A Moment of Self-Reflection After Kathua and Unnao

The Kathua and Unnao rape cases have cast light on the way women are treated in India. Only 5-6% of the rape cases are reported in India, and those who do report it have to face humiliation and harassment from those in power. However it is not the crime itself that stops women from reporting it to the police.

It’s the consequences which are placed on the victims shoulders- character assault, and lack of empathy towards these crimes by the policemen themselves.

As we saw in the case of Unnao, police officers refused to file an FIR against the BJP MLA who had been accused of the heinous rape of a 17 year old girl. He later gave an interview, where he tried to imply that he was being falsely implicated, despite there being evidence that he had actually committed the crime.

Soon after the details of this horrific case came out, another rape case made the headlines- that of 8 year old Asifa Bano. Asia was a simple nomadic girl from a Muslim Tribe protected in Jammu and Kashmir’s Constitution. She was merely grazing horses on 10th January, when a man kidnapped her and held her in a temple. Soon thereafter, many more men came and drugged her. After days of torture, she was killed by two stones to the head. Their motive? They wanted to drive out the nomadic community she was from because of a land dispute.

What should have swift justice ensured to Asifa’s family was stopped by giving the crime a communal twist. After all, there were 8 Hindu men who had been arrested after an investigation which Hindu nationalists claim, was biased. Biased, because they were conducted by Muslim men.

In the fray of the protests organised by Jammu Bar Association against filing the chargesheet, Asifa has been forgotten. A senseless protest was attended by members of the ruling Party. Followed by the silence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, outrage began to reach it’s heights, and then more protests across India were planned.

Soon, after pressure, the BJP ministers who attended the protest resigned. Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke his silence in a conference where he inaugurated a statue of Dr. BR Ambedkar- a staunch supporter of minority rights. The same minority rights were denied to the Bakkarwals, the 60,000 strong community which saw Asifa Bano being raped.

On Sunday, 15th April, I attended a protest in support of Asifa and the woman who was raped in Unnao. The protest raised many demands, although some were dreams at best.

The Women and Children minister also tweeted about the death penalty, until I realised that it wasn’t going to help.

Sentencing rapists isn’t our problem. Convicting them, and making sure that these rapes are even reported to the police is our problem.

Most rapes in India are not even reported, and the ones that do report this crime have to wait for years and years to get justice, if at all there is any.

But there is little that the court can do if it is the police officers who themselves are not willing to lodge a First Incidence Report or FIR.

What then, does a person have the choice to do, other than to try and take her own life, as we saw in the case of Unnao. The problem is that people in power have had too much much to do, and too little to care.

They have used their position to inflict fear into the minds of the people.

And in Kathua, those who were in positions in the government and those who were members of the ruling party were quick to organise a protest to stop the chargesheet from being filed.

The politics did not fail to disgust any of us, and the BJP faced the voices of thousands of angry citizens who were demanding to just see some morality in what the ruling party’s representatives do. Supporting rapists, of course was never morally correct.

But with the way things are going, it seems as if there is no right or wrong. There is only the left, the right, and the centre.

 

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Trudeau and India

Canada is a peaceful nation which prides itself on accepting many Sikh migrants from India.

On the surface, this seems like a very good policy to have- include everyone, and anyone.

However, the effects of such a policy have strained the relations between Canada and India. India does not support the Khalistan Movement- because it enriches on the sovereign characteristic of our country’s territory.

However, Canada is full of such people who do support the Khalistan movement. Some of them, are also in Ministerial Positions. Canada’s stand has always been that of supporting India, however, the actions and words of a few people from the Canadian Government has often been at an opposition.

India has been wary of this.

This is why there was such a huge cry about how the Prime Minister of India did not extend the same courtesy of a hug at the airport to Justin Trudeau, unlike some of the other greetings he has given to other leaders.

The fact is that Trudeau is in a conflicting position- please the people back at home, or please India.

The solution for India was simple- follow simple diplomatic protocol.

The solution for Canada?

Simple: Go along with it.

Trudeau is stuck, and the sticky gum is going to take over if he doesn’t address this problem soon. The Khalistan Movement receives a lot of donations from people in Canada. One way to show something to India is to crack down hard on these people.

The other solution is simple as well- let this simmer down, and continue preaching peace.

 

Sean Spicer And His Spicy Six Months In The White House

 

And it is official, ladies and gentlemen. Sean Spicer has resigned.

Kudos to those who called it, and surprise for those who woke up in the morning to find that the White House Press Secretary resigned.

Sean Spicer, who found himself in a lot of news for the past six months, finally decided to resign when Donald Trump decided to make Anthony Scaramucci the White House Communications Director.

Sean Spicer had argued against the decision several times, according to leaks. However, instead of taking a step back and reconsidering his decision, Trump went forward and appointed Scaramucci as his communications director.

 

Long story short, Sean was not amused. So he resigned, bringing his spicy six months in the office to an end.

 

The foremost reason for his resignation in my opinion would be the fact he was not on the right page with the rest of the administration.

It has been exemplified by some events in the past.

The main reason Trump hired Sean Spicer on the advice of Reince Priebus, the Chief of Staff. Otherwise, Trump notes, he wouldn’t have even hired Spicer.

Spicer’s Six spicy months in the office have proven to take a toll on how the Trump administration has been perceived by the general public. After all, the Press Secretary is supposed to answer the media on behalf of the President.

He made insensitive remarks about the Holocaust, told a reporter to stop shaking her head, attacked the media for accurately reporting the inauguration crowd, wrongly used a PEW study to support Trump’s claim about non-citizen voting, said that the President called immigration action a ‘ban’ because of the media, and also used a salad dressing analogy to defend the White House.

And it were these remarks that drew laughs, tears of frustration, and certain ‘forehead smacking’ moments from the American public.

Each of the mentioned remarks by Spicer were completely ridiculous and nonsensical. Each of them refused to take proven historical facts, statistics, and raw data into account. Each of those statements ignored everything wrong with the Trump administration and attacked the media on the role they were supposed to play in the first place.

It’s not Trump, however, who has to breathe a sigh of relief as this only complicates the situation further.

Sean Spicer has distanced himself from the sinking administration. Now, Trump must try to convince the public that the members of the White House are on the right page (which, by Spicer’s resignation, has been proven false). And since Scaramucci and Preibus aren’t exactly best buddies, this situation has only just started. It shows signs of getting worse. Since Trump has taken charge, there have been eight instances where it is obvious that his own people disagree sometimes with the President, or have resigned or been fired.

The most notable example of such a discrepancy between members is that of the firing of Preet Bharara who had been promised his job by the President. The other 46 attorneys had quietly resigned.

Previously, Sally Yates had been fired by Trump for not supporting Trump on his travel ban, and she had also drawn much attention to the confused then NSA, Michael Flynn.

And now, Sean Spicer.

This is just proof that the Trump administration is confused. Rather than making laws and ensuring welfare, they seem to be protecting themselves in this plethora of controversies.

Well, at least Sean Spicer didn’t stick around in this sinking ship.

 

 

 

The Role of Women in Films

 

A few months ago, I was seeing a film, which involved a guy chasing a girl (sometimes literally) and asking her for her number, address, and what not. The girl keeps on saying no, and focuses on her studies like the normal human she is. But the boy doesn’t give up. Skipping the pleasantries, the boy and the girl, in the end, get married.

Now, these films do not show the reality of life, as many of you know.

In reality, situations like these hardly ever end well.

Instead of getting married to the boy, the girl has acid thrown on her face for refusing to get married to a certified creep. Instead of leading a happy life, the girl is sold off by her parents for money.

These kind of films do promote a certain level of objectification. They teach people that it’s okay to stare at and pursue a woman endlessly if she’s dressed in shorts and crop tops (like anyone who is normal); it’s okay to randomly stalk and click pictures of a girl even if she has said ‘NO’ many times.

But it’s not. It is not a joke, and it does not end happily.

I see interviews of many film stars, and they always talk about bringing some kind of revolution to the table. But what kind of a revolution do these stars want? Do they want a revolution against women? Or for women?

Many directors and producers claim their films to be ‘real, authentic, and in keeping with reality.’ But it’s not reality to say that women are comfortable with this kind of staring.

Even in songs, the women are dressed in skimpy dresses and dance of in front of a group of men who ‘order’ her to dance. And they’re portrayed as happy. But why are they happy about being objectified?

Here, we arrive at the role of women in films.

Is the role of women only ‘dancing’ to songs which talk about their body? Is the role of women to bend to the will of men? More importantly, if the role of women is that important in these films, is it okay to subject women to objectification?

First, it’s not the films which need a revolution. It is merely the role of women. Bring me a plot where the boy stalks the girl, but instead of falling in love, the girl makes a stand for herself. Make it a thriller, or make it a horror, but don’t subject the actors who are acting to a weak character like that.

Second, there isn’t a revolution needed for singers, but there’s a revolution needed for the kind of songs they write. The kind of songs I hear are truly GHASTLY. They are so vulgar and so demeaning that it is hard to imagine how one could have written a song about the weight of a girl. Not only are you saying that girls who weigh less are more pretty, but you are also objectifying her and her body.

Third, actresses themselves must put a foot down and think about all the young children who will watch and probably learn from the films about what they are and what they are not supposed to do in an uncomfortable situation.

Fourth, if the film industry is unable to move past its obsession with skimpily dressed girls and violent men with absolutely no morals, then maybe there is a need for a revolution where we start producing contemporary films which show the stark reality that many filmmakers refuse to acknowledge.

As a milennial, it’s never okay for me to see these things going on and to see women not getting their due respect. It’s not okay to see that women are being objectified and their roles are being defined by some people who do not even understand the basic struggles of women.

So, till women get their rightful place in the world, I will not stop writing about the daily issues that concern them, and their basic rights which are still being denied to them.