I Am Her

She goes to the bus stop to get to work. A group of men whistle to get her attention. One of them decides to take the liberty to sing an obscene song. Surprised at his own bravado, he flaunts how ‘cool’ he can be. He follows her, throws her way a vulgar glance and waits for her reaction. Her blood seethes with anger. She knows she must retort or the girl behind her would be next. Ironically all she ever does is walks on without reacting. He wins this one! Rounds of high fives are passed between his friends. I am her.

Society looks up to her as she is the woman of tomorrow. She is as educated as her brother is and earns as much as her husband does. She travels to work in a crowded bus in Delhi. There is hardly any space to breathe and she can feel hands on her breasts and body. She gets molested. She cannot make out if the grope is conscious. She does not react, she dare not. Will she be trivialized if she yells to protect herself from her offenders? She knows she will be thrown out of the bus herself. She is the ‘woman of tomorrow’, financially independent but with sexual freedoms at stake. I am her.

She is a twenty something studying in Bangalore. Her parents want a better life, better than they ever had. She gets raped among eleven men on Christmas Eve. Does she have the courage to fight against her rapists? Will she get any Justice? Her rapists will be on bail the very next day. And her rape case would go on for years. In the end, her family would neither have money nor the energy to carry on. A complaint filed and her life will be forever marred. I am her.

I live in a country that dubs itself as spiritual and religious by god fearing men. Yet I am raped, eve teased or molested, everyday by the same.

I burn with hatred when the Police refuse to protect me. They say I am raped because I dress in a provocative manner.

The incidents involving me are animatedly discussed over tea in small towns and in posh coffee houses by NRI wives in cities. It provides fodder for debates on news channels and kicks a huge uproar in social media sites.

In the end, my protection meets the same fate as those tea debates. Everybody eventually gets back to their life silently thanking god that they were not me i.e.; till I am raped or burned for dowry again. I am her. I am put to death as a baby, I am put to shame everyday and I am an Indian Woman.

Fight Gender Discrimination! Fight Sexual Abuse! Fight Female Genocide!

You can visit and support Gender Bytes, a campaign that supports women and female genocides, here http://genderbytes.wordpress.com/
Author: Ankita Mishra
Editor: Ajith Alex Jacob

To be or not be, an NRI, that is the question?

English: Map of the British Indian Empire from...

After speculating for hours, days, weeks on what to put up as the next blog post, we finally decided to focus on a highly controversial topic. Brain Drain.

The Biscuits were having a usual 5pm – a regular week day – high on the edge of the seat discussion or argument as most would call it. It all got kick started when we heard a gut wrenching comment from a relative, “India is substandard, the work below par and its crap, I rather be in this foreign country than India!”

Most of us were still shell-shocked after hearing the comment, when one among us lowered his head and said, “Corruption and inefficiency of the government is what is driving the country to the dumps”. A voice among declares, “Yes, if all the bright minds in the country give up hope and leave in despair, we will only have goons to govern us”. And on and on the biscuits argued for hours on corruption, poverty, global warming even, inflation, and Kapil Sibal; ending in a stalemate without a conclusion.

So, we thought we’d ask you, what do you think, is India worth staying in? Why would you want to or why would you not want to?

Is India still under poverty?

The title of the third largest economy in the world will befall upon India soon, with towering buildings in her largest cities, mega-corporations employing tens of thousands, infrastructural developments, widening national highways, ever increasing consumer spending power, and the fastest missiles in the world. While the political clowns jumping in and around Tihar eagerly proclaim, “Shining, shining, India is shining”, do we citizens ‘above’ the poverty line, realize that much remains to be questioned of the pathetic state the rest of the country is in?

We are a country with more poverty than any other nation that is comparable to us in terms of size and population. Forty one per cent of the country has less than a daily income of Rs. 60 to survive on; of which 25% thrive on not more than Rs. 30 a day. Two hundred and seventy five million people are malnourished, without medicine, without access to water and sanitation, and are ill-treated and abused in households and work places across the country.

A recent visit with CRY to the Kolar District had confirmed my fears to be true. “You don’t have to go to Somalia to see the malnourished, you can find it here in Kolar,” exclaimed Naranya Swami, Director of the NGO, TREES. He argued that the food subsidies provided by the government is a mere 38 paise allocation per child even though it is supposed to be Rs. 5. “The government claims to have all under control, but the funds and support have rarely trickled down. There is not enough that is done for them. It’s as though no one wants them to come out of poverty,” he added.

It is not that the shoddy state of affairs has been hidden from the public; rather, it is the numbness of the urban masses to the predicament of those in suffering. There are few who are content to say, ‘It is not my responsibility, it is the government’s job’, but if there is no one to keep the government in check, there would be no action at all. It is time for us Indians to address this inequality. One just has to look around to find the means to combat poverty. One can volunteer with organizations who help the poor, judiciously fund the right organizations, find out how much of what you invest reaches the poor, empower organizations that educate the poor, spread the awareness, write articles, talk to your friends, question the government, question their motives, and support NGO’s, amongst others.

We will never be able to eradicate poverty by simply changing the definition of how the government defines the poverty line. Regardless of large or small scale efforts, only through collective action can we the Indian citizens’ nurture and spread the commitment to tackle poverty and work towards the prosperity of our nation.

Authors: Tej Prakash, Samuel John and Alex Jacob
Editors: Ayushman JamwalAnkita Mishra and Ram Kumar Ramaswamy
Illustration By: Sanjukumar P. S.

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