Wednesday, November 25, 2009
He then retracts his statements. In the meantime media has gone to town, and 3 cops come under a public shadow. Net result, we waste the time of 3 critical cops, the time of an under-staffed and poorly budgeted department…and distract them from their duty; keeping us safe.
We are busy arguing about faulty bullet proof vests. Isn't the best test to make politicians wear them and start firing at them? :)
A strange photograph in the newspaper showed us a diagram revealing that all terrorist bullets magically missed the vest and entered Karkare's body through the unprotected areas, thus saving the guys who bought the vests. I remembered the magic bullet from JFK...the one that traveled all over kennedy:)
Two ‘Force One’ commandos....trained to combat terrorism, and engage in urban warfare against them, FAINT during a demonstration to our politicians. I guess they can shock the enemy by fainting on them or in curious formations.
Our S.R.P.F. lie for days on the road. The State Reserve Police Force, the guys who are supposed to protect our STATE, the commercial capital of India, has no place to sleep. Why would these guys give their lives for us? But, they still do.
RR Patil is back, the very minister who was asked to resign after 26/11. His resignation was meaningless, and his coming back is meaningless. He could not have been blamed for the attacks because a state home minister in India is in really no position to fight terrorism. He is just ill-informed and mostly impotent against urban terrorism.
In a hugely expensive trial, we are still entertaining Kasab, the one live terrorist. His trial is now a comic book story in India…kids talk about his theatrics and the drama that surrounds him. We spend millions on keeping the trial going, because we have to SHOW the world we are civilized. Can we wrap this trial up sooner please, it costs us tax money???
Pakistan has disintegrated into chaos, China has started pissing on our feet and the USA plays volley ball with our foreign policy. The only real geo-political consensus is on the arms race and how everyone can make money by creating more and more chaos. India Inc has jumped into the defense business and this will be the next sunrise industry of the region.
Is India safer? Has the underworld been even dented? Has ONE terrorist group been shut down? Is the Indo-Pak issue anywhere closer to being resolved? Somehow the smartest politicians in India can’t fix the Kashmir issue for over 60 years. Somebody must be making shit loads of money? Who?
At the central level we are forming ONE MORE intelligence agency…what about strengthening the IB and RAW forces….either you build a homeland security model or you don’t…no half-ways work. Can we learn from the USA?
Rahul Gandhi, in a moment of rare moral courage, raised the issue of wastage of police forces/security forces. In India, each politician and his relatives are apparently threatened all the time and need Z level security, if not less. This means that security forces waste precious man-power protecting our rich and fat politicians while they should be protecting us! Needless to say, he was shouted down in parliament, even from within his party:)
In the midst of a farcical year, two brave police wives have been showing us the light….Mrs. karkare and Mrs. Kamte…both have been asking tricky questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of their husbands, both of them straight cops with great reputations. Mrs. Kamte had to get the post-mortem report of her husband through the RTI. Isn’t that a shame?
In the last year, we have learnt NOTHING. Our politicians have made merry, making strange sounds with no sense, our media has screamed and whimpered its way through every issue…migrated from activism to passive resignation to empty theatrics. There is no real security anywhere. No public security. The only thing that binds us Indians together is our own local bonds, in families, housing societies, small towns and mohallas. The real Indian lives at a local, small level, untouched by the sound and fury, waiting for the next disaster, scurrying around making money and trying to keep his/her family afloat.
If there is any fight-back, it is at this local level, the only real level….where we fight for our humanity, security and keep hoping for a better tomorrow. True secularism, democracy, local governance and accountability are our tools. The state has failed; the fourth estate has lost its way. Every citizen needs to stand up, right now.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
An awesome (if we may say so ourselves) concept that integrates social messaging and music, organically.
So, tonight at Bluefrog (the perfect place for a performance in Mumbai, where some great contemporary music acts from all over the world have performed recently)a bunch of talented home-grown musicians will perform to communicate the message of gender equality.
UPDATE: The September 9 Evening was fantastic, with original music from Adrian, Nikhil and the others lighting up the evening. An impromptu spoken-word performance from artist and spirited Bohemian - Sapna Bhavnani had the Audience enthralled.
Will try and upload the video of the performances very soon!
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Want to see film, click here
Salute the extraordinary common man this Independence Day! Jai Hind :)
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
A 17-year-old girl in Surat was raped on her way to early morning tuitions.
An 18-year-old British volunteer on an exchange programme was raped in Himachal. A young married woman was gang-raped in Bhopal in a moving car while her husband was held at gunpoint. Five young man raped a young girl in Mira Road and circulated the MMS clip.
What's even more shocking is all these incidents have occured in the last two weeks. It's shocking and appalling how lightly the crime is being taken. At Fight Back, we're determined to do something about this.
After getting support from various quarters and hundreds of signatures, our petition – which demands life imprisonments for all rapists – has been sent to the Law Commission by Fight Back core member Kirti Jaykumar. The petition got a big push after Mr. Soli Sorabjee, the former attorney general of India helped us fine tune, modify and generally gave the idea a big THUMBS UP! As mentioned in the posts below....
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Agreed! So we modified our petition - calling for a radical change in Indian rape laws that included death sentence for rapists.
BUT we've got to make ANY man in this country think a HUNDRED times before raping anybody. So folks we've settled for "LIFE IMPRISONMENT" and NO, we're not going below that! No matter what your argument.
Now, here's a better part of this blog post - Soli Sorabjee, the former attorney general of India will be our guiding light. Helping us fine tune our anti-rape petition, and make our case stronger before presenting it to the law commission.
It's an honour to have Mr.Sorabjee aboard. Click on the link to know more about his work and position and you'll understand why.
While we're not there yet, we can't stop celebrating our first flush of success in our call for a radical change of India's rape laws.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Along with greater sensitization, at various levels - schools, colleges, social groups - we're pushing for harsher punishment for perpetrators of Rape. We want Rape to be removed from the Casual domain! We want those who think they can get away with vicitimising a woman for life to NOT get away with it.
Our belief - Death Penalty for Rape - is supported by our 2000+ Fight Back members, as well as intelligent icons like Smriti Irnani. We also have youth heroes like VJ Ranvijay telling youngsters that its not 'cool' to eve tease, molest or rape!
Log onto http://www.petitiononline.com/395kj/petition.html
Sign the petition. MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
Friday, April 17, 2009
We have said in the past, that Indians are Democratic about Rape. And we're inclined to think, for some reason, that white women don't mind being raped! Sadly, 'Athithi Devo Bhava' has just turned into a meaningless cliche!
Zubin (the founder of Fightback, for the uninitiated) sent out this impassioned message to all our members on Facebook.
A strong message which I thought I must share with our blog followers -
Rape seems to be the new launguage of 'superpower' India.
In a country tripping on jingoism and a false sense of grandeur, every rape we endure is a deadly hit in the groin for India. One of the rapists of the US citizen studying at TISS said that "he hid not expect her to complain..." , he evinced surprise that she bothered to file a case against him. Is this testimony of his insanity and brutality...or ours, for having created him?
We rape when we riot. We rape babies, little girls and boys. We rape old women, young women and every available visitor to india. We rape mentally challenged children.
Are we going to allow rape to become the dominant discourse of modern India....the right to plunder, maim and hurt at will? Why are we allowing this to become a permanent fixture in our DNA?
I personally believe rapists should be castrated. They should be then sent to jail for years and someone should throw away the key. Rapists need to be punished very seriously and potential rapists need to become scared shitless of even thinking of rape.
How can we do this?
1. Lets start a movement for tougher laws for rape? Can we aim for the death penalty? Can we look at life imprisonment?
2. Can we make sure some of us pursue the cases against rapists and see them go to jail? Venting on facebook is usless, lets track real time cases? Any volunteers?
3. Gender sensitization in schools & colleges. Can we create a module together? any volunteers?
lets get moving people, you could get raped next.
Log onto Facebook, join Fight Back, No More Gender Violence. We send out messages, discuss activities and we're always looking for agents of change to volunteer with us. Or mail us at the email available on this page.
Monday, March 16, 2009
On day three - Feb 26 - we were at 117. And then by March 8, 2,00,000 doctors had said no to Female Foeticide.
Did you know that we murder 2 million girl children every year?
Fight Back's event on Woman's Day - International Missing Women - roped in Doctors to Fight Back Female Foeticide.
At first member's started calling doctors, as March 8th approached, Fight Back PUSHED hard.
Slowly the entire Indian Medical Association was behind us. Which upped the numbers to 2 lakhs doctors from across Indian who said, "No to female foeticide."
Atta way to celebrate Woman's Day! Don't you think!
Friday, February 20, 2009
We spent a few months trying to collaborate with artists who believed in our cause after many meetings and discussions with artists and art galleries in Mumbai, we decided to do it ourselves.
A late night brainstorming session just days before the exhibition resulted in our two concepts - 'The Woman's Labyrinth' (for our Gender Violence Forum) and 'Postcards to Pakistan' (for our burgeoning anti-terrorism movement). Over crumbs of burger buns and cups of coffee... Zubin said, "This is it, let's go ahead, let's do it!"
Madhu's long-forgotten architectural skills (she's a trained architect turned designer) and my (surprising!) organisational skills came in handy while setting up the installations. In one evening both the installations were up!
Other core members of Fight Back were a constant source of support and encouragement, making calls where needed, pitching in with ideas and volunteering throughout the 8 days - Divya, Jessy, Sonali, Harish, Rayomand.
Soon, king and encouraging words pouring in on our Facebook walls, emails and cellphones.
Lakhs of visitors at Kala ghoda appreciated the installations and Fight Back - the movement.
Our online members pitched in as well, by volunteering at Kala Ghoda - Parizaad, Rishita, Rita, Lalita, Sneha and others.
We'll soon update the site with the details about the media coverage. Madhu and Rayo who help out with the site are on a well-deserved holiday!
Would you like us to set up these installations somewhere in other city or another location in Mumbai... drop us a line.
The Indian Taliban continues to rear its ugly head - as the publicity hungry Muthalik or these barely-known local goons who recently attack a group of hardworking, successful Indian men AND women. Princess Baatcheet from noclearreactions.com brings this to our attention. Send us your reactions, post this in your blogs, write about it on facebook notes, this is already on our facebook - FightBack Group - wall react there, forward it your friends .... MAKE A NOISE!!!
A few of my friends and I were just paying our bills and coming out of our regular Friday night watering hole and dinner place in Rest House Road, just off Brigade Road, and most of the women in the company were already standing outside. Some of us outside were smoking, people were happy, there was laughter and jokes, as there were many other people
in the street, all coming out, satiated, in the closing hour of the
various pubs and restaurants around.
Suddenly from up the street a massive SUV comes revving and speeding, hurtling down, and stops in a scream of brakes and swirling dust, millimeters away from this group of 4 women, barely missing one of their legs. A white Audi, imported, still under transfer, with the
registration plate of KA-51 TR-2767. Some millionaire's toy thing, that in the wrong hands can kill.
Naturally the women are in shock. And quickly following the shock comes indignation. These are self made women running their own businesses, managing state responsibilities for global NGO firms, successful doctors. They are not used to being bullied. So they turn around, instead of shrinking back in fear. They protest.
And as soon as they turn around in protest, the car doors are flung open, and a stream of 4-5 rabid men run out towards these women, screaming obscenities in Hindi and Kannada against women in general, fists flailing. Some of us who came in running at the sound of the screaming brakes now stand in the middle in defense of our women, and then blows start raining down. One of the goons make a couple of calls over the cellphone, and in seconds a stream of other equally rabid goondas land up. They gun straight for the women, and everyone – a few well-meaning bystanders, acquaintances who know us from the restaurant, basically everyone who tries to help the women – starts getting thoroughly beaten up.
Women are kicked in the groin, punched in the stomach, slapped across the face, grabbed everywhere, abused constantly. Men are smashed up professionally, blows aimed at livers, groins, kidneys and nose. A friend is hit repeatedly on the head by a stone until he passes out in
a flood of blood.
A plain-clothes policeman (Vittal Kumar) who saunters in late stands by watching and urging people to stop, but doing absolutely nothing else. A 'cheetah' biker cop comes in, with our women pleading him to stop this madness, but he refuses action, saying a police van will come in soon and he cannot do anything. Everyone keeps getting hammered. Relentlessly.
The carnage continues for over 20 minutes.
Finally when the police van does come in it is this vandals who are raging and ranting, claiming to be true "sons of the Kannadiga soil", and we are positioned to be the villainous outsiders, bleeding, outraged. How do the cops believe them, especially seeing the bloody faces of our men and the violated rage of our women, while they carry nary a scratch on their bodies? Don't ask me! Yet, it is us who these goondas urge the newly arrived law-keepers to arrest, and the police
promptly comply, and we are bundled into the van, some still being beaten as we are pushed in. Some blessed relief from pain inside the police van at least, even if we are inside and the real goons outside, driving alongside in their spanking white Audi. The guy who was hit by the stone is taken separately by the women to Mallya hospital.
Inside the police station at Cubbon Park it becomes clear that these goons and the police know each other by their first names. The policeman in charge (Thimmappa) initially refuses to even register any complaint from me, on the purported grounds that I am not fluent in Kannada and I have taken a few drinks (3 Kingfisher pints, to be precise) over the evening. No, it doesn't matter that I didn't have my car and was not driving, and no, it doesn't mater that the complaint
will be written in English. We watch them and the goons exchange smiles and nods with our our bloodied and swelling eyes and realize in our pain-clouded still-in-shock brains the extent of truth in the claim of one of the main goons when he claimed earlier in the evening in virulent aggression: we own this town, this car belongs to an MLA, we will see how you return to this street!!
This was the turning point of the saga, I guess. For we refused to lie down quietly and be victims.
One of our girls, a vintage and proud Bangalorean who is running one of the town's most successful organic farming initiatives, took upon herself to write the complaint, when I was not allowed to write the same. Another Bangalore girl, a state director of a global NGO firm,
wrote the other molestation complaint separately on behalf of all the girls. Some of us called our friends in the media and corporate world. Everyone stepped up. And even when the odds were down and we were out, we did not give up, and as a singular body of violated citizens we
spoke in one voice of courage and indomitable spirit. That voice had no limitation of language, not Kannada, nor English, or Hindi. It was the voice of human spirit that cannot be broken.
And in the face of that spirit, for the first time, we saw the ugly visage of vandalism, hiding behind the thin and inadequate veil of political corrupt power, narrow-vision regionalism and self-serving morality, start to wilt.
We spent 6 hours next day in the police station. The sub-inspector of police who filed our FIR, Ajay R M, seemed a breath of fresh air inasmuch that he did not appear a-priori biased like others, even though the hand of corruption and politico-criminal power backing
these goons was still manifest in many ways: a starched, white-linen power-broker walked in handing over his card to the sub-inspector in support of the goons; the goons got an audience with the Inspector because of this intervention, while we had to interact one level lower
down in the hierarchy; the plains cloth policeman of last night, even though he had arrived far too late in the crime scene, gave a warped statement, passing it off as a "neutral" point of view, repeatedly stressing that we came out of a pub and hence were drinking, positioning this as a 'drunken brawl', while completely forgetting to mention the unprovoked attack against the women and the one-sided vandalism and violence that ensued. I guess one cannot blame the low
ranked police officer – the criminal connections of these goons must be pervasive enough for him to be careful.
Thanks however to the impartial handling of the situation by Ajay, soon the goons were all identified. The lead actor was one Ravi Mallaya (38), a real estate honcho and owner of a small property off Brigade Road which he has converted into a "gaming" (you know what that means, don't you?) adda. The others identified are Mohan Basava (22) of Chamarajapet 12th Cross, R. Vijay Kumar Ramalingaraju (25) and Shivu Rajashekar (20). All are residents of 12th & 13th Cross in Vyalikaval. Their bravado and machismo were by that time evaporated. It was good to see their faces then.
Of course nothing much happened to them, nor did we expect it. They were supposed to be in lock up for at least the weekend till they were produced in court, but we understand that they were quickly released on (anticipatory?) bail. The car, purportedly belonging to an MLA, also does not figure in the FIR, apparently for reasons of "irrelevance to the case".The media also have given us fantastic coverage and support so far, strengthening the cause.
The goons meanwhile, as an after thought, also filed the customary reverse complaint on the morning after we filed our own complaint: the women have apparently scratched the car! (Why did they not file the complaint the same night, considering they came to the Police Station
in the same car? Why was the car allowed to be taken off police custody? Why is the car still irrelevant to the case and not in the FIR? Questions.. questions..).
Is this the end of this saga? Probably not. Are these women, more precious to us as friends and wives than most things in our lives, safe to walk or drive down Brigade Road from now on or are the goonda elements, slighted by this arrest and disgrace, are lying in ambush, waiting, biding their time to cause some of us more grievous harm? We don't know. Is there reason for us to remain apprehensive of future attacks and victimization? Perhaps.
Friday, February 13, 2009
‘A Woman’s Labyrinth’, is one of the two art installations by Fight-Back - India’s fastest growing movement against Gender Violence and Terrorism - at the Kala Ghoda Festival this year. The second installation is democratic – like the movement itself – and it will take the shape people give it. ‘Post Cards to Pakistan’ is an interactive project that will kick-start at the Festival. It’s an interactive installation that urges people to fill in postcards with their message to anybody in Pakistan; the postcards will be displayed throughout the fest. In the following months, more ‘Postcards to Pakistan’ will be collected from people across the country and later sent to our neighbour.
Fight-Back has emerged as a national platform for passionate Indians across the country, unhappy with Status Quo. It was founded by a team of media professionals – led by Zubin Driver - who believe in making a difference and ‘being the change they want to see’. Since its inception last year, Fight-Back has grown by leaps and bounds. As a result of its consistent and powerful campaigning against Gender Violence, Fight-Back, Say No to Gender Violence was the only initiative chosen to represent India in the Alliance of Youth Movements Summit in New York last year.
More recently, Fight-Back’s new wing No More Terrorism pulled off a phenomenonal event, completely led by volunteers across the country who believed in the cause. On Republic Day, over 1.1 million children from schools across India read their Constitutional Duties – as a first step to reaffirm and rejuvenate the ‘spirit’ of India in the country’s next generation.
With the core team consisting of a bunch of creative media professionals, Fight-Back believes in the power of art to spread its message. Last year, thousands of Music CDs with 16 original rock compositions were given away to young students across 5 different Indian cities.
Fight Back’s art installations at the upcoming Kala Ghoda Festival too aims to change people’s mindsets, spread awareness about two very vital issues – Terrorism and Gender Violence – and kick-start long-term intervention.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Fight-Back member Mahafreed Irani writes about the Mangalore attack and asks some tough questions
A year after two women were molested outside the JW Marriot in Juhu Mumbai, another attack on women. This time, it’s not by sexually-frustrated men trying to grope women. This time, it a group of self-appointed police - The Shri Ram Sena they call themselves.
In the name of God (Lord Ram is a Hindu God), around 40 men openly gate crash into a pub which they believe is the centre of immoral activity. They make their presence (and hooliganism) felt by dragging the women by their hair, pulling them out, tearing their clothes, throwing them on the floor and all things immoral, atleast the civilised world would think so.
All this happens, a day before India’s Republic Day. The country which takes pride in calling itself the largest democracy in the world.
Questions I’d like to ask as a woman and citizen of India:
1. How did the main molester of the JW Marriot incident escape?
2. Should I be scared of going to a pub or night club because I am a woman?
3. In response to the assault on women in the pub, the Karnataka Chief Minister made a statement. But why did he have to read it out? Couldn’t he look up and say what he wanted? Or was he scared? What kind of leaders do we have?
4. 17 of the assaulters have been caught. What about the rest? What about the leader?
5. The leader of the Shri Ram Sena group is Pramod Muthalik. He openly spoke to TV new channels and reporters. Now he is absconding. How did the police not track him down and arrest him? How did he escape?
Some background on Pramod Muthalik:
-He is the founder of Sri Ram Sena. He is a former leader of the Bajrang Dal.
-He has dismissed the pub attack as a “small incident”. He justified the act saying that his men were doing their “duty”.
-His Sena reportedly runs a militant camp and has been blamed for inciting communal violence and also preparing youth to undertake retaliatory acts of terror.
6. Considering there is so much information about him and his criminal-like activities. Shouldn’t the police have kept an eye on him and his whereabouts?
7. Wouldn’t this issue die out without the media highlighting it? Why do the cops and politicians blame the media for hyping it? Do they not have any sense of regret or shame?
8. How did the gang of men enter the pub?
Mahafreed Irani is a journalist working with Times of India. Before which she was heading the "Speak Up" section of DNA. She's also a passionate Fight-Back member.
You can read more from Mahafreed at www.mahafreed.wordpress.com
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Not surprisingly India is pissed! And so is the blogosphere.
Vincent Van Ross on topangle.instablogs says, "I am a great fan of cricket and I still consider it a gentleman’s game notwithstanding the indiscretions the game has suffered in recent years. It would be a disgrace to the game of cricket to call these alleged rapists—cricketers."
Wizard prince at wizardprince.sulekha.com says,
"her real trauma and character assassination started afterwards as thousands of villagers and local political groups started supporting the rape and blamed the girl for provoking the boys by wearing modern clothes and by getting involved in physical intimacy in the car with her male friend. What is even more ghastly and disgusting is the fact that the village women especially the family members of the ten accused justified the rape and said the girl should be killed for doing things that provoked innocent young boys."
Editorials have been, justifiably, scathing. Hindustan Times says, the issue cannot be "wished away"
"It is true that sarpanch’s comment is shocking, but it does not come as a surprise. Remember the Bhanwari Devi case and the judicial officer’s comment that the rape could not have possibly taken place because no upper caste man would ever rape a lower-caste woman? Prejudices run deep in feudal India. Let us not fool ourselves into thinking that it is a rural affliction. The urban pockets of the country are also known to brush such heinous crimes under the carpet. However, the issue of rape cannot be seen as just a law and order problem. The culprits get away because of a mindset that does not see crimes against women as unacceptable. In fact, those five words from the Garhi Chawkhandi village sarpanch prove once again that unless and until our attitude towards women changes, there will be more incidents like the one that happened in Noida."
The Hindustan Times editorial reiterates what we keep talking about most of the time - CHANGE OF MINDSETS. Sensitization programmes, spreading awareness, debating issues and more!
The landscape's changing, laws are getting tougher, fast-track courts are in action but mindsets are stuck far behind in the past.
Despite Noida's shiny malls, fancy cars and IT parks... it took just five words from one of the locals to shake us off our illusion that women are liberated in today's India - "It was just a rape"