Categories
Uncategorized

Will they ever learn?

A six year old in Uttar Pradesh, India, was brutally raped in a way that has been described as “shockingly similar to the Nirbhaya gang rape case” by NorthEast Now. The girl was raped in a manner that has left her genitals mutilated in a way that doctors struggled to perform surgery on her. Eight teams have been dispatched to find one culprit. Today marks the fourth day of the dispatch, with no advancements to the case. The opposition, synonymous to an automated mail response, has lashed out at the government at how women are not safe under the ruling party. They plan to march to protest.

Are they protesting for the girl, or to get the ruling party flak and to boost up their own vote bank? As always, in the true essence of Indian politics, a rape case will be turned into a political tool where the suffering of the survivor will be drowned by the noises of politicians shoving into the faces of the audiences statistics on which government recorded more rape cases. I don’t think that I need to remind you the ranking of India when it comes to safety of women, or how many rape cases are registered. Another case might be in the making as you read this. It’s so simple, so quick, to ruin the life of a woman in this country.

It is high time the government- be it the Center or the State, that strict laws alone will NEVER be enough. I had the opportunity to ask a question to the former CM of Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Kamal Nath, about why these crimes don’t seem to stop despite the fast track courts and death penalty awarded. He answered that people need to understand why its wrong and should not be tolerated or subconsciously encouraged, and its something that they could only do themselves. While it is true, that rape culture needs to be eradicated from the minds, and awareness has to be inculcated in the culture, isn’t it something the government is obliged to do- isn’t it their job to “govern” the citizens of India?

If I were to apply the same concept to elections, rallying is useless- shouldn’t people know on their own who’s worthy of the vote and who isn’t? What if I were to apply this concept to paying taxes? Its something people should know, right? Then why do politicians go out of the way to rally, to “inform”? Why does the government run awareness campaigns on paying tax on time, to use protection during intercourse, or to have the Aadhar cards made? Shouldn’t all this be innate to the people of India too?

My issue is that the topic of women safety is brought up only when another rape is reported. My issue is that the situation of women in this country is echoed by the scream of another life. My issue is that there is a set standard of “brutal” cases send “shockwaves” throughout the nation. My issue is that enough is not being done. While I am thankful for stricter laws, it it didn’t take me, and many others, to realise that it was not enough. It is time that sex education, the culture of victim shaming-blaming is EXPLICITLY talked about the government. NGOs and activists are doing their best, but when will the government stop shying away? When will we get rid of politicians with backward thoughts? When will the rapists hiding behind their party positions be outed?

Former Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who handled the Nirbhaya case, said that there was pressure on the force to kill the accused, or to “throw the accused in front of hungry lions”. He mentioned in the end, “But we followed the law.” These comments were made after the accused in the Priyanka Reddy rape case were shot in an encounter with the police. If this was not a dig, what was? Do people, who, for their sick pleasure are ready to defile the body of an non-consenting individual to the extent that it is fatal be saved by “law”? Where does this following the law agenda go when murders and corruption is buried by the police itself? 

The government underestimates the influence it has on the average Indian. We have some extremely influential politicians belonging to many parties, who’s words become gospel. If they can influence people into believing so many of their own opinions, why can’t they use their platforms to raise voice for this? Is talking about rape going against our “sanskriti”? Does “sanskriti” exist in a nation with a pantheon consisting of female goddesses who are used to describe the women population of India (who are praised only at the time of festivals or voting season by those in power) are left helpless when they’re touched without consent? Are we really in the place to talk about decency and “sanskriti” when our entertainment industry earns money by doing the exact opposite by objectifying women? India still remains a country where victim blaming is the easiest way out. India remains a country where marital rape remains legal as turning it into a crime will “create anarchy in families”? (PS former CJI Dipak Misra said this.) 

I beg of you, please, be sick and tired. Be tired of what is happening. Please, allow your blood to boil. Please, grit your teeth, cuss what our society has become. Nothing can justify a rape. No single party deserves the blame for the dire condition of the women in this country. Each and every one of them is responsible for failing to stand up for the people of their own country. Be angry, speak, share, and do whatever you can- as little or big, to bring about some change so that we can hope that Indian women, a century from here, suffer less than we do.

 

Categories
Uncategorized

TO:

To the men who say, “men are raped too”,

They are. Its horrible, and my heart goes out to them. But, I wanna ask you. Does yours? Does your heart ache for those men who lay awake in bed at night, scratching at their skin because the indents of the fingerprints have left them scarred forever? Do you want to vomit out all that you feel about this, bring out a candle and go on a march, even if its only you?

Most of us have gone through that frustrating conversation, where you get aggressive about the crimes against women, and one man brings up all what men go through.

So, let me ask you once again. Do you bring it up to prove that women are as horrible as men, and that rape is normal? Do you bring it up as a counter argument to dilute the issue of the alarming rates of sexual violence against women in the nation? Why only bring it up when a woman gets worked up? To show how “cool”, “calm” and “collected” you are while talking about something so horrendous happening to your own gender? Stop bringing this spectrum of rape up and use it as a shield against a conversation. Why do you talk like we  would want to brush male survivors off? Do not use these strong survivors for your benefit.

To the men who make jokes about all women being bad drivers,

Why do you get worked up when women say “all men are trash?”. Hum bhi to sirf joke kar rahe hai, right? Gussa kyun hote ho? All of us have seen males around us get worked up the second you start a statement with “all men”. If you can make some for us, let us repay your intellectual hard work, right?

Now, you may feel that this is a reach. But, every time a man jumps to conclusion on women just because they’ve had experience with some bad ones, we can’t help but feel irritated. Yet, we need to bottle it up, or else men will think we are “oversensitive”. Its ironically hilarious when men go ranting on stories and comment sections, calling out women who have stereotyped the whole gender because of a few men.

Is hypocrisy ka kya karoge?

To the men who say, “girls are doing it too”.

Yes, they are. It’s sickening that girls time and again have indulged in this, targeting both males and females. The body shaming and bullying persists there as well. However, girls doing this to boys doesn’t justify boys doing it to girls, and vice versa. The girls deserve harsh consequences for their actions, but I want to ask those men, who feel proud of themselves and even satisfied when they post these stories exposing these girls and celebrate the apparent loss of feminism because of this (do you even know what feminism is, my guy?)- what point are you trying to prove? Don’t make it look like boys doing it is justified. This topic needs attention too, and the girls deserve backlash for this as well. But, is this the time? Is this time when males who read about the girls’ locker room criticise women and forget the main issue of rape fantasies?  Let me remind you, these were boys expressing their desires to RAPE. They talk about an offence with capital punishment as if its some bedroom kink.

Why bring the wrongdoings of women up only when your gender is in trouble?

 

Ultimately, this has taught all of us a valuable lesson.

  • It has taught us that zooming in on pictures of males and females and calling them lewd things is not “dark humour” or “expressing your opinion”. It’s body shaming, and if you’ve taken part in this, remember that now you’ve subconsciously made a boy or a girl think twice before posting a picture they were confident in, because they fear that someone may take a screenshot and post it up somewhere. It has made all of us think twice before casually commenting on someone’s picture.
  • You can’t fetishize rape, in any way or form. That’s not kink shaming, that is free therapy that you get when someone calls you out on it. Finally, we realise that respect can only be earned when given. In our society, this boil downs to two things:
  1. Women can’t expect any form of respect from men first hand. Until and unless a woman doesn’t make her respect for a man noticeable, she should not even dream of earning his respect. That is what these men who have given up on criticising the #boislockerroom to bash onto the girls make it seem.
  2. Just because women are let off the hook for talking lewdly and degradingly about men doesn’t mean they have the right to do so. You can’t expect men to understand if you are also being part of the problem. If you can’t support your own gender, or treat the other one with respect, do not dare dream of equality.

 

Therefore, it’s a mix of both. I have realised that those men, who gave up criticising on the #boislockerroom as the girl’s chat group became their safety blanket, expect respect from women FIRST and then would want to give it back. They treat giving respect to women award-worthy rather than something that should be a normal thing to do. On the other hand, women have learned that they are no less at fault for body shaming. Women learned that “just because” they are girls who identify with a gender that has historically been objectified for years doesn’t give them the green signal to be trashy human beings.

We, as a society, have a lot to learn, and a lot of self-reflection to do. I hope this event makes men saner and women less entitled.

Categories
Uncategorized

HOMME

I am, a man.

I am, a king!

The world sits beneath my feet.

I am, a man.

I am, a beast!

I thrive on anger and heat.

 

I sit on a throne of frocks,

Thick hair – a lovely carpet,

Her breasts become my globus cruciger orb,

Her legs, my beloved sceptre.

I wear a crown of pride,

Masculinity etched in jewels.

As I feast on her body,

Her soul painfully mourns.

 

But one day, it was all gone.

 

What is a king without his subjects?

What is a man with just a frown?

What is a human without humility,

What is a king without his crown?

 

For years and years I searched,

Where do the true Crown Jewels lie,

In the depth of the oceans,

Or perhaps, in the depth of her eye?

 

I scan her body, full with dread,

As my eyes meet the maroon on her forehead,

So much less than a crown, but so much more,

Can the kingdom reins be handed to a whore?

 

“No.” A voice cut the silence this time.

Oh, a woman has a voice?

Albeit melodic, her words crafted-

A chillingly haunting rhyme.

 

“You don’t give us a choice!”

She cried.

“You stripped me from my human.”

“For millenniums, I was tied.”

“Tied, to your rule.

Tied, to your beliefs.

Tied, to your bed,

As if, I’m a fool.”

 

“When you rip her clothes,

You rip her humanity.

When you tug at her hair,

You tug at her heart strings.

When you make her cry,

568 million shouts crack the air.”

 

Anger then surges through me,

And I grip her by the neck,

My body trembled with force,

Unfortunately, my mind was a wreck.

All I felt was guilt

Whiplashed onto my body.

With the amount of torture I put her though,

How was I always this jolly?

 

A groan cracked through me,

And I looked at her desperately.

Her hair, a basket of snakes,

The core of my body, I felt it shake.

 

On my knees, I was begging,

Hoping to see the sun rise another day,

The beast in me roared in opposition,

But the she-wolf, should do as she may.

 

Her eyes soften suddenly,

Her lips curved into a soft smile,

Her hand touched my cheek, gently,

And I wondered-

Is being a man worthwhile?

 

Is it worthwhile-

If I don’t revere the milk of my mother,

If I don’t love my sister, like a brother,

If I can’t caress the curves of my love with respect,

If her frown doesn’t make me sad and deject.

 

A power of a woman,

Is more than her growl,

A power of a woman,

Is more than the defiance of a beast’s howl.

She. Is. Power.

There is strength in her homeliness,

There is strength in her independence,

There is strength in her holiness,

There is strength in her confidence.

 

For a woman of this time, still,

A home has become a house,

Her heart is just an organ,

Hiding behind her blouse.

 

H-O-M-M-E, a label I wear with pride.

H-O-M-E, the comfort she provides.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Integration of North East India

The North East is not only synonymous with cultural and linguistic diversity, but also with insurgencies and the struggle of making a niche on the gigantic map of India. While mainstream media and syllabus textbooks put extreme efforts into bringing to light the violence in Kashmir, they turn a blind eye to the conflicts of the North East.

Considered a ‘mere geopolitical accident’, the North East as we know it today only became the part of India when the Burmese invaders had to give up some of their kingdom due to the Treaty of Yandabo, that was signed in 1826. Moreover, the Ahom Kingdom also ceded some of its territory to the British, and hence the North East was integrated into the Indian colony.

Another task of integration arose when India finally gained independence in 1947. The dilution of the original population of Assam through the exodus of primarily Muslim labourers from the Bengal Province complicated the situation of where the Assam Province wanted to belong to. While the Hindus supported the integration into independent India, the Muslim League supported integration with Pakistan (through the now known Bangladesh). Ultimately, Lord Mountbatten decided that Assam shall be merged with India.

With the merging of the princely states of Manipur and Tripura by 1949 (which became states in 1972), India’s north east consisted of the state of Assam (which still included the Naga and Mizo hills), the north Eastern Frontier Tracts and the kingdoms mentioned above. However, Assam remaining as one huge state compromising of diverse tribes, brought an outcry from the said communities, and showed how the Central Government had failed to recognize them. Tensions raised to an all time peak in 1956, when, during the reorganization of Indian states, the Central Government let Assam be as it is, only wanting to divide states based on language; something that was very similar to Woodrow Wilson’s criteria of what a successor state should be in the aftermath of World War I.

Prior to 1956, the Naga National Council, with A.N. Phizo leading the way, had consistently strived to make Nagaland independent from India, but both the Assamese and the Central Governments rejected the plan. While 1955 saw military measures taken to prevent armed violence, 1956 saw the NNC make its own federal government and federal army. The Naga Hills was declared as a ‘disturbed area’ and the parliament passed the “Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, that allowed the Indian Armed Forces to exercise power to maintain peace in these areas. The constant rejection of the idea of wanting to be detached from Assam led to Nagaland being under Central Government’s control from 1957 up until 1963, where it finally ascended into statehood after much negotiation.

This was definitely the beginning of the domino effect. Other tribal groups, seeing how Nagaland got integrated into India as a state, too started protesting to have their own states. With Meghalaya becoming a state in 1972, with the Garo and Khasi people finally getting recognition, sparked the independence movement of the Mizos, which was fueled by local leader Laldenga. While the Mizo National Front initially did non violence protests, the sustained ignorance of the Government led to the establishment of the Mizo National Army, and started the MNF’s affiliations with other North Eastern insurgent groups (and funding by both China and Pakistan). However, by the time Operation Jericho took place, the MNF also wanted freedom from not only Assam, but also from India. Insurgents from the MNF took control over camps of the BSF and Assam Rifles and successfully cut off communication. Unfortunately, this brought upon damage on Aizawl, that was bombed by the Indra Gandhi government. While the news of air strikes was suppressed, it made its way to documents when the former RAW chief B Raman and former insurgents testified to it. The insurgency concluded with the signing of the Mizoram Peace Accord, in which the Central Government gave the Mizo (Lushai) Hills statehood and protection of their religious and cultural practice.

The formation of the state of Arunachal Pradesh can be seen both, as a move to prevent any insurgency from the tribes there, and as a strategic move to solidify Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, as a passive reply to China’s open defiance of the McMahon Line.

The integration of Sikkim, however, is a totally different scenario. With the Treaty of Titalia, 1819, British India was allowed to influence the working of this Himalayan Kingdom. In 1947, Sikkim signed a treaty to become a protectorate of India, before finally ascending into statehood in 1975.

Therefore, it can be concluded that the integration of North East wasn’t easy. While India has been able to successfully retain these states, insurgent groups still seem to be working. With the hesitancy to sign the Shillong Accord of 1975 to the formation of the United Liberation Front of Assam, that wanted Assam to gain independence from the Indian Union, from time to time, separatists have yearned independence from the nation, only to be crushed by the army through operations such as “Operation Rhino”. Some may consider this a victory for the Central Government for sustaining the instable integration of North East for so long and further boosting India’s togetherness. Yet, the integration of North East is yet to be completed. And while declaring this, one might immediately think of the ongoing Indo-China dispute or the ongoing Manipur insurgency that stresses on separation, but I mean to bring attention to the cultural and social isolation of the states of the North East. Not only is there a lack of communication and connection with these states, there is seldom representation of them in various arrays, from entertainment, to sports, to mainstream politics. Indians belonging from other parts of the country have not only failed to embrace the beautiful cultures and festivals of the East, but have also loved to press derogatory terms on them as a ‘joke’, and not to forget how our history books go on and on about the Mughals and the Indian empires but ignore the history of the North East. How long will we treat the North East as a mere ‘geo political accident’ and not as a recognized and integral part of the country? Does it not deserve its own place in our books and our minds as more than an isolated and forgotten part of India? With the various Central Governments under various Prime Ministers kept a ‘cookie cutter approach’ with the amalgamation of Assam and other tribes, and with doing the least for development, can we really blame the people of North East for the insurgencies and anti-India sentiments?

 

Categories
Uncategorized

No, Boys won’t Kiss your Self- Harm Scars

 

 

Mental illnesses are a sensitive topic, with people dealing with them having severe issues in wanting to open up about them, which makes suicide the last resort for many. I recently found a picture with a quote that said, ‘suicidal people are just angels that want to go home’. Comparing those in need of help and emotional support to angels is a mere glorification of suicide and completely disregards the emotional trauma one goes through to finally consider committing suicide.

The increasing awareness about mental health and illnesses is commendable, but are we talking ‘stop the stigma’ too far? With shows and books (categorized under a new genre of “SickLit”) failing to portray mental illness in its true light, it has led to teenagers getting heavily influenced into believing that having mental illness is cool, and that having one adds onto your ‘personality’.

“Her eyes ran out of tears to shed, so she forced her skin to cry instead.” This is one of the many questionable posts one would find on the internet, that justify the trend of ‘tragic is beautiful’. Sorry to break it to you, but it isn’t. Your pain is something that could make you brave, but its not beautiful. This makes me wonder, ‘why did mental illness go from something people never wanting to talk about to the embodiment of the ‘its free real estate meme?’

Society has turned mental illness from a health concern to a personality trait. With YouTubers such as Jaclyn Hill blaming every cosmetic mishap on her ‘mental health’, to “Thirteen Reasons Why”, albeit bringing awareness about many sensitive topics, showed Hannah Baker present to watch everything unravel in real time (which desensitises the fact that once you commit suicide, you’re really gone), that its easy to blame things on your mental health and that suicide isn’t a big of a deal.

With terms such as ‘depression’ and ‘anxiety’ being thrown around carelessly, and with the plethora of online ‘self-diagnosing’ quizzes, we have lost the true essence of what mental illness is. No, it doesn’t mean that you’ll find a person who would kiss your scars and love you in a way that you will heal from depression, same way, it won’t help you fit in or get you special attention. In fact, it may become the opposite. While its amazing knowing that love crosses boundaries and people don’t discriminate those who suffer, for many, their mental illness becomes a cause of further abuse and negligence. Your mental illness wouldn’t necessarily always get you friends, but might make you lose some, or might lead to the use of derogatory term against you.

Why do we then pretend, or firmly believe we have ‘anxiety’ or ‘depression’, when we deep down know that it’s probably not the case? The constant media attention on how serious mental illnesses get has somehow diluted the importance of normal ‘sadness’ and ‘nervousness’, two terms that are always confused with the ones mentioned above. We feel that our sadness or nervousness relating to a particular topic isn’t enough, with phrases such as ‘suck it up’, or ‘stop overreacting, you’ll be fine’ makes us feel that feeling down on a regular basis isn’t worthy enough to get attention. So, I want you to know that mental illness isn’t glamorous, it isn’t beautiful and it isn’t something that should be encouraged (#ProAna supporters on Tumblr take note). Its extremely hard to get through a mental illness and trying to get help. Mental illness shouldn’t be romanticised, because life isn’t a fanfic where you will randomly bump into a Noah Centineo or a Jungkook who will magically cure everything. In conclusion, we can’t really control what the books or movies want to portray, but we can control our thoughts on it.

 

(If you’re someone suffering from any mental illness, I feel for you, and want you to know that things may not be fine tomorrow or in the near future, but will be one day, with patience, help and strength. And, if you’re someone who’s compelled to believe you have a mental illness to justify your normal hormonal changes – wake up. Be glad that you don’t have a mental illness tying you down, but remember that just because you’re sad doesn’t mean you’re not worthy or ‘broken’ enough to talk to someone about your feelings.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Uncategorized

The Girl I Used To Know

There was this girl I used to know

She went away, she suffered a big blow

All she ever did was provide love

The peacemaker, the little dove

She thought everything was perfect

Oh, how I wish  she knew

Everything will change out of the blue

Friends and family down the drain

She didn’t know what happened to her brain

I told her to cry

She did

I told her to laugh

She did

She told me she felt nothing

She was hopeless, she was breaking

There’s that girl, in front of me now

She’s in the mirror, but real, I don’t know how

Picking out her imperfections

Resisting all the temptations

To make herself feel good

As she’s never in the mood

When she cries, so do I

She bid all her happiness goodbye

And I don’t know why.

 

I hope you like this poem of mine!