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21 October 2013

The good, the bad and the ugly: 21-Oct-2013

Today's Good, Bad and Ugly focuses on the foreign press.

This article is written by Ms.Lavanya Sankaran for The New York Times. In a refreshing change from the typical portrait of an Indian Man seen in the press, Ms.Sankaran paints the picture of the real Indian Man, the silent majority, who is decent, funny, interested in learning, have different interests, takes care of their parents...
Ms.Sankaran mentions that these people do not get the due credit for their behaviour. As she points out, there are a number of successful women in India, after all, very few countries have had Prime Ministers and Presidents who are women, the strong support that these women receive from their husbands is rarely mentioned anywhere. The common refrain from an Indian Man is not 'I Love You', but it is 'Main Hoon Na', which means 'I am there for you'. 
Ms.Sankaran says that while Indian men take all the hits for the negative stereotypes about them in the local and international press, they hardly get any plaudits for the amazing support that they provide to their families, for their self-deprecating wit and their curiosity for learning...
Ms.Sankaran also makes an important point. The above qualities, responsibility, taking care of the family, supporting their spouses to success...is inherent in the Indian men. However, the migration of the villager to the cities and the cultural and economic stress that is the result has made some men rapists and anti-socials. Interesting...
Read more..

The Good: The gritty warrior...
This is an inspirational story in many levels. In the first level, it talks about how a poor person achieved the impossible. In the next level, it turns out that the person is a girl from a remote village in Gujarat. And in the final level, she belongs to a family of three sisters...
When Punam Patel was born as the second of the three daughters to Babubhai Patel, the villagers in the Kangvi village of Gujarat sympathized with him. He may have to sell off his cows to marry her off, they decided.
But Babubhai had other ideas. The family struggled to educate the three daughters. The daughters, especially Punam worked in the mornings in the fathers farm, before going for her studies. All that efforts paid off.
Today, Punam Patel is a certified Homeopath, having completed her BHMS(Bachelor in Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery) from Anand.
For the other youngsters in the Village, Punam's success has given new avenues to look forward to and new dreams to dream. The elders in the Village will no doubt realize that a daughter is not a liability any more and that education will pay off in the end.
In my story of Scarcity Induced Behaviour, I had mentioned that the people who are worth the most respect are those who come from scarce environments and who end up doing well in life. These people not only have to battle the scarcity, but also to alter their thinking process from 'Fatalistic' to 'Optimistic'. It is a big deal.
Finally, one has to read this story in conjunction with my 'BAD' story of the day, of the Village elders in the Khap panchayats of Haryana and how they systematically keep their women down.
What a contrast !!!

This article by Ms.Ellen Berry for The New York Times, focuses on the Bad Men of India, the elders of the Khap Panchayats of Haryana. As we know, the Khap Panchayats are famous for their Honour Killings. As per their tradition, it is a sin for a boy and girl in the same Village to fall in love and marry each other. Also, a girl talking to a boy is frowned upon, a girl walking around without covering her head must be a slut...
The answer? Kill them...
This antediluvian attitude of the elders has resulted in a generational clash. The young people, the educated ones, want freedom. Freedom wear what they want, the freedom to speak their mind, the freedom to speak to whom they want to speak to...
Even having a mobile phone for a woman is a taboo in these villages.
The panchayats put a lot of pressure on the families of children who disobey the rigorous rules set forth by them. The families are always in the fear of being Ostracized. Or for being the butt of ridicule for having fathered children who bring dishonor to the family and the village.
To escape from this brutality, many of them run away from the villages to the cities. To study, to work...they come to embrace the anonymity of the cities, both boys and girls. They stealthily buy their jeans and their mobile phones. They are still scared of being watched.
Ms.Berry, paints a fascinating picture of the life these young people lead. She profiles a Khap Panchayat elder, Om Prakash Dhankar, who is infuriatingly unapologetic about his barbaric views. He spouts the usual antiquated views about the role of Khap, of the rules of family behaviour, of the expected behaviour from the children, of the harm a mobile phone can do in the hands of a girl...
The views would have been funny if they were not so horrific.
For me the most chilling part of the whole article is the last sentence. "As long as the girl lives within moral codes, she can have as much freedom as she wants," he said. "If they are going after love affairs or extra freedom, then they are killed." 
So matter of fact. As if killing a person was just another incident in the day.
Read more...

The Ugly: Sunita Narain Injured
This is a lady whom I respect a lot for her views. It seems that she was critically injured when a speeding car hit her cycle as she was cycling at about 6.30 AM.
Looks like she is out of danger. Thank god...
The car driver sped away after hitting her. Hope the driver will be caught soon.
Read more...

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