Friday, February 3, 2017

Masculinity and Gender crimes

The fight for gender equality has to constantly tackle one major problem: the sense of entitlement of the man and his perception of the woman as a weak object, a property to be owned.
A common crime that has been on the rise in India and has blatantly exposed the privilege of the Indian man is an acid attack, against an ex-lover, wife or a woman who has refused to acknowledge the sexual advances or a marriage proposal aggravating the masculine need to get what he wants at whatever cost and assert his power. Possessiveness, territoriality, insecurity have been entitled to men in a patriarchal society where they are seen as the custodians of women’s bodies and their rights.
We have been rocked by innumerable incidents of acid attacks in the past which have shown an increase from 83 in 2011 to 349 in 2015 (Research by Acid Survivors Foundation India). India has the worst convictions rates for acid attacks and much like the other crimes against women, these cases are treated with societal indifference and official apathy.
Revenge crimes are born because of this misplaced sense of entitlement and power. An incident that shocked me recently happened in Kottayam, Kerala where a jilted lover barged inside the classroom at the School of Medical education with a bottle of petrol pouring it on his ex-lover and setting her ablaze. The attacker who was a student of the same medical school then got out of the classroom and set himself on fire. The girl and the accused were admitted to Kottayam medical college where they succumbed to their injuries.
According to the victim’s friends both had been in love with each other for some time until the girl backed out because of her parent’s opposition to the relationship. The accused, a resident of Kollam stalked and threatened her on several occasions after which he retorted to this extreme step.
Entitlement is a privilege in a patriarchal society where women do not have the agency to refuse. Revenge is sought for rejecting a marriage proposal or sexual advances. Women are also been attacked for not bringing enough dowry, for bearing a female child and for not cooking a good meal or the refusal to do it.
Every crime against a woman is based on the deeply rooted bias that they are dependent humans who do not have the liberty to exercise the freedom to live their life which is a fundamental right. Women are struggling to claim their subjectivity as a fully formed human subject who have the right to say a no to a man.
Read the rest of the post here




                            Picture credit: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-24012424

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Doctorate degree is a not a freebie!

We treat our celebrities like kings and queens. Don't we? Other than cheering for them and paying for their bills, we shower them with a lot of love. The recent case of a stampede at the Vadodra railway station during the promotion of the SRK movie Raees is an example of how devotedly we worship our heroes and heroines. 
While most of these celebrities stash a lot of wealth, indulge in financial frauds and get away with crimes, there are a handful of them to whom we can really look upto. The ones who inspire us with their rightful actions and set an example for the future generation. In the past I have quietly seen famous celebrities accept honorary degrees for outstanding contribution in their fields, and blow one's horn about their achievements. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sexism in Indian politics and loudmouthed Indian male politicians

Now that the poll trumpets have been blown, Indian politicians will have to come out in the open from hiding, and talk, infact beg for votes. While we shouldn't expect most politicians to make sense, some of them like Sharad Yadav and BJP leader Vinay Katiyar have stooped very low and proved to us with their "foot in mouth" statements that they aren't fit to lead, let alone campaign in the poll bound states.
Yesterday JDU leader made a shocking statement at a rally held in Bihar that the honour of a vote is more important than that of a daughter's. 
He said that if a daughter's honour is compromised, it only affects the village or community but if a vote is sold it has an impact on the entire nation. To add insult to the injury the gentleman is not willing to apologize.

Monday, January 23, 2017

New Resolutions

A new year brings with itself a lot of hopes, much like the birth of a child. Every new year inspires us to make beginnings and bring an end to the rot and rigmarole of habits, that we have always wanted to give up.
2016 was an eventful year which was a witness to my only brother's marriage. Since, I am the elder one, the burden of responsibilities was put on my shoulders, which made me give up on my fitness goals due to the lack of time and commitment. After having bid adieu to Bombay, I have not been in shape all thanks to the unhealthy eating habits and incessant travelling. I have done my best to stick to my exercise regime but the lack of inspiration failed me.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Fair skin racism: Why we must shun it right now

A visit to the Kirana store can sometimes be a big leap towards insanity. The big cut-outs of fair women smiling at me is not a very happy sight. And the shopkeeper at the big kirana store in the central market, is the only one who stocks up the lotions and potions. While many times he runs short of a basic moisturizer, you will surely find fairness cream tubes of various sizes and types at his store. You name it and he has it, from Fair and Lovely to Garnier and even those for men. It is amusing that despite not being a country of Caucasians Indian people lunge behind fair skin. 
As a young girl I was a fan of basketball and remember dribbling the ball with my best friend at a time of the day when the sun was spewing fire. Both of us never bothered, and by the time we hurriedly paced towards the classroom for the next period, we were sun-burnt. The nastiest May heat couldn't scare us and there we were, two Indian girls fascinated by tanning. While many of our other girl friends hid in the classrooms, petrified of sun burns and skin darkening, we made sure that we hopped around in the basketball court and didn't hide from the angry sun. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Seven steps to a healthy heart

Health is wealth but in today's times, wealth is our new best friend. We all are running from pillar to post to make ends meet. A comfortable sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food have become our soulmates. Most of us do not hear the warning bells ringing until a trip to the hospital doesn't happen.

Two years ago at around this time, I discovered on an accidental visit to the hospital that I had put on some extra kilos. I had been a victim of persistent throbbing headaches but decided to ignore them blaming the sweaty humid heat for my ordeal. While I was intending to meet the dermatologist, I also happened to walk upto the general physician. I felt thankful at the startling revelations  that he had to make about my health, and from then I took a decision to give up on habits that were playing a spoilsport for my heart and health.

My sleeping schedule has been erratic since college and all through the long tiring hours I spent at the laboratory trying to unravel the mysteries of life, it continued. That very day I made a promise to myself to go to bed early, come what may. That also meant that even if I were to fall in love, I had to make sure that I don't lose sleep over it.


Saturday, October 1, 2016

Parched-Taking Feminism a step further

Bollywood with it's unrealistic, sugary stories and spotlessly beautiful people as though they have come straight out of fairy tales, had very little to offer viewers like me, rabid feminists to be precise :) This is perhaps one of the very few instances when I am watching a second Bollywood movie in the same week. And, both movies were worth my money. 
Parched unlike Pink is set in the rural hinterland of india, trying to tell the stories of three women who do not have the agency to break rules, shackled by violent alcoholic husbands and a society that looks down upon its women. Still, a wave of rebellion strikes and is fuelled by the eons of oppression they have suffered.