JK Rowling – The Fandom’s Favourite

Everyone’s heard about her. You would know her as the author of Harry Potter, the most selling fantasy novel series in the history of the world. She’s one of the most richest women in the world, with a legacy that grows every second of every year as more and a more children discover the magic of her writing. What most people don’t know, however, is that once upon a time she was just Jo, newly divorced, mother of a baby daughter and a very poor woman desperate for survival.

This is the not the usual, run off the mill , rags to riches story. This is a story about a woman hitting rock bottom and living to tell the tale.

As far as backstories go, Rowling had a pretty unremarkable childhood. She was born in Scotland, in The United Kingdom, to two unremarkable parents. She was closer to her mother and was always at heads with her father. She was a studious child with a conscientious temper and went to college like all the good children.

After stepping out into the real world was when Rowling’s problems really started. She and her husband, whom she had married early, started having problems. Things became so bad that she had to file a restraint order against her own spouse and soon, Rowling found herself alone, with a little baby by the name of Jessica to look after, with almost nothing to her name.

Rowling then proceeded to hit rock bottom.

She had no money. She had a baby and babies were expensive. She was so poor she had to depend on social security to make sure she could put food on the table and her flat was broken into by burglars. Her mother died.

Rowling said that as a child, a thing that had terrified her had been failure. To have nothing and be nothing, according to her, was worse than anything. And it happened to her and she could do all but nothing, helpless to its assault.

This was the time when Jo became J.K Rowling. She realised she had failed at life, just like she had feared, and that she was still alive and that she could do nothing but to go on like usual, because she still had a daughter whom she adored and an old typewriter and big ideas. She realised that failure helped her liberate herself from the expectation she had burdened herself with and be somebody who she really was, a woman dreaming about a small boy wizard named Harry.

Failure made her a survivor rather than a victim, a realist rather than a fantasist. She had infinite opportunities before her and there was nowhere to go but up.

Her book script was rejected by twelve publishing houses. The last one, the fated one, had a child read the story for evaluation. The child demanded more. The book was published. The rest, as they say, is history.

This is the not the usual, run off the mill, rags to riches story. This is a story about a woman finding freedom in failure.

This is a story about a hero.

What we achieve inward will change our reality

-Plutarch, as quoted by J.K Rowling in her Harvard speech.


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Bhutan Plants A Million Trees in Celebration

How the Birth of a Prince Gave Rise to the Birth of a Million Trees

In a world that is plagued by deforestation and rising pollution, the little nation of Bhutan recently gave Mother Earth a reason to celebrate. The birth of the nation’s Prince resulted in over one lakh trees being planted across the country. Yes, you read that right. One hundred and eight thousand trees were planted across the capital city of Thimpu and the rest of the country.

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay, three of his ministers, and the Leader of Opposition were among the 100,000 volunteers who planted the trees across the country on March 6, about a month after King Khesar and Queen Jetsun announced the birth of their baby boy on February 5.

“In Buddhism, a tree is the provider and nourisher of all life forms, symbolizing longevity, health, beauty and even compassion. It wasn’t a coincidence that the Buddha attained enlightenment under a Banyan tree”, says Tenzin Lekphell who coordinated the event. The number of trees planted was exactly 108,000, as ‘108’ is a sacred number in Buddhism, denoting the purifying of the 108 impairments which stop the being from attaining enlightenment.

“Each sapling encapsulates  a prayer and a wish from the person who planted it to His Royal Highness the Prince so that just like the bountiful tree, the Prince also grows up healthy, strong, wise and compassionate”, Lekphell said.

It would be very difficult to find another monarchy where the people look up to the royal family the way they do in Bhutan. Needless to say, with this beautiful step, Bhutan has set major greenery and afforestation goals for other countries of the world.


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Taking a Stand

Only women and girls know the cost of being the ‘other gender’, the gender that is thought to be intriguing and mystical in some places and is looked down upon in most of the other places, where they aren’t treated with fair rationality and rather are looked upon as objects that can be tampered with. It goes without saying and may seem incredulous, if spoken to the contrary, that every girl at some point in her life has gone through some situation or has had an experience that has made her feel insecure in the body of a woman. Such incidents when often brought out into the open, unite women and raise awareness amongst them that their will need not be fettered and tamed by the male sex.

Talking about such instances, I’d take the liberty of going over an incident which occurred in front of me and my family that happened with my older sister, who is two years elder to me. My family and I were on a vacation in Kerala and on this particular day we were exploring the very famous Kovalam beach as naïve tourists and just enjoying the crowded but breath-taking landscape of the Malabar Coast. We were prancing about and clicking as many pictures as could be fed into the camera, when my sister noticed that a man was clicking pictures of her. My father and I brushed it off as just being too sceptical, however our apprehensions soon turned into contempt as he followed us in whichever direction we went, still pointing his phone’s camera towards my sister. We waited for a few minutes so as to ascertain the veracity of our assumptions. It soon became increasingly evident that the man had no intentions of minding his own business and went ahead taking pictures indecently. That’s when I had an internal conflict with my conscience. One part of me told me to let it go and leave the area and that we would never meet the man again but the other part told me to not let him go scot-free this time and actually teach him a lesson.

My father came to my sister’s aid and confronted the man. He refused to owe up to his indecency and resisted every effort to reveal his vulgarity. However, luckily there was a police officer in the vicinity and my dad called him over to where the man stood, many people had gathered around by this time. The police officer through his method ways made the man open his phone gallery and it was a shocking revelation to find out that he had more than a thousand pictures and videos of many such innocent women in his phone. He was made to delete them and was taken to the nearby police station where an FIR was lodged against him and his friends, unfortunately enough his friends managed to escape from the scene. Despite being outraged by such an act, I found some reassurance in the fact that a suitable treatment and justified punishment will be meted out to the doers of such ignoble deeds and was reaffirmed about my future course of action in similar situations where there will be no room for any doubts as to what should be done.

Woman outperform Men

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Give, Not Take

We live in the new world now, a world where humanity is considered to have been lost, people believe that we have become so selfish that we do not really care about what happens with anyone else.  This new world is the capitalist world where we all are just racing towards success, and not looking back at what or who we are trampling over to get there. At least that’s what people believe, but we then we have some stories  come up, which makes us wonder if really humanity is nothing more than a concept now? Or is it hidden in the world we don’t see?

This incident is described by a guy living in Bangalore. To travel to work every day , he has to take a bus and on this day of the incident he was lucky enough to get the straight bus home. He noticed a man boarding the bus who had no hands. As there were no seats empty, he was forced to stand. Nobody offered him their seat and he was trying to hold on to the poles but was failing in the attempt and thus with every brake that the driver, he was pushed forward. The narrator could not take it anymore and went to the front of the bus and requested a young man to give up his seat. He offered the seat to the disabled man but to his surprise, the disabled man rather than sitting, offered the seat to an elderly man standing nearby.  The disabled man eventually got a place to sit but his humane action, amazed everyone on the bus.

The disabled man had a hard time standing but he still offered his seat to an elderly man, this shows great character and it is nothing less than proof of the fact that the good in people still exists. This human being should be an inspiration to all, especially to the people who are so concentrated on themselves and their problems that they let go of the very basic human values. Their eyes are somewhat blurred with their own beings, so much that they don’t even see the pain of others.

I believe that we should all aspire to be like this disabled man who believes in giving, even though he might not have the hands to do so.

Source: The logical indian


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Maneka Gandhi Speaks Against Criminalization of Marital Rape

The issue of criminalising marital rape has been tossed about in the Parliament time and again. Recently, DMK MP Kanimozhi, through a question submitted in the Rajya Sabha, asked Minister of State for Home Affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary whether the government would bring in an amending Bill to the Indian Penal Code to remove the exception of marital rape from the definition of rape in the light of the U.N. agencies’ findings and recommendations.
Mr. Chaudhary, in his written reply, said that while the U.N. Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women had recommended that India criminalise marital rape, India’s Law Commission had not recommended this, and the government had no plan to bring in an amendment.
The Woman and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi on Thursday told Rajya Sabha that ‘the concept of marital rape can’t be applied to India’. She added that a country like India is not ready for the change due to factors like poverty, illiteracy and religious beliefs. “It is considered that the concept of marital rape, as understood internationally, cannot be suitably applied in the Indian context due to various factors like level of education/illiteracy, poverty, myriad social customs and values, religious beliefs, mindset of the society to treat the marriage as a sacrament.” – was Maneka Gandhi’s response to various rising questions on charging a criminal offence on marital rapes. Her Thursday’s comments, angered several activists throughout the country. as it contradicted her own statement sometimes back; she was reportedly to have said “My opinion is that violence against women shouldn’t be limited to violence by strangers. Very often a marital rape is not always about a man’s need for sex; it is only about his need for power and subjugation. In such cases, it should be treated with seriousness.” It is surprising to see this drastic change in her stance. However, this means the criminalisation of marital rape has a long way to go still.

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In response to Kanhaiya Kumar’s Non-Existent Solutions

The issue of JNU has brought with it several videos that talk about gaining independence at whatever cost. Yes, there is a lack of clarity in some videos and claims have been made that these videos are actually fake. The point is that a thing can’t be completely fake. Something must have happened. We may not know exactly what has happened, but something has to have happened to form a base for claims like the ones that have been made.

Kanhaiya Kumar has said that he wants freedom, and he specifically says that he wants freedom in the country, not from the country. He says that he wants freedom from Caste and other differences. How is it that even after almost 69 years of independence and 66 years after enactment of a Constitution that provides for equality and protects from Discrimination, that we still have these differences? Perhaps because the differences in society, whether in terms of caste, religion or economy are so deeply engrained into us that we absolutely refuse to accept that all of us are equal and same.

Freedom in the country means we stay united and don’t get divided in any way. We have fought our battle for freedom before. And the times we failed before finally achieving success was because of our differentiation. Because we as a society were divided by our religion, we attained independence a lot later than we could have. Our differences and unwillingness to let go of these differences have already cause us agony before, and yet we continue to let that happen.

Yes, we are still divided in a lot of way. Let me speak of the most visible difference with regard to Kanhaiya Kumar and his beliefs. He is a political leader, isn’t he? My friends, isn’t politics the one thing that divides us as a society the most if you ignore the caste and religious differences? Politics in institutions has been the ruin of the people of that institution. Institutional politics sets the students against one another.

He says that he wants freedom of Speech and Expression. Well and good. But I have a question. Isn’t a boy using his freedom of speech when he eve teases a girl and uses vulgar language for her? When a person abuses someone, that is freedom of speech and expression for him, isn’t it? Everybody has a right to practice their freedom, but does that mean they do it however they want using whatever terminology suits them? Limitations need to be set for everything to ensure a responsible and sensible population. When one stands on a stage, talking to people, one holds a position of power and one has to sensible here. One can’t stand on a stage and insult the Prime Minister, a man who has been elected by the people. One can’t make fun of this man who is, after all, the people’s representative. That’s how he was elected to be the Prime Minister, wasn’t he, through the votes people cast? It’s called the Representation of People’s Act for a reason. And doing this, making fun of the Prime Minister on stage, is equivalent to making fun of your country, and that is not freedom of speech.

A politician asking for JNU to be shut down for 4 months because of anti-national activities in the campus, and Kanhaiya Kumar defaming the army for an incident of rape by two soldiers in Kashmir, is the same. Anti-national doesn’t just mean yelling slogans against your country. Anti-national is also just the same as insulting your Prime Minister and therefore your own country on a stage where you hold a position of Power. Kanhaiya Kumar talks about how he wants change in the country. I ask him, do you have a solution to the problems? Everybody demands change, but being a student leader, do you have any solutions for bringing about this change you so desperately want to see? Yes, Farmers are dying, soldiers and officers are dying, but what solution do you have to prevent all this. Kanhaiya Kumar has defamed the army. Does he not realize that quite a few members of the army are pass-outs of his college? So when he calls these people rapists, isn’t he creating a tag for the people of his own college?

Kanhaiya Kumar has conveniently forgotten that it is this very army that he is defaming, that guards the border day in and day out, all day and all night. If we sleep in our beds at night, not worried abut perishing in war, it is because of this army and it’s dedicated soldiers and officers, who sacrifice everything for our safety. Whenever there is a disaster, be it the Uttarakhand cloud Burst, Kashmir Flood, Haryana Jat protests, everywhere, it is the army that steps in to get things back in control. Is this how you repay these gallant men who put everything on the line for us ordinary people? I don’t know what’s more sad, your display of ungratefulness or them sacrificing their lives for ungrateful people like you.

We urge him to find actual solutions to the problems he is so opposed to. Simply asking for change is not enough, you need to work for it too, you need to make strategies for it too. You are a student leader and have a hoard of students to support you. We urge you to better utilize the resources you have. Because what you’re doing now, Making anti-national statements and defaming the army is the wrong way to affect change.

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How to survive the tough path of life

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Target the Innocent

India is a patriarchal society and women have always been treated like they were less than men, as if we were made for their whims and fancies. In such a world, growing up as a girl can be difficult or in some major cases, even scarring.

What has become a common topic of discussion and a common ground for attachment, are the various instances of sexual assault we have experienced as we grew up.

When I was just a kid, I must have been in 2nd class, I went to a supermarket with my family in Agra. I remember it was extremely crowded on that specific day, the reason though I seem to have forgotten. The crowd was how you would expect a crowd to be in UP, but it didn’t seem unsafe, at least to me or my parents. Plus I had been to this supermarket a billion times, and thus I didn’t have the fear of getting lost.

I couldn’t control my excitement; I remember rushing to where all the barbies were kept almost as soon as we entered but the row with all the toys was extremely crowded and there was a flow of humans coming every second. I had no patience and started going against the crowd, that’s when it happened. I remember trying to push my way when a guy groped my breast. I still remember the faces of all the people crossing me, and that uncomfortable feeling that came after I was groped. I shrugged it off as nothing and continued on my journey to where they kept the barbies.

But something about the incident seemed weird. As a kid, I didn’t understand why he had done that and I kept telling myself that it was nothing more than a mistake on his part , even then the seed of a doubt remained as to how could that person could grope my breast by mistake? I felt something was wrong, even though “grope” was a word that didn’t yet exist in my dictionary.

It was years later that I realised what had happen, that I was assaulted in the public but being a kid and therefore unaware, I made no move. Maybe this is why these predators target kids, they take advantage of their innocent minds.

Girls all over India have been through incidents like mine, and have had fear instilled in their minds. The worst part about this is the fact that at that time you tell yourself that it was nothing, but years later when the epiphany hits you, your knees shake and you feel violated to say the least.

Every time I cross a crowded place now, I make sure that my hands cover my chest and even though I have overcome the horror and trauma from this, a lot of girls don’t. They live in fear, experiencing flashbacks throughout their lives. So let’s work to change our society, to make it safe for all the young girls out there who do not have to grow up with scars around their hearts which only let out fear.

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