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When the night comes.

The darkness holds a lot of secrets, we consider it as evil, an opposite ti light which denotes happiness and good. This dark also signifies for a lot of women in India, danger.
Being a woman in India is scary, especially if you are one who has to stay out late at night. The dark which provides a blindness for our eyes and a perfect opportunity for savages seems to be a nightmare for most women in India. You never know what hides in the dark, what could happen to you when you walk down that dark road, you might just come out into the light with scars that would last an entire life. Or atleast, that’s what we are told by our parents, grandparents, aunts and basically the whole Indian society.
“beta, 7 baje tak aajana, safe nahi hain ladki ka bahar rehna itne late tak” is a dialogue every girl in her life has atleast once heard, either by her parents or some distant aunt who loves raining on our parade.
The most ironic part is the paradox it creates. You tell women to come back before dark, and hence there are less number of women outside after dark and because there are less number of women out after the dark, it gets even more unsafe.
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While there are a lot of people who are allowed to stay out after dark, I have noticed that these people share something very big in common, their genders, they are all guys. We are living in the 21st century and still we live in a society where not even the parents but even women themselves think twice before moving out after dark because as I said before, the dark could be hiding anything. But that doesn’t mean that we stay inside our houses, scared of the men outside. We have to rise against such imposition over our freedoms. This is 21st century, we aren’t damsels in distress anymore, we have to come out and save ourselves. We have to fight for our freedoms. We have to fight for a safer society so that the sunset does not remain our curfew forever and no nosy aunties lecture us about how unsafe our society is.

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Nirbhaya: The Fearless

The 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case scandalised the entire nation. On a late December evening, Nirbhaya, was returning home with a male friend after watching a movie. She made the wrong choice of boarding the bus full of 6 men, who would later turn out to be her tormentors. The six men on board the bus, beat her friend up brutally, and raped her one by one. Jyoti tried her level best to fight off her attackers, as evident from the scratches on their bodies, made by her nails. The most shocking and violent attack came from the most youngest of the gang, who inserted a rusted iron rod into the victim and took out her intestines. The incident shocked the whole nation, with people coming out of their homes to protest and participate in candle light marches. The centre was pressurised to take firm actions to deter such activities in the future. The case was tried in a fast track courts and all the accused were given the capital punishment. The state passed out several acts for the same, and made the legislations against sexual offences more stringent. The brave heart, nicknamed Nirbhaya, lives on in the hearts of people as the girl who didn’t give up in fear. She was a fighter till the very end, as even after suffering fatal damage to her body, she didn’t give up the will to live. She eventually breath her last en route to Singapore for further treatment. Such was the outrage garnered, that when the juvenile was set to be released after the completion of his three year sentence, the entire nation rose up in protest and solidarity. This led to the government’s introduction of stricter juvenile laws. It’s rare to see the entire nation as a whole contending one specific issue and succeeding, with only determination and fortitude as their weapons. All united, by Nirbhaya.

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The Red Lady : Rosa Luxemberg

“The working classes in every country only learn to fight in the course of their struggles.”

-Rosa Luxemburg

A peer of Vladimir Lenin and co-founder of the German Communist Party, Rosa Luxemburg’s goading of social and industrial unrest in Germany post World War I led to her arrest and eventually, her murder by German soldiers.

Rosa Luxemburg was born in Poland in 1870, the fifth child of a Jewish merchant and his wife. The family moved to Warsaw when she was 3. Despite an illness which left her with lifelong pain, she had a brilliant mind which gained her a place at the best girls’ school in Warsaw. At school, she was influenced by the left-wing Polish group, the Proletarian and she joined them in the year 1887. When she organized an illicit discussion group, her activities got her the attention of the Secret Police and she was smuggled into Switzerland for safety reasons. Rosa studied natural sciences and political economy at the University of Zurich before she changed to law in 1892. She met representatives of international socialist movements and the Russian Social Democrat movement, as well as Leo Jogiches, head of the Polish Socialist Party. Rosa went on to study in Paris and she got a doctorate with her thesis ‘The Industrial Development of Poland’. This later sufficed as the root for the programme of the Social Democratic Party of Poland.

Rosa believed that the reason for international socialism was more essential than nationalism. She underestimated the strength of a nationalist feeling, which eventually led to be the reason of a major disagreement with the later Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin. She left Zurich for Berlin in 1898, where she got German citizenship by marrying a German anarchist. She was soon in conflict with a leading revisionist thinker in the German Social Democrat Party (GSDP), Eduard Bernstein.

Starting in the 1900s, Rosa pounced on German militarism in her newspaper articles. She foresaw war and tried to talk the GSDP into moving away. Between 1904 and 1906, she was imprisoned many times. She organized workers’ revolts with Jogiches. Having broken with Jogiches in 1906, she was imprisoned for encouraging a general strike in Germany. She produced her most famous work in 1914, “The Accumulation of Capital“.

Rosa spent most of the First World War in prison, from where she was behind the illegal Spartacus League with Karl Liebknecht. Rosa’s ideas were propagated by her leaflet ‘The Crisis of Social Democracy’. After her release in 1918, she along with Liebknecht, founded the German Communist Party. She and Liebknecht persuaded revolts against the German government. These strikes, riots and waves of violence led to the abortive Spartacus Uprising in Berlin in January 1919, which was brutally crushed by the national militia or the Freikorps. Rosa and Liebknecht were arrested and on their way to prison on either January 15 or 16, they were murdered in cold blood by the Freikorps. Rosa’s body was thrown into a canal. The soldiers responsible later walked free, a ruling that interpreted her death into martyrdom.

An internationally acclaimed film on her life, directed by Margarathe von Trottha, was released in 1986.

Picture Courtesy: blogging-about-the-east.tumblr.com

Picture Courtesy:
blogging-about-the-east.tumblr.com

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Rio’s ‘Museum of Tomorrow’

 

Image Source: EcoWatch.com

Image Source: EcoWatch.com

The Museu do Amanha, or the Museum of Tomorrow, in Rio de Janeiro opened to the public last Saturday. Designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the $54 million museum focuses on how human activity has affected the environmental health. Designed to change and adapt to the environmental conditions, it derives its power mainly from solar panels that move throughout the day to generate as much power as possible. Keeping in line with the theme of sustainable development, the building uses 40% less energy than ordinary buildings.

Hugo Barreto, head director of the content said “When people think of the ‘Future’, it usually seems very far away. That’s why we called the museum ‘Tomorrow’. It’s closer. It depends on what we do today.”

In the entrance is shown a movie directed by Fernando Meirelles, which has covered the entire 13.7 billion years f existence of the earth. In a span of eight minutes, one gets to witness all geological and natural evolutionary processes and changes that have been witnessed by the Earth.

The man exhibit focuses on ideas and questions about the origin and course that life is taking. A 200 meter-long hallway takes visitors through the origin and the various possible futures of the planet. The current trends and practices are projected 50 years into future in the next three exhibits and displayed through a series of interactive games through which visitors get to shape different futures. One such interactive games measures a person’s ecological footprint and determines the number of planets needed to support mankind if the rest of the population followed the same living standards.

The curator Alberto Oliveira says, “We hope people will come out feeling disturbed or inspired but not indifferent. If they feel pessimistic, it’s not because of us; it’s because of reality … This is all based on the best available science.”

museum of tomorrow, guardian

Image Source: The Guardian

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#GrowingUpAGirl

So, I think most women or to put it another way…most young ladies will get when I talk about that incessant nagging we accustom ourselves to when so many people tell us, “Psst, adjust that top. Your bra strap is visible.”. Am I right or am I right? Why the same behavior isn’t meted out to the young lads we see every day, genuinely, is something I have failed to understand.

SOMEONE PLEASE TELL THEM TO HITCH THOSE SKINNY PAIRS OF JEANS UP ALREADY, WILL YOU?!

The picture below, quite aptly proves my point.

So ladies. The next time anyone (especially a guy) comes and tells you about that small bit of cream or black or purple poking out from under that top, I hope you’ll have the perfect response!

Cheers!

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Image Courtesy: Facebook

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Breaking Through Social Evils

Santadevi Meghwal of Rohichyakalan village, about 70 km from Jodhpur was married off when she was just 11 months old. Her grandparents married her off while she was still in her crib to a 9 year old boy, sanvalram who was from a nearby village in 1996.
As santadevi was just a baby when this incident took place, she was not aware of it and it did not come up either until she was16 years of age and studying in 11th class. Her friends were talking of marriage and boys when they claimed that Santadevi need not worry about all these things as she was already married. When she confronted her parents about the same, they said that they had no say in the matter, everything was done by the grandparents.
Santadevi when first met Sanvalram, made one thing bluntly clear that she did not consider herself to be married. Sanvalram was working as a daily wage labourer at that time. He claimed that in the end, she would come back to her husband. He continued to get drunk and stalk her after her school was over. He would also refer to her as his wife and call her names.
Santadevi was determined to get the marriage annulled. But the village Panchayat was against it. They also levied a fine of 16 lakhs as to deter the family from getting the marriage annulled. But with the help of other people she convinced the Panchayat for the same. Sanvalram knew that if she went for divorce, he would have to pay maintenance and hence he also agreed for the annulment.
Because of the mutual consent, the annulment was granted soon and now Santadevi is purusuing Ba and in her final year. She aspires to be a teacher. She does want to get married someday but only after finishing her education.Child-Not-Bride-Nigeria-Campaign-3
Santadevi is an inspiration to all who are a prisoner to the society’s evil. She fought her way to freedom and i believe that it is only us who can change our conditions. We need to be determined in such a manner that we would not settle for less than what we deserve. If all the women in our society, fought for her education and rights in such a manner, our society will be changed overnight. Male dominated society would just be a notion and not a reality.
So lets fight for our rights and never give in to the evils that are still lurking and buried deep within our society.

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From Khaki to Khadi

I have used my posts as a medium to shed light on the lesser known Indian women and their
trust with empowerment. However, today I want to write about a very well known woman, who’s
an inspiration to many. She was the first female IPS officer of the country. Retired now, her
endeavours to empower her nation is far from ending. She is Kiran Bedi. She has stepped
beyond the traditional role assigned to women and set a benchmark of courage for others. Her
stand against corruption put her at the forefront of the neo­nationalist anti­corruption movement
in 2011. Her drive for social justice goes beyond her uniform.
“The year 2011 passed by fighting against corruption by way of an effective system in place
which does not exist so far. 2012 would be a natural sequel to what was sown and invested
during the time,” she was quoted saying on being asked about her future plans regarding her
active involvement in the anti corruption movement . Her focus lied in the preparation with Team
Anna, a compelling ground for an effective Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas at the state
level.
She is driven by convictions, beliefs, value for time and for personal growth and constant
contribution for others.
“When I look back, the fondest memory of my career in the Indian police service was when I
conducted a meditation programme for prisoners at Tihar Jail in 1994. That set in motion
everything that was to come later in life,” she says.
She is a true example of an empowered woman. From her role as a police officer, to a member
of an anti corruption movement, and finally to her stint in politics, she has tirelessly striven to
make this country utopian.

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COP21,The Paris Climate Agreement

Image Source - councilchronicle.com

Image Source – councilchronicle.com

It is a fact that mankind and its residence, the Earth are moving towards a warm environment and eventual destruction.

The Paris Conference held at the Le Bourget exhibition centre from the 30th Nov to 12th Dec, was a meeting between heads of state from around the world as the discussed and tried to find solutions to this catastrophic problem.

The primary aim of the conference was the agreement of keep the rise in temperatures below 2°C.  The aim has been decided for 1.5°C for the protection of island states which hold the most to lose with the rising sea levels.

All the states were asked to establish a plan to reduce their action plan for moving towards this objective. An analysis by the UNFCCC has revealed that despite all methods the rate of rising global temperatures stands at 2.7°C and 3°C which is above the threshold set by experts. Therefore, through the Paris Agreement all states have been asked to review their plan every 5 years so that we can work towards the successful attainment of this objective.

Additionally $100 billion loans and donations will be raised each year for projects enabling states to respond to the consequences of climate change. The hope is that this amount will be increased every year.

Under the agreement, the developed States are expected to fund the climate needs of the poor States, and the developing States are expected to help voluntarily with a certain amount of flexibility.

This agreement comes as a hope. Knowing that the world leaders are taking things so seriously and understanding the gravity of the situation. If things continue and the agreement works out as planned the climate will get better.

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Lady Diana Spencer

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone  might do the same for you.”

Lady Diana Frances Spencer was the epitome of glamour and in all instances admired for her high-profile involvement with AIDS issues. During the final years of her life, she was the most photographed and most famed woman in the world.

Diana Spencer was the youngest child of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp and was born at Park House, Sandringham. She spent her school years at boarding in West Health School, Kent. In 1977, she spent a few months at a finishing school in Switzerland, then returned to London.

The Spencer family had been close to the British Royal Family for years: Diana’s maternal grandmother, the Dowager Lady Fermoy, was a long time friend of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Prince Charles and Diana had met during her stay at Sandringham. Diana and Charles were continuously brought together by their respective families.

Diana was 19 and the Prince was 32 when they married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981.She had begun to shoulder official duties immediately after her wedding and her pictures were hardly ever off the front page. Diana became pregnant soon after and on June 21, 1982 she gave birth to Prince William. As she moved into her twenties, she grew into a beautiful and poised woman. Her support was canvassed for numerous institutions and events and she was either President or Patron of more than a hundred charities. Diana is most known for publicizing the difficulty of the homeless and the disabled, children in need and people with HIV and AIDS.

On September 15, 1984, her second son Prince Harry was born. After rumors of problems in their marriage, Charles and Diana separated in December 1992 and got divorced in August 1996. She resigned from some charities and patronages and parted with all service appointments with military units. She did, however, remain patron of Centrepoint, the English National Ballet, the Leprosy Mission and the National AIDS Trust, and president of the Hospital for Sick Children and the Royal Marsden Hospital. Throughout 1997, Diana had been repeatedly seen with Dodi Fayed, the son of Mohammed al Fayed who was the owner of Harrods. They had holidayed together and gone to Paris. On August 30, the car in which they travelling was involved in a high-speed accident in an underpass by the Seine. While Fayed and the driver were killed instantly, Diana died shortly afterwards. Her funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on September 6. Huge sums of money poured in from the public and were donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Image Source - beforeitsnews.com

Image Source – beforeitsnews.com

Of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this: a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”  -Earl Spencer

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Blinded Eyes But a Lighted Soul

Picture courtesy: www.twitter.com

Picture courtesy: www.twitter.com

 

On an average a woman looks at herself eight times a day. Why? We all know the answer to that. The species of women always want to look their best and their primitive concern is with their vanity regarding their facial and bodily features which more often than not, are never how they’d want themselves to be. But what about a young lady whose just turned into marriageable age and was aspiring to become a model? This tragic story, which fortunately has a spark of light at the end of the tunnel, is about 18 years old Shumi Akhtar, from Bangladesh who prior to the gut-wrenching and tantalizing incident, was the perfect quintessential beauty who had dreams to one day become a model and feature in photo-shoots and modelling campaigns.

However, being in the big, bad 21st century, all such stories which seem cheery and give a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment do not always find themselves ending on a happy note, as has been the case with the life story of Shumi. Everyone in their lives have been let down by that special someone, but stooping down to such an extent and committing such a despairingly heinous crime is something despicably morbid and goes off the charts of letting someone down. Shumi’s boyfriend threw acid on her face and body when she rejected his marriage proposal.

It has been eight months since the attack that Shumi has spent in the Acid Survivors’ Foundation (clinic) in Bangladesh which is being run by the victims of acid attack. The staff, having been a prey to acid attacks, try to assuage the pain and grief of the victims who not only have been shunned away from being called beautiful in the conventional sense again, rather have been abandoned by their families and siblings for the shame that their scars bring and the liability that they are prone to become. After experiencing the most distressing nightmare of her life, due to which the light of her eyes have been taken away, Shumi struggles hard to not breakdown every day after feeling her scabbed and scarred face and arms. She refused to ever leave the hospital premises and suffers from depression and anger. She is only too painfully aware of the fact that she will never be able to pursue her dream of becoming a model again or for that matter, living the life of normal human without being stared at or being roved by sympathetic glances or pitiful eyes. Despite of the fact that her hopes have been treaded upon and her dreams have been smothered by this simple act of pure sin, her aides in the hospital try their every bit to embolden her spirits and never fail to tell her she looks beautiful, though smiling on their faces but cringing in their hearts.

After eight months of agonizing pain and tormenting suffering, they decided to take her out into the world again and help her turn over a new leaf. However, Shumi initially was skeptical and even changed her mind against it at the last moment, but she didn’t let her apprehensions get the better of her. She donned a pair of shades for her sensitive eyes and wore a set of dapper clothes and revisited the world again that brought onto her all the misfortune that there was to offer to her. Her courage to stand up to the world by showing them that these acts of violence against women will not only invite deep condemnation and violent rebukes from the international society, but will also not be curtains closing on her rising future. She did not let the acts of one brute; ruin her prospects of living a thousand other beautiful moments that life may have to bestow upon her.

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