Monthly Archives: March 2012

Taking On the Men (And Double Standards)

Suchi Govindarajan, a Bangalore based technical writer wrote a note on her facebook which went viral with The Hindu picking it up. Its absolutely worth a read. I have copy-pasted it here:

Modesty of dress and Indian Culture

Sir/ Madam,

I write to complain about the abysmal standards of modesty I am noticing in Indian society. All bad things — sensationalist TV, obscene movies, diabetes among elders, pickpocketing, dilution of coconut chutney in Saravana Bhavan — are a result of Evil Western Influences. However, to my surprise, in this issue of modesty, even the Great Indian Culture (we had invented Maths and pineapple rasam when westerners were still cavemen) seems to encourage this.

The problem, sir/madam, is that revealing attire is being worn. Deep-neck and sleeveless tops, exposed legs — and these are just the middle-aged priests! Some priests are even (Shiva Shiva!) doing away with the upper garment. And I am told some temple managements even encourage this.

But this is the worst thing. They are doing this in front of ladies and Gods, with no shame at all. Just the other day, I saw a priest without upper garments making an offering to God (which itself is shameful) and then coming out just like that to give prasadam to the ladies. The whole sanctity of the ceremony is spoilt. Plus, what evils may result if they speak to the ladies like that.

You have to worry about a society in which boys and men are allowed to dress this way.

The few who wear full dhoti and kurta are wearing some thin muslin material through which you can clearly see the outline of their underwear and banians and sometimes even read the name of the manufacturer. This is made worse because some young boys are following new fashions and wearing printed underwear in gaudy colours (Karmam Karmam).

Some more modest young people are wearing full pant with shirt and that is much better. However, this Evil Western Invention called zip is encouraging them to answer nature’s call at the side of the road in full view of the public.

And what is this abomination called shorts? Is it really necessary that Indian boys need to play sports in which they have to show their legs? I think they can just stick to games like chess and cricket (it’s not like they are doing well in other sports anyway). And swimming is another problem. We have a long tradition of bathing with clothes, why should they wear little Speedos just for this? I think it is just an excuse to show off their bodies.

But really, I would like to know what the parents of such boys are doing. Why are they not bringing up their sons correctly? Maybe all this is because of this trend of working fathers, who are neglecting their children for the sake of their careers. My biggest worry is that these boys and men will not be able to get married if they continue like this. Which mother-in-law would like to visit her daughter only to be given coffee by a son-in-law wearing a banian exposing his underarm hair? (And that too, Bru coffee since boys are not taught these days how to make good coffee.)

All this immodesty will also lead to other issues. Once boys realise it is alright to expose, you don’t know where it will end. Boys will be out of control.

I propose that we start imposing dress codes on Indian boys and men straight away. A good strategy is to stereotype and call them names based on the way they dress. And also, any time a boy or man is sexually assaulted, we should completely forget about the attacker and instead ask questions like “Ah, but what was he wearing?”

This is the only way we can safeguard our society.

————–

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Rise of The Son

Post partition, Uttar Pradesh was one the most important states in India contributing a fair share of politicians, administrators, academics, artists and poets to the country. However the decades following saw the state slide into caste and communal politics, divisions so deep that they still define how people vote and how they think. This is a state where as soon as you meet somebody, you will be asked you surname, judged and put into a category.

On a micro level, decades of divisive politics have made the people inward thinking, anti-growth and more communal. Macro effects have been large scale migration, uncontrolled population, hooliganism and a strong goodna raj throughout the state.

State and Central election wins are dependent on which community the ‘leader’ represents and how much can the party workers coerce people into voting for their leader. Government after government has been embroiled into corruption scandals and has taken aid of goonda raj to rule the state, pushing it backward rather than forward. Like termite eating the state from inside, weakening it so its executive and judiciary are unable to function properly.

Each change of guard brings with it skepticism, hope for some community or the other (never for the entire state) and for the administration that some semblance of rules will be followed. A clean sweep by the Samajwadi Party has shown a voter confidence in son of three time Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ­­– Akhilesh Yadav.

Image

Akhilesh Yadav, Courtsey CNN-IBN



Not only has be been the face of the campaign, going on a rigorous 3500 kilometer pre election trail and attending over 200 rallies, the party has had a progressive election manifesto – computers for students, English language and a promise of curbing goonda raj.
Concerns about the health of his father and who will be the next Chief Minister were afloat, with a growing consensus among party works that Akhilesh should take over.

And now as the time to form the government has come closer, the party has announced Akhilesh Yadav as the Chief Minister of the state. Will the rise of the son lead to a new era? Will the state see development as it deserves? Will the rookie politician be able to afield the minefield of complex politics and come out unscathed? The answer to these questions will unfold in the next five years. Here’s hoping that the rise of the son will lead to rise of the state, from the ashes to where it belongs.

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