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Wednesday, February 22, 2012



Defending Free speech
 And Defying Fundamentalists in a sensitive nation.....


                                                                                                 


                                                                   By Chris Emmanuel Dsouza
The Legendary French philosopher Voltaire demonstrating his solidarity with right of Free Speech wrote “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to death your right to say it.” He didn’t stop there, he proceeded to write “Men who believed in absurdities committed atrocities” and apparently on both these occasions, Voltaire was referring to amazingly uncultured men affiliated to bullying gangs, who hauled with ire, every time their feelings were hurt.
Temperament is an unusual frame of mind;  it can boil upto a certain limit, and at breakeven, when the very reason it purges seems skirmish even to the point of a debate, it deviates its direction and  cools down , abnormally low, where it takes a humorous position.  That’s precisely what happened with some of the literary masters over the years. During the dark ages of Europe, when societal stigmas, taboos, beliefs, practices, rites, customs and its effects transcended into a firestorm, leading to complete debacle of the European society, the only rescue mission emanated from the fraternity of artistic brilliance. The dogmas were too bitter to consume, as they went over the heads of literary world, tempting them to use provocative satires against it. The fanatics, unlearned and hardliners who couldn’t wait to handle any criticisms against their cults, turned themselves as self-styled crusaders and sought the heads of the literary world terming them as ‘Blasphemers’.

 

And thus arose a disturbing phenomenon of Sacrilege and Blasphemy, raging out from the veins of despicable extremists, who made it habitual to cry foul every time they felt like feeling offended.  The weirdness attached to the term offensive is so great, that it erupts each time, it feels pinched. This occurred as early as 500 years before Christ, when an admirable Athenian philosopher was sentenced and poisoned, for his thoughts. The thoughts that went against the common beliefs of his period, and thus Socrates came to be regarded by modern writers as the ‘first prisoner of conscience’. In the 17th century, an Italian physicist and astronomer devised an innovative theory, which suggested that earth revolved around sun and rotated around its axis, contrary to the traditional belief. The fundamentalists didn’t spare him too; he was charged of hurting religious sentiments, and sentenced to prison.  A few decades later, his theory was adopted in the mainstream and to this day Galileo has been hailed as the “father of Scientific Revolution”.  Dating back to the mid-19th century, an English Biologist released a book by the name “Origin of Species” which explained a remarkable and an awe-inspiring theory of “Natural Selection”. The Biologist had penned down a theory on “Evolution of Mankind”, which didn’t go well with western conservatives of his era. Thus, he had to seek state protection and forced to move into hideout, due to fear from faith based hardliners and protestant fundamentalists.  A Few decades later, his theory was seriously narrated in all schools around the world, and today Darwin’s theory and his other findings have been widely acclaimed in Academic circles, earning him the title of most important biologist on Evolution of Mankind.

                  
                                                                                    

In the recent times, when the world has taken progressive steps in protecting Freedom of speech and Expression, and most importantly the lives of artists, Scientists and literary icons; India has sarcastically remained primitive. This has been portrayed in recent times by the treatment presented to two iconic Artistic genius of this era Maqbool Fida Hussain and Salman Rushdie. The Indian government, greedy of power, spineless in heart, Timid in decision, fantastically coward and inexplicably corrupt has successfully created a vacuum for the rise of intolerance in the country.  It is the Indian government’s capitulation to the fundamentalist nut-bags wandering with destructive weapons in the streets, which eventually resulted in blocking Salman Rushdie’s much awaited presence at the Jaipur literary festival, for a talk on the topic “chutnification of English Language”. The fundamentalists do not make an in-depth analysis on anything they do, and this proves on two hilarious cases. The first is that Salman Rushdie has made atleast five visits to India, after the “Satanic Verses” episode in 1989. The second instance makes their case excessively pitiable, widely exposing their ignorance on world affairs. Anyone in this planet, who has access to You tube, Facebook and English Dailies would have easily  recognized the brutally  fierce critique on faith and religion, The  Patriarch of Non- Belief,  the world renowned Biologists and  author of ‘God Delusion’ Dr. Richard Dawkins. Some of us were shockingly astonished, watching Professor Dawkins making vehement statements against religion to a literary crowd, flanked by media at the same venue where Rushdie was supposed to have lectured! Now, for heaven sake, we shall not discuss about Dawkins’s ‘God Delusion’, its nature and content, because the book is available at every book store in the country. Neverthless, the man who bashes organized faith and rubbishes its claims, on a routine basis, is allowed to carry out his business as usual at the cost of a spectacularly creative novelist, and the street demonstrators are hardly aware of Dr. Richard Dawkins works, which would not only offend , but also intensify them.


Well, How to go about this part- pathetic and part- sinister case? It is the vindication that Radicals and hardliners stretching their necks out from the safe nest of Political Parties or Religious parties (Politics likes to blend with religion) are appallingly retarded. They have absolutely no right of any say on anything in a Secular democracy. Because, a secular democracy by definition, lays down the red carpet for Sane and civilized people, and rejects those who fail to qualify to its definition.  The same mobs that burned down and decimated MF Husain’s paintings and museums were involved carrying out angry demonstrations against Salman Rushdie’s visit. These hooligans and lynch mobs shouldn’t be isolated nor should they be patronized, instead they must be ridiculed, for their common sense and stupidity. They have not attempted in least to understand Husain’s art or Rushdie’s novel, and perhaps they could never have understood Rushdie’s Novels, because they couldn’t read out a word from them. The leaders of these bullying gangs are the only role models these impatient followers have. The leaders are enraged by the passages in the book, but their followers are frustrated because they are unable to read.


Why don’t the most important community on this planet, those of who believe in the powers of reason and science, or in other words the enlightened ones, organize a lynch mob, burn streets, vandalize public property and riot in fury? Why don’t these individuals retaliate with force, threatening people of serious consequences for offending their sensitivities? Why don’t such sadistic thoughts creep into their minds? It should be noted that being a humanist in everyday life is not a cake walk, our sensitivities are hurt from the time we read through the front page of morning newspaper to the time we return home and find undeserving candidates seated on the debating panel on prime time newsshows. The slangs they use, the ignorance they expose and the obscurantism they vomit deserves attention only from chimps wandering in African bushes.



The fanatics and retarded extremists, who claim that they have the veto power to dictate terms to government and to national events, (which they would find hard to pronounce), should be conveyed that they are not the only people to feel offended. Sometimes, we too are offended with absurd practices, undue hero-worship, irrational beliefs, and glorification of myths. The secularists and liberals in India are offended to the extreme, when women are beaten by drunken mobs for the crime of passing by a pub, or going out to a restaurant with male friends. In some places of India’s Coastal belt, the fundamentalists decide what attire a woman should wear, the way she should behave in a society and interfere in their Personal relationships. But, it’s interesting, that we don’t see artists, musicians, novelists, journalists and other faculty of arts parading to the streets with outrage and creating atmosphere of chaos. We have to put up with this madness and cruelty, and claim that our sensitivities are not hurt.
The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice".

It is high time, some of our politicians; begin to understand the sanctity of Free Speech. Our government must lead the way for righteousness and not fall prey to the vices of the society. The sensitivities of masses are too high and too far, to be tranquillized, it certainly won’t by banning visits of eminent artists and writers. If this abnormal excitement and lunatic outrage for hurting sensitivities of foolish crackpots, proceeds with thrust, well then, chances of encounter between the secularists and fundamentalists is high. The best thing our political leaders could do to calm down the hurt sentiments of intensified mobs is to play the world’s smallest violin. If that can’t easily soothe their hurt feelings, then they are in the verge of intimidating secular patience. The swords may not be out at once, while the pen is still mightier than the sword. This reminds me of the Great French Revolution of 1789, the ever-inspiring principles are still alive. The call for future sacraments of Secular fundamentalism and Muscular Liberalism must be inscribed with utmost brutality to avoid further catastrophe.

Defending Free Speech and Defying fundementalists

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Livin-Vampire of India


As the world of fraudulence and excessive might, takes center-stage, penetrating through the souls of ordinary middle class; on few occasions the fuel of patience ascribed to young blood runs scarce and the thrust of resistance crops in. The resistance moment has begun (via Anna Hazare movement), while the revolution is awaiting. Stuck at a sense of lump in the throat and de-energized with intense anguish, I managed to narrate events displaying horrifying brutality and acrimony of power, exercised in some lawless belts of the independent India. It’s a traditional discourse to expect roses on your birthday, but somewhere in the dense ‘Jungle Raj’ of Northern India exists a sadistic political chief who demands ‘blood’ as a token.  This incident occurred last year in the state of Uttar Pradesh, when a accomplished civil service officer was murdered for the crime of refusal to donate ‘funds’ for the Grand celebration of the State chiefs Birthday Bash. My oxford dictionary search found ‘Vampire’s’ having close resemblance with such conduct.  You don’t have to break your head to dig into the search engine inorder to guess this sinister figure; yes it is the BSP supremo the Great ‘lady’ politician, Mayawathi. An icon and an inspiration for millions of India's Dalits, who were oppressed by the upper castes for centuries, she is adorably referred by her supporters and fellow-allies as Behen-ji, which means sister.

      
          Lady Mayawati by all accounts transcended as a ‘defacto’ idol to millions of downtrodden and oppressed class spread across the India's most populous state, which is also one of the poorest in the country. Critics pan her as an obsessive self-glorifying political feudal, but the gritty lady sneers them of conspiring against her. Our Behnji is by far, as most sources estimate the wealthiest chief minister of the country. Well then, my doubts get remotely cleared ‘Vampires’ do exists, atleast in human form. Dating back to the early eighties, Mayawati was employed as a teacher in Inderpuri JJ Colony, Delhi, and preparing for the Indian Administrative Services exams, when abruptly the ode of luck spiraled across flying into her doorsteps. This is when the legendary Dalit Activist Kanshi Ram approached her quite willingly to anoint her with the leadership. Kanshi Ram said, that he could nurture her political career to an extent that in the future, the entire fraternity of IAS officers would line up for her orders. And to this, gratifying promise of prospect and power, our lady decided to cease all other options. Set out with a firm determination to serve the Indian Civil Service, Mayawati turned the table upside down venturing to ‘Buy’ the Civil Service institutes instead. Kanshi Ram handed over the keys of the Magic door to the young ‘revolutionary’, with an audacity of hope to rally the wheels of Dalit struggle. As a result, Mayawati ventured into the world of politics, becoming the part of Kanshi Ram's team with the formation of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in 1984.

1.                              The early British traders had witnessed the fragile systems of the Indian provinces, as early as in the seventeenth century.  The nasty treatment of civilians, their low social-status and their miserable standard of living, alarmed the British, for they had not experienced anything closer to such exploitation at their own turf. The witty British mocked India as a funny country consisting funny people, grabbed total advantage of all the existing loopholes and set the chase for power. They managed to stamp the authority by colonizing the sub-continent over three centuries, with minor resistance from the handful of brave kingdoms. The Englishmen have left for over seven decades now, yet Indian systems remain flawed as ever. The dates have changed but the policies of ‘Master-Slave’ relationship, Labor-exploitation and culture of divide & rule make vibrant proceedings. Mayawati's past birthdays have been major media events, where she appeared laden with diamonds that were gifted by her fellow partymen as a token of admiration (some reports say, she actually threatens them to offer).  For the poor peasants of her constituency, Mayawati represents a ‘Goddess’ in human, a fantastic mis-representation that forms a perfect bread & butter sandwich. Every year, on the 15th of January, she appears on platform, standing over and above,  thousands of hysterical fans, teaming in to praise and worship their ‘goddess’, who is just about to be crowned with a ‘Garland’ strung with Indian Currency notes ! The economic Times estimated its worth to 5000 crores, interestingly it also reported that United States Deficit had skyrocketed and the once financial powerhouse of the world had slumped to its worst economic crisis. While, Wall Street tycoons hopped and cried for bailouts; the US state department initiated the ‘free meals’ program. Ironically, the nation of billion empty hands attempts to facilitate lavishly for abnormal glorification of ‘Narcissistic’ Political Zealots, at the same hour sacrificing their daily bread. Our Lady icon soaked herself in the bathtub bubbled with currency notes, leaving the generous donors and their children starving. This is precisely justified in the phrase ‘Celebration of Poverty’, underlined by the widely hailed socialist thinker Fedrich Engels.
                       
                                                           
Description: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-dvJQhpjrSR0/TvWmcTsff4I/AAAAAAAAABc/O2IfBCT8PMI/s320/mayawati_statue_20090710.jpgDescription: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IY0hqxIThrM/TvWmGa_q6hI/AAAAAAAAABQ/3cmmMwaboVc/s320/mayawati-garland.jpg
                                                                                                           
   

     As the electronic media, geared up its attention on Mayawati’s Satanical manifestation this year; cannily, on a sudden somersault, the Uttar Pradesh Chief ‘Monster’ decided to alter the motto behind her birthday from “Fund raising” to “People’s Welfare”. Not surprisingly, her ardent supporters declared her extraordinary-expensive birthday as Jan Kalyankari Diwas (People's Welfare Day) and the day was marked by the announcement of welfare schemes targeted towards poor and downtrodden people of the state (it was only a marked announcement). Her 2011 birthday, with the status of a ‘regional festival’, celebrated with pomp, was estimated over Rs 7,312 crores! It was heard that Sunil Mittal and Mukesh Ambani had to quaff a glass of water, following this haunting report. Mayawati's assets surge into millions of dollars, with several properties to her name.  In the 2007–08 assessment year, Mayawati paid an income tax of Rupees 26 crores, ranking among the top twenty taxpayers in the country. But the CBI cried foul, claiming the capstone figure to be the manipulated one, as her financial wealth grossed over several thousand cores. In her tenures as a Chief Minister, Mayawati erected number of statues of Buddhist and Dalit icons like Gautam BuddhaRavidas,Narayana GuruJyotirao PhuleShahuji MaharajPeriyar RamasamiBhimrao Ambedkar, BSP founder Kanshi Ram, and finally herself. You need not have to feel antagonized hereafter, reading through  the reports on Arab dictators like ‘Saddam Hussain’, Muamar Gaddaffi or Hosni Mubaraq about the obsession on self—proclamation and self-glorification, while your own can afford to have a  ‘ Gaddafi Plus’ untouched, uninterrupted and unquestioned (In the worlds largest democracy). She has spent over Rs 2,500 crore on projects of five parks with concrete images representing herself.

    The Diplomatic cables published on august this year through Wikileaks, the global whistleblower site revealed, that whenever she needed new sandals, her private jet flew empty to Mumbai to retrieve her preferred brand. The cables also add that the chief minister is paranoid about her security and "fears assassination" and employs "food tasters" to guard against poisoning. The releases scorn her as an ‘Autocratic’ supreme, stating that she maintains a "vice-like grip on all levels of power" and all decisions run through her or a small group of advisors. Mayawati, as always like every other wretched Indian Netha, hit hard on Julian Assange, the Co-founder and chief of the WikiLeaks org, condemning Assange and his organization of having an ‘Anti-Dalit mindset’. Not a bad remark by the way, given the creditability of her government, it is a uncontested conclusion that anyone anywhere in the world finds fault with Mayawati’s behavior and her elusive regime is by definition an ‘Anti-Dalit’. Later, Mr Assange responded to Mayawati, saying she had "betrayed rational thought" and asking her to withdraw her statement and apologize. Apology is something, which our Lady has only so far demanded, and is yet to offer. She never seemed like changing her mind this time, as her demand for an apology was blown off into ashes, notwithstanding the insult, she screamed ‘Mad Man’ referring Jullian Assange. To this Assange made a typical rather stylish, slap-stick British humor (he’s a Swedish-Australian by nationality), adding that he had been held under house arrest in the UK for 272 days but "would be happy to accept political asylum, in India -- a nation he loved, at the same time promising that he would bring Mayawati a range of the finest British footwear.

    Just then as I was laying some finishing touches to this fuming marathon essay, another Lady Vampire storm hit the chord. The inauguration of the extravagant 33 acre sprawl Bhim Rao Ambedkar park at Noida, built at a cost of 685 crore. Our lady landed her feet on the park, easing out from a high-security fighter copter. The frivolous park turned into a fortress with her arrival, encircled with a cluster of whooping 14000 security personnel, Cogent Crowds assembled as usual to catch a glimpse of the self-proclaimed ‘pharaoh’. The entire scene depicted the dramatization of a typical bollywood flick, on the platform there was only a royal VIP chair, meant for the only person, symbolizing Lady Mayawati’s coveted throne on stage. 
   The mighty complex also has fifteen statutes of legendary Dalit Icons like such as Ambedkar, Jyotirao Phule and Kansh Ram, including the gigantic one of our Lady Mayawati, flanked with ten stone elephants of 18 foot high. The political analysts and the observing media commentators do not seem to find any pejorative terms to describe Mayawatis reckless adventure using power and poverty. Last week alone, nearly four hundred children had died of deadly Japanese encephalitis, in the Gorrakhpur village of Mayawati's constituency. In response the venomous leach has sanctioned rupees 18 crore to combat the menace. The shameful culture of pleasing, very well imbibed in the power-politics, splits wide open in the contrasting sums of 685 crore spent on a catastrophic nonsense called as the memorial park at Noida and the 'peanuts' of 18 crore spilled for the epidemic relief program. Any reasonable human conscience can drag itself to question the requisite for these kinds of boisterous expenditures, in the midst of misery and human agony. where on earth could anyone transpire a better exhibition of power?  

  There would be no greater Social reformer of the downtrodden and the oppressed class for decades to come, than our own Dr. BR Ambedkar, the man behind historic Indian constitution. A man of reason like Bhimji, with cash-in-hand surmounting over six hundred crores, would straight away set to finance schools, hospitals, medical facilities, electricity, water etc and mobilize on basic amenities, contrary to what some of his successors have done in these days.  It’s a sign of mockery to the nation and Dalit movement, that Dr. Ambedkar’s personality is reduced to a mere statue. Concrete images of Bhimji, would in no way better the position of the downtrodden in the society, rather his moral principles should draw the attention. The state of Uttar Pradesh has the highest rate of school drop outs in the country about 71% of the children, child-labour is second highest in the country, over 35% of the children are victims of malnutrition and hence have a stunted growth, and over 60% of the masses live below poverty line. Mayawati, as a woman chief minister, has grossly neglected the empowerment of women, there are cases of rampant sexual abuses, domestic harassments, forced marriages and denial of every given right, the woman of India should possess. When Mayawati first sprang into power, Narasima Rao the then Indian prime minister attributed it as the ‘Miracle of democracy’, highlighting the humble beginnings of the lady. It may be true to a large extent; democracy does create a ‘level playing field’ and a vacuum for ‘merit’. In the same context the ill-tempered, semi-conscious German dictator Adolf Hitler and Indira Gandhi, the former congress supreme commander, the great nanny of state corruption were the outcomes of democratic electoral-ballot, resultant of charisma and mass-delusion.

    Democracy can breed the destiny of a layman, but it doesn’t mean that it expects that gratitude in return. Democracy as the ancient Greek philosophical genius ‘Plato’ on one occasion asks himself which is better? A bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than be a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds). As narrated centuries ago, democracy is a blend of sweat deception and bitter justice. Democracy with all its debts possesses the strength to augment the defects of theocracy, monarchy and dictatorship, and therefore it is the ideal state philosophy cherry-pick from the rest. Mayawati is a product of this carefully chosen system and hence it does not prevent citizens from voicing their opinion against her regime, unlike our friends in Libya and Syria. The same ‘Miracle of democracy’ that brought her into power can also dethrone her from the hot seat and indict her for all the criminal cases, corruption and fraud. Let’s hope the whispers transform into howls and the outcry of the virtue prevails over the vindictive vice.


Chris D’souza
‘Society of Free Thinkers’
 Mob: 9902818243

Mangalore, India

Monday, February 20, 2012

Visit BlogAdda.com to discover Indian blogs

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

All in the name of Honour..............................


        
  An honest reflection on a draconian practice in our societies..........

                                                                                        By Chris Emmanuel Dsouza


    It was the spring of 05’, in the beautiful valley of Karora village in Northern Haryana, when the sun had bid farewell and the Full-Moon accompanying with cluster of stars appeared in the darkness of sphere, Manoj had fallen in for Babli. Although, this Haryana lad couldn’t figure out the extent of his fall, he somehow got convinced that it had been a free-fall into the abyss, in love with Babli. At his first encounter with his lady love, he acted rude, for he had been a stoic all his life, and his friends tagged ‘Stone Hearted’ referring him. To Manoj, She was just a woman, but as time passed, and seasons cycled, the cupid set his armour into strike at our boy ‘Manoj’s’ young heart. It didn’t take too much time for Babli to concede Manoj’s request, amidst they had to encounter agony, grief, pain, distress and a load of sacrifices. A year later the young couple began to feel their souls in eachother, they decided to court their love for life. Just as a means of formality, they had to turn to their elders for approval. However, the approval never seemed like coming, Babli pleaded her father, who was adamant on cast.
  
   Manoj belonged to a different cast, a relatively lower than Babli’s, desperate in love, the couples decided to elope. They did, but only a hundred miles away, where Manoj’s friends helped in the registration process. A week later, Babli’s brother Suresh found their whereabouts and coerced her to leave Manoj, with a threat of murder. Little did he know that, threat of death would send fear signals to landlords, mafia dons, politicians, but not on those in love. Babli bravely defied her brother’s vengeance. As societal stigma advanced in the neighborhood, Babli’s father Charan Das ordered his son to fulfill the family’s wicked wishes and save the family’s honour. Not tough enough to handle the ‘shame’ caused by Babli, her brother Suresh set forth to redeem the lost honour.

    On June 9, 2007, Manoj and Babli were found dead near a canal; the scene appeared terrifying as the couple was brutally slaughtered to death. The investigating authorities confirmed it as a cold blooded murder. As the Electronic media for the first time, awakened to the enigma surrounding the ‘Motive’ behind the killing of newly wed couples; to their astonishment and largely to the world’s, they discovered it to be an incredibly disturbing one. It was baptized by the name ‘Honour Killing’, (License to kill for the ‘shame’ caused by the girl, as a pretext for preserving the Family honour). And it was effortlessly carried out by Babli’s closest people, her Brother Suresh, her cousin and her uncle with clear instructions from her beloved father ‘Charan Das’.
  
  At his first hearing Charan Das, openly justified his decision, on the grounds of rituals, that were practiced for centuries. To encourage his position, the self-proclaimed Panchayath legal body the vicious ‘Khap’, openly lauded the assassins, and protested against the civil bodies and human rights groups for interfering in traditional matters. The local bodies of law initially dismissed the case for the lack of proof. But the extent of savagery on the part of the alleged, were enough to evoke considerable media attention. Even Though the Haryana politicians sought interference, hoping to submerge the case, the voices of sanity resisted with thrust. Three years later on March 2010, after raging outcry from the civil society, human rights groups and the media, the accused were sentenced for Capital Punishment.
  
  The Indian Media and legal experts hailed it as a “Landmark Judgment”, a victory over the infamous assemblies, which acted for years with impunity as parallel judicial bodies. After the judgment, in a Parliament session, Home Minister P. Chidambaram proposed a bill that included “Public stripping of women and extermination of young couples from villages and any act which is humiliating will be punished with severity”, and that would “Make Khap dictated honour killings a distinct offence so that all those who participate in the decision are liable to attract the death sentence”.
 
    The iconic Human rights Organization ‘Amnesty International’ defines the concept of ‘Honor Killing’ as “The regime of honour is unforgiving; women on whom suspicion has fallen are not given an opportunity to defend themselves, and family members have no socially acceptable alternative but to remove the stain on their honour by attacking the woman”. Over the years, this form of killing has taken centre stage in third world countries. The Human Rights Watch reported that counties like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia, Iran, Indonesia, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have a high degree of oppression towards women, in the form of Rape, torture, sexual harassment, verbal abuse, domestic violence, repressive societal norms, honour suicides, Public flogging & Stripping, Forced Marriages and Stoning to death.
  

  It is estimated that nearly ten thousand people are killed in the neighboring Pakistan every year, for the alleged crime of causing ‘shame’. Salman Rushdie’s upsettingly brilliant psycho-profile of Pakistan, in his 1983 novel, Shame, rightly laid emphasis on the crucial part played by sexual repression in those regions. And that was before the Talibanization of Afghanistan, and of much of Pakistan, too, it is popularly called ‘Kharo-Kari’ in Urdu. Author and Journalist, Christopher Hitchens summarizes situation of a backward society like this: “Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumor of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk. In such an obscenely distorted context, the counterpart term to shame which is the noble word ‘honor’ becomes most commonly associated with the word “killing.” Moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter”.
  
  The story of India doesn’t appear bright either, atleast a thousand people have been done to death each year owing to ‘Honour Killings’  and the country needs to introduce stringent legislation to deal firmly with the heinous crime. A website goes by the name ‘www.honourkilling.in’, exclusively dedicated to raise the outlined issue and halt this barbaric crime once for all. It uses such beautiful phrases like the one that says “No Honour in Killing” and “Don’t try to be God if you are not one”. On that note, there is possibly nothing more that anyone could offer to cure this draconian ailment. The other worrying trend, that most Human rights Organizations virtually suspect, is the flow of such thoughts into the veins of Educated Urban societies. Critically, the pressing need of the hour lies on counseling the youths, raising public awareness, schooling on reason and rationalism and formulating stricter laws.

   Women are arguably the worst victims of Social Stigmas, Faith based Dogmas, Wars and tyranny for ages. These evils peaked in the dark ages in Europe, the horrifying stories of 'witch-hunts' and ‘burning of adulterers’ would haunt us forever. In these days, feminism has drastically failed in some parts of the world; Afghan women are forced to surrender to the brutality of Obscurantist male folk, while the situations have worsened in the radically charged tribal belts of Pakistan, where women are sentenced to caning; for an alleged immodest behavior.  French government study shows that, women make a negligible number in acts of crime & terror; shockingly over 95% of Suicide bombers and militants in the world comprise of men. At the same time, there is a tremendous rise in atrocities against women all over the world. It is important for the World Media and Civil Society Groups to stand united against 'misogynistic' societies and governments. Only when our women are freed from the chains of social repression, we can possibly claim to be living in a civilized world.





Chris Dsouza
Founder: Society of Free Thinkers


THE Giving Pledge……………




Should Indian Billionaires follow the Guru’s way?
                                                                                                                                                 

                                                                                                 By Chris Emmanuel Dsouza

  The former Indian President and arguably the brightest nuclear brains our country ever produced, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, penned down his dream nation, in the book titled ‘India 2020’.  In his writings, Kalam prophesizes, India’s pinnacle global status in the lines of economy and Technology, perhaps at the closing end of this decade. But, somehow the veteran Space-techie oversees the widening gap between the glittering- prosperous-elite rich and the subdued-sidelined-disgraced poor. At one of his lectures,  India’s Nobel prize winning economists, Dr. Amartya  Sen, stated that India has in its wallet, the worlds wealthiest billionaires, but at same time in its bag, the worlds poorest of poor, who haven’t  had the privilege to be listed in the ‘Forbes Top 500 List of poor’!
   
 
   It is indeed a disturbing fact that sharply about 95% of India’s wealth is owned by 5% of the folks (The Forbes 500 Billionaires), and the rest 5% of the left over pie, is neatly packed, ceiled and dispatched to the billions of empty hands. Switching to brighter side, The historic visits to India this year, by the Legendary American investorindustrialist and philanthropist, Warren Buffet and Microsoft Founder, chairman, the worlds richest individual, Bill Gates, may have opened the eyes and knocked the doors of a few drenched and unworthy billionaires, existing in this country. Warren Buffet, widely regarded as one of the most successful investors in the world, Often called the "legendary investor” and ‘Investment Guru”, in his half a century old reign in the investment business, is a trend setter, in the act of Philanthropy, donated nearly fifty percent of his financial worth to systematic causes worldwide. Bill Gates along with his wife Melinda Gates, have nurtured millions of young underprivileged world wide, through their ‘Gates Foundation” a non-profit organization. Both Gates and Buffett have helped persuade 59 super-wealthy American families to sign what they call the “giving pledge” to return at least fifty percent of their fortunes to society.







   Warren Buffet on his brief visit strongly urged the Indian billionaires to donate a reasonable amount of their earnings to the society, which has served its needs over the years.  It is indeed an infamous character among the business magnates and the Tycoons in our country, overwhelmingly popular for their showmanship rather than socialmanship, the fact that they find little or zero time reserved for their bread-earners, for their tireless strive in return for peanuts.  Ironically, the idea of ‘giving back to the society’ is unheard and unknown among the elected political feudalist and the highly overrated and undeservingly hailed B- Town stars (B-Town=Bollywood Stars). These alligators inhabited in the Silver Screen, grab every opportunity of fame, respect and admiration from the nations million workless-Nomads who queue up for their silly-dreadful-forgettable weekend shows (some of them, find hard to wave at their deluded fans).

      
    


   For over several decades, Management Guru, Peter Drucker, taught that the management was not an end in itself but as a means to create organizations for building and supporting a civil society.  India’s second-richest man, Mukesh Ambani — known better for building a 27-story home than for his social vision — started a foundation in 2009, and his Reliance Industries pledged to double the foundation’s initial $110 million endowment.  Mukesh Ambani, as most left-leaning economist bitterly label as an ‘Business Lizard’, rather than ‘Wizard’, seems to justify his critics, particularly in terms of his negative economy-rate on ‘social empathy’, throughout his undefeated successful career. Surely, an off-colored ‘Buffet way’ missile taunt strike at the Indian rich, would not have gone down well with the ‘Ahmedabad Czar’. However, before pulling the trigger, Mukesh Ambani is not the lone vicious leach here; there are quite of few media moghals, who fancy every opportunity of balancing on common mans weak shoulders. Interestingly, this subject intensified a huge debate on CNN IBN, while Infosys HR head Mohandas Pai, was hooked and tussled by the host Rajdeep Sardasai and Public Intellect Sushil Seth. Mr. Pai, regretfully hit back saying that Buffet and Gates, and other American giants, had amassed excessive wealth, to the extent that it couldn’t be possibly reinvested, lest do these philanthropic activities. Now, to assert this dishonest statement as ‘cheap’ excuse would be a gesture of ‘Compliment’ to the pioneer infosian.

    Devastatingly, these verbal fluids emanate out, from an colossal in the Indian corporate world, live on television. Had the occasion to think of, Instead of being so unapologetic and utterly self piteous on their inability to lend back and share, what the Ambani’s, the Premji’s, Wadia’s, the Birla’s, the Mopatalals, the Mittals and the Biyanis should ponder in these days of suicidal competition and breathtaking technology is the ‘joy of giving’. Again, the phrase has no relation to any kind of ‘spiritual’ context’, absolutely no. Oh, bye the way, it is also true that those in the ‘Roof tops’ of India inc. share a unique bond, with the previously highlighted term! (This shouldn’t be misunderstood for the un--sinful intimacy between UB Group – Chief & the Spiritual Racket ‘Art of Living’). Well now returning back, what does the newly coined term ‘joy of giving’ truly mean? It means that ‘Business’ would reap its benefits in the future. Apart from building a strong credibility, it would construct and capitalize an entity cementing its place in the hearts and minds of the common people.  The family-run succession powerhouses, that no less depict the style of a middle century Indian kingdoms, often bristle, at the point of ‘generosity’. Unfortunately, the picture doesn’t look good either, distressfully in recent times we had to bear the drench of vulgar scams, frauds, scandals, manipulation, fund misuses and a recent viral phenomena imported from the United States-State department called ‘Corporate Lobbyism’. At the stretch of a second, this commends us to the one piercing question, whether we need to glorify the fake concept called ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’? (This, apart from scribbled papers, doesn’t seem to exist).

      At the present context, if at all the global community views India as a ‘Third world Nation’, with countless miseries and rampant poverty, contributing towards a large economic disparity, the blame or the credit must be loomed at the vulgar- crooked -selfish billionaire business families, blessed with the corrupt-discreditable government’s  piety, which have eased them to hog unaccountable sums of wealth, by looting small scale entrepreneurs and plundering the modest savings from the working-class for centuries together, with least concern to their up-lift-ment. The consequence of their rude, marauding and selfish cruelty has ruined the bridge of economic equality, which still remains a dream. These tycoons and magnates, in their crazy greed for an entry into the list of Forbes & Fortunes ratings and their bullish irrational temptation to buy an IPL franchisee (an open stage demonstration of the height of Indian corruption, Fraud & Mass delusion), should also take a leaf out of the mannerisms and reasonable deeds of American Business heavyweights like Buffet, Gates, Carnegie, Branson, Ellison and the long list of social donors in the west. It should be emphasized in B-Schools all over the country, that young guns should not loose foothold on earth while sweeping the skies.

   As most, traditional businessmen in India have sole criteria of profit making and family feeding, which is itself a disgusting ritual in the eyes of a yearning nation, wouldn’t possibly be a healthy companion of founding principal of democratic socialism. We could ponder at this hour, without being able to clear the smug, reminiscing seven decades past the Second World War, that, whether capitalism or socialism, would serve the needs of common man. Modern India’s serious seduction with global market economy, liberalization, Foreign Investment is visibly evident. Therefore, it possibly wouldn’t be a sin to confer India’s attitude as the one that is apparently leaning towards American Capitalism, (or some would say imperialism). Nevertheless, it does not in any case, compensate or compromise for the noble thought of giving back. Every economics student, in his first brush on the subject, learns that ‘A business or an entity exist in a society, among the people, and as so, it is through these means, that it builds into an empire, therefore, it is the duty of every business to give back to its people, not as a compulsion but as a moral obligation’.

By Chris Emmanuel Dsouza
‘The Society of Thinkers’
Mob: 9902818243