Decriminalising of Section 309 of IPC by the Modi Government

I read this post this morning and am sirprised how out of touch I had been and at the same time happy to know that the government has taken a step towards improving the condition of human lives by abolishing the outdated Section 309 of the IPC, for I do regard this as a step to improve life conditions.

I had written about the concept of auto destruct in 2009, pointing out that even computer proograms without a mind of their own or the capacity to discern between right or wrong are endowed with the choice regarding their life cycle.

A program can be programmed to auto destruct with the possibility of imminent danger, or to prevent loss or when its job is done (example the message for Tom Cruise in the movie Mission Impossible – you remember the sunglasses he was delivered on a helicopter atop the cliff? I mention this as it is interesting and contemporary and most people have seen this and it is easy to understand rather than a scholarly article about the idea).

I appreciate this move on the part of the government, it is sensible especially in a country like India with a long history about such ideas existing in its religious and sacred documents.

I continued to read and found that a lot of people think “icchyamrityu” and suicide are somehow different. Well it is not but the implication of such a death would differ depending on who is doing it and why and in what circumstances.

However, irrespective of all such considerations I sincerely believe and think, with all the power I have of thought and judgement, as an adult responsible for my life and having enjoyed it best as I can so far, (until danger befell me and my life changed) I can muster that every single person should have a choice regarding the most precious possession they have.

What people choose to do with their lives should be indeed their choice.

Our won lives and our deaths, the manner we choose to die, the time of it, the circumstances of it, we should be free to choose in a free country and I appreciate that we may not have to leave it to chance the most important aspect of our life cycles.

By reneging this control over its human resource, this government has indeed shown courage and set a good example of good thinking and good governance at least in one area of our collective existence.

And now if they can also invest a little bit in the construction of social infra structures to ensure the safety and security of the lives and property of single women in India that are otherwise not a liability on the community in any manner financial or otherwise, that would be great. Thank you. I am glad.

Fear of the Singles 2

I was relooking at all factors with regard to the single women’s help group I wanted to start to support single women in India live a decent life – to empower and scaffold them socially, when they want to pursue their dreams. When I suddenly realized it is not just women, society seems to feel threatened by Singledom itself, as a rule. Even men are not exactly that comfortable, although,  compared to women they get along better.

But when it comes to adoption rights, finding a good place to live in, especially in India, it nearly is the same for both men and women: society is suspicious of single people.

Why do they stay single?

Snippets from ten people I interviewed here in India and abroad.

W1 (Gujarat India): I was the only child. My parents were only children too, so there never was an extended family I could look to. So, when my parents died, and I still hadn’t found a suitable match for me, I  ended up being alone.

W2 (Kolkata, India): Well, I do not consider me ‘alone’ although yes, I am single. I loved someone, we had a relationship too, only when he went away abroad, it came apart. I could not leave my career behind. I find it difficult to accept anyone else in his place… so…

W3 (USA): I became single and alone when my husband died of a car crash a few years ago. I have a small son to take care of. I will marry if the right one comes along.

W4 (India) : I do not know why am single. (Pause) Maybe because I am dark and fat they never could find a match for me? No, that is a joke. I did not like the men they chose for me. So, I decided to stay single. I know what I want, I love my job, my friends like me, I am happy to be travelling and living on my own terms. I feel powerful (smiles).

W5(Mumbai , India): O I love what I do. I have men friends. I do not feel the need to marry but yes, it would be such a help if someone took care of some things in my life (laughs) – but unless they get something out of it – why will they?

W6 (Pune, India): I didn’t marry so I could take care of my parents. Yes, I do feel lonely,but I do not mind being single. I enjoy my nephews nad nieces and do not miss not having children of my own. As you cna see our business is thriving and am happily single (smiles).

W7 (Gujarat, India): O I had been in an arrnged marriage, he was in a relationship that his family did not approve of so when he confessed we agreed to a mutual divorce nd parted amicbaly. I have been single since then, I am happy the way I am, I do not complain except the singleness does bring in bouts of loneliness, especially when people around you are planning holidays during festive season. If I do find someone that understands me, can be a friend – would marry but otherwise I would rather not. yes, social support would be welcome.

W8 (India): yes, fear of the singles is real. Everytime in a praty I ms smiling or enjoying a hearty conversation with a man friend, I cna sense his wife tensing up. Yes, they even go to the extent of trying to malign you behind your bcak nad spread ugly tales. These are unhappy insecure women. But I have also met wonderful grcaious ldies that have welcomed me into their family circles. I enjoy being the way I am. I do not wish to have children.

W9 (India): I cannot conceive, so I decided not to marry. I like being single. It gives me a chance to do more with my life than if I had to schedule it according to the routine of another few lives (husband, children, in-laws etc). But yes, I have faced problems because of being single, and yes, a support group that helps me with buying selling of property, does not try to take advantage because I am a woman, would be good.

W10 (UK): O I like being single. I am not averse to marriage. But it didn’t happen. I go about life living it till it happens (laughs). In the UK, it isn’t really the system that hurts, no one minds singles – unless you happen to be close to the husband of a married woman that is not too sure of herself. I love my job as corporate trainer, and I travel all the time, so I hardly miss not having a mate as such. Yes, people do make a pass ta you if they know you are single. But it isn’t like it is in India. There is a certain system in place that is designed toprotect the interest of a single woman.

What is significant here is, none of these women are complaining – they definitely are not unhappy. They are perfectly fine being who they are.

Is Single a problem in your culture or country? Gender is a problem, right? Sex of a human too I guess?  Why –  in what sort of spaces in your country?  In what ways do being single, one’s sex, one’s gender become a problem?

Obviously biodesign of humans suggests we were meant to exist in a set of double. But isn’t there some kind ofexistential intelligence that says that humans are allowed to CHOOSE.

Why does society feel threatened by its singles?

Tell me how single people are thought of and treated in your culture. Tell me how single people live in your culture. What are the myths associated with singledom?

Are they looked upon with pity? O, poor thing, not taken! Something must be seriously wrong?

I would like to read literature from around the world about the lives of single people – men or women, especially of course, women.

Yet, the most important question that bothers me is why the fear of the singles?

Currently in my effort to understand the nature of bias and discrimination, I am reading a book called Equal Opportunities and Diversity written by Barbara Bagilhole.

Recommendations on not so pedantic, but thorough studies exploring ‘bias’ generally, and then with regard to the impossible Indian Gender Divide would be welcome 🙂

If there is none, I would be glad to have a collaborator to go on with this.

Before I end this, I would like to share an interesting observation I made while using my toaster this morning. Every single device that has been invented to make life easier in the home and the kitchen happened in the West. Whether it is the washer, grinder, the crusher, the sewing machine or the grill or even the hand held batter beater, it was all done by men in the West.

I guess this itself indicates some level of concern and affection for the woman in that region. There is not a single kitchen device except perhaps the roti maker that India invented. I do feel sad when I think of what this means really.

The West I think is still the best place where individual’s rights and welfare is concerned. We are still far behind. I am so sorry about that.

So I thought it makes better sense to have a SPEG* instead of a SWEG, (*Single Person’s Empowerment Group). That way men and women can together work towards bettering their lives, ensure respect for choices they make as individuals and dignity in their lives. They become stakeholders together in this thing if I look at SPEG as an idea. What is becoming a quest for me now is exploring this strange inexplicable fear of the singles in nearly every society, apparently every culture.

But then my contact with other cultures is through the written word. The internet, I realize can become this wonderful space to share views, exchange facts and information. Do share your view here, if you care🙂

* The links would open in a separate window, so you can continue to read the post plus peruse the articles linked here.

PN : “of the 57 million American women 45 and up, nearly half—25 million—are unmarried (outnumbering entire populations of countries such as North Korea, Taiwan, and Australia)

PN: “Although 92 percent have a network of friends and family that they can rely on, particularly in a time of crisis, many worry about what might happen to them as they age If they were alone”

PN: Published in India, written in the West,  “Latest news, breaking news – Single women prefer dogs to men.”

PN: “A growing number of single women are interested in having a baby through artificial insemination, but are still banned from doing so, according to Chinese”

PN:  “14 Jul 2009 We received reports from various states that single women were not recognized as an independent household. Women also suffer…”

PN:  “A global network of single women reveling in life’s magic and feeling truly fulfilled – She started this blog to combat the treatment of singles as second-class citizens. Single-headed homes now tip the scales at 50.3% of the population”

Good useful blog for Singles (American):

Another one:

If you care deeply about discrimination based on gender and the marital status of people, if you wish to see the world become a little less acrimonious then do get in touch.

Help me find out more, by naming books, studies, journals that can be accessed online, if you know of organizations that are doing commendable work to reduce stress in single people’s lives, you might send me their link or help me connect to them perhaps? You could use this email: triisha6@gmail dot com

Audacious Thinking

“Let us Teach them to be Audacious” Kiranbir Sethi

Why we teach our children to be audacious thinkers? Because a look at human history reveals how it has always been the outrageously audacious thinking that made all the difference.

Gandhi, who believed he could topple, defeat the most powerful empire with the power of persuasion and love! They overpowered the Mighty British forcing them  to retreat with just what?  Words and the  power of non-violent resistence.

Look at the audacity of thought and determination and faith in the idea, a legacy that the whole world recognized as valuable and worth preserving.

What about that first explorer that defied resistance of conventional knowledge, audaciously set off to find the Indies,  discovered the shores of the America?

Or that man who decided to wipe off six million people just because he thought he was right? The population of the neighbouring country Bhutan is about a million…so effectively, this man kills the Bhutanese population six times over, so to speak… offsetting massive,  lasting changes in the political, social, economic history of the world as we know today.

Then this man that had been telling everyone that would listen how plants breathe, have life of their won – and how people laughed from the inside of their jail-celled  existence. Bose.

And this other one told the world, “O but it is all relative, depends on where you stand”, sweeping whole philosophies onto a different course altogether.  Einstein.

The Bard of England showed the world what it meant to have grammar serve hands and foot at your service, turning every idea of right or wrong about language use on its head. It is a tool, for God’s sake, make it serve art and stop being a slave to Rules, Shakespeare  seemed to say with his writings.

We realize that Robinson Crusoe and numerous others that may be called survivors in the true sense, all learned to live audaciously, thinking in ways that nobody dared, is why they lived in the end.

Creative thinking is at the root of all successful problem solving strategies.

Every single idea that rocked the world, whether in good or bad ways, was audacious, outrageous aspirations of the human capacity to think beyond – imaginatively reach out over the lines and boundaries of convention, established norms.

It makes good sense to rewrite curriculum after all that India has experienced in the past two decades and change teaching learning focus. I am glad we are doing it finally. We are awake and responding to changes in the world around us.

This post is a celebration of the difficult and exciting journey we have embarked upon.

Hope we do the best by our children, that they are less helpless, more empowered,  by the time they step into the world of adults.

Post Script: On the eve of launching into the Give India Design Thinking Contest, the children were at a circle time closing loop with their campaign plan. Ideas of Giving flew back and forth. Suddenly, Simran, spit out, “O but giving this and giving that and what we do not use is so cliched, why can’t we think beyond? Giving can be other ways too, if we do something like teaching or…Let us think of an audacious idea of giving!”

Coming from a Grade 9 child… it is working already!

Donald Trump, Ms California Carrie Prejean and her comments on Gay Marriage

Trump says Miss California USA can retain crown By Marcus Franklin, AP, Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Now then, why did she win in the first place? What was the contest about, the one in which Ms Prejean won a crown at? From the furrore at first I thought must have been a contest about upholding social values, rational thought and great minds… it was just a beauty pageant for God’s sake not a contest for the Booker Prize or a Magsaysay! So what the hell?!

Seriously, though, let us see why she won that crown in the first place. She won it for physical beauty: sex appeal, and a nice face and figure (or at least a physical form, a shape, colour, texture, weight etc that according to some people, most people might think to be appealing and therefore can be used to sell products or campaign for causes or whatever).

Who deserves the crown? She does. Along with her though, her creators do too,  by which I mean both God and her biological parents, and then her creators would the ones that gave her the look and her dresses – make up artists, dress designers, her mentors… and perhaps the JUDGES,  who gave her a chance, they might have chosen not to … there are hundreds of thousands of pretty faces out there after all.

So when you take away her crown do you realize it is not just she who loses it, it is all of you who made it possible in the first place – in terms of the idea behind, the process,the method, the entire system.

Ms Prejean did not create the system, she didn’t ask to be photographed in the nude, she would not be the one to enjoy her own nude photos, she doesn’t have an investment in the industry, she was just fortunately born with a body and a face that make people want to see her in the nude. Period.

So why should she lose her crown?

She wasn’t competing for the Nobel or the Pulitzer – it is just a Beauty contest the very premise of it is far from anything intellectual – the very premise of that is sex appeal, the body, the body, the body and nothing else at all.

So if she has been naturally endowed with one that is considered d3esirable, why can’t she use that as she pleases? Why can’t she show off – ALL of it if it doesn’t bother HER sense of propriety?

She feeds it, clothes it, takes care of it, works hard to keep it in shape, she wins a prize for showing glimpses of it to the world and she can’t show ALL of it if it pleases her or if it brings her some money?

Why? Because we decided to sell her – we are the powerful corporate with the guns and the money and therefore exclusive rights?

It is absolutely funny that this controversy should be happening in the West where it is OK to kiss in the streets, lie naked on the beach, hold hands in public. And to think we look up to them for being progressive! And rational and sensible and individual’s right conscious.

I think this is pretentious and absurd.

If anyone should lose that crown it should be the people who created the Pageant in the first place, people who designed sophisticated ways of dealing in the human flesh, playing God in other people’s lives, exploiting beautiful women in the name of giving them something.

Double standards are hateful. Lack of respect for her is abominable.

…it had launched a new advertisement against gay marriage featuring footage of her at the pageant. The ad also features video of Hilton referring to Prejean with a profanity.

So who is taking advantage of whom? Who is right here and who is wrong – is it so hard to see? Is Ms Prejean responsible how other people use what she holds to be her private view?

Ms Prejean is entitled to her views whether you like it or not, she didn’t contest for the sagacity of her views regarding social norms. If she THINKS Gay marriage is something she doesn’t approve of – so be it. What bloody hell does it matter? I support Gay marriage. So there is someone who does, therefore it is ok if another one doesn’t – why put her on the stake ? She is too young, under exposed to the realities of life at her age anyway to know what is what. The young lady is only twenty something!!!

Trump should stay firm and not give in to dogmatic pressure and persecution of the poor girl. If she had violated clauses in her contract which says after win she can’t do certain things, then at least there would have been a case. But even then letting someone feel she is beautiful, having her show herself to win the prize and then telling her she can only show this much is hypocrisy.

As long as she isn’t harming anyone, stealing, cheating, being adulterous (even then it is still her choice, her body, her life, her responsibility) or a bigot, she has the right to her title and her hard earned crown. The US is not India so let US be the US and not turn retro. Please.

If we are really so concerned about “highest ethical and moral standards” we should not be having such pageants in the first place. 1) It undermines the importance of one’s mind, celebrates the flesh. 2) In effect such pageant says, all those of you other women out there, you are not beautiful by these standards, you should ASPIRE to be like THIS! O yes,  the subversive message is precisely that.

Women are beautiful, sexually desirable to men and women, and equally importantly conscious of their own sexual beings – it is ok if she decides to be her self at all times.  As good citizens that love our fellow beings, we need to learn to respect and revere that.

Pic sourced from the site that is linked here.

The greatest gift a Teacher can give and an American Paradoxical situation

Teacher at Capistrano Valley High School. A federal judge ruled recently that (Jim) Corbett violated the First Amendment’s establishment clause by disparaging Creationism.

Over 2,000 years ago Socrates faced a court for refusing to recognize the gods acknowledged by the state, importing strange divinities and corrupting the young. The judges sent Socrates to his death. He accepted the sentence of the court and committed suicide by drinking a cup of hemlock…

Challenging myths is dangerous, but it is the essence of getting students to think for themselves. The Athenian judges, like some parents today, would have students accept myth without question, because myth is the foundation of their parental, political and/or religious authority…

Questioning may make students and parents uncomfortable, but students have a right to think for themselves. It is not “bullying” to demand that students think….

Ms. Farnan also objected to my challenge of another national myth, that the United States was founded as a “Christian” nation. There is some truth to that notion, but embracing that myth and excluding other views can be used to unfairly gain political advantage….

There is no greater gift teachers can give to students than to teach them to think. Don’t sue them for it. Try taking them to the Pyrataneum for dinner, conversation and a cup of coffee, no hemlock.

It is amazing and frightening that this controversy is happening in America!

What does this attitude of citizens reflect upon who we are as people, as responsible adults?

Why do we need to make an issue out of this without paying heed to or respecting what the Teacher is saying about what he did, meant to do or not do? By continuing with the Law suit are we not showing disregard for the defendant’s statement?

Are we not setting fear in the heart of weaker teachers? As it is teachers are these days scared the world over, underpaid, and repressed. Would this incident not further harm the Teacher’s position in society?

What good are we doing to our children with this REALLY? If we really cared about our children, would we threaten and insult his Teachers?!!!

an unfinished song

The strains of “Subah, Subah, yeh kya hua…” played in a loop inside her head. She smiled. The cool early morning air felt good. She lifted her arms and flexed her wings. She spread them wide letting the wind play with them. Her eyes watched the black vees floating calmly against the azure blue sky. She kicked off on her course.

Sumit stood speechless while she held the baby…baby didn’t register yet. He watched her: Aditi…that is Aditi. …my Aditi. Is that her? The afternoon sun burned a part of her face as she sat with eyes downcast, tired hands weakly holding on to a piece of knitting. Her hair shone like a halo around her face where the sun caught the silver of her loose curls. So very, very beautiful – still. His breath caught in his chest. He had never wanted a child. It had been her wish.

Clutching at his left side he eased himself into an old cane chair across from her. She looked up then. He followed her eyes to the front gate. It swung open as the thin, wasted form of a young man walked in without turning to put the clasp back on.

The sight of the slightly built young man with a shock of black rumpled hair stirred a vision in his mind – of an excited man rushing, half carrying, half pulling a frail young woman hugging a bundle of swaddle and smiling, all the way to the house. Almost the age of this young man that walked into their strange life right now.

Strange life, because he could still not fathom it. This morning they had had a child. At six thirty p.m. they are here with a little mud pot sitting in a corner near the staircase, somewhere inside the empty house, holding the ashes of a child.

“Did you call him?” Aditi turned her eyes in his direction. “Have you?” She seemed to have forgotten why she had turned to look at him. She looked away abruptly, as if he hadn’t spoken. The curtain in a door behind them fluttered slightly. He raised himself and very slowly walked indoors stopping by a door that looked into a lovely little room. Lyric had been like her mother. There has always been so much rhythm in her. Everything about her space – from the little potted gardenia on the windowsill to the Japanese painting of a monastery standing on top of a hill to the shiny Tanpura and all her belongings arranged on the white marble floor in the way she liked was proof – of how much in love she had been, with her life.

There was a seat arranged near the window so Anurag could sit there and watch the changing colours of the sky while she did her riyaz. It rang in his head, her clear young voice caressing the sombre notes of Purvi as she released them one by one into the air like little pet birds. So much love!

These two had been inseparable from their childhood days: fatherless Anurag and Lyric. He sat on the floor now with his head resting on the bed that had been hers. The letter lay at his feet. There was a little breeze and it caught the piece of paper which floated up at him. Sumit reached out for it and started to read, for the hundredth time, for he just could not think of a way to deal with this yet. How could he have not known? Or seen? How could they have all done this together? And why could she not talk about this?

No, that she could not. He realized that at least. Talking wasn’t going to make a difference. This would take action and that is what she has done!

“It is love: yours and mine. I like Shamik. I hope he and you are both happy together. Papa taught you and me to respect choices people made. I hope you would respect mine. This isn’t about anger or sorrow or like the man on the street might call it – frustration.

I loved you as the man in my life, you loved me like your favourite tee-shirt, I guess. You wore me – to shield yourself from harsh weather, of hatred and fear and doubts and suspicion directed at your love.

This is my way of asserting my rights – not giving in to a life that needs be bound by choices other people make in the name of protecting us from ourselves, so that you and I, Anu, cannot make ours.

I exercised my choice rather than live a life as prisoner of a homophobic society’s misguided whims. I chose to be free. Will you please, always, remember this about your wife, Anurag?”

Sumit and Aditi had met at a concert. His lyrics and his music had drawn Aditi into his life and one day Lyric was born out of music they had created together in their life. Their child had been born of a song, and had lived like a song, lovely while it played, lovelier in its cadence heard in thought in the silence after it was sung. Only, Anurag sat there like a question mark, like the incomplete arc of an unfinished song, that Sumit could not yet hope to right.

Why Does Dumbledore Never ‘Deal’ with Severus Snape?

Well, everyone is aware, at Hogwarts, that Severus Snape, the great Potions Master is less than fair to Harry Potter and goes out of his way to penalize him and Griffindor every possible chance he gets.

He is ‘harsh’ taskmaster by Hogwarts standards. He seldom smiles or makes any effort at being friends with his class. He flaunts his dislike for some students openly, brazenly in fact. He is quick to suspect Potter of unlikely crimes.

He is hardly cordial even with his colleagues, some of whom have been his class mates. Dumbledore has been his Teacher. And yet…

McGonagal or Dumbledore doesn’t come running to rescue a student every time they are detained or snubbed. Other teachers are never caught running rabid whispering campaigns behind Snape’s back, although it might have been easy to do so – had the culture prevailed at Hogwarts, which DOESN’T seem to be the case!

The fact that he is undoubtedly one of the best Potions Master and does his best for his class seems to be enough consideration for his colleagues to leave him alone, even respect his decisions, even when they sense it might be biased – everyone is extremely courteous and careful to not start in-fighting among Teachers.

On the other hand let’s consider student behaviour : we do not find Malfoy running to his father with complaints about McGongal or Dumbledore quite as often as we would have expected. Although, he does manage to get Hagrid in serious trouble. Here again, funny thing happens. Dumbledore and Potter and company somehow manage to get him out of that scrape….

Or Griffindors running to their house mistress or the Principal, at any point of time – complaining about any of the other teachers.  Dumbledor does receive letters and even howlers from influential Wizard Parents, but the children are NEVER EVER allowed to get embroiled in any of that.

Does Hogwarts NOT LOVE its children then???

Now, my question is -is this – are these hall marks of a great institution then? What does it teach us – if at all – about “good” leadership in a school? What does it teach us about peer behaviour? About good governance at a citadel of learning?

What would have happened to Snape or Dumbledore or Lupin or MadEye Moody – had this been an Indian school for the noveau-riche?

What would have been Harry’s education like in an Indian school, with a history like he has? Would he still have had so much extra trouble as he did at Hogwarts – teachers pushing him extra hard nearly all the time – the good teachers, for his own good and safety, the malicious ones to get him down as much as was possible within the sanctimonious Teacher-Student relationship?

Those who do not know the story do excuse me. Those who do, what would you say?