June 2006


Prince Manvendrasinh Gohil of Rajpipli, two days back, admitted to his parents that he was Homo-Sexual, something that is still looked upon as “filthy” in India and is still illegal under the Indian Penal Code.

I could not quite understand how I was different from others. I came to know about the term ‘homosexual’ from the dictionary at the age of fifteen. And as years passed I became clearer about it. I realized that it’s not a deformity and I am normal. However, I was not strong enough to tell people about it.

I told my parents I was gay. Initially it was difficult for them to accept it. They tried to convert me to heterosexuality. The doctors told them that was not possible and I guess they could not deal with the stigma.

– Gohil on NDTV News

Indian laws against homosexuality were originally enacted by in 1860 by their British colonial masters. They include up to “10 years imprisonment and
a fine, or both, for anyone found guilty of carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” Although the law is rarely enforced, the very existence of this law still irks the Gay and Lesbian communities in India.

The Prince says that he will now work towards spreading awareness about gay relationships and their struggle to be treated normally.

Personally, I don’t think the prince should be treated like this. Or any Homosexual person, for that matter. What the bloody hell are the “rent-a-protest” Communists and “walkouts-r-us” Republicans of India doing now ?

PREM SHANKAR JHA, author, a noted analyst and commentator, is a former editor of the Hindustan Times, The Economic Times and The Financial Express, and a former information adviser to the prime minister of India. He is a regular columnist with several leading publications.

To be honest I have been reading his columns every week since high school. This week however, I’m a little upset. He wrote this column for Outlook,The Nyet Flight To Kabul. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with Prem Shankar Jha, I’m not in favour of sending Indian soliders anywhere. But his argument has a serious flaw. This is what he says in his article:

“Sending troops to Afghanistan would generate exactly the same kind of tension among Indian Muslims. These would become hard to contain if the troops got involved in actual fighting against the Taliban.”

This is the kind of mindset, that holds us back. Whatever our religion, we are Indains first. This kind of debate and arguement only deepens the divide within our country. We should debate the pros and cons of sending troops to Afganistan based on what benift or harm it would have on our united national identity. If India were to have a war with Ireland tomorrow over potatoes do you think I would even once think whether it would hurt my feelings as an Indian Catholic?

TimeREBECCA MYERS of Time writes about Gunjan Thiagarajah, 29, a sales and marketing employee at a biotech firm in Los Angeles, who was on the cover of Time magazine issue, India Inc.

I felt really wierd when I read this part,

“She had no idea that, through the process of stock photography, her face would become an international symbol for the future of India.

In international symbol for the future of India? Oh come on!

The article goes on to state,

As it turns out, Thiagarajah is an appropriate model for the story on the globalization of India: she’s Indian but grew up in Nigeria and is married to a Sri Lankan, with whom she lives in California.
She is Indian? Or is she an American citizen?

I really want to know, especially after I read this part,

She says that one of the nicest pieces of feedback she received was from a friend who said “the magazine made a good choice in picking me because I represented the best of a progressive global Indian woman.”

Can the face of the global Indian woman be an American woman living in California? Come on Time magazine, even Sonia Gandhi would have made a better cover photo of an Indian women. Anyone brown is not Indian. We are not a nation based on skin colour, just like you guys.

एक थी मम्मी, और उसके थे दो बेटे – भोलू और गोलू. एक बार गांव में पल्स पोलियो अभियान वाले स्वयंसेवक आये और जब उन्होंने गोलू को दवा पिलायी तो वह रोने लगा और बोला कि दवा कड़वी है, खैर दवा तो गयी पेट में, अब क्या. मम्मी ने सोचा कि भोलू आंगन में सो रहा है और ऐसी कड़वी दवा पिलाने के लिये उसको उठाना उचित नहीं.

अगले दिन पड़ोस की चाची ने मम्मी को बताया कि दवा न पिलाने से पैर खराब हो जाते हैं. मम्मी रोने लगी और तुरंत जाकर भोलू को सीने से लगा लिया. अभी तो भोलू १० महीने का भी नहीं है, और अभी से अगर उसको जमीन पर अकेला छोड़ दिया तो उसके पैरों की हड्डियां कमजोर हो जायेंगी. आगे जाकर तो और भी तक़लीफ होगी, इसीलिये मम्मी जब कभी भी बाज़ार-हाट या पड़ोस में जाती, भोलू को अपनी गोद में लेती. उसे हमेशा चाची की बात याद आ जाती थी कि दवा न पिलाओ तो पैर खराब हो जाते हैं.

एक दिन गोलू की भी इच्छा हुई और बोला, मम्मी मुझे भी गोद में लो ना. मम्मी को गुस्सा आया, बोली कि तूने तो दवा पी हुई है. भोलू तो सचमुच भोला था, उसे लगा कि उसके लिये मम्मी का प्यार गोलू से देखा नहीं जाता!

समय गुज़रता गया और एक दिन मम्मी को एहसास हुआ कि चाची की बात तो सच हो गयी! भोलू ५ साल का हो गया और अभी तक उसके पैर काम नहीं करते. चाची कहती हैं कि बस एक ही बार दवा न पिलायी उसी का असर है. गोलू-भोलू के मास्टरजी कहते हैं कि सारा समय भोलू को गोद में लेकर रखा तो ताकत कहां से आती बेचारे के पैरों में? मम्मी कहती है कि चाची ने नज़र लगा दी है भोलू के पैरों को. पता नहीं सच्चाई क्या है? अरे हां, इस कहानी की मम्मी का पूरा नाम है भारतमाता!

भोलू और गोलू अब बड़े हो गये हैं. भोलू हर बुधवार पहिये वाली कुर्सी पर बैठकर मम्मी के साथ हाट में सामन लेने जाता है, और अभी भी उसको ऐसा लगता है कि उसके लिये मम्मी का प्यार गोलू से नहीं देखा जाता! उसे बार-बार याद आता है कि गोलू यह जानते हुये भी कि उसका अपना भाई अपाहिज है, हमेशा स्कूल की रेस में हिस्सा लेता था.

भोलू भाई, तुमको कब एहसास होगा कि मास्टरजी सही कहते थे?

Army womenWhen, Tharoor getting nominated for UN top job, Prime Minister giving Bangloreans a lesson or two on road manners, growing rate of economic growth and the youths reaction to affirmative action can take any patriotic high, there are things, like the comments of our Vice Chief of the Army, that bring one back to the hard ground with a thump (and that hurts).

“Ideally, we would like to have gentlemen and not lady officers,” the Hindustan Times quoted Lt Gen S Pattabhiraman, Vice Chief of the Army, as saying in an interview a couple of weeks back after a female officer committed suicide.

Lt Sushmita Chakravorty was under stress at work and unhappy with her job, one that of organising late night parties. What this incident brings to the forefront are the problems faced by the 1,000 women in non-combat roles in India’s million-strong Army. Though one should not feel moved by suicides, when someone belonging to such a small number expresses discontentment, the last thing the second highest authority of the concerned department could have done was to utter the words he did.

(more…)

India on TIME magazine
TIME magazine’s 20-page article on India and it’s fast changing cities starts with Jim Erickson’s inference that the nations growth is real and ends with Mira Nair’s more thoughtful remark on why India arrives when the West thinks so. In between are references to the Mumbai bars, the mafia, J.R.D Tata and the usual clichés like the slums, the IT boom, the call centres and everything else that you expect in an India-related article.

Rather unfortunate that a magazine of such a high calibre offers hardly anything insightful or introspective in this surprisingly positive article about India. Alex Perry’s write-up about Mumbai makes such sweeping generalisations and glaring errors that makes you wonder why these foreign correspondents not spend more time on research before writing inane observations. His reference to Mumbai being the setting of Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’ only goes on to prove how he has brought in terminologies without proper background knowledge. Vikram Seth’s ‘modern-classic’ as he calls it is set in an imaginary city in North India and does not even have one reference to Mumbai.

The full article can be accessed here.

mutiny-jihadWilliam Dalrymple’s forthcoming book, The Last Mughal, presents fascinating new facts and perspectives on the 1857 rising. The most shocking of which are….

  1. The 1857 rising was primarily a war of religion, with the rebels fighting against the increasingly insensitive and aggressive British attempts to impose Christianity in India.
  2. More than a quarter of the rebels in Delhi were jehadis fighting to defend their faith.
  3. Even before the rising, the British had plans to abolish the Mughal court and impose British laws; while many Evangelical Englishmen wished to impose Christianity.

Outlook has more..

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