What I saw as a kid in riot struck Kanpur post-Babri Masjid Demolition

Not sure where to begin this article.

The atmosphere of threat and violence.

Or the deafening silence of the then elders on bigotry and harmony.

Either way, the demolition of Babri Masjid and the riots that followed were purge like, to say the least.

I was a little kid visiting my grandmother in Kanpur in the 90s when a riot began.

My grandma’s home is in the heart of the super crowded Muslim population of the city of Kanpur, an area called Chamangunj. A place where illiterate young boys spend their days loitering in the narrow lanes listening to Tere Naam songs, with that same dope haircut from the said movie. A place where the community is closely knit and poverty is prevalent.

We had been hearing that the communal tensions were rising and my Dad who was in Saudi Arabia then, had asked us to go to Lucknow, our comparably modern and less riot preferring colony. Before the travel plans could be made, someone stuck posters of a burning Holy book around the local Masjid and thus began the riot. Muslims were obviously furious and the police had announced a total curfew.

In the deep and densely populated narrow lanes, police do not dare to just loiter around during those riot times and only the military and SWAT teams dare to get in the middle of all of this.

At some point, we heard gunshots fired. We heard someone got killed. There were plenty of fake encounters. We heard that Hindus were attacking homes in the outskirts of the Muslim community and you could sneak through the balcony and see the rioters on the streets in their black outfits and black bandana, carrying weapons or sticks, guarding through the night, in case there was an attack.

What I noticed that even as a kid, and why I am writing this article is because of what I noticed about the RIOTERS- the actual men who were on the forefront of these riots.

The educated, wealthy, or even middle class, privileged families kept their cherished sons at home. Or rather let’s say the young men who had something going on for them, in terms of education or a career or family business, did not participate in the riots.

Sure they were interested in knowing what was going on. They had sticks by the doors and made sure the house doors and windows were properly locked and secured. But they did not bother to go out in the danger zone against Hindu mobs who were attacking Muslim homes.

I am not saying that no educated guys ever may have participated in riots but clearly, what was happening there was remarkable. Did education make them coward or selfish? 

Who can say for sure?

Were the educated men scared and chicken? Or were they selfish not to put their own selves in danger?

Whatever it may be, one thing I can say for sure is that education makes a human think differently. Their brains are otherwise occupied. They have something to do and something to look forward to.

But the minds of the idle young boys that loiter around in the streets all day, what do they have to do or look forward to? They assume their manhood and their bravery can be shown to the community in a time like this. Its a piece of cake to even hire such mobs to cause violence for specific political purposes as seen in TV, films, and news.

And mind you, these young men participating in these communal riots were not the ones who attend a mosque ever, by the way. On the contrary, they are the farthest from religion. People often assume that it’s the hardcore Muslim fanatics who are violent and cause riots. Maybe in Iraq but not in India, not that I have seen any.

In India, Muslims who practice the faith and visit the Mosque on a regular basis, are not among the ones who’d kill other humans for rioting. A rioter is a very different case altogether.

I don’t know that when an angry mob attacks you or your family or someone in your community, do you sit and wait for the Indian police or the justice system to play its role or you take matters in your hands and defend those you love, no matter what.

At some point, education or no education, one has to stand against the persecution and subjugation of one’s gender, community or faith. But how wonderful would it be if this standing up did not involve violence and unnecessary killing of the innocents?

What I know for sure is that whether Hindu or Muslims, the rioters who go to streets are all the jobless youth of India who have nothing to look forward to. The Lallantop did a great video on the poster boy of the Babri demolition riots, who he is and what he does now.

What’s crucial is that a nation that has unemployed and uneducated youths on the streets has a high potential for violence and nuisance. I can only wish that our future governments spend money on educating youths and provide them with dignified ways of making a living instead of spending our tax money on religious causes and stupid statues.

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The Sexist Stereotype of Women’s Obsession With Shoes Needs to Die. Here’s Why.

How many times have you been criticized for buying shoes and bags?

How many times did you yourself think you are crazy and obsessed with shoes and bags or any other such item?

We live in a society that is literally built on targeting women and using any and every opportunity to label women as crazy, psychotic and obsessed or worse money spenders because women in many households in the past and even today are not earning money, so they obviously do not understand the ‘value of money’ (or so they say).

BREAKING NEWS:

It’s a horrible stereotype that needs to die. 

Have you ever in your life, on TV, on social media, in films or in general conversations, heard about men’s obsession with sneakers?

And I’m not talking just about a pair of jogging shoes… I’m talking $800 and up shoes that go up to $8000???

If you haven’t then check this out:

So, when I saw this TED talk, the first thing that came to my mind was that how come I have seen women criticized for buying shoes countless times but not once have I ever heard someone criticizing a man for owning $800 plus sneakers or owning more than 500 pairs at a time?

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that owning 500 pairs of shoes is a great, a healthy habit or spending $800 on a pair of shoes is a wise decision. Not talking about its value as an investment either.

And I don’t even want to go into the morality of how much difference could be made in someone’s life with that kind of money. Because we live in times where the self comes first and owning a lot more is rewarded while owning too little is mocked.

But what behooves me is the double standard of it all. The hypocrisy and audacity of men to mock and criticize women when you are no better.

We all have passions, (hopefully, that rely less on addiction and hoarding) but nevertheless, we do have things we love and like to collect. That’s awesome.

Yet, blaming women for liking something while calling your ‘hoarding’ a passion and a hobby is beyond disgust.

The next time you hear this stereotype, please show this video and level the playing field in the area of shoe obsession and money wasting.

Hoarders equality!

I Had Never Told Anyone ‘You’ll Die Alone’ But Today I Did & I’m Not Sorry

It takes a lot of anger and outrage to yell at someone “you’ll die alone”.

I have had my moments of rage, sparsely scattered throughout my small life but I have never ever hated anyone that much to say such a mean and cruel thing to someone.

Today I did, however, break my rule and said it. And I am not sorry at all and the reason I am sharing this with you over a blog post is:

1- Misplaced blame makes you say things you never thought you’d say.

2- Once an abuser, always an abuser. 

So, let me cut the suspense, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you know this guy.

Yes, this is the idiot stalker I wrote about in the past and also shared his stupidities in a video. 

He got married about 10 months ago. For some weird reason, he contacted me on my work email from his work email to tell me about that and asked me to speak to his fiancee. I asked him why and he never had a proper response but he kept insisting that I just introduce myself to her as a friend. I didn’t.

Last month, I got an email from him saying he was very depressed and in a lot of trouble.

I got worried and asked what was up.

Drunk as he usually is, he blurted a lot of bullshit about him loving me and all. And then he insisted again that I talk to his wife.

It was the middle of the night in India. I was confused, why would I talk to his wife.

Then he revealed a little.

He said that she and he had a fight and she was in the room either sleeping or pretending to be asleep. He asked me to talk to her and calm her down or something.

This was all totally weird but considering how some strange woman was locked up in a room with this psychopath, I really got worried about her.

I instantly told her that it was not my place to say anything but if she isn’t alright, she could share. That night our talk did not go too far but I got the jist of it.

He is a drunkard, abusive, narcissistic asshole who is beating his wife since day 1 of their honeymoon. 

The next day she got in touch with me privately and told me several other dirty secrets of his house that I as a friend never knew obviously. But those were the things about his background, why he has become such an asshole and the role his parents have played in making him that misogynistic monster– all credit of which goes mostly to his mom.

My heart broke into a million pieces listening to her pain. Ultimately she asked, what should she do. She was at her parents home that night because the fucker had fractured her wrist in the fight from last night.

I suggested what any sane, logical person would. Either seek professional help, set boundaries, give him a deadline to control his alcohol and abuse OR simply walk away from a marriage that is literally breaking her bones.

Through these last couple of weeks, she gave him chances and he has failed to keep his promises for more than 120 minutes!!! That is how long-lasting his sanity is.

Anyway, the reason that blew the handle and made me say the worse of things is because of what happened last night.

At about wee hours of the morning, Indian time, he was calling me.

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Look how he is attacking me ‘teaching his wife’.

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My DP these days btw is about divorcing in order to not set a wrong example of marriage in front of your kids…Something like that. It pissed him off as expected although it was not directed at him.

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The audio I forwarded him is the one in which he was blurting out that he loves me.

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These images fully opened are below once this conversation finishes.

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I feel weird now but I totally lost it when he tried to blame me for trying to create a rift between his wife and him and now that I encouraged his wife to stand up for her rights, he is attacking me saying my intention is wrong.

I had no faith in him and never expected any sense of decency from him anyway. But the only reason I spent my time speaking to his wife is that I can empathize with that poor woman trapped with him in this abusive marriage. 

And this is the second woman whose cries I have heard this past week who is being abused by her husband.

Should I feel sorry for these abusive morons who abuse these innocent women?

Nope. I don’t. 

I really never thought I would ever say “you’ll die alone” and other mean things I said above… but this was the height of my patience.

I have tolerated a lot of BULLSHIT from this moron in the past that I have shared in the blog and video, but the most I did then was just BLOCK HIM.

But getting to know how he is abusing his innocent wife, I cannot ignore his stupidities and simply block him without giving him a piece of my mind.

BTW below are the images I reminded him of who is in love with whom.

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Turns out, once an abuser, always an abuser. And that marriage and commitment do not change violent, abusive men.

 

How to Not Be A Hateful Bigot With This Easy Tip [for dummies]

I came across a video today in which Katie Hopkins and the radical right-winger Tomy something was expressing angst towards the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy that happened in London last year.

Then they showed a video of a mock Grenfell Tower and set it on fire. I could go on about the filthy messages there but I can’t out myself to deal with the hatred.

So, this ‘othering’ is not just between migrants and citizens in a state. Color-based, religion-based, caste-based, gender-based… you name it. Within a religion itself, you will find people believing in small differences and judging others that have a different point of view from theirs.

It is super easy to focus on those differences and hate the ‘others’.

So here is a simple and easy tip-

When you meet someone, first look for the similarities. This shall give you some level of assurance that they are just like you in n number of ways and the ‘othering’ concept would not set in so quick.

Look for the similarities.

Are they human like you?

Do they breathe and eat and sleep like you?

Are they fearful of others just like you?

Well, there you go. That’s 3 similarities already.

Then you could think about other things like-

Do they want to be happy like you?

Do they want a decent wage and dignity?

Do they want the same human rights, shelter, food, and safety?

When you find all these similarities and get to a comfort level being around them, then you can look at the differences with an open mind and learn to appreciate them. Enjoy the diversity and see what can you learn from their culture, experiences, stories, and habits. I bet there will be plenty to learn and they might be intrigued about your stuff to learn from you.

All humankind can be traced back to African origins, from where they migrated to the rest of the world.

So technically the whole world’s population is refugees except for the people in Africa.

Think bigger than borders and boxes.

The world needs more of that.

Men Are Angry & It’s Killing Them aka Heart Disease. Here’s How To Help.

We live in a society that idolizes angry men.

Just look randomly at a bunch of men’s magazines. How many do you see smiling and happy?

Its considered sexy on men to be angry, gloomy and gangster.

While this look may work on a magazine cover or a seductive perfume ad or a movie poster, but in real life it is killing men.

Penn psychologists did this amazing research study in which using big data, they analyzed what words people use on their social media and is there any link between those words/moods with heart disease.

I know it sounds like two different things but stick with me. Here is the word cloud that suggested the most used words from men’s profiles.

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Notice the use of cuss words. Overall the use of these words does not suggest positivity or a beautiful, meaningful life. In fact, from this word cloud alone, we can sum up what we have taught men:

1- Use cuss words and be angry at petty things, that will make you look masculine.

2- Guns, warfare, military type hobbies or interests that will perpetuate violence.

3- Competition and fight are good but not sharing and caring.

This worries me deeply for my unborn sons. I do not want to raise little boys to be violent, disturbed little creatures whose only self-worth depends on being hurtful to others and themselves.

On the other hand, let’s see what the word cloud from women’s profiles indicate:

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Looking at the word cloud we can see these are the things women care about:

1- Relationships

2- Loving, caring and doing things to keep up the home.

3- Shopping because let us be honest when women take care of the kitchen and the household, of course, they are the ones who pick groceries because they would know what to pick for the day to day running of the household.

4- Food. Women like to express there love for food.

5- Feelings play a big part there. And positive feelings of happiness and joy.

Now let’s look at the link:

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The world oppresses women in many different ways but can we just agree that TOXIC MASCULINITY is literally killing the men in our lives and can we stop idolizing angry men already?

How many male suicides is it going to take for people to realize that boxing up your emotions and not sharing will ultimately kill?

If you are a guy who has some worries or just feel angry and depressed, there is a lot you can do.

Firstly, you can join a local support group or a FACEBOOK group where you can share and listen to others in a similar situation.

Secondly, you can seek proper therapy through a certified professional.

Thirdly, if it all seems too overwhelming, TALK TO ME. Yes, I am a non-judgmental stranger who has a solid background in emotional trauma and is also a student of Positive Psychology. I am not going to be a replacement for a therapist but can be a listening ear, sometimes that all we need- to be heard!

Got a #MeToo Story? Here’s What To Do According To A Criminal Psychologist

#MeToo has been exploding in India lately and has already shaken some very solid foundations in Hollywood, academia, and journalism worldwide.

I have not met one woman in my entire life who has not faced some sort of sexual harassment in her life. These experiences worsen among women of color.

New advancements have been rising yet most of them are ineffective and unhelpful to the survivors of assault.

When it comes to sexual harassment reporting and suing, one of the major obstacles that can make or break your case is the reporting of the assault. Julia Shaw, a criminal psychologist in her TED Talk recently shared some life-saving information on the best way to report and take action after going through an assault incident. You can watch the talk here but in a jist, this is what you must do or in other words,

How to turn your memory into evidence:

Get into an isolated location and write these things down immediately even before talking to anyone because judgment and reactions can tamper or distort your memory.

1- Timing- write about the incident as soon as you possibly can.

2- Type- a handwritten note won’t have a date and time like a note on your phone or computer, that would later be crucial in your testimony. So use technology to your advantage. Make it time stamped.

3- Relevance- write down things most relevant to your case. It is easy to get distracted and write an emotional account of what happened because of course, it is an emotionally overwhelming experience. Yet, try to think of the most relevant details that can help your statement.

In other words, this is a list of things that your note would need (a screenshot from Julia’s TED Talk):

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Julia says just as easy it is to write it at that moment, it is incredibly easy to forget as time passes. Also because our brain is such it tries to block out the bad memories to survive. Hence, she introduced an ANONYMOUS ONLINE REPORTING SOFTWARE called SPOT!

Please check it out and introduce it to your workplace and try to get it integrated. If your employers are genuinely interested in taking a stand against sexual harassment, they will make good use of it.

We all think sexual harassment is never going to happen to us until it does. And I know how scary, confusing, humiliating and stressful it is to recall what happened and process it.

Yet, it is high time the perpetrators have been taking advantage of the silence of the less heard in the workplace and SPOT is a weapon that can help survivors deal with their pain a little better.

I hope it helps survivors and makes positive changes in organizations.

3 Happy & 3 Sad Feelings About #MeToo Reaching Google…

So, today:

#googlewalkout #google

Google employees walk out to protest alleged sexism, inequality

As I watched the news pouring in, I had strongly mixed feelings.

The sad part first- 

1- It makes me sad to see that in 2018 women are unsafe in the worlds most highly rated and recognized corporate organization. Not just unsafe but also not equally paid.

2- Its also sad to see that the internal policies and corporate cultures aren’t inclusive at all because if they were, this protest would not be needed.

3- The problem of sexual misconduct and gender pay inequality is universal across the globe, which means not one country, not one culture, not one office is immune to these issues.

The happy part is-

1- Googlers saw this as not just women’s issue like most of the society typically sees it but they saw it as a worker’s issue and both MEN and women walked out in protest. I can’t express how much admiration I hold for men who are true allies when it comes to sexual violence in society. I know, this is the basic standard of behavior, men wouldn’t get any brownie points if they came out in support of climate change. But sadly, our society is in such a place that it is so rare to see men taking accountability and for once not siding with the bros and standing up for what is right.

2- No particular location of Google office decided to ignore this in order to save jobs or get in the good books of the senior management. In my book, Lean on What, I have written in depth about how power dynamics within the STEM fields play a role in keeping women oppressed and how their only option is to quit. No person wants to talk let alone protest on these issues for the fear of losing their jobs. The fact that Googlers all over the world participated in this protest is a sign of pure revolution and a positive one.

3- If giants like Google will start taking sexual assault seriously and pay their employees equally regardless of their gender, the rest of the world might follow them and even if at a glacial rate we see change, it is still worth it.

Google’s reactions and the efforts that are being put in place now some relief and if there is follow through, this would be a true leadership move on part of Google.

Respects to all Googlers around the world who walked out today and created history.

Ever Thought About The Mental Health of The Amritsar Train Accident on Dusshera?

If you are an Indian or just someone who keeps up with the news in general, you may have watched the news about the extremely tragic train accident in Amritsar on the occasion of Dusshera this year.

Almost 60 people died and many are still missing.

Media was all over this news and the comments on social media indicated how much anger was directed towards the driver of the said train.

Initially, it does feel like the driver’s fault/carelessness but after hearing to the railway ministers statement, it was cleared up that the train driver was not at fault and he did try to even slow down the speed but obviously the train could not violate the laws of physics and come to a halt the very second the breaks were applied.

Either way, what is surprising is that not one media covered how tragedies like this and even suicide cases under trains, affect the train drivers.

Sitting in the waiting room of an office a day ago, I read this piece from the Metro Newspaper in the UK and decided to share some light on the issue:

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Dave Goodwin, a former train driver in England shared his story to raise awareness about mental health issues as he has been suffering from severe PTSD and has been on anti-depressants.

This is his mental health after a handful of suicides he witnessed.

Can we even imagine the trauma of the Amritsar train driver who is accused of running over more than 60 people? And so many of them even children?

By no means, the pain of the grieving can be diminished. The families who lost their loved ones, the people who lost their lives… all that is absolutely fair.

But amid all this, we must also be empathetic towards the trauma of the train driver who had no intention of killing anyone and neither made any mistake, he was just doing his job and now he has to live with this trauma for the rest of his life.

I truly hope that the Indian Railways is providing him with PTSD counseling and his mental health is given the attention it deserves.

Obviously, no one can bring back the lost lives. But we need to care about the ones left behind, the grieving families and certainly, the train driver.

1 girl lied=Never trust any woman but 1000 men rape= #NotAllMen [Kudos Hypocrites]

Ever wondered what it feels like to be a woman?

This morning my Facebook timeline showed a post about some girl in Goa who did not accept an apology from a man who sexually assaulted her and taught him some kind of lesson.

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My post, however, is not about that girl but some guy who made the most intelligent comment you will ever read on the internet:

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Out of a 1000 molested girls, if 1 or 2 lied, men are finding it hard to trust women!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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So based on this logic, because few men were sent to jail for rape, isn’t it hard to believe all men?

And anytime a woman blurts a single word, there comes the storm of #NotAllMen

From the day a girl is mature enough to take instructions, she is told to stay away from guys, not trust men, don’t party with them, don’t hang out with guys…

And when you ask why then you are told: “because all of them want only one thing from women- SEX”!

And God forbid someday a girl comes out with her #MeToo story, all she hears is how she might be the deluded one.

Kudos society!