Censored laughing machine

Remember the giggles and laughter when one of your classmates cracked ‘Aada pada kaun pada, baba ji ka ghoda pada’ to identify the fart machine in the class? Albeit of causing consternation among your girlfriends with disgusted faces in the class, the jokes carried on. The definition of obscene jokes and language changed over the years. For a long time, it had taken a back seat or say existed as a medium of convection. It was usual to see a mother, thrashing a kid who excitedly screamed ‘ Aankh dikhata hai re Madarjaat’ after watching Gangajal movie. I can’t speak of the masses but my mother did so.  But today, the same kid, buys a ticket of Rs. 1200 and watch Vir Das roasting Suhel Seth in front of 3000 people at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. Well, let me just say how he started off.

The same auditorium where thousands of men and women sat together to hear the promising speech of the US president Barack Obama, were raising the roof hearing Aditi Mittal cracking under the belt jokes. I seriously laughed but I was also taken aback, seeing colossus group of men and women, being comfortable with incessant cuss words getting shot at each other. The concept of roasting is not new but to Indians, it is fresh out of bubble wrap. AIB(All India Backchod), grabbed millions of views on its YouTube channel when Karan Johar along with the AIB members, slammed Arjun Kapoor and Ranvir Singh with a mausoleum of maa and behens.

The show went on and the camera caught many movie stars including Alia Bhatt, Parineeti Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Sonakshi Sinha etc, relishing the show with great ease. Great news! Maharashtra government recently bashed AIB for using abusive language in public. I guess, the disgusted girlfriends are still not happy. You know what will happen next? The show would go on, just like the good old aada paada jokes.

Workshop for Bloggers on Global Issues and Challenges – Day 1

This workshop is a collaborative initiative of US Embassy, Hyderabad and International Center for Journalists. Held at Administrative Staff College of India, more than 25 journalists/bloggers from Hyderabad and across India, sat together to discuss the challenges and importance of blogging in real life and during reporting. There were noted speakers who were invited to address the participants. A few included were Mr. Nagesh from The Hindu, Bahar Dutt from CNN IBN, Uma Sudhir from NDTV and Mr. Aditya from Social Samosa. Organized by ICFJ, Mr. Alex and Miss Louise took the responsibility of being the lead trainers.

One among the participant from Hyderabad tweets how excited he is attending the workshop

Day 1 : Sessions

9:00 am – 10:00 am               Welcome Remarks, Introductions and Program Description
Gurdit Singh, Assistant Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate of Hyderabad welcomes the group to the program.

Lyndsey Wajert, Program Officer of ICFJ goes over the program agenda.

 

10:00 am – 10:15 am             Tea Break

 

10:15 am – 12:00 pm             The Power of Reporting through Blogging

                                                Alexander Howard and Louise Roug, Lead Trainers
Overview on best practices and skills essential to quality reporting through blogging: applying journalistic standards to a web-based platform.
                       

12:30 pm – 1:00 pm               Lunch

 

1:00 pm – 2:45 pm                 The Fundamentals of a Blog

                                                Alexander Howard

Session gives the participants a hands-on training for setting up a blog and incorporating multimedia.

 

2:45 pm – 3:15 pm                 Tea Break

 

3:15 pm – 5:00 pm                 International Coverage in Indian Media
Alexander Howard

                                                Louise Roug

Nagesh Kumar Susarla, formerly of The Hindu

Session provides advice on how to interpret regional and international issues for Indian audiences.

 

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm                 “Ask the Experts”

                                                Interview the speakers and update your blog

Being a Dalit woman

Shadab Nazmi

“Had he (Rahul Gandhi) married a Dalit girl, who knows, he might have become the PM. Sonia says first become the PM and then bring a foreigner as bride. He goes to Dalit houses to have picnics and honeymoon,”­ said Baba Ramdev, mocking Rahul Gandhi’s status in understanding the life of a Dalit. It’s wasn’t just a plain mock. It shattered the integrity of a Dalit woman who goes through the hardship of life every other day. It was a mock of an entire community.

Election season is on full swing and Dalits are lifted back on the center stage. The gung-ho of spending nights, eating from the same plate and sleeping on the floor at Dalit’s homes, clearly reflects the political drama of collecting votes. Every party claims to be the savior of this community when they come in power, but does any party care to understand how Dalit men and women are exploited in every day of their lives? In an old war, everybody has an axe to grind. So how do you pick your way through these claims and counter-claims? How do you decide who is speaking truth? One way is to take a look at the condition of Dalit women since this country got independence. Let me tell you, the figures haven’t changed much. India hasn’t grown since. The Dalits haven’t grown since.

In Ancient India (3200-2500 B.C.), the caste system was non-existent since even the most learned men were good householders and had varied occupations. The women of ancient India were just as superior as men in learning, education, and intellect. The choice for her mate was according to her own wishes and marriage was practiced after the coming of age. She attended parties, competitions, and religious functions as she wished. The remarriage of young widows was also a common practice. The creation of a number of Hindu religious books including the  Manusmriti, Atharva Vedas, Vishnu Smriti, and many others like these and their strict compliance by the Brahmans (upper priestly Hindu caste), led to a society in which equality between men and women was far from existent . Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, an architect of the Indian constitution, also makes it very clear in his150 article titled “The rise and fall of Hindu woman” that the root cause of suffering for women in India are these so called Hindu religious books. According to the Manusmriti, women have no right to education, independence, or wealth. It not only justifies the treatment of Dalit women as a sex object and promotes child marriage, but also justifies a number of violent atrocities on women as can be seen in the following verses:

 

A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases

him. Or a man of twenty-four a girl of eight years of age. If (the

performance of) his duties would otherwise be impeded, he must marry

sooner. (Manusmitri IX.94)

 

By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be

done independently, even in her own house.” (Manusmriti V.147)

Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in

youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for

independence. (Manusmriti IX.3)

 

Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is why their Sanskaras

are performed without Veda Mantras. Women have no knowledge of

religion because they have no right to know the Vedas. The uttering of

the Veda Mantras is useful for removing sin. As women cannot utter the

Veda Mantras, they are as unclean as the untruth. (Manusmriti IX.18)

A Brahman, Kshatriya, or Vaishya Man can sexually exploit any shudra

woman. (Manusmitri IX.25)

 

Even the killing of a dalit woman is explicitly justified as a minor offence for the Brahmins: equal to the killing of an animal (Manusmitri). If the killing of an untouchable was justified as a minor offence, you can imagine the treatment they received throughout their lives. In a male dominated society, Dalit women suffered unimaginable oppression, not only through caste, but gender too, from which there was no escape. The laws in the Manusmriti and other Vedic scriptures close all economic, political, social, educational, and personal channels through which Dalit women could be uplifted .The horrendous laws in the Manusmriti were incorporated into Hinduism because they were favorable only to the upper castes, which form the majority of India. Even today, in modern times, we see the severe oppression and exploitation of Dalit women. The Laws of the Manusmriti have a devastating effect on the level of education reached by Dalit women. According to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes 2000, approximately 75% of the Dalit girls drop out of primary school despite the strict laws of the Government of India, which hold reservations for Dalit children.

 

In one particular case, a four months pregnant agricultural laborer, from the southern part of India, was stripped naked and beaten, in front of the whole village and her family by the upper caste landlord. Later, she was retained in jail, where the police beat her. This resulted in the miscarriage of her baby

In another case, a school student in Gujarat made a mistake of joining the dancing in the main square of her village, in which most of the participants were of the upper caste. The upper caste boys pulled her out and threatened to rape her. For interfering, her mother was slapped. In the hope for justice, she forced her parents to file a complaint to the police against her assailants. Her mother was constantly threatened by the upper caste families for complaining to the police. Feeling deeply humiliated by no justice and rumors of rape, the girl committed suicide.

 

There are many cases like these, all of which cannot be discussed here. The worst exploitation of Dalit women involves a lifetime of suffering, torture, and rape Justified by the Vedic scriptures, the Devdasi system (also known as temple prostitution) was introduced by the High caste Hindus, and it still exists in some parts of India). According to the Human Right Watch Report in 1992, an estimated 50,000 girls were sold every year to Hindu organizations that are involved in the Devdasi system . These girls are called the “female servants of god” and are sexually exploited. After a lifetime of living as a prostitute and servant, the women in their later years are sold to brothels, where they are further tortured and often die of neglect or AIDS. The 1992-93 Annual report from the Ministry of Welfare shows 1,236 reported cases of rape on Dalit women and the National Commission for SC/ST shows that approximately 10,000 cases of human right violations on Dalits are reported every month. But what is even more disturbing, is that only one out of ten of the cases are reported annually whilst, nine go unreported. In addition to this, according to the Human Right watch Report, approximately 115 million children are in slavery and 2.6 million children are held as bonded laborers. After fifty-five years of India’s independence and despite the excellent laws in place to protect Dalit women, they are still suffering unimaginable atrocities from the high caste Hindus. It is believed that thousands of these cases go unreported and unpublicized because the poor Dalits that live in rural areas, who are the worst victims, have no control on power, wealth, justice, police and the media. The only way these Dalit women can escape the viscous cycle of poverty, abuse and oppression is through education. Through education more Dalit women can come to know their basic human rights and they can then raise an even stronger voice against abuse and exploitation from the upper castes.

Dalit are always in center when the election season starts to appear on television screens. Many issues are brought in front, many Dalit candidates are given tickets to collect free votes but suffering stays. It’s veiled with many promises but in the end, nothing changes. Everything gets back to square o

Skateboard Culture in Delhi

Talha Bin Ehtesham & Shadab Nazmi

Steve Weightman, a resident of Orange County, California has been running a first ever skateboard park in Delhi. This initiative hasn’t just brought the skateboarding culture to this city but also created a passion of a new sport. The park is famously knowns as Freemotion 8 and is located at Neb Sarai, Saket, New Delhi. Opening hours : Monday-Saturday (9:00am -6:00 pm)

 

 

 

 

Computer graveyard

 

Fahmida Khatoon is angry and anguished. The 72-year-old’s son is in the  business of e-waste sorting, which something is dead against. “ I told my son numerous times to change his business, but he never listens. My grandson was born mentally challenged because of the poison around,” she says. The grandson, a 14-year-old, vacuously grins, playing with a screwdriver, and the scrap around him. He smiles when other children call him Bandar(monkey). Her doesn’t know what that means. Just like he doesn’t know the toxicity of the world he lives in. His family extracts chips, diodes and batteries from inverters and resells them. Despite grave health risks, they carry on. In the battle of survival, nothing else matters.

Welcome to Mustafabad in North-east Delhi,a  sea of activity where thousands of discarded computers arrive from all over India, mainly from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and Maharashtra. They are broken down primitively and recycled. For decades, practically every house recycles dangerous e-waste. High profit margins keep this computer graveyard bustling, despite this business being illegal. Delhi alone has 4,000 illegal e-waste recycling units. But behind this thriving business are toxic dangers, which the workers know little about or care.

Health Effects

Enter the area and your eyes burn as the toxic smoke from burning computer motherboards hots you. The acrid smell snakes into your nostrils, making you gasp as lungs protest at this invasion. It’s another world, alright.

The narrow winding lanes throb with activity. Old computers lie in heaps by the roadside, waiting to be broken up and recycled. Wires, plastic, metal waste.. all are scattered around. The sounds of massive business enterprise are evident, inside houses and in the open as the ripping, filling and polishing goes on. Workers, covered with grime and dust, their hands dirty and gnarled, their eyes revealing the tragedy of their lives, plod on all day.

E-waste is part-and-parcel of their lives and they live with the toxic fumes in their poorly ventilated rooms where the boards are burned. Soon, the insidious crawl of the smoke inside their bodies will damage the kidney,brain and lungs, resulting in skin diseases, hormonal imbalances, asthma and even cancer. And yes, birth defects too. According to World Health Organization(WHO), e-waste connected health risks may result from direct contact with hardful materials such as lead, cadmium, chromium, and inhalation of toxic fumes.

But they have little choice. Most know that breaking down thousands of computers and recycling it is illegal. But like everything in India, there always are loopholes in the system which can be managed.

Award winning environmentalist Bharti Chaturvedi who is the founder of Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, points out: “The informal sector is forced to recover e-waste in ways that endanger their health. They inhale some of the world’s most toxic chemical-dixions, furans, as well as heavy metals and acid fumes. Ultimately, the cost of recycling our old computers fo re-waste handlers is the respiratory disress, possible cancers, reproductive and development disorders. If the brand owners were more committed to the legally mandated concept of extended producer responsibility, we could have both recycled and safeguarded their health.”

Mohammad Faisal, 16, begins his day by heading to a dirty, toxic gutter; He wades in, unconcerned, looking for discarded computer scrap. He then sells it to a kabadiwala for a few rupees before he starts his hard, grueling work in a dingy room. He first opens a monitor, casts the plastic body aside to be sold later as scrap, and then, dismantles the cathode ray tubes (CRT), He cleans polishes and refurbishes it. It will soon be packed off to Bangalore, where it will be assembled in low-cost, unbranded television sets which are sold for Rs. 2500. He dismantles about 60 monitors daily, enough to give him a hearty meal. Ask him if ever wants to be an engineer and pat comes the reply.” I am already an engineer. What I dream of becoming is a baker as there is money to be made there.”

Shockingly, there are no health precautions in this business. Workers don’t have protective gear. In a study done by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, it is found that no norms were followed as the bulk of e-waste was handled by the unorganized sector.

For the families that live in Mustafabad, life goes on normally. Shahin, whose husband piles this trade, nonchalantly steps over piles of e-waste outside her home. When she first went home after she got married, her neighbors used to call her “kabadiwale ki biwi”.

She is fine with it. After all, it keeps the kitchen fire burning.

All that cannot be sold or recycled is dumped in the garbage heap. From here, trucks of Municipal Corporations of Delhi(MCD), take it to an incinerator, where it is burnt. This is dumped in a landfill in Okhla. Here, rag-pickers wait with magnets to collect small iron fillings, which are then sold to smelting factories.

The unregulated madness goes on.

– See more at: http://indialegalonline.com/computer-graveyard/#sthash.tEH5rOTo.dpuf

Delhi talks on homosexuality.

Chapter XVI, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code dating back to 1861, introduced during the British rule of India, criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”, arguably including homosexual acts.

The section was declared unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults by the High Court of Delhi on 2 July 2009. That judgement was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11 December 2013, with the Court holding that amending or repealing Section 377 should be a matter left to Parliament, not the judiciary.

We went around different parts of this city and asked people what do they think of this decision? What would they have done if someone really close to them, turned out to be gay? Listen and Enjoy.

Vox Pop : Munish Rathore/Shadab Nazmi

Juta Maro Andolan

Talha Bin Ehtesham & Shadab Nazmi

‘Juta Maro Andolan’ is the oldest crusade being led from the grounds of Jantar Mantar — the great astronomical observatory built by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur. Machhindra Nath Suryavanshi, following a disturbing incident back home in Latur district in Maharashtra, decided to speak up against rampant corruption and has been camping here since January 8, 2007. We went around and asked people, is it okay to launch such initiative? Find out what they said.