An Indian-American Teenage Girl’s Invention Could Charge Cell-phones in 20 Seconds


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Eesha Khare

An Indian-American Teenage Girl’s Invention Could Charge Cell-phones in 20 Seconds

Thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student, Eesha Khare of Saratoga, California, USA, our wait for hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past. This Indian-American girl, specialising in nanochemistry, has invented a super-capacitor device that can potentially charge a cellphone in less than 20 seconds.

The Intel Foundation presented Esha Khare the Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award and $50,000 during the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona this week for inventing the tiny super-capacitor device that can pack lot more energy into a smaller space than traditional phone batteries. The gizmo fits inside mobile phone batteries, and can hold the charge for a longer period.

Eesha says that her invention could be employed not only to charge cellphone batteries, but also to power anything that uses rechargeable batteries. Right now, the “super-capacitor” charges a light-emitting diode (LED). However, she is now being besieged by offers from the electronic industry. Reports say that Google is now having preliminary exploratory talks with Eesha Khare.

Let us wish this teenager all success with her invention.

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Want to Spam? Here Are a Few Templates You Can Use


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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No Spam

A legitimate comment on a blog is called ‘HAM’ and its counterpart the illegitimate comment is known as ‘SPAM’ with no offense to vegetarians.

Daily, I am bombarded with ‘commercial’ spam comments that vary from an one-liner to a page full, These comments appreciate my work, my personality, and my blog. However, I am not that stupid to get inveigled by these sycophantic praises because I know that I do not deserve such insincere adulation.

Akismet

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Yesterday, I received a multiple pages long spam comment. I think there must be an error in their spamming software. I have reproduced it below for your perusal and education. This is an example of what ‘Article spinning’ software are capable of. I have numbered them for easy referencing.

I especially like item #65 – a tongue-in-cheek template of a comment on commenting:

{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hello}, i read your blog {occasionally|from time to time} and i own a similar one and i was just {wondering|curious} if you get a lot of spam {comments|responses|feedback|remarks}? If so how do you {prevent|reduce|stop|protect against} it, any plugin or anything you can {advise|suggest|recommend}? I get so much lately it’s driving me {mad|insane|crazy} so any {assistance|help| support} is very much appreciated.

Lorelle VanFossen in her post “The Secret Recipe of Comment Spam Comments” has reproduced a similar multiple pages long comment that was referred to her by one of her readers. She says: “It is also a template for the spam bot, customizing itself based upon input it gathers, randomly generating the different conditions in the curly brackets to slightly customize each comment to fool the likes of expert comment spam fighters like Akismet.”

So, here is a template you could use to spam others and others to spam you. For your own sake, I would advise you to read Lorelle’s post which too has templates ‘useful’ for spammers.

Happy SPAMMING!

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Woah! I’m really {loving|enjoying|digging} the template/theme of this {site|website| blog}. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s {very hard|very difficult|challenging| tough|difficult|hard} to get that “perfect balance” between {superb usability|user friendliness|usability} and {visual appearance|visual appeal|appearance}. I must say {that you’ve|you have|you’ve} done a {awesome|amazing|very good|superb| fantastic|excellent|great} job with this. {In addition|Additionally|Also}, the blog loads {very|extremely|super} {fast|quick} for me on {Safari|Internet explorer|Chrome| Opera|Firefox}. {Superb|Exceptional|Outstanding|Excellent} Blog!

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These are {really|actually|in fact|truly|genuinely} {great|enormous|impressive| wonderful|fantastic} ideas in {regarding|concerning|about|on the topic of} blogging.
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey}! Someone in my {Myspace|Facebook} group shared this {site|website} with us so I came to {give it a look|look it over|take a
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Hey} would you mind {stating|sharing} which blog platform you’re {working with|using}? I’m {looking|planning|going} to start my own blog {in the near future|soon} but I’m having a {tough|difficult|hard} time {making a decision|selecting|choosing|deciding} between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your {design and style|design|layout} seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something {completely unique|unique}.
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{Howdy|Hi there|Hi|Hey there|Hello|Hey} would you mind letting me know which {webhost|hosting company|web host} you’re {utilizing|working with|using}? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 {completely different|different} {internet browsers|web browsers|browsers} and I must say this blog loads a lot {quicker|faster} then most. Can you {suggest|recommend} a good {internet hosting|web hosting|hosting} provider at a {honest|reasonable|fair} price? {Thanks a lot|Kudos|Cheers|Thank you|Many thanks|Thanks}, I appreciate it!

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{I love|I really like|I like|Everyone loves} it {when people|when individuals|when folks| whenever people} {come together|get together} and share {opinions|thoughts|views| ideas}. Great {blog|website|site}, {keep it up|continue the good work|stick with it}!

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Thank you for the {auspicious|good} writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.

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Look advanced to {far|more} added agreeable from you! {By the way|However}, how {can|could} we communicate?

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{Howdy|Hi there|Hey there|Hello|Hey} just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The {text|words} in your {content|post|article} seem to be running off the screen in {Ie| Internet explorer|Chrome|Firefox|Safari|Opera}. I’m not sure if this is a {format| formatting} issue or something to do with {web browser|internet browser|browser}
compatibility but I {thought|figured} I’d post to let you know. The {style and design| design and style|layout|design} look great though! Hope you get the {problem|issue}
{solved|resolved|fixed} soon. {Kudos|Cheers|Many thanks|Thanks}

25.
This is a topic {that is|that’s|which is} {close to|near to} my heart… {Cheers|Many thanks|Best wishes|Take care|Thank you}! {Where|Exactly where} are your contact
details though?

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It’s very {easy|simple|trouble-free|straightforward|effortless} to find out any {topic| matter} on {net|web} as compared to {books|textbooks}, as I found this {article| post|piece of writing|paragraph} at this {website|web site|site|web page}.

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Does your {site|website|blog} have a contact page? I’m having {a tough time| problems| trouble} locating it but, I’d like to {send|shoot} you an {e-mail|email}. I’ve gotsome {creative ideas|recommendations|suggestions|ideas} for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great {site|website|blog} and I look forward to
seeing it {develop|improve|expand|grow} over time.

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{Hola|Hey there|Hi|Hello|Greetings}! I’ve been {following|reading} your {site|web site|website|weblog|blog} for {a long time|a while|some time} now and finally got the
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29.
Greetings from {Idaho|Carolina|Ohio|Colorado|Florida|Los angeles|California}! I’m {bored to tears|bored to death|bored} at work so I decided to {check out|browse}
your {site|website|blog} on my iphone during lunch break. I {enjoy|really like|love} the {knowledge|info|information} you {present|provide} here and can’t wait to take a
look when I get home. I’m {shocked|amazed|surprised} at how {quick|fast} your blog loaded on my {mobile|cell phone|phone} .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. {Anyhow|Anyways}, {awesome|amazing|very good|superb|good|wonderful| fantastic|excellent|great} {site|blog}!

30.
Its {like you|such as you} {read|learn} my {mind|thoughts}! You {seem|appear} {to understand|to know|to grasp} {so much|a lot} {approximately|about} this, {like you|
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Greetings! {Very helpful|Very useful} advice {within this|in this particular} {article| post}! {It is the|It’s the} little changes {that make|which will make|that produce|that will make} {the biggest|the largest|the greatest|the most important|the most significant} changes. {Thanks a lot|Thanks|Many thanks} for sharing!

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35.
{Hi there|Hello there|Howdy}! This {post|article|blog post} {couldn’t|could not} be written {any better|much better}! {Reading through|Looking at|Going through|Looking
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{Wow|Whoa|Incredible|Amazing}! This blog looks {exactly|just} like my old one! It’s on a {completely|entirely|totally} different {topic|subject} but it has pretty much the
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37.
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38.
{You made|You’ve made|You have made} some {decent|good|really good} points there. I {looked|checked} {on the internet|on the web|on the net} {for more info|for
more information|to find out more|to learn more|for additional information} about the issue and found {most individuals|most people} will go along with your views on
{this website|this site|this web site}.

39.
{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, I {log on to|check|read} your {new stuff|blogs|blog} {regularly|like every week|daily|on a regular basis}. Your {story-telling|writing|
humoristic} style is {awesome|witty}, keep {doing what you’re doing|up the good work|it up}!

40.
I {simply|just} {could not|couldn’t} {leave|depart|go away} your {site|web site| website} {prior to|before} suggesting that I {really|extremely|actually} {enjoyed| loved} {the standard|the usual} {information|info} {a person|an individual} {supply|provide} {for your|on your|in your|to your} {visitors|guests}? Is {going to|gonna} be {back|again {frequently|regularly|incessantly|steadily| ceaselessly| often|continuously} {in order to|to} {check up on|check out|inspect|investigate cross-check} new posts.

41.
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42.
{Hi|Hello|Hi there|What’s up}, just wanted to {mention|say|tell you}, I {enjoyed| liked|loved} this {article|post|blog post}. It was {inspiring|funny|practical|helpful}. Keep on posting!

43.
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44.
{Hi there|Hello}, I enjoy reading {all of|through} your {article|post|article post}. I {like|wanted} to write a little comment to support you.

45.
I {always|constantly|every time} spent my half an hour to read this {blog|weblog| webpage|website|web site}’s {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content} {everyday|
daily|every day|all the time} along with a {cup|mug} of coffee.

46.
I {always|for all time|all the time|constantly|every time} emailed this {blog|weblog| webpage|website|web site} post page to all my {friends|associates|contacts},
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47.
My {coder|programmer|developer} is trying to {persuade|convince} me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the {expenses|costs}. But
he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using {Movable-type|WordPress} on {a number of|a variety of|numerous|several|various} websites for about a year and am {nervous| anxious|worried|concerned} about switching to another platform. I have heard {fantastic|very good|excellent|great|good} things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can {transfer|import} all my wordpress {content|posts} into it? {Any kind of|Any} help would be {really|greatly} appreciated!

48.
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day}! I could have sworn I’ve {been to| visited} {this blog|this web site|this website|this site|your blog} before but after
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checking back {frequently|regularly|often}!

49.
{Terrific|Great|Wonderful} {article|work}! {This is|That is} {the type of|the kind of} {information|info} {that are meant to|that are supposed to|that should} be shared
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50.
Heya {i’m|i am} for the first time here. I {came across|found} this board and I find It {truly|really} useful & it helped me out {a lot|much}. I hope to give something back
and {help|aid} others like you {helped|aided} me.

51.
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52.
{A person|Someone|Somebody} {necessarily|essentially} {lend a hand|help|assist} to make {seriously|critically|significantly|severely} {articles|posts} {I would|I might|I’d} state. {This is|That is} the {first|very first} time I frequented your {web page|website page} and {to this point|so far|thus far|up to now}? I {amazed|surprised} with the
{research|analysis} you made to {create|make} {this actual|this particular} {post| submit|publish|put up} {incredible|amazing|extraordinary}. {Great|Wonderful|
Fantastic|Magnificent|Excellent} {task|process|activity|job}!

53.
Heya {i’m|i am} for {the primary|the first} time here. I {came across|found} this board and I {in finding|find|to find} It {truly|really} {useful|helpful} & it helped me out {a lot|much}. {I am hoping|I hope|I’m hoping} {to give|to offer|to provide|to present} {something|one thing} {back|again} and {help|aid} others {like you|such as you} {helped|aided} me.

54.
{Hello|Hi|Hello there|Hi there|Howdy|Good day|Hey there}! {I just|I simply} {would like to|want to|wish to} {give you a|offer you a} {huge|big} thumbs up {for the|for
your} {great|excellent} {info|information} {you have|you’ve got|you have got} {here|right here} on this post. {I will be|I’ll be|I am} {coming back to|returning to} {your blog|your site|your website|your web site} for more soon.

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I {always|all the time|every time} used to {read|study} {article|post|piece of writing| paragraph} in news papers but now as I am a user of {internet|web|net} {so|thus|
therefore} from now I am using net for {articles|posts|articles or reviews|content}, thanks to web.

56.
Your {way|method|means|mode} of {describing|explaining|telling} {everything|all|the whole thing} in this {article|post|piece of writing|paragraph} is {really|actually|in fact| truly|genuinely} {nice|pleasant|good|fastidious}, {all|every one} {can|be able to|be capable of} {easily|without difficulty|effortlessly|simply} {understand|know|be aware of} it, Thanks a lot.

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The Power of Prayer


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Power of Prayer

A convenience store called Cigars and Smoke was transformed into a liquor bar in March this year.

The bar sits just 200 feet away from the church of St. Augustine. This infuriated the congregation of St. Augustine, and local officials scratched their heads because a loophole in the County’s law allows a bar to be opened next to a church.

Every day, while the members of St. Augustine’s church were getting ready for their evening service, bartenders of Cigars and Smoke next door were also getting ready for their evening service. “Our community is a quiet one. Now every church-goer is complaining about the noise since it opened in March” said a senior member of the congregation.

For almost a month Father Patrick, the parish priest rained down brimstone and fire from the pulpit against the bar. “We are seeking the presence of the Lord and it is not congruent and it is not acceptable to us to have that damn thing next door to us,” he said. His congregation joined him in prayer invoking God to have the business closed.

Lightning striking a building

A month later, Cigars and Smoke was struck by lightning and was burned to ashes.

The bar owner sued the parish priest and the entire church members for restitution for the loss of his bar. He claimed the lightning that struck his bar was the direct result of their prayer to God.

The parish priest and the members of the congregation countered this allegation and denied all responsibility.

The learned judge after listening to the arguments of both the parties commented:

It is difficult to decide the case because we have here on one side a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and on the other side a priest and an entire congregation that does not believe in it!

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Disgusting: 40-Year-Old Mother and Her 23-Year-Old Son Produce a Son/Grandson Combo Pack


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Incest - mother and son

A mother and her son have fallen in love with each other. They intend to get married because the mother is six months pregnant and is expecting her son’s first child.

Betty Mbreko, a 40-year-old widow from Mwenezi in Masvingo, Zimbabwe has shared her bed with her 23-Year-Old Son Farai Mbereko for the past three years. Her husband died 12 years ago. Now, she is pregnant with the seed of her son.

Last week, Betty Mbreko stunned a village court when she said that she did not want to marry any of her late husband’s younger brothers who are coveting her and started the affair with her son three years earlier. She confirmed that she is six months pregnant and intends to marry her son even though the authorities accused their affair as something wrong.

She said that she struggled alone after her husband’s death and spent a lot of money to educate her son and no one helped her; and now that her son is working she felt she had a right to his money than any other woman and wanted the authorities to let her enjoy the rewards of her sweat.

Betty’s late husband had died without paying the lobola, the bride price, to her parents for her hand in marriage. Her son Farai said he was more than ready to marry his mother and pay the lobola his father had left unpaid to his grandparents. He added: “It is better to publicize what is happening because people should know that I am the one who made my mother pregnant. Otherwise, they will accuse her of promiscuity.”

However, Nathan Muputirwa, the local headman said: “We cannot allow this to happen in our village, this is a bad omen indeed. In the past they would have to be killed, but today we cannot do it because we are afraid of the police.” He then warned the mother and son to break off their affair or leave the village immediately.

The incestuous couple chose to leave the village, and now, no one knows their whereabouts.

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Kudankulam N-plant: Safety norms gains primacy over commissioning deadline


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Indrani Bagchi

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By 

Posted on May 16, 2013 in THE TIMES OF INDIA.

Kudankulam Nuclear Plant
Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Tirunelveli district, Tamilnadu, India

NEW DELHI: Regardless of the recent promise made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Durban about the early commissioning of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant (KKNPP), the government has instructed the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) that safety reviews of KKNPPshould be run with a “fine-toothed comb” without being pressured by commissioning deadline. In fact, the government had recently invited the Operational Safety Review Team of the IAEA to do an independent safety assessment of other Indian reactors, particularly RAPS (in Rajasthan).

Last week, the Supreme Court cleared the power plant, paving the way for early commissioning. Originally, the plant was scheduled to be commissioned in 2007.

A whole new set of safety checks were conducted by the AERB after four valves that came from a Russian supplier were found to be “deficient”.

Stung by a series of popular protests about safety issues in Kudankulam, which has inspired protests by a large number of NGOs, the government is keen that no stone is left unturned. If this means the Russians are less than pleased, sources said, so be it. They added that some of the supplies from Russian companies have been found to be below par.

NPCIL has that the commissioning of KKNPP would now happen only in June, after another set of checks are carried out. The company said the physical progress of the plant was 99.6% complete.

This week a group of 60 leading scientists wrote a letter to the PM, and chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala asking for more stringent safety checks of the KKNPP. They have sought “renewed study” of safety issues by an independent panel of experts. The scientists — most of them serving in state-run institutions — have expressed doubts, “particularly with reference to possible sub-standard components” used in the plant.

These are not scientists advocating against nuclear energy, but concerned about safety issues. “These safety concerns are compounded by the fact that Russian authorities arrested Sergei Shutov, procurement director of Zio-Podolsk, on corruption charges for having sourced cheaper sub-standard steel for manufacturing components that were used in Russian nuclear installations in Bulgaria, Iran, China and India,” they wrote in the letter, The arrest of Shutov, they cited, led to several complaints of sub-standard components and follow-up investigations in both Bulgaria and China.

While the AERB gave an in-principle clearance for fuel loading of the plant in April, hopes that it would be commissioned by May were dashed after faulty valves made news. In an effort to quell the protests and spiralling negative perception about the power plant, the government has been on an information overdrive to educate and be transparent. This week, minister of state V Narayanasamy said, “All nuclear power projects undergo an elaborate in-depth safety review during the consenting stages, like siting, construction, commissioning, etc. After satisfactory review during project stage, AERB issues operating licence to an NPP for a period of up to five years.”

Last week, responding to a question in Parliament, government assured that components supplied to KKNPP are “tested in an integrated manner during commissioning to verify their performance in accordance to design performance criteria. Any shortfall noticed in performance is addressed/corrected as a part of the commissioning programme”.

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Re-posted from THE TIMES OF INDIA

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An email from an Indian father: I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone…


This a re-post of the original article posted on May 13, 2012
 in 
The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker.

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Sharing an email from a father of an Indian daughter.

Dear Indian Homemaker,

After stumbling upon your blog accidentally, I read with interest your post created on May 10, countering the so-called advantages of arranged marriage.

Although I have been happily married for nearly thirty years now, I have seen my own daughter suffer terribly in the arranged marriage system. While some might say that it is our culture, and love marriages are a Western import, I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone who might be considering the idea of simply going along with what everyone is saying, and isn’t following his or her own heart just because he doesn’t want ill to be spoken of his family in society. It is painful for me to write this, but I thought that I must use the internet forum to let people know how the system works.

I am retired with two daughters and a son.

It is my older daughter who has gone through hell on account of this horrible system of in-laws and dowry, and it is her that I want to write about.

About three years ago, my daughter graduated with her masters degree. She has always been extremely hard-working and being from a top college, she secured a well-paying job. Like any father, I was very proud of her and was happy that she was on-track to do very well in life without any help from me at all. The only thing left was to find a good groom for her, we thought, and after that she would be completely settled.

As my daughter had not selected any boy herself, the search began. We went all out. We published ads in papers, asked family friends, looked on matrimonial websites. Eventually, we found a boy, in the same city where my daughter worked a that time. He was from a good, well-settled family which owned a chain of businesses. He was well-spoken, confident and seemed quite modern in his ideas. We were forthright about my daughter being career-oriented and told the boy’s family categorically that she would not leave her job after marriage. We were assured that it was not a problem as the other daughter-in-law was also working and most of the housework was done by maids in any case.

My daughter, docile as always, simply went along and said okay to the proposal after only a few visits.

Within one month, the marriage was finalized and the ceremony was held in 2010.

At this point, we made the mistake of paying out a hefty dowry. It sounds very naive now, but I am being candid with you; I thought this might making things a little easier for our daughter . How could I have known what monstrous characters these people were hiding behind their smiles and laughter?

From the moment my daughter entered the house, these people began plotting to get more. At first, they were nice and gentle, but soon they began to show their true colours. It started with small hints, then moved on to broad hints, taunts, fights and finally, physical assaults.

I had no idea all this was going on. My daughter never told me; I used to call up every week and she told me that all was fine. Then one day, she said that she did not want me to call her anymore. She gave absolutely no reason for this request. It was completely out of character, and I was a little hurt, but reluctantly agreed. In Jun 2011, on her wedding anniversary, to my utter shock, the ceremony was held without us even being invited! By then, I had come to the conclusion that something was definitely very wrong.

I made a surprise visit to my son-in-law’s place. I told their family that I was there on business and had decided to pay them a visit. What I saw at their place made my blood boil over. My confident, beautiful daughter was treated like she was little more than a servant. When I entered, she was rudely told to get some tea, and the same people who had been so bubbly and smiley treated me as if I was a social inferior. I called out to my daughter, refused the tea, and simply stated that I was taking her out to lunch. They tried to protest, but I ignored them. It was only in the car that the whole story came out.

I have already told you the broad incidents, I won’t bore you with gory details. This fiend who called himself a husband not only hit my daughter, but he actually forced himself on her sexually. Imagine! My daughter, who I have NEVER hit till date. My daughter, who I brought up as the apple of my eye. How could this man have the gall to lay his dirty hands on her? How dare this rapist, this creature of filth, force her to bow to his perverted whims and fancies? The poor girl was so traumatized that she could not even cry! It was like talking to a shell, a dry husk of a person. It broke my heart to hear her speak like that.

I took her back to her marital home, told her to pack all essential documents and objects in a bag and come back with me immediately. The boy’s family created a scene of course, but at this time, I was so angry that I did not even look at them, let alone respond to their nonsense.

To cut a long story short, I got my daughter home and helped her file divorce papers and supplementary charges against the boy’s family. Although this terrible chapter is over, I am committed to personally ensuring that this man goes to jail, and isn’t just let off with a fine. I will make sure that he faces the consequences of his sins.

The points raised by the newspaper article (discussed in that post) seem so very shallow to me! It was written by someone who has no idea of ground reality and is floating in the dreams of a yesterday that does not exist.

Let me consider each point:

1. in a negotiated marriage, family support is a given.

What decent parent would not support their own child? And if this parent does not want to support a daughter who had a love marriage, would he support her if her arranged marriage ran into trouble? What is the guarantee?

2.  If the marriage demands the girl to stay with her in-laws, it is more likely that they will make her feel comfortable as they have already ‘approved’ of her.

As you can judge from my story, the ‘approval’ is only skin-deep. There is no guarantee that these in-laws will ‘approve’ afterwards too. And because enough time is not usually provided, who knows what the in-laws are actually like? Serial killers can also seem very pleasant under normal circumstances, but they will show their true colours only after a certain time.

3. The process … involves understanding each other’s cultural interests apart from individual views and opinions about life in general.

Complete rubbish. The process only involves ticking off certain features, as if one was buying a car. This is not a feature of arranged marriage at all.

4.  Unlike a love marriage where financial security of the groom is not always a priority, in an arranged marriage, it is imperative that the bride’s family ensure that their would-be son-in-law is career-oriented and has a steady flow of income.

If financial security is not a priority for the couple, then how is it important in any case? If it is a priority, then the couple will ensure it.

5.  Each day is a surprise wherein the couple learn about the nitty gritty of the relationship and also take an effort to nurture it.

But are all surprises pleasant? Some things should not be a surprise. There are things that one must know well about one’s husband beforehand.

6. Once the alliance is arranged, the boy and girl are officially allowed to meet and know more about each other

I do not understand what this means. Are the girl and boy not allowed to meet otherwise? If not, then how will they get married in any case?

7. Ever heard of Swayamvar, an ancient Indian practice of choosing a husband from among a list of suitors?

Do all ‘Swayamvars’ turn out blissfully?

8. Since both the parties are way too involved in finding the right match and also the actual activity of marriage, it takes the load off the bride-to-be and gives her time to get comfortable in her new surroundings.

I can only laugh at this, seeing how things have gone with my own daughter.

I hope I’ve not made this overly long. I really wanted to share it, and I hope your find it useful.

Regards,

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Re-posted from The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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Ways to Spot a Desi Who Has Just Returned from the USA


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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An Indian returning at the airportGenerally, Asians who return to their homeland after a sojourn abroad become the cynosure of discussion among their envious folks. Their friends and relatives think that they purposely act funny to show off the habits they had picked up abroad.

By the way, I returned to India in January 2013 after a year-long holiday in the USA. In March 2007, long before I went to the USA, I came across some posts on the net with titles such as: “What happen when Desi Returns from USA” (sic), “21 Funny ways to spot a US returned Indian!” and many others, and had a good laugh.

Here are some ways to spot a Desi who has just returned from the USA:

1. Complains about “Jet Lag” even after two weeks.

2. Even after 4 months of arrival from abroad the stickers and labels of Airways are not removed from the luggage bags. Even for short visits roll out the cabin luggage bags, with Airways stickers still on them, on scraggy roads and uneven pavements.

3. Begins most conversations with “In US …” or “When I was in US …”

4. Complains about heat, dust, air pollution and excess humidity every time they step out of the house.

5. Uses deodorant sprays inside the house, and sprays deodorant perfumes on self and at times avoid bathing.

6. Wears ‘cargo’ pants and uses the pockets as temporary trash carriers and dumps the contents into real dustbins, if one is found at all. Toilet tissues also find their place in the pant pockets and in ladies’ handbags.

7. Complains about power-cuts and load shedding and praises the power service in the USA. In fact, complains about everything in India as if experiencing the inconveniences for the first time. If the power gets cut, instead of telephoning the Electricity Board, looks at other houses to verify that they too are experiencing the same inconvenience.

8. Wears seatbelt in cars and advises others to do so. Scorns the Indian roads. Automobiles are Audi, Mercedes, Lamborghini and not Maruti, Tata or Bajaj.

9. Says: “Excuse me” after sneezing.

10. Thanks waiters in restaurants.

11. Carries mineral water everywhere, and always speaks of ‘health’. Scrutinizes labels on milk products for the percentage of fat content. Prefers “Diet Coke” to normal Coke.13. Abhors eating or drinking tea in wayside hotels. Scorns Dhaba food while praising KFC or McDonald’s. Avoids eating hot chili stuff.

12. Tries to use a credit card or debit card in roadside hotels.

13. Distances are miles (not kilometers), weights are in pounds (not kilograms), and counts in millions (not in lakhs). Writes date as MM/DD/YYYY instead of DD/MM/YYYY.

14. Tries to figure all prices in dollars. They forget that when they were in the USA they mentally converted the price of each item they came across from dollars to rupees by multiplying roughly by 50.

15. Pronounces “schedule” as “skejule“, “module” as “Mojule”, and “Steak” as “Stake”.

16. Says:

“Hey” instead of “Hi”

“Yogurt” instead of “Curd”

“Cab” instead of “Taxi”

“Candy” instead of “Chocolate”

“Cookie” instead of “Biscuit”

“Free Way” instead of “Highway”

“Got To Go” instead of “Have To Go”

“Oh” instead of “Zero”. For 707, says “seven oh seven” instead of “seven zero seven”.

“X, Y, Zee” instead of “X, Y, Zed”

British and American English

I came across the above image in Facebook that might come in handy for those who aspire to travel to or work in the USA.

Keep smiling …

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Mother, shall I put you to sleep?


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Shahina KK

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By Shahina KK

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Maariyamma is likely to be killed by her children because they cannot afford her. They will give her a loving oil bath. Several glasses of coconut water. A mouthful of mud. Perhaps a poison injection. She is just one of many old parents in Tamil Nadu dying in this way. But no one blinks at these ritual murders.

IN TAMIL, it is known as thalaikoothal. A leisurely oil bath. An exercise in love and health when given to newborn children, a ceremonial beginning to festivals, and the universal answer to pitiless summers. In Tamil Nadu’s small industry hub of Virudhunagar, however, it is the beginning of slow murder. The marker of the devastating poverty that makes a son kill his own aging mother.

Maariyamma
Maariyamma – After her friend’s son turned mercy killer, Maariyamma left her village. (Photo: G. Karthick)

Young family members of this district in southern Tamil Nadu have been pushing their infirm, elderly dependents to death because they cannot afford to take care of them. When 65-year-old Maariyamma suspected this might happen to her too, she moved out of her son’s house two years ago. “I’m not well enough to live on my own, but it is better than being killed by them,” she says. Amazingly, there is no bitterness in her voice. Or anger. “They’re struggling hard to take care of their own children,” says Maariyamma, of her sons. She places no blame. Her two sons and two daughters are farm labourers who travel to different villages every sowing and harvesting season. Seeing her children at pains to run their house, and feed and educate her grandchildren, Maariyamma knew she was a burden. She knew how it would end if she didn’t leave.

Maariyamma had seen it happen to other men and women of her age. Her neighbour, Parvathy, had been paralysed at the age of 76. “She had only one son,” says Maariyamma. “And he was working in Chennai, surviving on some menial job there. How could he afford to look after his bedridden mother?” One day, Maariyamma says, Parvathy’s son came, “did it” and went back to Chennai. “What else could he do?” she asks. Again, in place of anger or fear, there is helpless resignation. And a strange empathy for the person who might elaborately plan her murder.

Thalaikoothal works thus: an extensive oil bath is given to an elderly person before the crack of dawn. The rest of the day, he or she is given several glasses of cold tender coconut water. Ironically, this is everything a mother would’ve told her child not do while taking an oil bath. “Tender coconut water taken in excess causes renal failure,” says Dr Ashok Kumar, a practicing physician in Madurai. By evening, the body temperature falls sharply. In a day or two, the old man or woman dies of high fever. This method is fail-proof “because the elderly often do not have the immunity to survive the sudden fever,” says Dr Kumar.

OVER THE years, other methods have evolved too. The most painful one is when mud dissolved in water is forced down; it causes indigestion and an undignified death. Velayudham of Help age India says the families often take the mud from their own land, if they have any. “It is believed that this makes their souls happy,” he says.

Dorairaj, a farmer in Satur, confesses that Muniammal, a distant relative, had been killed four months earlier. She was 78, and too weak to fend for herself. She was given an oil bath, but somehow survived. After a few days, she was given the ‘milk treatment’. “When the milk is being poured, the nose is held tight,” says Dorairaj. This ‘milk treatment’ is often preceded by starvation. The household stops serving the parent solid food. “When milk is poured uninterruptedly into the mouth, it goes into the respiratory track. A starving person cannot withstand even a moment’s suffocation,” says 60-year-old Paul Raj, coordinator of a district elders’ welfare association.

Though everyone seems to be in the know, thalaikoothal officially remained unexposed until the death of 60-year-old Selvaraj, of Ramasamipuram village in Virudhunagar on 18 June this year. Selvaraj, who was bed-ridden due to an accident, died suddenly. Asokan, Selvaraj’s nephew in Virudhunagar, raised the alarm on his uncle’s death. He registered an FIR, and subsequently a woman named Zeenath was arrested for administering a poisonous injection. Prabhakar, the Virudhunagar Commissioner of Police, admits that it is hard to find any evidence. “The body was cremated and there is no scope for a re-examination of the corpse,” he says.

Zeenath has been released on bail and refused to talk to TEHELKA when we met her in her village, Ramasamipuram. Some villagers claimed that Zeenath was a ‘professional mercy killer’.

‘It’s difficult to view it simply in a legal or criminal framework,’ says district collector VK Shanmugham

A few days after Selvaraj’s death came to light, a newspaper published a report exposing more mysterious deaths in the district. When the district administration of Virudhunagar learnt how widespread the mercy killing was, it ordered an investigation. “It was shocking for all of us,” says V K Shanmugham, district collector in Virudhunagar. He soon realised that conventional state responses like arrests, warnings and interrogations would not even scratch the surface.

Thalaikoothal lay in the indefinable space between crime and desperate acts of poverty. It was social custom, a collective family decision, a ritual goodbye to a loved one who had lived a full life. Sometimes, it was the victim’s own idea. Shanmugham found that many called it a path to “eternal peace”, an escape from the violence of poverty. “It is difficult to view this simply in a legal or criminal framework,” he adds.

If thalaikoothal is seen as a crime, an entire village is accomplice. Community members and relatives not only support the practice, several even arrive a day before the auspicious oil bath to meet the aged parent one last time. Everybody knows the man or woman is going to die.

“Nobody questions or reports it to the police. They don’t even see it as a crime. It is a kind of accepted practice,” says Dr Lakshmi, a physician in Karyappetti village. Over 75, Dr Lakshmi recollects that she has been hearing of this practice of killing the elderly for 34 years.

Community pardon
Community pardon: In many villages, thalaikoothal is not a crime, but a social custom.

The practice is not confined to a particular caste or community. “The poor do it, whatever their caste,” says Chandra Devi, the district Welfare Officer. Most residents are seasonal farm labourers, livestock shepherds or migrant workers in small factories in the nearby industrial hub Sivakasi. Their mobile lives make it virtually impossible for them to stay home to care for their parents.

Killing is indeed a brutal solution to financial burdens, but community members claim there is no alternative. “It does not mean that they do not love their parents,” says Chellathorai, the president of Paneerpetty village Panchayat.

Kasi: When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out.
Kasi: When he suspected his sons saw him as a burden, Kasi moved out.

Paul Raj, of the district elders welfare association, recently requested the district collector for government protection for the elderly. “The aged in these villages are highly vulnerable. We demand government’s immediate action.” Raj, however, realises that while police forces can protect an aged woman from her children, what they really need is protection from penury. “If the seniors had some income, they would not be considered so burdensome,” says Raj. “For example, if they got more pension, or at least got it regularly, it might give some respite.”

Kasi, a daily wager, moved out of his son’s house after his wife died. He’s not sure if he’s 65 or 70, but his shock of white hair, equally white handlebar moustache, and soil-black wrinkled skin are testament to his long and arduous life. Kasi had decided to leave when he watched his children grow tired of tending to their father’s every need. “I’m very fond of them, and can’t imagine they will try to kill me,” he says. “But anyway, I didn’t want to push them to any extreme step.” Whether he too would have been invited for that chilling oil bath some years down, Kasi doesn’t know. And he didn’t stick around to find out.

ACROSS VIRUDHUNAGAR, even as elderly men and women leave their homes, they make excuses for their children. “My son was struggling with his own life,” says Kasi. They put up a brave front. “I’m surviving fine with the ration rice at 2 per kilo,” says a reed-thin Maariyamma. They starve, and sigh, but do not complain. Thalaikoothal is to them not cowardly murder, but a brave farewell. Kasi and Maariyamma do not see how extreme it is, how dramatic. For them, it is a sort of practical love that is simply about survival.

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shahina@tehelka.com

Re-posted from Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 46, Dated November 20, 2010

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The Roots of Rape in India


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Kancha Ilaiah

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By Kancha Ilaiah

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Raped wife

Rape has, of late, become an acute disease in the Indian society. Prima facie, this is a problem arising out of a mental disorder, but there is also a larger cultural context that, to an extent, explains how the Indian male became so brutal.

Our cultural upbringing conditions male minds to behave in a cruel fashion with women. Family upbringing, societal conditioning, religious sagas and political animus, all construct our men and women into being what they are — men as aggressive and women as submissive. Which is why men here, in India, are different from men in other countries.

Their cultural milieu is different. Their spiritual systems train them differently. It’s not that only Indian men rape and kill children aged three or five. This happens in other countries too, but they are the rarest of rare cases. Daily reports of infants being raped across the length and breadth of a country is a phenomenon unique to India, a society that’s otherwise highly conservative. Clearly, the institutional upbringing, including that in family, needs to undergo change.

Every time a gruesome rape gets reported, we all are ashamed and angry. That’s one thing; but working out ways and means to eradicate such evil is another thing. We cannot leave it entirely to the police or the judiciary to tackle such heinous acts. For, rape is also a cultural problem; and it is a more serious problem because of the extermination of the victim. We need to treat the malaise from its very roots.

We are a society that derives its sense of good and bad from our mythologies and spiritual ethics. Our gods and goddesses are not only worshipped but also adored. And it is our lifelong endeavour to emulate them. This is the cultural environment that shapes the lives of most people in India. So it’s natural that what gods do influences us much more than the moral lesson at the end. Now consider this: we have gods who, for instance, have cut the nose and ear lobes of a woman who approached them professing her love (Lakshman is depicted as having done this to Shurpanakha), and yet we adore him and see him as a symbol of loyalty, sacrifice and righteous indignation.

Lord Krishna stole the clothes of women while they were bathing in the Yamuna river. He did so to tease them and for the pleasure of watching the beauty of their naked bodies. We hang miniature paintings of the same act in our homes proudly. The young men who grow up seeing this, or listening to the story told in an amused tone are bound to not find such an act abhorrent.

We also have a god, Shiva, who insisted on entering the bathing arena of Goddess Parvati and did so by eliminating a child who was keeping guard at the open door. Lord Ganesha is said to have emerged out of such a union. Is this right or wrong? Our mythology tells us that what a husband does is right, that his will is greater than the woman’s. If a mythological hero is praised for his acts of killing, drinking and fornicating with multiple women (like Indra did with Rambha, Urvashi, Menaka, Tilottama and so on), it is glorification of such behaviour.

When such stories are a part of the mythological texts, they should, at least, be critically evaluated and given a more contemporary, political reading which is rooted in the concept of equality. Instead, the tendency is to not question what our gods did, but simply admire such acts.

Barring a few exceptions, there is no appreciation, per se, of a healthy man-woman relationship which is rooted in the concept of equality. Indian women are shown as lathangi (a person of delicate body), never strong enough to resist her dehumanisation. Though Durga and Kali are shown as strong, in real life such militancy is not seen as feminine.

Now let us turn to the political spectrum. We have had many great men — Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan etc — who got married at a young age with girls of much younger age, went abroad for higher studies, leaving their wives at home totally illiterate or semi-literate. We do not know how these men, or Gokhale and Tilak, treated their wives.

But we know that they were all devotees of the deities mentioned above. The only man who treated his wife as a friend and educated her right from the first day of his marriage, Mahatma Jyotirao Phule, is not taught as an example to be emulated in our texts.  Somehow, in our patriarchal cultural milieu, unkind and inhuman treatment of women has never been a matter of concern. It’s considered sacrilegious, for example, to question Lord Ram for leaving his dutiful wife on the random outburst of a dhobi.

And Sita’s action, in turn, to not question, but to commit suicide, is considered the epitome of all that is pious. Even Gautam Buddha left his young wife, with an infant child. Questioning such acts has never been part of our public discourse.

Or, look at our cinemas. Ever since the industry came into being, silent or talkie, it has used woman’s body as a money-making object. The song and dance sequence that it has adopted as an art form falls into a common pattern — every hero is licensed to misuse the body of the heroine. The romance in our film industry is not romance; it is vulgarity bordering on the criminal.

So is it a surprise that men of this country see it as their right to violate women in all spheres of life?

The writer is director, Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad

Re-posted from DECCAN Chronicle (May 10, 2013)

Kancha Ilaiah (5 October 1952) is an Indian activist and writer. His books include Why I am not a HinduGod As Political Philosopher: Budha’s challenge to BrahminismA Hollow ShellThe State and Repressive CultureManatatwam (in Telugu), and Buffalo Nationalism: A Critique of Spiritual Fascism.

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On Modi’s Social Engineering


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Subhash Gatade

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By Subhash Gatade

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The system of untouchability has been a goldmine for the Hindus. This system affords 60 millions of untouchables to do the dirty work of scavenging and sweeping to the 240 million Hindus who are debarred by their religion to do such dirty work. But the work must be done for the Hindus and who else than the untouchables? – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar

Manual scavenging - 04

Whether Shit Collection or cleaning of gutters – which has condemned lakhs of people to a life of indignity since ages – could be considered a ‘Spiritual Experience.’ Definitely not. Everybody would yell. Well, Mr Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, has a different take on this, which he mentions in the book ‘Karmayog’ (Publication year 2007).

The said book is basically a collection of his speeches to high profile IAS officials. Herein he discusses the age old caste-based vocation of the Valmikis as “experience in spirituality’. He writes: “I do not believe that they have been doing this job just to sustain their livelihood. Had this been so, they would not have continued with this type of job generation after generation….At some point of time, somebody must have got the enlightenment that it is their (Valmikis’) duty to work for the happiness of the entire society and the Gods; that they have to do this job bestowed upon them by Gods; and that this job of cleaning up should continue as an internal spiritual activity for centuries. This should have continued generation after generation. It is impossible believe that their ancestors did not have the choice of adopting any other work or business.”

Looking at the fact that a section of the dalits themselves -especially its upwardly mobile and more articulate section – has joined with the Hindutva bandwagon, it was expected that there were no angry reaction to his utterances within the state. A section of the Ambedkarite Dalits and many human rights activists did protest but their voices got drowned in the cacophony of voices of Modi supporters. It is a different matter that when Modi’s remark got published in the Times of India in mid-November 2007, which was later translated in few Tamil newspapers, it resulted in a massive reaction of Dalits in Tamilnadu. Not only they staged protests for calling their menial job “spiritual experience” but Modi’s effigies were burnt in different parts of the state. Sensing trouble Modi immediately withdrew 5,000 copies of the book, but still sticked to his opinion. Two years later, addressing 9,000-odd safai karmacharis , (cleanliness workers) he likened the safai karmacharis’ job of cleaning up others dirt’ to that of a temple priest. He told them, “A priest cleans a temple every day before prayers, you also clean the city like a temple. You and the temple priest work alike.”

One was reminded of these ideas of Mr Modi, when news came in that the budget for the coming year passed by the Gujarat state assembly, has allocated a sum of Rs 22.5 lakhs for giving training in Karmkand (rituals) to Safai Kamdars themselves. The idea is to train them in scriptures so that they can perform pujas (organise worships). It is clear that the ‘new scheme’ as it was presented before the people was just a revised version of its earlier scheme wherein members of the scheduled communities were given training to become ‘Gurubrahmins’ so that they could also perform pujas . Insiders can also share with you that the said scheme has miserably failed and people who were trained to perform pujas   are still searching for jobs.

It could be asked if Modi values safai karmacharis so highly, why is it that he has begun outsourcing all the menial jobs for a very low pay, between Rs 3,000 and Rs 3,500 per month per worker. Why they are not being employed on a permanent basis? A leading Dalit poet raised an altogether different question “Why didn’t it occur to Modi that the spirituality involved in doing menial jobs hasn’t ever been experienced by the upper castes?”

It is worth emphasising that the day when Gujarat government declared its intention to train safai kamdars in Karmkand , supposedly to integrate them closely in the mainstream of Hindu society, also happened to be the period when the anti-dalit stance of the people in power was very much evident in two clear examples. The manner in which state officials tried to cover up social boycott of dalits in a village and the way they tried to save guilty police officials involved in dalit killings had already reached headlines.

Not very many people would have heard about village Galsana, Dhanduka tehsil, Ahmedabad district, which is around 100 kms from the city. The dalits in the village who are about 500 in numbers, are not allowed entry into any of the five temples in the village. The younger generation of dalits protested this ban which resulted in their social boycott. When the news last came in, the boycott was already few months old. Incidentally when officers from the social justice department visited the village, they even did not acknowledge that dalits are facing social boycott, forget asking the police to take action against the guilty.

The other news concerned the arrest of guilty police officials involved in the gruesome killings of Dalits at Thangarh.(Sep 2012) After four months cop Jadeja and other two accused police officials in Thangadh dalit massacre case were arrested on February 23 2013. It is reported that the killings at Thangarh were fallout of a minor clash between Dalits and Bharwads over auctioning of stalls at an annual fair organised by the Thangarh municipality. When the dalits filed a complaint against the Bharwads at the police station, the police refused to take any action ; the anger of the dalits spilled over onto the streets next day which saw participation of dalits in large numbers and police’s resorting to strong arm tactics resulting in the killings. Despite knowing the fact that the infamous police officer, had on earlier occasion also fired upon the dalits, without any provocation, the administration tried every trick in the kitty to save him and his colleagues. It was only because of judicial intervention that they were ordered to be arrested.

Galsana and Thangarh can be said to be tip of the iceberg as far as dalit deprivation and denial of justice is concerned. In fact much has been written about the way the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Atrocities prevention) act, 1989 is implemented in the state. One finds that the rate of of conviction of cases under the Prevention of Atrocity Act against SC/ST in Gujarat is mere 2.5 per cent while rate of acquittal is 97.5 per cent. A 23 page confidential report submitted by the state Social Justice Department to the State Chief Secretary and legal departments provides glaring examples of ‘mishandling of cases registered under Prevention of Atrocities Act against SC/ST. (Express, Sep 15, 2006).

The report provides details of how cases are not investigated properly by the police and the hostile role played by public prosecutors during time of trials.

– Act clearly stipulates that offences which are registered under this act cannot be investigated by an officer below the rank of DySP but more than 4,000 such cases have been investigated by Police Inspector or Police Sub Inspector.

– Acquittal of the perpetrator because victim not identified as member of SC or ST community. Reason, not attaching caste certificate of the victim with the case papers

– Public prosecutors false claims before the courts that act has been modified by the state government altough it is known that it is a central act

– Granting of anticipatory bails although there is no such provision in the act. Interestingly the Parliamentary Committee on SC and ST affairs had also expressed concern over such anticipatory bails granted ‘in atrocity cases in the state of Gujarat’.

In this backdrop it is worth underlining what little did Mr Modi knew about this important law and its implications. One could rather say that in Gujarat chief minister is directly responsible for the non-implementation of the Atrocity Act. As Raju Solanki, famous poet and dalit rights activists writes in his blog :

It was on 16 April, 2004, that a question was asked to chief minister Modi in Gujarat legislative assembly: “Honorable chief minister [Home] may oblige us to tell, is it true that the DSP is responsible for the appointment of an officer not below the rank of DySP as investigating officer in the offenses under atrocities act? The answer of our chief minister was shocking. He said: “No, but there is a provision under rule 7 (1) of SC/ST act, 1995 to appoint officers not above the rank of DySP to inquire into all cases booked under atrocities act. It is not the responsibility of DSP.”

In the end, one would like to put on record the way the presence of dalits in record is obliterated without any fuss. During panchayat elections, Nathu Vadla, a small village of Gujarat with hardly 1000 population had suddenly reached headlines. The panchayat election in this village was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 data. The village has at least 100 Scheduled Castes people and one seat was to be reserved as per law, but the census data has not been modified and in 2001 the population of SC was nil in the village, the election in 2013 was to be conducted on the basis of 2001 census. Here also courts had to intervene to stay elections in the village. Gujarat High Court stayed elections in the village saying that it would be ‘mockery of democracy’.

Subhash Gatade is a Writer and social activist based in New delhi. Subhash also edits a Hindi Journal Sandhan. His most recent book is “Godse’s Children: Hindutva Terror in India” Email. : subhash.gatade@gmail.com

Re-posted from COUNTERCURRENTS.org

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