August 16, 2013
By Janaki Nair A grisly attack on a young woman student and the violent suicide of a “spurned” boyfriend has shocked and alarmed the campus community at JNU in Delhi. Long believed to be the small “republic” where few of the violent hierarchies that are the staple of Indian life prevail, and where the [...]
May 14, 2013
A powerful and poignant exploration of the oppressive darkness that lurks beneath the veneer of ‘modern’ India, Saswati Sengupta’s debut novel, The Song Seekers, raises compelling questions that continue to haunt the reader for a long time. Set in the turbulent 1960s in Bengal, the novel revolves around the life of newly wed Uma, an [...]
December 04, 2012
Dalits in America: Rendering Caste Visible in the Diaspora Date & Time: Thursday, December 6, 2012; 7 pm Venue: History Corner (Bldg 200), Room 203, Stanford University, 450 Serra Mall, Stanford, CA About the event: “Caste exists wherever Indians exist and … manifests itself in a myriad of ways,” writes Thenmozhi Soundararajan provocatively [...]
June 22, 2010
Free Trail Of Cialis, THE DVD OF LOVE, Sex aur Dhokha has been lying around at home for some time, but it was only over this weekend that I got around to watching it. Directed by Dibakar Banerjee (of Khosla ka Ghosla fame), LSD is actually three stories in one, with peripheral links to each other, Free Trail Of Cialis india.
The first one is a mushy love story, the second an MMS sex scandal and the third, Free Trail Of Cialis ebay, about the media's voracious appetite for 'stings'. It is the second and third stories that really hold your attention; the first one is slow to heat up and I almost forwarded a little of the first 10-15 minutes. Yet, my mind keeps going back to it, 250mg Free Trail Of Cialis. (This post isn't a movie review though.)
*Spoilers here, beware!*
When the love story of Rahul, aspiring director at a film institute and Shruti, the "Simran" of his film begins, it is hard not to think of this love story as more a paean to DDLJ than anything else, Free Trail Of Cialis. Cheesy like the film they are making, it is hard to imagine that Rahul and Shruti really love anything beyond the feeling of being in love. Free Trail Of Cialis japan, And yet, given the conservative family Shruti comes from, there is no possibility of their dating or getting to know each other. Love must lead to an elopement and marriage almost immediately, Free Trail Of Cialis craiglist. Rahul's blithe confidence that after marriage, the family will "come around", Free Trail Of Cialis paypal, is almost revolting to watch in its stupidity. Free Trail Of Cialis, The end, when it comes, is gruesome, even though nothing of this honour killing is really shown.
Just yesterday, the Supreme Court has issued a notice asking the Central Government (and a few states), why they are doing nothing to combat the recent spate of honour killings.
The thing about us Indians is that we pride ourselves on our superior 'Indian values'; we lose no chance to deride Western societies for their (alleged) lack of affection, Free Trail Of Cialis usa, 'family values' and morality. Nowhere is this more evident than in our smug attitude to the upbringing of children. 750mg Free Trail Of Cialis, It is so common to hear people talking as though Indians are the only people that know how to bring up children well - everywhere else, children are neglected, spoilt, abused and grow up to have no love for their parents, 200mg Free Trail Of Cialis.
And yet, this is the country where a good chunk of people are all too ready to sacrifice their children in the name of honour, Free Trail Of Cialis us, society, family name and blah blah. Honour killing is one extreme end of the spectrum, but the unwillingness to accept children's choices and their happiness as a primary consideration exists in many other forms, ranging from emotional blackmail to being 'cast out of the family'.
Gajar-ka-halwa aside, we need to stop kidding ourselves. I suppose we have good and bad parents like everywhere else, but no magic beans that qualify us as the best parents on earth.
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October 28, 2008
HOW DO I WRITE Zithromax Hearing Loss, an article that does not sound like a celebrity too much crying paparazzi, an article where I want to discuss issues that are political but have arisen out of experiences in my personal life. How do I write an article about the dangers that women writing on gender and caste have to be well-prepared for, without sounding like somebody who wants undue publicity about unpleasant things happening to her. How do I sound genuine and serious when I discuss something that might appear as trivia(l).
Where do I begin after all.
Last week, a really crazed slime-ball decided to scrap me on orkut with the words: “Tell your lover to change his glasses.” My lover doesn't wear glasses. In these circumstances, what exactly was this almost-stranger trying to say, Zithromax Hearing Loss. For a long time, I didn't have any clue, Zithromax Hearing Loss india. Treating that scrap at its scrap value, I deleted it and moved on. Then, subsequently, the cause of such a sarca(u)stic comment became apparent. Among the several photographs I had uploaded on my profile, there was also a snapshot of a statue of revolutionary Dr Ambedkar. Zithromax Hearing Loss, And, in an inspired moment, I had captioned it: “the man i love the most.” I can't see problems with that because I was merely putting to words some of my own feelings. 500mg Zithromax Hearing Loss, My idol was now my lover, and viola, this scrap comes to me. How am I supposed to view this. Clearly, the scrapper wasn't someone who had problems with my words alone. He had overstepped boundaries (which in themselves are hazy things). What was he trying to achieve with that comment apart from the obvious cheap thrill, Zithromax Hearing Loss.
I would have really ignored this except for two other events. One, 100mg Zithromax Hearing Loss, my blog stats at Wordpress.com reveal that I am either being stalked, or that someone is seriously trying to dig up every piece of scandal/gossip about me. But since there's no visible injury to my person so far, you can safely hazard a guess about what's happened to my persona. I have, as a matter of fact, become a gossip item in a popular Tamil weekly. Zithromax Hearing Loss, Among other things, I find myself being linked with, shall we say, a certain die-hard Ambedkarite. Zithromax Hearing Loss coupon, Next, someone on Facebook takes a fancy to send anonymous messages to greet me morning and night.. And, out of curiosity, when I ask that quirky soul as to who he is, pat comes the reply, Dr Ambedkar.
If one looks at this a little closely, there's a clear pattern emerging, 20mg Zithromax Hearing Loss. In the virtual world, as in my flesh and blood existence, I am obsessed with issues of caste and gender. I can understand that this scrap, these go-ogle look-ups, these anonymous messages are somehow intrinsically connected both to the fact that I am a woman, and that I happen to be involved with Dalit issues, Zithromax Hearing Loss.
I know for sure that such jabs cannot affect my belief in Ambedkar's ideology. But, let us assume for a second that I was not writing about caste and gender, but rather about issues that are more visibly linked to women's sexuality: abortion, Zithromax Hearing Loss uk, aids, or queer rights. Imagine for instance that I blogged about the escalation of lesbian suicides in India. Will it be construed that I am writing solely out of personal experience. Zithromax Hearing Loss, Will I be taken for the token lesbian on this blog space. Will people stop at that, or will such folks stalk me all the way home, and once there, tell my father, who never browses the Internet, 30mg Zithromax Hearing Loss, that his daughter takes only lovehers. I know, deep down to my bones, that this is scary. Not because these regressive people or their actions.opinions matter, but because I believe that this could be affecting my self-expression. This menace can harm me and my writing in ways that I might not be able to delineate, Zithromax Hearing Loss craiglist, or even worse, be aware of myself.
Although one is aware that there are laws against defamation in place, how can these be put to use against anonymous trollers and orkut-scrap-posters and their like, Zithromax Hearing Loss. Forget the case of independent writers, do we actually have any mechanism to punish ALL those who are abusive on the web because of the anonymity that it provides. We do come across one or two men getting arrested for posting derogatory comments about Sonia Gandhi on orkut. But are all the culprits getting punished. I have come across several occasions where Mayawati has been disparaged in casteist terms. Zithromax Hearing Loss, I have personally used the “report abuse” sections of the site, but I am sure no action was taken. Some of the communities that I moderate on orkut, specially those which deal with the genocide of Tamil people in Sri Lanka, Zithromax Hearing Loss paypal, or the Dalits' related communities, get so many filthy comments. Disabling the anonymous posts option is no solution, not only because creating fake accounts is easy, but also because people have no shame/fear about putting up casteist/racist opinions in the open.
The pressure to conform has to be compensated with the power to come to terms with (sometimes frivolous) criticism. But how am I to know if I am not being a good-girl feminist (writing only about social development and divisions). 150mg Zithromax Hearing Loss, How will I find out the extent to which my visibility/identity/non-anonymity on the Internet dictate my choice of words (or issues, for that matter). If Facebook can actually ruin one's love life, what exactly can the online world of blogs and social networking sites do to feminism(s).
(Special thanks to my dear friend Anuradha Pujar for her feedback to an early draft of this article. Without her this article wouldn't have been this article.).
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July 17, 2008
A FEW DAYS AGO Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, , when I thought about the conflict parents face when their daughters become "too liberal", I was really thinking from my own perspective as an educated, young, urban professional. When a commenter mentioned that liberalism does not yet extend to accepting choices such as homosexuality, I was, at first, a bit startled. This was because, frankly, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription overseas, I had not thought about the issues faced by people different from me. Though I do support the rights of people to their own sexual preference, I honestly hadn't given it much thought. In a sense, I am guilty of looking at the holy grail of equal rights through a very narrow prism.
Of course, this is partly because one tends to identify with causes where one has personally experienced the problems at hand, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription. So I have experienced harassment on the street by virtue of being a woman. I have experienced a boss telling me that lower raises shouldn't matter so much to women, since "yours is a second income, 200mg Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, anyway!" But even if I have not experienced other kinds of oppression, I should know that they exist, shouldn't I.
As someone born into an upper caste family, I have never known what it means to be considered "low" because of my caste. Once, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription craiglist, when I visited my grandmother's village, I went to the Dalit basti, which was set apart from the rest of the village. Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, Here, I talked to many Dalit women, some of whom were startled at my sitting down with them comfortably. Some of them even tried to prevent me. I felt good about not heeding such distinctions and I was surprised that they still had such practices. It didn't occur to me that they were the ones who could face problems for interacting too closely with an upper-caste city girl who would leave the next day.
As someone born into a middle-class family, I have never faced challenges to my education, 10mg Buy Acomplia Without Prescription. How do I understand the plight of a poor family, where any child is unlikely to be sent to school, and a girl child, even less likely, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription. When I talk about challenges at the workplace, my focus is on white collar occupations. A large portion of Indian women, however, are poorly-paid labour in the unorganized sector in hazardous working conditions.
As a heterosexual woman, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription canada, I had my own challenges in choosing to marry a man outside of my own caste and linguistic group. If I am honest, I must admit that when I think of the right to choose a partner, I largely think of issues where women are coerced or forced into marriages they don't want. Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, (And yes, emotionally blackmailing your daughter until she gives in also falls in this category). The rights of non-heterosexual people don't figure as strongly on my mind, although I believe that Article 377 is a law that has no place in any civilized country.
Is my feminism too narrowly defined. I don't think it is worthless; even if people like me are a relatively elite group, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription uk, our concerns are not invalid. Further, changes in a small group can act as a catalyst or inspiration for others. Yet, I do believe that feminists like me need to start looking at a broader agenda, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription. I don't mean this as a criticism of anyone else; it is simply something that I would like to do.
For one thing, in terms of sheer numbers, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription usa, this English-educated, reasonably affluent, upper caste group is a very small part of our country's women. So unless we as writers, activists, funders -- whatever role we choose to play -- address the concerns of a larger group, real change will be slow to happen. It is important to recognise that women are affected in ways beyond gender alone, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription paypal. Remember the witch-hunting of Dalit women? Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, This was the result of a dangerous cocktail -- a casteist, hierarchical society together with gender oppression.
Another reason is that feminism as a movement is unlikely to gain support and respect, and in fact, will lose respect if it overlooks these concerns. In the last few months, there has been a huge controversy in the Western blogosphere, regarding the appropriation of material from a black feminist's blog. 50mg Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, One of the outcomes was many women of colour feeling that the "mainstream" feminist movement never really includes their concerns, which often are at an intersection of gender and race. So a feminist movement certainly cannot be exclusive and risk losing some of its best supporters. We have enough unreasonable critics as it is, who persist in viewing feminists as evil, men-hating, power-hungry women, Buy Acomplia Without Prescription.
Finally, this is a moral issue as well. If we fight only the discrimination that affects us, are we not guilty of opportunism. If we believe that discrimination is wrong on principle, 30mg Buy Acomplia Without Prescription, we need to be aware of it in all its forms and campaign against them as well.
*This may be very familiar to those feminists who have already proceeded much further on this path than me. It is more from my personal experience and my own feeling of being restricted to a narrow field of vision. For those more enlightened women (and men), who already practise this, I raise my (metaphorical) hat!.
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July 10, 2008
I FOUND this Cialis Side Affect, news story about Indian "sanitation workers" (scavengers, if we avoid the euphemism) modelling in New York pretty bizarre. I do hope you'll read the article before proceeding to comment, Cialis Side Affect australia, but in a nutshell: 36 Indian sanitation workers were invited to a conference as part of the UN's International Year of Sanitation. In New York, they took part in a fashion show called Mission Sanitation, 100mg Cialis Side Affect, walking the ramp beside professional models.
Scavenging is deeply dehumanizing work, 20mg Cialis Side Affect, and an end to the profession would be truly welcome. But why modelling (not professionally, I must add, 500mg Cialis Side Affect, but as a novelty event)?
A particularly interesting part of the article:
The ceremony was especially poignant for Usha Chomar, Cialis Side Affect us, because she was unofficially crowned as princess of sanitation workers.
i don't think that modelling is necessarily un- or anti-feminist. But I also don't think that the simple juxtapositioning of a highly enviable profession and a highly undesirable one makes any real statement. I also do not believe that beauty pageants actually empower anyone at all, except perhaps the winners themselves, but in ways that are carefully orchestrated by the real power-holders, Cialis Side Affect. If half the promises made during pageants were actually kept, 50mg Cialis Side Affect, the world would be a much, 1000mg Cialis Side Affect, much different place.
Maybe my feminism is a bit old-school, but attending a UN conference and then "doing some modelling" sort of sounds like a big drop to me. Coming out of one of the most degrading professions in the world.., 200mg Cialis Side Affect. and then hitting the catwalk, Cialis Side Affect australia, en masse. Is that really activism or achievement. Or just another spin on that old oppression-chic cliche, 20mg Cialis Side Affect. I have no doubt that some of the participants must have really enjoyed the experience. But it's the motives of the organisers that I question. When will we stop treating underprivileged people -- of any background -- as pawns that add a touch of controlled reality and an ambience of altruism to otherwise extremely unrelated situations?
What do you think?
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December 27, 2007
RUTH MANORAMA (1964) IS Zithromax Treatment, winner of the 2006 Right Livelihood Award, widely considered as the Alternative Nobel Prize. She is President of the National Federation of Dalit Women and is widely known in India for her contributions in highlighting the precarious situation of Dalit women. Ruth has also contributed enormously to breaking the upper-class, upper-caste image of the women's movement in India.
In this interview with me, she talks of why its necessary for all Indian women to address the issue of caste.
Meena Kandasamy: You have long been associated with feminism and the women's movement in India. What made you disassociate yourself from the so-called mainstream women's movement?
Ruth Manorama: I have been associated with the Indian feminist movement since the 1970s, Zithromax Treatment. Let me tell you something: women in the women's movement lack a good understanding of feminism. Feminism opposes all kinds of inequalities and injustices. It looks for equality between men and women. In such a circumstance, it is required of feminism to see caste as an inequality, as an institution of inequality. Zithromax Treatment, Then why do the feminists not refuse and resist caste. This was a big question for me. Next, if you look at the question of mobilization in the women's movement you can see that poor working women, Zithromax Treatment us, women agricultural labourers, Dalit women and Adivasi women are the ones who attend meetings in large numbers. But they aren't given leadership roles, perhaps because there are not many educated women from these sections. Even if these women have the capacity to run a movement, they are not given the responsibility. They are only seen as followers, Zithromax Treatment. Was this not casteist. And these two questions troubled me no end.
Meena: You are alleging that since caste seeped into the feminist movement, it ensued in certain vital issues not being addressed. Patriarchy puts individuals in graded hierarchies, while caste put whole communities into graded hierarchies. Zithromax Treatment, Was that why you became a Dalit feminist.
Ruth: Once we realize how patriarchy affects women, we cannot not realize that the other side of the coin is definitely caste oppression. They are both two sides of the same coin. With the so-called mainstream Indian feminists, I observed a lot of hollowness in their thinking, Zithromax Treatment japan, as well as in their analysis and in the content of the feminist movement. It's true that Dalit women didn't have the resources to become leaders, but then, it's also true that there were no women in the feminist movement who would mobilize Dalit women and give them an analysis or perspective.
Then, I happened to meet Gail Omvedt, Zithromax Treatment. I started talking to her about my problems with these issues. She said, "Ruth I am interested in what you are interested!" She took me to Maharashtra and introduced me to leaders there who were associated with Ambedkar and his movement. Then I strongly felt that there should be a platform for Dalit women. We are not only women who really get oppressed by gender inequalities, but there are other dimensions to this too. Zithromax Treatment, That is class and caste. So, I used to say that Dalit women are thrice alienated. Just to make a powerful point that Dalit women have many more problems than other women. This is because we come from the cheri [Tamil word to denote the separate Dalit settlement outside the caste-Hindu village]; we come from segregated settlements.""No, no, Zithromax Treatment paypal, all women are the same. Women should not separate themselves." This was the argument extended against me. And I would retort, "No, we are not separating anybody, Zithromax Treatment. We are only hailing from a society that has been a victim of segregation and separation." Then I really began to feel that we, as Dalit women, should form a platform for ourselves, we should articulate our own concerns, our problems so that we can achieve equality. That is how the National Federation of Dalit Women was born in 1987.
Meena: You are trying to do to Indian feminism what the Black women's movement did to Western feminism. . .
Ruth: I was influenced by the Black women's movement in America. I was looking at why these Black women were organizing themselves differently. Why were they separate. Then, I understood the racist notions of purity and pollution that operates there. Just like our situation, the Black women don't have leadership in the mainstream women's movement, Zithromax Treatment. The White women were not going to solve the problems of Black women. Black women had their own struggles; they had their own history of resistance, Zithromax Treatment uk. It was really motivating. I felt that we could do it in India too. Zithromax Treatment, The Black women said that they were part of the feminist movement in America. And yet, as women who have been oppressed by racism, they wanted to have their separate organization. That was how the Black women's movement came into being. I also read books by Black feminists. They not only wrote about the racist inequality, but they spoke about the class struggle, they outlined the economic oppression, the absence of land and resources. There are so many connections between the Dalits and the Blacks, Zithromax Treatment. The young Black men where exactly like our (Dalit) young men; they boozed and whiled away their time because they lacked employment. We shared similar problems.
Meena: And how was the response from our men. . . Zithromax Treatment craiglist, Ruth: (Laughs) Oh, they just branded me a feminist. They said, "Ruth speaks like a feminist. She is opposing us." They asked me, "Is there not equality in our community?" I said, "Yes, there is equality. If there is real equality, both our men and women should get drunk. But what kind of equality is it when you alone get drunk and beat your women?" Then I had more questions to ask: "In our society, why are we not promoting the education of women, Zithromax Treatment. Why are we not giving our women equality of opportunity?" Then the men said, "Ruth, you are a feminist." And I said, "Yes, I am a feminist. You are very correct. But I am a Dalit feminist also." Though our men are on very good terms with me, 40mg Zithromax Treatment, they feel that it is the best thing if they keep me at a distance.
I was with [Ram Vilas] Paswan in the Dalit Sena. Zithromax Treatment, I asked him, "Where are Dalit women in the Dalit Sena. Dalit women have led a lot of struggles in India. Take the case of the Tsundur massacre. After the murders and the police atrocities, all the men ran away. Only the women stayed back and saved the community. Only they struggled, only they placed their demands, Zithromax Treatment. But where is the women leadership in your organization?" Once in a Dalit Sena meeting someone asked me to hand over a memento (a wristwatch) to the Chief Guest. I said, "I have not come here to present a watch, I have only come here to present an idea. Find some other woman for this role. Why can't a man take on this flimsy job. Zithromax Treatment, I will not do it. I want to speak here." Then, they gave me only two minutes to speak. 20mg Zithromax Treatment, But hearing me, Paswan said, "You proceed behen." And I articulated my feelings and ideas powerfully. "Are there are not women in the Dalit community. You are holding this meeting at twelve in the night, and so many women have come in such large numbers from the villages. But can there not be a single woman on the dais?"
Meena: But this is not what revolutionary Dr Ambedkar wanted…, Zithromax Treatment. His support for the women's cause is legendary.
Ruth: I don't know if these Dalits have read the life history of Dr Ambedkar. Everywhere, whether it is the Nagpur or Kanpur or Bombay convention, he always gave primacy to women. He always separately held preliminary meetings with the women and they made resolutions. Zithromax Treatment, There is a book by Urmila Pawar, We Too Have Made History; it carries an introduction by Eleanor Zelliot, a white American professor of history and sociology. I read that book. I could feel the zeal with which these women who met Ambedkar worked for Dalit movement.
But Dalit leaders complain that there is no women leadership in our community. Or they pathetically say, "If we keep women with us, 10mg Zithromax Treatment, others think badly of us. Some problems will arise." (Laughter) They would rather not be troubled with women, Zithromax Treatment.
Meena: Speaking of Dr Ambedkar, he said that women were the gateways of the caste-system; and thus, he linked caste oppression and patriarchy. Can you elaborate on this.
Ruth: The Dalit women bring a message into the whole feminist movement. If we as women really want to address a question of sexuality: that we are sexually abused, that we have no control over our bodies, and that our bodies are being used; then Dalit women are the living testimonies. Zithromax Treatment, The whole issue of sexuality is basically rooted in caste. They control women because only that can ensure pure blood in the lineage. That is why any 'upper' caste women can only marry within her kula and gothra, she cannot jump out of that defined box. She should be within that cage. I tell them, the more your sexuality and fertility are being protected, 200mg Zithromax Treatment, there is going to be greater subjugation on you. You have to come out of it, Zithromax Treatment.
The feminists were very affected because they felt this was a challenge to Brahminism, to the caste system. They felt under attack. When I had not yet said these things, I was only an ordinary everyday feminist. Once I started bombarding them with my ideas, I was called 'that-great-Dalit-leader Ruth' by these feminists. Zithromax Treatment, They startedpracticing untouchability on me. Till then I had only been a women like all the others.
Meena: How did the feminists manage to push you to the margins. I mean, Ruth, what makes you feel alienated in mainstream feminism?
Ruth: Even now, when they introduce me, they say, "Ruth will speak about Dalit women. She is a Dalit activist." Do you understand, 500mg Zithromax Treatment. The subtlety, the undertones of what they want to imply, Zithromax Treatment.
In a way, it is a good identity. At the same time, it is also about hierarchy. They view Dalit affairs as something negligible, something that can be allotted to me. The bigger, larger things like nuclear disarmament and globalization are the priorities that they (the 'upper' caste women) will address. Zithromax Treatment, These kinds of problems are always there. But this challenge awakened me. It has awakened us.
Meena: Let me end with a cliché of a question: What's your take on the Women's Bill and the issue of sub-reservations?
Ruth: The sooner reservation for women is implemented, the better it is. If the Bill for 33% reservation is passed, then Dalit women will get one-third seats within the Dalit quota. There's no need for any special legislation for that, Zithromax Treatment. Right now, the contentious issue is the reservation for OBC women. A lot of parties have suddenly started thinking about women of their communities, though they have never given any place to women within their parties. But I think they have a justified fear that the upper caste women will appropriate everything if women's reservation is introduced sans the sub-quotas. I share their apprehension too.
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