Silencing the Alternative voices


The likes of Dabolkar, Pansare, Kalburgi & now Gauri are the few lonely voices in our societal landscape, who had sounded different from the popular narrative, they all had sternly & firmly stood for the causes of very people, who have been pushed to the margins in the name of caste, religion and superstitious beliefs.

It is widely known, observed that mainstream media in the country is least bothered to take up the issues of these marginalised, ostracised people living in an atmosphere of fear and hopelessness. The motive to crush those lonely voices is nothing but an act of fascism to define an archaic idea of India which never falls into the premise of our constitutional principles of pluralism, freedom of expression, equal treatment for all.

Ever since Modi government came to the power with a strong majority, right wing forces have gathered the confidence to silence every voices those they believe has never fit into their idea of India. The dangerous trend of selective targeting of people who challenge & raise opposing views is being brought down by bullets.

The liberal space for such intellectual to discuss, to bring the valid issues to the limelight are being treated with disdain. But the real fact is that these attacks on such people are nothing but an effort to contain them with brutal force. The role of our mainstream media in today’s environment is limited to browbeating what has been propagated by the govt, instead of questioning the govt tendencies media amounts to create a climate of an unnecessary frenzy on issues like nationalism & patriotism. In the hindsight, underlying larger societal issues which are at play have been sidelined.

The intellectuals like Gauri spoke sense and fought for those class of people who have been living under constant fear and insecurity, it is the responsibility of journalist-cum activist like Gauri to bring such issues to the forefront for the Govt of the day to address it sensibly. I think most the issues raised by these liberal intellectuals are getting brushed aside with a scant regard of not getting heard. As an agenda to oppose anyone with such liberal voices are not through serious discussions, but finds an easy route of resorting to violence, vandalism and murder.

The idea of India has been inclusive in nature not exclusive. If we continue the way we are doing right now would turn our country into a theocratic state, which is against the principles enshrined in our Constitution. The fundamental existence of India as a nationhood doesn’t lie on the idea of majoritarianism, but an idea which takes everyone in the society together with an objective of empowering all to build a strong nation which celebrates its vibrancy in unity in diversity.

It is very sad to see how insensitive we have become as a society, the ideas and values these espoused by liberal intellectuals ought to be right normal which we as a nation need to imbibe. The idea of divisiveness, communal politics, the illogical embarrassment of past culture is not going to take us anywhere if we really aspire to become a powerful nation in the coming decade.

The culture we have inherited as a society thrives on accepting every faith & beliefs inclusively. In contrast to that what we witness today is nothing but the blatant violation of silencing them with out constructive engagement. The systematic destruction of institutions of excellence in the last three years clearly point towards a singular idea of a new normal, with limited possibilities of voices of dissent, Our strands of defining nationalism today is very skewed & myopic. The intolerance towards opposing views, alternate ideas needs to be promoted more than getting wrapped as anti-nationalist.

The one-dimensional view through a particular prism would turn our country into a bunch of aberrations. The ideas or voices should be three dimensional and should be allowed to be discussed and deliberated in a central space, because you cannot view or govern a nation with narrow-minded ideas, silencing those with opposing views, who tries to bring issues plaguing us into the forefront for a very long time. If we really want to take the nation forward to greater heights, the need for accommodating the sensibilities of each and every one in the society is a must. As a society needs the patience to hear their concerns with empathy, not as an enemy of the state.

In the contemporary society, or as a nation with a multitude of practices, belief systems and food habits, the responsibility of the govt ought to be the role of a facilitator in providing the space for them to debate, survive and sustain. The role of such individuals who raises their voices, concerns needs to be welcomed with an open mind. I believe in today’s India extreme leftist ideologies or extreme right-wing ideologies are dangerous to our nation’s existence, the relevance of strong personalities like Gouri need to be heard, welcomed, but the recent series of actions against them proves that as a society we have been becoming increasingly intolerant towards individuals who take up issues of wider importance, which I believe is a very dangerous trend.

 

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Selfish Babas in India not Selfless.


baba ram rahim

As a precursor to this heading, let me tell you what propelled me to write this piece, The yesterday’s arson and attacks in Panchkula, Haryana throws us a grim reminder how law and order situations have been taken over by a large group of followers of Messanger of God (Baba ram Rahim). The self-styled godman’s, spiritual gurus in our country have been able to influence the mind’s of people a lot. India has been considered as a land of spirituality, So this self-styled Baba’s and gurus, know how to make best out of it by influencing people in the name of religion and faith. We, also shouldn’t forget that, we, need to be proud that the likes of Vivekananda, Sree Ramakrishna and many other spiritually enlightened souls walked, enriched us with their profound teachings in this great country, But, what we were witnessing today is a ,complete shift from true spirituality to an organized business where spiritual gurus were busy creating millions of followers, establishing their contact points in different parts of the country .

Spirituality and politics is a right mix

A country like India with sufferings, downtrodden people, casteism and much more social malice which even prevails after our 70th independence day, The self-styled God man and modern spiritual leaders knew that their nation is fertile ground for them to prosper in the name of being “spiritual”. We should think with a lot of seriousness, how can people in this modern century worship them equivalent to god, They listen to their speeches, obey their commands, prostrating in front of spiritual leaders who they see as a beacon of hope for their suffering. When politicians pay lip service to these babas at their abodes, the general public believes that his even more powerful than the govt. Even the comments from the top leadership of the ruling govt show, how dilly dally they seem to be.

Today’s spirituality means business.

A genuine spiritual leader or enlightened souls are not driven by any motive to institutionalise their teachings by setting up big ashrams or establishing centres across the world. But today’s spiritual leaders are similar to the likes of many business men setting up shops in many countries and wowing the consumers in that market to buy their products, similarly when a spiritual leader wants to reach to millions of people across the length and breadth of this country or even outside of this country they are in fact eyeing the business opportunity by creating more followers for him, More followers and believers means more money comes to their kitty. The valid example is yoga Guru Baba Ramdev , who has successfully created a business group called Patanjali, with in a short span of time the turn over of his entity has risen to more than 5000 Crores, another Guru, the proponent of Art of living has been planning to foray into manufacturing and selling ayurvedic products. We have seen spiritual gurus using expensive motor bikes, cars, enjoying the patronage of powerful politicians, getting fat checks from taxpayers money. Real spirituality, means living beyond the material pleasure with selfless dedication to mankind’s progress.
Time has come to educate the people to become more sensible and responsible citizens and they should be able to identify what is right and what is wrong with out the blind following, Supporting a rapist baba means our people’s moral ineptitude levels has touched its lowest level. I think already we are paying a huge price in the name of cultural past. Every wrong deed cannot be painted with the same brush if some one has committed a crime, instead of blindly supporting the act, people should come forward and support the law enforcing agencies to nail the culprit. I feel ashamed to say that in spite of having centuries old culture, teachings and other values, still, the act of going on a rampage to defend a culprit shows that how morally degrading society are we becoming.

Dark skin means failure?


dark girl 2

 

 

In the last 20 years globally the beauty market has grown by an average CAGR of 14.5% with annual growth rate range bound between 3% to 5.5%.Out of the total share, 72% has come from the mass segment and remaining 28% came from premium segment. Regions like north America, Latin America, and Asia pacific and western Europe contributed towards the major chunk of the sales, But sales of cosmetics have seen significant raise in the BRIC countries as well. The cosmetics brands globally spends huge sum of money to promote their products featuring favorite actresses and sports stars, Cosmetics brands is seeing phenomenal spike in their  earnings, which keeps them  throwing money on advertisements , As long as they believe their lies a  huge opportunity to make many of Women & man insecure about their look and skin colour, the market for their  products is still wide and large. Racial segregation based on skin, attributing success to people with more lighter skin are taboos getting more into the minds of the dark skinned people. So generally people with dark skinned complexion want to make their skin look lighter, or even getting to the skin tone of the white people. So the drive to make skin lighter is what drives the profits of these cosmetic manufacturing companies.

History is the major culprit

If you go back to the period of European colonialism , sowed the seeds of white supremacy over black, Those periods black skinned people were considered as only slaves  to the white dominating class, so structurally they  had treated black people as inferior in all aspects, given them fewer opportunities, employed them in farm fields followed by treatment which is inhuman in all respects.  This enslavement created the urge in their minds to raise from the lower position, The miscegenation is racial mixing of various social groups through sexual exploitation of white male slave owners resulted in mixed race individuals with more African & European ancestry. This is the most critical moment in history where supremacy for white skinned people over the black, The treatment they have meted out to their slaves, even light skinned people were given less strenuous jobs, and dark skinned people were given tough jobs. They started preference to white skin over the black skin. So the perception of success largely to lighter and white skinned people.

Beauty means white skin

Even though we are living in the 21st century with large scale advancement in technology and scientific progress, the stains of the past still is accepted as the trend for success, if you are white skinned your lifestyle, position and status in the society is almost guaranteed , that means naturally if you are white or light skinned your success ratio  is far higher than the black skinned people. This wrongly conceived narrative of success linked to skin color became the social norm. So for a cosmetic or beauty enhancement brands require just to brush up &  polish this old thinking, narrative to the best effect by converting them into sales.

The ingredients used in manufacturing skin bleaching cosmetics are harmful to the body and health. But the sad part of the story is the cosmetics industry globally thrives on the insecurity created in the minds of the people with a dark complexion. The psychological effect created by this false propaganda is to create heightened social insecurity, lack of self-esteem, low belief on their self-confidence. So high time we all need to be alert and believe that more than the external appearance, the real beauty lies in one’s heart, success is purely on ability and competency not to be judged by the color of your skin.  I think market forces wants you to think primitive, even though as a  human species we survived many onslaughts and came a cropper.

Source:

The Vanishing Black African Woman: Volume Two: A Compendium of the Global By Olumide, Yetunde Mercy

GLOBAL BEAUTY INDUSTRY TRENDS IN THE 21st CENTURY Aleksandra Łopaciuk Maria ,  Mirosław Łoboda Maria Curie-Sklodowska University, Poland

Jallikatu a Hysteria?


jallikattu-1After center’s intervention, the supreme court has delayed the verdict on the Ban of Bull taming festival “Jallikattu”. The petition is based on the 2014 petition filed by PETA. In the last couple of days, massive solidarity expressed by various well-known personalities from the film fraternity and people from other walks of life came openly to revoke the ban on Jallikatu imposed by the highest court of the land. But the recent days we are able to witness massive protest from the common people against the ban. I am surprised to see how did this huge support in favor of the ban got materialized. Is this becoming a political issue for the ruling party to make the protest so popular, or is this a carefully planned move to mobilize such support against the top court’s decision. The people expressing the Jallikkatu event as traditional sports in rural parts of TamilNadu, they are of the opinion that it is been ages since Tamil community as a part of their tradition is been conducting the local sports, so now such an imposition of ban on this local sports amounts to loss of their tradition and their centuries long identity.  How far this popular narrative is true is something which needs to be introspected.  Was there a deep-rooted political interest in mobilizing the public support for such an issue, I think the answer to such question is yet to come out in the open. But one thing why do we need such a sports which treat animal badly, whether be it in the name of sports or tradition such way of treating an animal shouldn’t be allowed to continue. The justification to support the Jalikkatu as a sport is not right, when something is wrong means it is necessarily wrong. Every year when this event takes place many people who took part in this event got hurt or dead, more over the bull which runs when released among the close crowds gets injured, So when this happens every time why does the people still wants to continue supporting the event.  The responsibilities of the govt in Tamilnadu irrespective of their ideology never wants to go against the popular sentiments of the people, the party in power wants to take political mileage out of it by conveniently forgetting the lives which had lost during the event.

When the top court of India banned the sports suddenly people starts protesting against the ban and have started invoking the issues like the pride of the state, the tradition so on and so forth As per observation by the court this sport is  dangerous both for the human and bull, Most of the people who came out in the open to support is middle class and younger population . The most interesting part of the protest is that large number of people congregated in Marina beach are not even aware of the traditional sports and its origins, moreover this sports is played only in certain parts of Tamilnadu.

To preserve the native breed of Bulls.

Another logic to support the Jallikatu, which is famously doing rounds is to retain the native humped bull called Zebu, So to keep the bulls in existence the Jallikatu is very much needed. But the massive support erupted even from cities like Chennai shows that show of strength was not actually sentimental but most of the crowds who came to the marina beach are purely whipped up passion due to wide-scale circulation in social media and twitter handles. No support is seen forthcoming to support the cause of farmers in Tamil Nadu there are reports of wide scale farmers suicide due to crops failing due to bad monsoon and or not releasing the water promised to TN from Cauvery. These incidents show without any substance people and youngsters seems to be going behind emotions.

Changing times changed the Onam celebration .


 

If given an opportunity to travel back to those days  as Kid to celebrate Onam  I would graciously accept the opportunity with open hands , Yes for all , days, when we were young, are the most wonderful  periods  of our  life. The same applies to all  Malayalees back home  .Those days are simply awesome  the best cherished  moments are the build up to the celebration ,cleaning the house ,whitewashing walls , elders of our  house preparing well to welcome the Onam  with all its fervour and flavor, Designing pookalem  by collecting  flowers from nearby . Buying new clothes for the entire family , preparing Onam feast at home , family members jointly congregating at their ancestral home or under one common roof  , the smell of the paddy straw  just after the harvest  fills the air around us with attractive aroma  , preparing the  rice harvested from the field  , Different type of pickles made with mangoes and ginger , Banana Chips and “Sarkara varatty” makes the Onam Sadhya a complete feast if   served on neatly cut plantain leaf from our backyard   . Frankly, I  miss those days  of Onam badly  , wish if I have a time machine with me I would  have definitely  travelled back to  those old days   which is still fresh with sweet  memories in the deepest  corner of my mind  . If you  I do a reality check now, those days are the best days of my life .

   Onam  feast  is so instant today just like  a  fast food or Takeaway.

The present generation Onam  really symbolizes the true mark of brand  consumerism ,shopping malls queuing one after the another to offer too many products be it mobile phones , consumer durables , Apartments  and much more it is full of brands offering discounts , gifts, and lucky draws . The market-driven economy has slowly changed the contours of Onam , rather manufacturers see this  an opportunity to woo the consumers to buy their  new products which society  anymore  cannot resist. Advertisement campaigns in media both visual and audio is full of  offers , lucky draws and bumper prizes .  Most interesting thing doing rounds are the various catering services offering ready made feasts with different flavours of payasam .So today everything becomes  so instantaneous   , the hustle and bustle of preparing Onam feast have already missed from the majority of the households.

Changing times changed the way we celebrate Onam.

I think the significance of Onam  lies in days of harvesting , the exhibition of  traditional art forms   has lost its sheen at present, no one has the time to promote the art forms or majority of them are ill-informed about its origin.  Change from an  agrarian economy to a consumer driven economy is one of the  fine achievement  every Malayalis should  be proud of  . The paddy fields and cultivation have become a thing of the past , As an icing  on the cake    self-centric &  materialistic  nature of the society made the situation  far worse . than ever before .Things have attained sea of change from what it was 20 or 30 years back. The mythological significance of Onam remembering great king Mahabali just now  remains only  in the history books , but nobody in today’s time  bothers  to rekindle those good virtues which Mahabali stood for . The young generation has lost sight of the significance of Onam  in our socio-political landscape of Kerala. I am sure in next 10 years  young kids would just treat Onam as just another occasion to celebrate without knowing the true  underlying  spirit of Onam. The changes in lifestyle from joint family system to more concentrated nuclear family culture played a great part  in destroying true ethos of Onam as a cultural festival of Kerala.