SOCIETY
 

FASHION
Greet summer with hot reds, yellows
B
laze
a hot trail, fill up your wardrobe with red, yellow and golden this summer. Generally associated with light colours, summer will see a different hue this time, say Indian designers. "It's not going to be a pastel-pink summer," fashion designer Ashish Soni predicts about the trends in fashion for the upcoming spring-summer.

An angel of literacy
M.C. Saxena
In 1962, after my postgraduation, I came across an advertisement by Literacy House or Shaksharta Niketan at Lucknow, asking for young writers. Interested in literature and art, I applied for the same as a young writer trainee on an American scholarship.

Often psychopaths are born as such though events in their lives may also
shape their behaviour
How does a psychopath’s mind work
Simmi Waraich
Surendra Koli, one of the accused in the infamous Nithari case, apparently told the police recently that he still felt like killing. After all this? Why? How does the mind of such a person work? Who is a psychopath?





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FASHION
Greet summer with hot reds, yellows

Blaze a hot trail, fill up your wardrobe with red, yellow and golden this summer. Generally associated with light colours, summer will see a different hue this time, say Indian designers.

"It's not going to be a pastel-pink summer," fashion designer Ashish Soni predicts about the trends in fashion for the upcoming spring-summer.

Other than tones of red in flashes, which will be highlighted, golden hues will also be strong this season.

Fashion guru Manish Arora said, "Bright colours are going to be big this season. Lots of reds and yellows will add colour to the already bright summers." As for the cuts and frills, fashion designer Jattin Kochhar predicts that the lacy, sporty and uniform look will dominate. "Figure pants, pencil skirts, wide ruffled blouses, college blazers and V necks will be in this season," he says.

Big volumes, be it in skirts or dresses, which were very big last season, will be out this time.

"Well defined clothes are going to be trendy. Also, sailor stripes or nautical stripes, both horizontal and vertical are going to make a comeback," Kochhar adds.

Other than skirts and dresses above the knee level, open toes and flats in footwear remain among the 'must haves' in the summer wardrobe. In accessories, big bags will remain in vogue.

Another hot look this season will be lingerie worn as outwear. So more of the bustier and corset will be seen in the fashion circuit this season. Kochhar, however, doesn't rule out powdery hues. "Powdery blues, dusty yellows and salmon pink will be seen as well," he says. — IANS

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An angel of literacy
M.C. Saxena

Welthy Fisher
Welthy Fisher

In 1962, after my postgraduation, I came across an advertisement by Literacy House or Shaksharta Niketan at Lucknow, asking for young writers. Interested in literature and art, I applied for the same as a young writer trainee on an American scholarship.

When I met the American Secretary for the interview I was a bit nervous. I was, however, selected as a trainee due to my interests in sculpture, painting, poetry and drama. There were other participants from many Indian states and even countries like Iraq, the Philippines and the US. This was the first international batch to receive training in simple writing and mass communication.

A hostel was provided to us. Nobody was allowed to remain outside due to the busy and heavy schedule of training. It was mandatory to participate in fieldwork, seminars, discussions and lecturers by eminent scholars. The environment of the institution was serene, educative and inspiring. I was moved by a quotation written on the outside wall. "It is better to light a lamp than curse the darkness".

I was told that the Founder of the Literacy Movement in India, Mrs Welthy Fisher, who was due to arrive from Europe, would be inaugurating the first international batch of trainees. I was curious to see her. In a few moments, she arrived and was greeted with garlands.

Coming across such an accomplished 82-year-old, I wanted to make a bust of hers. She said, "I wish that you should make it but my daily schedule is so tight that I don’t have the time to sit for you. I work from dawn to late in the night. I only have a few minutes from the prayer house to my abode. Can you make do with such a short time?" I was determined to make the bust, so I said, "Yes madam, I will make do with the prescribed time." And I did keep my promise.

I was told that her husband became a Gandhian after meeting Mahatma Gandhi. After her husband’s death, Welthy Fisher requested Gandhiji to make a monument in memory of her husband. Gandhiji said, "India does not need any monument of brick and stones — but a monument of literacy. If you can make illiterate Indian villagers literate, this would be a great monument in memory of your husband." This appealed to Welthy Fisher.

Gandhiji said, "Go and meet Mr K. Munshi (the then Governor of UP) and take his guidance and help." She met the Governor and first decided to work at Allahabad but later moved to Lucknow to set up an institution of literacy. Every year, she used to collect donations from European countries for her dream project at Lucknow.

She was dedicated to her cause and tried her best to immortalise her love for her husband. Earlier she had worked in China as headmistress of a Methodist School for young Chinese women. She became accustomed to Chinese customs but modernised the school, with science, music, etc.

She decided to leave China during World War I due to Americans’ involvement in the war. She then came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi and proposed to work in memory of her husband after his death in 1938. She wrote many books on international understanding. In 1952, at the age of 72 years, she returned to India. She established the Literacy House at Lucknow in 1962.

Welthy Fisher was an angel of literacy. A lady with the lamp of light and learning, she was the foremost leader of literacy movement in India.
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Often psychopaths are born as such though events
in their lives may also shape their behaviour
How does a psychopath’s mind work
Simmi Waraich

Psychopaths are adept at putting on a false veneer from a very young age
Psychopaths are adept at putting on a false veneer from a very young age

Surendra Koli, one of the accused in the infamous Nithari case, apparently told the police recently that he still felt like killing. After all this? Why? How does the mind of such a person work? Who is a psychopath?

Basically, people with an antisocial personality are characterised by a pervasive pattern that shows disregard for the rights of others since the age of 18 years. Psychopaths, it is argued, should be classified separately rather than placed under the antisocial personality disorder simply because the crimes they commit are heinous, often beyond belief.

Robert Hare describes psychopaths as "intraspecies predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence to control others and to satisfy their own selfish needs. Lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they cold-bloodedly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."

However, they understand from an early age that society expects them to behave in a conscientious manner, and therefore they mimic this behaviour when it suits their needs.

Who’s a psychopath

Dr Newman, a psychologist who has studied psychopaths, believes that psychopathy is essentially a type of "informational processing deficit" that makes individuals oblivious of the implications of their actions when focused on tasks that promise instant reward. Being focused on a short-term goal such as sexual pleasure, Newman suggests, makes psychopathic individuals indifferent to other cues such as the victim’s fear. Thus when focused on something else, they become insensitive to emotions entirely.

Cause of disorder

Moninder Singh PandherSurendra Koli
Moninder Singh Pandher and Surendra Koli, co-accused in Nithari killings

Often such people are born as such though events in their lives may also shape their behaviour. A psychologist who had interviewed Ted Bundy, a serial psychopath who murdered several women in the US, related an incident involving his Aunt Julia in which she woke from a nap to find that her body was surrounded by knives, which someone had placed around her while she slept. When Julia looked up, she noticed her nephew, Ted Bundy, standing at the foot of her bed and smiling. Bundy was three years old at the time.

Bundy later said that a part of himself from a very young age was fascinated by images of sex and violence and that he kept it very well hidden. He also led an apparently normal life and worked as a volunteer at a suicide crisis centre alongside a crime reporter Ann Rule who was writing articles on the "Ted" murders which, unknown to her, her young friend was committing!

India has also known its share of psychopaths. Raman Raghav, who killed 45 pavement dwellers in Mumbai, was possibly the most notorious. The Hisar killer who picked up children and sexually abused them before killing them was another psychopath. He was found to be a man who was sexually inadequate with grown-ups and who derived a sense of power by preying on hapless children.

The fragmentation of social relations with rapid urbanisation are possibly a contributory factor towards emotional disorders. Families are more often than not nuclear now, children being the losers with both parents working to make ends meet. How often do neighbours these days even know who is living next door, what do they do and what is happening there?

Seek easy targets

The psychopath often selects soft targets. Like in the Nithari killings, children from a lower socio-economic class were made easy targets. Their parents did not have enough social and political clout to have an impact and the police ignored the complaints made by them. The psychopath, being aware that his crimes are likely to go unnoticed, becomes more and more daring with each crime.

If Moninder Singh and Surendra are proven to be the killers, it could be said that ‘living alone’ and ‘alcohol’ are factors which could have led to the emergence of the "true selves" - the true psychopathic self which had been hidden away due to the pressure of society. For, it is not that easy to be a paedophile and a killer under the eyes of one’s family. We all wear our veneers, our "false selves" in front of others, and intelligent psychopaths learn to wear a mask from an early age.

With fragmentation of societal relations and the social pressure of families disappearing fast, the chance of giving in to one’s "id", the seething cauldron of primitive impulses becomes easier.

Poor awareness

In India, awareness about paedophiles is lacking. While in the developing nations, paedophiles who have criminal records are required to register with the police and their movements are monitored, in India we like to believe such people do not exist. Often paedophiles are again upright men and women who in fact seem to often attract children. They may appear likeable and when others learn of their acts, it may seem hard to believe that of them. However, paedophiles do not usually kill the children.

Surendra Koli has said he still wants to kill. Some psychopaths are extremely clever and are able to present a reformed self in front of psychiatrists. One such killer convinced two psychiatrists that he was reformed and they recommended his release - all that while he had the head of one of his victims in his car trunk. Another was released after three years in prison and he went on to kidnap and kill four young girls despite his mother warning the Belgian police not to let him go.

Basically such people - deviants of human nature, without any conscience - have always existed. It is we as members of society who have to look within us and ask ourselves whether we are vigilant neighbours. Are we only concerned with ourselves or do we care about what is happening in our neighbourhood - to our maid’s children, our dhobi’s children who live in makeshift tiny huts, far from their villages where they were once safe? Do we even give them a second look?
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