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Why aren’t we talking about Marijuana?

Its been long since I have blogged; initially, because time commanded some respect from me, and later because I was too busy finding out the best way to restart this blog. There have been many issues that came and went in the meanwhile, strongly attracting the media attention for as much time as the flutter span of a humming bird, and slowly withering against the test of time to just be lost in the myriad of information of this new age and being replaced by another. The numerous children falling into pits, seven headed cobras on the national highways, parents not allowing student to attend exams due to fee-hikes, Sherlyn Chopra being the topic discussion of dads with a mid-life crisis on a morning walk, Delhi guys being………Delhi guys, Narendra Modi continuing to show that he is the only politician with balls, Wasseypur becoming a tourist spot and what not. But there is one rule in media that we all should start being aware of- “When the media focuses on one story, remember that there is one story that they do not want to show, but one that should be shown.” And that’s how, with a huge contribution from my friend Woz, I came across the perfect issue to be addressed.

A little bit of history first

The plant, Cannabis Sativa originated in Northern India. Because of it’s innumerable benefits, Cannabis was considered nature’s gift to mankind for thousands of years.  It was because of the selfish interests of American corporations that Cannabis was banned across the United States by The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

At this time, Marijuana under the name of Bhaang/Charas/Ganja was easily available all over India and was accepted in society. In some places like Malana, Himachal Pradesh, its still regarded as a gift of nature and revered to. It was in 1985, that under the pressure of the American government, Marijuana was tagged “illegal” in India by the poorly thought of Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Marijuana was classified with narcotics such as Heroin and Cocaine and labelled a “drug”. Like every instance of banning, this action of the government kick-started an elaborate black market market supplying Marijuana. Today, if you search for news related to Marijuana on the internet, you will only find cases of the Police arresting people with possession of Marijuana and even reports of students being expelled from their colleges upon being caught with it. India grows big and viral with its dogmatic views of society; starting from the age old Sati to the still continuing caste system, the potential of Indian’s to even think about rational reasoning is as big as Mayawati’s capacity to realize that progress of UP is not measured in terms of the number of stone elephants on the National Highway. The taboo that has been created for the last hundred years has made us dread the consequences of asking our elders “Whats the harm in consuming marijuana?”.

Only recently we can see the prohibition laws being revoked and relaxed in the United States, post the 2012 elections. Instead of waiting for them to ask us to go ahead and legalize Marijuana, we Indians must learn about this plant as it is very close to our culture. An opinion stands ground only when its based on hardcore data, and not somebody else’s opinion. Its every Indian’s right to be informed.

Disclaimer: This article is written with the sole intention of bringing out the truth about Marijuana. The entire content of this post is absolutely real and targeted for every individual who appreciates one’s own capacity to think and reason. All data produced is completely authentic and meticulously verified. The only way to imbibe the data is to read with an open mind.

The truth about the plant

There is not a single death reported due to Marijuana in the whole world. It is physically impossible to overdose on Marijuana. It has several medical applications, including pain relief, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorders. Marijuana is also a powerful appetite stimulant. Emerging research suggests that marijuana’s medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors and are neuron-protective. Marijuana is much less addictive than nicotine and alcohol. When used in moderation, Marijuana is also known to stimulate creative and imaginative thinking. The plant can also be used to make paper, hemp oil, fabric, plastics and building materials.

bill-hicks2The following is a quote by humorist Bill Hicks.

“Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit . . . unnatural?

morgan_freemanThe following is a narrative by Morgan Freeman.

It’s just the stupidest law possible… You’re just making criminals out of people who aren’t engaged in criminal activity. And we’re spending zillions of dollars trying to fight a war we can’t win! We could make zillions, just legalize it and tax it like we do liquor. It’s stupid.

The disadvantages of being against the law

1.   The prohibition invariably fuels a criminal market that thrives on supplying Marijuana to the people. Law enforcement is forced to waste it’s time and resources in trying to uproot these organizations.

2.   The quality of the Marijuana cannot be regulated in such a market. Often the dealers mix chemicals in the Marijuana to make it more potent. This leads to severe health risks for the users. In a regulated market like that in Amsterdam, the best quality at the right price can be guaranteed without endangering lives.

3.   The government today spends money to keep Marijuana illegal. It can instead tax Marijuana and make money.

4.   The grouping of Marijuana with the hard drugs such as Heroin and Cocaine makes it a gateway drug, one that eventually leads the person to dangerous hard drugs. Heroine and Cocaine are manufactured, not cultivated. Their categorization with Marijuana is completely unjustified.

5.   The most significant of them all, Marijuana can help to reduce the consumption of almost 83% of cigarette smoking and over 95% alcohol consumption, alone in India. As a result, it can help to avoid over 5 million deaths per year in the country.

Question for the government

Is taxation and import duties on cigarettes and alcohol that huge a revenue for the Treasury that a government should ban the cultivation of a domestic product with numerous medicinal, cultural, rational, recreational and physiological advantages, or is today’s government too afraid to have citizens with a fact-based conscious opinions?

Appeal to the media

This is an appeal to the Indian Media to let the truth about Marijuana be known to the people. It is time to educate the population about the benefits of Marijuana and rethink the laws that govern it.

It is time to talk about Marijuana.
Its time to realize that it takes good people to change bad laws.

What are common misconceptions about people from India?

Answer by Sarthak Pranit:

1. There is no language as Indian.

2. We speak Hindi, not Hindu.

3. Not all our dishes are spicy.

4. Shitty traffic is not all across India. Its only in a few metros.

5. Our knowledge of English is one of the best in the world, contrary to the general misconception. We do NOT ROLL OUR Rs.

6. Panipuri is not the name of a state in India.

7. South Indian food does not mean dosa, idli and sambhar; and North Indian food doesn't mean everything else.

8. We do not dance with synchronized steps and carefully rhymed passages when we are happy or express our love to someone. Bollywood is fiction.

9. Not everyone is vegetarian. We love meat, fish and chicken. In most coastal areas, fish is a staple food.

10.Not all Indians practice yoga.

11. Buddha was not born in India. He was born in Nepal, our neighbour.

12. Not everyone is poor and hungry. If you want any proof, go to an Indian wedding.

13. Not everyone wobbles their head to say a yes or no. Its an unfortunate stereotype that caught up.

14. Not everything we eat is fatty. Its like saying all Italian food is pasta and all Chinese food have soy sauce in it.

15. We do not bow before a cow every time one crosses the street. Unlike America, we just let it on its own.

16. The weather is not always hot and sultry. How can one feel sultry at a hill station on the Himalayan range for god's sake? It varies with location.

17. Not every marriage is an arranged marriage. It differs with every case.

18. Caste system is not a legal system we follow. Its just a part of our culture in today's century.

19. We are not the peak of self-discovery. This is one misconception every foreigner has about 'travelling through India'. Its your experience and you have to make sense of it. Most of our population hasn't achieved that self-discovery. The only element of consideration is that you have the freedom of choice in India.

20. India is not unsafe. There have been cases reported, but its only common sense that when you travel, your safety is in your own hands.

21. India is not the IT support of the world. In recent times, we have generated a kickass ecosystem of entrepreneurs which is paving its mind into Indian society.

22. Most important for everyone, Slum-dog Millionaire is miles away from representing true India. If you want to know the real India, then travel across this country.

View Answer on Quora

The Man in the Arena

The man in the Arena

The Man in the Arena

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

This happens to be one notable passage appearing in the seventh page of on the 35 page speech “Citizenship in a Republic” given by former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt at the Sorbonne in Paris, France on April 23, 1910. At the end of it, without extensive verbose, all I would like to say is that not trying make a difference is the greatest failure of all times.

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Was she a teacher or a mother?

First of all I would like to thank my brothers, Subhasanti Pradhan and Abhijit Pradhan, for having it shared on Facebook. the minute I read it, I knew that this is a story that is for everyone who is still waiting to unravel the gift of life called “me”. Thanks bro.

There is a story many years ago of an elementary teacher. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same.

But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

gradeF

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.

Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote,

“Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners. He is a joy to be around.”

His second grade teacher wrote,

“Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.”

His third grade teacher wrote,

“His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote,

“Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.”

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present which was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag.

Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children.
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Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer—the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, M.D.

The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
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They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear,

“Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.”

Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said,

“Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

innovation-for-growth

The Honeycomb Effect

What does a techie who now sets up rainwater harvesting systems in rural schools have in common with an urban farmer who advocates growing vegetables on terraces and balconies? Can an apartment owner who composts her kitchen waste identify with a villager who stitches washable sanitary pads, or a traditional honey hunter in the Nilgiris? In a sense, they are all alike—they are changemakers.

Divya Sreedharan published an article in the Sunday issue of Hindu (dated Oct 14, 2012) when she talked to five social and ecological entrepreneurs, both individuals and organizations, who were saving the planet in their own little way.

 

Schooling them to be water-wise

The former techie now into rain water harvesting (RWH) is Avinash Krishnamurthy, executive director of Biome Environmental, a Bangalore-based non governmental organisation (NGO). Over the past year, Biome has installed, and in some cases revived (existing), RWH systems in eight government schools around Bangalore. Located in water-stressed regions, the schools depend on panchayat water. Supply is either erratic or non-existent. So, there is no safe water for cooking (the mid-day meal), washing vessels or even, for use in the toilets.

Yet from 2005, the Government of Karnataka has spent over Rs 77 crore on a Suvarna Jala scheme to install rooftop RWH systems in more than 23,000 schools in the state. Krishnamurthy says the scheme is not working. “At the individual school level, faculty are not involved in the system upkeep, there is no protocol for testing water quality. In some cases, the schools don’t even need RWH systems,” he explains.

Biome Environmental - Children with the rainwater storage sump

So far, Biome has spent Rs 7 lakh on the project. Local support and knowledge is crucial to their success. For instance, Ramakrishnappa from Kuruburakunte near Devanahalli, a local, helps the NGO identify schools with the worst water shortage. Given that there is also increasing water contamination, Biome wants to provide testing kits so students can test for fluorides and nitrates in the water. “Children can then monitor water quality in their villages,” says Krishnamurthy. For instance, at the Government Urdu School in Vijayapura, some 40 km from Bangalore, Biome spent Rs 11,000 to revive the school’s defunct RWH system. The NGO also showed teachers and the school’s 60-odd students how to maintain the RWH system.

Things are already changing. In August, there were good rains. And Nageena, a class seven student, is happy. “We can use the toilets now,” she laughs.

 

Eat. Grow. Live
In the mid 1990s, a gardening enthusiast went public with his passion. Grow greens on your terraces and your balconies, he urged his fellow Bangaloreans. Not many listened. Bangalore was a sleepy city of sprawling bungalows and well-tended gardens then. As the city grew and space became measured in square feet, what Dr B N Vishwanath said all those years ago finally made sense.

Today, the agriculturist is considered one of the pioneers of urban farming in India. Founding trustee of the Garden City Farmers Trust (GCFT), his message is the same – “eat what you can grow in your garden” or Oota from your Thota (OfyT). Dr Vishwanath explains:

“At organic gardening workshops, we tell participants to set up RWH systems and convert their kitchen waste into compost. That reduces their carbon footprint. We tell them to buy seeds for the first time and thereafter, to grow their own.”

Now, seeds of interest in OfyT are being sown in neighbouring cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad and Thiruvanathapuram.

Bangalore being IT city, OfyT is growing thanks to innumerable blogs, websites and the GCFT Facebook page. Two former techies in particular, Meera K and Vincent Subramaniam, have played a prominent role in spreading the word as founder-co-editors of Citizen Matters, a Bangalore-specific community news platform. And they too are gardening enthusiasts. Meera has a small terrace garden, Vincent has fruit trees and a kitchen garden.

Bangaloreans checking out produce at Oota from Your Thota

 

OfyT came into being as a workshop/exhibition in August 2011 as part of the celebration of Kitchen Gardens International Day. Five editions have been held since. The last OfyT event was held in Bangalore in November 2012.

To contact them:
Website: http://gardencityfarmers.org/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/OrganicTerraceGardening

 

Back to Basics – Eco Femme
Ever wondered what impact menstrual hygiene has on the environment? All those disposable sanitary pads used and thrown away every month. Can women adapt to healthy, affordable menstrual practices that are also eco-positive?

Eleven women in Auroville, Puduchery, are trying to prove just that. They make up Eco Femme, a women’s’ empowerment and self-help group, that stitches and sells washable cloth-based sanitary pads. The group’s output is 1,600 pads a month – mostly sent to the UK, the US and the Netherlands. Now Eco Femme is trying to expand within India.

Eco Femme Kit - Washable cloth-based sanitary napkins to reduce damage to the environment

Eco Femme Kit – Washable cloth-based sanitary napkins to reduce damage to the environment

Founder Kathy Walkling, a long-time Auroville resident, started by designing, using and selling washable pads at Auroville. She says a single, washable cloth pad represents the equivalent of 120 disposable tampons/pads used over a five-year period. “A UK survey showed that a woman throws away approx 125-150kg of sanitary waste during her menstruating life which is assumed to be 35 years,” she explains. In the Indian context there are no surveys. “But a survey in the Indian Textile Journal on the market potential of disposable sanitary napkins says there are over 300 million women of menstruating age in India. The article says if all of them used sanitary napkins, it would result in sales of (and consequently waste from!) 58,500 million pieces a year!” she rues.

Eco Femme was born in 2009 when Kathy involved women self-help group members of the Auroville Village Action Group (AVAG)–an NGO which runs various social enterprises in the villages around Auroville. Now, they organise educational workshops to address the many taboos and gender-based stereotypes associated with menstruation – being considered ‘impure’, becoming a social outcast on those days, and so on. Plus, the project aims to get women to use cloth again. Currently, three models of pads designed for rural women are being product tested with over 1,000 rural women and girls across Tamil Nadu. For urban women, Eco Femme has an ‘export’ or international range of all-in-one pads with wings and leakproof layer, adapted from brands available in the West.

Women stitching the cloth napkins at the facility in Auroville, Pondicherry

 

Eco Femme pads, adds Walkling, help women save money (a washable pad can last years) and the environment.

For further details: www.villageaction.in www.ecofemme.org

 

Keeping the Last Forests Alive – Last Forests
Halan from Baviyoor village is a honey collector or hunter. He wears no protective gear for his work; rather, he relies on traditional knowledge gained over generations. Halan is a Kurumba, one of the many indigenous communities living in the Nilgiris, part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) of the Western Ghats.

Traditional honey collectors in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Western Ghats

Traditional honey collectors in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Western Ghats

Today, the honey he collects by smoking bees out of hives is packaged and marketed to urban consumers under the evocatively named ‘Last Forests’ brand. This initative, promoted by the Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu-based Keystone Foundation (KF), aims to provide a livelihood for tribal people while protecting and conserving the NBR forests.

Suganthi Thangavelu, marketing specialist with Last Forest, says KF involves tribal communities in areas such as natural resource management (promoting beekeeping or apiculture, for example) and enterprise management (production of food, craft and artisanal products). The Last Forest brand offers nine categories of organic/fair-trade and natural products – from varieties of honey (raw, bitter, wild, ginger, etc.) to spices, coffee and oils, personal care products and even, home accessories (Kurumba craft work). “Presently, we work with over a 1,000 individuals (honey collectors, craftsmen, farmers, etc),” she says. The biggest benefit to them, she explains, is that they get upfront cash payment and assured purchase of the quantities they produce.

These products are available at Last Forest-owned Green Shops located at Ooty, Kotagiri, Coonoor and Mysore, as well as other stores in Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Pondichery.

Under Threat
But beyond the exotic allure of the brand, lies a grim truth – the NBR forests, spread over Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, are under threat, says KF. On one hand there are human activities such as tourism, poaching, logging and extraction of medicinal plants; on the other, there is climate change. Now, the bees are getting affected too. In fact, a May 2011 report in The Hindu noted that bees in the Western Ghats are abandoning their colonies, leading to a sharp decline in honey production.

Collecting honey, smoking out the bees

So, the Last Forest brand is not just about “buying organic”, it is about investing in the forests and the indigenous communities. For, if the bees fly away, what happens to Halan?

For further details: www.lastforest.in www.keystone-foundation.org

 

Treat Your Trash to Terracotta – Daily Dump
Trupti Godbole and Sarita Kotagiri are activists, not the slogan-shouting type, the get-it-done kind. In their quiet way, these two women have, for the past four years, converted their apartment building (Sarovar Apartments, LB Shastri Nagar, Bangalore) into a re-use, and recycle zone where nothing is trashed. They have convinced other apartment owners in the area, to follow suit. And they have uploaded YouTube videos on their experience.

They are committed composters. They use Daily Dump.

Trupti Godbole with the Daily Dump composter

 

Daily Dump is the brainchild of Bangalore-based industrial designer Poonam Bir Kasturi. Her premise is stunningly simple–convert your kitchen waste into compost at home using a composter. Daily Dump offers ‘terracotta composters (basically, tiered pots) and various other products for both the home and the larger community. Launched in 2006, Daily Dump operates on an ‘open source’ platform–others can “clone” the concept. “There are 15 other clones” operating presently in the country. There’s also a franchisee in Chile.

Waste gone waste?
As of August 2012, Daily Dump users were responsible for keeping over 7,000 kgs of organic waste out of landfills. At Sarovar Apartments alone, four big composters handle 10 kgs of organic/kitchen waste daily. Yet so much more can be done in waste management. According to Poonam, research shows Bangalore generates upto 4,500 tonnes of waste every day. “Sixty per cent of that is organic,” she stresses. To show people what happens to their trash, Daily Dump conducts (based on enquiries received) day-long tours called Trash Trails. The trip includes interactions with small scale entrepreneurs, recyclers, sorters and dealers.

Poonam has also recently launched Recycle Guru–a website to bring citizens closer to their local recycler. “Log onto Recycle Guru, get the number of your local raddiwala/kabadiwalla, and call him to pick up your waste,” says Poonam. Initially, the website is Bangalore-specific.
For further details: www.dailydump.org http://recycleguru.in/

(Shared from http://www.thebetterindia.com/6570/the-honeycomb-effect-small-causes-small-changes-big-impact-part-1/)

Girl holds a placard as she takes part in a protest rally in Hyderabad

She was wounded, her honour wasn’t

This is a post that I had read a few days ago. This is the culmination of experiences of Sohalia, then, a resident of Chembur, Mumbai. She was gang-raped at the age of 17. Contrary to popular beliefs about rape, this is an opinion that stands strong because it stands on the basis of self acceptance and acting as per capacity. She lived on to tell that tale of “All in never lost”.

“Thirty three years ago, when I was 17 and living in Bombay, I was gang raped and nearly killed. Three years later, outraged at the silence and misconceptions around rape, I wrote a fiery essay under my own name describing my experience for an Indian women’s magazine. It created a stir in the women’s movement — and in my family — and then it quietly disappeared. Then, last week, I looked at my e-mail and there it was. As part of the outpouring of public rage after a young woman’s rape and death in Delhi, somebody posted the article online and it went viral. Since then, I have received a deluge of messages from people expressing their support.

It’s not exactly pleasant to be a symbol of rape. I’m not an expert, nor do I represent all victims of rape. All I can offer is that — unlike the young woman who died in December two weeks after being brutally gang raped, and so many others — my story didn’t end, and I can continue to tell it. When I fought to live that night, I hardly knew what I was fighting for. A male friend and I had gone for a walk up a mountain near my home. Four armed men caught us and made us climb to a secluded spot, where they raped me for several hours, and beat both of us. They argued among themselves about whether or not to kill us, and finally let us go. At 17, I was just a child.

Life rewarded me richly for surviving. I stumbled home, wounded and traumatized, to a fabulous family. With them on my side, so much came my way. I found true love. I wrote books. I saw a kangaroo in the wild. I caught buses and missed trains. I had a shining child. The century changed. My first gray hair appeared. Too many others will never experience that. They will not see that it gets better, that the day comes when one incident is no longer the central focus of your life. One day you find you are no longer looking behind you, expecting every group of men to attack. One day you wind a scarf around your throat without having a flashback to being choked. One day you are not frightened anymore. Rape is horrible. But it is not horrible for all the reasons that have been drilled into the heads of Indian women. It is horrible because you are violated, you are scared, someone else takes control of your body and hurts you in the most intimate way. It is not horrible because you lose your “virtue.” It is not horrible because your father and your brother are dishonored. I reject the notion that my virtue is located in my vagina, just as I reject the notion that men’s brains are in their genitals.

If we take honor out of the equation, rape will still be horrible, but it will be a personal, and not a societal, horror. We will be able to give women who have been assaulted what they truly need: not a load of rubbish about how they should feel guilty or ashamed, but empathy for going through a terrible trauma. The week after I was attacked, I heard the story of a woman who was raped in a nearby suburb. She came home, went into the kitchen, set herself on fire and died. The person who told me the story was full of admiration for her selflessness in preserving her husband’s honor. Thanks to my parents, I never did understand this.

The law has to provide real penalties for rapists and protection for victims, but only families and communities can provide this empathy and support. How will a teenager participate in the prosecution of her rapist if her family isn’t behind her? How will a wife charge her assailant if her husband thinks the attack was more of an affront to him than a violation of her? At 17, I thought the scariest thing that could happen in my life was being hurt and humiliated in such a painful way. At 49, I know I was wrong: the scariest thing is imagining my 11-year-old child being hurt and humiliated. Not because of my family’s honor, but because she trusts the world and it is infinitely painful to think of her losing that trust. When I look back, it is not the 17-year-old me I want to comfort, but my parents. They had the job of picking up the pieces. This is where our work lies, with those of us who are raising the next generation. It lies in teaching our sons and daughters to become liberated, respectful adults who know that men who hurt women are making a choice, and will be punished.

Sohalia Abdulali

Sohalia Abdulali

When I was 17, I could not have imagined thousands of people marching against rape in India, as we have seen these past few weeks. And yet there is still work to be done. We have spent generations constructing elaborate systems of patriarchy, caste and social and sexual inequality that allow abuse to flourish. But rape is not inevitable, like the weather. We need to shelve all the gibberish about honor and virtue and did-she-lead-him-on and could-he-help-himself. We need to put responsibility where it lies: on men who violate women, and on all of us who let them get away with it while we point accusing fingers at their victims.”

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“Lend me your ears” says Anonymous

Anony:

Friends, Indians and downloaders,

Lend me your peers,

I come here to bury Torrents, not praise them

The evil that torrents do often live with the ISPs

The good is often interred with their reminiscence.

So let it be with Torrents.

The noble Sibal hath told you torrents are pernicious:

If it were so, it is a grievous fault,

And drastically should sites be censored for it.

Here, under leave of justice and the rest– Come I to speak at the torrents’s funeral.

It was like all my virtual sources, faithful to healthy information.

But Kapil says it was ‘discriminatory’.

And Sibal is an honourable man.

Torrents hath brought many despots down to dust

Whose misdeeds did the costly pre-orders grimly fill.

Did this in Torrents seem ‘discriminatory’?

When options hath died, torrents hath wept:

Discrimination should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Kapil says download networks are inflammatory,

And Sibal is an honourable man.

I speak not to disprove what Sibal spoke,

But here i am to speak what i do know.

You all did download at once, not without cause:

What cause withholds you then, to oppose the Government now?

O discretion thou art fled to brutish beasts, So magnets can easily lose their reason.

So what? Bear with me. My heart is on the uTorrent there with the torrents,

And i must pause till its peers are sided with me.

First Chetan:

Methinks there is much reason in his sayings. Assorted blogs, regulated wikis, censored podcasts:

I fear worse censorship comes to this place.

Anony continues:

  But yesterday the discrepancy from Reliance might Have stood along the will of the people,

which inevitably hath led Airtel to follow cue

Now lies it there, With even the NDA too lethargic to do it reverences.

If you have fears, prepare to shed them now…

Look, in this place ran Sonia’s dagger through:

See what a rent the indignant Chidambaram made:

Through this the well-beloved Kapil stabb’d; And as he pluck’d his censoring steel away

Mark how the blood of BitTorrent follow’d it,

As rushing out of doors, to be resolved If Sibal so unkindly castrated, or no;

For Kapil, as you know, was the suave UPA libertarian.

This was the most unkindest cut of all;

For when the liberal BitTorrent saw him stab,

Disbelief more strong than bigots’ harms,

Did NOT quite vanquish it.

But destiny beholds going viral with all their sharing power

That the torrent networks shall rise.

Oh what a backlash there will be my countrymen.

Then i, and you, and all the Torrent Reactor, PirateBay and even Vimeo groups Arise.

And cyber freedom shall triumph over all.

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