Tag Archives: women

BOOK TALK: THIS UNQUIET LAND … by Barkha Dutt

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THIS UNQUIET LAND

(STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES)

By Barkha Dutt

(Published in 2016)

Publisher: Aleph

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about

    There is an old saying. ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only once.’ I think the saying fits in quite well in this case as you’ll come across many lives in this book.

    Barkha began working in 1994 for a news show that was originally broadcasted on Doordarshan. Her entry into journalism coincided with the birth of private TV. But, then, why this book all of a sudden? Showcasing India’s fault lines that runs deep and wide. Some of them even go back, centuries. The book is some three hundred plus pages. Where, she has selected certain topics, that have been haunting India for quite some time now. And these topics have even besmirched India’s reputation abroad. Basically she has handpicked issues that she came across during her career as a journalist. And around those issues the book spreads like a Banyan tree, but without any storyline. Hence it is difficult to summarise or even write a synopsis. However, what I’ve attempted here for you is, the trait of the book. Along with its central points that will give a sense of what the book is all about.

    The book spins around issues and the issues spin around Barkha. It has a gamut of aspects—starting right from her childhood, including parents, education, career, enthusiasm and even frustration. But most of the time … it is India’s helplessness. So, not a very superlative narrative for the country I would say. But I guess it can’t be helped. Because, for most journalists the uncompromising tenet is to first broadcast the negatives comprehensively, and beyond that if the time permits a few positive outlines too. Remember by broadcasting achievements you don’t get as many eyeballs as you get by broadcasting disasters. To substantiate the point Barkha quotes a VIP who says—‘India is a country that moves from headlines to headlines.’ Of course sensational ones. 

     The central theme of the book perambulates around, the last hundred years of India. One could call it the not-so-recent as well as the recent events of India. But then, while cruising through the book one does get a stale feeling, as if you’re zipping through some old newspaper columns or an old magazine article in staccato effect. Certain pages get you a feel as if you’re negotiating a long prose, though well described but high on verbosity. And what really keeps you charged during such narrations, are things that you don’t know, and that too, within what you know and also what goes on behind the scene. Many of us know a lot about the Kargil war through electronic and print media. Yet, we may not know, how important a role, late Mr Brajesh Mishra played in solving the crisis. Or we may have heard about Bhanvari Devi rape case in Rajasthan. But we may not know that ‘Bhanvari Devi’ was the starting point in the rape history of India where the other end was ‘Nirbhaya.’ The title covers the following chapters. Where, each chapter appears to be a short book in itself.

    PLACE OF WOMEN:  the chapter is almost like the rape history of modern India. The description below is about Bhanvari Devi and how ghastly.

     ‘Post rape: ‘Back at the police station, she was asked to strip and leave her ghagra behind as evidence. It was past midnight when she made her way home draped in the thin cloth of her husband’s turban.’ she picks the narration from Bhanwari Devi rape case of Rajasthan and links it up with Nirbhaya.

    In between, the lady author also spreads across to other rape cases, that had figured in various headlines during all these years. At times the narration appears as a memoir with a lot of emphasis on the sufferings of Indian women vis-a-vis the unceasing tyranny of the Indian men. Something, that is even otherwise known to most Indians. But then she doesn’t really relay any out-of-the-box suggestions, to at least dampen the malaise. She gives a good account of a lady journalist. Problems she faced while commencing her career. And in all of that, she juggles quite well with the words but the content doesn’t seem to be very uncommon. In certain pages sentences are long. But then they are vivid and to the point. The book has a tilt towards feminism which is quite obvious.

     It’s high on lexicon for an average reader, who might have to Google more often, to keep cruising. Therefore, the target audience is clearly the elite. But shouldn’t books with such historical sparks be, in easy read format? She has dug out some exhaustive statistics on females of India, especially, working women, and their sexual harassment.

    The book has a striking hard cover. The title is appropriate and gets further substantiated by a pin pointing sub title that says—STORIES FROM INDIA’S FAULT LINES. It is well presented in terms of font and flow. But it is still not a very moving book. As it swings between, diverse chapters and the personal memoir and does not have a linear penetrating plot. And it goes on and on. Sure intermittently it has interesting frills. As a messenger she has reported the happenings in the most erudite style, but has not presented too much of her own view points. She also touches upon the Gulabi gang of Uttar Pradesh that once operated in full flow. At places the narration is quite pungent when you compare it with the topic. Chapter deals with women’s issues, especially rape where it also cites three other cases. But then there are no incites or suggestions to solve the menace. She also goes on to describe the methodology of women politicians and about the callousness of women officers who are not sensitive to women’s cause. Superwoman versus supermom is comparison she draws quite artfully.

THE COST OF WAR

    This chapter by and large takes you through the sad tale of Kargil War. During the war Barkha was often seen near the the LOC. It was well covered by the channel she was working for, then. I’m sure. She must be carrying evocative memories about it. Such memories don’t die. Rather, you carry them to your grave. In this chapter, she even goes on to describe the role of Brajesh Misra, principal secretary and national security advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in quite a detail, which you won’t come to know unless you read the book. She even elucidates the role that the diplomats of India played in bringing the war to an end, together with the balancing act of the US. She throws up some good war statistics. But she could have vented her views more ferociously. The chapter has a lot of stuff from ground zero.

    It fleshes out some good war statistics. It also hazily talks about gun configurations. The chapter explicates extensively, about the various wars with Pakistan and even the border skirmishes with China. She mixes the blend of her career and the Kargil war quite efficiently. For the general public doesn’t know what all goes on behind the scene and this is where she makes a killing. Excellent and moving description about martyr’s cremation.

     The sentence that moved me was, ‘And so in Kargil without snow shoes or proper high-altitude gear, Vishal and other first-time troops literally crawled their way up to peaks as high as 18,000 feet, where the temperature slipped to as much as ten degrees below zero to fight for the honour of their platoons and regiments.’

TERROR IN OUR TIME

    The chapter covers the gory parliament attack of 2001. It also gives a good account of, the history of terrorism in modern India. In this the lady author covers selected terrorist attacks. She gives a wide coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack, describes Ajmal Kasab’s episode in detail. And how, in that moment of disaster, communities come together in Mumbai’s Zaveri bazaar. Narration is good and content is extensive. She also sketchily talks about farmer’s suicide. As a true messenger she reports whatever is happening in India. She talks about various issues without any solutions. Then she goes all over and even touches upon Sheena Bora murder case in page 95. She then even adds Samjhauta express and Malegaon blasts. A lot of it is the same and reverberates in your mind as news items of those times. But yes there are some finer points too, which were kept under the carpet, which is interesting. ‘Extremism is a bigger threat than terrorism’ she hears from another VIP.

    But in the ultimate analysis I would ask. If such books even reach the think tank of the dispensation to act upon, or they just get into their personal libraries and sit their as literary accolades. She further makes an important point–200 districts have Maoist movement—India’s red corridor. Where, she richochet’s some good statistics. And gives a good hidden perspective of India, overall.

IN THE NAME OF GOD

    She covers Gujarat riots together along with with the rapes that happened in 2002. A lot of it is a recount of recent history. How kar-sewaks were murdered and Muslims were massacred as a consequence of that. But she nowhere blames the media for reporting inflammable stuff. Rather she rarely points a finger at the media. She covers Gujarat riots in great detail but has less to say about the sentiments of the relatives of the kar-sewaks who were murdered in Godara. The narration appears as catchy news reports without author’s own modulation. She talks about the strong points of Indira Gandhi. She covers Babri Masjid demolition too. And compares the trinity– Narsimha Rao, Rajiv Gandi and Rahul Gandhi

A CHRONICLE OF KASHMIR

    Barkha mentions the minute India released Maulana Masoor Azhar, Omar Saeed Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmed on 31.12.99 for hijacking IC-814 India turned into a soft state. Farooq Abdullah who was then the Chief Minister of J&K vehemently protested this. She narrates further, ‘the minute we gave in, India became a soft state; an apoplectic Farooq Abdullah, who was chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir during the hijacking of IC-814, would tell me later. He phoned L.K. Advani, the then home minister, to vehemently oppose the release of terrorist.’ … She doesn’t hesitate in exposing India’s weakness. Then she covers the 1st suicide attack of the valley. Even harps about countries spreading terrorism, such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. She of course has a lifelong obsession about J&K and doesn’t forget to talk about Nehru’s background and the birth and growth of JKLF. An interesting point that she makes is:

    ‘A month later in September, the prevaricating Maharaja Hari Singh made an offer of accession to India for the very first time. Nehru stunned him by making the deal conditional on the release of Sheikh Abdullah from jail. The maharaja refused.’ She also goes on to describe Patel’s conversation with Nehru. And of course she has described J&K’s constitutional history quite well and has also dealt with the malaise of Kashmir in detail.

OF POLITICAL DYNASTS, JUGGERANUTS AND MAVERICKS

    The chapter is full of anecdotal tales which the readers would love reading. It covers lady author’s encounter with various national and international leaders and even there close relatives. Where, it starts from Priyanka, Raga (Rahul Gandhi) and even Robert Vadhra. Barkha is curt and brusque when she wants to be. She compares Modi with Gandhis only to say, ‘Modi was determined to overthrow the political royalty of the Gandhis. He was a citizen who had come to take the kingdom.’ She disparages Raga, who had the luxury of several years of authority without any responsibility. But he neither became a minister in the government nor took charge of the party.

    She then goes on to describe the sum and substance of Arvind Kejriwal and at one point even draws a comparison between him and Raga. Both are youthful men, in their early forties—where, Arvind is acutely educated, and has a self achieved track record.

    Another interesting point that she makes is about Indira Gandhi under whose leadership Congress as an institution collapsed. She then spreads across to various political leaders of India and their parties. Her description about Mani Shankar Aiyar is engrossing. And there is a good compilation of political barbs. And of course how could she leave out Dr Manmohan Singh. L. K. Advani couldn’t have been left out either with his stories about Babri Masjid and his visit to Jinnah’s grave.

    The interesting comparision she draws is in between the ‘Chaiwala’ and the ‘Mufflerman’ (Namo and Arvind Kejriwal). Talks about ‘Achhe Din’ and ‘Make in India.’

    She opines about Modi, ‘I have always felt, in the many years that I have observed him, that Modi’s ambitions are personal not ideological.’

    I personally feel her overexposure to the affairs of Pakistan and Kashmir in some ways narrowed her journalistic prowess. She got branded. And that reflects in the book also. But then exposure is not always in your hands. She covers Nawaz Sharif and his delegation in the US, and his calling Manmohan Singh a ‘Dehati Aurat.’—that she clarifies.

    She talks about AAP party at length and the anti corruption movement.

A SOCIETY IN FLUX

    This chapter flows all over. It has no direction or plot. Whatever she felt … she has written about. And is quite a contrast to the previous chapters. I guess she wanted to close the book now. India is prone to disasters, so she talks about the Nagapattinam Tsunami of 2004, in Tamil Nadu which she had covered. She describes Ambedkar’s conversion ceremony to Buddhism. Where, she doesn’t forget to remind what Mahatma Gandhi had to say about conversion

    ‘I am against conversion, whether it is known as shuddhi by Hindus, tabligh by Mussalmans, or proselytizing by Christians.’

    Then she covers certain topics that had made it to the headlines. She of course digs into the history of India and fetches out things she had not come across in her career. She describes the pliant middle class of India. Talks a bit about the Modern School, where she had studied. Remembers, the Mandal agitation of 1992, and also brushes past IPL, Sunanda Pushkar and even Lalit Modi.

    Overall, a valuable read. Only if you’re interested in knowing how India operates or rather how the government of the day operates.

*****

Synopsis by Kamlesh Tripathi

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

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Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

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CHANAKYA NEETI

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SAYS CHANAKYA …

AAPADRTHE DHANAM RAKSHECHACHRIMATAN KUT AAPADAH,

KADACHICHCHALIKA LAXMI: SANCHITOPTI VINASHAYATI.

A man must protect his wealth tooth and nail. Because, it is only the one who has money. Can overcome hurdles easily. Money, if not protected slips away fast.

DHANIKAH SROTRIYO RAJA NADI VEDASTU PANCHAM,

PANCH YATRA NA VIDYANTE NA TATRA DIVASAM VASET.

A man should not make that a place his home. Where there are no prosperous people, no soldiers, scholarly Brahmins, a competent king, a river and physicians.

YASMAN DESHE SAMMANO NA VARTIRNA CHA BANDHAVA,

NA CHA VIDYASAGAMAH KASHICHAT TAM DESHAM PARIVARJAYATE.

Do not live in a country that does not allow you: self respect, honour, means of living, a family, kith and kin, friends, well wishers, ways of education and self-development. Quit such country. It is not fit for living.

LOKYATRA LAJJA DAKSHNYAM TYAGSHEELTA,

PANCH YATRA NA VIDAYANTE TATRA SANSSTHITITAM.

A place that does not offer means of living, fear of law, feeling of shame for shameless acts, clever people to inspire artful creations, and the spirit of charity is not fit for living.

JANIYAT PRESHNE BHRITYAN BANDHAVAN VYASNAJGAME,

MITRAM CHASPATIKALESHU BHARYA CHA VIBHAVAKSHAYA.

The testing times of the following are: Wife when the money is gone, a friend in the time of need, relatives in times of crisis and the servants when they are assigned a mission. In such times they show their true colours.

AATURE VYASNE PRAPTE DURBHIKSHE SHATRU SANKATE,

RAJDWARE SHAMSHANE CHA YASTISHATHATI SA BANDADHAVA.

A real brother is the one who stands by in the period of grave illness, in times of misfortune, during famines or invasions by enemy, in royal court and in death. He will stick through thick and thin.

YO DHRUVANI PARITAYAJAYA ADHRUVAM PARIHEVETE,

DHRUVANI TASYA NASHYANTI ADHRUVAM NASHTAMEV CHA.

The one who runs after an uncertain object leaving the certain one behind, does not get any. He loses both. It is Chanakya’s way of saying that a bird in hand is better than two in the bush.

VARYETA KULJAM PRAGYO VIROOPAMAPI KANYAKAM,

ROOPWARTI NA NICHASYA VIVAH: SADRISHYA KULE.

A wise man must marry a girl of high breed even if she is ugly to look at. He should not fall for a girl of low upbringing however beauteous she may be. The best course is to marry in the family of equal status.

NAKHINAM CHA NADINAM CHA SRINGADIRAM SHASTRAPANINAAM,

VISHVASO NEV KARTAVYA: STRISHU RAJKULESHU CHA.

Don’t ever trust: the beasts with claws or sharp horns, rivers, armed persons, women who are famous for their fickle mind and the members of the royal families.

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Posted by Shravan Charity Mission

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https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

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Share if you like it

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Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(CAN BE BOUGHT FROM ON LINE BOOK STORES OR WRITE TO US FOR COPIES)

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EVEN#WOMEN #MPs NEED TO BE REMINDED ABOUT ARCHAIC #ABORTION LAWS IN INDIA

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By Kamlesh Tripathi

 

 

    There are 544 members in the 16th Lok Sabha, and 244 members in the Rajya Sabha, which totals up to 788 MPs. Out of this there are 93 women MPs. That includes the powerful speaker of Lok-Sabha who happens to be a lady. And, yet they don’t have the time and will, and needed to be reminded about the draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014. Pending for a long time now. I am more than sure they all understand the seriousness about abortion laws. Especially, when the foetus has abnormalities or is an ugly consequence of a rape. The editorial in Times of India is an apt reminder not only to our women MPs, who should use women power to get the bill through but even to all our legislators. Currently the apex courts are doing the job of legislators. Read the article below.

IT’S HER BODY

Today’s society and science demand an upgrade of the abortion law 1971

    Parliament’s lackluster pace of legislating leaves citizens suffering various outdated laws. Two cases in the courts this week draw attention to the human costs of a delay in amending the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971—even though an updated draft has been on the table for years. Both cases concern the medical terminations of pregnancy being permitted only up to 20 weeks, a limit that made sense in terms of society and science four decades ago but is seriously out of step with the many developments since. When law’s failure to keep pace with science and global best practices becomes the cause of citizen’s suffering, its very purpose is subverted.

In one case on Monday the Supreme Court allowed a rape survivor to terminate her 24-week old pregnancy. This is the first judicially sanctioned abortion beyond 20 weeks. It followed upon a medical board reporting severe abnormalities in the foetus and its threatening implications for the petitioner. The point of note is that medical technology today can disclose much more information about the foetus after 20 weeks than earlier. Plus, it can make termination of the pregnancy safe for the carrying woman even at 24 weeks.

In another case also on Monday the Delhi high court granted similar relief to a teenaged rape survivor, provided an AIIMS medical panel certifies that the abortion of her 25-week foetus would be safe for this minor. Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the apex court that the existing law, with its 2002 amendment, is adequate to handling pregnancy complications warranting abortion after 20 weeks. But the above two cases show that women stuck in such a situation have to seek an exception through the courts, which imposes additional trauma upon women who are already traumatized. Given the logjam at our courts, this also leaves their life in a race against time.

The draft Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2014 provides for abortion beyond 20 weeks under well defined conditions such as if mother’s life is endangered or the pregnancy is caused by rape. Centre should push for this updated legislation instead of upholding a status quo scripted four decades ago. Medical opinion and women’s groups are agreed and it is not even politically contentious. Every delay in passing an upgrade endangers many women’s lives.

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WOULD L.K. #ADVANI LIKE TO CONTINUE AS #BHISHMA #PITAMAH OF #BJP?

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In the epic Mahabharat, Bhishma or Bhishma Pitahmah was the eighth son of Kuru King Shantanu who was blessed with a wish- long life (more precisely the boon of Ichcha  mrityu) and had sworn to serve the ruling Kuru king and grand uncle of both the Pandavas and the Kauravas. An unparalleled archer and warrior, he once fought his own guru the mighty Parusrama and defeated him. He also handed down the Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhistir when he was on his death bed of arrows in the battle field of Kurukshetra.

The epic of Mahabharat has twice been shown, in two very long spanning, super hit TV serials, and many of us are aware that when the first one was aired, normally on Sunday mornings, trains were made to stop, by passengers for watching the serial. And so, not much needs to be explained and told about the life and character of mighty Bhishma Pitamah.

Bhishma means He of the terrible oath, referring to his vow of lifelong celibacy. Originally named Devavratha, he became known as Bhishma after he took the Bhishma pratigya (terrible oath) the vow of lifelong celibacy, and of service to whomever sat on the throne of his father (the throne of Hastinapur) and had he not taken this vow, he perhaps would have fought from the Pandava’s side.

And in today’s context BJP refers LKA (LK Advani) as their Bhishma Pitamah, more on the cadence of Hindu mythology. But, at times I wonder if LKA would even agree, if asked to play this larger than life role that ends on a bed of arrows, unless this also has been imposed on him as his forced retirement of sorts.

For logically speaking, if BJP positions LKA as its Bhishma Pitamah; then Bhishma Pitamah is surely in the company of Giriraj Singh a BJP leader and a minister who is a misogynist and a serial offender of the kind.

And Giriraj Singh rattles the soul of Rajiv Gandhi, when he insults Sonia Gandhi. His reeking comments about women remind in some ways of the misdeeds of Duryodhana and Dushashana, and the episode of disrobing Draupadi and he further goes to insult Nigerian women who happen to be dark; not realising that in some ways he is insulting Goddess Kali and also Hidimba who happens to be Vir Ghatotkacha’s mother and wife of Bhim who also was dark and from the Asur clan and therefore in every possible manner insulting Indian women. And in all of this the present day Bhishma Pitamah (LKA) helpessly keeps silent.  So then why would he remain the Bhishma Pitamah of BJP?

Further Bhishma Pitamah of Mahabharta was stuck to the wrong throne where he had no powers to govern, and neither had the choice to move away, even if he wanted, on account of his pratigya, but what about LKA who is not bound by any pratigya? So should he stay on, even if the party degenerates morally?

Until now, LKA has stayed on with BJP, nursing his recent political bruises and insults, but what happens when the population of people like Giriraj increase and the throne itself comes under fire; for he is apparently not stuck to any pratigya; and then will he still stay on as Bhishma Pitamah or move away? For let’s not forget LKA started the famous ‘Rath Yatra’ that led to BJPs victory in the Lok Sabha polls; and that exhibits he still might be a man with convictions and fire in the belly.

And for Giriraj Singh who happens to be a father of a daughter and a believer in Hindu mythology, needs to regularly remind himself that we have many Goddess, who appear in many colours including black. And, the exemplary example of male God could be of Lord Shiva who turned blue because he drank all the poison that came out of Samudra Manthan. And, so India is not colour allergic, maybe Giriraj Singh is.

And BJP should be careful while using mythological titles such as ‘Bhishma Pitamah’ for patriarchs such as LKA, especially when it has colour allergics and misogynist leaders like Giriraj Singh. The latest caution point being L.K. Advani deviating from the tradition of delivering his customary speech which he did over the last 35 years in the recent BJP National Executive meet. Perhaps, he is smelling the coffee.

SNIPPET: EVEN SIMPLE GARDEN TOOLS FOR WOMEN ARE NOT THAT SIMPLE TO DESIGN: REQUIRES INTENSIVE RESEARCH

I never thought simple garden tools require intricate research for gender specificity, till one day I went through the website of Green Heron Tools in the US wherein Adams and Brensinger promoters of this company feel. Systematic research to design garden tools for women is a must. ‘And, it’s about time farm and garden tools broke out of ‘one size fits all’ model where these two women farmers of the US are bridging the gender gap by designing tools specifically for women.

For, even if we all are equal, we are not equally sized or proportioned, because of the striking differences between women and men’s bodies. The tools that work efficiently in a man’s hands may not be that efficient in a women’s hand and so it could even be a health hazard. For example,

According to Green Heron Tools. A women’s body tends to have a lot less upper body strength, less of lower body strength, a lower center of gravity, proportionally shorter limbs, smaller hands and less grip strength than men’s bodies, which means that a ‘one size fits all’ shovel isn’t nearly as efficient or easy to use for a woman.

DESIGN AND MANUFACTURE OF HERSHOVEL

But thanks to the work of these two women farmers behind Green Heron Tools. Women now have another choice when it comes to farm and garden tools, in the form of the HERShovel, which was scientifically and specifically designed for women’s bodies. The company’s tools and other equipment are not just ergonomic, but are hergonomic, and designed to be “easiest, safest, most comfortable and most effective for women.”

After years of farming and talking with other women farmers, and sharing their frustrations about the tools they used. Ann Adams and Liz Brensinger saw an opportunity to bridge the gender tool gap by developing a line of tools and equipment that would work better for women, because they were designed with women’s bodies in mind. The two applied for, and received, a series of grants (Small Business Innovation Research grants) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop their ideas, and as part of the process, they arranged to videotape women farmers as they shoveled, which revealed that women tended to use tools very differently than men did. Everything, from the angle that women put the shovel into the ground to the amount of energy expended while shoveling was analyzed, and the result of the research was the development of the HERShovel, which weighed less, was angled differently, had a large D-shaped handle, and required less energy to use. According to an interview at Modern Farmer, this new tool was the first ever shovel to be ergonomically designed for women.

For two years, the partners and their researchers pulled shovels off the shelf at places like Lowe’s and an online survey and a female focus group told Adams and Brensinger what they didn’t like about the tools they used as it was too heavy, too long and awkward. Thereafter working with Agricultural Engineers and a specialist in ergonomics at Pennsylvania State University, they designed and tested various prototypes. The HERS shovel/spade hybrid that resulted features an angled blade because “women don’t use a shovel the way men do,” says Adams. “Men power down straight. Most women can’t so that. Women put the shovel blade into the soil at an angle and take small bites.”

Once they had a prototype, it was time to test the theory that a properly designed shovel is less tiring to use. Subjects donned oxygen sensors to measure the energy expended using the HERS shovel prototype versus others, and started digging. The proof was in: HERS required less effort.

HERS weighs less than 4 ½ pounds and comes in three shaft lengths. Its foot is larger than the normal. The hollow, D shaped handle is tilted for leverage and textured to reduce slippage. Every part of the shovel is sourced and made in the US. If HERS is a success, the pair will develop more long-handled tools.

Adams and Brensinger didn’t start Green Heron Tools to get rich, but to fulfill a vocation: to make women’s lives easier and better, and to bring more women back to the land. “It’s a public health issue.’ Adam says. “If women can garden without pain or risk of injury, they can garden longer. I want to be able to garden for the rest of my life,’ she says. Millions of women hope they will be able to, as well.

One hopes in India we too will develop such implements for better women’s productivity.

*****

 

 

Article: Providing gender friendly, low capital and operating cost, farm equipments to our Farm Labour for sustained livelihood and economic freedom.

Letter for #PMO

  • Majority of the Indian farm labour is landless and almost 50% of them are females.
  • For most of them to make two ends meet, is a huge task. Especially women who are paid less basis their reduced output as compared to males; and so there is need to provide them with equipments and tools that can increase their output and thereby multiply Indian labour output in totality.
  • Most women labourers even have children who play around their work areas. With mechanization women will finish their work in a shorter duration of time and will have more time for their children.
  • A major portion of the farm labour, sustains under tough conditions, below poverty line budgets, and earn their living by doing routine farm operations such as land preparation, sowing, spraying, transplanting, weeding, harvesting etc. Most of these operations are done manually where GOI can make a fruitful intervention by providing cheap, economical yet effective farm equipments.

SUGGESTIONS

  • Since most farm operations cited above are hitherto performed manually we would like to suggest that these be done by mechanised farm equipments to increase output, make it gender friendly and decimate seasonality factor.
  • Indian agriculture census 2001 states, the operational land holding has increased from 129.22 million from 2005-06 to 138.35 million in 2011 showing an increase of 7.06%, but the average operated size of holding which was 1.23 ha in 2006-06 has declined to 1.15 ha in 2010-11 at an average all India level, which is below 3 acres. The small and marginal <2 ha operated area has gone up from 41.14% to 44.58% while both semi medium, medium and large holding have come down. And the average operated size of holding in < 2 ha class has gone up from 83.29% to 85.01%. This should ring alarm bells.
  • The above statistics presents a scary picture, both for the farmer and the farm labour.
  • This necessitates a paradigm shift in the way agriculture is done. First the concept of Indian farming, like a ‘nuclear’ family should shift to ‘nuclear’ farming, and the manual farm labour needs to be converted into mechanised farm labour where both male and female could do equal amount of work thereby raising the total Indian farm labour output.

HOW DO WE ACHIEVE COST EFFECTIVE, GENDER FRIENDLY, MECHANISED FARM LABOUR?

  • GOI can achieve the target of mechanised farm labour by introducing the new concept, compact, gender friendly, light weight, multi-purpose, self-propelled, new age- multi functional power weeders in the farm.
  • These multifunctional self propelled weeders can be operated by even females and can do several operations in the entire crop cycle such as tilling, levelling, seed drill operations, spraying of pesticides and weedicides, mechanised weeding, irrigation and water pump operations, harvesting such as potato digger, inter-cultivation and ridger operations.
  • It is also pocket friendly.
  • Mechanised weeder is environment friendly and also helps in the fight against cancer: Since manual weeding has become extremely expensive due to non-availability of farm labour, that has moved to greener pastures; farmers use excessive weedicides to kill weeds, which has spoilt the soil strata and ground water that is becoming prone to cancer. With mass utilization of mechanised weeders we can avoid usage of chemical weedicide thereby helping in fight against cancer.
  • Also we could promote and incentivise e-rickshaws for farm labour during off season

WAY FORWARD

  • GOI should incentivise purchase of such modern multi-purpose self propelled equipments through Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of women welfare.

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ARTICLE: ACID ATTACKS BY SICK MINDS

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Kamlesh Tripathi

Shouldn’t I call them depraved. Transcending even the emperors of Rome, and that to without a throne, who could be ‘vindictive, cruel and even insane’- say some ancient historians like Suetonius, Pliny and Cassius Dio.

A day after a woman doctor became a victim of acid attack. Delhi High Court has expressed concern over the ‘spate of acid attacks.’ So, yet again Nero fiddled while Rome burned? But who is our Nero? Surely, the Government in general, and the law enforcement department in particular, who allowed sale of acid off the shelf.

Establishment is now cracking the whip by developing a web application to regulate the sale of acid, with functionalities like registration of stockists and retailers, issue of licenses by the district administration and limiting sale of acid to individuals who furnish proof of identity and residence.

This may to a certain extent prune down unauthorized sale of acid but won’t sterilize the sick mindset. Union minister Rajnath Singh, also suggests of treating acid attacks, that cause serious hurts, as ‘heinous crimes.’

Good Samaritan NGOs have also held demonstrations at ITO demanding quick and swift Police action against the perpetrators of crime in Rajouri Garden. A medical report released, says the 30 year old doctor is traumatized and understands the prognosis of such a severe injury.

And, in all of this the court has again asked for status report from the centre and the state. But, what is more astonishing is the High Court’s reference to acid attacks, when it pointed out that Delhi Police has almost 15,000 posts vacant and therefore a we have deficient police force at hand.

Lack of adequate Police Force results in inadequate patrolling, which encourages sick minds and criminals to enact such ghastly crime; and the government attorney Sanjay Jain is further exhibiting government apathy by saying 15 proposals forwarded by Delhi Police for creation of over 14,000 posts “shall be looked into at the earliest.” So no matter how heinous is the crime, government lives by its age old rhetoric; and so these sick minds will continue having a field day.

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