October 30, 2007

Remember Each Howl: Gujarat 2002

KAUSER BANO’S story has become a familiar one by now. It has been talked about time and again in various reports and accounts about the Gujarat pogrom and has come to represent the worst face of the evil that’s become commonplace in the state.

Kauser Bano, was nine months pregnant that day. Her belly was […]

October 24, 2007

Domestic Violence: Why a New Law?

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE had been dealt with half-heartedly throughout the history of human rights mechanism in this country. Till about 2005, the only recourse for victims was a criminal law, which provided for punishment against the abuser (but no remedies or relief for the victim) and applied only to married women. Worse, the law failed to […]

October 17, 2007

‘Look Ma, No Stains’: Laaga Chunari Mein Daag

DIRECTOR PRADEEP Sarkar seems to be suffering a hangover from his earlier movie Parineeta, which was based in pre-Independence times. What else can explain his deplorably regressive ideas and sensibilities in Laaga Chunari Mein Daag? For while the film vociferously proclaims its understanding of the “quintessential modern Indian woman”, its storyline falls back on simplistic […]

October 09, 2007

The Woman, the Witch and the Goddess

THIS STORY is both old and new, traditional and modern. The scapegoating, finger-pointing and name-calling of those who are different, those who threaten the social order, those who happen to have a female face. In the past two months, there have been at least two instances of witch lynching in India reported in the mainstream […]

October 07, 2007

Taking Feminism Out of the Coffee Lounge

FEMINISTS USUALLY get bad press. Who wants to listen to a bunch of whiny women who bitch and moan even when it’s not that time of the month? And those of us who do identify with the feminist cause find ourselves defending behaviors and battling misconceptions and stereotypes because we feel the need to make […]

October 03, 2007

Gender Denied: India’s Transgender Community

AS CHILDREN, we were scared of them. At traffic signals or on local trains, they would stroll up, their gait nonchalant, voices raised. Above all, different. (What is it about us that fears difference so much?) Last month, while on a project visit to slums in Chennai, I felt a twinge of discomfort when […]

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