The word makes me laugh now.
We are outraged.
We are outraged when terrorists attack us.We are outraged when little children fall into manholes because of civic apathy.We are outraged at all the corruption in our country.We are outraged at the abysmal poverty we see around us.We are outraged when foreigners click pictures of the real India wallowing in dirt.We are outraged when foreigners depict us in a less than flattering light in their cinema.We are outraged when a country flouting all civilized principles and rules sends us mutilated bodies of our men in uniform.We are outraged at the growing inflation in the country.
You see even under vastly different circumstances one word remains the same. Outrage.
The condition of the 23-year-old para-medical student, who was gang-raped by a group of men in a moving bus here, deteriorated this evening after which she has been put on “full-time ventilatory support”, doctors attending on her said.
We are a nation of outragers. We feel outrage at everything.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are a nation that has such screwed up priorities that it would take many, many lifetimes to straighten.
We live in one of the most misogynistic countries in the world. Deeply patriarchal. Deeply misogynistic.
Sexual assault is so common in India that news outlets often use a rubric to go with articles about rape, or reuse an illustration, photo or “bug” whenever a rape story comes up. Often these seem to have a common theme.
No, it’s not a gang of a dozen drunken men, grabbing a woman, as happened in Haryana recently, or one of men luring a little girl with candy to sexually assault her, as also actually happened, or even a more generic drawing or photo of a looming and lecherous man or group of men. Instead, almost inevitably, the art to go with a story about rape depicts a “shamed woman.” Sometimes, this woman also happens to be somewhat scantily clad.
We don’t have a glorious Indian culture. We have a glorious rape culture.
Some say it is about the new western influences. What is a man to do if not this, when a woman tempts him?
Ofcourse . The ‘tempted him’ theory works really well. What with all our apsara and rishi mythologies.
The ‘modern saints’ tempted by women of ’loose character’ to sin. That seems pretty rational doesn’t it?
You see he didn’t really want to. He is a good boy really. From a ‘good’, ‘respectable’ family. But she was provoking him. With her clothes. With a glance perhaps? With her voice. With …… Well. Just by being a woman basically.
You get it right?
Then there is the previous generation was better argument.
This generation has been ‘corrupted’ because of western influences.
But it used to happen four decades ago too. Remember Aruna Shaunbaug?
On the same day, at around 4.50 pm, Aruna came down to the basement to change out of her hospital uniform. There are two conflicting versions on why Aruna was changing clothes in the basement. One version says that she had ignored the advice of the hospital matron to use the designated change room for changing clothes. However, another version published in the Indian Express says that there was no place allotted for the staff nurses for changing clothes. Three months before the incident, the then security officer I C Sisodiya had written to the assistant dean and matron on making it mandatory for non-resident nurses to change only in nurses’ quarters, he said. “Non resident nurses would change in any empty corner of the hospital. Shanbaug and colleague Mary Joseph regularly used the basement unit, which would be empty in the evening and unsafe for nurses. Had the nurses been using the quarters, this would have never happened,” Sisodiya said after the attack on Aruna.
Sohan Lal was subsequently arrested from Pune and a police case was registered against him for robbery and attempted murder but not for rape or sexual molestation or “unnatural sexual offence” as hospital officials had deleted parts of her medical report that proved Aruna been sodomized. This was done to ensure that she did not face any ostracism after her recovery. Sohan Lal was convicted for 7 years in jail in 1974. It is believed that had he been charged for rape, he might have got a longer jail term (up to 10 years).
This logic also states covertly that it is the women who have been ‘corrupted’. Why couldn’t they stay at home the way they were meant to? Sure, getting a job was all ‘modern’ and all but couldn’t the job have been during ’decent’ hours? Shame. On the woman. Shame. Shame. Shame. And we consider ourselves better than this, this and this.
But ofcourse. All rapes take place during night. Maybe we should stay at home when dusk falls. We can lock ourselves up. Right after locking up the cattle.
Victim blaming. And the women indulge in it too. Does calling a rape victim names make us feel safer as a woman? Does it?
Here’s what I want.
1. Capital punishment for rapists.
And no, don’t give me the BS about a human life being so precious and castration ruining someone’s life. About how capital punishment should not be for civilized societies.
And then some more crap. That news anchors, very educated ones mind you, are asking. Even if we give capital punishment will it change anything? How can we change society’s mindset? When will men change their thinking?
All of it pure effing nonsense.
You know what will change a man’s thinking? A man who views women as commodity? As something akin to a box of popcorn? Hey! in the mood for a woman today? And then they prowl. Beasts on the hunt. Take the first woman whom they come across. Her fault? Because you see our society loves to ask this.
What was the woman doing?What was she wearing? Whom was she with? What’s her family background?
You know what will change a man’s thinking?
The terror. The mind numbing terror. The sheer terror that if he rapes a woman he will be given the death sentence and even worse that he will be castrated.
Why worse? Because in our effed up society where men view their manhood, their ‘ mardaangi’ in terms of sexual dominance, it will be the ultimate death.
Cut off the effing organ they are so proud of. Which defines their ‘manhood’ for them.
Because it’s not about a woman’s honour. Her izzat. It’s not about her family’s honour. It’s not about the ‘shame’ she has brought upon herself and her family because she ‘let’ herself get raped.
I want to make it about your ‘mardaangi’ and your ‘izzat’ you effing sick b******s.
I want a change in our laws.
With Dr Verghese Kurien passing away, you suddenly realise, the world you knew, is slipping away. The white revolution, Amul and Dr Kurien were part of my understanding of the world. They were……There. Not anymore. He’ll be in books now. Taught to children as, there ‘Was’ a Dr Kurien once. I don’t like this. I don’t like change….
Read this when I stumbled upon his words on a page.
A younger brother’s.
My heart broke a little. At the turmoil in his heart. When the world you have known since childhood breaks up bit by bit, it’s tough.
I want you to re- visit some memories with me. And know about a few new ones S. The ones you were too young to remember. You who pretends to be all stoic and what not……… when inside you are still the little gap toothed baby I and A love.
Do you remember how we would watch Duck tales and Jungle book? Do you remember Balloo, Uncle Scrooge and Mowgli?
More than that, do you remember how we would all sing along with the title track?
Zindagi toofani hai jahaan hai duckberg……
Jungle jungle baat chali hai pataa chala hai…arre chaddi pehen ke phool khile hai ….:)
Aaya aaya jhenu wale jhunnu ka baba ….potli baba ki?
Do you remember how you would watch the ek chidiya anek chidiya animation? Wide eyed . I and A remember your exact expression.:)
Do you remember Uncle Pai? And all the letters you would read in Amar Chitra Katha?
Do you remember Mahabharat and Ramayan and how we would watch it all huddled around the tv? But how can you…you were a tiny toddler fiddling with the knobs on the set…:) But we remember you so clearly. Mom, dad, A and I. A little imp dressed in a monkey cap and woollens. We were in Jodhpur then weren’t we?
Every few minutes we had to pick you up and bring you out of the tv’s range. You loved fiddling with those darn knobs. And you would give the most gap toothed grin I have ever seen.:D
Do you remember all the books we would get from the library? Enid Blytons or Archies Or Amar Chitra Kathas.
More importantly do you remember how we would furiously pedal our way to the library? How A and I would take turns to ‘lug’ you around on the bike’s carrier?:D
When we would give up in the middle of nowhere in blistering summer heat and the way you would look at us with a woebegone face?
Do you remember how much you loved that besan namkeen? But you don’t remember how you would ask for it do you? Ask mom.:)
Do you remember how all of us would spell out the words for eatables or anything at all so that you wouldn’t get to know?
We would spell t-o-f-f-e-e and ask mom. A little later you figured out that there was something fishy. So you started saying all sorts of gibber gabber that came into your mind.
So if you wanted toffee you would say a-q-r-t-n-d…in a lilting voice….anything that came into your lil head.:)
Do you remember when we would go to Mother Dairy and how you would always take the tokens because you were fascinated with how the milk would come out of that little spout ?
Do you remember how much you would cry when A and I would go to school and you had to sit on the boundary wall and watch us go? You would cry so much. With your tear streaked cheeks and two little ponytails.:)
Every day mom had to pack your lunchbox and keep some notebooks just so you would feel you were going to school. The first locked home she came across and she would say,”See?Your school is closed.”
You were much too young to go to school and much too enthusiastic to stay at home.:)
Do you remember how you would always want to sit in on any talks when A’s friends and my friends would come home?And how we would shoo you off?
And how we would scare you with tales of ghosts and witches and things that went bump in the night?:D
How we would convince you about the most absurd things imaginable?..:)
Why are we re-visiting these memories?
Because I want you to know.
I want you to know that your siblings will always be with you. Secret sharers. The same hurts.The same joys.
The hurts we gave each other.And how quickly we would forgive.
We could make you snort with laughter so hard that you would be choking on your food. And getting whacks from us at the same time.
How we would threaten each other about going to mom and dad with some secret about each other. But we never did, did we?:)
That was the unwritten pact of siblings. And we never broke it.
We all say a farewell to childhood at some point in our lives.
But not us. We three have our childhood alive inside us. In our memories. In our shared triumphs. In our secret tears. And secret fears. In our mischievous ploys. In the way only we ‘get’ each other’s jokes. In the way our humour is so much our own. In the way we stand up for each other still. In the way we would tear apart anyone who would even think of harming anyone of us. In the way we simply are.
Only the three of us remember where we have been. And all that it took. And we will be there on future journeys too. Noone else in our lives can ever earn that privilege. And that you see is why these memories are so priceless little one. It’s a precious kind of bond and a rare kind of love.
Our siblings push buttons that cast us in roles we felt sure we had let go of long ago – the baby, the peacekeeper, the caretaker, the avoider…. It doesn’t seem to matter how much time has elapsed or how far we’ve traveled. – Jane Mersky Leder
To the outside world, we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time. – Clara Ortega
Its a little disconcerting to find the same questions thrown back at you right after you had decided that your life was above all this. That you couldn’t really believe that people asked such silly questions of total strangers…..or did they?
Listening to viewpoints shared by friends and relatives alike, reading blogposts that talked about it .
I would read and listen and nod my head in a trying-to understand -you- but- not- quite -there manner.
But that was before marriage.
How many years has it been? Oh! it’s been quite some time no?
Since all of us that is I and my friends are in the same phase of life…newly married and young, we are getting highly annoyed with these cross examinations.
Enjoying haan? We’ll see how much fun you have after having a baby.
(To a friend ) Arre!I t’s been that long ? Plan a baby now yaar.
I am sorry. For what I am about to say.
On behalf of moi and all my friends who get disgusted with such comments/advice/gyaan/saving our party going give a damn souls/call it what you will.
Dear ladies who are the givers of all gyaan,
I am sorry if you think marriage is like some sort of a sand clock where we are all racing against time.
I am not and I refuse to.
I am sorry if you think a baby is something you must have after x number of marriage years.
I am sorry if you think that having a baby ‘seals’ the marriage bond. Or that a baby instantly ‘cures’ even the most abusive of marriages.
No, it is two individuals who are friends, lovers and soulmates in a marriage who do that . A baby is not a ‘solution’ to marital problems.
I am sorry that you don’t have the basic courtesies of life in place.If it is not okay to talk or question someone about the intimacies of a marriage. If it is considered rude to ask someone about their finances then how is it that the ‘baby’ question is okay?
I am sorry if you regret having your baby early.
A baby doesn’t hamper one’s life but enriches it.
I can see how much you are enjoying your little one when you try to ‘palm off’ your baby’ to any and every woman you come across because ” arre enjoying too much na. Here take my baby” and disappearing for hours together.
We want to have a baby. PM and I. Not when society tells us to. Not when friends tell us to. Not when relatives tell us to.
But when we want to.
I want to hold the little bundle in my hands. I want to see the look on his face when his son or daughter smiles up at him for the first time. I want to imagine how we will feel when we hear the first gurgle. I want so many things.
What I don’t want is regret. The way I see it in every action of yours. In your eyes. Of how you feel chained by your baby. How you feel that your marital bliss was cut short because of the little one. How you feel of what could have been. Should have been.
I am sorry for the stress you are going through.
I am sorry because I can kind of understand that taking care of a baby is hard, hard work and that you are entitled to outbursts. I know that taking care of a baby minus the help of any relatives or maids or even your husband at times is stressful.
But please don’t include other women in it. Women who are capable of taking decisions for themselves.
I know that some of the advice could be right. I know that some of it could be useful information.
But not when it comes from you . An almost stranger.You who lurks in every corner. Not when I have not asked you for your precious advice. You who has decided that every woman needs to know when to ‘plan’ a baby and you will tell her when. It’s embarrassing and more than that it is darn insulting.
Please let me live in peace or the ‘sledgehammer me’ is going to take over pretty quick.
The stubborn chit
PS: I can see you giving me unsolicited parenting advice a few years down the line. After I have a baby. You are never really going to go away are you? *shudders*
Link for the Photo
(An old draft)
A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep
While researching for an article at the workplace, I came across these lines below.
In every home a burning ghat
In every home a gallows
In every home are prison walls
Colliding against the walls
- Gorakh Pandey, ‘Band khidkiyon se takrakar’, (She collides against closed windows) 1982
I was fascinated. Intrigued. Who was this poet who could use just a few words so powerfully? Who could paint a picture that loomed large before your eyes. You couldn’t turn away from reality even if you wanted to. He wouldn’t let you. His words wouldn’t.
I started searching for more information about him.
घर घर में
.घर घर में फांसी घर हैं
घर घर में दीवारें हैं
दीवारों से टकरा कर
गिरती है वह
गिरती है आधी दुनिया
सारी मनुष्यता गिरती है
हम जो ज़िंदा हैं
हम सब अपराधी हैं
हम दण्डित हैं.
ध्यान गए बगैर नहीं रहता की गोरख के यहाँ मनुष्यता का यह अलगाव और अपमान जहां सब से अधिक मूर्त है, वह है स्त्री का जीवन. घर भी एक स्वर्ग है जिसे स्त्री ने अपने खून पसीने से बनाया है. लेकिन इसी घर में वह नरक भी है जहाँ वह एक कैदी की तरह जिन्दगी बसर करती है.घर हो चाहे दुनिया हो , स्वर्गों पर काबिज लोगों ने सच्चे निर्माताओं को नरक में डाल रखा है. लेकिन इस नरक के रहते क्या वे खुद भी सुखी रह सकते हैं?क्या वे खुद भी दण्डित नहीं हैं?गोरख की कविता के पास यह दुर्लभ अंतर्दृष्टि है की सत्ता और पितृसत्ता का का व्याकरण एक है, तर्क एक है और नियति भी एक है LINK
पितृसत्ता = Patriarchy
उनका डर / गोरख पाण्डेय
वे डरते हैं
किस चीज़ से डरते हैं वे
गोला-बारूद पुलिस-फ़ौज के बावजूद ?
वे डरते हैं
कि एक दिन
निहत्थे और ग़रीब लोग
बंद कर देंगे ।
Is saal danga bahut hua, bahut hui hai khoon ki baarish,
agale saal acchi hogi fasal matdaan ki ….-Gorakh Pandey
( This time the riot was massive, horrific.
It rained tears and blood.
Next year there will be a good harvest.
A harvest of votes.)
It’s thousands of years old
thousands of years old
is their bitterness
I am only returning their scattered words
with rhyme and rhythm
and you fear that
I am spreading fire.
- Gorakh Pandey.
The English translation by Rahul Pandita.
सोचो तो मामूली तौर पर जो अनाज उगाते हैं
उन्हें दो जून अन्न ज़रूर मिलना चाहिए
उनके पास कपडे ज़रूर होने चाहिए जो उन्हें बुनते हैं
और उन्हें प्यार मिलना ही चाहिए जो प्यार करते हैं
मगर सोचो तो यह भी कितना अजीब है कि
उगाने वाले भूखें रहते हैं
और उन्हें पचा जाते हैं,
चूहे और बिस्तरों पर पड़े रहने वाले लोग
बुनकर फटे चीथडों में रहते हैं,
और अच्छे से अच्छे कपडे प्लास्टिक की मूर्तियाँ पहने होती हैं
गरीबी में प्यार भी नफरत करता हैं
और पैसा नफरत को भी प्यार में बदल देता है.
Hille le jhakjhor duniya
janta ki chale paltaniya
deh gae rajwade deh gae maharajwa
rani kari dhool mein lutaniya
hille le Asia re hille le Amrikwa
hille poori jagat ki janataaa
Pandey wrote revolutionary songs in Bhojpuri hoping to reach out to the peasants, and he did — his songs were sung by them, a rare honour for any contemporary poet.
Yet, his songs were not merely a manifestation of his deep feeling for the movement, but also an expression of a political philosophy which he had imbibed from this struggle. He not only depicted the miseries of the peasants, but also upheld their determined fighting resolve and unequivocally condemned the imperialist feudal combination which, he was convinced, perpetuated this inhuman state of affairs LINK
समझदारों का गीत
हवा का रुख कैसा है, हम समझते हैं
हम उसे पीठ क्यों दे देते हैं, हम समझते हैं
हम समझते हैं ख़ून का मतलब
पैसे की कीमत हम समझते हैं
क्या है पक्ष में विपक्ष में क्या है, हम समझते हैं
हम इतना समझते हैं
कि समझने से डरते हैं और चुप रहते हैं.
चुप्पी का मतलब भी हम समझते हैं
बोलते हैं तो सोच-समझकर बोलते हैं
बोलने की आजादी का
मतलब समझते हैं
टुटपुंजिया नौकरी के लिए
आज़ादी बेचने का मतलब हम समझते हैं
मगर हम क्या कर सकते हैं
अगर बेरोज़गारी अन्याय से
तेज़ दर से बढ़ रही है
हम आज़ादी और बेरोज़गारी दोनों के
ख़तरे समझते हैं
हम ख़तरों से बाल-बाल बच जाते हैं
हम समझते हैं
हम क्यों बच जाते हैं, यह भी हम समझते हैं.
हम ईश्वर से दुखी रहते हैं अगर वह सिर्फ़ कल्पना नहीं है
हम सरकार से दुखी रहते हैं कि वह समझती क्यों नहीं
हम जनता से दुखी रहते हैं क्योंकि वह भेड़ियाधसान होती है.
हम सारी दुनिया के दुख से दुखी रहते हैं
हम समझते हैं
मगर हम कितना दुखी रहते हैं यह भी
हम समझते हैं
यहां विरोध ही बाजिब क़दम है
हम समझते हैं
हम क़दम-क़दम पर समझौते करते हैं
हम समझते हैं
हम समझौते के लिए तर्क गढ़ते हैं
हर तर्क गोल-मटोल भाषा में
पेश करते हैं, हम समझते हैं
हम इस गोल-मटोल भाषा का तर्क भी
वैसे हम अपने को
किसी से कम नहीं समझते हैं
हर स्याह को सफेद
और सफ़ेद को स्याह कर सकते हैं
हम चाय की प्यालियों में तूफ़ान खड़ा कर सकते हैं
करने को तो हम क्रांति भी कर सकते हैं
अगर सरकार कमज़ोर हो और जनता समझदार
लेकिन हम समझते हैं
कि हम कुछ नहीं कर सकते हैं
हम क्यों कुछ नहीं कर सकते
यह भी हम समझते हैं.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION by Amitabh Bachchan HERE)
A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music… and then people crowd about the poet and say to him: “Sing for us soon again;” that is as much as to say, “May new sufferings torment your soul.” ~Soren Kierkegaard
PS:- I do not subscribe to the poet’s ideology .The fascination with his words remains.
But oh! the blessing it is to have a friend to whom one can speak fearlessly on any subject; with whom one’s deepest as well as one’s most foolish thoughts come out simply and safely. Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away. ~Dinah Craik, A Life for a Life, 1859
Happy Birthday dear Ushus. You are much loved and cherished even more.
From two friends who are missing you…..
Solilo and Meggie:)