Defamation

We can hold our heads high.

Our leaders are leaving no stone unturned to protect us. British film-maker Leslee Udwin’s documentary “India’s daughter” has been banned. It has been banned because it defames the country.

By the way, we know that the country’s defamation can only happen when a foreigner is involved, like in this case. An Indian can, at best, cause regional defamation, state-level defamation or religious defamation. But defaming the whole country? No, an Indian can never hope to rise to the level of causing national defamation.

And why should it (the documentary) not be (banned)? After all, it seeks to unearth the truth. And ask searching questions about male attitudes towards women. It deserves to be banned.

Of course, it is quite possible that in the process of interviewing the accused, laws may have been broken, which the Home Minister has been at pains to point out. And that needs to be addressed, as the common man is extremely upset about that, which is evident from the fact that amongst the milling crowds at bus-stops, the people at corner shops, the panellists on TV shows, the headlines in newspapers, nobody is talking about it. The Home Minister has rightly addressed this aspect to allay the fears of the common man.

The documentary, among other things, portrays the accused in the infamous Delhi rape case of December 2012 as blaming the victim for the rape. It is a clear case of a sick mind. We need to shelter the public from such honest confessions, especially the adult male population, who currently don’t, but will start thinking like the accused if exposed to his views. Who knows what further atrocities women will be subject to as a result, that would not take place if the adult male population were not to be exposed to these views.

If that is not enough, we are bound to reverse the gains that have been made in uplifting the stock of women in the country through the introduction of pink taxis and a women-only bank run by men.

Whoever has heard of a debate on an issue of importance doing any good in our society? Whoever has heard of presentation of a true picture ever leading to a catharis in our society? Whoever has heard of debate and counter-argument leading to society gaining a clearer understanding about itself?

There is no need to waste time on such trifles. In any case, since we know that ours is a rich culture, there is no need for a debate, or presentation of a true picture of what people really think, especially men about women. We know. We know all men are chaste and pure and only possess clean and noble thoughts for women. It is only the people who are caught after acts of crime against women who possess a sick mind. Everyone else is clean.

And we know that men have the right to decide. On what women should do. What they should wear. Where they should go. Who they should meet.

Now that the issue of defamation of the nation from presentation of a true picture has come to light, requiring political leaders to act, we should be happy our leaders do not undertake half-measures. When they address an issue, they address it whole-heartedly. Defamation might never be able to raise its ugly head.

In order to shield the country from defamation brought on by poor performance in a future game, political leaders have prevailed upon the Board of Control for Cricket in India to use its clout in world cricket to treat all games, where the Indian team loses, as not having ever been played, with retrospective effect. Any media house found covering the same will be acted against. This will also prevent any other country defeating India from inviting criminal charges from the Indian government for defamation of the nation.

Every person who does not wear foreign clothes or, at the very least, does not talk in a western language, will be removed to an area specially reserved for such misfits. After all, if an overseas visitor were to interact with such a person and see reality, would it not create a poor impression of our great civilisation that is tantamount to defamation? We cannot leave such things to chance.

If at any point of time economic measures reveal a less-than-rosy picture, the slump in growth is to be addressed by changing the formula to measure growth rather than risk defamation.

Many other measures have been prescribed. But nothing is foolproof. To cover that eventuality, legislation has been enacted requiring citizens, in the manner of Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, to “hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil”. In simple terms, bury your head in the sand and pretend all is well.

In the interest of transparency and openness and in order to protect against defamation, all divergent views, particularly ones that call upon men to introspect about their attitude towards women, need to be clamped down upon.

Redemption

He was on the run. But he had no place to hide. As is normally the case when one is running from oneself.

He was the butt of crude innuendos and cruel jokes; in fact, had been throughout his adult life. Everywhere he went people would laugh at him; on his face.

His ability to assume higher responsibilities, when the time came, had been questioned. He had lived a life on the margins.

Would he be responsible for destroying the legacy his illustrious father had assiduously built through so many years of persistence and hard work? In the face of adversity. In the face of questioning and investigation by law enforcement agencies of the country.

He had borne it all with great fortitude, devoting himself selflessly to the cause.

But matters had now come to a head. His, father, on the wrong side of seventy, had been accused of sexual assault by a minor girl.

He could bear it no more. He had bolted.

He had lived a charmed life.

His upbringing, and training, in the ways of the ashram run by his father, had been personally supervised by a doting father. He had been the chosen one. Expected to build on the legacy.

He had been a keen student. And had always tried hard.

Despite his upbringing and training and hard work, results had been singularly remarkable in their absence. No accusation of sexual assault! No case of land-grabbing!! No instance of even petty thievery or rabble-rousing!!!

His father, on the other hand, had gone from strength to strength. This was not the first time such accusations had been made against him. He had periodically been accused of land-grabbing, amassing wealth disproportionate to means, and various other crimes. The difference this time was that he had been arrested and put behind bars. He had even successfully passed a potency test while incarcerated. Was there anything he could not do? The self-styled Godman had a following of millions for good reason.

Dove-cotes of the faithful are aflutter. Faced with the prospect of being led by an unaccomplished son, they are troubled and in a militant mood. They see it as a let-down and have started openly questioning the Godman’s decision of grooming his son to take-on the mantle. Why had the Godman wasted resources in training such an imbecile? They wanted answers to their questions.

Is this the person they will abdicate personal responsibilities for, and rush to in search of the cheap, alluring alternative of ready answers, outcomes of which can be blamed on fate and karma?

Is this the person who will lead and guide them to never take responsibility for their actions, nay, their whole lives?

Is this the person whose drug-laced dancing steps they will witness and cheer in the hope of reaching closer to the state of nirvana through blind faith?

Is this the person who will sprinkle coloured water on them from a garden hose powered by a portable motor riding on a battery-powered golf-cart made to look like a chariot, to deliver them from their sins?

Is this the person who will ask them to surrender logic and reason and embrace superstition and stupidity?

Is this the person who will give them a false sense of security and pander to their desire and craving for being led?

Is this the person who will enrich himself at their cost and make them feel good about it?

All these days, he had no answer. And when matters came to a head, he had bolted.

But you cannot keep a good man down forever.

His honour has been retrieved. Recently, as if by divine intervention, he has been accused of molestation and rape by two inmates of another ashram run by his father.

He can walk tall once more. He can again look his father in the eye. He has not wasted his life in doing moral deeds. The years of training have not been in vain. He has earned the right to lead blind followers.

Even though the matter is with the courts, the accusation is proof that he is on the right track.

Devoted followers can heave a sigh of relief.

No country for young women

“We even painted a few autos pink”.

(Note: “auto”, for the uninitiated, is like a small taxi, carries, or is supposed to carry, a maximum of two passengers at a time, and is a popular means of public transportation in most cities. In some countries in the region, variants of the “auto” are called “tuk-tuk”s.)

Silence descended on the group. Surely nothing could beat that.

It was the aftermath of another gruesome incident of rape. This time in a western metropolis. The high-level committee formed to address the issue and implement an action-plan to prevent a recurrence of such incidents was meeting. They had invited their counterparts from the capital, who had recent experience of implementing an action-plan after an even more gruesome incident had taken place there late last year, to participate.

(An earlier post emanating from that incident: https://darkofficehumour.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/emancipation-of-women/).

The invited team was sharing their experiences. They had seen how civil society’s collective conscience had finally been jolted into action. Both public and private agencies had left no stone unturned, it seems, in their quest to uplift the lot of women and ensure their safety.

A big company had taken early lead in the drive for emancipation of women by bringing out a women-only washing powder that will wash clothes clean only when used by a woman. It took the market by storm and left competitors wringing their clothes hands in despair.

A Mutual Fund company, boldly going where no man, or woman, had gone before, had launched a financial advisory service only for women, even encouraging them to invest money in their own poorly-performing financial products, for enhancing their feeling of security.

In his usual forthright and meaningless manner, the Finance Minister, joining the fray, had sent out a strong message for the emancipation of women in the country by announcing the launch of a women-only bank.

At each idea that was put forward, there was shock writ large on faces of members of the committee at the severity of measures taken. “No wonder that no further incidents had been reported from the capital. Once you introduce a women-only washing powder, a financial consultancy to advise women to invest in their own schemes and a women-only bank, surely nothing more would need to be done for the emancipation and security of women”, each one thought privately.

The shock turned to total disbelief when they were told that they had not stopped at that. They had even painted a few autos pink! Though they knew that such actions were the need of the hour, they were all silently wondering if they would ever be able to match the boldness of the team from the capital and implement them.

They also realised that the hard work of dreaming up meaningless solutions in the face of a gruesome crime had already been done. They did not have scope to pretend to come up with measures to address the situation in the interest of the people. All they had to do was implement. The reputation and careers they had built over years of trying to solve people’s problems through actions that were bound to fail from the outset, were at stake.

The invited team was justifiably proud of their efforts; in the face of huge odds a number of severe measures had been implemented without causing an iota of discomfort to the male population. They had managed to implement several measures requiring women to change their habits. For their own good, it must be clarified.

Meanwhile, in other normal events around the country:

  • A woman (a foreign tourist) camping in MP, got gangraped by a group of local men while she was camping in a jungle.
  • A woman managed to avoid getting raped in a moving car by jumping out of the car and sustaining grievous injuries in the process.
  • A British tourist (woman, who else!) jumped off a balcony in Agra to avoid getting molested by the owner of the hotel she was staying in.
  • Robbers gangrape a policewoman in Jharkhand. The woman, apparently, was taking her dead younger sister’s body to their hometown for cremation.

In view of several instances of foreign tourists being targeted, the government is considering banning all female tourists from entering the country in order to protect the country’s rich culture and heritage from being sullied by unjustified speculation overseas.

The government is also considering legislation to address the situation. One proposal being considered is to make it mandatory for crimes against women to be committed only by women.

A government spokesman has also said that these incidents should be a lesson for all. Calls from different sections of the population for a statehood here, greater autonomy there, stand exposed as politically motivated machinations of divisive elements. These incidents conclusively prove that be it Mumbai or Delhi, Madhya Pradesh or Agra, Jharkhand or anywhere else, we are united in our thinking and behaviour. We are one country.

Emancipation of women

The brutal gang-rape of a girl, eventually leading to death, in a moving bus late last year, has galvanised politicians like very few events have done in the recent past. More than the debate over big ministerial bungalows being taken away. Even more than the proposal to take away the ministerial privilege of blocking traffic for the common man while their entourage moves on the road.

In his usual forthright and utterly meaningless manner, the Finance Minister has sent out a strong message for the emancipation of women in the country.

“We will launch a ‘women only’ bank on the country”, he declared to an awe-struck Parliament while presenting the annual Union Budget. It has long been felt that the absence of a ‘women only’ bank in the country has led to the spate of violent crimes against women but no government has had the vision and foresight to translate it into action as the current FM had done. Even the Opposition was forced to support this move.

In another bold move, once again seen as a direct response to the brutal event quoted above, the central government has proposed that the age of consensual sex be reduced from the present eighteen to sixteen. This far-sighted move is expected to strike terror into the hearts of potential perpetrators, leading to a rapid decline and eventual stamping out of instances of this heinous crime.

It may be recollected that only a few months back, as a safeguard against abuse of children, the age for consensual sex had been raised from sixteen to eighteen. If the proposals are accepted and the age reduced to sixteen, advocates for child security will once again get to do their bit for children by advocating increase of age from sixteen to eighteen.

Thereafter, advocates for emancipation of women will get to, again, propose reduction from eighteen to sixteen. A virtuous circle of improvement will thus be activated. There is no saying how much good will be done to society by these two interest groups by the time they have finished reducing and increasing the age for consensual sex.

As is to be expected in a sane, mature society, nobody is wasting time on issues like parochial male attitudes and parental differentiation between a girl and a boy during upbringing.

A proposal to ensure equal representation of men and women, if not in numbers at least on voting rights, on all decision-making bodies, has been rejected by law-makers on the grounds that they (women) don’t know what is good for them and that the proposal is not being accepted for their own good.

Now who can argue with that?

Root cause analysis

A “khap panchayat” has announced that they have discovered the root cause of heinous, violent crime like rape against women. It appears they have come to this conclusion after profound research lasting more than twelve minutes and involving an experienced team of four elders who needed to be kept awake with periodic doses of medical assistance during much of this twelve-minute period.

“Khap panchayat”, for the uninitiated, is the union of a few villages, mainly in the northern part of the country, though it exists in varied forms in the rest of the country as well, who come together for attending to the common good of the villages.

So what did they find? What is the root cause of heinous, violent crime like rape against women?

Chowmein.

Yes, you read it correctly. It is chowmein.

It is not the mental and moral depravity of men.

It is not the poor upbringing of men at the hands of insecure parents worried about their own old-age security.

It is not the low self-esteem amongst perpetrators trying to demonstrate their power.

It is not a lack of role models in society and our patriarchal notions of masculinity.

It is not the objectification of women as property or as symbols of honour.

It is not even the provocative dressing by women as has long been suspected.

It is chowmein.

This humble dish of pan-fried noodles, foreign originally, but increasingly having become intricately woven into the menus of a billion plus people, has been thrust, irrevocably and firmly, into the limelight on account of the “khap panchayat” recommendation that people stop eating this tasty dish.

And stirred up a storm in a jasmine-tea cup in the bargain.

“To my understanding, consumption of…Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance evoking an urge to indulge in such acts,” a senior khap panchayat leader was quoted as saying to a media website.

This scientific discovery has escalated into a diplomatic row with a large and increasingly economically assertive neighbour, where chowmein is understood to have originated, complaining to the ambassador to their country. They have firmly stated that they will not take a slight to their rich cultural heritage going back thousands of years, in which chowmein, a recent creation, occupies a prominent place, lying down.

Under pressure from the central leadership, the “khap panchayat” overlords have reluctantly agreed to let women continue to eat chowmein.

It appears, however, that the “khap panchayats” are still smarting under the compromise they have been forced to accept. In a thinly veiled threat, the “khap panchayats” have chided the female population in the state for bringing disrepute to the state and their families by not adhering to the policy of gender equality promoted by the state, by not perpetrating enough crimes on men. If they had, they (the khaps) would not have had to bow to the diktat of the central government.

Though the ban has been recommended in one state, the entire country has been rocked by its reverberations with a sharp increase in attempted rapes, mostly from restaurants with chowmein on their menu. In many cases, if an accompanying male friend has ordered chowmein, girls have called in the cops and had the male arrested for attempted rape.

The sharp increase in attempted rapes being reported from restaurants serving chowmein has underscored the accuracy of the “khap panchayat” discovery and served as a timely prevention.

After this important discovery, the “khap panchayat” has been asked by the central government to undertake research on various important issues that have dogged mankind for eternity, like how immortality be attained, is there a cure for AIDS, how did the universe originate, is there life after death, is there a god, etc..

It is understood that after detailed research lasting more than forty-five minutes, the khaps are ready with answers to all the issues on which the central government had asked for answers, including etc..