Blood on our dance floor

Remember how Rajiv Goswami, the student who lit himself in protest of Mandal report, had moved India across the nation? There was no social media. We weren’t living in an informed age like this. But still it moved the country. A young man burning himself was more than enough to move our senses back then even if some people didn’t know what Mandal meant.

Rohit Vemula was a passionate young man too. He didn’t kill himself on the road, but silently in a hostel room. His last words were that of a man who has seen it through, that he went about writing ‘do not trouble my friends or enemies on this’.

It is unlikely that Vemula will move India like Goswami did. Because beyond the protests and our keyboard activism, many of us who stand at the top of the caste ladder, still are not sure of the larger topic – caste and the reservation – though Vemulas of our time validates it.

We are all Dathathreyas. We are all manu vaadis in that regard. And no Facebook/blog posts can take that guilt back, including this one.

The Grand Christmas Circus – 2014

Santa can’t distribute chocolates to kids to ‘convert them to Christianity’ this Christmas season. At least not in Chattisgarh. Saraswati gets to visit, and stay in the schools instead.

The ‘good’ Christian folks who have been silent and treaded on the islamophobia and voted for ‘good governance’ gets their prize this season too. A school competition on good governance and other in-school activities for their children right on the day of Christmas (which seems to have been revoked after the issue had public attention).

But that’s not all for this season (what’s the Xmas season without a grand sale, right?). Parivar shop has five lakhs for Muslims and three lakhs for Christians to convert to Hinduism on the Christmas day. But I think the people should wait a bit and see what counter offer the Christian and Muslim camps can come up with.

Christmas has come of age in India. And ‘good governance’ too.

Do we need a zoo anymore?

Much has been spoken about the Delhi zoo accident already. I think it’s unfair on the part of the media to call the animal a ‘killer’ tiger. He did what the nature has programmed him to do when he feels threatened. The victim is said to be mentally unstable, so its unfair on the so called animal lovers’ part to put the blame on him too. Those who were around were also blamed, but I think that is also unfair because you can’t expect a common man to have learned about the animal behavior and acted accordingly.

But the zoo authorities should have done something. To have somebody trained to handle such situations if something like this tragic situation happened. It seems that there was a trainer for this tiger who knew the animal inside out but he also couldn’t get to him through the crowd (I wonder there is no other entrance for the trainer to approach the tiger than through the crowd). The tiger seems to have waited for about 10 minutes I hear and that’s plenty of time to get his attention away.

On a larger perspective, its time to think about the very concept of zoo or bringing in the wild animals to common places (elephants included).

The Philip Welsh story

I read this story, ironically, in the wake of the “Look Up” YouTube campaign (yes, the same campaign that asks people to look up from their phones and get out which is being shared all over internet while people are still looking down to watch and share it). This story is in contrast to the anti-social media campaign because it talks about a man who was killed and left no electronic trace which the police says helps a lot in resolving cases these days.

What struck me though, as I came to the end of the article, is these four lines that was written by Philip Welsh which was read at his memorial service.

Please refrain from remarking
I’m in some Better Place
’cause for life on this earth,
I never had no complaints.

How beautiful. I wish I could write something like this towards the end of my life. And this alone proves that, though had a tragic death, Philip Welsh lived a full life. While we dream of a 7 star facility somewhere at top of the clouds with a white bearded man or a bunch of gold and saree clad men and women would be looking over us. Or while we fear of a large Tandoori kitech that is waiting to get us grilled.

On Jiah Khan’s suicide

Happened to read Mahesh Murthy’s comments on Jiah Khan suicide episode in Facebook and got to say that it is insensitive and ignorant in most parts. Ignorant because he writes off the accusation on Suraj Pancholi totally and insensitive because he blames the bereaved mother of Jiah for the ‘massive cover-up of her guilt’. Murthy says that he doesn’t care about either party but after reading his note, one can clearly see whose side he is on but it is unclear why.

Agreed that Suraj cannot be blamed for not wanting to marry Jiah or deciding to breakup with her. Whether he was a womanizer or not is immaterial. Even whether her suicide was a result of just a relationship breakup shouldn’t put him on trial I believe. But with the same information that is available to all of us including Murthy in the public domain (he claims that he has no other information on the case than what is already there on the public domain), he should have also read about her mother’s accusation that Jiah was physically abused and that they were living together (domestic violence, anyone?). Read that along with Jiah’s mention of Suraj wanting to abuse her or threatening to hit her. Still no conclusion there, at least not until the police finding comes out, but these are reasons for the police to question Pancholi Jr. But what does Mahesh Murthy say? Suraj was only ‘wanting to’ or ‘threatening to’. If we are to pick up words, then we should pick this up too, from Jiah’s letter – “you kicked me in the face”. Why skip that Mr. Murthy? It should also be noted that though Mr. Murthy had no qualms in finding Jiah ‘vain / foolish / crazy / vulnerable’, he doesn’t have any of those words for Suraj.

What is more outrageous is that Mahesh Murthy puts all the blame on the girl’s mother ‘for not doing her duty’, along with her friends and family for not helping her. Some individuals choose not to share what they go through in their life, even with their most loved ones. They keep it all to themselves. To frame it as irresponsibility of a parent or to accuse their friends for not being supportive in all cases is totally insensitive, particularly in a situation like this. I had a friend who was very close to me and to whom I spoke to just 3 days before he hung himself in another city but I never knew that he was going to do it. He had responsible parents and supportive friends too.

So it’s just a little early to jump to conclusions, particularly when the only information Mr. Murthy has is the information available on the public domain. Or if he is giving Suraj Pancholi a benefit of doubt or support, why not extend that to Jiah and her mother too?

Update: Suraj Pancholi admits to beating Jiah Khan

M-Pod update

M-Pod, the Malayalam podcast was temporarily down due to our old audio file host shutting down the service. It was a great experience with Podbazaar, our old host, and it is sad to see them go. As we move on our mp3 files have been now moved to Internet Archive. So the website has been updated with the new audio files. Do check out the podcast.

Audio India update

Audio India was initiated to keep a record of music bloggers from India as well as a blog that keeps track of new posts from the music blogging community. The idea behind this blog was a suggestion from a friend who asked if a blog aggregator like Desi Pundit was possible to keep track of the music blogging scene in India. I started keeping a record of music bloggers I knew and the list did grow. So I first launched a blog, hosted in Blogger, titled ‘Audio India‘. The need for additional features made me think about a standalone website for this directory sort of a blog. So a new domain and space were purchased and a wordpress based website came to life. The new website has a rating system that the site visitors can use to rate the renditions, discussion forums, a song request feature where the users can request a music blogger to sing a song of their choice plus tips & tutorials on recording. The new site also has the ability for music bloggers to publish to this community blog by themselves. The idea was to help the community drive itself without my manual intervention.

Off late, the interest in music blogging seems to have come down with the advantage of Facebook, and wide spread online music communities like Sound Cloud. The number of music posts have reduced and the site has been inactive for a long period of time. In this situation, it doesn’t seem justifiable to invest in a website that is not being used (just to add that the site was never commercial and there was not even AdSense advts). So I have moved some of the relevant content from Audio India to my blog, which you can access from the top link bar. The link ‘ Audio India’ at the top right of this page would take you to a list of music bloggers that I have been updating from the early years. Just to tell the world that we once had this many music bloggers. 🙂 The other link is ‘Recording Tips’ which would direct you to a page that has three tutorials – written by myself, Murali Venkatraman and George Kuruvilla – that give some tips on home recording and karaoke track recording. When the domain/hosting renewal period comes, the website would be gone.

Just wanted to give you guys an update.

Salary for wives?

There is one thing that I am happy about the proposal being considered by Women and Child Development ministry in India that the husbands should pay salary to their wives. The for and against (mostly against) discussions have made men in India see something that they have ignored for long – that their wives do work and this work in the name of family system, culture and blah blah blah is actually WORK. That is the best outcome of the whole proposal and the debates followed.

I thought it was a weird and impossible proposal (I still think it is, but) mostly because I was looking at it from my own situation and perspective. Most of you men who are reading this may also be looking at it in the same direction. I do help my wife with the house chores. I never let my wife wash or iron my clothes even if I was on a hurry. I do all the house chores when my wife isn’t at home, that includes cooking and cleaning. I help with looking after our child. Apart from this, we have a maid who comes twice a week to do the larger washing and cleaning tasks which I pay for. So why should I pay my wife and who will pay me for my job in the house?

The answer to that question cannot be generally applied. In many families the husbands often do not pay attention to their wives except when they need them for physical needs. The wives have to take care of the family expenses AND the savings from the meager budget set by the husbands themselves. Wives have to do all the house chores and looking after the children but their hard work is ignored by mostly everyone in the family – including the husbands and children. So the proposed law might work in this section of the society (considered that the husbands would still continue to pay for family expenses and this salary is just another part of it).

But again, the law cannot be applied in general and scrutinizing it to ensure a fair use of it would be a difficult task. I think strengthening the existing laws for the crimes against women and raising social awareness about the equal responsibility and gender equality alone can make a difference to women in this country. But still, I think it is good that this proposal has made news. Like I said in the beginning, this has made men realize that the whole house chores is something that you get for free at your lady’s kindness.

More reading:

Maid of honour
Global Voices online

The Weekend Tamasha

Two news editors. One from the television medium and the other from print. One takes a chance at roasting the other, probably because he is from a different medium and is hosting a show on the rival television channel. The other gets defensive. He goes emotional about the ‘great’ thing he is doing, called journalism, and takes the chance to go overboard with his past stories of his adherence to the ‘truth’. One gets frustrated that the other is being given a chance in his channel to do a bit of marketing for himself and his paper. So the one also goes overboard and gives a few lines of marketing about his and his channel’s commitment in presenting the two views.

This is more fun to watch if you couldn’t yet figure out what exactly is going on between our government and army, both of which has a leadership of saints of our times. My dear fellow Indians, eat this crap. You need it. For sheer entertainment or for your tea-time (or bar-time) intellectual vomit.

PS: If the video above doesn’t give you enough entertainment for the weekend, checkout how Hindutvavaadis are wasting their bandwidth to vote Modi to be in TIME’s 100 list and how liberals are trying to vote him out. If you don’t have any better thing to do on the weekend, you can join them in the game.