Friday, 27 June 2014

Let's #UseCondoms!

By Amitabh Kumar
The reporting and misreporting of the Indian health minister’s comments has thankfully got our attention to the very important topic of #SafeSex. India really needs to improve its quotient on raising awareness about healthy sex practices in all age groups, especially the adolescents.

So, according to the Indian health minister what needs to be promoted is “the integrity of the sexual relationship between husband & wife as “part of our culture”. Firstly, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Indian culture includes Kamasutra & Ajanta-Ellora. Secondly, #SafeSex is the way to go, be it pre-marital, post-marital or extra-marital. It has taken a lot of effort to popularize the concept of safe sex. Please do not push us back in the dark ages!
In India we are still working on breaking primitive myths attached to sexual intercourse. As more young people indulge in sexual behavior (thank god for that!), we should encourage healthy & safe sex practices. A health minister should be encouraging sex education rather than making such ridiculous statements! (Sadly the bloke we have placed for this job is against sex education in schools!)

Well Dr. Harshu, sexual health experts across the globe unanimously agree that it is essential to educate young people about healthy sex practices.

I am guessing you must have realized your mistake by now & will not repeat it; until then, here is a song dedicated for you: Let’s talk about Sex baby:

A photo campaign to go with it

Oh and why just stop at that? I will help you out a bit more and post this #Condom to you, to act as a motivator to #UseCondoms!

You can #PostACondom to Dr Harsh Vardhan at his postal address

Dr. Harsh Vardhan
Former Health and Education Minister, Delhi Govt. (INDIA)
Former President, Bharatiya Janta Party, Delhi State
M.B.B.S., M.S. (E.N.T.)
E-8A/14, Krishna Nagar,
Delhi 110051, INDIA
Tweet your views to him at : @drharshvardhan

Or share your views with him on Facebook

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

When will you build our #FootOverBridge?

By Amitabh Kumar - Head of Media Division (Centre for Social Research)
Have you ever felt you almost kicked the bucket while crossing the street, as that fast car furiously zoomed past missing you by a few inches? Well if you live in India or have ever visited our crazy nation I am sure you know that feeling. Having grown up in Delhi, I am not surprised at the fact that my city tops the list in fatal road accidents

In fact it would be surprise not to witness a minor accident on the road & many close misses, if you are travelling in Delhi.

Our Petition
The road I take to work, is the infamous Nelson Mandela Marg(headlines to a few major accidents), a long stretch of a wide road between Vasant Vihar and Vasant Kunj, where the rich of south Delhi like to test the acceleration of their mean machines. As much as I love the Idea of India progressing & all of us owning Lamborghini’s, we should not be turning a blind eye to most of Indians who are still struggling for their daily bread and walk to work, yes the pedestrians !

Citizen Journlist

Nelson Mandela Marg is also home to Delhi’s fanciest malls, Yes that little piece of Hollywood in the middle of south Delhi. Most of the staff working in these malls uses public transport to get to work (and that won’t change, nope they belong to that category of humans who are born to sell luxury products never own them). They need to cross this fast lane street to get to work.

With a lot of pressure from the civil society, the public works department had inaugurated the #FootOverBridge on 29th August last year , sadly not a single stone has been constructed post that date. Dr Yoganand Shastri the then speaker for the Delhi assembly did a huge media show with garlands and photographers & all the other works which goes with it, I wonder what he has to say about this slow progress !

Well, I figured we could just ask them, so we will be sending postcards(one each day, till we get a reply or a #FootOverBridge) to Dr Shastri( The bloke who inaugurated the FOB) Mr Jung ( Lg of Delhi & Currently responsible for all work to be done in Delhi) Sh Dinesh Kumar(The Public works department boss, who should be getting it constructed)

So the questions are being delivered by the mailman as we speak. In times where the authorities do not pay attention to protesters shouting & screaming, fasting until death, will this age old methodology work ? Let wait and see :)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Badaun is a case of assertion of power against two of India’s most discriminated minorities

By Amitabh Kumar - Head of Media Division (Centre for Social Research)
Badaun has once again got our attention to gender based violence & caste discrimination. No not that India had changed immensely after 16th of December 2012, but most of us were at peace with ourselves as we had attended a few candle light vigils & expressed our solidarity on social media platforms, plus our mission was accomplished once we heard the death sentence for all the accused (except the juvenile who will be out on the streets real soon). But whatever it takes to make this epidemic a point of concern, sadly the solutions we are coming up with are as usual salt to taste, band aid, short term populist solutions to make headlines.

  • Sacking of the misogynistic/patriarchal/corrupt Government of Mr Yadav and crew is a good move for a million reasons but not really a solution for gender based violence or caste discrimination. As the situation is pretty much the same across the nation, (I know this will come as shocker to most, as media tends to focus on a few states when it comes to reporting certain matters, but here is a list of inhuman crimes against Dalits from across the Nation)

  • Setting up of the fancy sounding rape crisis cell, will be like adding an accessory to a failed machinery. Though that is the favorite modus operandi of our government, to create a new centre, scheme, commission, the only issue is they use the existing decaying mechanisms. As the ‘rape crisis cell 'will be dependent on the state police to execute its function, how does it help ?

  • Firing police personnel (that too the ones at the lowest posts) does not solve the purpose either. They have learned to serve the ones in power & ‘only’ work for them, which is not surprising as we follow the ‘police act ‘written by the British to control the Indians & serve the British. As our rulers changed, the police still controls the citizens & serves the parliamentarians. The other side is the police force, which does not take 'rape 'as a serious crime, rather seen with a mentality of victim blaming, 'boys will be boys’, 'dented painted'. These infamous comments sadly reflect the Indian mentality towards gender based violence & that’s not changing by firing a few men in Khaki.

  • As for building toilets, that is a required & essential step to improve the quality of life for the women of UP and across the nation BUT keeping women at home is not really a solution one wants.

So are there any solutions? Well yes they are right in front of us, recommended by commissions setup by our own government (as NGO recommendations are always branded as foreign agenda to pollute Indian culture) even written in the constitution. The latest one being the Justice Verma Committee Recommendations when it comes to tackling gender based violence, as for caste based discrimination there is the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 & loads of advisory reports on how to implement it by our own Ministry of Home Affairs.

Sadly they are never looked upon, every time an incident like the Badaun gets a bit of media coverage, we all (Lead by a few grant seekers from the civil society) relay to reinvent the wheel, well the laws are very much in place, it’s the implementation which is failing, sometimes due to corruption at others due to hurdles created in the system but mostly because of ‘we’ as a society just don’t care enough.

Its not enough just to create a ruckus, as important as it is to stir the system up by protests, slogans & candle light vigils, its essential to bring closure to survivors, to ensure justice no matter how long it takes. Sadly the activist in most of us only becomes alive when the news cameras are around, for those few seconds of fame, for those likes on facebook & shares on twitter. But all that they are on the next day is digital waste if we are not following up & working for systemic changes. All the policing in the world will not change our attitude towards gender based violence unless we are sensitized against it. Similarly only providing quotas will not provide social respect to lower castes. We need to implement focused awareness generation & integration programs to ensure that.

Badaun is a case of assertion of power against two of India’s most discriminated minorities. When I say minority I am not focusing on numbers, I am focusing on social power distribution & sadly Dalits & Women of the Indian subcontinent need a lot of support & protection so that they can attain their share of power & ensure such injustices are not repeated.