Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sania Mirza is a individual first then a daughter or daughter in law....

Recent obnoxious statements by some BJP and Congress MLAs in Telengana about questioning Indianness of a very successful and celebrated tennis player Sania Mirza created lot of uproar in media and social circles. This totally unnecessary controversy started when newly appointed government of newly formed state of Telengana appointed her brand ambassador of their state. May be some politicians were not happy with her appointment or many be they were not happy that she is being paid money to do this job. They have full right to raise their concerns or objections but there is a civilized way to raise objections to these type of issues without making any personal obnoxious remarks about the concerned person. BJP leader K. Laxman called her "daughter-in-law" of Pakistan and questioned her credentials for this particular honor. Calling her daughter-in law on Pakistan was really not required to question her appointment for this job. These law makers are looked as role models by their supporters, if they use this type of language then it really sends a wrong message to their supporters. But it was good to see so much support for Sania and condemnation of this statement from many people. These type of statements project two fold problem present in Indian society, first is their attitude towards women, where many people fail to look at them as an individual, women are always looked as someone's daughter, sister, wife, daughter-in-law or mother, etc. Why can't they consider a woman as a independent person with no labels of any relations attached to her? Second problem is totally unjustified bias against certain communities to  doubt their patriotism (particularly Muslims or in some cases Christians). Both these problems are a result of ignorance of people and stereotyping of particular gender or community.

I still remember the way they used to teach us why to respect women (or girls), we were taught to respect them because they are also someone's sister, mother or daughter; the point they wanted to make was respect other women as you respect these women with whom you are related. So it was always because she is someone's sister, mother, daughter or wife not because she is a woman or an individual. Why can't we respect every one just as an individual, just for what they are rather than bothering about who they are? How long we want to continue with this patriarchal mindset? This mindset always reflects in such comments where many men as well as women fail to look at women as an individual with no tags of relationship or social status attached to them. Another disturbing trend which is going on for decades in Indian politics and which doesn't show any sign of going away is that whenever any such statement is made political parties either try to justify it or just distance themselves without condemning it or taking any action against the individual in question. I am supporter of absolute freedom of speech so according to me these individuals have full right to say whatever they want to say, I have no objection on their right to say these things. If their parties believe in this philosophy of absolute freedom of speech (which they clearly don't) then I welcome their stand of not taking any action against that person for making such statement (to support his/her right to express their thought) but I wonder what is stopping them for condemning any such statement. Aren't they indirectly supporting these statements by not condemning it? Do they believe in bystander's approach? where you just distance yourself and watch wrong things happening right in front of your eyes and feel relived that at lest you didn't do it so it was not your fault? Do they think that if they keep on ignoring, these type of statements will stop coming or incidents like this (like force feeding someone) will stop? If not, then why don't they take some action?

Sania is very well accomplished sports person in her own field, she has won many competitions for her country and also has been decorated with many awards and honors. If anyone have any problems about her suitability for the job of brand ambassador which she was offered then they should have raised their objections by asking relevant questions, not by questioning her patriotism or personal life or relationships. Anyone's religion, marriage or any other relationship are very personal things no one has right to comment about these things. If anyone is facing any abuse in their relationship or some injustice is being done with anyone in any relationship then it makes sense to question that and try to offer them needed help, then it can be considered as social problem or domestic injustice but in absence of all this there is no reason to discuss these things. Just because Sania is married to Pakistani national she doesn't become a Pakistani citizen, it doesn't give anyone a license to question her honesty and integrity towards her own country. She still holds her Indian citizenship and no one has right to question her integrity. She is an individual first and then she is someone's daughter or wife or daughter-in-law. If someone can not respect her as an individual or independent women then he or she may not respect her no matter she is who's who. I don't have any hope from these traditional political parties who cite hundreds of political compulsions for supporting (or not criticizing) such statements, they keep on pointing figures at each other as if pointing out others mistakes legitimize their own mistakes. But I expect all rational Indians and people all over the world to criticize and object to such statements. This patriarchal mindset needs to be challenged, this strong bias against any religion or community needs to be challenged. No one needs to prove their sincerity or honesty towards their country (or anything) just because of their gender or religion, this is wrong and should not be encouraged at any level.

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

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

Links:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Leave aside religion from this incident, lets focus on main issue: BULLYING...

News of Shiv Sena MP force feeding one of the employee of catering company which supplies food to Maharashtra Sadan (a state guest house in Delhi mainly for VIPs/ State dignitaries/officials of the State Government visiting Delhi) is getting lot of media attention. The news created lot of controversy because of people involved in this particular incident, MPs (member of parliament) belonging to Shiv Sena (which is right wing party with pro Hindu agenda) tried to force fed a employee who was from Muslim community and was fasting during Ramadan month. So it was really easy to give a communal angle to this news and as expected there was a uproar in media with so called secular parties objecting to this incident and others who are sympathetic to Shiv Sena down played it as expected. Everything happened as expected, every party directly or even indirectly associated with this incident tried to reap some political benefit from this issue.

Actually this is clear case of bullying, an employee of some organization was bullied by MPs who think they are powerful and no law can do anything to them by forcing him to do something against his wish (eat food). That employee's religion or whether he was fasting or not, whether it was some religious fast or not is really not important here. These public representatives, who are supposed to serve people and respect law of land were seen breaking the law in broad daylight that too for the issue which they could have solved using peaceful protest. They could have registered their displeasure about quality or type of food served to them by using peaceful means. There was absolutely no need to bully this particular employee by intimidating him and forcefully feeding him the food. For some reason the main focus of all this debate is that this particular employee was a Muslim and as Shiv Sena is pro-Hindu party this action is not acceptable. It seems if this employee would have been a Hindu or atheist fasting for health reasons then this action would have been acceptable as there is no religious sentiments hurt. I really wonder how people can even justify this kind of logic? Why the religion of this particular person is even an issue here? 

Shiv Sena MPs are claiming that they were unaware of concerned employee's religion when they did this act, it is quite possible that they were unaware of his religion but how does it matter? Does it make this act acceptable if these MPs were not aware about this person's religious affiliation? Even this employee is claiming that his religious sentiments are hurt in this whole episode not that he was bullied and MPs should be tried for bullying. The whole focus in this issue is wrongly focused on communal angle leaving aside the real issue of bullying. When public representatives engage in such shameless and blatant act of bullying and don't even regret that it sends a terrible message to all people who watch such incidents. It seems it's OK to bully people if their religious sentiments are not hurt, it's fine to intimidate someone if they feel that person is at fault. Bullying is evil and it should not be tolerated under any circumstances. Shiv Sena MPs should apologize for this incident but not just for hurting that person's religious sentiments (this is a really minor factor in this entire episode) but for bullying that person which is a much bigger crime. They should accept that whatever they did was wrong irrespective of that person's religion or his fast.

Indian parliament also should show some courage and try to punish its misbehaving members to sent some example in front of its citizens. It seems that parliament has no control over behavior of its members, it has no powers to punish them for any wrongdoing. MPs from various parties do whatever they want, say whatever they wish about anyone or any issue but parliament doesn't take any action against any such incidents. These issues get heavily politicized and parties take their stand according to their vote bank politics, no one seem to care about real issues. Real issues always get sidelined or take back seat in all this political drama, finger pointing and mud sledging. Sadly this happens after every incident like this, so far no MP is disqualified or even suspended for any such act or making some derogatory statement. I don't know how long this will continue, at least I expect common people to think beyond politics in case of this type of incidents, they should take a stand irrespective of their political affiliation. But it seems this is also too much to ask for, people seem to base their reaction not based on the incident but based on people involved in it, based on their religion or political affiliation. This is so sad and unfortunate but this is what happening and no one knows when this will change.  This post is really a small attempt from my side to request people to look at the real issues and not carried away by emotions or religious sentiments which all political parties want us to do. Let's use our own mind to decide what is right and what is wrong and then act accordingly.

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

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

Links:
1. Uproar in LS over Sena MPs forcing man to break fast

Friday, July 18, 2014

Israel has right to defend itself but this is not at all a act of defense.

Recent attack by Israeli forces on Gaza strip in Palestine has stunned many around the world. Indiscriminate brutality displayed even towards civilian targets like disability center and very insensitive comments by some Israeli politicians about Palestinians has shocked many. Images coming out of Gaza about this brutal attack are very disturbing. Neither this conflict is new nor the violence which is happening in this region is new but still whatever is happening has shocked many. Both sides, Israel and Palestine have suffered because of violence related to border conflict. History behind this dispute is very long and complicated and I don't this we can discuss it on this forum, there is enough material available on internet related with this issue and interested readers can easily find reliable sources to educate themselves about this conflict. Israel is surrounded by hostile countries from all sides, many of them don't appreciate their existence but because of their military power and support from all over world none of those countries can do much against them. Many commend them for the way they managed to survive and excel in such hostile neighborhood. It is right to give credit wherever it is due, Israel survived and is now considered as the most powerful military power in that region, no other country can match them in technological and military power. Between Palestine and Israel later is much much advanced as far as military capabilities are concerned. Terrorist organizations like Hamas (which is now a political establishment also) inhibit Palestine and play major role in recruiting youths from that region who participate in terrorist activities. There is no doubt that any type of terrorist attack should not be tolerated, but to punish entire Palestine for fault of Hamas is completely wrong and unjustifiable.

If you look at the victims of the Israeli attack there are many innocent women and children who have died for no fault of theirs. It is really sad to see so many children die, it is heart wrenching. Images of some Israeli eating popcorn and watching attacks on Gaza doesn't portray any nice picture of Israel around the world. Even in war there are some rules to follow, so much brutality towards civilians is not acceptable. No one is questioning Israel's right to defend itself but whatever they are doing in Gaza right now is not a defense but it is a brutal and indiscriminate attack. Actually fight between Israel and Palestine is not a war between equals, Israel is much much stronger than Palestine in all aspects (technology, precise and advanced weapon, well equipped military, international support, etc.). This is the reason whenever Israel decides to attach on Palestine there is almost no (or minimum) resistance from their side, but that doesn't give absolute right to Israeli military forces to do whatever they want. Any attack on Israeli civilians is wrong no one can justify them but killing of Palestinian civilians like this by Israel is also a form of terrorism. If use of human bomb or missile by Hamas or any other terrorist organization to kill civilians is wrong then killing of civilians by using military forces is also wrong. Two wrongs don't make one right, if one party makes a mistake it doesn't give other party right to make same mistake. Both actions kill innocent civilians only the methods used are slightly different but both actions are equally condemnable. Both sides offer what they feel very legitimate reasons to attack each other, actually we humans are so intelligent that we can justify any of our actions. Both sides keep on justifying their violent actions and civilians keep on dying, this conflict has already taken many innocent lives, destroyed many families, caused immense pain and damage to both sides. This all should stop, if conflict can not be resolved then at at least violence should stop. Israel should stop its brutal aggression towards civilians of Palestine and all terrorist acts against them by Palestinian terrorist organizations should also stop. Both sides should try to resolve the issue via diplomacy and discussion. Whatever Israel is doing today in Gaza is wrong and rest of the world should take a stand against it. So far many responses (including Govt of India's) are very diplomatic, they look more like political than humanitarian. If we choose to remain silent or ignore it today then I don't know how many civilians deaths like this we have to witness in name of self defense. Whatever is going on is wrong and should stop.

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

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Dr. Vedik's case, disply of double standards by BJP.

Recent meeting between Dr. Ved Pratap Vedik (known to be close to Baba Ramdev, BJP and RSS) and 26/11 terrorist attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed created lot of controversy and uproar in Indian media and political circles. This event was heavily politicized just because of involvement of above mentioned organizations and people and that's what made media to cover this very extensively. I personally feel that as a reporter Dr. Vedik has total right to meet anyone and conduct interview, this view was expressed by almost everyone involved in discussion of this subject. But he should tell for which news paper or magazine or channel he conducted this interview? Where did he publish it so that people can know the contents of that interview? Is he active journalist, if yes, associated with which journal? He was part of some delegation when he visited Pakistan, I assume that this delegation must have got Indian government's permission to visit Pakistan as Pakistan is not like any other country where any Indian can go and visit without going through rigorous process. So did he inform anyone from the delegation about his plans to conduct this so called interview? It will be also interesting to know who sponsored his trip to the residence of Hafiz? This guy Hafiz Saeed is internationally wanted terrorist, more than one countries have included him in their list of most wanted, he is accused of carrying our major terrorist attacks on India which killed hundreds of people. If Dr. Vedik was aware of all these facts then he also must have aware of the repercussions of this meeting in India, so what was his real purpose to take the interview of this person? Why did he publish photo of his meeting before publishing the interview? He needs to give satisfactory answers to all these questions.

Another interesting angle to this issue was created by the response of current Indian government headed by BJP, for some reason they responded by defending Dr. Vedik's actions indirectly (by not condemning it). This is the same party which reacted very aggressively when Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik shared stage with same fellow in 2013. They demanded strong action against him (like revoking his passport and arresting him), but they didn't say same things about Dr. Vedik. Dr. Vedik also gave one interview to some Pakistani newspaper or channel in which he clearly talked about possibility of granting independence to Kashmir. As far as I am concerned I have no problems with his personal views about any issue. He has full right to say whatever he feels is right (total freedom of expression), he should be able to share his views without worrying about violent reactions of anybody in any civilized society. But it seems BJP and its supporters don't believe in existence of such society, and I am saying this based on some of their reactions to such statements in past. Many times in past they tried to vandalize homes, public buildings or even attack people who made any controversial statements related with Kashmir or said anything which doesn't align with their stand on any sensitive issue. Their silence in this case was a total (pleasant) surprise (for me). It is not that I would have liked their violent reactions but I am surprised to see that they base their reaction based on who is making the statement but not the content of statement itself. So it seems for them the person who is making the statement is more important not the content of the statement. If the person is from their party or supporter of their party or someone close to their associates (which Dr. Vedik is) then it is fine if they say anything but same courtesy is not offered to other individuals (recent example of Mr. Prashant Bhushan must be very fresh in people's memory). Even close aids of prime minister Mr. Narendra Modi who was well known for his fire brand speeches and promised zero negotiation policy with terrorists is keeping mum on this issue.

It is really sad to see such a blatant display of double standards by BJP. If they believe in total freedom of expression it is really a great news and I congratulate them for this. But they should show it in their behavior towards everyone irrespective of their party affiliations or political ideologies not only for selected individuals because then it is called double standards or hypocrisy. Surprisingly they are doing this type of things when they have no pressure of coalition politics (this excuse was offered by Congress on many occasions) they have absolute majority on their own in parliament. They should know that people judge you based on how you judge people who you love, not people who don't love. It is easy to be harsh and critical about people from opposition party or other people not related with you but when person from your own group does something serious and you keep mum or rather try to justify his/her actions then you portray yourself in very poor light. This is what BJP is doing in last few days whether it is issue of bringing ordinance to hire one particular person their prime minister want as principal secretary or this particular one. Their attitude is same like Congress which used to justify each and every action of their leaders in past. I hope BJP soon realizes their mistake as they have long way to go in this term, these are just initial days of their new government so I hope that they will take necessary corrective measures not to repeat these type of mistakes. If not then we all know what happened to Congress same thing will happen to them sooner or later.

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

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

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Being called average is not bad at all...

There are many people who get labeled as average at various stages of their life for variety of reasons. Many of them also suffer in their efforts to get rid of this 'average' tag as they feel it means 'not good' or 'below par'.  We are the ones who try their level best, work really hard (or as much as we can based on our abilities) but still can't reach to that so called top level. We are the students who in spite of out best efforts can't make it to that honor roll (or scholars list), in spite of our best efforts we can't get admission to so called elite institutes or crack those entrance exams, our best writings or our oratory skills can't match to many who seem to do it effortlessly. There are still spelling mistakes in our writings, our sentences sometimes don't make any sense, we make many mistakes and get in trouble. This list can go on and on but I think readers got the point which I want to make here. So people like us are termed as average in conventional terms based on our professional achievements or financial status or lifestyle. Actually our society and its people use many parameters to judge how successful a person is, most of the time professional and financial success tops the list. As I mentioned earlier many people constantly try very hard to get rid of this 'average' tag, off course there is no doubt that it is always good to aspire to go to next level but it is not good idea to loose self confidence because of some social stereotyping. The most important thing is to learn from mistakes and try not to repeat it. Some people learn the lesson in one shot and some learn it hard way but learning is what matters.

People who earn just sufficient money enough for their needs, who are happy with what they are doing in their life irrespective of how much money they make are many times considered as 'average' or 'ordinary'. Many times they get this tag just because they don't earn crazy amount of money, they don't have extravagant life style and no magazine or news channel considers them as celebrity. These people are not considered as news makers, money spenders, party throwers, etc. Their contribution or presence is hardly noticed by others as they don't stand out. But in actual sense the contribution of all these 'average' or 'ordinary' people matters a lot towards well being of our society. Actually terms like 'average' or 'above average' or 'extra ordinary' are relative terms. Different people use different criteria to decide who belong to which group. I always try to focus on my efforts and my personal behavior without worrying about in which category people put me. If I know that I am giving my best possible effort then it doesn't matter if the outcome is average or above average in conventional terms, for me it is always my best and that is what matters most. What others say matters very little if I am happy with my efforts. Criticism as well as appreciation are very important and should be always welcomed. Feedback from others can be used as a motivation for self improvement but it should not be detrimental for our confidence (specially negative feedback). There are many who get affected a lot because of comments they receive from other people and then they suffer because of those comments. Actually it is impossible to please everyone around us, there will be some criticism from someone no matter what you do. Being called as a average doesn't mean it is something bad or there is something wrong, it just means people think you can do much better (this can be a very good way of looking at it). Average doesn't always means below par, the meaning of the term depends on situation and context it is used. It can be taken in a very positive way, as I said any feedback should be useful to boost our confidence not detrimental to it. Now a days because of all this motivational pep talks, the word 'average' or 'ordinary' almost sounds like a abuse, many people don't like these terms if they are used to describe them. But actually it is not that bad, as many things get stereotyped in our society and these terms are also victims of same social trend. If a person is happy and giving her/his best doing what he or she likes without harming anyone then it the best possible scenario for that person and our society. Then it doesn't matter what people or society thinks about him/her according to me that person is successful. We need to focus on giving our personal best and let society or people around us put us in whatever category they want. Actually as long as we give our best it doesn't matter what label we get, let it be 'average' 'below average' or 'above average' everything is fine, just give your best and forget the rest.

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

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

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Patriarchy is one of the oldest surviving ideology..

Title of the blog is actually a sentence taken from this very powerful, hard hitting video which once again delivers another tight slap on India's (or world's) patriarchal culture. I really don't know how many slaps like this our society will need to wake up and realize that this culture is totally wrong and we need to change it. Actually it will be unfair to blame only India for having patriarchal society or culture, it is prevalent more or less in all parts of the world, but I am going to discuss this only in relation to Indian society as I come from that society and can comment about it based on my own personal experience. In ancient times when development is science was not much, most jobs or even day to day tasks used to require lot of physical stamina and power men got superiority in every society due to their more physical strength compared to women. This superior physical strength gave them natural advantage and dominance in that society, they seized this advantage and made all rules and traditions which heavily suit them. One can see this pattern in all cultures and religions (as it is also a part of culture). This natural advantage game men to design society as per their own needs and slowly role of women was reduced to support them, satisfy their needs and help in reproduction. This pattern continued for many many years until we saw emergence of feminist movements where women demanded for fair and equal treatment. For many this demand of equality was a shocker, they couldn't believe that women can demand something like this, many such people such oppose demand of equality and that is why we still need feminist movement and feminists in this world.

Some people might ask the question, what is wrong with patriarchal ideology? Why we want to change this culture? Patriarchy is going on for years and society survived with those values and customs so why we need to change theme today? Just because it is really old? Actually even today many people want to preserve or continue with these type of traditions in name of culture or religion, they defend them because this thing was invented by their great forefathers. They believe that as their forefathers were very farsighted and intelligent so how can anything invented by them be wrong? Somehow they fail to see that these practices are discriminatory and biased in nature, most of these traditions favor one particular gender (in most cases male) and put other gender at receiving end with minimum or no rights (even protest is considered as insulting or offensive). Just because something is old can not be a good reason to discard anything but if the system is old, seriously malfunctioning and harmful then definitely we need to think about it. A system which treats nearly half of our population from our planet as substandard citizens definitely need to go, no matter how old or traditional it is.

Actually this patriarchal culture is directly or indirectly responsible for many traditions or rule which are unfairly biased against women. These type of rules are present in very culture, religion and civilizations. Their influence is so strong that not only men but also mane women oppose to change them. Because of years of suppression women are brainwashed to believe that they are weaker sex and need presence of man in their life for protection and survival in our society. This all need to change, but this change is not easy, as I said even many woman believe that by nature they are inferior to men and are dependent on men for social recognition. It will take lot of efforts and awakening to wipe out this mentality, changing this age old belief is not an easy task. Consistent efforts from feminists groups and more participation of women are necessary to make this possible. As long as women don't help themselves no amount of external help will be enough to elevate their status in society. Fight for equality is not easy fight and even if it comes equality comes at a cost along with lot of responsibility to maintain it. Women need to prepare themselves to bear this cost and carry the burden of that responsibility which comes along with this, if not then patriarchy is here to stay. Terms will be dictated to women about how to behave, how to dress, what work to do. If they are not willing to take control of their own lives, men will try to control almost each and every aspect of their life, this is what patriarchy is. This ideology is as strong as organized religion, during past few decades feminist movements, brace women and thinkers have made big dent in it due to their consistent efforts but still lot needs to be done. I am glad to see that many women are coming forward now to challenge this age old ideology, this is really good sign. Their consistent efforts like this only have capacity to change these things. Patriarchy might be one of the oldest surviving ideology but I think now time has come for it to go. This ideology is not only biased against women but it also puts tremendous pressure on men. The concept of masculinity is based on many gender biased beliefs which are product of this ideology and this puts lot of pressure on men to fit into that definition. Getting rid of this age old mindset will be very good thing for our civilization. Just imagine lifting barriers from minds and potential of half of world's population, just imagine lifting burden of 'being a man' from minds of other half of world's population. So many more talented people will be coming forward to contribute towards well being of our society. So many people will be free from social pressure to fit into stereotypes associated with their gender. If this happens it will be one of the greatest events in the history of human civilization. With our consistent efforts I am sure this will happen, so let's keep on trying.

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

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

Links:
1. A Group Of Women Speaks Up To Send A Very Powerful Message To The Indian Male Dominated Society

Friday, July 4, 2014

Actually, no one can have it all..

In her recent interview PepsoCo CEO Indra K Nooyi said "Women can not have it all".  Actually I don't know what she means by particularly mentioning women in this statement. Is she referring to work-family life balance? Did she mean that women with successful careen won't be considered as good wives or mothers? or was she talking about the guilt factor that they cannot pay enough attention to their family, which troubles many women who work? Actually who can have it all? Can men have it all? Can so called rich individuals or corporates have it all? Isn't each one of us have to sacrifice something to get something in our life? Most of the time we our self choose the path which we want to follow (in life or career), we make our daily choices, we set our preferences so at the end why to complain?

In her interview she also expressed some instances in her life when she felt that she was not being a good parent, she mentioned her inability to attend a coffee sessions which her daughter's school has specially for working women. I wonder if that school had similar coffee sessions for working dads? If not, why? and if yes, then how many dads felt guilty for not attending it? Did she felt more guilty because as a woman and mother she felt it's her duty (compared to her husband's) to attend these functions and her kid's other needs? If this is so, then there is a basic flaw in this thinking why it is expected from moms to be more available for their kids, why can't dads do the same job whenever needed? As a society aren't we mature enough to understand that there is no gender specific job, both genders can handle many things equally well. If a mom can be a CEO then dad can definitely attend to kid's needs. These jobs are not defined by gender but anyone can acquire those skills and do that job if required.

Another point which is worth considering is, why did she felt guilty? She is a successful professional who achieved very commendable success in her professional field. Is she worried that as she is a woman people might judge her differently on personal level, and will question her commitment towards her family (specially kids)? Isn't it a common to feel guilty for not attending your child's school function or performance no matter whether you are dad or mom? I wonder on what basis a working mom can claim that they feel more guilty about these things compared to a working dad? The standards would be same for both the genders, one can not assume that men don't feel same attachment towards their children as women feel, or dads cannot take care of their kids as good as moms can. When we talk about equality it is not only for women but for both the genders. I agree that women are discriminated more because of their gender but at the same time men also face similar treatment. Whether it is positive or negative, discrimination is discrimination and it is wrong.

The truth is we all make some sacrifice in our life for various reasons. We all get judged by society or by our friends and family in some way, this is common for everyone. There is always something which we miss, we always choose what we think is most important at that moment of life. Those choices can be right or wrong, but we all make them and in that process we gain something and also loose somethings, in the end we all try to balance the things. Everybody's aim is to gain things which matter us more compared to what we stand to loose. Different people prioritize things differently, something which is important to me may not be important to some one else. Actually, no one can have it all. It doesn't matter women or men they all gain somethings and loose somethings during their personal and professional life. It is unfair to say that only women can't have it all, this might discourage some women who want to achieve success in their professional life. May be intention of Indra Nooyi was good but her statement is conveying a wrong message. Why do even women like her expect to have it all? I have not seen any other CEO saying that men can't have it all, because no one is supposed to have it all, it is that simple. Choose the path which suits you the best, give your best effort and then enjoy the journey, that's what matters the most.

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

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

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Just an apology is not enough Mr. Tapas Pal.

Trinamool Congress (TC) member of parliament (MP) Mr. Tapas Pal was in news for all wrong reasons. During one of his speeches he threatened to kill CPM (opposition party in West Bengal) workers and get their women raped by his boys (to insult them). The statement as such is very derogatory in nature, it is very insulting to women, and above all criminal in nature. He is clearly inciting people to engage in serious criminal activities like murder and rape. No surprise that there was huge uproar in media against his statement. And this was not first time he made such statement, it seems in past also he said something similar which gone unnoticed by media. This guy is one of the lawmakers of our country, such people sit in our parliament and decide what is good for people of our country. If people with such regressive and criminal mindset are sitting in our parliament then one can imagine what can be the situation of law and order in our country.

As usual there was huge uproar in public against his statement, this was discussed in media talk shows and discussion groups, finally Tapas offered an unconditional apology but nothing happened beyond that. He was not sacked, so far parliament (or judiciary) didn't take any action against such criminal and demeaning remark by one of its members. I am sure Mr. Tapas will continue as Trinamool's MP and will complete his term without facing any serious action. All other political parties who are up in arms to criticize him also have many skeletons in their own closets, they all need to take some action against someone so that these things don't happen so frequently. It seems some MP or minister or leader from every party is busy in making some regressive statements like this which not only justifies but also encourages rape culture. Recent Goa minister's statement about banning bikinis on Goa beaches, or stopping girls from going to pub because he thinks its against Indian culture is another such example, this is another attempt to put blame on victim in case of sexual assault. This trend is very disturbing and so far no political party has taken any serious action against any person who made any such statement. This clearly shows their trivial attitude towards this issue. They all speak all the time about women safety and empowerment, they all make very tall promises about this in their manifestos but in reality their actions don't hint that they are at all serious about these issues.

The statements made by all these people are bad enough but the reaction of the political parties to which they belong or the institutions which they represent (like parliament or assembly) is more disturbing or worrisome. We all know hypocritical behavior pattern of all these political parties but it seems even hands of powerful institutions like judiciary and parliament are also tied in these matters as they fail to take any disciplinary action against these people. These people make such statements and then offer an apology, that too only in some cases most of the time they claim they were quoted out of context or something like that. They all feel that such excuses are enough to bury the issue and move on. They all expect that such statements will have no effect on those young and easily impressionable minds who get very easily get impressed by their leaders and follow them blindly. When these people see such politicians making such statements and not getting punished, what message they get? What conclusion they draw after seeing that no action is being taken by anyone against an MP or minister who made such statement or even against the ones who are accused of some sexual assault related crimes? Will it stop rape culture? Definitely NO, we need to be more sensitive against any such remarks, they should not be encouraged, once people start getting punished, they start loosing their posts and jobs for making such statement then they will think thousand times before making any such statement or committing any such crime. There is no strong deterrent now which can stop people from doing these things. They all know that nothing will happen to them except some bad publicity. Our system need to bring that deterrent in place which can stop people from doing such things. I hope our judiciary and parliament doesn't fail us again this time. They need to set some precedence, they need to start somewhere and many be this is the opportunity. Just an apology is not enough, strong action against such actions is required if we expect them to stop. If we fail then we will see another statement like this in media after few days or months, may be the name will change or political party will change but the statements won't they will keep on coming and we will keep on wondering why criminalization or politics doesn't stop? or why so many rapes are happening?

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