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Time to change patriarchal mindset

Asaram Bapu finding fault with the Delhi rape victim and saying that she should have called the rapists brothers in order to stop them is a sad reflection of the age-old patriarchal mindset of our society. The comments are highly condemnable as they come from a highly respected spiritual leader with a sizable following. The people of India are better off without the wisdom and advice of political and religious leaders whose beliefs are rooted in medieval times. The time has come for women to speak up and claim their rights. Women should fight against a society and system that has always victimised them. The politicians and priests would do well to uphold the dignity and equality of women.  The Constitution of India too has held women in the highest esteem. A nation which ill-treats and humiliates its women is bound to be doomed. We urgently need to mend our ways and save ourselves.


Retrograde leaders

It is shocking to hear leaders such as Mohan Bhagwat and Asaram Bapu pass comments that put the onus on women for being sexually molested. No wonder people are losing faith in god.

Unfortunately, no eminent leader of any religion has condemned the rapists in the Delhi gang-rape case.



The views expressed by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in the last few days pertaining to women are regressive and do not find favour with the present progressive and vibrant India. Bhagwat had said that a woman should take care of the house and the man should be the breadwinner. Had the citizens of our country followed such leaders, our daughters would not have enjoyed success in the field of politics, space science, sports, business education, mountaineering, bureaucracy, literature and theatre. Our leaders take pride in our rich cultural heritage and those who attack the values of our society must be punished accordingly and given capital punishment. Instead of putting restrictions on girls, they should be taught how to defend themselves in such situations. More importantly, if a child can be taught to respect his mother and sister at home, why can he not be taught to respect other women?



Ever since the Delhi gangrape of a 23-year-old woman, politicians have been making insensitive and ignorant statements such as: "The demonstrating women were dented painted; there are more rapes in India than in Bharat; women should not cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ otherwise ‘Rawan’ will abduct them; and women should confine themselves to household chores only".

One wonders whether these leaders are making such statements to be in the public eye or to placate the irate masses. The irony is that such leaders or their parties usually retract their statements after facing severe criticism from the public. I hope leaders will learn to keep quiet and not add fuel to the fire until the law takes its course to resolve contentious issues.


Pension: Right to life

The Supreme Court has ruled that the Government cannot discriminate between retired employees by applying two sets of computation methods for payment of pension.

Pension is a social welfare measure rendering socio-economic justice to those who in their heyday ceaselessly toiled for the employer on an assurance that they will get financial help in the form of pension in their old age. Shortage of funds should not affect the liability of the employer to pay monthly pension calculated as per rules as this benefit is not based on the availability of funds. Pension is a right to life.


Include ordinary NRIs

The NRI Sammellan took place with great pomposity. It was promised that a high-powered committee to address the concerns of NRIs. Most of the NRIs, who attended the Sammellan do not need any help as they are rich, powerful and well-connected. The Sabha comprises five ministers, top bureaucrats and some wealthy NRIs. This sabha until now has not done anything for the ‘aam NRI’ and I am sure will do nothing in the future too. The ordinary NRI spends money on small projects in their villages to improve the quality of life there but they do not receive any help.

From what was said at the Sammelan, it became increasingly clear that the sabha had no action plan, no short or long term goals. The sabha did not produce any facts as to how many NRIs it had helped. I am yet to come across an NRI who has appreciated the work done by the sabha. It needs to include ordinary NRIs and be made accountable.


A troubled nation

I agree with the spirit of the letter by Col BS Bhullar (December 31, 2012) and would like to quote the following couplet by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Tujhko kitnon ka lahoo chaeeay ai arzey wattan, jo terey aarzey be-rang ko gulnaar karein/Kitnee aahon sey kaleja tera thanda hoga, kitney aansoo terey sehraon ko gulzaar kareyn.

Translation: O my country’s land, how much blood do you need to change your colourless face into flowers. How many sighs will give your heart peace, how many tears do you need to turn your deserts into gardens.




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