Saturday, 6 April 2013

Faith stronger than Power

Psy's music was wafting through the speakers in my car.  My newly installed sub woofer was thundering and I was enjoying my quiet drive in the city till i laid my eyes on the auto rickshaw in front of me.
A typical sharing auto 

It was a big auto rickshaw with the main seat designed for four comfortably. for five it may be a tight squeeze but this one had only three passengers, two male and one female.  the male ones were young and heavy built while the woman was good looking but frail.  The woman was seated on the right with one gent in the middle and one to the left of the seat.  The one on the left spread his arm around the guy in the middle in such a way that he can touch the woman on the right in an accidental/incidental manner by extending his hand.   Noticing this, the woman tried to shrink into the corner  to avoid his touch.  However, the guy on the left would just not relent and he kept on searching with his hand to grope the woman!!  As it was a particularly long and narrow road, the auto rickshaw remained in front of me and i was witness to this whole spectacle for a considerable time.

My first feeling was that I should ask the auto to pull over and give the guy a hard verbal thrashing.  On second thoughts i felt - 'what if they thrash me coz they were two heavy built young guys while i was an average middle aged man'. So i let the auto pass. but that made me feel miserable. i said to myself  - if educated people like me turn a blind eye to such atrocities, what is the future for women's security in india? I was sure that i would not be able to sleep peacefully if i let the incident pass.

So, I overtook the auto and boldly stopped the auto. Seeing me step out from a car to stop the auto, the driver was surprised but stopped.  I chided that guy for trying to molest the young woman. At first he didn't understand what I was saying coz he would have never expected to be checked in this manner.  When I repeated myself he understood and quickly mumbled an incoherent apology and removed his hand.  Either shocked by my outlandish approach or genuinely shamed by his own behaviour,  the  guy listened to me quietly and asked the driver to move on.  Surprisingly, his other well built friend did not utter a single word!! I followed the car from a discrete distance and I was happy to see that his hand was no longer in touching distance of the young woman.  My faith in doing the right thing i.e stopping a molester got the better of their perceived combined physical power. This re-affirmed my belief that our belief and faith in the right thing is many times more powerful than physical power!!!   

As responsible Men, we need to try to stop the atrocities at least within our local sphere of influence.  There is no need for every Man to work on a grand National or Global scale.  If every Man tries to stop these at his local level i.e extended family, community, street - then he would have done his job, for If Man on every street does that, then all the streets in this country would be covered!!!

So, lets start with small steps, let everyone pledge that they will work towards eradicating this menace in their immediate vicinity.  Stop these guys molesting/eve teasing/abusing women in your local busstops/buses/autos/office etc. If we can do that, we can kick this menace in no time!!!!That will surely pave the way for a Golden India.

What Big B said on this issue:-

 “Despite great awareness ideals that have taken space and demonstration among the society, the atrocities continue with abandon,” 
 “Great introspection needs to be done to fathom the reason and the continuous disregard for all that should be looked upon as an evil.”
“I will not agree with the reasoning that such incidents happen all over the world or whether the statistics favour another region or not. I am interested in why it is happening at all,” 

Wish there were more heroes like him in Bollywood

Friday, 5 April 2013

TRAI orders on advertisements

TRAI ordered all the TV Channels to restrict advertisements to 12 minutes per hour.  As I read it, I wondered how TRAI would push in this difficult legislation and also if TRAI had the power to do such a thing (as many broadcasters claimed that it didn't have).  Anyway i thought to myself that it would be wonderful if the quantum of advertisements can be reduced even a little bit. 

Gone are the days when we used to wonder how Star Network was surviving (during the start up of the cable revolution).  At that time most of the adverts were about STAR's own programmes.  Now that there are so many advertisements, it is difficult to follow your favourite programmes.  I always wondered the need for pay channels if we are being forced to watch so many adverts anyway.  There are some channels which are particularly harsh on viewers.  For example, I never watch the movies on Sony channels as they show too many adverts and as a result, the movie goes on late into the night (atleast my experience).  

But the sad part is that it doesn't make much difference to them for two reasons - one is that they are a big corporation and the second is that, i am anyway paying for that channel as it is part of a bouquet that i have selected.  The more  tech savvy might say that if viewers dont watch the channel, it might affect their TRP's and consequently the advertisement revenue  they command.  It may be True but as a Common man, I am not intrested or intellectual enough to understand all those issues.  I just want to have some quality viewing time for the money that i am paying (which is a decent sum at Rs/- 550 per month)Considering that some channels are charging more than Rs/- 10 per month per subscriber that's a lot of money (10 * a conservative 10 crore subscribers for major channels= 100 crores without even counting in any advertisements).  I dont have any qualms about channels earning money coz they are in business after-all but they should have an ear for the subscriber experience too.
They also must have safeguards to stop channels from cheating subscribers. Classic example is of advertisements eating into the first ball of an over in cricket OR the over zealous experiment of a channel to show a deferred telecast of an international match so that more adverts can be pumped in (the same telecast was also on fm radio and the match was over long before it finished on telly!!!)

I was further flummoxed after reading an article by Shri Edari Gopi Chand in the Hindu on 05 April 2013.  He brought out that the cap on advertisement duration to 12 minutes per hour is already a part of the advertising code i.e Rule 7(11) of the cable network regulation, 1994. 

The rule apparently reads as follows -" no programme shall carry advertisements exceeding 12 minutes per hour which may include upto 10 minutes per hour of commercial advertisements and upto 2 minutes per hour of self promotional programmes".  So, if the rule is already existing, then it is amply clear that TRAI was not trying to invoke some new clause.  Its just nobody cared till now!!!! Now that TRAI has come into the picture and trying to make the telly more friendly to the subscriber, its creating problems to the channels!!!  Its interesting to note that if such a rule existed all along, why it was never implemented?!!!
And also, if we are forced to watch advertisements on certain channels for nearly 30-40 % of the time, Isn't it more logical to make them free channels by showing adverts for  a few minutes more!!! Then even we will have no reason to complain!!!!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

lowering age for sexual consent - part 2

Thankfully, the issue of lowering the age was amicably resolved and the minimum age remained at 18.  This turn around may have come as a result of co-aliation pressures or the genuine concerns of certain parties for the welfare of the people.

Either way, it calls for celebration and I am going to retire to bed tonite both tipsy and happy?!!!!

Savita's docs focussed on saving the baby and not her

These were the findings of the investigation team as predominantly reported across the national telly and newspapers.  It was also reported that she was inadequately monitored and not given sufficient attention.  These were the findings six months after her death.

Firstly, does it take six months to conclude something as general as this? Secondly, how are the perpetrators of this crime going to be brought to book? and the last and most important issue is - how do they stop such an incident from recurring?

In the fast changing cultural scenario, adherence to archaic laws may not be the best foot forward.  The spirtual and the political leaders of this nation need to come together and devise an all inclusive way ahead so that such ghastly incidents which bring so much anguish to everyone do not recur.