Friday, 29 January 2016

Feminism- How Well Do We Understand The Term?

Just like bans, intolerance and many more high-profile words that India became familiar with in 2015, feminism was something that was highlighted a lot and talked about by many. Right from the common man to the celebrities, people have been expressing their views on feminism and supporting it. But how many of us actually know the meaning of the term or understand it completely? Well, quite a few!

Because it is called ‘feminism’, most people have confused the term to be a movement that supports women in India and across the world, uplifts them and gives them the power to rise against injustice, violence and ill-treatment, especially by men. Despite being spoken about multiple times in the media, people have often confused the term and celebrities are not an exception to this.

Okay, so the debate on feminism started with the controversial video of Deepika Padukone ‘My Choice’ that was released by Vogue last year. While half the women across the world came out supporting the video, it also received an equal amount of criticism from both men and women. Many women, during this period, stated in their comments, statuses and write ups on social media that they supported Deepika Padukone for her boldness in the video and that they were feminists.

The world argued on the video and the concept of feminism which means the empowerment of women, without discriminating between both the sexes. However, it still remains one of the most misunderstood terms worldwide and people still believe feminism is all about giving the right of saying anything and behaving anyhow to women.

And what can be a better example of this than the recent controversial statement made by Priyanka Chopra in an interview? The Quantico star who has largely been making news for her exceptional talent and roles these days recently commented in an interview that she does not need a man in her life except for giving birth to children.

Okay, I am not slamming the statement or criticizing it in any way because I know she is an independent, modern women and I also acknowledge the fact that women can be completely self-dependent and live a happy and content life alone. In fact, I believe it is the human tendency to adapt to circumstances, be it quicker or later. “I can’t live without him/her” is actually an overstatement and a myth. It is a fact that we can live without anyone in this world as far as we get food, water and oxygen on time.

But what spoiled the interview was Priyanka’s statement that if her man cheated on her, she would probably beat the shit out of him. Now that is an unacceptable statement. And certainly not expected and acceptable from a popular star like Priyanka! Beating the shit out of anyone is not a problem to any solution and, I personally feel that anyone making such a remark must think twice before saying it, especially when it is a public figure like a Bollywood celebrity.

No, I am not glorifying cheating or supporting it in any way. Cheating on someone is certainly unacceptable but there are better ways to deal with it. It does not give anyone a right to get violent or beat the shit out of someone, be it a man or a woman.

And, imagine if such a statement had been made by any male Bollywood actor. The entire industry along with the common women would have definitely made the star apologize. And even worse, if such a statement had been made by a common man, women have literally beaten the shit out of him for making such a comment. But here, since Priyanka is a woman, she was not slammed as much as any male star would have, even though she received criticism for it. Why?

Feminism is a highly misunderstood term in India and across the world, particularly by women. Yes, I agree that women have been subjected to torture, violence and ghastly crimes in India since traditional times and taking a stand for them is essential. But that does not mean a woman has the right to degrade a man or ‘beat the shit out of him’. Feminism stands in favour of women but it does not mean degrading or disrespecting men. 

Please, think twice before you make such comments. And, by the way, it is not only women who get subjected to violence, molestation and rapes around the world. Even men are subjected to this kind of shit, the only difference is that such cases get rarely reported because men are too shy to admit that they were tortured, molested or raped. There are many women who have made an unethical use of the special rights provided to them by the Constitution and misused their womanhood to cheat men, take revenge on them and get them punished.

And this needs to stop. Violence needs to stop. Be it in the case of women or men, violence simply needs to stop. We must start respecting both the genders equally. And that’s when we will actually do justice to the term ‘feminism’!

Thursday, 28 January 2016

बचपन !

For the first time ever, tried my hand at writing a poem, that too in Hindi. I know this is nothing like a professional poem, will sound amateur, but the views expressed are true and honest. Like and share if you connect with the feeling too!

दिल करता है फिर लौट जाऊ

उस टेंशन फ्री बचपन में कहीं
खेलु, कुदु, सपने देखू
और लौटू कभी हकीकत में नहीं

वो भी कितने प्यारे दिन थे
जब होमवर्क सबसे बड़ा टेंशन था
कब होंगे हम पापा मम्मी जितने बड़े
बस यही एक ग़म था

आज बड़े तो हो गए
पर संतुष्टि उसमे मिलती नहीं
दिल करता है फिर लौट जाऊ
उस टेंशन फ्री बचपन में कहीं

Exam खत्म होने पर मनाते थे कितनी ख़ुशी
Cycle लेकर जाते थे घूमने हर कहीं
याद है highway पर आलीशान गाड़ियां देखकर
महसूस करते थे कितनी कमी?

आज parking lot में खड़ी है वो सपनों की गाडी
पर उसमे cycle चलाने का मज़ा आता नहीं
दिल करता है फिर लौट जाऊ
उस टेंशन फ्री बचपन में कहीं

दोपहर को homework खत्म कर
शाम को खेलने का मज़ा ही कुछ और था
खो खो  पकड़ा पकड़ी, stop party
भागम दौड़ का वो दौर था

आज भी भागते है ट्रैन के पीछे
पर उसमे पकड़ा पकड़ी का मज़ा आता नहीं
दिल करता है फिर लौट जाऊ
उस टेंशन फ्री बचपन में कहीं

हर सुबह उठकर स्कूल जाने से कतराते थे
मम्मी उठाती तो सोने की ज़िद किया करते थे
स्कूल से आते आते pepsi cola लेना रिवाज़ था
शाम को रात में ढलते देख कितना मज़ा आता था

अब ऑफिस से घर पहुँचते है
तो दुकानें भी खुली रहती नहीं
दिल करता है फिर लौट जाऊ
उस टेंशन फ्री बचपन में कहीं

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Youngsters And Destructive Ideologies: A Danger To The World!

We have all heard ‘sixteen is a dangerous age’ in every individual’s life. In fact, there is even a saying in Marathi that asserts ‘16’ as the most dangerous and destructive age in the life of a person. However, it seems, not only sixteen, but the entire teenage is becoming dangerous and destructive for individuals these days. No, this is not merely what I think! If we check out the crime diaries across the world, most of the crimes are committed by youngsters these days and the entire world is thinking what we can do to stop them!

Since the last few days the news of Rohith Vemula, a Dalit student studying at a university in Hyderabad, committing suicide has been making rounds in the media. While students across the country have made moves to show their support and raise voice, the suicide has now become a political affair. But what took me by surprise was a news report published by NDTV that I read 2 days ago. The report highlighted the suicide of 3 girls at a medical college allegedly because the college did not give them adequate infrastructure and facilities as compared to the heavy fees they charged. The report highlighted the pathetic situation of the students at the college and also the carelessness of the authorities who failed to take action against the college even after repeated complaints by the deceased girls.

Okay, I agree that it is depressing and distressing to not have people paying heed to your grievances even after repeated complaints. It is saddening to watch your parents work hard to pay your huge college fees and experience a lack of even basic amenities at college. But, ending one’s life for this? I don’t think it is justified! I mean, life is precious, c’mon and ending it for a petty reason like this is surely not worth it. The girls could have fought harder, made a union of students and taken more serious steps to get their grievances redressed by the concerned authorities. What did they achieve by ending their lives? Wouldn’t their parents be happier working hard to pay  their fees rather than giving fire to their dead bodies? This is sad!

And this is not the case only in India. If we observe the statistics of crime happening in the world these days, most criminals are youngsters in teenage or twenties. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), considered to be one of the most dangerous terror groups today, is yet another proof of how youngsters and teenagers have been falling prey to extreme and destructive ideologies today.
If we take a close look at ISIS recruitment in the modern times, it is clearly evident that many teenagers and youngsters across the world have been leaving their homes and fleeing to Iraq and Syria to be a part of the terror organisation. Despite being aware of the terrorist activities of the group and the destructive ideology, youngsters are actually finding it fascinating to join the group and create a different identity for themselves.

Be it a failure in an exam or the fascination of creating a distinct identity for oneself, be it love or the feeling of revenge, youngsters nowadays have been employing criminal and violent ways which are a big threat to the world. Our youngsters are our future generations who have are going to have a lion’s share in the prosperity, development and growth of our nation. And, if this extreme ideology continues to grip teenagers, soon there will be a day when the entire nation will become like Syria and Iraq.

So what are we to do? Of course, it is very difficult to bring this behaviour of youngsters in control these days since most of them are heavily under the influence of television and movies, crime shows and, not to forget, peer pressure. But, if parents seek to mentor their children effectively since childhood, discuss sensitive matters with them, there is a chance that such behaviour can be controlled. Also, today’s youngsters need effective counselling which can help them become better citizens of the country.

Dear youngsters, failures are not the end of life. One has to keep fighting for the right. Remember, truth always triumphs. Do not lose hope and, if ever you feel the blues, talk to people. Talk to your parents, friends, cousins or even a stranger or counsellor. Believe it or not, it will surely help in reducing the stress!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Kudos To This Tiny Village In Meghalaya!

How many of us have not complained about our cities being unclean and dirty every time we stepped out from our house? Probably, none of us! We all have grudges about cleanliness in our cities and most of us simply blame the government for not maintaining cleanliness in and around. But have anyone of us really thought about making our city clean and 100 per cent free from dirt? No! We need to learn a lesson from this tiny village in Meghalaya!

Mawlynnong is a tiny hamlet in the state of Meghalaya that now owns the title of being the first cleanest village in India. Once a completely unknown place, it is now a major tourist attraction for its natural beauty and for being the cleanest village in the country.

The story of Mawlynnong is truly an inspiring one and the one that teaches us to take the roots in our hands and contribute towards the city or village we dwell in. Mawlynnong is a tribal village in Meghalaya where people came together to achieve the common purpose of cleanliness and make their small village a hub for tourists across the world. If a tribal village can accomplish this, why not we city dwellers who are much more educated and aware about technology than them?

We, in huge cities and metros, are so much occupied with our lives and career that we hardly have any time to give to our surroundings. In fact, despite being educated, merely to save time, people dump waste and garbage carelessly on the roads, not taking a note of how much that affects the beauty and health of our city. Mawlynnong, on the other hand, has taken little steps in the last few years, that helped it to accomplish this goal and emerge as the cleanest village in the country.

The tiny village has bamboo dustbins at every corner of the road so that people dump plastic packages and wrappers into them. The road also bears warning signs for people to dispose of waste strictly in the dustbins and avoid littering. And, the people there actually follow the rules, unlike most of us in towns and cities!

If they can do it, why not us? We know technology better, we are much more educated than them and are aware of our social and environmental responsibility. No, it does not take one a lot of hard work to find a dustbin and dump wrappers and plastic inside it. If we all work together and pledge not to litter our city, wouldn’t our cities be capable of setting such a record too?

This surely needs careful consideration by each one of us. Let’s pledge not to dirty our cities and keep our surroundings clean and healthy all the time. After all, we want our future generations to lead a better, cleaner and disease-free life, isn’t it?

Cheers to Mawlynnong for setting an example in front of the entire nation!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Mumbai Police Wake Up From A Deep Sleep! Will It Be Of Use Now?

Okay, so we all have seen Bollywood movies and how the police always arrive on the crime scene after the entire incident is over! In fact, we all have always had this perception about police and government servants in general, we know they are lazy, they don’t take their work too seriously or waste a lot of time in unnecessary things rather than taking timely steps and action. No offence friends, but, anyone who has ever been to a government office will agree with me on this.

Police, among all the government servants, are associated a lot with bribes and even with missing out important clues in crucial cases. If you watched the recent movie ‘Talwar’ that is based on the epic double murder case of Aarushi and their domestic help Hemraj in Noida, you definitely know how crucial evidence was missed by the police merely because of their carelessness. The case, which should have been an open and shut case, then took different turns only to remain one of the most puzzling and unsolved mysteries in the crime history of India.

And so is the case of Salman Khan! Salman Khan’s hit and run case has been a talk of the town lately mainly because it arrived on a conclusion. The court recently gave its verdict in the case and acquitted the superstar of the crime because there was no strong evidence to prove that the actor was actually drunk driving the car on the fateful night. But, the verdict pronounced by the court was so funny that it actually motivated people to come up with funny tweets and countless memes, because, some way or the other, it meant that neither Salman Khan nor his driver was driving the car back then. (Read: So The Court Means It Was A Driverless Car? Seriously?  )

The hit and run case that happened back in 2002 only met its final verdict in 2015 which means it took 13 years for the Mumbai Police and the court to prove that the actor was guilty in the case or not. And now, after a span of thirteen years, when the judgment in the case has been already passed, it seems Mumbai Police has woken up from a deep sleep.

As I was checking out the headlines on NDTV’s website this morning, there was this article that said Mumbai Police came up with a declaration that they made some serious mistakes in the Salman Khan probe. And, if I have to particular, the article also stated in detail all the 16 mistakes that were made by the police in the case. Yes, you read that right! As many as 16 mistakes! Wow! I mean after the judgment in the case is passed and the criminal is actually acquitted of the crime, the police wake up to confess that their probe contained about 16 mistakes. No doubt, this is India!

I am not against anybody here. I know we are a huge country with loads of crime happening in every corner of the city every day. Of course, it is difficult to investigate all of these crimes to perfection and give justice to each and every person. And I think this is the very reason why legal cases in India remain pending for years together and people have to wait for decades to actually obtain justice. But, even after investing their time and money in getting justice and waiting patiently for so many years, is it fair that such mistakes happen and justice is miscarried?

By the way, the Indian Constitution confers on every citizen the right to lead a happy and secure life and also the right to justice. But, in many cases, especially in cases where wealthy and influential people are involved, justice is often refused and the police and even the judiciary falls prey to corruption. In India, politicians, businessmen and celebrities and even the people closely associated with them think that they can commit any crime and get away with it because they have fully loaded bank accounts. But how fair is this, is my question here!

The police and the court had 13 damn years to come to a conclusion, to establish who was at fault on that fateful night and what actually caused the accident that killed one and injured many others. And 13 years is not a small span of time, I think. It is enough for anyone to probe a case correctly, collect evidence, perform tests and get reports. Yet, the span doesn’t seem to have been enough for our police! After so much of ramayan happening about the case, the police are now releasing their statement that they missed essential clues, missed performing checks of important officials involved in the case and even recording the statements of eye witnesses and the victims.

Then, my question is, on what basis was the judgment delivered? Was it merely on speculations? Or did the officials actually get attracted by the huge amount that is thought to have been offered to them to deliver the verdict in the superstar’s favour? C’mon we all know Salman Khan had been accused of the crime in the first place for a reason! In fact, his bodyguard had even given a statement against him, clearly stating that the actor was driving the car that night. And, if we consider the crime history of Salman Khan, we know very well about the chinkara case that was yet another attention seeker and a talk of the B-town.

But, to restore our faith in money and fame, the actor was acquitted of all the murder charges against him and the judgment came in his favour. And, since Bhai has such a great fan following, most of the world rejoiced about the court’s decision, rather than condemning it for killing justice. My heart goes out to the family of the deceased who lost his life on that fateful night.

But then, it was a poor family, staying and sleeping on a footpath and it doesn’t make any difference to anyone if such a person is killed. But yeah, if a superstar goes to jail after committing a grave crime, then it’s a big deal because people love them for their looks, their dashing personality and their entertaining movies. This is sad!
I don’t mean that the police force in India is useless or has not done anything useful or valuable yet. Yes, there have been times when the police have gone a step further to ensure law and order in the city and help common people like you and me to end crime in the city. And yes, I know these government employees are highly underpaid; they enjoy the least holidays compared to you and me and the nature of their work involves huge risks to them and their family. But this does not justify carelessness in work in any way.

In India, the police force is not given appropriate training to deal with crimes and criminals, to amass crucial evidence and conduct professional investigations. Most of them also do not have the privilege of having secure and good quality weapons, bullet proof jackets, etc. This may lead to such petty and foolish mistakes in investigations that can turn an otherwise simple case into a really complicated one.

I wish the Mumbai Police had revealed this mistake sheet a few months before the verdict so that it could have given a new direction to the investigations and created a hope in the minds of people. Now, we have no option but to wait and watch if the case is reopened or the trial is conducted afresh once again!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Pathankot Attack: What Lesson Have We Learnt?

The recent terrorist attacks at the Pathankot Air Base in India have been in the news for several days now and has shaken the entire country for sure. Whether it is a bomb blast, a gun firing or an attack on the army in any corner of the country, it surely means a loss of many innocent lives and destruction of humanity and peace. The same happened a few days ago when the air base in India was attacked by terrorists who opened fire on the soldiers and commandos inside the camp. Needless to say, the death of our brave soldiers was the biggest loss the nation incurred in this attack.

Terrorism has not been alien to India. In fact, in the past, we have witnessed ghastly terrorist attacks such as the serial blasts in Mumbai in 1993, the 2008 Mumbai local train attacks, the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai and more. Several thousand people have lost their lives in such attacks so far. Of course, these attacks have been condemned by all of us, not only by Indians but by the entire world. But how many lessons have we learnt from them? The Pathankot attack shows it all!

Terrorist attacks, firings and bomb blasts are grave crimes that not only shake a nation but also kill humanity and brotherhood around the entire world. These attacks need to be countered with effective and efficient strategies if we don’t want our innocent civilians and braveheart soldiers to fall prey to them. But following the several attacks in Mumbai and around India since years, we don’t seem to have learnt any lessons. Terrorists are still entering our country along with arms and ammunition and Indian security has failing to stop these attacks. Why?

The major question that arises here is how strong is the security system in India? How prepared are we to stop these attacks, prevent them or tackle them? Investigations are being carried out now to probe the Pathankot attack and establish the flaws in the security system that let the attack happen in the first place. And, the articles that I read about this investigation clearly state that some important clues were ignored by top officials that let the entire thing happen.

Reportedly, one of the police official’s car had been hijacked by the terrorists who used the vehicle to transport their arms and weapons and travel from one place to another. When the police official complained about it to one of his seniors, the senior ignored the clue and asked the police official to go home and come back on duty the next day. This step, reportedly, had been taken claiming that the record of the complaining official had not been good. But, my question here is, even though an official’s record isn’t good, is it right to ignore such a big clue and not even make a single attempt to investigate or look into the matter? Had the clue not been ignored by the senior official, maybe our security system would have been successful in nabbing the terrorists and stopping them from carrying out the attack.
But, nothing of that sort ever happened. Yes, it is brave of the senior official to admit to his mistake and ignorance. But what about the soldiers who got martyred? What about their families, their widows and kids? Who will take care of them? What about us civilians? Do we have any guarantee of our lives once we step out from the house every morning to head to work? How secure are we in our beloved country? The fact is, no one knows the answer! We don’t know when we can be attacked upon, or when and how we would breathe our last. And, this is a grave situation indeed!

Yes, India is a vast country and managing and securing such a huge nation is difficult enough. Agreed! But it is up to our government, whom we have voted for our own security and betterment, to think of the country and ensure that no citizen dies an unfortunate death like this. We have our soldiers guarding our borders 24/7 and the work they do is commendable. No wonder, their job is to protect the nation and its citizen, even if it means sacrificing their own lives. But, does this mean they will continue to lay their lives in every attack and drown their families in grief? Unfair, isn’t it?

And, if we have our soldiers guarding our country day and night and doing their job loyally and commendably, how do terrorists enter our country in the first place? There has to be some loophole in the system that is allowing these killers of humanity to enter the country, kill innocents and serve their purpose. And, even after so many attacks, why is India failing to discover that loophole and cover it up so that such attacks can be prevented in the future. Surely, this needs a lot of attention and consideration, doesn’t it?

Some people are requesting free basic internet services, but I think finding out this loophole in the system and tightening the security throughout the nation is our prime need!

A salute to all our brave martyrs!

Monday, 4 January 2016

When The Railway Minister Broke All Stereotypes...

When we talk of government servants and officials, a typical image of people wasting people’s time at their office comes to our mind. Several times when I had been to various government offices, I have observed how the officials chitchat and waste people’s precious time and I am sure most of you would agree with me on this.

But 2015 was an iconic year that witnessed a breaking of this stereotype. And it was none other than our Railway Minister, Mr Suresh Prabhu. Yes, he is the man who inspired a lot of good and went a step ahead to help people and to solve their problems instantly.

Technology has gone far in the modern world and we all know the benefits of social media in today’s world. But who would have thought social media would help them save their life? Quite literally, however, Suresh Prabhu has shown the world how to make the best and positive use of social media to deal with problems and come up with effective solutions quickly.

On the 19th of December, 2015, a young girl was travelling in the Shramjeevi Express from Delhi to Patna when she was misbehaved with and harassed by a co-passenger. The alert young victim immediately posted her ordeal on Twitter and tagged Mr Prabhu who then arranged quick help for the young lady. The help came 30 minutes after the complaint was tweeted online and the accused was arrested by the Railway Police at the following station.

Isn’t this a classic example of how our system must function or how efficient and quick-witted our government officials should be? Had the girl not received the help on time, she might have had to face a terrible disaster. But thanks to our Railway Minister for his quick response which ensured that the girl travelled safely and reached her destination.

Some of you may argue that it is his job and he has done nothing outstanding. But, in a country like India, where the number of rapes and violent incidences has been rising continually over the last few years, this move was certainly a comforting one. Women travelling in any part of the country can now be ascertained that they are safe, and, in case any untoward incident happens, there is someone around to help them and rely upon. Truly, a great salute for your kind deed, Mr Prabhu!

And it is not just that! Mr Prabhu did not simply stop here! On the very first day of the New Year 2016, Mr Prabhu proved himself again when he arranged help for an ailing child following a tweet by his father. The child had been severely dehydrated and despite repeated attempts by the parents to stop her vomiting and loose motions. Unable to figure out what to do, the father tweeted to the Railway Ministry and got immediate help after which the child was admitted to the paediatric ward of the Divisional Railway Hospital in Asansol.

Where government work is deemed to be slow and tedious in India since ages, the Railway Minister was really commendable on his prompt response. He indeed gave 2016 a wonderful start with his timely and responsible deed of helping the child. While 2015 ended on a good note for the railways due to the Minister, the New Year saw an even promising start. He has indeed #SpreadTheVibe and we hope India gets more such responsible and witty officers who work for the people in the true sense and would not hesitate to go a step forward to arrange help for someone!
Great job, Mr Prabhu!

Disclaimer: This article has been written as an entry for the contest #SpreadTheVibe by Indiblogger and YouthKiAwaaz!