On Nirbhaya Rape Documentary and related sentiments

Recently, an Israeli documentary maker, Leslee Udwin, made a documentary named “India’s Daughter” on the Nirbhaya rape case. For this, she interviewed one of the convicts ‘Mukesh Singh’. His interview, as known to us from some newspaper reports, revealed in him a cold blooded monster.His comments, as reported, chilled, disturbed and disgusted the nation to the core. As a result, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has decided to act, decided to protect us the infantile nation that is India, tried to shield India from evil by banning the screening of this documentary.

What did Mukesh Singh say? Excerpts below (source: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31698154) –

“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy”

“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good. People “had a right to teach them a lesson” he suggested – and he said the woman should have put up with it.

When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy,”

“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”

The convict’s lawyers said the same things : –

“In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person,” said one of the lawyers, ML Sharma.

“You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”

The other lawyer, AP Singh, had said in a previous televised interview: “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.

Horrible, Horrible just Horrible!!

That there could be such monsters walking among us is a thought which inspires fear of living hell. And while all of this is absolutely heinous and cringeworthy, I want to shed light on some other statements made recently in cases of other rape incidents.

“Boys will be boys. They will sometimes make mistakes.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/mulayam-singh-yadav-questions-death-penalty-for-rape-says-boys-make-mistakes/

“But she should have been more careful. She should not have taken a cab so late in the night. She shouldn’t have been drinking. She should have gone with a male, not alone. Girls like these, what do they expect!”

These are some statements which my well meaning, modern, seemingly liberal friends, men and women, have given when a woman was raped by her Uber cab driver which she hired at night after partying.

To me, these statements are equally heinous in their assertion of blame. They don’t venture very far out from the Mukesh Singh’s line of thought. They both blame the victim and exonerate the perpetrator. So while I was ready to puke after reading Singh’s statements, I was not so surprised to hear him say such things. A milder form of the same discourse on rape is the norm in our country.

We need to radically change our common discourse. Rape is wrong in any and every case. It is heinous and condemnable and deplorable act for which only the perpetrators, the rapists need to be blamed. Not the victim. Never the victim. We need to stop blaming the victim categorically. We need to start blaming the perpetrator categorically. Only then, we will even begin to plant seeds of change in the attitudes toward women which this nation desperately needs.!

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his years of Pilgrimage – Haruki Murakami

The book started with a great promise. A bunch of Japanese teenagers have found their soul mates and they are the happiest they have ever been. But, everything does not continue to remain swell. Differences occur, the group falls apart. One young man, our protagonist, a colorless, dull (you could say in a manner) passionless, Tsukuru Tazaki is expelled from it and leads an almost normal looking but a solitary life after that. 16 years later he sets out to resolve the mystery of his expulsion and finds out what happened.

The buildup was quite good. Even till the end, one keeps looking for the next answer but the book does not end in a resolution. There is much pondering about loneliness. There are some characters here and there, a venture into mystical, supernatural etc…but in the end, it’s all pointless. It is quite a pointless book.

It was okay to read, i wanted to turn pages but not as often. I dont know but I am not as charmed by Murakami’s storytelling as others seem to be. It’s just an OK read.

Guilt and Responsibility

I always keep feeling that I have no control. I flow with the flow of life. And then, I end up feeling like I have no control over my time. When I am not able to do my work, I feel guilty about that and when I am not able to spend some time taking care of my family, I feel guilty about that. It’s a mess. I am already facing the guilt syndrome without having any major responsibilities. I tend to assume that I have more responsibility than I actually do. I want to do everything for everyone. It’s insane. The guilt of not being able to do something spurs me further into not doing anything. All in all. The more responsible I feel, the more dissatisfied I am. And I just presume that I have to assume all responsibility.

It’s a vicious circle. I need to feel less guilty and find more control on my time if I want to do anything worthwhile.

India Needs better Foreign Relations!

I have not done an objective analysis about this but from anecdotal evidences, I have come to conclude that the foreign relations policies are not paying well for India. Our diplomacy is stale and archaic and is not changing with the pace that the changing world relations demand. We are unsure of what our place in the world is and what is our vision for it.

Something needs to be done about that.

New Life

As I descend into the 31st year of my life, I have decided to change my professional track. So, I stopped walking on the career line I was following till now and will make a big jump into the wilderness and land of unknown paths called “Entrepreneurship”. Where will I go from there is unknown but one thing is for sure, I wont be coming back to this track again.

My mom got new knees, its a new phase in her life too.

My brother is going to get an MBA, a new phase in his life too.

Too much happening. All major life altering things in a way. I am sure I will have tons of fun doing it.

Excited. Thrilled. Just a little bit scared. Anxious.

Men who don’t grow up!

There are some men who are forever trapped in the boyish mindset of the teens and find it incredibly hard to get out of that even when they grow up in age and enter a professional world. I had such an experience during a personal development workshop that I attended as a part of a training program for my company. In it, we were to do a communications exercise in a group of 4. It so happened that the 3 girls in the training were all in one group with one boy. Now, all the other guys at seeing this, started smirking, making comments on the pitiful condition of that boy in our group. One called us out and said ” Hey! Go easy on him”. Others make comments like “Dude! Hold tight!”. Now, please make a note that these people have at least 4-5 years of work experience and they are supposed to be people managers and yet the amount of professionalism that they show when it comes to dealing with females amidst them is zero. What were the three girls going to do to that boy? Eat Him? Skin him alive? Abuse him? No, in fact what the other guys were doing to him was abuse and at the same time an extremely immature and sexist act. How do you expect from people who tease a colleague for sitting with girls to be mature enough to deal with women in their team and what would their attitude be if they have female subordinates or female bosses?

An excuse can easily be made attempting to cover this behind a joke. “It was just a joke!”, I know for sure that would be the retort. But, I disagree. I believe, that to make such sexist jokes in a professional environment is wrong. You could may be make as many jokes as you like among friends but doing this in an office is uncalled for.
When the foundations of professional behavior are so shaky, how can we expect to ever get sexism removed from workplace?

This has made me realize that sometimes, a joke is not all innocent and we need to point out to such events where college/teenage distasteful and uncomfortable humor, specially regarding females, is carried on into offices and propagated. It creates a sexist and unhealthy work environment.

What’s most surprising and disappointing is that no one pointed this out, everyone either participated in it or shut up, me included. What that indicates is the unapproachability of senior people within companies and openness for suggestions.

But I wanted to highlight this incidence, if only to release my anger.

Yes Please – Amy Poehler

Just finished reading this book by Amy Poehler and it looks like a half hearted attempt. Neither were the incidents entertaining nor were they funny. I am just bound to compare it with Tina Fey’s Bossypants and it was such a good book – genuine, witty and funny. This book has nothing.

I am disappointed as I like Amy’s comedy but the book just does not cut it.