Tuesday, December 27, 2016

India's Muslim inheritance law sexist, unfair

Every individual, at least in one stage of life, will be confronted by the religion he or she is born.
One can lead a non-religious life but from birth to death religion makes its presence in different forms predominantly in an individual''s various stages of life - Love, marriage, inheritance and even death.

The parents' religion determines a child's religion soon after his birth. Even before the child start realising the mundane life, religion is thrust upon them. I don't understand the prevailing system of issuing birth certificate bearing the religion of the child. Why the hurry to add religion as soon as a child is born? Let them choose their religion at a later stage.

My topic is the inheritance law.We all know India is a mixed community which follows a constitution framed out of various constitutions from across the world. In that sense it is a mixed document which has provided space for Sharia laws to be considered for the Muslim community in issues related to marriage and inheritance.

The two issues remain thorny in India even after the government made marriage registration a compulsory norm, The Muslims in India, in certain pockets, follow triple talaq system, which is not even allowed in Islamist nations. The country has been telling about a Unified Civil Code for a long time and no action has been taken so far. Even then inheritance issue is not given its due importance.

Born as a Muslim, I have seen men even in my family, which follows secular norms,  shamelessly claiming for two third of property rights. When they say is it is as per Sharia, I wonder when Sharia is not completely followed by Muslims in India or even in Indian personal law, why should they make such a claim. I also do not understand the need for separate law for Muslims in a democratic country like India. And why a male member should be given more in a social set up where women are not 'protected by males' as stipulated in Quran or which is being practised in Islamic societies.

Women bear the responsibility in the family as or more than any other male member in India. Then why should the men be given two third ? Will the religious heads show the courage to implement Sharia laws in its full form? Never. They know Indian Muslims are different. The government must go ahead with its initiative to integrate Muslims into the mainstream through a common civil code. Or there should be a consensus between the Muslim Personal Board and government to allow an option of two third of property for women who act as the family head or the breadwinner of the family.

Friday, August 5, 2016

How easily social media jump into conclusions. #EK521

Even a single person can mislead the entire world. What made me say this is the leaked video of Emirates EK521 which was involved in a fire accident on August 3 afternoon.

Somebody from inside the aircraft (nobody knows whether it was shot by a passenger or a crew member or even a rescue operator) caught the 'possible final moments' of a group of people grabbing their personal belongings before leaving the aircraft.

They were conversing in their mother tongue Malayalam and they uttered only two English words - Laptop and notebook. Being a Malayali, I can understand every word they spoke during those horrible moments. A man and woman were heard consoling others, "Be calm, nothing happened." Later the same people were saying leave everything and run for safe. It was then crew members were heard asking them leave the belongings and to jump from the aircraft.

It was total commotion and the crew members did their job. What else they would say other than jump! Before knowing what had gone through the minds of those passengers involved in the accident and analysing the real situation and what they exactly said some people have spread a word of hate speech attacking the entire "Asian community" seeing it as typical of Asians.

The incident once again proves skin colour matters. Without understanding the underlying element of racial attack, even the Malayalee commnity, now I must call them mallus, joined all those arrogant dumb-wits in finding fault with those who had seen death in close contacts, though they failed to understand the seriousness of the tragedy. In a situation like that, people react differently. I also know majority of expat Malayalees do not know the etiquette expected from them in a flight. Majority don't even know how to use the toilet or how to remain calm until the aircraft comes to a halt. I have also seen how impatient and rude are the crew with such people. However, the yardstick to judge the people reaction in such situation should be entirely different. Evaluation should be done on a psychological level not on materialistic perception.

Jassim, the firefighter
This time, my heart goes out to the family of the firefighter who lost his life in the evacuation process. Nobody knows how that brave young man Jasim Issa Mohammed Hassan, an UAE national, died. Yet, social media could establish that he died while saving those "irresponsible, selfish" passengers.

And the same social media, failed to praise the pilot who managed to land the aircraft in the airport and divert a major tragedy. If it was a mid-air tragedy, the damage would be unimaginable.

What about people who tried to sell "exclusive footages and pictures" of crash-landing? If social media is so responsible, they must attack them and not the passengers, according to some, they are just "workers."

Take a minute to ponder over matters like this come before you on social media. Next time it could be you who have to face a similar situation. It is easy to criticise from your closed ceilings, come down to see the real agony of others.

 But why should others be worried over the safety of the passengers, when they are not? Leave it to them, folks, Let those involved in such tragedies determine whether they should face the death or not.

Last year it was the British passengers faced the same fury of people. The world has become too small to be managed by a bunch of social media idiots. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I am an Indian expat, not a doormat

Indians are spread across every continent. We have embassies and consulates almost everywhere. But do they have a database of expatriates in each country. Ask any ambassador, they will admit there is no such practice of head counting.

It was when issues like massive job loss, as it happened in Saudi Arabia, or a war like situation arises in other countries, the governments realise that expat community does exist.

But why? It's high time the political parties and government start thinking about changing the outdated immigration rules that indirectly support bonded labour in foreign nations.

It is a fact that millions of Indians left their country for a foreign nation for betterment of their lives which in turn helping the entire nation. Be it blue collar or white collar, each one is contributing to the welfare of the mother land.

Let the crisis in Saudi Arabia be an eye-opener for the Indian government. With the swift action, Narendra Modi government has proved it has the guts to intervene and settle the issue for the benefit of Indian community there.

At the same time, people dying out of hunger shows how alienated are the ordinary working class community. The Indian embassies and consulates, especially in Arab nations, function for the business class communities and the creamy layer society.

People from a tiny state like Kerala contribute to the largest chunk of expat community and the state even boasts 'outstanding welfare' programmes for the repatriates. But look around, it is not difficult to see Gulf returnees, even the talented ones, left with no choice but to wither away rest of their lives.

Being an expatriate for over a decade, I am worried about the expat community, especially in the GCC. Though labour laws in certain countries are strong enough to protect workers, the final word rest with the employers.

What the government can do in this regard is to introduce a proper mechanism at the diplomatic missions and make them understand they are bound to protect the expat community as well. Their duty does not end in fostering ties with a foreign nation alone.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Once upon a time there lived my father…

A deep blue sky kissing down a long range of mountains along a runway has never been in my bothering thoughts of Malaysia. The refreshing first glimpse of Kota Kinabalu airport and its tranquility put me at ease to find the paths tread by my father long ago.

All I had with me was his last postal and a death certificate issued from Kota Marudu, a very remote place in Kota Belud, Sabah, East Malaysia.

I could not find a single excited face at the airport; no big queue unlike in Dubai or India; and whoever looked busy was using the airport Wifi service. Finally I got the immigration officer to share my reason for visiting Sabah, and her eyes widened when I said I lived in the country until 6. But I could not give a clear reply when she asked me whether I am in search of my roots.

On the way to the hotel, with a heavy heart, I tried to visualise the place, where my father had made big prospects; and where I lived with parents ‘once upon a time’; the room where I locked up my sister by mistake when my mother went for her bath and how people tried to break the window of the room to get us out of the room and the place where my father chosen as his eternal abode, some 31 years ago.

I am one of his unlucky children who had to know more about own father from others after his untimely death in 1985. My childhood memories about him looked very pale compared to what other people, including domestic helps, had to say.

Whoever asked me what I remember about Malaysia before I started my soul searching journey, I had only two things to say — The smell of the final flight I took to return to my home in India, a beverage, the taste of which I haven't experienced later and a fruit I loved to eat always, the name of which, I could never recollect. I also shared with them what I heard from mother that air hostesses used to give shake hands to the passengers.

Even though I was caught in flood of thoughts, there was an inner peace as if there was someone guiding me: Looking back it seemed from the day the visa application was moved in Dubai, the world around us seemed helping us to complete our dream journey. In Malaysia, I felt it immensely, wherever I went, help poured from all quarters, without even asking for it. People behaved as natural as the nature there.

Not knowing even a single Malay word, my first day was devoted to Papar, on the way to Kota Belud as my faint memory said father suffered a fatal heart attack somewhere there, besides, that I lived there. I had a photograph of me sitting in a bus station, which not even have any hint about the place. Our driver-cum-guide could not identify the place and according to him, the bus has already become a museum piece.

When he stopped on the way at a local market, a nostalgic feeling gripped me and I started taking pictures, which ended in driver asking me to pose for my personal souvenir. Later I came to know that the place happened to be where I lived with my parents and where my father ran a shop before moving to Kota Belud. 

The day was a bit adventurous as the trip ended in Kumpong Kaiduan, an untouched valley of thick green forest and river flowing down the bumpy roads, with no human beings at sight until we reached the small community down the curvy roads. Though the trip was unfruitful, I left the place with a heart full of rustic calm and baby-like innocence, thanks to the villagers.

Next day, another big experience was waiting me at the Kota Belud Post Office. Anxiety soared as I stepped into the post office with thoughts thumping my hearts like what would happen if the post number is non-existing, what should be the next step. But bureaucracy is not the same everywhere.

The postmaster general, a lady, in no time asked a postman who was
handling the area, to check the address. To my surprise, he said the post box number is functional and they took the pain to draw a map to lead us to the place. Reaching there, tears of joy filled my eyes, when the person who has been handling my father’s post box number for years, approached me voluntarily and asked about my identity.

He took me to our father's shop and house, which stood the test of time and also made the arrangements to visit his grave. All the childhood stories about father like sending sacks of sugar and other foodstuff to home at a time when India was going through severe food crisis and how he influenced the lives of people around him unveiled before me in full description. I wondered why our mother never boasted his generosity to her children.

The person who accompanied us to the grave next day was none other than our father’s aide, who used to accompany him to his plantation in Kota Marudu. Much to the surprise, the grave was in good condition, with his name written on it. I lost my breath for a moment. What came out from me was a big SORRY and several questions which he could never answer. But I felt he had been waiting there for all these years for his children to come and be by his side, at least for a time.

Life was never the same when he left us forever to heavenly abode and life will never be the same even after knowing him after three decades.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Author or the book - What's your choice?

Gone are the days of getting readers after publishing your book.
In an era of social media, I think, it is just the opposite, if someone has a huge fanfare. 
So it's better not to approach a publisher if you opt for self publishing.Publishers are required only if you want to reach out to a larger public or a global readership. With e-books that too is possible.
Most of the top global publishing agencies suggest a writer to have a literary agent. They can definitely help one to get published if you are ready to spend money on your effort. 
But where are those days when books used to get published based upon its merit. Only in such situation readers will follow a book. 

The tend now is readers follow the author first and then buy books. Are they reading the books? Or are they just possessing the book to join the world of book lovers.
The hype over JK Rowling's Harry Potter series and the latest on Harper Lee are really encouraging writers. But the trend also shows it is author who is acknowledged than the writing. Whatever, the art of writing will never die.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Com'on ..Why Nestle Maggi noodles alone?
India has already become the safest haven for several MNCs to dump their expired products from elite nations.
With PM's Make in India campaign, we will be getting more Indianised brands that will never match with the quality and standards of the original products.
The time is to have strong food safety measures and rigorous checking of foreign products that are being sold in Indian markets.

Friday, March 13, 2015

This is life, a Palestinian's life

I say I am a Palestinian, although I have never been to there and have a Palestinian ID with me or a passport to prove that I am a Palestinian. But I can say I have a connection with Palestine as my ancestors are from there. I am so lucky to be raised up as a Palestine unlike some young generation guys who are not bothered about their past.

I am really curious to find out what my country is. Obviously my parents and grandparents are Palestinian refugees. During 1967 war they went to Jordan as refugees. And that’s where we have a house, we have a land and I always ask them, “Is Palestine like Jordan?”Because that is the closest idea to know Palestine, once I visit there. How does it look like? And they say, no, Palestine is a completely different place. They always talk about it and my mum is very patriotic and she always tries so hard to defend the Palestinian case. Living in Canada, amongst a different cultural environment, there were so many people curious to know who the real Palestinians are, with the Israelis on the opposite side.

I think a Palestinian is a person who appreciates fighting for their own land and everyday keeping in touch to know what is happening around and keeping a hope that something will change one day, but unfortunately things are getting worse. A real Palestine is like someone who has an eternal connection with the country, you don’t have to be there and you don’t have to have any identity, it is a mental state of mind. 

My sister can go to Palestine, but I can’t as I am born in Jordan. She has American passport. If one has a European or North American passport, she or he can cross the border and visit the country. And some others have an approval paper that helps them to cross the border and enter only West Bank. But my sister went to Tel Aviv and sort of Israeli occupied areas because of her US passport. Despite all the idea of going there, where my ancestors lived, to explore the place and say, ‘Oh my grandparents owned this house.’ Unfortunately, I can’t say that like a grandchild. 

My grandparents are still in Jordan. My grandmother keeps a key to her house, where she has never returned. I know several people have the same story about having a key, and their houses demolished by the Israeli army. Our house is also gone. My grandfather from mother’s side owned a fabric store, it is also gone. Everything gone, they have left behind lot of money, jewelry in that war. 
I don’t think this two-state solution is going to work. And I don’t think there is a one way with different cultures can live together with peace. Because Israelis always have an extremist way of vision and they will keep on claiming it is their ancestral land since some 1800 years back. 

Palestinians will also make the same claim like having a connection with the land. So I don’t think there will be a perennial solution to this as the Palestinians are living the worse lives. Israelis have all the best things while Palestinians are pretty much living in a junkyard behind the separation wall.
I don’t think a solution could ever been made between the two sides because it is more than like a present day problem as it is related to past. It is difficult to open the minds of extremists from both sides. Because the Israelis are making it harder and harder for the Palestinians by capturing their land, cutting of electricity and water in order to kick them out of the land. If you ask me whether I am on Hamas or Fatah side, I don’t support either of them because they seem power hungry than standing for the free Palestine cause. It needs a lot of work and time and what you watch on TV is not real.

I don’t really know whether our leaders have become a puppet at the hands of West. But I am sure it all depends on the attitude of United States of America. When President Barack Obama visited Israel spend too much money thinking they can fool us, the Palestinians.

Unless the Israelis agree to share the same rights that they keep themselves and the Palestinians get a feeling that they we don’t have to fight any more, this issue is not going to settle down. I have a lot of Jewish friends, Israelis who are against zionism. They were telling me that there are many who stand for the rights of Palestinians. Because they realize whatever they have gone through in the holocaust is repeating. I don’t understand why they are repeating that with the Palestinians. 
Even when the two-state solution talks are in the air, in fact two states exist. But Israeli soldiers are in Palestinian territories and Palestinians have to face searches at so many check points that they have to cross in their own land. People going to work have to wait the check points for hours and they get late for the work; whereas Israelis can go around anywhere they want. They have all the money they want, all the facilities they need for a proper life.

A lot of Americans are angry these days at the US administration for giving out so much money to Israelis instead of spending on them. Many people are opening up now and seem understanding Palestinians has the right to make their cause heard of. I don’t think even the Arab powers really care about us. They can do more on this. But nobody really cares. Everybody think about their political and economical benefits of their country.

We have not sat together as a family for the last five years. My father and I are in the UAE; while my sister is still studying in the Canada and mum is with her. Another sister is a doctor working in the United States. We are waiting for my sister to finish her studies and meet. Sadly, it is life, a Palestinian life.

 (Prepared by me based on an interview with a 23-year-old Palestinian professional woman)
- See more at: http://www.thenewintro.com/viewslider.php?id=46#sthash.GsBizhNh.dpuf

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Brutal than rape

India's Daughter, documentary by Leslie Udwin, is more brutal than rape. I am gathering the strength to watch the documentary completely. Difficult to watch the pain of Jyoti's parents, and listen to the lawyers' statements in the documentary than watching a remorseless Mukesh Singh, who wants to prove he did not rape the 22-year-old student.

The defense lawyers have become puppets in the hands of Udwin to tell the world Indian girls are not allowed to go out in the evening. She is smart enough to put words in the mouth of all those who cooperated with her in the making of documentary.

No doubt Tihar authorities are taking care of the accused! None bear the look of a criminal or undergoing any punishment for a serious crime.  Nobody is naming the juvenile accused in the film. Strange that even villagers are avoiding his name and saying 'juvenile' .

Though the attempt of Udwin demands appreciation, it is sending a wrong message to the common man by emphasising on the definition of 'good girl' by the lawyers and the accused. Jyothi Singh's parents, and her tutor are giving true accounts of existing situation in the country.

It's good Narendra Modi government blocked the film in India. At least they could prove we have a strong government which can act. A symbolic block from millions of ordinary people who do not have access to Internet.

Now it's time for the government to act. These accused deserve nothing but DEATH. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Rape is not an Indian affair

Rape is not just happening in India. Any campaign against rape and rapists must occur in a wider perspective and collective consciousness from global media. A documentary by an actress turned producer Leslee Udwin is making headlines and BBC is going to broadcast it on International Women's Day.

The short film India Daughter is an attempt to find out why do men rape. In an interview to the Guardian, Udwain said," I began this film with a narrow focus. Why do men rape? I discovered that the disease if a lack of respect for gender. it's not just about a few rotten apples, it's the barrel itself that is rotten."

Well-said. Well-understood. If the issue is rape and men, why should the focus shift towards India alone? Are rapes not happening in parts of the world? Why a hardcore criminal is given undue importance in the documentary? Has any country witnessed such an outpouring of protests and condemnation against the rape of a woman? The Indian officials have even granted access to a foreigner to meet and interview a hardcore criminal to make a documentary that tarnishes the image of the country. Isn't India more democratic than others?

The horrific Delhi gang-rape of a 22-year old Jyothi Singh was not one among several rape incidents reported in India. It changed the course of Indian political scene and for the first time in recent history Delhi proved it does not belong only to the bureaucrats. The brutality involved in the crime made people took the streets in hundreds continuously for a month.

The attention must be given to the factors that lead to rape and not the number of rapes or why do men rape women. Can anyone, including Udwin, deny the role of sexually explicit material available in the form of films and web contents in shaping the attitude of men towards women? When leading actresses shed clothes for a meaty role and money, and the attention they get because of such a 'daring act' and even becoming UN ambassadors, where is the role of women shaping a future voice?

The digital age is portraying women as objects of pleasure than other periods in the history of mankind.

When you open a website there will be single women to mingle with you. There will be relationship articles that focuses on bedroom activities.Ads of white men and women even in local magazines and websites. Not to say of movies. If all these raises sexual fantasy of average women and treat women as if they are born to give pleasure to men, who is to be blamed? When sex is a beautiful union of two minds than body, the message common man - White, Black or Brown - gets is just physical act where man is the master and woman is his obedient slave. Similarly, in other areas where women have to share the shoulder with men. Majority of men, even the so-called literate and highly-paid, find it difficult to share the company of women who has their own opinions or courage to face daily challenges. They just unite to eliminate her presence in whatever means they are capable of.

Once again, the rape that shook the entire nation is back in news. One should not forget a relentless  effort by Indian media in bringing the rape issue to a larger public has put the governments in tender hooks to take stringent action against offenders,

Yet, rape is happening. From 6-month old baby to 65-year-old grandma is getting raped. Educating men about women and her role in the society is the challenge the world is facing now. It must begin from home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Football, the most masculine game

A whistle is blown. Sudden rush of adrenaline followed by a whizz of boots and bodies diving and swinging in air as a less than 500-gram not more than 70-centimetre spherical object starts rolling on the ground.

 It's the magical moment a sport enthusiast falls in love with any World Cup Football. For ninety to 120 minutes they chase the players with one heart and mind taking different sides. Some might be sitting and watching the game from the stadium, some from home or cafes on TV screens. But their mind run as the players run, they score goals with them and even foul and fight to see off their rivals from the match.

There are plenty of football matches across the globe every year but there is nothing like the football carnival in every four years that holds a magical spell. What is the charm of this fight for a air-filled ball? Is it a make-believe battlefield where all the best footballers come together to prove themselves before their fans? Or an efficiency test in every four years? Whatever, the reality is, millions of people are spellbound by the game that demands speed and stamina than any other group and individual sport.

It is barbaric to the core but so manly to be enjoyed the rhythm of male bodies exhibiting a masculine charm. Gender bias vanishes in passes and crosses before a ball successfully enters the goal post. A feeling of oneness as in coitus when a woman completely surrenders before her partner. That's why football always remains as a men's game. It can bind people across the globe. Boundaries and differences end in sheer joy of watching a game together. In fact all sport activities bring minds together. Forget the hooligans.

The popular belief is tennis needs more stamina and power. But tennis players get intermittent breaks and time to refresh themselves. The spectators are forced to maintain silence even as tension builds up in each shot. Another popular sport, cricket is a effortless game compared to all group sport and chances of getting bored while watching cricket is higher compared to rugby or basketball or even hockey. Though with IPL the boring element is gone, cheer leaders come as a distraction in enjoying the match.

There is nothing that distracts the rhythm of football except the outbursts from coaches that adds more beauty to the game. The message World Cup Football lies in its theme song - We are one. There is only One Love/ One Rythym.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Rape or organised crime?

Is there any link between the horrifying rapes and election results in UP where the pro-Dalit party BSP faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of BJP? Or such incidents were happening even before the elections? If so, why the rape incidents were highlighted soon after the election results?

According to media reports, four Dalit girls were raped in different parts of the state. Why Dalit girls were targeted? Who is going to benefit from it? Who wants to prove Dalits are still being targeted in the casteist state?

Similar to this, a chain of gangrape cases were reported acoss the country soon after the gruesome Delhi gangrape of a physiotherapy student on December 16, 2012. Not to forget, it was then the One Million Signature anti-rape campaign was in full swing.

Are rapes and violence against women are organised crime to create a fear psychosis and thwart the attempts of women progressing and making their voice heard in a patriarchal society? I don't have any evidences to prove or substantiate these doubts. But it is not difficult to understand women across the globe is going through a difficult phase. Everywhere from workplaces to public places they are being treated as mere sexual objects, and men will be happy to see them as mere cheerleaders, nothing more, irrespective of their skills or positions they hold. All point to one harsh reality: Equality of sexes will remain as a mirage as long as women rise up from their lethargy and join hands to prove themselves. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big copycats

Are women better imitators than children? I don't have any scientific theories or studies to prove that. But watching women closely and their inquisitiveness to know what other women are doing - from shopping to cooking- it is not difficult to see majority wish to imitate others knowingly, unknowingly.

Public transports are the ideal place for hilarious imitations. On a frenzied Thursday night in Dubai, the Metro Train was so packed and a shameless couple started displaying their amorous dalliances. To my surprise, other women with their partners too started cajoling and cuddling, irrespective of their nationality and unmindful of other travellers. As it is Metro Train and the distances between the stations are less, others were spared!

Imitation in terms of apparels, make ups or hair do are somewhat understandable, but some are shameless even to  to buy even electronic items from where the other woman has bought it from.
As if to certain my doubt, a senior colleague advised me not to disclose the name of the shop when she complimented by bag . She advised me not to encourage a woman who shows undue interest to know from you brought your dress or bags. According to her, tell them and the next day, the entire office will come up with that!

When a child imitates elders and peers to learn things from elders, the women copy cat their peers to get in par with them, out of sheer jealousy and desire.A childlike imitation is enjoyable, while grown up copycats are disgusting.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Mix well

Mixing of human race happens only through sex, not through migration. Migration simply kills a sense of unity among people. Living in a place where you find people (expat community)  from across the world, majority seems to be indifferent to someone who doesn't belong to their nationality or religion or race. It is hilarious as well as disturbing to see people in public transportations like buses and metro trains offering seats to people belonging to own nationalities ignoring someone who are standing near to them. The only exceptions is the men from the Middle Eastern countries who even bid you good bye. Inter-racial, inter-religious marriages could help change the situation by raising up children beyond geographical and racial lines. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Imran Khan loses big battle with matured voters

Nawaz Sheriff

The shocking defeat of Imran Khan in the historic Pak election shows he is yet to win the hearts of common man in Pakistan. The message is clear, Imran has to prove his credentials as a politician to make a tryst with the destiny of Pakistan.

The election result vehemently says all the hype over the former cricketer becoming a savior of a country battling extremism and military might has found an attraction only with the urban population, that too among the youth. The election result prediction by TV channels and newspapers became farce with Nawaz Sheriff, the former prime minister, returning to power with a majority, dismissing all speculations about Imran entering to an alliance with Asif Ali Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party to form a secular government with a modern approach.

At a time when the world considers Pakistan as a haven for terrorists, the new generation, catalysts of change, earnestly wished to see Imran at the helm of the corridors of power.  But the pre-election fall during a campaign became fatal for the Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader. The rally tragedy did not stop him and he campaigned from the hospital bed. But the people decided to keep in waiting for five more years. In fact it was a more mature approach from the masses than the vote rigging allegation from Imran.

When given a chance to bring a strong government between PPP, PMN (L) and PTI, obviously the voters chose Sheriff for his experience in parliamentary politics. With PPP nowhere in the election scene, from the beginning, it was written as a close fight between PMN (L) and PTI along with other Islamist parties. It is not difficult to see in the post-polls scenario that when the media and political analysts speculated on a possible alliance between PPP and PTI or PTI and PMN (L), the voters who realised their huge responsibility to keep away PPP from the parliament, preferred Sheriff to less-experienced Imran. 

So the polloutcome is a rejection of PPP than PTI from the politically-motivated voters, an unprecedented move from the common people.  If the people voted out Imran to prevent PPP making a post-poll tie-up, it shows the country has something to be hoped for. The voters, largely illiterates and not-so politically motivated, have rise up to the situation to build up a democratic nation with the help of somewhat reliable Sheriff than socialist Imran, a novice in parliamentary affairs. 

But whether the ruling class of Pakistan has grown up to the aspiration-level of people still hangs in doubt. Sheriff’s declaration of his victory much before the election commission announcement showed a hasty move to grab power; not even given a spit second of time for PTI or PPP even to think about the next step in government formation.

Imran, thus, left with no option, but to make rigging allegation in an election marred by violence, bomb blasts and abductions. The inability and helplessness of Pak authorities to make necessary arrangements for a violence-free election was revealed, substantiating all the allegations against Pakistan as a country without adequate security measures. If planned in advance, and gone for phased-election, it could have curbed the violence and saved many innocent lives. But the country once again proved it is yet to learn to learn the basics of democracy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mob cry for death to bring a sea change

When angry mob are taking to the streets demanding death and stringent safety measures for women, let us not forget Indians are far ahead in their sexual fantasies compared to other countries. it is not the cleavage, it is not the breasts, it is not the curves that make those men irresistible to take extreme steps for their carnal pleasures.

The rapists are fearless before the law, and shameless to face society.

Even before the modern world was evolved, Indians knew the techniques and methods of sexual pleasure. Who can surpass our Vatsayana in tips of sexual joy? Now with smart phone industry coming up with Kamasutra app showing 3D sex positions, people are going to getting a chance to have sex on the go. Of course Blackberries and Smartphones are not going to be purchased by the poor, but the need to satiate those with full of money in their hands need these poor to stream fresh, innocent girls to the flesh market.

A person, speaking on condition of anonymity, revealed about a media magnate who used to lure village girls to his business empire for he found they will easily fall prey to city's charms. Look at the film industry, there also, it is the small town girls or girls from poor background make fame and money than others. When we blame globalisation for the thriving flesh trade, it is an escapist route of passing the buck to other flimsy reasons.

We the Indians, who boast of deep-rooted culture and heritage and treating its women as devis and maas, are inflicting all sorts of violence on her. WHY? Let us also not forget there was a time when women used to move freely even at nights. So is that culture shaken, the edifice of our tradition broken now with the advent of modernisation?

When you look at the Delhi rape accused projected in the news, most of them are poorly-educated and from poor backgrounds. What makes their minds so polluted and criminalise their activity? Why they are seeing in every female, a body to quench their carnal pleasures? Is it suppressed feelings of their sexual fantasies or deteriorating status of women?

Do women also have to be blamed? What about our record reach of cell phone and TV sets? More than half of India lack basic amenities like fresh drinking water and sanitation, where as we have TV sets to have fun and cell phones to flirt. The other basic need of man is sex, which is being intelligently exploited by the item dance makers to draw viewers en masse to movie halls.
Let us not forget, a common man's biggest and cheapest entertainment in India is still, the movies. As told by a Pakistani colleague, in their country it is food. We spend more on movies and they spend more on food for leisure.

When we put the blame on lack of strong laws and prompt legal actions, we must not forget the impact of visual media which is full of explicit sex scenes and images, where women are shown often as objects of pleasures. 

Our top leaders sitting in their glass houses are airing views on repeated rape horror in the country. After Dec. 16, 2012, it is the April 15 sexual barbarism is hogging the headlines and sparking angry reactions against the ill-treatment of women in the country. But who can console the really shocked victims of rape and her families when too many perverts are out on the streets looking for next prey? 
While the Indian prime minister and president are expressing shock and sympathy in the latest barbaric rape of a five-year-old girl from their glass houses and special armed forces are deployed to ensure their safety. It seems ridiculous all efforts were going to prevent mob fury than taking action against the 22-year-old culprit and his accomplice who brutally crushed the innocence of a baby girl.

When the two young men tried their sexual upon her, what was the image they were having about that girl. It is horrifying even to imagine they looked upon her as a grown up woman to have pleasure on a female body. So it is not the cleavage,it is not the breasts, it is not the curves that make these men irresistible to take extreme steps for their carnal pleasures.They are fearless before the law, and shameless to face society.

So the Delhi Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar's unwillingness to quit the post is unacceptable and his simple reason for dismissing the latest rape incident as perversion is a slap on the face of all women.

But rape is not the malady of just the poor coming to big cities. It is there in the interiors of many villages where khap panchayats are having upper hand over the elected lawmakers and main stream politicians. It is happening even inside own families- fathers raping daughters, mothers selling daughters, uncles, neighbours ..None want to miss a chance to know the female body and the prosperity it brings. Greed for money, greed for limitless sex. But why are they falling upon innocent little ones.Spare them and go to women who can co-operate with them or to brothels! 

In spite of all these disturbing scenes, the number of outraged men in the streets give a ray of hope; they too feel the shame of treating women as objects. The need of the hour is a strong action from the government than going rhetoric of lamentation and condemnation. Kill one, and see the difference it is going to bring in the society.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I am Sulekha, I am an Emirati

It was from the Sharjah International airport I took her taxi to reach my flat in Al Nahda. From opening the door of the cab, she was so courteous and unlike some talkative drivers she kept silence until we caught up in long traffic snarl.

Reviving my low energy and spirit, she triggered the usual cabbie query of identifying one’s birthplace.

“Madam, you from Kerala,” she asked me in pure Hindi.

As courtesy, now it was my turn to ask her the same question.

I took a side-glance of the lean, lively lady and her kajal-drawn eyes and said, “Exactly, and you, from India?”

“ No”

“From Pakistan”


I tried one more, “from Bangladesh.”

Even though her nays embarrassed me, I was not in a mood to give up, and took one more chance. This time I chose Nepal and once again I met with a negative reply. I had no other way, but to ask her to reveal it herself.

She smiled and replied, “I am an Emirati.”

A mixed feeling of shock and surprised brought a scorn in me and I retorted, “Oh, I see, “Hindi-speaking Emirati.”

My ridiculing tone was not enough to wither away her high spirits of being an “emirati” and to convince me, she just spoke non-stopping and I listened.

“I will tell you how I became an Emirati, though my parents belong to a beautiful land of greenery and rain, Myanmar.”

Her description filled my heart with sound and smell of monsoon showers that I am used to enjoy back in my home country. Mercilessly, she drenched me in those “chir chir” drops from the heavens; water dripping leaves and tree tops that swing in chilling winds and to sky filled with dark rain clouds. And how children used to play in muddy waters once the rain stops, avoiding all warnings from mother of dirtying themselves and catching common cold.

Slowly our images of rain got intertwined and Myanmar disappeared and picturesque Kerala unveiled before me. When asked about her last visit to motherland, all her enthusiasm faded away.

“You know I have never been to Myanmar! I was simply sharing what my mother told me about Myanmar. I can’t go there now. We are not supposed to land there. My parents fled the country early 50’s and they reached on boats. They never went back. And isn’t this enough for me to be an Emirati.”

“I am born and brought up here and had been to any other nation. This is my country, and I belong to here.”

With three sisters married and settled here; and a brother, whom she hasn’t seen for almost 20 years; she never wanted go back and settle down in Myanmar, though wished to visit her ‘beautiful, but unwelcoming’ country.

She also said about the pre-UAE days, which went down with the memories of her late parents. She was talking about a passport-free nation, where modesty prevailed.
Upon her story I tried to imagine a vast land with full of sand and where boats were the only means of transportation. Where there were no skyscrapers, or highrise buildings or even AC’s. When it was so easy to enjoy luxuries of life in just one dirham.
Putting an end to nostalgic days, she drew my attention to the time people have to spend on roads due to traffic blocks. But she said, “Today I thank this road chaos for I got someone to share my feelings.”

I wanted to thank her for relieving me from my blues as well. But kept it to myself to hear more from her about her family, kids, job and even her choice of kajal.
Amid all those joys she expressed, she shared her deep pain for not being able to see her kids taken away by her husband. But she dismissed it with a smile and said, “I don’t feel sad because I have a work to look after myself.”

We were nearing my home, and I realised, it is time to say goodbye to her. We may meet again or not, but her deep devotion for foster country, which triggered a sea of questions were not going to leave me so soon. It will definitely worry me for quite sometime. As usual it will end like questions without answers.

- See more at: http://www.thenewintro.com/viewslider.php?id=50#sthash.eqG7S3pv.dpuf

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Big task awaits Meshaal in fourth term

Khaled Meshaal has been re-elected as head of the Hamas movement for a fourth time, a move seen as Palestinians taking a new stand on peace process. Even the rival Fatah movement agrees the 56-year-old charismatic leader has a liberal face among the Hamas members, who are known for their extremist ways.
It also shows how US administration is taking a soft stand on Hamas position with the peace process hit for a longtime. Even when the Palestinians say the peace drive is not deadlocked, and a recently conducted survey says they have full faith in the initiative, things do not give a rosy picture.
Israeli settlement and clashes between Israeli forces and freedom fighters continue as much as ever. Above all, Gaza blockade too persists. Unless Israel lifts this blockade and the West lift the blacklist on Hamas, will there be an unity among the Hamas and Fatah? And will they unite for the bigger cause of Palestine state creation.
Meshaal has earlier expressed his unwillingness to continue as the chief of Hamas, realising his popularity is on the wane. But the sudden acceptance of Meshaal, is alleged as pressure from Qatar, the emerging kingmaker in Middle East politics.
His re-election was welcomed as a positive step by a senior member of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas’s Fatah movement.
“Meshaal is a pragmatic person and may be more malleable than others in Hamas,” Fatah Central Committee member Mahmoud Alul told Voice of Palestine radio, according to reports.
No doubt big responsibility awaits Meshaal in taking a political will by winning the heart of hardcore Hamas members in taking forward his idea of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. It is a Herculean task as even the new generation speaks of an independent Palestine state. How he is going to make use of his widespread contact in the Arab world, which always dilly-dally on regional security issues, is to be seen.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tunisian suicide

Another poverty-stricken Tunisian youth sets self ablaze and became the victim of anti-poor policies of government. Adel Khadri, 27, died like Bouazizi, whose death triggered an unrest and unseated Ben Ali. Khadri's death did not damage the Tunisian government and it has even won the trust vote. But it is high time monarchies and ruling class sit on sovereign wealth think about common man on the streets. When global powers concentrate their attention on power sharing and regime changing plots to get an arms market, who will answer for hunger? Distribution of wealth can give an answer to many questions in the region.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Church meddled in Suryanelli probe

Admitting a lack of co-ordination among various women’s groups in Kerala in dealing with the sensational Suryanelli sex scandal case, a leading social activist said on Monday that an impartial probe by a sincere police officer could easily ensure justice to the victim.

K. Ajitha, who blamed lack of sensitivity of the judiciary in denying justice to the victim, alleged that the then investigating officer, Sibi Mathews, tried to absolve former central minister and the current deputy chairman of upper house of parliament, PJ Kurien, from the case under pressure from the Church, and not from political circles.

“Sibi Mathews did not try to save other accused, but he was influenced by the Church authorities as he was a believer,” she said.

“We have strong laws to deal any criminal offence, but the political pressure on implementing bodies become a hindrance in providing justice to victims,” she said, dismissing politicisation of the 1996 case that involved around a 16-year-old girl raped by 42 men for 45 days.

Though opposition is focusing on Kurien’s removal from the post, Ajitha said, “for NGOs like Anweshi and others, the case is a challenge on womanhood and fate of women’s movement in Kerala.

“We will continue our fight as long as the victim sticks to her demand for justice. We will not stop our fight on half way, even if the opposition will withdraw.”

The alleged involvement of Kurien, and a few other local Congress leaders, gave a political colour to the case that happened 16 years back.

While 36 accused were found guilty by the trial court, the High Court acquitted all except one sparking an outcry from various non-governmental organisations.

Though it took more than eight years for the Supreme Court to take up the review petition of the girl, she said, “A steadfast approach and maintaining the momentum across the country, I am sure Suryanelli girl will get justice in the end.”

She paid tributes to Delhi gangrape victim who happened to be a catalyst in bringing up thousands of laid up sex abuse cases to the limelight.

About revealing identity of sex abuse victims, Ajitha said, “ Of course the victim can be named if she was no more. In that sense, the central government did big injustice to the Delhi gangrape victim. But the Suryanelli girl’s identity must not be revealed.”
She rubbished accusations of “willingness” from the girl to be “sexually-exploited” and said, “How can she resist the attack when she is drugged and left to hunger? The perpetrators beat her up before each rape. It is a shame to say she contacted her relatives and went to parks and restaurants while she was under the custody of sex racket.”

(Photo by Shamsudhin Moosa)