Archive for the Social Category

Now Women Distract Male Students in University Libraries

Posted in Education, Social, Women with tags , , on November 12, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Looks like a board out of the hoary past of pre-independence days?  Well, not quite.  With just a minor change.  Now it is “Women (and dogs?) not allowed”.  Where?  The Maulana Azad library of the Aligarh Muslim University.

No women or dogs allowed in library:  Aligarh Muslim Univ ban on girl students is a shame

Only, I don’t think dogs would be disallowed inside the library, at least not by any official diktat.  Dogs are after all ‘man’s’ best friend.  But women???  Oh no, no, they are different.  They distract men, lead them into temptation and sin.  Remember the original sin?  It was Eve’s fault after all!

We learn from the mistakes of our elders and betters.  So the AMU has no intention of allowing a repeat of the original sin – at least not in the sacred precincts of their libraries.  So all scheming Jezebels are kept out, so the men can study in peace and aspire towards more lofty goals for their lives.  The library is no place to allow women and distract hard working male students.

Long live education in India!  We are surely a “developing” country – we have even sent a satellite to the Mars which landed in the very first attempt.  Thanks to all our great scientists – all males of course!

Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Dhondo Keshav Karve, Raja Ram Mohan Roy and others, my blood boils when I think of what you did for women’s education in this country.  Please forgive them, for they know not what they do.  I wonder how many people in today’s generation outside of Maharashtra have heard of you.  All I can tell them is to ask Wikipedia.

So we can now look forward to a return of the “good old days” that existed before “Indian culture and tradition” was wiped out by the decadent ideas and laws introduced by the British.


PM Modi on Rape Cases: Correct Sons, Don’t Question Daughters

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women with tags , , , , , on August 15, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Certainly sounds good.  Brings to mind a conversation I had with a friend yesterday.  She has a daughter who studies in a premier professional institute in Bangalore.  The girl lives in a hostel and is doing her post-graduation.  Just as we were sitting and chatting, she received a call from the daughter asking her to call the warden of the hostel immediately and inform her that the girl was coming home for the weekend.

I was shocked.  The girl is 22 – the average age of the hostelites doing post-graduation in the institute.  Legally speaking, she is an adult.  She is well above the age of consent.  It is not as if the hostel would take any tangible responsibility if something “wrong” were to happen to her during day time or within the confines of the hostel.  Nothing they do could change anything in any case.  So how can they curtail her freedom of movement to the extent of her going home to her mother (just a few kms from the hostel btw) over the weekend and insist she be back in the hostel by 9 pm?  

Anyone could call up and inform the warden that her daughter was coming home.  How are they going to check out the veracity each and every time?  It is not as if those girls who are determined to have a “good time” don’t despite all these restrictions.

Shame that we don’t treat our daughters as anything more than a piece of flesh to be kept “protected” from the big bad wolves while we allow those wolves to roam free anytime of day or night.

Mr. Modi, can you do anything to forbid hostels from imprisoning our daughters?

“I Apologize”. Is That Enough?

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women on August 12, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Very frankly, I am not even sure about what to think about this video which I came across today. Don’t know how this will help reduce the incidence of rape in the country. People who rape are not so sensitive as to get enlightened by a video of this kind.

It surely highlights a problem to people who are not so aware of what goes on in this country. Beyond that I don’t know what else it will achieve. Going by the comments, both positive as well as negative, I get an increasing feeling that just “apologizing” does not accomplish anything. Will these people gang up together next time they see a woman being targeted in any way on the streets, at work, in the home ….. ? Will they beat up the perpetrators in public without “fearing” for their own lives?

Will they stand up against the kind of social injustice meted out to 99% women including their own wives and daughters at home and in society in the name of “culture, traditions, the glorious Indian self-sacrificing women and patriarchy”? If they will, I would say this video has been worth the while; if not, it is just one more video which doles out patronizing words of sympathy to women.

An Appeal on Behalf of the Aged

Posted in Aged, Alzheimer's, Care for the Aged, Dementia, Social with tags on March 8, 2014 by swatiaiyer

Dear friends,

I am coming to you today with an appeal for support for the cause of the aged. As you all know, as life expectancy increases, the incidence of illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s is also rapidly on the increase. Many Western countries have the infra-structure and social back up to deal with the needs of such people and their families.

Patients suffering from dementia/Alzheimer’s require constant care and attention and very often this is not possible in a domestic set up. The demands on the care-givers is intense and with the kind of changes our social set up is undergoing, this becomes next to impossible to deal with at home.

Unfortunately, we do not have too many organizations which help care for patients with such intensive care. There is to the best of my knowledge just one such organization which provides in-house specialized care for such patients. They also provide home care and nursing for those requiring such help. This is an organization called “Nightingales’ Medical Trust”. They have a number of centres in Bangalore and one such is dedicated to the care of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. My mother is admitted there since more than a year and I can attest to the quality of care that is provided to these elderly people. (I would like to mention here, that it is not only the aged, but also middle age people who suffer from dementia – early onset dementia. I have been shocked to see people of my age over there).

Yesterday, I received a petition from this organization. They are looking to expand their services and open more centres in other places as well to cater to the needs of patients.

One new centre is almost near completion and will be opened very soon in Kolar in Karnataka. I am enclosing a copy of the appeal I received here in the hope that there will be some people who will be able to help out a needy and good cause.

I am also giving a link to their facebook site, so that you can satisfy yourselves about the veracity and legitimacy of the organization for yourselves. It is

Dear Sir/Madam,

Having developed various innovative support systems for the well being of the older persons in the area of home health care, mitigating loneliness through enrichment centres, combating elder abuse, financially empowering needy elders, medical care for aged in rural areas and dementia care through Nightingales Centre for Ageing & Alzheimer’s (NCAA) now Nightingales Medical Trust (NMT), a registered non profit organization is embarking on a major challenge of making dementia care accessible, efficient and affordable in India.

In India, today, about 37 lakh people are affected with dementia and the number is expected to double by 2030.

Dementia is a progressive brain and degenerative brain syndrome. It affects memory, thinking, behaviour, emotions and the activities of daily living. In India, caregivers are mostly the family members. The disease affects both patient and the caregiver. In advanced stages, the patient needs institutional care. But in India, Institutional care is available only in few cities, making it inaccessible and unaffordable.

Since 2010, Nightingales Centre for Ageing & Alzheimer’s (NCAA) has been providing a wide range of services, including institutional care. Patients from Bangalore and other parts of the country are utilizing the services. Yet, the demand is growing day by day.


To bring down the cost of institutional care for dementia patients significantly and to benefit more needy patients, NMT is planning to establish Satellite Dementia Care Centers by using technology and telemedicine solutions based on a Hub & Spokes Model with Nightingales Centre for Ageing & Alzheimer’s as the hub. As a pilot project Nightingales has initiated steps to establish the first such centre , a 38 bed facility, at Kolar town (60kms from Bangalore) at the premises of ETCM hospital. Once this pilot project becomes a success, we will be setting up more satellite units like this in different towns and cities in India enabling affordable, accessible and efficient dementia care.

Renovation work has almost been completed and the centre is expected to be functional by the end of March 2014.


To make this center functional we need the following requirements.

1. Furniture & Fixtures : 14.25 lakh

2. Medical Equipment : 6.5 lakh

3. Telemedicine Solutions: 9.25 lakh

As a person / organization concerned about dementia care, may we request you very earnestly to contribute your best for this project to make dementia care accessible, efficient and affordable in India

The names of those who contribute over Rupees Fifty Thousand will be displayed prominently at the Centre.


a. Cheque favoring Nightingales Medical Trust to the following address:

The Managing Trustee
Nightingales Centre for Ageing and Alzheimer’s
No. 8P6, 3rd A Cross, East of NGEF Layout
Kasturinagar, Banaswadi, Bangalore – 43
Karnataka, India
Ph: +91 80 42426565

b. Alternatively, you could also transfer the donation to the following bank account after sending an email to us.
A/C Name : Nightingales Medical Trust
A/C No. : 06681010000097
IFSC Code : IFSC SYNB 0000668
Bank Name : Syndicate Bank
Branch : Kasturinagar Branch, Bangalore – 560043

Bank Details (For Foreign Currency)
A/C Name : Nightingales Medical Trust
A/C No. : 183010022816
IFSC Code : VYSA0001830

Kindly note, all donations to NMT is exempt U/S 80G of the Income Tax Act and the Trust is approved under FCRA to receive contributions from abroad.

Nightingales Medical Trust has also been recognized by Silicon Valley Foundation as the equivalent of a US public charity.

With kind regards
Dr Radha S Murthy
Nightingales Medical Trust
I request everyone who reads this to help out in whatever way and to whatever extent you can and to spread the word to others who you think will be in a position to help.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely

Defining Feminism

Posted in Feminism, Social, Women on March 3, 2014 by swatiaiyer

This is the month when the world celebrates “women’s day”.  GBs and reams have been dedicated to issues concerning women as well as to their problems.  After all this, one wonders whether women in some parts of the world really have any reason to celebrate their womanhood.

Without harping on the issues which are widely discussed, I want to focus on a relatively new problem faced by women.  We talk of equality, freedom and liberation from the shackles to which society has bound us.  Feminists – a much maligned lot – are doing all they can to better the lot of women.  But are they achieving what they are trying to?

Blog after blog, post after post and various women’s sites are witness to women coming in reporting their disillusionment with their situation in life.  Educated, working, earning, playing the roles of dils, wives and mothers to the hilt, having their money taken away by ILs, not being allowed to take care of their own parents, being forced to either give up their jobs to take care of children or worse still having to balance work, home and kids with little help and a lot of taunts ……  it is all there.  Nothing changes.

YET whenever a stay at home mom or a home maker comes and complains about her issues with life, the first question she is asked by other women is “why did you get into an arranged marriage, why are you not working, why does your husband have to earn for you, do you think what he goes through being saddled with a wife and having to earn for the family single handedly” ……. 

I shall not even get into the topic of arranged marriages here as that is a subject for another discussion altogether.

While I can understand that a truly liberated, self-sufficient woman MUST be able to earn and stand on her own feet, my question is are we still at that stage?  Are we in a situation where working women stay unmarried, single or in an equal relationship?  Do they really get respect for their abilities and for their individuality?  As things stand today, all I see is that women are being caught between the devil and the deep sea – very few choose or have a third option open to them.  They are probably in a worse situation than their grand mothers who were financially dependent, had no other life or options beyond home and family, but it ended there.  They were not in a situation where they had to be superwomen and achievers while living the same life of drudgery and slavery which many women of today live.  All we seem to have achieved so far (EXCEPT for a small percentage of women) is that women have ended up in a position where their education and work are being used to exploit them further.

Under these situations, is it fair that we women who fight for the rights of under privileged women add insult to their injuries with our words?  Are we not putting the cart before the horse in demanding that women must work without sorting out the ground issues?

My second question is how do we define “equality”?  Does this have to be 1:1 equality?  Is that really reasonable?  Why can’t women, in the face of their biological differences continue to play a nurturing role while demanding respect and value for that COMPLEMENTARY ROLE?  Why should running a home, looking after family and kids be considered demeaning?  It is one thing going out and working because one wants to, or because the family requires it financially (in which case, she better be treated well and fairly) and another matter having to go out and work just to make a statement.  

Why should home makers be considered unequal?  What is the use of marriage if one’s contribution to society and family are not acknowledged to be as important as going out and raking in the moolah?  Why do we (men and women) have to lose out on real “home life” simply because everyone has to go out and earn just to be acknowledged as “equals”?  All of us require a safe haven in our lives to return to at the end of the day – we call them homes – and in providing this, women need to be given their due acknowledgement and be compensated in terms of emotional and financial security – after all if they had gone out to work during that time, they would not have been available at home to provide that comfort to all concerned.  To my way of thinking, equality would be admitting that they work 24X7 in various roles / designations.  This needs to be recognized and all family members need to pitch in to help her out when they are not out working.  The home needs to be recognized as the woman’s “work place” and not as a hideout or a route of escape and free loading on her part.

It would be nice to share some ideas towards sorting out this grid lock to ensure that women lead better existences in the decades to come.

Supreme Court Judgment – Being Gay is A Crime – Some Questions, Some Answers

Posted in Judicial, Social on December 13, 2013 by swatiaiyer

Supreme Court has declared homosexuality a crime once again, barely 4 years after the Delhi High Court decision in 2009 to amend Section 377 of the IPC.  This is a 150 year old law introduced by the British which still exists in our Constitution.  The “crime” according to the SC will be punishable with a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

To say this reversal is regressive, disappointing, shocking, unfair, incomprehensible is a gross understatement.  The basic rights of a minority group of human beings is being totally denied to them.    Why?

Though the ruling was widely and visibly welcomed by India’s gay community, it was strongly opposed by religious groups, particularly leaders of India’s minority Muslim and Christian communities. They had appealed against the ruling before the Supreme Court, which concluded hearings on the issue in March last year.


I have some simple questions to ask:

  • How does anyone prove two adults belonging to the same gender living under one roof are gays/lesbians?
  • Why give a weapon in the hands of the police, which they might freely use to harass innocent people besides homosexuals?  One more avenue opened up for blackmail and corruption?
  • What makes the courts decide that marital rape is not a crime, but a consensual relationship between two adults is?
  • What happens if gay marriages are not allowed and gays are forced by family and society into marrying “straight”?  How many individuals and families will end up miserable?
  • What does society gain by sweeping homosexuality under the carpet?  Do we mean to say it has never existed in India?  If it hasn’t, then what does one say about this sculpture:


So why would we want to be slaves to a law which was introduced in this country by a colonial power?

Now here are some answers / counter-points to many accusations / arguments I have heard against homosexuality:

  • “It is unnatural”.  Who is to define “natural” or “unnatural”?  If it was so despicable and wrong and unnatural, would God allow such variants exist in His universe?
  • “It is unnatural because such a union cannot produce off-spring”.  There are many “straight” couples who are unabe to have children.  Does that make their relationship also unnatural?
  • “Would people proudly invite friends and family to the wedding of their son/daughter if it was a gay wedding”?  Well, maybe it is not happening today.  Why not?  Because our people, as usual, are afraid of “what will people say”?  (Add to that now, what if my son/daughter lands up in jail for the rest of his/her life?)  Can people asking such questions understand that if gays were treated like “us normal human beings” and social acceptance crept in, there will be a day when the parents of gays would not have any hesitation in getting their children married with much the same extent of celebration as if it had been a “normal” wedding?


When will we wake up and allow individuals to lead their own lives and concentrate on protecting those weaker sections of society which really need help?  Whom is this law trying to protect?  Self appointed guardians of public morals?  People who are willing to write off domestic violence, marital rape, child abuse as “domestic problems” in which they don’t want to “interfere”?  People who don’t think it their duty to report people who employ children and then subject to inhuman violence?  People who gather around an accident spot and watch the “tamasha”, but don’t think it is their duty to help the victim by taking him/her to hospital?  People who do not think what happens between two consenting adults is their own business or in their own words “a domestic matter”?

The Judgement

Posted in Judicial, Social on September 14, 2013 by swatiaiyer

Finally!  It took 9 months for a court to sentence the perpetrators of a heneious crime to death.

Our criminal system has a lot of patience and time – for criminals.  The victims have to wait long for justice.  Anyway, 9 months is not bad compared to some cases which have to wait for so long that justice is ultimately denied to them.  This turned out to be a high profile case with very strong public reaction and opinion and was in the media eye.  Hence it took this relatively short time.  There are so many Nirbhayas in this country who do not even come to light.  Their cases are not reported for obvious reasons.  Those cases which are reported and which do reach the court take their own sweet time. to reach a logical conclusion.  In the meantime the rapist might be roaming the streets freely on bail, while the victim continues to be hounded.

Here is a case which made me wonder at the fairness or the unfairness of it all.

Rapist gets bailed, killed by victim and victim gets jailed for murder.  Double whammy.   Isn’t it high time that something is done and really harsh measures are taken against such criminals, so that women do not continue to suffer injustice at the hands of society as well as of the law?

Meanwhile, I still feel outraged that the “juvenile” has got away with 3 years.  He too needs to be hanged.  If he was adult enough to indulge in a rape, he is adult enough to be hanged.

Pleas of a second chance for the criminals does not cut any ice.  Did Nirbhaya get a second chance at life?  Was she not young?  What was her fault?  That she was a woman?

The kin of the convicts cry foul and feel that their son/brother/husband is a “support” to the family even if he is alive inside jail.  What about Nirbhaya?  She was training to be a physiotherapist.  Would she not have been useful to her family, friends and to society?  Was she less of a support just because she was a woman?  

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