I’m finding it increasingly difficult to blog these days, mostly because of work. The next few months are a major new phase in my life, and I’m exhausted with preparations, study and travel plans. I don’t know when I will next find it me to express something worthwhile, but here is a piece from the Onion that made me smile, and hopefully will make you too.
A guest post by CNG
Mallika Sherawat has been in the news for calling India a ‘regressive’ and ‘depressing’ place for women, in an interview with Variety magazine at Cannes. The Bollywood fraternity, predictably, has wasted no time ‘slamming’ her for it , in newsspeak. CNG, a friend of mine and the author of this post, rises to defend her- sort of.
In Defense of Mallika
So many big changes this week.
I’m not great with changes. I hate change, always, instinctively. Even if it turns out to be a *good thing* eventually, I ALWAYS start out resenting the upsetting of the status quo.
Dear Ladies of AP
It with great sorrow that I write to you. It pains me to hear of your behaviour, which has forced your kind and benevolent government to step in and take measures, which I’m sure you’ll agree , are for your own good.
Thanks to your fondness for the tipple, you will now have to leave pubs,clubs, and bars a whole hour before men do. And rightly so.
In a region with big, big problems like separatist demands, communal tensions, terrorism, and even Naxalism, shame on you for drinking so much and diverting the attention and resources of the authorities.They will now have to spend time, money and energy on making sure you do not drink after 10 pm.
In the rest of the country, and the world in general, MEN account for the majority of drink-related offences. Your police force, and your government, on the other hand,apparently have statistics to prove that in Andhra, drunken women are the bigger law and order problem! Just how wild are you girls?!
I sincerely hope you ladies will mend your ways, and behave in a manner that will not tarnish the image of Indian women. As you know quite well, the honour of your families, your state, and your country are all in your hands. Hands which were meant for cooking, doing pooja, bathing children and pressing the feet of elders. Hands which are today holding bottles, shot glasses and all manner of stemware! Oh , the shame!
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Islamophobic backlash is just beginning.
I came across an interesting article in this context.The author makes three points- (in case you’re thinking TL,DR):
1. There exists a ‘positive feedback loop’ between anti-western/anti-islam ideologies
2. Moderate Muslims should do their bit by speaking out and condemning radical Islam, as currently, outrage seems to be directed selectively against ‘injustices’ -like offensive cartoons/movies
3. The West should also actively abandon an Islamophobic attitude to further weaken the loop.
While I completely agree with the article in its entirety, I think the realisation of the writer’s second point will be extremely difficult-
First, because the ‘moderates’ and the ‘extremists’ are two distinct groups. Extremists are far more ‘visible’ because they actively participate in acts of dissent. Moderates are ordinary folks going about their daily lives-presumably the kind who have better things to do than to stage defensive protests. They are far more likely to register their disapproval in less visible ways- in articles, in conversations, perhaps even on social media- which makes their collective voice much more harder to discern. That is why you will see protests against cartoons- but none against fatwas.
The narrative of the ‘moderate Muslim condemning the radical Muslim’ is unfortunately inconspicuous in major media because of it’s dissipated, unorganised, individual nature. Discounting it’s very existence however, is wrong.
Second, the dissemination of radical ideology is probably spreading at a rate faster than the moderates can keep it in check. The reason for this is numbingly simple- the ‘radicals’ have Wahhabi backers and limitless sources of funding, while the moderates do not. Moderate imams, mosques and madrassas are actively being ‘recruited’ into the cause of extremists using petrodollars. Take this for example. Or this. Of course you can hope that nobody buys into their brand of Islam, but the truth is that there are enough disenchanted souls who will be seduced by this increasingly pervasive rhetoric.
In the end, it boils down to simple, cynical truths- money matters. So does PR. At present ‘moderate’ Muslims- despite their best intentions- do not possess the former, and aren’t organised enough to meaningfully consider the latter.
And that’s why the third point becomes all the more important. Although the author meant for it to apply to government policy, it is literally the only thing we can do as individuals-ease up on the hard feelings.
As I write this, the law enforcement authorities in Boston are continuing the hunt for “White Hat”, the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings.
I’ve never said this before, but I have a sibling who lives in the Greater Boston area. She lives very close to where the certain events took place last night/this morning- close enough to send me extremely worrying photos. She’s since been escorted out of her building by the Boston Police, but spent an hour in a state of significant worry, knowing (and seeing) that there were gunmen literally right outside where she was. Luckily, she was not alone , and luckily, the action subsequently shifted elsewhere. Luckily, at the time,( she and I ) were oblivious to the fact that these men were the terrorists of the Boston Marathon- I’m sure that would have caused more panic.She’s been in touch with me on and off. But honestly, I cannot wait for this chase to end. And this terrorist attack- in a far away city- has turned personal in an unimaginable way . It makes my stomach churn to think that these men were close enough to her that she was sure that would try to enter her building. It makes me sick to think that she spent a whole sixty minutes in fear.
I wondered about blogging about this. I wanted to vent, I guess.
When I last spoke to Amma, she mentioned the Important Function coming up next year. She also said that you had considered a ‘go daana’ (donating a cow), but had decided against it. The reason, as the purohit so kindly put it was that my marriage was a distinct possibility in either 2013 or 2014. As he further explained, one kanya daana (giving away the bride- or more literally, girl donation) is infinitely more ‘punya’ filled and thus more valuable than any old ‘go daana’.
I must say, I agree with his logic , and am pleased that you consider me as being better than a cow. I look forward to being ‘given’ away, knowing that you chose me, over a cow, to add to your bank of good karma. Truly, the magnanimousness of your comparision- bride versus bovine, is incomprehensible to a simple kanya like me.I am
* yes, like a cow.