Aruna was their beloved child and they did what any mother would do for her child. Aruna could become the longest surviving coma patient in the world, without a single bed-sore ever, much because of the dedication of these angels.

Imagine this – a woman in coma, lying in a fetal position, menstruating until the age of 48, must have suffered from a bout of diarrhea as well. But none of the nurses in KEM ever complained at the kind of service Aruna received from them. They would lovingly give her a sponge bath every day, affectionately massage oil in to her scalp; one of them might even ask her husband to supply a daily glass of fruit juice for Aruna, free of charge, for over two years. Aruna never wore all-day diapers. It was uncomfortable. Hence, for the past 42 years the nurses would simply check if she had wet herself and change her clothes and linen every time the bed was wet. Diapers were used only during the night time because of staff shortage during night hours.

The strictly vegetarian hospital would allow non-vegetarian food, only for their lifeline Aruna. The nurses could see the happy tinge in Aruna’s eyes when she would eat her favorite fish curry. They would stock for her talcum powder, diapers, Protinex powder, soup sachets to break the monotony of hospital food. In the late 1970s, when Aruna was moved away from KEM, the nurses had participated in a three-day strike and demanded to bring her back. The authorities obliged. The most striking thing about these caregivers is they would go-on without complaining, doing their duties just the way they are supposed too. There was no gossip about Aruna, no drama in taking her care, no seeking of honor for looking after her. They worked just like mothers work, tirelessly, lovingly.

These nurses are epitome of humanity. Even before, when we Indians were searching for a reason to be proud of India, these nurses were silently making us proud for the last 42 years. It was these nurses who fought against mercy killing of Aruna. For them Aruna was hope. A hope living in the Ward 4 of KEM hospital. How could they let this hope be killed? Who would pull the plug off her body? Yes every day was a challenge with her, it would break their hearts to see Aruna in this condition. But they all took this challenge head-on. They made her feel like family, she was loved and cared and was never alone.

Dear nurses of KEM, I salute you with all my heart. Even as I write this, I have tears trickling down my eyes but these are not tears, this is my heart melting for you. You have raised the bar of humanity. If there exists God, then it has to be in you, in your hands, in your heart, in your work. Today I know what nursing is and I am glad I am not in the medical profession, for I can never be as kind as you are. You, for me, are the best examples of compassion. My heart forever will be filled with respect and gratitude for nurses. You are the living Florence Nightingales of India and the world. Thank you so much for restoring faith in humankind.

As for the doctor, who was madly in love with Aruna, who kept visiting her for next fours years in the hope of a miracle – to you my Sir, I bow in respect. Love is certainly immortal.

Aruna Shanbag – The lady who gave us hope, love and compassion, may your soul rest in peace!

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Janata Parivar Merger: Facts you must know http://www.theforthright.com/janata-parivar-merger-facts/ http://www.theforthright.com/janata-parivar-merger-facts/#respond Tue, 21 Apr 2015 07:51:58 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3804 This is a quick sum up of Janata Parivar Merger Facts.

# Janata Parivar Merger took place on 15th April, 2015.

# Six socialist parties that merged to become the larger Janata Parivar are: Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (Secular), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Janata Dal (United), Indian National Lok Dal and Samajwadi Janata Party.

Janata Parivar Merger Facts

# The prominent leader of these parties respectively are:

Samajwadi Party: Mulayam Singh Yadav

Rashtriya Janata Dal: Lalu Prasad Yadav

Janata Dal (Secular): HD Deve Gowda

Janata Dal (United): Nitish Kumar

Indian National Lok Dal: Om Prakash Chauthala

Samajwadi Janata Party: Kamal Morarka

# The group will be led by Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, at whose Delhi residence the merger took place as well.

# All the parties that are now part of Janata Parivar used to be part of a now dysfunctional political party-Janata Dal. BJP which was then called Jan Sangh also used to be a part of the Janata Dal.

# The intent of the Janata Parivar leaders behind forging the merger is to emerge as a credible opposition to BJP at the centre. However, political analysts are calling the merger an attempt to win Bihar Assembly Elections due at the end of 2015. Assembly Elections are also due in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.

# Together the Janata Parivar now has 15 Member of Parliaments in the Lok Sabha and 30 in Rajya Sabha

#Their most strong footing is in Bihar. RJD and JD(U) though did not contest elections together in Lok Sabha 2014 but they hold a similar vote share. They also put up an impressive show in by-elections to 2014 Lok Sabha elections when JD(U) fought along with RJD and Congress.

# According to a Times of India report, they will contest adopt Samajwadi Party’s election symbol of ‘cycle’. However, there has been no formal announcement in this regard so far.

 

 

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Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to Contest Bihar Assembly Elections 2015 http://www.theforthright.com/jharkhand-mukti-morcha-jmm-to-contest-bihar-assembly-elections-2015/ http://www.theforthright.com/jharkhand-mukti-morcha-jmm-to-contest-bihar-assembly-elections-2015/#respond Mon, 20 Apr 2015 07:28:18 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3786 Jharkhand Mukti Morcha will contest Bihar Assembly Elections. This was announced by the newly appointed working President of the party Hemant Soren.

hemant-soren-president-jmm

Soren has also been the Chief Minister of Jharkhand state in the past. Jharkhand state was carved out of Bihar almost a decade ago. Hemant Soren expressed confidence that the party will do good in those areas of Bihar which are adjoining Jharkhand such as Jamui. He, however has clarified that the party will take a final decision only after consulting the Bihar state unit of the party.

JMM had won just one seat in the previous Bihar Assembly Elections.

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I Do Not believe in Fairytales, I Believe in Myself http://www.theforthright.com/i-do-not-believe-in-fairytales-i-believe-in-myself/ http://www.theforthright.com/i-do-not-believe-in-fairytales-i-believe-in-myself/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 09:56:43 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3731 I just returned from watching Cinderella, the movie and must agree it is a flick with beautiful looking actors and actresses, gorgeous dresses, breathtaking cinematography and some amazing lines. Feature this one – Have courage and be kind, a simple line but has such deep meaning attached to it. And this is where my review of the movie stops and my analysis starts.

I don't believe in fairytales

Why do all fairy tales need to have a girl who is beautiful but financially devoid  waiting for a prince to come and rescue her from her poor condition and then they get to live happily ever after. Is there truly anything like ‘happily ever after’? I read somewhere we must read out fairy tales to kids so they become intelligent. Agreed. But don’t you think sometimes at least there must be logic to every fairy tale?

In Cinderella, Ella needs a fairy godmother to turn a pumpkin in to a carriage, a beautiful blue-colored gown and glass slippers (or whatever they are called). How many of us will get one in real life? But perhaps by selling a thousand pumpkins per year (or maybe more), many Ellas can get a carriage out of the money they make. Or maybe they can make some other wise decision rather than buying a carriage. Almost every other fairy tale shows a beautiful, delicate girl with a tiny waist and a handsome prince eyeing on her. But life is more than a slender waist and a beautiful gown. There aren’t just slender, white girls. There are girls like you and me. We are stocky, thin and fat. We are white, black and brown. We may or may not have a figure to die for but definitely have a heart wanting to be loved.

However the filmmakers and the fairy tale writers never thought from this angle. Beauty is beautiful because she is slim and fair, Cinderella is beautiful because she is slim and fair, and Snow white is beautiful because, ah, you guessed it right! Where does this end? In the story it ends in the arms of the prince but reality is stark different.

I have nothing against these fairy tales but with changing times the fairy tales have to change. They are no longer relevant. I completely disagree the way Ella took all the crap from her step mother just because she felt obliged to the promise she gave to her parents. In reality we all know what would have happened – her step mother would have got her married to an old dying suitor or worse sold her off at a brothel. We have to teach our girls to stand up and fight against the wrongs forced on them. Courage lies in confronting the situation and thinking intelligently to move out of it. In the movie Ella was kind and there is no doubt about this but she wasn’t courageous. She didn’t even open the doors of her windows when the prince came with his soldiers. The mice had to do that. For me that was blasphemy. No mice or goose or lizard will change the situation for you. Your own self-confidence would definitely do that. And this self-confidence is magic. We don’t need a fairy godmother but our inner strength which will change our current situation. I don’t promise the change will be good but I can definitely say it will be worth the effort.

The movie does make an important statement though – Just because it’s what’s done doesn’t mean it’s what should be done! My point exactly, why did you go the conventional way Mr. Director? Why not chart this story unconventionally? Why this Cinderella didn’t make an effort to run away from her house? Why didn’t she expose the atrocities of her step mother when she met the prince at the ball? Why didn’t she use the opportunities at hand? Why was she so conventional? Why wasn’t she like Joan of Arc or Rani of Jhansi? Both these women didn’t cow down to the circumstances imposed on them rather fought like warriors and this is what makes them beautiful. Not their external beauty but their will to fight against all odds whether they lose or win this is what makes them gorgeous.

Ella was gorgeous but for me she was a dupe. I wouldn’t want to be Ella. I can’t see myself at the mercy of others. If I can’t protect myself how will I ever protect my people? In the end the movie does preach – we must be our self. But we must be what we are not just once a day or twice a month. It is not a medicine. We must be our self every minute, every second. There is no fun in living a pretentious life or wearing glass slippers. Life is book and you are your own character. There is no fun in playing another person or waiting for a rescue team. You are the best person to help yourself.

I would be lying if I say I don’t believe in magic. After all we are living on a blue planet that revolves around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea – enough reason to believe in miracles. But miracles don’t happen by themselves. This blue planet and everything associated with it takes help from gravity. Your gravity is your self-confidence which will see you through. This self-confidence goes hand in hand with honesty. If you are honest you will always have the self-confidence to face the wrongs and then you won’t need a prince. Perhaps the prince may need you, but you will always have the choice to lead the way or help the prince.

Believe in yourself. You are the best version of yourself whichever shape, size or color you maybe.

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Why Subramanian Swamy’s arguments against Rafale are ridiculous ? http://www.theforthright.com/why-subramanian-swamys-arguments-against-rafale-are-ridiculous/ http://www.theforthright.com/why-subramanian-swamys-arguments-against-rafale-are-ridiculous/#respond Sat, 11 Apr 2015 08:49:02 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3684 India is finally going to buy Multi role fighter jet Dessault Rafale. BJP leader Subramaniyan Swamy is opposing the deal to buy Rafale. He has raised some arguments against the french fighter jet lets check out how valid they are. 

1. Subramaniyan Swamy says it is not fuel efficient

Fighter planes are not selected on the basis of fuel efficiency Mr. Swamy. If fuel efficiency matters the most why not ask the govt to ban all cars except Tata Nano ? The argument that it is less fuel efficient is also incorrect it consumes less fuel than Euro-fighter. Fuel efficiency also depends a lot on the type of mission carried out.   Any way fuel efficiency is never the criteria of selecting a fighter plane.

2. No other country has purchased it 

The needs of every country is different. It all depends on the threat perception. Not everyone country has hostile neighbors like China and Pakistan. Not every country needs a multi role fighter like Rafale. Egypt has placed orders to buy Rafale, Swami’s argument that no country has purchased it is also not correct. Qatar is also in final stage of talk with the French government  over acquiring Rafale.  Its true that Rafale was rejected by some countries. Canada and Brazil has rejected it, they don’t have bigger threats to face, so they preferred cheaper jets over costly Rafale. How many countries have fought four war likes us who rejected Rafale ? Swamy should ask this question to himself.

3. It performed poor 

Out of the three fighter planes who qualified with the Indian Air Force requirement  only Rafle is the one which has participated in War. Gripen and Eurofighter has not participated in any war. Rafale successfully did many bombing operations in Afghanistan and Libya. Swami’s argument that Rafale is an under-performer is totally baseless.

swami on rafale

Why Rafale is best for us ?

Indian air force is  familiar with French warplanes such as the Mirage. Mirage did a great job in Kargil war. There had been no supply issue with France when we were in the War. France is a reliable partner. France was the only Western nation that did not imposed sanctions on us after Pokharan Nuclear test.  On the other hand Eurofighter is jointly made by five countries. Its parts are manufactured by different countries and we don’t have equally healthy relation with all those five countries. Unit-wise, the French plane is much cheaper than the Eurofighter. Rafale also has a naval variant which could be of future interest to India.

Rafale is nuclear-capable and will replace the Mirage 2000N in French service as the carrier of the newly-upgraded ASMP/A nuclear stand-off missile; it is also capable of firing the AM-39 Exocet missile, giving it an anti-ship capability that its competitors do not have.

You can check this post for more detailed comparison of Rafale with Eurofighter SU 30 F18 etc

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“If India wins World Cup, Hyper Masculine Nationalism will become Intense” http://www.theforthright.com/if-india-wins-world-cup-hyper-masculine-nationalism-will-become-intense/ http://www.theforthright.com/if-india-wins-world-cup-hyper-masculine-nationalism-will-become-intense/#respond Mon, 23 Mar 2015 12:08:38 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3678 If the headline of this post irked you, welcome to many more logical Indians who feel the same and if you did not feel offended by the absurdity of the headline, then this post is for you only! Read On:

india-s-650_011515112941

As we wait for India to clash with Australia in the semi finals, Outlook magazine runs a poll ‘Should India win the World Cup?’ There are hundreds of such polls on the internet, but what makes this poll disturbing is the Ashis Nandy quote they use. “Winning the World Cup might just make India’s macho and hyper masculine nationalism more intense…the fear is that majoritarian nationalism will become more aggressive” opines the sociologist. When I first read it, I wondered if it was hoax. But Outlook wouldn’t run a hoax. The theory is difficult to believe at all levels.

As a woman I have known no other sport. I was in school, class 10, when the first Sahara Cup was played in Toronto. I would watch matches till 3. AM, wake up at 6.30 AM for school and then after the first couple of periods fake illness and sleep in the infirmary. Cricket never occurred to me as a ‘masculine’ thing. Painting faces, knowing facts and figures right, cheering and grieving has been a part of life almost as long as I remember.

How often have we heard, ‘nothing unifies India, like cricket’? And there sure is some truth to it. People differ on a host of topics, but when it comes to cricket, they stick to each other and cheer for the team. Nandy’s theory not only belittles the spirit of cricket in the country, it also mocks the lives of all those who have loved the game. Fans, cricketers, commentators included. We all know of the great Sachinist Sudhir Gautam and how he has left it all for the game. There are many nameless fans who have sacrificed one thing or the other to just watch the game; fans who have died of heart attacks!

Cricket in India was never about ‘majoritarian’ preferences. Talk about Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and every true blooded cricket fan will venerate him.  Or Vijay Hazare? Wouldn’t we all stop for a moment and thank him for all he has done for our country? How proud we have been about Mohammad Azharuddin – the wristy magician.  Or when Zaheer Khan (and Gambhir, Yuvraj and Shewag) didn’t find a place in the Indian World Cup squad, the fans were shocked. Did majority/ minority have anything to play? I remember how we had squealed in joy as we watched Irfan Pathan sign autographs in Eden Gardens. Seeing him in such close proximity made the test match just feel better.

I am sorry Mr. Nandy. Your idea has no basis. The coach of the current team, Duncan Fletcher is not limited to a certain vote bank. Or my personal favourite Gary Kirsten is not part of any ‘majoritarian’ conspiracy!  I hope you remember him as India’s coach in 2011!

I have often wondered why India is so obsessed with cricket. Is it because the Indian team is a representation of what we Indians are? We are emotional people and so are our cricketers. The team captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni hasn’t met his baby girl yet. The new father says he is on ‘national duty’.  Cricket didn’t come to Dhoni on a platter, and the man has not only made it big from a small town, but also from a modest background.

Maybe all our cricketers have such stories. A sister supports her 13 year old brother and since the cricket coaching centre is 7 to 8 kms away from home, she escorts him till he knows the route. Today we know that man as Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. His mother, a housewife had little knowledge of the game, and his sub inspector father couldn’t find enough time for his son’s cricket. The struggle wasn’t easy.

Or let us take the case of the toast of Indian cricket, Virat Kohli, who played for his state team Delhi and then went to his father’s funeral. Or Unmesh Yadav. When he had got his first call form the Vidharba Cricket association the man had no bowling shoes or even a mobile phone.

Shouldn’t India’s progress in the 2015 world cup be seen as a celebration of the never dying spirit of the country? Isn’t wishing the team’s loss to Bangladesh (the theory being it would deflate some egos), outright funny? Or a little provocative for the now angry social media! What is the new era of ‘liberals’ playing at?  Indian cricket is so full of stories of winning against odds that one could write an epic on it. Why did Sachin Tendulkar’s brother work so hard for him? Why did Rahul Dravid play with the extremely painful ear surgery? Why did Shewag travel 84 kilometers to train? Why did Irfan and Yusuf Pathan’s father not succumb to taunts? Or why did Sunil Joshi leave his Hubli home at crack of dawn and travel 60 kms? What ‘majoritarian machismo’ could be associated with the history of cricket in India?

And I believe no one told Mr. Nandy about our current hero Mohammad Shami. When the cricket ball is in his hand, we Indians feel safe. We celebrate every wicket he takes and appeal every time he does.  Or Stuart Binny! And we will do the same if Parvez Rasool gets similar kind of success. Cricket for us is not just about the glamour. It is about the daily struggles and human stories associated with the game.

Cricket is a beautiful game. Please stop politicizing and communalizing it. Let us get together and Celebrate India.

P.S   The space constraint forces me to leave out more stories of fans and cricketers. There is a struggle in each capped player’s life. I hope we stop playing filthy games with the sport.

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Ban not okay but BBC Documentary on Nirbhaya made me absolutely uncomfortable http://www.theforthright.com/ban-not-okay-but-bbc-documentary-on-nirbhaya-made-me-absolutely-uncomfortable/ http://www.theforthright.com/ban-not-okay-but-bbc-documentary-on-nirbhaya-made-me-absolutely-uncomfortable/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:17:57 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3674 16 December gang rape accused Mukesh Singh’s views as shown in the BBC Documentary did not shock me. Someone who had the mindset to be part of a heinous gang rape can also be expected to hold those views. I didn’t expect him to suddenly send out signs of remorse.

nirbhaya-case-convicts

I was not particularly interested in watching the Nirbhaya documentary. But with too many advocates of free speech (who preach free speech but will tag and inbox you, until you say yes to their theory), I did take a chanced glance at the documentary. The government ban made sure a not very well made documentary got the maximum eye balls. While I see no reason in banning a documentary (an open forum to discuss the film would score better than a ban); I sincerely hope BBC does a documentary on say a 13 year old Miley Dowler and names it UK’s daughter( or the Rotterdam sex crimes). Or a documentary on the Jewish woman in France and names it France’s daughter. On the 19year old gang rape victim of Saudi Arabia (who also gets whipped as per Sharia law) and names it Saudi’s daughter. Rape is not an Indian phenomenon. Can we please say this loudly and clearly to the world? There is no geographical specification attached to the word rape.

   The Nirbhaya incident brings back bitter memories, but it also reminds us of a courageous woman who fought her attackers and as her light went out, gave a voice to countless other victims. I do not know what rules this documentary flouted or if this was an attempt to malign India’s image. But as a woman (who has faced sexual harassment at workplace, been groped in buses) and as an Indian the furor over this documentary forces me to look for a few answers:

  1. Weren’t we always averse to being called mothers, sisters and daughters? Didn’t we women always seek identity as an individual? Would the name ‘Indians Daughter’ make you so emotional had it been made by a nameless Indian filmmaker? A BBC tag conveniently does away with the ‘patriarchy’ angle? Or does the award work in the favor?
  2. How often have we criticized journalists for interviewing families of blast/rape victims! The general opinion being – how would a family feel in such circumstances? Was it absolutely essential to put the woman’s parents through the pain all over again? Is journalism about pulling up hapless pasts to get some international fame? And please do not forget how visuals of victim’s crying mother were arranged in the video while editing to bring maximum effect.
  3. Why is the nation so outraged with this documentary? Aren’t the countless rapes in India enough to ‘wake you from slumber’? The victim’s friend was on a Television Channel a couple of years back. Where was this outrage or solidarity then? Or do you need someone to suddenly come to this country and rescue you? The views of Nirbhaya’s rapist have ‘disgusted’ all. But what were we expecting the rapist to say? What will a man who took part in the crime (and the gory murder) say? Fall on his knees and ask redemption? Has it ever occurred to any of the viewers that he encourages more and more rapists to kill their victims – “The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, “Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.” Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”Will BBC or its supporters take responsibility if Mukesh Singh’s statement leads to more loses of life? Giving a convict a platform for hate speech doesn’t help Nirbhaya’s cause or any of the victims of this country. The gory details about pulling out the woman’s intestines will change anything for women and India? It will make the average men on the street look at women with respect? The lawyer’s statements too are nothing new. These echoes are heard from some of our men in power and of course some undisputed saints of the country. Is it necessary to play and replay his dialogs? If so what contribution does it do to our cause of safety?
  4. The rapist’s family had no participation in his crime. Don’t you think interviewing them is also shaming them; making them vulnerable to countless of people? And what about arming the rapist with 40,000 rupees for his statements? How does that help to empower or ensure a safety of any woman in this country?

Does the generalization of Indian men make you comfortable? There is not a potential rapist in every corner of India. There are countless groups who are working for the safety of women in this country; for rights of the victim and for justice. An exploitative narrative does no good to our cause. I fail to understand one thing – the protests and faceless men and women braving lathis couldn’t wake us up? What changed with this documentary?

P.S – Dear government, thanks for the ban, the not very convincing documentary has now become a must watch!

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Sting accuses AAP Convenor Arvind Kejriwal of Horse Trading Congress MLAs http://www.theforthright.com/sting-accuses-aap-convenor-arvind-kejriwal-of-horse-trading-congress-mlas/ http://www.theforthright.com/sting-accuses-aap-convenor-arvind-kejriwal-of-horse-trading-congress-mlas/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2015 10:46:33 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3671 A sting has surfaced today that shows AAP leader Rajesh Garg in a conversation with Arvind Kejriwal where he is suggesting him to buy support of 6 Congress MLAs to make government. The sting also suggests involvement of Manish Shishodiya. The sting has led to outrage against the Aam Aadmi Party which is already battling infighting between Yogendra Yadav- Prashant Bhushan and Kejriwal Camp.

arvind kejriwal elections

Arvind Kejriwal had started the party along with other members of the India Against Corruption front to give clean politics to Indians. However, this sting has ended up exposing the hypocrisy of AAP leaders.

AAP Leader Anjali Damania has quit AAP publicly through a tweet in which she has also posted a link to the sting.

Damania tweeted, “I backed Arvind (Kejriwal) for principles not Horse-trading”

Meanwhile, Rajesh Garg, the person who has made the sting public has expressed a threat to life.

Watch the sting:

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Open letter to PM Modi: Please remove the ban from Nirbhayaa Documentary http://www.theforthright.com/open-letter-to-pm-modi-please-remove-the-ban-from-nirbhayaa-documentary/ http://www.theforthright.com/open-letter-to-pm-modi-please-remove-the-ban-from-nirbhayaa-documentary/#respond Wed, 11 Mar 2015 07:58:07 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3669 “Let us not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless when facing them”
-Rabindranath Tagore

Respected Mr. Prime Minister,

With such an uproar being created over the telecast of Leslie Udwin’s documentary- India’s Daughter, let me tell you that while this may be the first of its kind to create a stir, it will certainly not be the last. The documentary is meant to shock us to the core. What happened with Nirbhayaa was not only brutal but also barbaric!

women are not responsible for rape

 

It cost an innocent girl her life. And was this her fault? Yes, it was her fault for venturing out of her house at 8 pm in the capital of our country, says the 23-year-old rapist at the time of the event. Were we expecting the accused to be guilty? Were they supposed to be remorseful? Of course not. If the rapists had any kind of conscience, such a heinous act would not have occurred in the first place. However, let’s heave a sigh of relief that they are in jail- and our streets are safe from such predators.

But they aren’t alone. What about others out there? What about the defense lawyers? One of them openly claimed to burning the women of his house for indulging in pre-marital sex. And mind you, these are not the views of the criminal minded. These are educated individuals living in our so-called society. They’re all free to roam the streets in our democratic and secular country. To put things into perspective, every 21 minutes, a woman is raped in our country. This is excludes molestation, burns, domestic violence and acid attacks. Marital rape isn’t even included in the definition of rape in our constitution. What’s more, a grim number of one million female fetuses have been aborted causing unequal sex ratios. Studies by a number of women’s activist groups in the country indicate that poor and conservative attitudes about women have contributed to worsening this situation. It is this mind set, I believe, from where the problem stems in the first place and has led to all sorts of atrocities against women.

Nirbhayaa was called such because she became a voice, a symbol for others to speak up. In her pain she found courage. India’s Daughter is a stark reminder for our country to wake up and face this grim issue. Three years on, India needs to shine its own light, not be afraid of the darkness. Why is it that we attempted to hide the documentary? Are we trying to protect India from the regressive views of the lawyers and the accused, which comes across in statements like, “Women are diamonds, if left on the street they will be feasted on by dogs.” By hiding this mindset we are protecting such people and indirectly paving the way for others to think along the same lines. We are already labelled as a country where women are unsafe, let’s not be the ones who are voiceless and spineless.

Our true battle lies in changing this mind set; not banning the film. Through this documentary, India’s Daughter(s) plight has been showcased not just to India, but to the world. Let the world see it. Let them know and be shocked. Let India be ashamed. Let India awake. Perhaps this knowledge and shame will compel people to change. One can only hope.

I do hope you know that hiding something only makes it more enticing. The stir created by the ban on this documentary has only publicized it more. Those who wouldn’t have watched this documentary otherwise will watch it now. As for the media channels running #NirbhayaInsulted, I’m sure she would be happier if there were laws being created to stop such crimes. Instead of raging over issues such as insensitivity and morality, let us tackle the bigger issues at hand- ensuring that our women- the pillars upon which the future of this nation rests are respected, safe and empowered. It is only then that the wheels of progress will truly turn. Until then, rest assured that many more Nirbhayaas will speak up and will raise their voice.

Yours truly,
Another Nirbhayaa

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Five Myths That Nirbhaya Documentary Shatters http://www.theforthright.com/five-myths-that-nirbhaya-documentary-shatters/ http://www.theforthright.com/five-myths-that-nirbhaya-documentary-shatters/#respond Thu, 05 Mar 2015 10:07:02 +0000 http://www.theforthright.com/?p=3666 #1 Whenever any set of Indian parents decides to buck the trend of saving for a daughter’s marriage and then deciding to spend it on their careers instead, people around them often remark, “you will regret this”. Nirbahaya’s parents did the same. They spent the amount allocated for her marriage on her education instead. They gave her freedom to take her own decisions. I am sure people must have warned them with consequences of such drastic decisions. Unfortunately, the consequences did take place as well. But did the parents regret that freedom? No! The best thing about the whole episode is that it is the rapists’ family who is running for cover and not Nirbhaya’s parents who are so very proud!

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#2 All of us were thinking that death penalty will give a much-sought sense of closure to the case. We thought death is the highest form of punishment that will bring remorse to the accused who would regret committing such a ghastly act. Suicide by the main accused strenghtned our belief in the power of death sentence. But as the documentary shows, we were wrong.  Driver of the bus is far from sorry. He calls it an accident. Family of the rapists is also wondering, what exactly is the big deal? What do we learn from the lack of remorse? That violence against women is so pervasive and has been internalized by our society that death sentence evokes a sense of shock as to what’s so special about the case that got the whole country boiling?

#3 We thought our ruling section has matured with time. We thought the powerful have also become sensible to the cause of feminism. We thought introspection is a must as a society. And the lessons learned from the Nirbhaya case will pave for a deeper healing- at the societal level, mental level and not just the legal outcome. We were wrong. Government immidiately banned the movie! We just thought our politicians understand the pulse of the country, we were so wrong. Another myth shattered.

#4 We thought the west has finally stopped judging us. We thought the diad of east-west was a thing of the past. We thought our vibrant civil society is now recognized all over the world but we wrong. The documentary maker has just generalized our Indian society as a sick society . I wonder where else in the world do we see a democratic country as huge as ours erupting in anger over violence against women? It is the same society that has helped her make the documentary a possibility. Can she do that if India was really a sick society? And she got no one to speak from the Indian academia? She had to look at an oxford academic to make sense of the series of events? When is this going to stop? When will we speak for ourselves in our own vocablury?

#5 Finally the biggest myth shattered was that we Indians are an insensible lot. We are couch potatoes, too innocent to be judging the images shown on TV and too lazy to be looking for images that show a wider picture of reality. It was a great sign of relief, when the facebook feed was full of people sharing link of the documentary. The ban did not stop us from knowing what we wanted to know. Now that we know, we also want to know why the ban?

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