An Open Letter to the average Indian in the times of divisive politics.

Lately, Hindu-Muslim tensions in India have been on the rise. There is a lot of friction caused due to the divisive politics.

In this environment, it is crucial to have a dialogue with both groups and find common ground.

My latest piece published on Youth Ki Awaz is that open letter.

Dear average Indian,

I write this today with a heavy heart because I’m searching for you in this crowd of people who seem to hate each other so much that they allowed this hatred to rip apart an eight-year-old child’s life.

I know you are there somewhere, no matter how agitated, lost for words and shocked. Hence I made this effort to write to you.

 

Find it in full here.

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Asifa’s Lawyer is a ‘hot’ ‘anti-national’- WTF Seriously!?!?!

This is beyond words. Somehow I managed to put some together.

Read my full post on Youth Ki Awaz.

The last couple of days have been tough. Not just for me but for every person that calls themselves an Indian. I have been writing articles non-stop because there is so much going on in the aftermath of the publicity of the rape case in Kathua.

At night, tired, I turn down my laptop thinking, “No, we can’t go any lower than this.” And yet, the next morning when I wake up, I see that we have managed to find a new low.

A crime itself is a mediocre reflection of the society because it is reflective of the individual. But the rhetoric that circulates after and about that crime is the actual reflection, the pure one, of our society, due to the collective perception.

The Quint, like many other news channels, shared the interview of Deepika Rajawat, the fearless woman, an intelligent lawyer, fighting for the eight-year-old rape and murder victim in Kathua.

Why #riseAboveReligion in Asifa rape case is meaningless

India is shaken.

Once again, it is a rape case.

The only thing different is the ‘religion factor’.

I wrote about the role of religion in this case and why it should be paid due attention. My post was published as a guest contribution on FEMINISM IN INDIA.

Please read it here.

Asifa Bano, an 8-year-old Muslim girl was gang-raped for days inside a Hindu temple in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir. The nation is again seeing outrage poured into social media and protests being held, sadly not in support of the dead girl, but in support of the men who did this to her.

Twitter is an interesting playground when incidents like this happen because in 120 words you can see a common rhetoric at play. First, you see highly offended Hindus upset that the rapists used the temple for their crime and using Ram’s name to get public sympathy.

Not Beti Bachao but ‘BETA SUDHARO’- India after Asifa rape case

Sadly, we are once again mourning an innocent rape victims death and worse is the fact that the victim was an 8-year-old girl.

I wrote a guest post for YKA about the things wrong with the whole picture commenting on the way the case is dealt with.

An 8-year-old girl is kidnapped and gang-raped for eight days inside a temple in Kathua, Jammu and Kashmir.

On the eighth day of gruesomeness, the culprits strangle her with her scarf and mutilate her head with a stone before dumping her body on the roadside.

And while Kashmir is watching this charade of barbarity, Unnao is mourning the loss of the father of a rape survivor, also a minor. The father was allegedly beaten to death as the culprits desperately attempted to shut the case down. The CM is quiet on the issue – and the alleged culprit, a Member of the Legislative Assembly, is loitering around with pride as he is the political leader of the ruling party. The rape survivor has no recourse.

One might think there must be a missing law or something that gives the rapists such confidence that they commit rapes without fear.

There does exist the POCSO or The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. The POCSO Act 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. Any suspect arrested under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, CANNOT be granted bail. The goal is to keep the suspected paedophile in prison even before the evidence is collected, just to be safe.

Read more here.

Can An Abusive Man Ever Change?

One of my readers have been questioning this a lot and I am glad that she discovered the answer herself and was happy to share it with others in this blog post.

My reader, let’s call her Jia, has been in a relationship with a guy for the last 7 years. In the last 5 though, they started living together since she was going through medical and financial troubles and didn’t have a family to return to.

Living in was more of a last resort than a choice for her.

She admits that the guy is nice to her, romantic at times, makes her smile often. But this does not make her slide over the financial, emotional and mental abuse by cursing her over silly things and keeping her dependent on him, taking advantage of her illness.

She was about to break free from his shackles by getting a job and recovering from her health when she had decided in her mind that as soon as she can, she will stop living with him and end this relationship.

She ended it from her side several times when she was abused or threatened to be thrown out of the house because a man that loves you won’t do that to you for silly things. She knows that very well.

But since she had nowhere to go, he would always get a chance to make things usual and act like nothing ever happened.

Anyway, she had decided that mentally while she was waiting for any of her efforts to give fruits when the guys’ father passed away.

As much as she was hurt and done with him, she stood by him in his grief. She cried with him, arranged for his journey, helped him pack, gave her luggage and whatever she could emotionally and physically.

While he was gone, she got some time to herself to ponder over things and she was unsure if she could abandon him just after he lost his dad. He had been broken and Jia didn’t want to leave him alone when he needed a shoulder to cry on.

He spent a month away while she consoled him, cried with him and helped him deal with this, every single day on the phone.

He came back and she noticed a stark difference; something she had not witnessed in last 7 years!

He was changed alas! He isn’t making a fuss when she served him pasta the next day, he didn’t make her cry for a week when she asked for £50 and he honored her wish to take her out for a late night drive without giving her hell or calling her names.

She didn’t want to jinx it so she kept quiet but Jia never for once stopped noticing how much he had changed.

She ultimately started considering continuing this relationship since she was seeing that losing his father has made him a different man. It seemed like he now values relationships and understands that yelling over a bowl of pasta for 1 week is not the way to treat your woman. It seemed like he had grown, become emotionally matured since his fathers passing away.

With a skeptical heart, she started wondering if this would last or not and certainly began feeling thankful and cheerful for the great guy. She started to think may be the earlier abuse was a test and may be he has outgrown all that.

Last night she asked him to pick some food for her as she was ill and could not cook. She planned to watch Jessica James, put Netflix on, got the plates and drinks out and made everything ready for the fun night she had planned.

He got home and asked if the food order in the text message is for both of them or just for her. She had only asked to pick what she wanted with common sense that he would pick pizza for himself as he clearly SAID it to her in the evening.

She didn’t panic or fight over food (when clearly it was his fault/dumb/stupid excuse for not picking his food as he always does) but divided her food between two plates and brought to the table while Jessica James started.

He never shut up for a minute, complaining that the food is not enough, it has garlic, why didn’t she write his order too in the text. No matter what she said, he began the same old, throwing things around and went to the bedroom abusing her for being selfish and calling her all sorts of names.

Usually, Jia is sick and still feeds him first, and if has any energy left, would cook something for herself. She had planned to eat together this night while watching the new movie but unfortunately, he couldn’t let that happen, would he?

She tried to eat a little bit while waiting for him to grow up and come out but he didn’t. She put on clothes and limping in her medical condition, walked down to the nearest take-away and got him pizza.

Instead of realizing what an asshole he’s been all night, he started abusing her even more in words that range from her dependency to abusive names you wouldn’t ever call anyone in your right mind.

Ultimately he said sorry and that he had a bad day- but that’s the CLASSIC EXCUSE for any abuser, she knows it well enough by now. Nothing she hasn’t heard before. He forced her to eat with him but she simply could not stop weeping and just left him alone, as she pretended to be on the phone with someone.

She’s been asking me for the last few months about her decision to leave this, really long relationship and if it was possible for an abusive man to change.

Tonight she said just one sentence-

ONCE AN ABUSER, ALWAYS AN ABUSER!

Beware Fake Male Feminist Allies

So, my general assumption is that when someone says they are “FEMINIST”, it means they believe in FEMINISM. 

I mean why wouldn’t I assume that?

If you tell me you are a Ph.D. in English literature, I would know for sure you know who William Shakespeare was, right?

I recently had a conversation with a straight guy, who claimed to be a FEMINIST. 

I loved when he said that he is a FEMINIST since not many men that I know, embrace FEMINISM openly.

I WAS IN FOR A SHOCKING REVELATION!

The first alarm bell rang when he said “he doesn’t feel sorry for poor labor class men from developing countries whose human rights get violated in Middle Eastern countries”.

I was shocked and pointed out “your privilege is showing” to which he continued his stance.

I simply said that I doubt he is a FEMINIST and I will explain how privilege and oppression work if we ever meet, but emphasized that he has a lot to learn.

If that did not clue enough, today held another shocking revelation.

I mentioned something about single women being abused by married men.

Instantly it became about men Vs women.

This coming from a FEMINIST was shocking since by definition FEMINISM recognizes that a conversation about women must not be turned around to make it about men.

He continued to emphasize #NotAllMen not acknowledging one thing about women’s oppression. This is how it went in few important screenshots:

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WHY AM I TALKING ABOUT THIS??????????

As you can see, I’ve hidden the senders’ identity so my mission is not to name and shame anyone.

But I could not help write about this because of my failed assumption.

FEMINISM is a cool label for people to tag these days including men. Men who want to seem open minded and progressive may be even to attract independent strong women.

And it is very much possible that men and even women call themselves FEMINISTS without actually putting any effort into learning what it is and what it is about.

I BEG YOU- FEMINISM IS NOT A COOL LABEL ONLY, IT’S A RESPONSIBILITY-

  1. Responsibility to educate yourself about women’s rights and their historical oppression.
  2. Responsibility to hold men accountable where they step on women’s conversations where the focus is women’s experiences and not a competition of who’s got it worse.
  3. Responsibility to LISTEN to women instead of mansplaining.

I would love if not just one but all the men in the world identify as FEMINISTS but unfortunately, that still won’t do any good if in their hearts they only keep trivializing women’s’ experiences and mansplaining FEMINISM AND EQUALITY to them.

So, all guys out there, kindly educate yourself before you identify as a FEMINIST. The FEMINIST movement welcomes people of all genders, races and classes except for assholes who say they are FEMINISTS but make no attempt in understanding women’s issues.

Not asking you to quote Gloria Steinem word by word but at least acknowledge that only women, not men have to return home with pepper sprays a night.

Not asking you to recall the name of every SUFFRAGETTE but at least know that when men get harassed no one asks if they wanted it or what they were wearing, and they get harassed mostly by other men.

Not asking you to get published on JEZEBEL but at least recognize that no woman ever has been found taking sexual pleasure by ripping out a man’s intestines or selling male rape videos for 50 INR.

Not asking you to worship Chimamanda Ngozi but accept that no man has ever been asked if he can handle work and kids simultaneously and no boys were sent home because their shorts or tank tops were too ‘short’ or distracting girls.

FFS men sexualise girls bodies by the age of 12 on average!!!!

UPDATE: The next day he apologized.

Brides Gifted Bats to Beat Abusive Husbands- DUMB Actions NOT Feminism

I wish I could appreciate Indian govt’s stance but sadly NO!
I recently saw this video where brides are gifted bats on their wedding day, by the MP politician with messages written on them that encourage women to use the bats if they encounter domestic abuse.
The problem with giving women bats on their wedding are plenty-
1- Men are very much capable of taking the bat from them and beating women instead.
2- Violence is not the answer to domestic abuse; REHAB CENTRES ARE.
3- This kind of actions place the responsibility of fighting domestic abuse on the women because they are so sure that the POLICE WON’T INTERVENE.
4- What impact is this going to have on children?
5- Why would you marry your daughter to someone you even slightly suspect might be abusive?
In the video, you can see the minister proudly claiming to have done a NOBLE deed. His deed is beyond ridiculous as it shows how little effort we put in raising good men and how sure we are that they will be abusive.
 
People do not understand FEMINISM at all and think women empowerment means women beating men up. 
Combatting domestic abuse has several strategies but this is counter-productive and extremely stupid.

I Can’t Give You Me

I can’t give you , me.

As much as I love love.

As much as I want to be loved.

I can’t give you, me.

 

To the world, I am a strong woman.

I am the cliff that men train to hike,

I am the oak tree that stands after the hurricane,

I am the earth that lies beneath your feet,

And you think you can walk all over it.

But the moment it shakes you are wiped out,

Like a tiny speck on the face of the moon.

 

I am Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman,

I am the one that gives Trump nightmares,

The one that was once tagged as a witch.

And in some century the suffragettes.

 

To the world, I am all that.

But to the man, I love, not that at all.

 

When I am in love,

I am like the drop of wax slowly and gracefully,

Trembling down the lengths of a candle,

Warm but soft and crushed by the tip of the man’s finger.

 

As a woman in love,

I am the tiny speck hiding in the pollen of a sunflower,

As the sun gives it light, so it owns the power to burn it.

 

Love makes me care, love makes me give you my all,

And if I give you me, I will love you that way.

Love you more than you ever imagined and

Be there for you more than you deserve.

Going an extra mile after 5000 extra miles is my thing.

 

Unlucky for you, I have been there done that.

Traveled those miles, been crushed and burnt and broken.

 

Now, when you say the word love,

I hear my bones cracking like you’ve already started

To tighten your grip on my fragility

And when you say ‘commitment’

I feel my existence withering away in gray ashes.

And when you say ‘relationship’

I crumble like a hard rock sliding down a cliff.

 

It’s not you, it’s those words.

Those exact words men used before you and

That makes me wonder

Why would you be any different?

 

I know its foolish to give up on love.

As they say, when one bus goes…

But what if the buses keep coming but none of them is the right one.

 

I may sound like a coward to you,

Like a hopeless, powerless, weak woman.

Too afraid to put herself out there.

Too scared to just ‘get on with life’.

 

The fact is- I am different.

I have a history and I have been at places you cannot imagine.

When I love someone, I give them a weird sense of control over me.

I swear its not voluntary, its like air.

 

People have used that to my disadvantage very well.

To humiliate me, harass me, crush me and dehumanize me.

And now that I know how delicate it is,

I rather guard it myself.

You are human after all, and I am afraid,

Knowingly or unknowingly if someday

You decide to use it as a weapon on me,

I may not find back the strength

To put the pieces back together,

 

Not all broken mirrors can be fixed.

Sometimes the shards are too sharp and cut too deep.