Friday, December 27, 2013

Do we still need feminism?

Feminism is the term used a lot now a days, in many talks, articles, we can find it at many places and like many other terms this term is also slowly getting stereotyped. Somehow feminists are considered as men haters, anti-fashion, people who like to blame all miseries of women on men, who want to make this world female dominant (to take revenge for years of male dominance), etc, etc. Once can find many groups supporting feminism at the same time opposing it, some even hate feminist because of their demand of equality in society. I consider myself feminist and I don't fit into any of these stereotyped definitions, for me feminism is very simple thing, it's advocacy for equal rights for women, treat them equal no more, no less, give them equal opportunities in all fields, encourage their participation at all levels in society, that's all, very simple and anyone who believes in this or in male female equality is feminist according to me.

Actually basic question is why we need feminism? Isn't our society already progressive, technically advanced and civilized? isn't situation of women in most cultures and societies is much better than it was 100s of year ago? then why we still need this thing called feminism? Yes, it's true that we have made tremendous progress in science and technology in last few decades, we have also improved our social settings in most parts of the world compared to what it was just a century ago, but still there are groups which want women to play only certain role in society and family (mostly wife and mother). They are against her total freedom to make her own choices in her life, these groups even want to dictate choices about very personal things like her sexuality, health, fertility, etc. they take shelter of some religious book or some age old beliefs to justify these things, these groups are still very powerful and active and to deal with them we need feminism and we need it very badly even today. So there is no question that we need feminism.

Anyone who thinks that women should get equal rights and opportunities in our society is feminist, anyone who thinks women are no less or more than men is feminist according to me, they don't have to work with some NGO or part of some movement or member of some society, this belief itself is enough to make them feminist. Feminist are not men haters I don't know from where and why this misconception originated, they don't want to bring women dominated culture or society, they just want equal rights for women. Most societies are man dominated that's why sometimes during fight for equal rights of women it seems that this fight is against men, but that's not true, it's not fight against men but it's fight against everyone (including women, religion, traditions, etc.) who think that women are inferior to men and should not be given equal status in society or think that they should only do particular type of jobs. The real fight is against this mentality and backward culture, then doesn't matter who is representing it, mostly they are men that's why I think this impression is created but it's totally wrong impression. Wherever we see gender discrimination we should voice our concern, actually discrimination of any type should be challenged, there should not be place for any kind of discrimination in any progressive, tolerant and inclusive society.

I am proud to be a feminist and I hope more and more people will understand real meaning of this term and will feel proud to call them feminist and work towards getting equal rights for women because we still need feminism.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Monday, December 23, 2013

Khurshid Anwar- Guilty or victim of media trial...

I read news about suicide of Mr. Khurshid Anwar, a social worker and director of NGO called Institute for Social Democracy on my Facebook wall, I didn't know about him before reading news about his death. The reason why this news caught my attention was cause of his suicide, which was the depression caused because of sexual assault charges leveled against him by some 23 year old girl who worked for some other NGO. Another reason was, there were many women who knew Mr. Anwar personally and were really surprised and shocked by this allegation and believe that there might be something fishy going on in this case, they think these charges might be false and someone was trying to implicate him in a crime he did not commit, so this is not a suicide but sort of murder. May be after detailed investigation real truth will come out, but a life is lost, which is terrible and sad thing. The role played by some news channels who accused Mr. Anwar for rape is also questioned, can media pass on the verdict of guilty or non guilty without any trial? Such media trial can put lot of stress on concerned people and results can be devastating as in this case. They definitely have right to report the news but do they have right to take sides so openly without any substantial evidence?

There is no doubt that any victim of sexual assault should get all the possible support and help, guilty should not be spared in such cases no matter who they are but at the same time we should also need to make sure that such laws are not misused for personal or professional gains. Now a days many cases of misuse of anti-dowry law, anti-casteism law (so called Harijan act) are reported, some also level false sexual harassment or rape charges, because of nature of these crimes victim immediately gets all the sympathy and and accused is immediately painted as evil or demon. No doubt that victim should get all the required support but at the same time accused should also get the chance to defend and prove his/her innocence, it should be fair trial for both of them, rights of both accused and victim should be respected and honored. Media, social networks and other electronic mediums also should deal with these type of cases sensibly and responsibly. Media plays very important role in any civilized and progressive society, they are responsible for communicating correct and non biased information to people but now a days we hardly see them doing this, most of them are becoming like any other entertainment channels who cater whatever their audience likes to watch, this is really sad.

Social and news media also played very important role in some cases like Jessica Lal murder case to get justice for the victim but very tough competition to grab the sensational news and report it before others has created situation where there is hardly any time to authenticate the information, many times they broadcast the things before even checking the source or truth behind it and this sometimes creates lot of damage to concerned parties. Recent sting operation tapes against AAP which was broadcasted on many news channels is another example. I am against censoring of media by any government organization, they should be independent and unbiased as much as possible, then only they can do their job honestly, but at the same time they need to be responsible, with complete freedom also comes lot of responsibility. They need to be really careful when large section of society depends on them as a source of authentic information, I hope this sense of responsibility prevails in current media houses who are controlled by some of big corporates, I hope this doesn't become just another business but remains an independent and sincere pillar of democracy, if not then we might see more victims like Khurshid Anwar who were declared guilty before any fair trial.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. What Khurshid Anwar's suicide should tell the media
2. NGO director jumps to death as rape charges are levelled against him by 23-year-old woman

Friday, December 20, 2013

Verdict 377: Progressive or regressive step?

Recent judgement by Supreme Court of India related with section 377 of IPC (Indian Penal Code) has created lot of controversy as well as very emotional response from LGBT community across the world. Supreme court actually set aside the lower court ruling (historic 2009 judgement by Delhi High Court about the same issue) and ruled that Section 377 (which criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature", including homosexual acts) is indeed constitutional and also said that it's not the job of court to repeal or amend this section but only parliament can do this. According to me this is such a regressive step, a step in reverse direction, after 2009 historic judgement (which was hailed by most of the world) slowly people were becoming more open about their sexuality (especially people from LGBT community) in India, they were coming out of closets and feeling more comfortable to share views about their sexual orientation, they were slowly getting over the social stigma and fear of law attached with these things (the said law can be used to torture or trouble them but it rarely happens, it seems less than 10 cases are reported so far under this section), but this judgement has capacity to derail all that development and do more harm than good.

Homosexuality is not new to India, there are sculptures in Khajuraho temple who display homosexual acts, many people call it unnatural, I think only nature has capacity to decide whether it's a natural or unnatural act, unnatural things normally don't survive for long, they get perished over the time just because they are unnatural, so we should not discuss on this point. One can debate whether it's ethical or moral or legal or not because all these are man made concepts and change from time to time, generally in any progressive society these concepts evolve with time, they get modified as society evolves, so according to me it was bold and giant step by judiciary when Delhi high court in 2009 decided to recognize existence of such community (homosexuals) and took first step to welcome them in our society. Before that judgement these people were cornered group, always tried to hide their identity, who chose to disclose it lived almost like second class citizens just because of their sexual orientation. Still even today many people in our society look down on transgenders, eunuchs, impotents as well as homosexuals, these all don't feel welcomed in most social settings once their identity is disclosed. These people are also citizens of country or society they live like any of us, just because they have few things which don't match with our line of thinking doesn't mean they are abnormal or evil. Many societies who claim to be tolerant and inclusive (which India also claims) discriminate people based on their sexual orientation or race or caste, I wonder on what basis they call themselves tolerant or inclusive when they can not accommodate people with sexual orientation which is different than so called normal sexual orientation? Can't we modify this 150 year old law which can eliminate this type of discrimination, or we are going to play the game of passing the buck (from judiciary to parliament and from parliament to judiciary)? How long these people have to wait for their rights as citizens of their country which they love and respect, why not their countries rise to occasion and acknowledge their existence and honor their presence? There are many questions like this which this judgment and attitude of our society towards these people poses in front of us, but the main question is, do these people are going to get right to live in our country as equal citizens or not? If yes, then what steps are we going to take to make sure that they get their right? If not then do we deserve to be called as tolerant, inclusive and progressive society with rich culture?

Every society and culture needs to evolve with time, things which evolve survive long and which don't perish over the time no matter how strong they seem now, we have many examples from history to prove this hypothesis. Also as a society we need to be considerate and sensitive to the needs of all sections of our society, not all the time we should think about majority groups, minority sections also need equal consideration and respect and this is true in regard with any religion, race, caste, sexual orientation or anything else. Giving equal status and opportunity to all sections of society is sign of civilized and evolving culture and I believe everyone wants to stay in such atmosphere. This particular judgement is not going to help to create this environment in India and that's why I feel as a society we need to protest against this and should ask for equal rights for all citizens. Whether I am homo or heterosexual doesn't matter when I am fighting for anyone's rights, I may belong to different faith, race or gender but when I see injustice done to people I feel it's my duty to stand for them irrespective of their gender, race, beliefs and orientations and with this spirit I feel this judgement is regressive step and sooner we correct it better it is for our society.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

2. Verdict 377: Betrayed by my own country!
3. समलैंगिकता अपराध है?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How logical is the concept of hell?

Almost in every religion and many scriptures one can find description of place called Hell, in some scriptures this imaginary place is described in very graphic details, many people literally believe these descriptions and really think that some place like this exists somewhere. They also describe what may or may not happen if someone lands in this imaginary place (or real place according to some). I call it imaginary because there is no direct or indirect evidence of existence of this place, every religion or scriptures describe it somewhat differently but they all agree on one thing that it is really really bad place to be there and no one should land there even by mistake. Some religions or scriptures go beyond just describing the place, they also list number of punishments one might get if one lands there, actually as per their logic no one just lands there, they are forced to go there as a punishment after death for their bad deeds during their stay on earth, this punishment which sounds so inhuman and cruel is awarded after judgement by highest authority (God) of that particular religion, at least scriptures say so (I hope they give the guilty a chance to explain his/her side also). Some of the punishments described are very cruel and inhuman, like frying in oil or burning in fire, etc. this all just for not following some rules written in those scriptures, and that too these rules are so different from on scripture to other that whatever is considered as sacred in one can be totally blasphemous in other. I think if any government or any authority try to award some of these punishments they can be tried in court for human rights violation, only some radical extremist organizations like Al-Queda can justify such barbaric acts, for this they get criticism from all quarters of the world, but no one seems to mind when these are mentioned in scriptures, people's attitude suddenly changes when there is involvement of their supreme commander in these type of issues, one reason might be because these punishments are awarded to already dead people so they don't care much about dead as there are enough issues to deal with which are related with living people.

I often wonder if people at all think how logical is all this description of hell and those punishments described in any book? The descriptions about these things are so cruel and inhuman that no one with normal sense and logic can agree to such punishments even for hardcore criminals forget about something as trivial as not following path prescribed by any organized religion or cult movement. They all look like something straight from fiction book where people kill each other for small small reasons, in that case there is no limit how far one can go but many people don't take them as fiction, they literally believe in these things. I agree that these books are really really old but I feel that today's authors do somewhat better job in writing fiction stories (just see the popularity of some of their books to check this) but I must also say that today's authors also have the advantage of time and better technique. Many people fear about this imaginary hell, they all have strong desire to go into similarly imaginary heaven (because of rewards and prices promised to people entering there) but they don't care about their cowardice acts (like terrorism) or heinous crimes (like rape or murder)  or many other mistakes in their day to day lives (like corruption, domestic violence, sex abuse, etc.) so clearly these threats (about hell) and lures (about heaven) are not working in a way they were supposed to work in reality, rather they create an illusion in many people's minds that no matter what they do in their personal lives if they ask for forgiveness with their God almighty and surrender to him or her everything will be fine and they will be pardoned, this very generous offer is advertised heavily by almost all religions and sects. This fear and attraction of illusionary world of heaven and hell has created unique mindset among peoples minds, many care and worry about these things rather than their own conduct in day to day life, many times they don't even care about land of law but care whether they will land in heaven or hell. Many religions and sects make use of these theories and fears to attract followers towards them, they make tall claims which are difficult to prove or disprove and lure people in their trap, people who need some solace fall for this trick.

Do we really need promise of heaven to do good deeds or fear of hell to deter from doing bad things in our lives? Why our own conscious mind can not guide us to follow righteous path in our lives? Why fear of law of land is not enough to deter people from committing crime? We all need to ask these questions to ourselves and try to find honest answers, may be this will help each of us to introspect and realign our beliefs, may be this will help us to follow righteous path without worrying whether it will land us in imaginary place like heaven or hell. Kindness, love, compassion, truthfulness are all wonderful qualities to have, everyone should try to have them, I don't think anyone should require lure of heaven or fear of hell to lead life full of love and kindness so let's concentrate on all the good work we all can do without worrying about these imaginary things.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Friday, December 13, 2013

AAP should not remain just a political party but should become a phenomena.

Recent success of AAP (Aam Aadami Party) in Delhi elections has created lot of buzz all over India, many political parties poked fun when this party was created almost one year back and even dismissed their presence, they termed it as a temporary phenomena, a bubble which will disappear without creating any significant impact. But destiny had something else in its mind, spectacular performance by AAP in Delhi elections left everyone shocked and surprised (they won 28 out of 70 seats), no one expected this to happen, they not only fought but fought really hard. During India against Corruption (IAC) movement current political brigade challenged few common people not to just protest on street and create nuisance but to enter political system and try to clean it if they are not happy with current system. They never imagined that some people will really take this challenge seriously and will take plunge in this muddy water of politics and come out clean. They tried everything from sting operation to government investigation about their funding, but nothing worked against AAP, so far they came out of all troubles successfully and managed to maintain their clean image.

I am not excited about AAP only as a new political entity, there are so many political parties in India, local as well as national, they all were launched with lot of good intentions and huge fan following but they all became part of the same system and played the game with same set of rules which includes use of money power, corruption and many other illegal ways about which most people are aware. Skepticism about AAP was quite understandable because people saw many new parties emerging and becoming part of same sytem many times before, leaders like Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Singh, Mayavati, etc. came from very humble background, entered politics with lot of good intentions but today some of them are icons of corruption or big players in the same system, they couldn't change anything but the system changed them completely. But so far AAP seems to be different, they have totally different approach and transparency is the most important aspect of their approach which impressed me a lot, whatever they do including collection of money to run the party is in public domain, no other political party did this before. Everyone thought that no one can survive in Indian politics with honesty and complete transparency but AAP did, and that's what scared other parties, they are scared to disclose their sources of funding, they are worried to loose election if they don't field so called popular or winnable candidates, they all used to field such candidates and never used to care even if some of these candidates have criminal background, but now they may not be able to do it anymore, they were forced to field honest candidates with clean image during Delhi elections just because of presence of AAP. This is what makes me excited about AAP not only they are playing the game honestly but they are also forcing their opponents to follow the same path, this is what I want to happen, reformation of all parties and entire system. One candidate or leader with good intention is not a big deal, they are there in every party but when every party and candidate is forced to stay clean and work honestly then only desired reform will come, first there has to be some external pressure (which AAP has created) and then slowly it will become a norm and then we may not even need to mention specifically AAP's name because all parties will be like them, this sounds like a crazy dream today but I am optimistic.

AAP has still long way to go, they just started and hit home run in their first attempt, but that doesn't mean they will remain like this or will taste same success on every turf they play but it seems they are not worried about that and I like this attitude. They seem to be more interested in overall political reform rather than short term gains, that's why I think it's not just another political party but a phenomena which made common people believe that they also can enter politics and survive, they also can dream to challenge this corrupt system if they want and this is what excites me, makes me optimistic. There are many who say that nothing can be done with our current political and bureaucratic machinery, it's damaged beyond any repair, but these people gave ray of hope when most people chose to resign and surrender, they showed us not everything is lost and it's us who can repair it and change it, it's out responsibility to do it not one from existing system will do it for us, so now the ball is in our (common people) court, we need to make sure that AAP just doesn't remain another political party but becomes a phenomena, a experiment which can be repeated every where and at every level, if not then we will be stuck with current rotten system for many more years to come and I don't think any of us want this to happen. I am happy for AAP's success, more than that I am happy for myself, I am happy for common people of India who desperately needed some ray of hope and they provided it.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why always look in the past, we should also sing glories of our own generation..

I often see many people glorifying distant past achievements of their ancestors, singing their praise, telling everyone how in past their culture or civilization was rich, dominant or superior to rest of the world, nothing wrong to feel proud of our ancestors and take inspiration from their achievements but sometimes this becomes an excuse for not giving credit to some recent achievements and breakthroughs. I hear in India all the time people singing glories from past but not willing to appreciate the present situation, I personally feel proud of many achievements of my ancestors in India, no doubt it was indeed remarkable that they achieved so much with such limited resources and techniques, but at the same time I am equally proud of achievements of present generation, scientific community (which includes scientists all over the world), tremendous achievement in the field of science and technology, revolution in the area of communication and medical care, progress in area of gender equality, anti-racism movement, abolishment of slavery, etc. all are recent phenomena. Most of these things happened within last 100 years or so and I am really proud of all these achievements, they are equally important and great in every respect compared to any past achievements.

Actually our generation has achieved tremendous progress in many areas, revolution in the area of communication technology is just phenomenal, world was never better connected than now, amazing phenomena called internet which completely changed our lives is a recent invention, many path breaking discoveries in the area of drug discovery are not less than any miracle (if you at all believe in miracles), they helped to save millions of lives all over the world. Recent progress in the area of gender equality is also impressive, our ancestors didn't think about many of these problems for so many different reasons but we not only diagnosed these problem but are working hard towards resolving it. Let me also say that I am not trying here to claim that recent generations have solved all existing problems, NO, that's not the case, still there are many problems which need solution, work is always in progress. I am also not trying here to compare our ancestors with us, it will be very unfair to do this but whenever some one says that our ancestors were much better than us or they were much more developed, superior etc. I feel surprised by their this attitude and ignorance, I fail to understand the logic or rational behind this statement, I wonder on what basis people say this? If people base these statements on moral degradation of society then also I don't find that word 100s of years ago was better as far as morality is concerned, then also there used to be wars, then also people used to discriminate, slavery was very common, people used to kill each other just because they belong to different tribes or faiths, polygamy and polyandry was common in many societies, situation of women was not better than what it is today, there used to be barbaric punishment for trivial crimes like stealing or lying or adultery, etc. So I don't know on what basis people claim that our society was much better in past compared to today? Rather, I find it is much better today, at least there is democracy in most of the countries where people have right to choose their government rather than monarchy, I think this itself is a huge improvement.

The point which I am trying to make that there is no point in comparing two different eras against each other, both have their own success stories and failures, we can draw inspiration from whenever we want, there is no better or worst for me. Discovery of gravity is as important as discovery of zero, traditional medicine was as important for our ancestors as modern medicine is to us,  there is no point in comparison, it's useless and waste of time. We also don't have to always look back at our ancestors to draw inspiration we have enough examples from our own generation which can inspire us to do good work and achieve new heights in every field.  

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. Were Our Ancient Ancestors Scientifically Advanced?
2. Signs in the Sky: The Irrationality of Astrology
3. Fraudulent Use of Obsolete Vaastushastra

Monday, December 9, 2013

This is complete misinterpretation of Live-in relationship

Recent news about a judgement by Madhya Pradesh Lok Adalat (some local court) left me surprised and shocked, as per courts order the wife and live-in partner should live together under the same roof, sharing the space and time with their man, this arrangement was made after mutual agreement between them. I am trying to understand how come court concluded that extramarital affair of this man qualifies as live-in relationship, this is case of adultery where already married man without giving divorce to his first wife engages in sexual relationship with other women, I also wonder what would have been court's reaction if this would have been totally opposite scenario, that is a married women engaging in sexual activity with other man outside her marriage, would this court have given similar verdict? Would people have accepted such verdict as easily they accepted this one? This decision might have been taken after considering fate of that other women who is dependent of this man, even if he cheated both these women they don't have any other option but to compromise, this is very sad state of affairs. Fight of equal rights for women is going on all over the world but I don't think they want any system where they have to share their man with other women, after this verdict one of my cousins told me that now in India even Hindus can marry twice legally?? such is the effect of such judgments.

Topic of live-in relationship is very intensely debated on many discussion forums in India, this is very controversial and sensitive subject, many people and institutions are against it because they think it is against their traditions and culture, they also feel that this also might put institution of marriage in danger. There are many misconceptions about live-in relationship in India, one night stand or extramarital affair is not live-in relationship, it's almost like a marriage but without any legal obligations before separation (like filing for divorce) but it also comes with all other requirements like commitment (as long as relationship is in place), offering financial support to spouse and children etc. but often people who misinterpret it as easy way to have sexual relations without marriage ignore all these things and it seems even courts started doing this mistake. Protecting rights of spouse in any relationship is very important, institution of marriage allows that protection but there should be alternative way for people who don't believe in this institution and live-in relationship has emerged as closest possible alternative but it needs to be discussed and debated before being accepted or rejected. Accepting or rejecting anything without serious consideration would be a huge mistake, this judgement is very good example of it, I also agree that court didn't have much options in this particular case but this case should not make people believe that now polygamy is legal or there is some way to practice polygamy legally.

I am questioning this particular judgement because there is common impression among people that in this case man got rewarded instead of getting punished for illegal act he committed and this perception is dangerous according to me, such judgement should come with proper explanations, warning and even proper disclaimer (something like, this practice is dangerous/illegal and court doesn't support it, etc.). According to me this judgement is total misinterpretation of concept of live-in relationship (if at all they considered it as a case of live-in relationship), I have not read the actual copy of the judgement but going by media reports. I hope they clarify on this before many more commit this mistake again or start thinking that this is not at all a mistake. I am also not saying that because of this judgement these things will now start happening, they are already happening but this judgement should not confuse people more about already confusing concept of live-in relationship. These issues require some understanding and mature response from society as a whole, these things should not be used to exploit people and create unnecessary disturbance in society. I hope people understand this and react accordingly.

Thanks for reading and please share your opinion about this topic.

[Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]

1. Lok Adalat orders man to spend equal time with wife and live-in partner
2. Court Asks Man, Live-in Partner to Stay with Wife in Same House

Friday, December 6, 2013

Why people need all these fake Gurus?

Recently when I shared the news about one incident which happened in India where some people wanted to spread flowers in path of rape convict Narayan Sai when police planned to take him to some hospital for medical check up and to a court for demand of legal custody (a routine procedure after arrest of any criminal or convict) on my Facebook wall, one of my friend asked why people need these dhongi (which means fake, pretentious or cheat) gurus, babas or so called godmans? The question is very relevant and valid, but the answer is not that easy and straightforward. Anyone reading this news or any similar news would ask this question, why the heck these people want to glorify a rape convict or a criminal? (there is no dearth of such incidents all over the world but I want to focus specially in India because this is very common here). This guy was arrested after proper man hunt after almost two months, he was trying his best to escape law like any other criminal and he should be treated like that but I know that his fans and devotees won't accept it, we need to understand why they do this?

I think everyone needs some sort of counselling at different stages of their lives for various issues or problems they face, many people like our parents, teachers, other close relatives play this role in early part of our lives, slowly when we grow up then our education empowers us to deal with these things on our own and if we can't then various books (for people who love reading), movies, friends, motivational figures, etc. perform the role of counselor whenever needed, all these people or other resources help us to deal with various issues and problems in our life, they motivate us directly or indirectly. But not every one is passionate about reading, not everyone likes to watch or read about great people and their lives, not everyone is fortunate to have good friends, many even don't have resources available to them to do some of these things (like reading), and even if they have it's quite possible that sometimes even all these things combined can not answer all their questions, then they need someone to comfort them, someone to say them that everything will be OK, some thing which many professional counselors do, people get attracted to all these babas or bapus or gurus because they try to do somewhat similar thing on mass scale, the only difference is trained counselors are professionally trained to do these therapy sessions and these babas are not. These so called self proclaimed gurus entirely depend on their personal charm, charisma and fan following, no doubt many of them have good oratory skills, good knowledge about many scriptures, great memory, charming personality, etc. but they are not professionally trained to offer any medical advise or offer consultation about any personal issues, but most of them do this and that's the main reason of their popularity, hardly people go to them just to listen the speech, many visit them for consultation. Once they are popular they become powerful, their devotees become their strength, many of them have so strong influence locally that it's very difficult even for law enforcement agencies to take any action against them for any charges against them. The influence and clout of some of these people is so much that even people who suffer abuses from their hands don't dare to register any complaint against them, many cases of financial irregularities, sexual abuse or exploitation don't even get reported. All these benefits and immunity which come with this profession of babagiri has attracted many people with good memory and oratory skills into this profession, these are only two requirements to become such baba and they easily create some fan base in some part of India. Case of Nirmal baba who offers very absurd and stupid solutions to peoples problem is well known and still he is very popular among many people.

Seeking help of counselor for any persisting personal, professional problem in life is not a culture in India rather it's a taboo, many people still hesitate to visit a psychiatrist or any counselor, they always worry that what other people will think if they come to know that there is some psychological or personal issues in their lkives, but visiting any baba or anyone like him is not at all considered as something unusual, rather it's something which everyone loves to talk about, they like to discuss about greatness about their guru, various powers he/she possess and also about miracles they can do. Even people visit these fake gurus to seek advise related with many medical issues which can be very dangerous sometimes. Presence of such culture for centuries has created very fertile environment for many such people who declare themselves head of some cult movement, godman or incarnation of some deity and exploit peoples weakness and emotions. Actually these fake counselors in name of various babas and gurus fill the vacuum created by absence of professional counselors in people's lives. This all needs to stop, but all these babas or gurus are not going to close their shops on their own, as long as there are customers and favorable market conditions they are going to sell their product, at the same time we can not put entire blame on these cheaters, customers who buy their products and people who don't oppose these practices are equally responsible for this, actually we need to make their product out of date if we want remove their influence, we need to expose their fraud and wrongdoings systematically to stop their business growing any further. Some of these self styled gurus are still worshiped by many even if they are facing serious charges like rape or sexual misconduct, many of them fool people by making unverified claims and selling non tested treatments for many diseases, poor people (not economically poor but people without any proper logical thinking) blinded by their faith and problems follow these people without any logic or thinking.

A tireless campaign against all these fake gurus is required, all people with rational mind and capacity to think logically need to come together and work towards this goal, this fight is not easy but very difficult and long, many devotees of all these gurus are like suicide squads they are willing to do anything for their guru or God, they are ready to go any extend to defend them, so very determined and systematic effort is required to fight this very important battle to free our society from clutches of these evil minded people who take advantage of ignorance and weakness of people. People should take help of some professional counselors rather than these type of babas for their medical, personal and family problems, professional help is always better in any case, it's more reliable. I think some NGOs also can play crucial role in solving this need of professional counseling for people and with help of everyone we can eradicate need of these type of fake gurus from our society.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why daughters hesitate to claim their share in ancestral property in India?

I know that this issue is somewhat sensitive in many families and many people don't want to discuss it because the possibility of tension it might create in their families and also possibly spoil relations but I was always curious about this issue, I am discussing this subject exclusively in Indian context because I have seen this problem present there on large scale, may be this issue is present in many other cultures also but I am personally aware of this problem in India. Fight for equal rights for women is going on all over the world and India is no exception for this, like everywhere else property rights of Indian women are unequal and unfair, lot of improvements have been done on paper, some laws are also introduced to protect their rights but they are hardly followed, so even at least on paper situation looks better but in reality nothing has changed much. In India now at least by law daughters are legally eligible for equal share in ancestral property, but as far as I see many of them don't want to exercise this right given to them by constitution, they worry about their family's reaction, society's reaction and also about spoiling relationships, all these things make them very reluctant even to think about this fundamental right given to them by law, implementation of this law on large scale is still very far fetched dream.

Why they don't want their share? Why they hesitate to claim it? What is stopping them? As far as son's are concerned thy all think that it's their birth right to inherit ancestral property and they fight for it if they feel any injustice has been done to them but daughters hardly react if their share is not offered to them. They don't bother to ask for it even if they are in financial difficulty and really need that share, they just think it's not their right or even if this right is offered to them by law of land it's not appropriate to exercise it, this is effect of years of female suppression and brain washing, no matter what right law of land is offering to them they are still hesitant to use most of those rights. Actually there is lot of confusion about this law and many people don't even know about this law in detail. As Shruti Pandey (see the link 3) said in her article there is no single body of property rights of Indian women, they get determined by which religion she follows, is she is married or unmarried, which part of country she comes from, whether she is tribal or non-tribal, etc. All these factors along with lack of awareness and desire results in many daughters not getting their share in ancestral property. This issue may sound very trivial but as far as women independence and equality is concerned I think this is very important matter.

I think dowry system must have started to tackle this problem of offering share to daughters in their parent's ancestral property to some extend, but this system itself became a big problem rather than solving the problem of daughter's share in ancestral property. The problem of dowry became so big that government has to introduce a separate law to stop it, it's another issue that it's still practiced in some form or other. Any girl asking for her share in ancestral property is considered as greedy and often face wrath of other family members (like brother and sister-in-law) who feel that she is unfairly trying to grab their share of property. The feeling of guilt is also very strong in many girls minds, most of them feel that as their father paid enough dowry during their marriage so now it's not fair to ask for more share in ancestral property. But as I said dowry system is not an answer to this problem, this system itself has created many evils in society. Current system of dowry many times creates lot of troubles for brides whenever her in-laws feel that they didn't get enough dowry and then demand for more and torture that girl for that. Offering legal and proportional share to daughters in ancestral property might be better solution as this practice might help to remove greed factor, because often dowry is demanded out of greed, so there is no limit how much other party (groom's side) can demand, where as share in property is calculated as per law so there is no scope for unreasonable demands and greed. It will be highly unreasonable to expect that practice of this law will stop all atrocities against brides but at least it will help slowly to remove evil of demand of dowry from their lives. But this needs lot of courage and determination from all daughters who normally hesitate to ask for their right, they need to prepare themselves for all the criticism and badmouthing, they need to make sure that they exerciser this right without breaking their relationships or families, this will be test of their patience, diplomatic skills and courage, but at the end this is their choice, after all this is question of their rights and no one can force them to do this they have to take initiative on their own, choice is entirely theirs. 

Thanks for reading and please share your views about this topic. 

[Copyright: Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing] 

1. Daughter's rights in new amendment
2. Daughter’s rights in ancestral property in India
3. Property rights of Indian women By Shruti Pandey