My #Velfie Says: NO Tolerance Anymore (#NOTA) for #Criminal #Politics

my velfie‘Velfies’ (Selfies of people who have voted) are the trend in India now. So here is mine. That little, blue-black, ink mark is put on the left, fore-finger of all who have voted in India’s 5-week election marathon. It is non-erasable and will stay there for the next 7-10 days. There are café’s that are promising customers 10% discounts on their bill, if they flash their inked fore-finger at the cash register. A small reward for being a ‘good’ citizen I suppose. Though I don’t know how they can tell if it’s really the election booth that has put that mark on the finger. Unfortunately, even ‘good’ citizens in India have the tendency to cheat, lie and steal!

Take my neighborhood for instance, full of ‘good’ upper-middle and upper class citizens, many of who were in the voting queue with me at 6.30 a.m., complaining about ‘bad’politicians. Now I know among them were some ‘good’ neighbors who happily pay the gas delivery man a little ‘bribe’ to deliver someone else’s gas to them, because they’ve run out of theirs. Who cares if that inconveniences the other people who have followed the rules, and made the effort to book their gas cylinder ahead of time! Or the odd way my land-phone connection, and the broad band that comes with it go dead and don’t get fixed for 10 days, during which time some other ‘good’ neighbor has paid a little bribe to the phone service man to connect my line to their house. So at the end of the month, I get a massive phone bill for a connection that was dead for half the month! And then there are plenty of ‘good’ neighbors who never bother to buy a cable connection because they know some wise guy who hijacks someone else’s for them for a small fee.

It’s not that people in my neighborhood cannot afford cable, gas, phone, or internet. Most of them shell out 4-5 times what they’d have to pay for the monthly cable fee, for one dinner outing (more…)

Herabai Tata: The Power Behind Indian Women’s Voting Rights

There is a need for women in India to know about and connect with the women in our past, who fought for the rights we legally claim today! Indian textbooks continue to take a stubbornly sexist view of the history of women’s rights in India, insisting that it is men who fought for these rights for women, and edit out even prominent feminists, like Herabai Tata and their works into complete oblivion. We must resurrect the women heroes of our past, and resuscitate the feminist movement they had started in India a 100 years ago!


by Rita Banerji

The name Herabai Tata will not ring a bell for most Indians! Unfortunately, not even for most Indian women, even though she is one of the main reasons that women have the right to vote in India!

Born in 1879 in Bombay, Herabai Tata was the Secretary of the Bombay branch of the Women’s Indian Association (WIA). In the early 1900s, she was a central figure in the fight for Indian women’s franchise – the right to vote. In fact she is referred to by Geraldine Forbes who documented the changing lives of Indian women in the early 1900s, as the “real soldier” of the movement.

So why don’t Indian women know of her? The fault perhaps lies with the sexist and patronizing view of the history of women’s rights in school textbooks. Students are taught that it is men who fought for and ‘gave’ women their…

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Why #Indian #Women Must Vote #NOTA in the 2014 #Election

As long as political parties house criminals, Indian women can never have a government that will be committed to stopping systemic violence against women.



vote none of the above

NOTA is a voting option provided to Indian citizens for the first time in the April 07- May 12, 2014 elections.  NOTA stands for “None of The Above.”When a voter presses the NOTA button they will indicate that they are rejecting all the political parties and their candidates standing for this election.


why are rapists sitting in parliamentOver the last two decades there has been serious concern about the escalating presence of criminals in Indian government and political parties.  With each election the inclusion of these criminals increases.  In the 2004 election, 24% of Members of Parliament (MPs) had pending criminal charges against them. In the 2009 election their numbers had risen to 30% with a majority of these cases carrying serious charges of rape, murder, extortion and other forms of violence against women, such as molestations, stalking, and dowry…

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