Sunday, 25 November 2007

Photo of Barbarism: Woman stripped on street, Anarchy in Assam

The brutality with which women were stripped on the streets of Guwahati is horrific. More surprising is the silence of national media. 

When Hindi daily Dainik Jagran published this photograph on its front page with the special editorial, 'Where is the India for 5 crore tribals', it sent shockwaves among readers.

At least, 20 tribal students were lynched. They were killed in cold blood on the streets of the capital of Assam.

Many college students (girls) and women were stripped in the same fashion and their cries didn't move anybody.

The shred of cloth on her body tells the story of shamelessness of the people who indulged in this extreme and perverse violence.

The natinoal English newspapers surprisingly played down the incident. For them a minor incident in Gurgaon or Meerut is more important than anything in the remote North East.

Tomorrow India might win the cricket test match against Pakistan and the channels will show beaming Dhonis, Gangulys and Sachins. India will shine again for everybody.

Forget the blasts, Forget the violence in Assam. But will these women and their tribe ever forget this humiliation? I don't know who took this photograph, Jagran published it with a blur, still the expressions will haunt countless Indians. I have tried to conceal the face so that her identity is not revealed.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Buy ten women for the price of a buffalo

The statement of Punjab Health minister Laxmikant Chawla that a woman could be bought for less than a price of buffalo and that a woman can be 'purchased' for Rs 3,000 while a buffalo is sold for Rs 30,000 describes the State of affairs in this country.

Chawla wasn't making a casual comment. He was speaking at seminar 'Doctors for daughters' organised by Punjab chapter of IMC. Health Secretary Tilak Raj said that the female foeticide has reached such alarming level that brothers are sharing a woman as common wife.

But a good initiative now. The Gurudwaras in Punjab are going to have cradles at their door all over Punjab. Anybody who doesn't want to raise a daughter can leave the child after birth and the Gurdwara will take care of the kid.

It is a commendable step. Balwant Garg has reported in Times of India that Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) has announced that it will henceforth mother the abandoned girls. Punjab has a sex ratio of 793 females for every 1000 males and if the trends continue, the State is going to suffer terribly.

It will cause a demographic imbalance that will be impossible to correct. It is a national crisis. Though the problem is most acute in Punjab and Haryana. The temptation for 'son' and the belief that he carried forward the family lineage, is a reflection of our collective hypocrisy and the ills of our society.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Look beyond Hyderabad & Bangalore, save India

gThe death of the dream of socialist India:

Whither equitable distribution of wealth?
A woman rag-picker and her kids drag the cart. Mukesh Ambani gifts Jet to his wife Tina. Nobody is jealous of her but think what has went wrong with our nation in the last fifty years.

If this doesn't wake us up, nothing else can. The rising Sensex, ever-growing Ambanis and the wealth of Mittals keeps up blinded.

The dream of equitable distribution of wealth is dying. Outside the glitter of Hyderabad, rural Andhra Pradesh is witnessing one of the worst phases in history. In 1997, the State had 1,097 farmers ending their lives and the figure went up to 2,490 in 2005.

And hold your breath 16,770 farmers have committed suicide in 8 years in AP. Just go beyond Hyderabad and every district from Karim Nagar to Mahboob Nagar and Kurnool, has at least 300-400 suicides by farmers in the last three years.

In Karnataka, beyond the Bangalore of Narayanamurthy and Premji, 20,093 farmers have committed suicide in eight years. The figure was 1832 in 1997 and went up to 1,883 in 2005. And the worst is Maharashtra where the figure of suicides for eight years was 28,911. IN 1997, the figure for state was 1,917 and 3,926 for 2005.

States Figure of Deaths
(1997) (2005) (8 years)

Maharashtra 1917 3926 28,911
Andhra Pradesh 1097 2490 16,770
Karnataka 1832 1883 20,093

And these are government figures. The reality is 1.5-2 lakh deaths in last ten years.

Every hour a farmer is committing suicide in Vidarbha alone. Meanwhile, the number of millionaires keep growing in India. The divide is only getting wider. Sadly the educated middle-class also remains indifferent to the plight of poor and rural India. How have we all grown so insensitive. Will the political class and social consciousness comprehend the gravity of situation.

Or these vast crores of poor Indians, who are getting poorer by the day, and have nothing to lose, have to resort to Urban Naxalism. Do they have any option?

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Unlit 'diyas' for countless Indians on Diwali

These women get just Rs 150 per month as pension for elderly destitute who have no source of income.

How can one survive on this Old Age Pension of Rs 150!

On one hand our MPs and MLAs have no remorse in increasing their pay packets and gift away millions and billions in the name of constituency development to their own cronies.

But there is no increase in the meagre Rs 150 which they are getting for years. When newspapers are going ga ga over the filthy display of riches by Mukesh Ambani and others of their ilk, countless Indians will have nothing to celebrate.

Think of the poor, the orphan, the needy and the destitute. Don't squander. Spare a currency note or some gifts or anything you can think of. Share the joy of Diwali with them who really need it. It will be a noble cause and if all of us start giving a thought to it, Diwali would come to this country in the true sense.

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