Thursday, February 23, 2006
Outlook News Magazine
The Times of India
Some of the main issues discussed have been.
Bird flu- that was found in some cases in Navapur, Maharashtra. Lots of chickens have been slaughtered, and the current price has dropped to Rs 25 for a kg of chicken. People have stopped eating chicken and eggs. Lots of shops have put up certificates by Vets, saying their chicken is bird flu free. But people are still afraid. But they are still eating mutton and fish.
Jessica Lal murder case – It's been 7 years since a model was shot at point blank range for refusing to serve a drink to Manu Sharma, at a Bar filled with people. He and 8 others, all politicians’ sons were acquitted. The witnesses did not back the prosecution, either because they were fearful for their lives or paid off. Manu, the prime accused runs a pub cum disco in Chandigarh, and his father is a minister in Haryana. Jessica Lal’s sister Sabrina has witnessed her sister’s death, her mother’s death, her father’s Alzheimer’s and no justice.
This blog has been started by the CPI(m) communist party of india marxist, to protest Bush's upcoming visit to India. It does not have much on it, right now, other than links to other sites and articles negative about George Bush.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Female foeticide accounts for half a million less female births in India.
In a village, Nai Majra, the ratio of girl to boy children in 0-1 age group is 437:1000.
In the 0-6 age group, a study done of 477 villages, in 16 of those villages, the ratio was 500:1000.
The villages were in the Punjab, in the relatively prosperous Doaba belt.
Foeticide is performed after a sex determination test.
Punjab has a long history of aborting and often even killing new born girl children. Polyandry is often accepted because of a shortage of women. Women are shared between brothers. The burying of the girl child is often done more by land owning zamindars than common folk.
The Hindu code bill that gave equal inheritance rights to women and men, lead to more girl children being killed to protect landholdings, and keep them within the family. The female to male ratio is lowest in Punjab, compared to the whole country.
In 2003, the worst offenders were Punjab 776, Himachal Pradesh 803, Haryana 807, Uttar Pradesh 853 and Rajasthan at 855:1000. In the same year the best ratios were in Tamil Nadu 953, Karnataka 943 and West Bengal 937. In the whole of India in 2001 it was 927 and in 2003 it dropped to 883.
A lancet study estimates that more than 10 million female fetuses may have been aborted in India, in the last two decades.
I summarized the above from a very disturbing article that I read in an Indian news magazine, outlookindia.com.
The degradation and humiliation of women starts in the womb and continues through her life.
Saturday, February 18, 2006
The book is set in India, from 1961 until 2000. It is centered on the lives of women, and some men, in an ashram, Tella Meda, in Southern India (probably Andhra Pradesh), overlooking the Bay of Bengal.
The story is about Charvi, who was pushed into the role of Goddess by her father Ramanandam. She remains reluctant about the role, and her powers throughout the book, often displaying non-God like qualities of hate, fear, anger and love. Her father Ramandandam, is a recluse, who is protective of his family but beats his son and sleeps with a much younger woman, the orphan Kokila. Chetana, the prostitute Ambika’s daughter is the same age as Kokila, and has also been adopted by the Ashram. Chetana is always trying to find a way out of the ashram, while Kokila refuses to be married and wishes to stay at Tella Meda. Chetana marries the tody drinker and womanizer, Ravi, who gets kicked out of his house for marrying a non Brahmin woman. Kokila adopts Karthik, as her son.
Before each chapter in the book, their are dates of current events at that time, for instance.
14th January 1980. Indira Gandhi was sworn in as the prime minister of India for the second time.
The political details seemed irelevant to the story, and I felt, distracted from the chapters. The current events did not give much background to the time period.
The book was engrossing at times, but not great. I think the author’s first book is still her best, A Breath of Fresh Air.
This book had strong women characters, but the author kept emphasizing the importance of children and husbands. At the end the author and her mother have a conversation, and try to figure out who the most unhappy character is the book is. The author says its “Charvi, because she never had a husband, lover, children…she was lonely in the end.”
The book is set in an ashram, where attachments like husbands and children are usually seen as superfluous. People are attempting to be closer to God, and material things are supposed to be secondary. But this book emphasized the base human aspects of greed, anger, betrayal and lust more than any spiritual realizations taking place in the ashram.