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  • The Politics Of Rape In India

    In early 80s one of the popular Hindi flicks revolved around a sensational theme wherein a girl accused a boy of attempting to rape her when she got caught during the seduction stage. As a result of that false accusation, the boy became victim of deep psychological disorder for lifelong. Similarly, a blockbuster Hindi movie released in early 90s shows the protagonist teaching a fitting lesson to her ladylove, who tries to take a revenge by feigning rape! The protagonist makes her very clear that a lady should not stoop down at this level wherein a sexual offence becomes a weapon to settle personal grudges. Not a long back ago the Supreme Court refused to grant relief to a girl who had feigned rape, which led to trial of two innocent youths. They had to ‘suffer the ignominy’ of being involved in such a serious offence!

    The Supreme Court in his verdict, without mincing words, stated that ‘evil of perjury’ has assumed alarming proportions and, therefore, girl deserves no sympathy for maliciously setting the law in motion. “It was a settled position in law that so far as sexual offences are concerned, sanctity is attached to a victim’s statement and that the evidence of victim alone is sufficient for the purpose of conviction if it is found to be reliable, cogent and credible.” It’s ludicrous that an absurd hue and cry is being made over Mulayam Singh Yadav’s alleged rape remarks. Before entering into interpretation of his remarks, it would not be offensive to state that there are few takers, including myself, of type of caste-ridden politics played by Mulyam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav and Mayawati. They are icons of regressive tendencies in Indian politics, who never allowed their followers to truly embrace progressive ideals. That’s the reason why Uttar Pradesh is still struggling hard to emerge as a developed state!

    One needs to be sufficiently cautious while interpreting remarks of Mulyam Singh Yadav. True, his statement “boys…make mistakes” need to be severely condemned as it trivializes the gravity of a serious offence like rape. However, that’s not the only remark he made. One of the flaws committed by Indian and foreign journalists is that they tend to rely more on sensationalism and as a result of that they misquote and misinterpret serious remarks. That’s not only against the spirit of ethics based journalism but such tendencies also lead to volatile situation in various circles of society. I am sure that an ace politician like Mulyam Singh Yadav would have got his intent right when he pointed out a disturbing trend in Indian society, wherein sexual offences have become a tool to serve vested interests.

    The mainstream media eager to cash-in-on the controversial remark failed to highlight the other portion of his speech wherein he stated that “those filing false reports will also be taken to task” so as to stop the misuse of anti-rape law. The mainstream media, controlled by the feminist forces, very shrewdly suppressed this part of the alleged speech. He was demanding a change in anti-rape law not because “boys make mistake” but because its misuse has attained alarming proportions: “Boys and girls fall in love but due to differences they fall apart later on. When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped.” This statement needs to be interpreted in light of scenario prevailing in present day Indian society marred by perverse tendencies even if one has no place for brand of politics played by likes of Mulayam and Mayawati! This time a wrong person has said a right thing. Why are we hell bent to ignore a harsh reality of present age wherein women are not hesitant to put at stake their own dignity if that suits their interests?

    Interestingly, cinema is said to be the mirror of society. The filmmakers were far ahead unlike the lawmakers, having their mindset caught in time-warp, in anticipating the disturbing changes in approach of modern Indian women. Unlike the lawmakers who remained glued to perception of “abla nari” (a woman is too innocent and weak to commit any wrong), the filmmakers were bold enough to depict newer trends emerging among women fraternity (refer to movies like Undertrial, Aitraaz, Corporate and etc.). It’s a very recent phenomenon that Supreme Court has taken cognizance of misuse of dowry laws besides being worried about growing trend of perjury cases while dealing with sexual offences. However, it’s quite ironical and travesty of present day grim tendencies that new anti-rape law has no place for gender-neutral provisions. That’s quite shocking. That means law still believes that only men could be perpetrators! How long are the lawmakers going to behave like ostriches having their heads buried in sand?

    Needless to state that nobody is suggesting, or rather no one wants that people guilty of sexual offences of serious types should remain above stringent punishment. However, at the same time, it’s also pertinent that fair sex involved in unfair practise of misusing laws should not be allowed to get off scot free. At the same time if law makers are truly interested in equity based legal system then their prime task should be to make laws gender neutral. What’s the point in nurturing illusions of medieval ages? They need to take clue from filmmakers, who are at least honest enough to portray real face of Indian society as it is (even if they do so to ensure flow of cash)! And the journalistic circle should better restrain themselves from viewing everything from political angle. That would augur well for the welfare of Indian society. The media should be more governed by truth than by falsehood, confusion, and twisted truth sponsored by the corrupt feminist forces! It’s really pathetic that biased mainstream media is averse to anything remotely serving the cause of men and is quick to nasty interpretations of well-meaning sentiments. And it’s even more sadder to notice that even social media remained concentrated on personal attacks rather than framing a more logical perspective!

    References:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/lok-sabha-elections-2014/news/Mulayams-shocker-on-rape-Boys-make-mistakes-why-hang-them/articleshow/33561516.cms

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/hang-raped-married-women-forgive-rapists-indian-pol-article-1.1754300

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Law_%28Amendment%29_Act,_2013

    http://groundreport.com/girl-convicted-to-three-months-jail-for-feigning-rape/

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-woman-to-face-trial-for-lodging-false-rape-case-delhi-high-court-1467597

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2516150/Inside-new-legal-terrorism-How-laws-abused-settle-personal-scores.html

  • Is Aadhaar (Unique Identification Number) Too Dangerous?

    The Aadhaar project started with great fanfare, but it’s now on the verge of meeting an untimely death. It became the converging point of great expectations, to an extent that it was hailed as image of “new and modern India”. That’s why it created great chaos among middle classes, which like always, showed vain excitement to have it by hook or by crook, bothering least about the pros and cons of owning unique identity (UID). This project, bearing close resemblance to similar scheme in United Kingdom, was mired in contradictions right from the beginning. On the top of it, continuous conflicting statements from government, regarding its utility, kept the average mass guessing about its actual worth.

    It needs to be informed that several experts in the West have already given enough signals that such project of this type having sensitive data based on biometrics could be used in a wrong way. In fact, they could be used to eliminate and target a large community not serving the interest of people in power. However, in countries like India, where we know how government agencies function, it’s always a great possibility that data could be misused, even if there is no such threat of this magnitude as apprehended by experts in West. It would be interesting to know that similar project in United Kingdom met tough resistance on part of British citizens for many years, which left British government with no other option other than to quash it. A report prepared by London School of Economics made mockery of tall claims made by the government about its significance and it revealed that “biometrics was not a reliable method of de-duplication.”

    However, neither the government nor Nandan Nilekani made Indian citizens aware of such serious flaws inherent in this project. On the contrary, it created tension by giving the impression that not owning it meant losing benefits and subsidies involved in various government run schemes. Ironically, just visit any camp where Aadhaar cards are being prepared and one would be taken aback by the mess which prevails there. It’s hard to believe that government has enough will power (forget about enough infrastructure) to keep the data safe! I am sure ones whose data get stored either in wrong way or with wrong sorts of details would definitely face huge issues in coming days. Even at infrastructure level, the picture that emerges is quite threatening since its budget has increased phenomenally from nearly 32 billion rupees to over 88 billion rupees for coming phases.

    That’s why Supreme Court’s judgement came as a whiff of fresh air. It directed the government not to make it mandatory for Indian citizens, and that it could not be a ground to deny services introduced by government. Above all, it made it clear that details collected by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) would not be shared by it with any other government agency without prior permission of the concerned individual. At this point, it would not be out of place to refer to Social Security Number (SSN) used in USA, which does not compromises with right to privacy. The most shocking thing is that despite strict provisions there to stop identity theft such cases keep happening there leading to huge revenue loss. Now imagine the state of affairs in India where rules can be easily manipulated to benefit the vested interests! Who would guarantee that data protection and privacy would always remain a top priority in India?

    The Supreme Court made this observations in PIL filed by retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice KS Puttaswamy and Maj Gen (retd) SG Vombatkere which dealt with constitutional validity of Aadhaar. As per their counsel even if there was any statute to provide validity to this project, it would still be violation of Fundamental Rights under Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution. The project facilitating surveillance of individuals was a direct assault on the dignity of any individual. The main arguments rested upon these concerns: “…the (Aadhaar) project is also ultra vires because there is no statutory guidance (a) on who can collect biometric information; (b) on how the information is to be collected; (c) on how the biometric information is to be stored; (d) on how throughout the chain beginning with the acquisition of biometric data to its storage and usage, this data is to be protected; (e) on who can use the data; (f) on when the data can be used.” (As quoted in moneylife)

    In fact, Goa case had already made it clear how could biometric data be used against the interests of any individual. In this case UIDAI had challenged a decision of Goa Bench of Bombay High Court. It had asked it to share biometric data with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) so that the case involving gang rape of a seven year old girl in Vasco reached to its logical culmination.

    Anyway, the Supreme Court’s decision to not to make it mandatory is enough to make Indian citizens heave a sigh of relief. It’s high time that before government embarks upon sensitive project it needs to take enough measures to ensure its appropriateness, relevance and significance quite well.

    References:

    http://www.moneylife.in/article/supreme-court-asks-govt-to-withdraw-orders-making-aadhaar-mandatory/36806.html

    http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/aadhaar-on-a-platform-of-myths/article2236134.ece

    http://www.economist.com/node/21542814

  • Khushwant Singh: The Writer Who Made Reading An Interesting Affair!

    I have always been a great fan of writings of Khushwant Singh. That’s because his style of writing made reading an interesting affair, an engrossing episode. In fact, I did not subscribe to his ideological leanings but, nevertheless, I always found enough time to have a look at his write-ups. In literary circles, he was known for bringing forth history of Sikhs. It was a voluminous affair and he did that with perfection. Besides that novels like Train to Pakistan substantiated his fame as a writer.

    I remember well that I had habit of reading novels in college days but slow reading never allowed me to finish the novels in one go. Being student of English Literature my bond with English novels deepened with each passing moment in those years. One of my classmates, who loved to buy novels in his limited pocket money, bought this novel but kept it a secret, knowing well that if by chance I came to know about the whole thing, the novel would soon become a history for him. Unfortunately, all things hidden secretly are spotted easily by me. I carried this novel to my home, much against his desire, but I returned this novel to him just after few days. It came as a huge surprise for him since I was infamous for keeping novels for months at my home. I told him that this novel was written in such a lucid way that it made reading a pleasant affair.

    Train to Pakistan records tragic events related with Partition of India. It was a complex theme of which I had become aware of through TV serials like Tamas. And so I was not interested in reading again anything related with same theme but once I started reading this novel not for a moment I found reading becoming a dull task. It was written in such a soul-stirring manner that you were left with no other alternative other than to read from start to finish, devoid of long breaks! That explains as to why he emerged as such a popular writer among all the class of people. His writings were devoid of flamboyant and bombastic expressions. He wrote in simple English- something that you also notice when you are reading works of R K Narayan- which attracted even those readers having aversion for anything written in English!

    Nowadays I meet many readers who complain that reading has become such a difficult task because modern day writers, especially award-winners, have given way to complex phrases, weird expressions, and meandering sentence constructions which more often than not leave them confused and irritated. However, this was not the case with Khushwant Singh. His column “With Malice towards One and All” which featured in English dailies and “Na Kahu Se Dosti Na Kahu Se Bair” which found space in Hindi newspapers broke all records of popularity. The anecdotes, and daily dose of humour which marked these columns served as life-line for many readers besides ensuring a respectable circulation.

    Now having turned writer myself, I feel grateful to writers like Khushwant Singh, R K Narayan and Ruskin Bond, who taught me the art of writing simple English. I mean they taught me how to narrate serious episodes in easy language without compromising with seriousness inherent in them! I would not remember Khushwant Singh as a writer who dealt with women, wine, kisses and sex in his writings, but I would always remember him as a writer who made it easy for me to write simple English in an age when writing has got wedded to complexities!

    References:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khushwant_Singh

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/With_Malice_towards_One_and_All

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Train_to_Pakistan

  • Swami Vivekananda: A Spiritual Powerhouse Who Really Understood The Potential Of Youths!

    (These are excerpts from the speech delivered by Arvind K.Pandey at Jagat Taran Degree College, Allahabad, on January 12, 2014 in a programme organised by Kritisankalpa Society to celebrate birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. Other notable speakers who expressed their views on this occasion included Swami Nikhilatmananda, President, Ramakrsihna Mission, Allahabad; Justice Rajesh Tandon, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Uttarakhand; Justice. Palok Basu (Retd.), Allahabad High Court; Dr. Milan Mukherjee; Devendra Tiwari and Senior Advocate Ashok Mehta.)

    **********

    Today we find that youths are at the receiving end of so many challenging issues.The transition phase has introduced them to complex living patterns, which has left them high and dry. They not only remain the most exploited lot but also remain frustrated and depressed. That’s because pressure to perform is at its peak in materialistic times. They are unable to choose right means of survival. Worse, imposition of outdated patterns of living by the silver hairs has made youths a sorry figure. Against this backdrop, the values shared by Swami Vivekananda seem to be last ray of hope as they infuse within the being supreme confidence and positive feelings.

    Swami Vivekananda truly recognized the potential of youths. He always believed that “strong, vigorous, believing young men, sincere to the backbone” can change the face of globe. “A hundred such and the world becomes revolutionized.” However, when we look at the state of affairs prevalent in their lives, it leaves any thinking soul quite worried and sad. Very recently, police entered inside the campus of Allahabad University and students got beaten black and blue with laathis as if they were hardcore criminals and not innocent students. If you hear about the experiences of these youths, you would be in great pain to hear about their exploitation. Acharya Manu rightly states that silver hairs alone do not constitute wisdom but in Kaliyuga the white hairs have become confirmed sign of knowledge! No wonder they are always in conflict with younger generation. They are more often than not involved in quashing the innovative spirit of youths, leading to dissipation of enthusiasm from the lives of youths.

    Swami Vivekananda believed that each soul is a “potentially divine soul” but misguided silver hairs with their outdated notions have turned these younger souls, bubbling with optimism, into a potentially destructive soul. Swami Vivekananda possessed a revolutionary spirit who had dared to ask uncomfortable questions from older lot. He rightly believed that “each generation should be inspired afresh” and “men should not be taught to imitate a personal ideal, however great”. One of the fatal errors committed by older generation is that it tries to impose its views all in name of sharing experience.

    Some of the well-made flicks like Three Idiots, Rang De Basanti, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, and Paan Singh Tomar, to name a few, capture well the conflicts generated by old minds in the lives of youths. It’s evident that optimism and energy found in youths deeply impresses any conscious thinker of Vivekananda’s stature interested in creating new order of things.” My faith is in the younger generation, the modern generation, out of them will come my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions.” It’s another thing that in a nation which prefers argumentative tradition-something highly praised by Amartya Sen-the youths get tamed on one pretext or another.

    The lives of youths seem to have got trapped in ills of modernity. Or, why else are we seeing advertisements related with prevention of AIDS on National Youth Day? Isn’t this sad reminder of the fact that there has been erosion of values among the youths? Or is this indicative of fact that things have gone out of control since what was once upon a time treated as immoral has gained some sort of acceptance in Indian society? Whatever it is, it indicates crisis of values. We also need to accept that priorities of youths have changed and their role models have also changed. Their role models are the ones which do not inspire them to be do good and be good. They are the ones which encourage them to earn name and fame within short span of time. So what’s the role of a spiritual powerhouse amid this new set of perceptions?

    Even if we take into account new changes that have hit the lives of youths, there is still much space left for spirituality. That’s because materialism cannot give them real peace of mind. It cannot quench the thirst which exists inside our soul. No wonder youths have been hit hard by giant dragon called depression. Let’s also not forget that India is land of discovering inner peace. It’s not the land to multiply external source of happiness. And so likes of Swami Vivekananda would always be influencing our lives. They are the ones who keep us above from the realm of negativism. Youths are depressed because external world has limited means of satiating one’s desires, wherein seekers are more than suppliers! On the other hand, the inner world is infinite in nature and the competition to own this inner world is less. So people in race of inner peace have greater chances to remain happy than the majority which is in the race to conquer external world.

    Swami Vivekananda’s views will always remain relevant among youths since they enable the youths to rectify their approach towards life. They rejuvenate our dull spirit, by making us shift attention from the external world to inner world and in the process this great truth gets revealed: “The aim of life is to realize God…He alone is real and everything else is false…Religion is realization.” And once you attain realization you come to feel every moment that” all power is within you, you can do anything and everything.”

  • Acquittal of Kanchi Seers: A Sad Reminder Of The Fact That Propaganda Is More Powerful Than Truth!

    Any close observer of the happenings in modern India would easily confirm that secular governments have unleashed a sort of war against Hindu saints. They have been framed in number of heinous crimes right from sexual crimes to crimes against national security. The paid media ensures that one-sided coverage gets highlighted not only within Indian landscape but also in International arena. In such matters wherein Hindu saints are involved, a striking feature is that news coverage is full of lies and twisted truths spread by secular press. None of the mainstream media dares to reveal both sides of the story in an impartial way.

    One important reason is that most of the Indian media houses are in some way controlled by hidden powers in Western nations. How can we then expect truth to make its presence felt? After all, the mainstream media which harps about involvement of Sadhvi Pragya in blasts never found it important enough to report in same candid fashion about severe violation of rights of prisoners, about inhuman treatment meted out to her inside the jail! The same media is so hyper-sensitive about rights of Devyani who made mockery of India’s honour in West but yet she is being portrayed as if she committed no crime at all! That’s because she is part of the system. But anybody who dared to expose the misdeeds of government was branded as criminal in a well-planned manner!

    What I am trying to ascertain that we have given way to era wherein propaganda has become more powerful than version close to truth. One of the most important job of media is to reveal the real picture but exactly opposite has taken place: Media has become carrier of falsehood and distorted versions. It’s main agenda has become to shield dubious powers in rule. Like a prostitute it keep changing its loyalty or, in other words, it generally speaks the language of rulers! Remember the arrest of Kanchi Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati in year 2004 in most humiliating manner for allegedly playing a role in murder of Sankararaman, manager of the Sri Varadarajaswamy Temple. The then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu,J Jayalalithaa, in an attempt to appear more secular than others and to give an impression that no one is above law ensured his arrest! The Kanchi seers were charged with” criminal conspiracy, misleading the court by giving false information, criminal trespass and supply of funds to carry out the criminal activity.”

    The head of a 1,000-year-old Brahmin monastic order was presented as petty criminal in mainstream media and even before case was put to trial he was portrayed as accused. Let’s remember that Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham is one of the oldest Hindu mutts in the country and Shankarcharyas belonging to this mutt command a great respect among Hindu communities across the globe. In fact, Swami Jayendra Saraswati is a highly respected figure having profound knowledge of Hindu scriptures. He like his predecessors provided new heights to this mutt established in 9th century by Sri Adi Shankaracharya, enjoying similar status the way Vatican enjoys amid Christians. However, clash of interests between J Jayalalithaa and DMK chief Karunanidhi, who represented anti- Brahminical movments, ensured that this highly revered pontiff got disgraced.

    Prominent media analysts of that period conveyed the impression that “police would not have acted unless they had sufficient evidence.” Ironically, the prosecution at that time was supremely confidant about involvement of Kanchi seers in abetting murder of Sankararaman, claiming that it had “incriminating evidence”. The investigating officer Prem Kumar came out with version that made mutt head appear guilty: “We have strong evidence about the involvement of Sri Jayendra Saraswathi in Sankararaman’s murder. There has been animosity between the two for the past four years and further investigation is on to corroborate the evidence collected on the involvement of the Kanchi Acharya.” The allegations had deepened with revelations of Tamil magazine Nakkeeran. Amid these bizarre turn of events, the case got transferred to Pondicherry to ensure fair trial. To make the matters worse for Kanchi mutt head, even allegations of sexual exploitation surfaced. (The Hindu)

    However, the truth had the last laugh when verdict delivered by a special court in Pondicherry acquitted all the accused involved in this sensational murder. The verdict was delivered on November 27, 2013 after nine years of suspense and drama of all sorts. They were acquitted of all the charges which included “criminal conspiracy, misleading the court by giving false information, criminal trespass and supply of funds to carry out the criminal activity.” The main witnesses failed to corroborate the prosecution’s theory. More than 80 witnesses went against the story presented by the prosecution.

    Well, it’s true that Kanchi seers got acquitted but in the process it caused irreparable damage to the reputation of an institution, which represented the collective psyche of Hindus. This “collective psyche” of Hindus made its presence felt again the way Kanchi Mutt Head responded to this verdict: ” Dharma has prevailed. Truth has won. That is what matters…I have been trained by my Guru to bear everything. There is no question of situation being tough. Times were challenging because we were facing completely new set of situations. ..There are several invaders who vandalized our temples. Today when you see the disfigured temples you remember the invaders and their acts of vandalism. What was perpetrated on the mutt has been termed as an act of vandalism by several people.” (Kanchi Sathya Org)

    It’s really saddening that moments allegations against Hindu saints surfaces, the whole mainstream media goes berserk and paints them in wrong colours, forgetting that its main task is to report the incident and not to conduct trials. Worse, when the allegations are found false and saints get acquitted the same news item does not get prominence. Acquittal is never important than false stories planted by vested interests. No wonder acquittal of Kanchi’s Shankracharya did not get the same coverage. After all, it strengthens cause of Hindus, which is antithetical to secular spirit of this nation. The mainstream media is more interested in propaganda than emergence of truth.

    The secular forces always convey the impression that no one is above law. And so will they dare to arrest Shahi Imam Syed Ahmad Bukhari against whom so many cases have been registered? Will they dare to bring in open and convict Christian missionaries involved in conversion of tribals in remote corners of India? That will never take place. The law exists only for Hindu saints. It’s an instrument of oppression for Hindus and all that which represents self-pride of Hindus. It’s there to support propaganda and not to sustain truth.

    References:

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/kanchi-seers-acquitted-in-sankararaman-case/article5396743.ece

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/sankararaman-murder-case-kanchi-shankaracharya-22-others-acquitted/436377-62-128.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-25116204

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-11-28/india/44545942_1_c-s-murugan-kanchi-mutt-sankararaman

    http://hindu.com/thehindu/2004/11/13/stories/2004111307231000.htm

    http://www.hindu.com/2004/11/13/stories/2004111307560100.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jayendra_Saraswathi

    http://www.kanchi-sathya.org/

  • Rape Allegation That Led To Suicide of Kurshid Anwar: A Resounding Slap On The Face Of Media!

    The suicide by a prominent social activist Khursid Anwar, executive director of NGO Institute for Social Democracy and also a JNU scholar, has given rise to some pretty disturbing questions. Khurshid Anwar allegedly committed suicide in the aftermath of rape allegation by a Manipuri lady. This news got flashed on several news channels, followed by intense discussion on several social media networking websites including Facebook. Unable to bear this unwarranted media trial, this well known social activist committed suicide by jumping from his third floor residence in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi, on December 18, 2013. As per suicide note found at his home it was not a rape but consensual sex.

    This tragic incident reminds me of suicide committed by Sriniwas Siras, who happened to be a professor at Aligarh Muslim University. In this particular case, news channels were found guilty of invading his privacy by making public his homosexual affair in blown out of proportion way. The professor was granted relief by the Allahabad High Court, but he was not able to cope up with harassment in the form of bizarre media coverage. That made him to end his life. Of late, courts have regularly come up with strict reminders for media channels not to indulge in media trials when the case is in its trial phase. However, influential media houses have always adopted care-a-damn, leading to mockery of the sensitivity involved in any issue under trial. It’s true that need to control media trial remains a complicated issue but it’s an undisputed fact that there is no dearth of cases, wherein sensational media trial caused irreparable damage to one’s reputation. The media has always taken for granted “rights of the accused” and it’s high time to make clear demarcation between accurate reporting and reporting done with malicious intent to increase the sale or ensure high TRP ratings.

    “Sensational reporting will take place because sensational incidents keep happening in India. The Supreme Court will not be able to stop it. Yes, reporting must be accurate. But to say it amounted to trial by media is only a pejorative expression. Neither the court nor any one has provided parameters to define what constitutes trial by media.” (Senior Advocate Rajeev Dhavan in The Times of India) However, media’s pervert justification of its breach of privacy and rights of accused would never be enough to clear the huge mess caused by its unwanted intervention. Two lives of reputed individuals came to meet untimely end because of media trial. Can it bring them back to life? Can it restore the loss of reputation?

    In fact, senior journalist Saeed Naqvi has framed a perfect perspective regarding media trail: ” There is a tendency in journalism – it convicts a person on the day allegation is leveled against him, even before the court convicts him. That is sad. How can media reach a conclusion so quickly and start showing one as an accused? At least, it should wait for lodging of an FIR, completion of investigation” (DNA News Report) It’s really amazing that media always never takes into account serious repercussions involved in unfair trial. Is “mental trauma and public humiliation” in the wake of seriously flawed ”media trial” is thing of lesser concern? It’s so evident in media trials that reporting is misleading and one-sided with scant respect for cross-checking of the facts.

    This whole issue involves two other serious concerns. The first one brings to the fore love of the society to reach at conclusions in one go with a prejudiced mindset. It loves to criticize or, for that matter, endorse any issue even if there are no concrete material evidence to support its beliefs. The other aspect involves abuse of laws meant to protect sexual harassment of women. It’s simply not an issue pertaining to rights of men that laws meant to protect women have lead to harassment of innocent men. It’s so pathetic that moment an issue involving sexual harassment of women gets highlighted, the media enters in caricature of the accused, portraying him guilty. Worse, if you analyze the laws meant to prevent sexual harassment of women, it’s evident that men are virtually assumed to be guilty. Tragically, the attempt of the accused to prove himself innocent becomes further bleak in wake of such pervert media trials.

    ” The disconcerting answer is that it will not matter. In India, and several other countries where laws have been passed to punish crimes against women, the burden of proof has been consciously reversed: it is the accused who has to prove his innocence. This reversal is bad in principle, but probably necessary to create a level playing field for women in cases pertaining to sex crimes. But the new rape law has carried the reversal to a point where, if implemented as drafted, it will defeat the very purpose of justice . For once a man is accused, it leaves him with no way whatever of proving his innocence.” (Senior Journalist Prem Shankar Jha in The Times Of India)

    In nutshell, both society and media have lost the ability to be governed by reason and logic. Both of them have given way to pervert pleasure of playing havoc with the dignity and reputation of individuals. However, it’s baffling that even legal jurisprudence appears to have adopted same line of action, more so in cases involving sexual harassment of women. It’s time for everybody to upheld logical thinking over thinking governed by rash emotions. That’s essential to stop the fragmentation of society, to create a value-oriented society.

    References:

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-activist-khurshid-anwar-s-suicide-was-media-trial-responsible-1941672

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/AMU%27s+%27gay%27+prof+commits+suicide/1/91766.html

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-04-04/india/31286728_1_postponement-pils-r-p-desai

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-12-22/deep-focus/45472644_1_tarun-tejpal-state-human-rights-commission-tehelka

    http://www.bhaskar.com/article/MAT-RAJ-JAI-c-10-1726415-NOR.html

    http://khabar.ibnlive.in.com/news/113694/1

  • The Curious Case Of Devyani Khobragade: Aspects Which Will Never Be Discussed!

    The complex issue of Devyani Khobragade has come as a boon for ruling party in India on the verge of facing one of the worse defeats in upcoming Parliamentary Elections in 2014. It has allowed its leaders, who have lost their sheen, to talk big about saving the pride of nation, forgetting that most of them enjoy a chequered past! Its most of the leaders, who have been relegated to the background, have now emerged on the surface, speaking aloud about attributes which they rarely displayed both in public and personal lives. Consider the manner in which the Lokpal Bill got passed after the government was left with no other option but to take cognizance of growing unrest over this issue in nation!

    The Indian leaders, especially from the ruling party, definitely lack the moral right to make shrill cry about violation of standard provisions in case of Devyani Khobragade. It’s quite evident from a deeper analysis of issue at hand that facts have been blown out of proportion. Like always the issue has been given a larger-than-life colouring, making it look like some shrewd diversionary tactics on the part of hidden players behind the curtain.

    Devyani Khobragade is no child that she could not apprehend the consequences of misrepresentation of facts on visa application of the domestic help Sangeeta Richard. How come she is so much aware of ”Vienna conventions” but pretty unaware about the violation of domestic laws of U.S. even as there were reported incidents of atrocities committed upon domestic help in the past by other Indian diplomats in the same country? Being an Indian diplomat she should have set high precedents instead of giving impression of being a “victim” in the aftermath of strict actions on part of U.S. authorities.

    Let’s be very clear that it’s not the case of making mockery of sovereignty of India but it’s more the case of playing with the fire. Devyani conveniently forgot that she was living in United States and not in India where even a petty “Sarkari Babu” (government official) can use his power to thwart the investigation on being caught.

    The urgency exhibited and absurd statements on part of Congress Ministers make them laughing stock in the eyes of all conscious people, who believe in the rule of law. The paid mainstream media might give the impression that knee jerk reactions on part of Indian counterparts back in India are “bold measures” and fitting response to United States, but it would never diminish the ugly truth that she is guilty. The moves on part of U.S. sound more appropriate when Preet Bharara makes it clear that “This office’s sole motivation in this case, as in all cases, is to uphold the rule of law, protect victims, and hold accountable anyone who breaks the law — no matter what their societal status and no matter how powerful, rich or connected they are.”

    All those who are talking aloud about diplomatic immunity granted to Indian officials posted at consular office surely needs to answer questions posed by this U.S. prosecutor: “One wonders whether any government would not take action regarding false documents being submitted to it in order to bring immigrants into the country. One wonders even more pointedly whether any government would not take action regarding that alleged conduct where the purpose of the scheme was to unfairly treat a domestic worker in ways that violate the law. And one wonders why there is so much outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian national accused of perpetrating these acts, but precious little outrage about the alleged treatment of the Indian victim and her spouse?”

    Yes, it’s disturbing that mainstream media pressure and chaotic voices within the government have made it a “diplomatic row” when it’s nothing more than criminal action committed by a responsible Indian officer. However, let’s view critically the actions taken on part of U.S. The WikiLeaks have proven beyond doubt that American leaders are no saints. The U.S. might give the impression that dealing fairly with violation of human rights is always their topmost priority but when their own men get trapped it takes recourse to most shrewd measures to save them.

    Or, for that matter, it can go to any extent to get its job done, even if it means sabotaging the sovereignty of other nations. It’s no secret that documents and evidences were forged to justify their attack on Iraq. The drone attacks in various parts of Pakistan make it clear that borders become meaningless in face of its interests, and so death of innocent civilians means nothing! The controversial release of Ramyond Davis, C.I.A contractor guilty of double murder in Pakistan, speaks volume about subtle pressure employed by American leaders.

    The U.S. claims it’s very much in pain over episodes of violation of human rights but see the treatment meted out to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay! So it’s evident that rich and powerful nations have dual standards and the U.S. is no exception. It’s not at all wrong to presume that it used its domestic laws to enter in barbaric behaviour which many in India see it as an assault on the pride of India and modesty of a woman.

    India needs to learn few lessons from this episode instead of entering in retaliatory actions. Before I come to that point let me state that introduction of gender-neutral laws in India or need of tough measures to punish abusive women always lead to raised eyebrows.The so-called messiahs of women’s rights start making noise in India. The U.S. has perfectly demonstrated that laws are equal for men and women and ,therefore, women cannot claim special privileges or concession.

    In India despite the leap of so many centuries woman is still inherently seen as a weak specie, a saintly figure, who can first commit no crime and even if she commits crimes she needs to be given special treatment! It’s an impression that’s even supported by foreign based agencies, working for the rights of women in India but the same agencies would remain silent about inhuman behaviour done with Devyani just because it happened in U.S.!

    Anyway, India needs to demonstrate its own strength not in reactionary way but in a more mature way. It needs to take away all the special privileges and concessions it offers to U.S. citizen in extraordinary way. Very recently a Visa Officer in India was transferred because she had refused to grant visa to a gay American diplomat on the ground that such marriages are not legal in India. The Indian government instead of supporting her argument, transferred her to a lesser department.

    In the light of recent Supreme Court judgement, which has upheld the validity of section 377, one needs to follow the words of former Finance Minister of India, Yashwant Sinha, to let United States become aware of consequences if other nations also become strict in implementing their domestic laws.”My suggestion to the Government of India is, the media has reported that we have issued visas to a number of US diplomats’ companions. ‘Companions’ means that they are of the same sex. Now, after the Supreme Court ruling, it is completely illegal in our country. Just as paying less wages was illegal in the US. So, why doesn’t the government of India go ahead and arrest all of them? Put them behind bars, prosecute them in this country and punish them.” (Yashwant Sinha).

    Sometimes back there was controversy about alleged permission granted to American sniffer dogs to enter Rajghat as a part of the security drill before the visit of U.S. President George Bush. In future this sort of “desecration” could be avoided since it’s not permissible as per our own rules. It’s time for India to exhibit that it has a backbone, instead of entering in knee-jerk reactions. That can be perfectly demonstrated by pursuing its own interests in a rigid way without granting extraordinary privileges to outsiders, being least influenced by their nationality and position.

    References:

    http://world.time.com/2013/12/17/indian-diplomats-arrest-in-new-york-sparks-row-with-u-s/

    http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2059330,00.html

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/devyani-kobragade-incident-both-sides-of-the-story/440080-3.html

    http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-devyani-khobragade-diplomat-row-protests-outside-us-embassy-in-delhi-1936700

    http://zeenews.india.com/news/nation/india-shifts-devyani-khobragade-to-un-mission-ensures-full-diplomatic-immunity_897616.html

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/indian-diplomat-devyani-khobragade-was-not-handcuffed-us-prosecutor/1209506/5

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/everything-you-need-to-know-about-devyani-khobragades-story/1209491/?rheditorpick

    http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/devyani-khobragade-row-arrest-same-sex-companions-of-us-diplomats-in-india-says-yashwant-sinha-459750

    http://www.financialexpress.com/news/untruths-in-indian-diplomat-devyani-khobragade-row-hints-unaffected-preet-bharara/1209589

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ifs-officer-denies-visa-to-spouse-of-gay-american-diplomat-moved-out/1201023/

    http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/sniffer-dogs-taken-to-rajghat-alleges-bjp/article3159414.ece

  • Unleashing Magic Of "Triple S" Of Indian Cinema: Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni and Shailendra!

    Once upon a time Hindi movie songs acted as anti-depressants. Now Hindi film music gives rise to depression! Modern songs devoid of meaning and set upon incoherent beats in the name of music give rise to headache instead of removing it! Earlier songs depicted certain philosophy, which added a new dimension in the script of the movie. The movies made by Bimal Roy, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor effectively used songs to introduce new twist in the story. It's altogether a different story in modern cinema. There are item numbers or poorly inserted hopelessly romantic numbers.

    First, there is dearth of talented lyricists and, second, there is lack of good music directors. The bunch of music directors that we see are primarily technocrats, relying heavily on technology. Some will argue that we have talented lyricists but the ability to write one or two catchy one-liners doesn't make anyone a lyricist! Listen the lyrics and it would be hard for you to decide whether it's an English song, or a Punjabi song, or a Hindi song. Look at the music compositions. It's either for the hip-hop generation or it's for the night clubs. It's not merely that times have changed and we need to adjust to new trends. There is something terribly wrong with the creativity involved in making of songs! Should we not assume that capitalistic traits have murdered real creativity? Overseas rights of distribution, heavy fees extracted from rights of satellite channels and numerous other equations enjoy greater concern than ensuring bliss!

    I do not wish to appear stupidly nostalgic caught in the time warp. As an evidence of the creativity, which prevailed in 50s and 60s, I am presenting four songs of lyricists who have really inspired me a lot. Every time I come to hear a song written by them, it leaves me in state of intoxication. I am referring to trio comprised of Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badauini and Shailendra. These "Triple S" always stirred my emotions to no extent.

    *******************
    1. Ye Raat Ya Chandani Phir Kahan

    Listen this song from Hindi movie Jaal (1952). The heavenly voice of Hemant Kumar, wonderful composition by S D Burman and soul stirring verses by Sahir Ludhianvi made this song timeless! Guru Dutt was the director of this movie- a thriller which involved Dev Anand, Geeta Bali and Purnima. Excellent cinematography by VK Murthy has made this song a poetry carved on silver screen. As I said the songs of this era were borrowed from literature. This song echoes the eternal theme that "time and tide wait for no man" - "Ek baar chal diye ager tujhe pukar ke laut ke na aayenge kaafile bahar ke". The movie depicted Goan Christian culture and so we find the music having western effect based on sweet Guitar pieces. However, the most important aspect about this song is that it's based on Raga Kafi, which is a midnight raga. That matches with the picturization of the song, depicting a moonlit night!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBw_JSiNF9c

    ***************

    2. Suhana Safar Aur Ye Mausam Haseen

    Bimal Roy's Madhumati (1958) is very close to my heart. Not only it strengthens our belief in re-birth, a prominent concept in Indian philosophy, but also it makes us believe in the power of true love. As per this movie the impact of true love transcend many generations. This movie is really a classic in world cinema. Right from the first scene till the last frame of this movie, it keeps the viewer in state of trance with its gripping presentation of the story and its enchanting music. I remember when I went to see this movie in a theater couple of months ago in a film festival, the theater was jam-packed. Not a single seat was available. And I saw many of the viewers sitting on the floor of the balcony and many others still having argument with the gate-keeper to move inside even as the movie had started. Shailendra and Salil Chaudhary made each song a masterpiece. Well, this time I wish to introduce first song of this movie "Suhana Safar Aur Ye Mausam Haseen". Every time I move on a beautiful passage passing through the valleys, I always come to remember this song. Shailendra has borrowed the appeal present in poems of Wordsworth. Nature has come alive in this song where one can actually feel that clouds are kissing the earth! - "Ye Aasman Jhuk Raha Hai Jameen Par". Notice the wonderful prelude of this song. It's so impressive that it has virtually become part of my consciousness! Immediately you come to realize that this song features mountains! That's the magic of these songs. One of my favourite past-time in school and college days was to identify the song after listening clip of prelude. Anyway, it's time to listen the whole song! Also notice the way how great maestro Bimal Da has picturized this song!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8LswlHY-BU

    *****

    3. Aaj Purani Raho Sein Koi Mujhe

    That's a song which speaks volume about the singing ability of Mohammed Rafi. It's been so deeply and soulfully sung by Rafi that it leaves you speechless. Aadmi was released in 1968 which had music under direction of Naushad and songs were penned by Shakeel Badayuni. Naushad had a special place for Shakeel in his heart and he went out of the way to help Shakeel in his last days troubled both by financial crisis and bad health. The movie highlighted love triangle and fascinating performances on part of Dilip Kumar, Waheeda Rahman and Manoj Kumar made it an unforgettable movie. The song makes it clear that one can be strong willed even if one's heart and mind have been shattered by the cruel twists and turns of the fate. The song has tragic melody which not only depicts personal loss but also highlights that pain ultimately leads to realization of highest type- perfect union with the Lord! The camera work is wonderful in this song as it captures the roaring sea waves hitting the rocks! The song makes an appeal that someone who has begun a new journey should not be haunted by the past episodes of life!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD9sNWTxpKM

    *******

    4. Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hai

    Shailendra's fame attained new heights after the release of Vijay Anand's Guide (1965). It is considered to be one of the finest movies made in Bollywood. Hats off to the courage of Vijay Anand, who went ahead with the release of this movie despite failure of movie version of R K Narayan's 'The Guide' in English. The distributors were very much impressed with the efforts of Vijay Anand. The Hindi version proved out to be phenomenal success. S D Burman was seriously ill during making of this movie but he regained health to create some unforgettable numbers. "Aaj Phir Jeene Ki Tamanna Hai" became one of the representative songs of women's emancipation. However, I wish to present this number which represents the pinnacle of love, commitment and togetherness. Shailendra was a class poet, who had gifted ability to write verses in most simple language without losing sight of loftiness. When I hear these immortal songs and contrast them with songs made in present era a sense of discomfort prevails within. Well, instead of lamenting about the loss of creativity, let's hear this song which is an ode to love and get lost in an era when music was a way to connect with higher forces!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMerH-KF_iw

  • A Bridge Between Two Souls! (Poetry)

    There exists a bridge between
    You and I
    And I travel across it
    To reach to you each day.

    This bridge remains invisible
    In the world governed by reality
    Glad that it is non-existent!
    In a world marred by evil eyes
    It remains invisible to naked eyes
    In love with concrete images
    And I did the right
    By not giving it a shape
    To a bridge I travel across
    Each day to reach to you.

    Had it been built by me
    Surely it would have collapsed
    Facing every passing moment
    The rays of eyes dipped in
    Evil and falsehood, treachery and crime,
    And I would have lost something
    Which sustains my earthly existence

    There exists a bridge between
    You and I
    And I travel across it
    Through the realities of visible world
    To reach to you each day
    In every passing moment
    To arrive at a world
    Where no one exists
    Other than you and I.

  • Two Faces Of Masculinity From The Crude Real World Supposedly Belonging To Men In The Eyes Of Feminists!

    *Scene One*

    This year in the month of September a senior police officer, belonging to IPS cadre, tried to commit suicide in Maharashtra. Such news report now do not stir the emotions of common mass other than creating short-lived ripples within some sensitive minds. Even when it forces the thinking class to take cognizance of such news items, the centre of gravity in these discussions remain governed by flimsy causes and after a certain period the issue gets swept under the carpet.

    In this particular sensational incident, this senior police officer was at the receiving end of humiliating gestures at the hands of another junior officer, belonging to IAS cadre. This harassment continued for a certain period of time and seeing no way to get out of this mess this hard-working and honest police official set himself on fire. The reason why this police officer faced the ire of this junior IAS officer was that he had found this junior officer responsible for alleged irregularities in the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). This IPS officer in his capacity as the Chief Vigilance Officer of the MSRTC submitted an inquiry report, which found this officer guilty, who was, ironically, the head of this department at that point of time.

    That’s one of the few examples from world of ours, which contradicts the claims of feminists always unfailingly harping on the same string that world belongs to men! Unfortunately, they never realize that it’s rough, cruel and hellish for men-at-large for most of the time. The wives of such hard-working honest officials, who see such husbands as no more than a source to have ready cash all the time for their sense gratification, either in form of buying costly jewelries, costly attires, rarely come to realize what’s actually the state of affairs in lives of the their husbands. Worse, being unaware of the harsh realities prevailing in the world of men, the women show no haste in throwing tantrums on one pretext or another.

    Husbands usually do not protest over such whimsical demands of wives since in their eyes giving way to demands of their wives appears to be some sort of fulfilling one’s duty towards them! And that’s how women come to rule over them and in turn exploit them. Ironically, now laced with new rights, wives have become more possessive, greedy and irrational. It’s a sad declaration but it’s true that scenario would not change in future. It would remain the same, wherein husbands like, bonded labourers, would continue to serve their wives, even as they remained at the receiving end of most tragic developments in world outside the confines of drying room.

    *Scene Two*

    In one of the famous restaurants of Allahabad, popular among love birds, arrived one such couple. Everything went alright between these two lovers, enjoying a happy conversation amid refreshments. Suddenly, a call arrived on the phone of male friend and he went on to have a long conversation. Being suspicious about the nature of the phone call, the female partner inquired about it from her lover. The explanation offered by the male partner did not appear convincing to her and that led to heated debate between the two. The happy mood gave way to high voltage drama marred by panic and tension. The female partner, who belonged to elite class, being unaware of the consequences of involving police, telephoned the police station of that area stating she was being sexually assaulted. The police acted in prompt manner, beating his male partner black and blue, right in front of her eyes, dragged him to the police station.

    The girl who did not imagine such fatal consequences and to an extent feeling sorry about the whole episode informed the police officer in the police station that her complaint was fake! She telephoned merely to teach a fitting lesson to his male partner! Perhaps she did not want that matter should reach to their homes, which was going to be the case in next few minutes. The police, taking a liberal view on the whole episode, released both of them warning them not to indulge in such drama again, which involved police. The couple promising them to behave responsibly left the police station with happy and relaxed faces. Such boyfriends, new face of masculinity in modern times would grow in numbers, willing to serve their girlfriends at all costs, no matter if it involves putting at stake one’s self-respect!

    References:

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/maharashtra-top-cop-adgp-rk-sahay-tries-to-commit-suicide-battling-for-life/1/309957.html

    Hindi Version Of This Article: http://wp.me/pTpgO-Sa

    News Item Published In Dainik Jagaran

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