Posts Tagged With: news

You know what a bannequin is?

It’s a mannequin that’s banned. Yes. You can unburrow your eyebrows now. Because that’s exactly what it is. And I do believe the first of the species will soon be seen in Bombay. Why? Read on.

A large number of people in the government (it’s always people in the government) recently put their heads together and concluded that lingerie-clad mannequins arouse lust in men. And these feelings then lead to sexual crimes against women. So, instead of attempting to educate, sensitize, or otherwise change gender perceptions in society, they have decided to cleanse and purify window displays.

As the article says, the proposed law gives civic officials the power to simply walk into department stores and ask shopkeepers to take off a lust inducing mannequin. I’m almost certain there will be certain fines involved, perhaps even small jail terms for those who choose not to abide.

What’s interesting to me is that the law was proposed by a woman. A BJP Corporator called Ritu Tawde. The fact that she firmly believes in mannequins being powerful and provocative sources of sexual crimes against women is saddening. It’s like saying a child abuse survivor proposes to ban candy because the act of eating / licking it creates excitement in the mind of a perpetrator.

When will we ever try and point a finger in the right direction? When will we admit that we have a real problem at our hands? And when will we really do something concrete about it?

As of now, we stick with mannequins and food being prime culprits in all sexual crimes.

If this excites you, you've got another thing coming.

If this excites you, you’ve got another thing coming.

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: India, news, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On my return from the darkness, and other news

Hello, world!

I’ve been away far too long for most of you to remember me. But for those of you who do, I got busy with something irrelevant: my life. It involved a move from Bangalore to Bombay. And I believe I’ll be eternally thankful for that. For among other smaller reasons, you can actually live in Bombay without regretting the day of your birth. And that’s exactly what I mean to do. Bangalore did barely anything to help my personal growth. As a matter of fact, it did everything possible to stunt and hamper. But I’m happy to be back in Bombay, and I’m happy to be posting here again.

In other news, a Member of the Indian Parliament (MP) recently walked out of the Lok Sabha while the ‘national song’ was still playing. And as always, this has caused tempers to fling themselves, and blood to boil. Some might consider the reactions valid. Some may go ahead and violently support them.

But what is it aside from a displaced sense of patriotism that irks them so? If you asked me, I’d say pretty much nothing. Aside from, perhaps, a sense of control over all things individual. Why else would one person decide for another when they should behave in a particular fashion and when not? Here again, many would argue that it’s a government that’s deciding things, not an individual. And that only makes things worse. Why then, do we call it a democracy? Isn’t it closer to a group of dictators?

On the one hand, people shout themselves hoarse for their freedom of expression, and on the other, they say you must respect a song by standing at attention whenever it plays. How does this schizophrenic system really work? I don’t suppose there’s really a way to find out.

Do you?

Peace,
K

Categories: India, news, politics, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gone in 60 seconds. Or maybe a little more…

This may not be the best image for this post. But then again, we don’t always use images that go along with wat we’re writing, do we? To continue! Last night, a most disconcerting thing happened to me on Bangalore‘s Inner Ring Road. I was on my way back home from work in an auto – which, I recollect, did not display the auto driver’s card as the law requires. On this road comes a dark stretch devoid of street lamps or other buildings. And on days when there isn’t much traffic on the road, it gets lonelier still. Last night was one of those nights.

And as it would happen, the auto driver asked me if it was alright for him to relieve himself. Clearly, not being his master, I said he was free to. Only, it turned out it was me he wanted to relieve. Of my wallet, my watch and my laptop bag. Because in a matter of just 10 seconds or so, he was back with three other men – complete with knives and a short, thick wooden stick.

Truth be spoken, it was a bit scary to be shoved in the face with a knife. So I didn’t offer much of a fight and let one of them grab at my wristwatch. Then I was asked to hand over my wallet. Which also, I did, because there must have been all of 30 rupees in it at the time. That and an old debit card which is so bent out of shape that only I know how to use it.

Finally, they decided they wanted my bag as well. A little foolish something inside me told them that I’d given them enough and I wasn’t going to let them take my bag. The next instant, I saw the stick coming in the direction of my temple. I was able to block if off with my hand – which my sore elbow is still complaining about. Somehow, I managed to swing the bag at them and I believe the laptop inside got two of them on the head. I reckon they were a bit startled and backed off just a step. I found this moment just enough to kick one of them below the belt and make a run for it.

Fortunately, a passing car let me in and dropped me to another auto, the driver of which decided not to mug me.

The point I’m trying to make is, this is a part of the city – a major part of the city – that doesn’t have so much as five working street lamps on the way. And because there are no buildings of any sort around this road, it gets darker still at night. Plus, having patrol vans at only two ends of the road (not every night either) doesn’t exactly help matters.

This is a citizen’s request: Can we please have working street lamps throughout this stretch? And for heaven’s sake, can we have two or three police cars patrolling the empty stretch every night? Or do a thousand of us have to go hold a rally which no one will really care about?

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: cops, news, observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Recipe for rape: Add chow mein to taste.

original image courtesy evanwarfel.blogspot.com

There is a man called Jitender Chatter in India. He is part of the Gram Panchayat (governing body) of about 25 villages in Haryana. He believes that one of the leading causes of rape in India is the consumption of chow mein – among other fast foods. He believes – and propagates – that because we consume such foods these days, our ‘sex hormones’ run wild. And believe you me, I’m nearly paraphrasing him. He has also suggests that the legal marriagable age of girls be brought down to 16. His reasoning is similar; similarly vague. To his credit, he makes one sane suggestion: about training rural Indian women in self defense. Though, he fails to flesh out the plan and offer any hard solutions about who is going to train them, etcetera.

But, of course, he’s not the only one providing logic for rape. Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of the state of West Bengal, insists that cases of rape are on the rise because men and women interact too freely in an open society which is akin to an open market.  She also reckons that the media not ‘glorify’ rape by talking about it much. One imagines that her suggestion is to swipe this issue under the proverbial carpet. If the CM of a state can issue such statements ‘freely’, I don’t quite follow where my country is headed. Perhaps we should step back a hundred years when holding hands in public was considered obscene?

And then there are the regulars who insist that if only women would ‘know their limits’ and dress appropriately, they would not be raped. This coming from people who are probably not aware that rapes happen in ‘hip’ urban areas as much as in villages where women dress anything but conservatively.

We talk about laws. But what about their implementation? We talk about punishments. But what about the lives of the victims? We talk about freedom of speech. But what about the freedom to live?

Categories: observations, politics, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

We love our children. A tad too much.

original image courtesy indiatoday.in

For the past three weeks, I’ve been working with an NGO that strives to eradicate child sexual abuse from India. Truth be told, they haven’t had much success so far. Primarily because of the sheer size of the country. And secondly, because in India, we prefer not to talk about sensitive issues; no matter if they destroy the country every waking minute. But, in all fairness, at least this organisation is trying.

This morning was my orientation ceremony in the organisation. And frankly it did more to disorient and disillusion me than anything has in the recent past. The facts were disturbing, to say the least. They slapped me in the face and asked me to wake up and do something. And while I don’t mean to ruin your day with this post, I must post some of those facts here so we at least know the magnitude of the problem. And perhaps the extent to which this country is ignoring it.

69% – that’s 2 out of every 3 – of all Indian children have been victims of abuse – sexual, physical or emotional.

To put that fact into perspective, India has a child population of 375 million. Which means we have an abused child population of 25,87,50,000.

89% of all abuse is delivered by a family member or a friend of the family.

Boys, at 72%, are more abused than girls, at 65%.

And here’s what’s even more alarming: Aside from the figures mentioned above, over 70% of all child abuse cases are never spoken about.

But put these facts away for a minute and you’re left with such myths as are hard to understand, much less believe. Here, children are believed to bring the abuse upon themselves by the way they dress and behave. Children also find it difficult to say no to elders while being abused, because our culture teaches them to obey their elders. Only men seem to be perpetrators of this crime. And so many others that I don’t have the gall to mention.

What we’re trying to do as an NGO is educate people about this issue. Give them the information that is essential to bust their myths. Give them a platform of trust where they can talk about and report these issues and occurrences. Since I’ve only recently joined this team, and am not yet jaded with slow results, I’ve been thinking of a lot of ways in which to take this message across to people all over the country. Through street plays, through talk shows on television, through tie-ups with strong columnists, through various advertising media, etcetera.

I was wondering if anyone has any more ideas on how to spread word about the existence of this massive problem, if not yet completely wiping it off the face of the country – and hopefully – the world. I would be most obliged if you could send in your ideas through comments or by email to kahat.kabir.suno@gmail.com

Peace.
Kabir

Categories: observations, strange people | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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