Raj Shetye’s fashion photo shoot (see below), which appears to be motivated by the brutal 2012 gang rape and assault on a woman on a Delhi bus, has angered many in India and around the world.
In an interview with The Voice of the Cape (South Africa), the 50 Million Missing founder, Rita Banerji explains why she is not surprised by Shetye’s project. However Rita also says, it is equally important to analyze the public rage and question what it really represents. She observes that rape seems to touch a public nerve in India in a way that no other form of lethal violence on women or girls does, and goes on to discuss why this is because it’s still seen through a prism that views women as sexual resources owned by men. Synopsis below [To hear the full 15 min. interview click on the box above].
It irritates me when a man fawningly say “Ladies First!” I find it condescending. As a woman I see myself as perfectly able as any man and see no reason for being singled out that way.
Yet, by the same token I hugely resent the “Men First!” approach that I encounter everywhere in India. While walking on pavements, driving, inside homes, and even in offices. It’s that attitude that says, men are entitled to shove aside women and be served first.
It happened again at the bank yesterday and left me fuming. I had accompanied my mother to the bank and she needed some cash deposited. There was a long queue at the counter, so I told her to sit down and I’d stand in line and do it for her. A man came and stood behind me, and then suddenly moved in front and stood next…
This is one place on earth where I’d be really happy to live: the state of Sikkim in India. And the reason is that by 2015 Sikkim will be completely organic! It will be totally cleansed of all kinds of chemicals—pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and other chemical additives in their farms and gardens. Which means it will have not just chemical-free, clean food, but also chemical-free, clean soil, water and air.
This did not happen overnight. It was a long term plan that the Sikkim state government implemented very methodically over a period of time, designating areas that had to be chemical free by within certain timelines and dates. Bhutan, just north of Sikkim, is still working on becoming the first country to be entirely organic. But I think Sikkim has been more organized and insightful it the planning and implementation of an organic state than Bhutan has been. The Sikkim government kept to its schedule and took the entire population of the state on board, with intensive public outreach, information, education and incentive programs. And by 2015 they will have reached the final leg of their goal and the entire state will be organic, and officially declared so.
Having been a conservation biologist, I am acutely aware of the long term damage that chemicals added to the soil do not only to the health of humans and other animals, but also to the health of the ecosystem. Chemical dependency for the earth is the same as drug dependency in humans. As Sikkim and other organic farms have discovered, once you start using chemical Read the full post »
This video was put out by a public interest group to raise people’s sensitivity to rape and other crimes against women in India. Please note that the sounds of a woman being assaulted inside the van below are an enactment. However, the responses of the people who walk past the van are real.
We want you to watch the brief video below, and give your opinion on people’s reaction in the multiple choice poll question below the video.
CLICK ON THE SQUARE NEXT TO YOUR CHOICE AND THEN CLICK ON THE YELLOW BUTTON RIGHT AT THE BOTTOM THAT SAYS ‘VOTE’ [DO NOT FORGET TO CLICK ON THE 'VOTE' BUTTON OR YOUR ANSWER WON'T REGISTER]
This is a growing trend in India: wealthy Indians are hiring white, preferably blonde, western women as “decoration” or “entertainment pieces” for their parties and events. Some of these women are talking about it now.
A European woman wrote a piece about what is referred to as “weird and wonderful world of “White Girl Jobs” in India, where she works as a “human table.”” Another British woman recently wrote an anonymous column where she talked about her experience of it. You can read it here. She talks about how these women are paid a lot for “performing as a drummer, acting as living tables, belly dancing and even stripping.” The poverty rate in India is Rs. 400-500/month, which is what almost 50% of India earns in 1 month. But these women get paid 10-20 times that amount for just one evening. From the second article it seems that many of these women are actually entering India on tourist visas and then looking around for these ‘jobs.‘ Since these ‘jobs’ are illegal, it means these women are also vulnerable to simply disappearing into the system without trace. This woman too obviously thinks the money is good, but seems to feel guilty that white women may be capitalizing on the inherent racism and colorism in India that discriminates against Indian women with darker skin color.
However, I think that European women need to be concerned about this leading to something far more disastrous than this.
I know that women in the west are often horrified by terrible accounts of different forms of violence on women and girls in India, and the resulting genocide of women. I hope that they can also see that this trend of hiring white women in India is an extension of the same system that dehumanizes women and treats them like buy-able, sell-able and trash-able “items.” I do believe that this could lead to more horrifying trends. Right now with the gender ratio plummeting in many parts of India, there is widespread trafficking of women, not only within India but also from other countries like Nepal and Bangladesh. But if this continues, it won’t be long before ‘white’ women will become a part of this trafficking.