Saturday, December 22, 2012

Arundhati Roy on Indian rape culture

Arundhati Roy: Why is this crime so clearly such a lot of outrage because it plays into the idea of criminal poor. You know the vegetable vendors, bus driver, gym instructor actually assaulting a middle class girl. Whereas when rape is used as a means of domination by upper caste, by the army or the police. It is actually go unpunished. Not even talked about.

TV Anchor: Is there any chance this kind of big protest lead to genuine change? Will the political class change?
Arudhati Roy: I think it would lead to certain laws perhaps. It may also lead to increased surveillence. But all of that, I will repeat, all of that will protect middle class women. But in other place when we are looking for laws there are laws. But when the Police themselves go and burn down villages and gangrape. I have personally listened to so many testimonies from women who were subjected to such heinous crime. I have heard so many testimonies from eye witnesses that how women were killed.

TV Anchor: This is such a contrast from the image being projected of a modern India by the film industry in Mumbai and by a new Tech India. It makes one feel there are many world competing one another here.
Arundhati Roy: There is one section of film industry which projects bubble gum chewing modern India. There is another section of film industry with rap singers, films porno films where they show bestial violence against women. Celebrating murder and rape.. etc. The idea of 'them' being criminal is.. Poor are projected as...

Urban Young women are vulnerable....

To watch Arundhati Roy Here

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Hitler, Hindutva and Indian elite

My wife teaches French to tenth-grade students at a private school here in Mumbai. During one recent class, she asked these mostly upper-middle-class kids to complete the sentence “J'admire …” with the name of the historical figure they most admired.

To say she was disturbed by the results would be to understate her reaction. Of 25 students in the class, 9 picked Adolf Hitler, making him easily the highest vote-getter in this particular exercise; a certain Mohandas Gandhi was the choice of precisely one student. Discussing the idea of courage with other students once, my wife was startled by the contempt they had for Gandhi. “He was a coward!” they said. And as far back as 2002, the Times of India reported a survey that found that 17 percent of students in elite Indian colleges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.”

In a place where Gandhi becomes a coward, perhaps Hitler becomes a hero.

Still, why Hitler? “He was a fantastic orator,” said the 10th-grade kids. “He loved his country; he was a great patriot. He gave back to Germany a sense of pride they had lost after the Treaty of Versailles,” they said.

"And what about the millions he murdered?” asked my wife. “Oh, yes, that was bad,” said the kids. “But you know what, some of them were traitors.”

Admiring Hitler for his oratorical skills? Surreal enough. Add to that the easy condemnation of his millions of victims as traitors. Add to that the characterization of this man as a patriot. I mean, in a short dozen years, 

Hitler led Germany through a scarcely believable orgy of blood to utter shame and wholesale destruction. Even the mere thought of calling such a man a patriot profoundly corrupts—is violently antithetical to—the idea of patriotism.

But these are kids, you think, and kids say the darndest things. Except this is no easily written-off experience. The evidence is that Hitler has plenty of admirers in India, plenty of whom are by no means kids.

Consider Mein Kampf, Hitler’s autobiography. Reviled it might be in the much of the world, but Indians buy thousands of copies of it every month. As a recent paper in the journal EPW tells us (PDF), there are over a dozen Indian publishers who have editions of the book on the market. Jaico, for example, printed its 55th edition in 2010, claiming to have sold 100,000 copies in the previous seven years. (Contrast this to the 3,000 copies my own 2009 book, Roadrunner, has sold). In a country where 10,000 copies sold makes a book a bestseller, these are significant numbers.

And the approval goes beyond just sales. Mein Kampf is available for sale on, India’s Amazon. As I write this, 51 customers have rated the book; 35 of those gave it a five-star rating. What’s more, there’s a steady trickle of reports that say it has become a must-read for business-school students; a management guide much like Spencer Johnson’s Who Moved My Cheese or Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking. If this undistinguished artist could take an entire country with him, I imagine the reasoning goes, surely his book has some lessons for future captains of industry?

Much of Hitler’s Indian afterlife is the legacy of Bal Thackeray, chief of the Shiv Sena party who died on Nov. 17.
Thackeray freely, openly, and often admitted his admiration for Hitler, his book, the Nazis, and their methods. In 1993, for example, he gave an interview to Time magazine. “There is nothing wrong,” he said then, “if [Indian] Muslims are treated as Jews were in Nazi Germany.”

This interview came only months after the December 1992 and January 1993 riots in Mumbai, which left about a thousand Indians slaughtered, the majority of them Muslim. Thackeray was active right through those weeks, writing editorial after editorial in his party mouthpiece, “Saamna” (“Confrontation”) about how to “treat” Muslims.

On Dec. 9, 1992, for example, his editorial contained these lines: “Pakistan need not cross the borders and attack India. 250 million Muslims in India will stage an armed insurrection. They form one of Pakistan’s seven atomic bombs.”
A month later, on Jan. 8, 1993, there was this: “Muslims of Bhendi Bazar, Null Bazar, Dongri and Pydhonie, the areas [of Mumbai] we call Mini Pakistan … must be shot on the spot.”

There was plenty more too: much of it inspired by the failed artist who became Germany’s führer. After all, only weeks before the riots erupted, Thackeray said this about the führer’s famous autobiography: “If you take Mein Kampf and if you remove the word Jew and put in the word Muslim, that is what I believe in.”

With rhetoric like that, it’s no wonder the streets of my city saw the slaughter of 1992-93. It’s no wonder kids come to admire a mass-murderer, to rationalize away his massacres. It’s no wonder they cling to almost comically superficial ideas of courage and patriotism, in which a megalomaniac’s every ghastly crime is forgotten so long as we can pretend that he “loved” his country.

In his acclaimed 1997 book Hitler’s Willing Executioners, Daniel Goldhagen writes: “Hitler, in possession of great oratorical skills, was the [Nazi] Party’s most forceful public speaker. Like Hitler, the party from its earliest days was devoted to the destruction of … democracy [and to] most especially and relentlessly, anti-Semitism. … The Nazi Party became Hitler’s Party, obsessively anti-Semitic and apocalyptic in its rhetoric about its enemies.”

Do some substitutions in those sentences along the lines Thackeray wanted to do with Mein Kampf. Indeed, what you get is a more than adequate description of … no surprise, Thackeray himself.

Yes, it’s no wonder. Thackeray too was revered as an orator. Cremated, on Nov. 18, as a patriot.
Dilip D'Souza in The Daily Beast Here

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

I can't hug my Ferrari forever..! : Dr Richard Teo

Consultant surgeon Richard Teo in Singapore who was 40 years old passed away on the 18th of October due to a lung cancer. He had reached success and had become a billionaire by following the vision that happiness is in the hands of money. He had been working as a popular cosmetic surgeon in his final days, earning huge sums of money.

Yet he had become very disappointed after knowing the disease he had been inflicted with. When, he realized that he was left with a short period of time then, he decided to serve the people during that short period of time. He finally mentioned that: “I can’t be holding on to my Ferrari all my life.” Few days before his death, he  addressed medical students and shared his experience which is very popular in the internet these days. Few lines extracted from his speech are as below:

“I am a product of the modern society. I was able to adapt to the modern world since my childhood days. I come from a middle class family. I was constantly told that happiness could be reached by success and that success is all money. Thus, I was very competent since my childhood. I wanted to go to the best school and I wanted to be the best. I won awards, medals and became the first at everything. You may be aware that becoming an eye surgeon is a very popular field. I went after that and I was also selected in this field. I have won an award for using laser to cure problems related to the eye. I got two patent licenses as well. One was on using medical equipment and the other was for using laser but I didn’t earn any money. So as soon as I finished, I decided that it was enough.
I realized that private medical practice will help me to earn a lot of money and my interest shifted to cosmetic surgery as it was very popular in the world. I stopped my practice on the way and started a private clinic for cosmetic surgery. 
Unfortunately, people don’t pay respect to their family doctor. Instead they respect popular doctors. People who are reluctant to pay S $20 are ready to pay thousands and ten thousands to beautify themselves. So I decided to become a cosmetic surgeon instead of being regular doctor. Accordingly, the business reached utmost success. At first the clients had to wait for a week to get an appointment, later they had to wait for months. I had work on a full time basis. People were so interested on improving their physique. It was such a flourishing business. Then I hired another doctor, gradually the number of doctors increased and seven doctors to work under me. We earned about a million dollars during the first year. Yet that wasn't enough for me as I was crazy about money. I worked in Indonesia to serve the richest Indonesians. 

Missing Salah (Prayer) Intentionally

Nothing we can do is worse than missing Salah. Check this out:

A woman came to Prophet Musa and said, "I committed a grave sin. Please pray to Allah that He forgives me."
Prophet Musa: "What did you do?"
Woman: "I committed fornication and later gave birth to a boy whom I killed."
Prophet Musa: "Go away from here, you wicked woman, lest a fire from Heaven destroys us all because of your sin!"

The woman left broken-hearted. Then Angel Jibril descended and asked, "O Musa, why have you turned away a repentant woman? Have you not found anyone worse than her?"
Prophet Musa: "Who can be worse than her?"
Angel Jibril: "The one who abandons salah intentionally and persistently."

[Al-Kaba'ir, Adh-Dhahabi, Book of Missing Salah]


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