Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Girls, just dont exist

A young girl of 23 years old was gang raped and brutalized in a moving bus in the capital of the country we today label, very proudly, as the upcoming superpower and with much gusto tell each other and others how we are finally leaving behind the ‘developing’ and the ‘third world country’ tags.

Are we?

A country where there is no fear of law, there is no purview of our own perversions, where victims are punished instead of the perpetrators of crime – are we a developed or even a developing country? In fact can we even be called a society?

I don’t think so.

As a woman, as a human, as an identity I don’t think so.

The woman who is fighting for her life in Safdurjung Hospital today has sustained injuries the doctors don’t even want to share, injuries which they have just described as horrific even by what all they see, that woman was not out alone. She was with a male companion and yet…

Which makes me rethink all the guidelines the good people of this society we ‘live’ in mete out to woman for their own safety or so they magnanimously declare –

        A. Don’t go out alone at night, or day time for that matter.
      B. Don’t wear revealing clothes.
      C. Don’t take public transport when alone.
      D. Don’t use private transport when alone late at night.
      E. Don’t stand up for yourself when treated with perversion as it may escalate the anger of the perverts.
      F. Don’t get angry.
      G. Etc etc etc

I have a suggestion…lets add “Don’t live” in the list and solve the problem for once and for all.

Because that’s what we are suggesting through all these amazing helpful words.

Today I would like to ask why are the victims being asked to keep a check on their INNOCENT actions?! Why are they being treated with iron gloves?! Why are they being asked to change their INNOCENT ways because it may INVITE the wrath of the sick assholes this society cant do shit about?!

Why shouldn’t the guidelines be for men? Why shouldn’t they be asked to stay at home? Why shouldn’t they be asked to clean their thoughts? Why shouldn’t they be asked to discard public transport? Why shouldn’t they be made to vacate roads at night? Why shouldn’t they be asked to feel ashamed when they do perverted actions and use perverted words?

The day we are able to answer this question, the day we are able to punish the criminals instead of the victims, maybe then we can call ourselves humans.

The day the “intellectuals”, the “beacons of hopes and leadership”, "the fighters for 'equality'", of this country decide to ask and entertain these questions, maybe we will actually have a light of hope because right now they are too busy either monitoring girls and their behavior (the good old restriction on timings of girls hostel for their own safety of course while the boys who hamper this safety can participate in the night life of this city for all its worth as there wont be any breasts or vaginas to tempt them) or being “politically correct” (“Arrey isko isliye pakda aur usko nahin kyonki yeh toh iss jaat ka hai aur woh uss jaat ka!” or “He is getting punished because he is poor! What about those rich perpetrators of such heinous crimes who live in mansions?!”).

For ONCE, think as humans and not as statues of screwed up righteousness and skewed morality. Just once. Or just add “Girls shouldn’t exist” to the good list you give us and put an end to the charade.

A disturbed 21 year old girl who cannot travel from her University to her house alone without being extremely aware of the fact that she is alone.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Were you stunned today?

There are umpteen times I am stunned in a day.

For instance when I realize I slept with my headphones in my ears.

Or when I am told that my brother ate all the chicken leftover from the night before.

Or when I see a chipkalli sitting on my desk.

Or when I watch on news the complete shameful disgrace of our democracy by the people who are supposed to guard it.

Here I was today, merrily having my dinner of karela (I happen to like it – you may have your stunned moment of the day) when I watched on the news how our parliamentarians made a complete mockery of the words (seem to be just words to them) – Freedom of Speech and Expression.

They were ‘incensed’ (like I was at their sheer thick-headedness) at a particular cartoon (by Shankar) in the NCERT Political Science text book of Class XII which depicts Babasaheb Ambedkar (Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee) and the Prime Minister (Jawaharlal Nehru) both brandishing a whip at the snail pace at which the constitution is being written.

Now, the caption beneath this reads and I quote – “Cartoonist’s impression of the ‘snail’space’ with which the Constitution was made. Making of the Constitution took almost three years. Is the cartoonist commenting on this fact? Why do you think, did the Constituent Assembly take so long to make the Constitution?”

Now the answer to this as far as I can remember was that it was taking them so long because of the intricacies of India’s cultural character and the history with which he had emerged and the will to make a comprehensive constitution with an in depth study of those of other countries like France and the United States…but of course who cares that the answer was in support of the constitution drafting committee…the most important thing there is the whip.

Now here BOTH are brandishing whips and asking the 'snail pace' to hurry up, there is NO question of Nehru being a slave driver or Ambedkar being one. If either is portrayed as that, the other automatically falls in the same ambit.

The point made out here is as Miss. Mayawati (who at the time of writing this seems to be getting embroiled in an ‘Elephant scam’ where she seems to have done massive funds blundering in the task of decorating UP with elephant statues) eloquently puts – “Reacting to the controversy, Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) chief Mayawati said, "Dr Ambedkar is a towering personality, who framed the Constitution of India and the Parliament is running on it. This is an insult on Indian democracy. The government should intervene and take strong action against those, who are involved in this. If it failed to do so, we will wait for two to three days or else our party will not allow the House to run."

The point behind such strong words, you ask?

Err...I don’t know. I doubt anyone does. It is the case of the missing point it seems because whatever point could have been about Nehru threatening Ambedkar seems to have vanished into thin air because Ambedkar too holds a whip, and both are using their respective whips at the snail...

Except of course creating misunderstandings and stupidities galore and not to mention move attention away from other pressing matters like her ‘Elephant scam’ to talk of one...

Anyway, my point with this blog post is to basically praise these books and so here I go –

These two books (Contemporary World Politics and Politics in India since Independence) were the best books in my 14 years in school and certainly in high school where text books matter a lot more than they did before. I remember reading them with so much relish that my mother got suspicious because none of my other books ever got that attention from me. I still have them with me and they are filled with notes I took down during class and otherwise, cartoons filled with little tidbits of analysis as we debated them out in class and basically the sign of a student actually engaging in class...but I guess thats just not required or maybe even frowned down upon – what good could it be for anyone if God forbid, someone engaged in a debate and did not just stage a walk out?

Maybe instead of designing a book which encourages free flow of thoughts and creativity and a will to study and know more and which increases our curiosity level, Prof Yogendra Yadav, Suhas Palshikar and the team behind this book, should have designed a book which directs our behaviour and thoughts and teaches us to choose the way of escape any chance of debate and building a character.

For the way they have been treated with attacks at Suhas Palshikar’s office by a bunch of illiterate goons to them resigning from the post of being advisors to NCERT to the sheer shame of Kapil Sibal, HRD minister, apologizing for the cartoon and vowing to withdraw the book from next year, I just feel terribly sad and scared for the India we seem to be fast creating – always incensed with no sense of intelligent debates and a will to allow dissenting opinions and to talk them over and one which is fearful of standing up against such blatant ignorance and violation of the constitution they seem to think they are defending. A book shouldnt by no means be one which the student likes studying or a teacher (in my case a brilliant one - Mrs. Charu Kalra Singhal) like not at all! We will vehemently oppose all such aggressive dangerous acts, wont we?

This is unfortunately not a lone incident, freedom of speech and expression and the idea of creative freedom has been run down again and again and again over the recent times – the removal of AK Ramanujan’s essay on Ramayana from the Delhi University syllabus, arrest of a professor in West Bengal for making a cartoon of the residing CM and Trinamool Chief – Mamata Banerjee to not allowing Salman Rushdie to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival 2012 to ones in the past such as driving out MF Husain, fondly referred to as India’s Picasso – because no one here had the will to stand up for him even as he took his last breaths away from the country he loved so much, not even a citizen of it as he died.

And sorry too to all those who fought for this country to be free and create its own thoughts.

At the time of writing this, I went on the NCERT website and opened the web version of the book, only to find it printed across the pages – NOT TO BE REPUBLISHED.

I was stunned again.

Its a sad day indeed.

A picture of a typical page in my copy of Contemporary World Politics (I cannot find my copy of the other book...if unable to find it, I will surely buy a copy before it gets lost in selfish politics) –