Sunday, 25 August 2013

Mumbai Gang rape

Echoing my earlier thoughts on this blog - Is it only me or is everyone feeling this way? I am feeling suffocated with the spate of rapes being reported everyday in the newspapers and TV channels. Has there been a sudden spurt in rapes or is it that, there is an increase in the reporting of the crime?

We make a lot of hue and cry every time a rape is reported but most often, the crime committed i.e the 'rape' is just the symptom of the malaise that is engulfing our society and not the malaise itself.  As I see it, the primary reasons for this ill treatment are as follows:-

1.  Social customs/etiquette at home
2.  Poor depiction of women on TV
3.  Depiction of women as commodities in recent films
4.  Incorrect/Incomplete reporting of incidents in the media

5.  Last but not the least, Internet


1.  Social customs/etiquette at home.   One of the important reasons for this malaise is the typification of Women.  A Woman is expected to behave in a particular manner and a Man (even a boy) is expected to behave in a particular manner.  In a typical household even young boys have more importance than elder women. Naturally, the boys grow with an air of importance over women.  It is surprising that in majority of occassions, it is the mothers who spoon feed this attitude to their children by virtue of their own behaviour.  

They therefore cannot tolerate women who demand an equal footing or treat them on their own terms.  There is a burning desire in them to teach such women (something that is also depicted in many bolly films i.e the hero teaching a lesson to the heroine).

2.     Poor depiction of Women on TV.   The next place where a young boy is exposed to this sort of culture is the TV medium.  It is quite surprising that the even children's TV shows produced in India have only a boy as the super hero (Chota Bheem, Krish etc) with the girl just being his friend. Even though this can brushed off as insignificant, all saas-bahu serials which may have made enormous amount of money to a particular lady may have immensely harmed the image of women portraying them as evil, conniving & wicked.  There are young boys growing up seeing such portrayals which is bound to impress their young minds. 

In addition, the sex scenes are slowly creeping into the TV.  I can keep my kids from going to an 'A' rated film in the theatre but how do i stop them from accidentally watching sex scenes which are part of a serial on TV?   Even in the case of music channels, with top heroines dancing in skimpy clothes to extremely hummable tones, drawing the distinction between sex song and music song is becoming difficult.


3.  Depiction of Women as commodities in recent films -  It was reported earlier that  Bollywood expressed solidarity with the Nirbhaya gang rape victim by carrying out a candle light march.  A few bollywood celebrities have also gone public and expressed their anguish and horror at that and the present gang rape.   

THIS IS A BIG JOKE!!! Because, most of the eve teasing of women is propagated by our main stream heroes (including bollywood and across India)  in the garb of pursuing a woman.  They  relentlessly pursue a girl on screen despite her saying 'NO', then sing songs, eve tease her n her friends, sometimes even slap her (probably to bring her to mother earth) to make her fall in love with them.  

Now the heroes paid in crores, may be wise enough to understand that such actions are meant only for the celluloid but the common man on the street is unable to understand or appreciate such niceties and he only thinks - if amir khan, salman khan, govinda, chiranjeevi or even amitabh bachan (though on screen only) could do it, even i can do it. the unfortunate part is that they try to do it in real life. 

In addition, clever dialogue writers have slipped in terms like "Maal", "Cheez", "item" etc which have become so synonymous for women that some women have started taking pride in being called items!!  The frontline heroines stripping their clothes to near bikinis and simulated love making on screen increase the sexual tension in the air.  

Mr Steve Derné conducted an in-depth analysis of Hindi films during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The study found that Hindi films not only tend to “eroticize” sexual violence but these films often legitimize such violence[1] by showing heroes who use milder forms of sexual violence to gain the affection of heroines. Derné interviewed Indian men on how films shaped their beliefs about romantic relationships and women’s place in society more generally. These interviews confirmed the hypothesis that men at that time idealized submission in women and that that ideal was often supported and even amplified by the images they saw in films. What is notable here is that, by simultaneously legitimizing “mild” sexual aggression by men and idealizing submission in women, these films rob women of their agency.

A more recent study of nine randomly selected Bollywood box-office hits from the late 1990’s reveal that over 40% of sexual scenes included sexual violence [2], and perhaps even more shockingly, nearly 70% of the perpetrators of this violence were the “heroes”. The same study found that while “serious” sexual violence was shown in a negative light – moderate sexual violence, of the sort often perpetrated by the film heroes, was framed as fun. Once again, the narratives of these films serve to rob women of their agency, by treating them as prizes to be won by force.

4.  Incorrect/Incomplete reporting of incidents in the media.   I still feel that media is covering only the sensational part, i.e the reporting of the crime only and not following them up to their logical conclusion.  The media may argue that their duty is only to report the news!! "Point taken" on that but if your duty is to only report the news - then please keep doing it till the end i.e if you report a rape then follow up the news till the time the perpetrators of the crime are punished/or atleast booked by police.   
Dont just report a sensational rape one day and move onto another sensational rape/or other story the next day, leaving us worried about what happpened to the earlier victim.

seriously, do we know what is the status of their cases now?

5.  Internet.   The biggest culprit in current times!!! Can u imagine the kind of sites/blogs/threads that are there!!! and all are free!!! Some may make you hold your head in disbelief but some may make you puke (make your mom r!@#$).  With so much free video, audio and text material available catering to every kind of fantasy one can think of (including rape) - how do we stop young minds from being corrupted.  A classic example - there is one foreign site which depicts foreign women being molested on board trains and buses (in foreign countries).  But to the experienced eye, one can make out that the molestation is staged and that it is actually a sex film. But the ordinary people may feel that they can similarly molest women in india and to prove the point - about last week i came across an indian link depicting "molesting of an indian woman on bus"!!  The situation may be sad but true.

Pornography on internet is assuming dangerous proportions and is slowly destroying the moral fabric of the society.  One would re-collect that even the Nirbhaya rapists also confessed that they saw some blue films on the net/mobile before committing the crime.  That is the effect of these movies on young hot blooded guys.  

But, how do we tackle this particular menace. There is no easy answer.  Britian is probably the first country to ban porn (at least making it out of reach for children) recently.  Still, the devil is in the detail and the availability of technology to enforce the ban would decide how successful the ban is!!!

To counter all the factors listed above and eradicate this malaise, total involvement by all affected parties i.e Parents at home, teachers in school, Govt in controlling all the media, CBSE/NCERT to decide the text books (Imagine, my daughter was asked to make a chart of all cricketers but never asked about our freedom fighters!!!!) etc.  This will ensure that the future generations of children leave the current archaic thoughts on women and sex behind!!  
After all, it is the mind set like one Delhi police commissioner said - "They never heard of rape in the North east!!!"   So, a cultural change can do it!!
But for the immediate present, only Community Guards may be the answer.  Police cannot be present in all the areas all the time.  Rather than blame the police, it may be time to form teams of volunteers in each area.  A friend of mine told me that, during the communal riots a decade ago, volunteer teams in their locality used to patrol the streets to ward off any trouble or to give advance warning of impending trouble.  Whilst recalling such incidents may be unsavoury, learning from that experience may be wise.  What are community guards?

Community guards?
Are they the order of the day? When all else fails, do we retain the right to fend for themselves?. Can we form volunteers in each area of every city (in consultation with local Police of course) to prevent any untoward situation? Look at it this way - how long can we wait for someone to come and make a difference in our area/gully/locality etc?  Can we devote some time towards making our own neighbourhood safer?

If we can do this, there would be no need to spend hours and days in protest, mourning a victim's tragedy and we all can effectively make our neighbourhoods safe for women and children.  This obviously requires a lot of coordination between the residential associations in each locality and in addition to coordination effort, it requires right thinking men to devote time to this particular task. 

Time - as we all understand is the most precious commodity in today's world but we must somehow extract that 'Time' from our busy schedules for this particular task - to make our neighbourhood a safer place for our mothers, sisters and daughters!!! 


(Proud to be Indian)

these are my earlier posts on the subject
security of women and community guards may be accessed here
female foeticide- part 1 may be accessed here

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Anti-Narendra Modi activists launch website to expose his 'lies'

Anti-Narendra Modi activists launch website to expose his 'lies'!!!

This made for an interesting reading early in the morning today!!! I wonder!!!

1.  Is it legally tenable to open a website targetting one individual?

2. what about age old provisions in court of defamation etc?

3. what if all political parties start opening web sites targetting individuals? It would be a free for all then!!!

4. Lastly, targetting individuals rather than the policies may be in bad taste and this move may actually polarise more people towards Modi.


Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Monday, 19 August 2013

Chennai express - part 2

Chennai Express - PART 2
part 1 can be read on this blog here

Chennai Express - Part 2

Like I said at the end of part 1, we did go to see the movie.  Put me back by a cool 1200/- rupees including the eats n drinks.

First the bad parts

1.  The story is very run of the mill and an oft repeated one
2.  The story line is entirely predictable from the beginning to the end
3.  Story was needlessly stretched towards the end
4.  what made Shah Rukh change his mind was not clear
5.  How did Shah Rukh become so strong, so as to thrash everyone in the end?
6.  the handling of his dadaji's death leaves a bad taste!!
7.  Lastly, even Shah rukh's ardent admirers have to agree that he looks way too old to pull off romantic contortions of his face.   Those impossible contortions looked good when he was young and they probably mesmerised the women.  But at his present age, they make us suffer. I just could not look at his face in the movie after he says ' i love you' to Deepika.  I hope our dear Shah rukh takes note.

Next the Good parts

1.  See it for Deepika - for her looks, effortless acting and comic timing
2.  See it for Priyamani - for her good looks and dance
3.  See it for the beautiful locales and brilliant camera work
4.  See it for the lungi dance song (not for the lungi dance per se which looks quite cheap but for the rest of the song)
5.  See it for the comic parts 
6. It is a true family movie. no sex or vulgarity and not too much fighting!!

Lastly - the average parts
1. SRK's acting. I felt most of the time he was trying to be a part of the Gen X.  Quite hyper and over acting many times.  But SRK being SRK , he manages to hold the audience.
2. Stunts

The sermon towards the end by SRK about women not getting liberation even after 66 years of independence ( i think he said in the 66 th year of independence, he should read my post, feels out of place. It may have been deliberately placed there to win over some women viewers.

Still, the sermon sounds hollow, as SRK (as Rahul) has scant respect for his grand parents, who brought him up since child hood after the death of his parents. Have you heard of 'love for grand parents' or 'gratitude' , Mr Rahul?.  You have no gratitude or loyalty to your grand parents or the village which helped you, then Mr, what sort of values do you stand for?

SRK (as a real individual) is  guilty of being party to the depiction of grand parents being treated in this way.  Even the manner in which Dadaji dies is in exceptionally poor taste.  Its not just money friends!!! You need to care about what sort of values you are propagating!!!

But who gives a fish?!!! The film is a big hit and is racing towards the 200 crores mark in just a week!!!  And such films will continue to be made!!!


Sunday, 18 August 2013

NDTV's Ms Nidhi Razdan's interview of British MP Barry Gardiner

NDTV's Ms Nidhi Razdan's interview of British MP Barry Gardiner
Saw a video of NDTV'S Ms Nidhi Razdan's interview of British MP Barry Gardiner on Shri Narendra Modi. You can watch it here at 

The anchor was very sharp witted and focussed in her interview but she dominated most of the interview with us hearing mostly her view point only while in an interview with Mr Barry Gardner on National Telly.  So much so that Mr Gardner told her off - 'If you keep talking over me than listening to me, then it is not an interview'.
Shri Narendra Modi

Whatever may be Ms Rajdan's views on NaMo or human rights violations, my request to her (if her allegations are true)  is not to wash our 'linen in public'.  We don't need a foreigner's endorsement (or the lack of it) of our internal problems!!  We have our Supreme court of India to look into it. If the Supreme court of India convicts NaMo, then no leader in the World can save him and if it doesn't, then we must at least cease discussions outside of the country.  The internal debates can continue as they are integral to democracy.  But questioning the Supreme court itself become contempt of court.
Mr Barry Gardner

Lastly, we saw the interview expecting a debate/engaging conversation but all that we got was her view point (We don't point fingers at her though, as she has a job to keep). There wasn't much we heard of Mr Gardner which we we would have loved to, to get an outsider's perspective of the whole issue - especially as that, is  the reason we tuned into the interview in the first place!!!  

In such interviews next time, maybe NDTV can let us hear the other side more!!!!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Chennai Express

Chennai Express

My daughter was after me since last few days to see Chennai express!! As was my usual habit, I checked on the reviews of the film.  Almost all the critics have panned the film with one even declaring 'board at your own risk'.  I told the same to my daughter who just wouldn't agree with the reviews (shah rukh power i guess!!!).  I reminded her of the last time we had the same conversation.  The critics equally panned Ra One but my daughter forced me to go to the movie with her and the day we went there were just a little over 20 people in the theatre and too in inox!!!. And i came back with a splitting headache from the movie!!! So she grudgingly kept quiet!!!
Yesterday she told me - 'papa chennai express is going to cross 200 crores this week'.  I thought she was joking  but a quick search on the net confirmed what she said!! How could a film so poorly rated by critics do so well at the box office?!!! 

Are the critics dumb or the audiences?  I did a bit of research and found out quite interesting points. Have a look!!

Chennai express was released in 7000+ screens across all territories.  Considering the average occupancy of each screen, they may be fetching atleast 50,000 per day. Multiply that with 7000 screens result in a whopping 35 crores per day!!! So if any such film just manages to run 5 days, it is sure to earn at least 100 crores. During this period and before there are certain actions taken by the production houses:-

before release
1.  generate a lot of buzz about the movies from a few months before release
2.  attend tv events, shows, inaugurations
3. incessant interviews of lead actors
4. ads on tv and internet
5. high profile release
6. enroll cyber armies. this is to counter every critic on the internet in the first few days so that a credible opinion on the movie does not come out and keeps the potential viewer confused about the movie (even if it is definitely bad)

all this will ensure a high initial turnout

after release
1.  Release high figures for first day gross
2. have all actors talk about how happy they are with the success
3. big tv and paper ads about the success and gross collections
4. have cyber armies actively praise the movie online
5. keep the buzz alive
6. keep the potential viewer interested

basically its all about the first one week.  The potential viewer comes to know about the movie by a week.  Thereafter if it good, he will see it and if it bad he will drop it.  But, the first week is the time his opinion has to be managed by the tv, internet and print media.  All the Blitz, even if it does not convince him , it will keep him confused at least.  And that is the aim!!!

Also, when someone says that a movie is a 70 crore movie, we would like to know the breakdown like
hero fee-
heroine fee-
all other actors fee-
ads budget -
director fee-
all other persons fee-

fee need to be paid no doubt, but the renumeration paid to individuals does not add to the technical values of a film.  So if i want to know on what a grand scale a movie is made, then i would like to know how much was spent on locations, sets, special effects, stunts, technical advancements etc!!!
Also, it brings us to an important question. Can everyone get 7000 screens for his release? Obviously not - as Ajay devgan found out some time back.  Therefore if you have 3500 screens instead of 7000, then your collections are cut in half!!!.  This means that collections are not a result of good cinema but a clever manipulation of screens by the production houses!!  You may make a bad movie in 20 crores but if you release in 7000 screens with as much publicity, it will still return a substantial profit in the first three days itself!!

So, in the present day, the success of a film does not talk of the quality of the film!!! (this is not a comment on Chennai Express as I haven't yet seen the film)
p.s:- Still, we are going to see Chennai Express today becoz I too am confused !!! And that sums up the story!!!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

The President's speech

The President's speech
The President's speech

Having heard the President's speech, I wondered if he is the Messiah we are all looking for!!! I mean he touched upon everything we care about and held out an absolutely practical vision for the citizens of this country.  I am amazed by his frankness and no-nonsense approach.
key points
1.  Gandhiji's vision cannot be turned into reality if we spurn the very values that were compulsory to his cause: sincerity of effort, honesty of purpose and sacrifice for the larger good. 
2.  The ideals of patriotism, compassion, tolerance, self-restraint, honesty, discipline and respect for women have to be converted into a living force. 
3.  We need leadership that is committed to the nation and those values that made us a great civilization. 
4. We need a state that inspires confidence among people in its ability to surmount challenges before us. 
5. We need a media and citizens who, even as they claim their rights, are equally committed to their responsibilities. 
6.  We cannot aspire to be a world class power without a single world class university.
7.  I applaud the courage and heroism of our security and armed forces who maintain eternal vigilance and pay homage to those who have made the supreme sacrifice of the most precious gift of life in the service of the motherland. 
8.  Let me conclude by quoting from the great classic Bhagvad Gita where the Teacher propounds his views and then says, and I quote, "ÿatha icchasi tatha kuru" "even as you choose, so you do. I do not wish to impose my views on you. I have presented to you what I think is right. Now it is for your conscience, for your judgment, for your mind to decide what is right." 
Dear President, you have spoken well and I think every word that you said is worth its weight in Gold.  Like you said, it is now for the country men to choose but I hope that they choose the path that you indicated!!!

(ibtimes has provided the full text of the speech on their web page.  I strongly urge everyone to visit their web page and read the address!! )
you can read the full text of the speech here

66 th or 67th Independence day

Happy Independence day to everyone. As I watched on TV today, there was one TV anchor who said it was our 66th Independence day whereas another one said it is 67th. That left me confused and so i decided to sit down and do the math.  In case anyone else is confused too, you may read on to clear the air!!!!

Since we got Independence on 15 August 1947, the first birthday must have been in 1948. So,

1948 - 1
1949 - 2
1950 - 3

2000 - 53
2010 - 63

2011 - 64
2012 - 65
2013 - 66

So, by my calculation we have completed 66 years of Independence and entered 67th year today on 15 August 2013.  

p.s : If we have candles, we must blow 66 candles on our birthday cake i.e to signify the completion of 66 years!!!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Activist moves NCW over Bhati's comments against Durga Shakti

Activist moves NCW over Bhati's comments against Durga Shakti
It was reported that Ms Nutan Thakur, an activist had lodged a complaint against Mr Bhati in the the case of Ms, Durga Shakti, the suspended IAS officer.  In her complaint, she reportedly raised objections over the alleged usage of words like "aurat" and "behudgi" against the IAS officer, as was seen by all on national TV.
My point is not about what Mr Bhati said or Ms Durga or even Ms Nutan, the complainant.  My point is about the comments of the Chair person of NCW that she has not yet received the complaint and once it is received, she will enquire into the matter and take appropriate action.

My question then is, hasn't the learned chairperson not seen the footage which was repeatedly broadcast on all channels? Can't she have decided on her own whether it is offensive or not? And if it is, does she have powers to take 'suo moto' action? And if she doesn't have powers to take 'suo moto' action, should she press for that power?

Its time for the women's organisations to be more assertive and have more teeth. Women in places of authority need to rally together for the betterment of the less fortunate ones. Otherwise it will be all bark and no bite and things will remain in the present dismal state.
after writing the above article, i did a search on NCW chairperson and came across the message of Ms Mamta Sharma on the home page of NCW.  The message is quite impressive and i hope all the concerned personnel of NCW are also 'walking the talk'.

Smt. Mamta Sharma, Chairperson, NCW

After having taken over as Chairperson on 2nd August, 2011, I feel that my focus should be to concentrate not only on womens empowerment but also on their growth and development. I believe that empowerment will also bring down atrocities against women as they will have the strength and knowledge to stand up for their rights. Another main focus will be to bring about attitudinal changes about discriminatory practices. At NCW, we encourage online registration of complaints and maintain an open and transparent office where victims can come and talk about their grievances. NCW works tirelessly towards these issues.