Rape & Women’s Dressing

A Toronto city police constable during a campus safety session with students at York University’s Osgoode Hall on January 24 this year suggested that girls can avoid sexual assaults and rape by not dressing like a slut. This remark has resulted in a “Slut Walk” in Toronto on April 3 where women and men have registered their protest against it. Similar sentiments have been echoed by many others both in the print and the electronic media suggesting as if a woman’s way of dressing could be an invitation to rape. It is shocking to read newspaper reports or see television reports where the defense of a rape accused tries to portray the victim as a loose character who brought rape upon herself by the way she dresses. Every time I come across such a stereotypical statement or theories, the thought that crosses my mind is that the only wish of man that has not been granted is his Mel Gibsonisque desire to know what women want from men. Then how is that only a rapist is able to understand the “open invitation of rape” by the victim just by seeing the way she has dressed? Are majority of men plain dumb who could not read the invite or is the perpetrator of rape more gifted than even the Gods who it is said cannot fathom what goes on inside a woman’s head? My submission to the police, defense counsels of the rapists, lose canon politicians, religious bodies, ultra conservative societies such as Saudi Arabia and similar thinking individuals is that rape has nothing to do with the way a woman...

Passive Euthanasia Is Worse

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that it would be legal to withdraw life-support system to those in a permanently vegetative state. This ruling came in the judgement delivered by the court which turned down the petition seeking mercy killing of Aruna Shaunbagh, who has spent 37 years in a Mumbai hospital bed in a vegetative state. While permitting the process, known as passive euthanasia, the court however held that active euthanasia, or actively ending a terminally ill person’s life by administering lethal injections or other means, would be illegal. I find that a large majority of people have welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court. I however disagree with the judgement – this is my season of disagreements with the court! In my opinion, the court has not only side-stepped the issue but has also dealt a body blow to the already suffering patients. Passive Euthanasia Vs. Active Euthanasia There are two types of euthanasia – active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. In my opinion Passive Euthanasia is far worse than Active Euthanasia. If active euthanasia is murder, then passive euthanasia is the worst form of torture before murder. Removing of life support systems is termed as passive euthanasia. Now what are life support systems? As per my understanding a life support system may supply air, water and / or food. A life support system may also help the patient deal with the body waste. So if a patient is not able to breathe on his own, he is put on a ventilator. Or if the patient can’t take in food or water on his own, then he is fed through tubes...

Worst Judgement By The Supreme Court

Today when the International Women’s Day has just passed, I want to talk about the most retrograde judgement given by the Supreme Court of India in a case involving a woman. The shocker of judgment came in the case of a woman from Punjab where the Supreme Court let off three gang rapists after they claimed a “compromise formula” with the victim and agreed to pay her a fine of Rs. 50,000 (or just about USD 1100) each for their offence! A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra reduced to three and half years the 10-year sentence awarded to three gang rapists who took the plea that both the convicts and the victim were now happily married to different people and “wanted to live peacefully.” Under Section 376(G) of the IPC, the minimum sentence to the gang rapists is 10 years, which may extend even to life imprisonment. Another plea given was that it was more than 15 years when the incident had occurred, the bench relented and said it was upholding their conviction but reducing their sentence to the three-and-half years already undergone. Seriously, “Rape Money”? Such compromise formulas existed in the dark ages. They even exist in countries such as Afghanistan, Saudi Arab etc where you have the concept of blood money, but in India which is the world’s largest democracy? How can in this day and age we accept and allow the practice of “rape money” to let off men who preyed on a helpless woman. The fact that one of the judges is herself a woman makes this even more appalling. The fact that 15 years...

Corruption Wrecks National Economy

A few days back I said that the corruption of the every day kind is more dangerous because it destroys the character of a nation, its people and sows the seeds of a powerless, frustrated, impotent people who can only get angry but do nothing. The effort that it takes to remove the cancer of such corruption is huge and the entire population has to stand up against it. It persists because we humans are very competitive and do not want to be left behind our next door neighbour. We believe that money can buy everything and hence are ready to pay our way out of tight situations such as breaking a law or getting a service out of turn. On the other hand, the man in the chair feels that since without his approval things will not move in the bureaucracy, he wants his palms to be greased for doing his job. There is another kind of corruption – the once in a while type. More often than not, when we discuss about corruption, we make two statements: Corruption is omnipresent. Even USA has corruption. However the corruption in those countries (like the US) is not all-pervading – it is only at the highest levels of society. In the US you will not find ordinary citizens breaking simple laws such as jumping traffic signals and an officer demanding bribe to let you off the offence. The corruption there is at very high levels and constitutes millions of dollars and sometimes even billion of dollars worth of kickbacks.  In India too we have this kind of corruption in government....

Will Guest Control At Parties Reduce Food Shortage?

Yesterday I read one of the most hilarious pieces of news which said that to reduce food wastage the government could look into the Guest Control Order of the 1960s, which limits number of guests at marriages and other events. It seems that the government has woken up to the fact that there is a food shortage and they have arrived at a brilliant realization that the food wastage at weddings and social gatherings is ”criminal” and must be curbed to ensure food security. Is there really a relationship between food shortage and the number of guests Today, however, I would like to limit my thoughts to the possibility of a curb on the number of guests at a party and like to explore if a party with large number of guests results in food shortage. My thinking is that it does not. And my case is given below: When I go for a dinner party, I eat at the party. On coming back, I do not have dinner again at home. I somehow get this feeling that is the case with all others as well. Therefore, if hypothetically speaking, I invited the entire population of Delhi (about 17 million strong) for the reception of my son’s wedding (a dinner party can’t get bigger than this), that night dinner will not be cooked at any other dwelling except mine. It therefore means that irrespective of the number of guests at a party, the same numbers of “man-dinners” are consumed. So there is no wastage. Corollary to the argument being that attending parties does not contribute to food shortage. At...

The Politics Of Movie Titles

Invariably movies from Bollywood get into trouble in India. It could be because someone does not like the title, or the theme. Sometimes it could be the story and at other times it is the fact that the city has not been called by its correct name. Take the case of Kiran Rao’s maiden film “Dhobi Ghat” that ran into trouble in Kolkata and Delhi on the day of its release. Many a washer men felt that the title was derogatory to the community and carried posters to that effect. In Delhi, the community leaders went one step ahead and approached the Delhi high Court seeking a change of the film’s title. In my opinion the community leaders were being highly “unambitious” when they protested against the title of the movie. After all, the word Dhobi Ghat has not been invented by Kiran Rao. It is a word that exists in the hindi language and also in the dictionary. The protest should have been against the language and the demand should have been that it be removed from the dictionary and the colloquial language. When the Shah Rukh Khan movie titled “Billoo Barber” was being released, at that time too there were protests from the barber community saying that the title demeaned them. I fail to understand how that could be. As per Wikipedia, a barber (from the Latin barba, “beard”) is someone, most often male, whose occupation is to cut any type of hair, and to shave or trim the beards of men. The place of work of a barber is generally called a barbershop, or simply the...

Gay Rights In India

The recent discussions about gay rights and same sex marriage demands made me remember the time when I was complaining a lot about generation gap. This was the time when I wanted to get married to the girl of my choice. The reason for these complaints was the fact that my mother wanted me to have an arranged marriage while I was, one opposed to the idea and two, more importantly, as I have said I had already decided whom I wanted to marry. Once during that turbulent time of my life, while talking to my now wife and then girlfriend’s boss, when I again spoke about the generation gap, he told me something which I do not think I’ll ever forget. He said, “Sanjeev, let us say 25 years down the line your son was to come to you with a man and tell you that he wanted to marry him, what will be your reaction?” When he saw the look of utter shock on my face, he smiled and said, “And then your son will complaint about this very same generation gap.” Anyway, this story is not about generation gap (may be we’ll discuss that some other time) but about gay rights, LGBT rights movement and same sex marriage. While it might be construed from the above episode I am not a big fan of the gay movement, but let it known that I go with Voltaire and believe that even though I do not agree with your ideas, I support your right to express them. I am therefore a supporter of  Equal Rights for LGBT community....

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