Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Friday, August 28, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Bagariya tribal women in the village of Badi Sadri, Rajasthan, have to prove they have been faithful to their husbands by dipping their hands in boiling oil for five seconds. It's a weird test: If you are chaste, your hands will come out unscathed from the bowl of boiling oil; if you suffer burns, you've been cheating on your husband.
What's worse, it's an annual ritual. Every year, women in a tribal village in Rajasthan, western India, face this trial by fire - to prove their good character during the previous year.
Every year, when the country celebrates the victory of good over evil by burning effigies of the demon king Ravana and his brothers, men in this village, in wanton disregard of human life, subject women to this barbaric test.
This Dushehra, too, at least 20 women of the Bagariya tribe, in Badi Sadri village in Udaipur District, were forced to take this test. Fortunately, none of them got burned.
The men broke into gay folk songs and cooked a meal for the tribe.
On the morning of this festival, a wood fire was raised to boil mustard oil in 14 bowls outside a temple in the village. The women were then asked to immerse their hands one by one into the liquid, and to keep them submerged for five seconds.
When they remove their hands, they are checked for burns. Those who suffer burns, have been immoral in the past year. The gravity of the burns dictates the degree of infidelity.
"Our men mostly stay out during the nights for livelihood. We sustain on crime: thefts, loot. Therefore, it's quite likely women will fall for the other guy," Durgesh Bagariya, the tribe's head, defends this ritual. Yet he offers no reason for this test. Nor does he answer why men aren't subjected to the same test.
Such tests are commonplace in the tribal areas of Udaipur and adjoining districts.
A few years ago, a theft was reported. Instead of summoning the police, the village heads decided to subject all the men to a test to identify the thief. They boiled oil and made the men immerse their hands.
Three were singed, and the villagers concluded them to be the thieves. The local police also accepted this theory, and the trio were arrested without any further investigation.
But that was once-off incident. In Badi Sadri, it happens every year - ironically, on the day when the country burns the evil.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
A Bollywood actress caught saying
so-and-so is amazing as a director. He can make even a black African look pretty”.
A Bollywood actor saying:
(I knew) it was time to leave Shanghai and Hong Kong after six weeks of stunt training and go home when his eyes started “turning into little slits like the Chinese”.
As the BBC critic of Indian origin remarks, these are not unsurprising remarks. As most Indians know, we make these remarks all the time and either don’t realize these are offensive, or just don’t care. Why, we have names for such obscenities. We call our north-eastern country-men(and women), or just any person with mongoloid features “chinky”. We call any white-skinned person “firangi”. Any person of African origin is still called a “negro”, decades after this term has been replaced by “africans” or “african americans” in politer societies.
The fact is that we Indians have more ways to divide and discriminate humans than any society in the world, but few Indians would admit to this. We discriminate by race,skin color,caste, religion, regionality(”madrasis”) … if there are any other ways to divide people that I can’t remember now, we probably do that too.
However, nobody in India has the guts to address this problem. We let people openly advertise for “fair”, “brahmin” etc. brides and grooms in matrimonial listings in newspapers and online sites. There is still no government push for banning all temples from restricting who can enter by caste. There is no push to accommodate our north-eastern brothers and sisters into mainstream society. In fact, most of India would rather revel in “Gandhigiri” but blissfully ignore that Iron Sharmila , who has redefined Gandhian methods of struggle, even exists.
Friday, May 29, 2009
It was a dark reminder that sometimes the Constitution isn't enough.
The reason we know about this undignified part of American history is the successful lobby for reparations, which put the story in front of the press, the Congress and the President. The Civil Liberties Act of 1988 allowed for each imprisoned Japanese American or their heirs to receive $20,000.
Reparations are sometimes looked down on, but it goes beyond asking for cash. Apologies come easy and cheap. They provide a thin blanket for a cold storm and don't require any sincerity or penalty. Reparations acknowledge, in action, that a wrong was done and sometimes that the nation benefited at the expense of the livelihood of others. It also creates a future penalty for violations of human rights.
This country disowned its Japanese American citizens as it created propaganda to demonize their entire ethnicity. In addition, they were bartered with like poker chips, exchanged with Japan for the freedom of American POWs. How much is that dignity and disruption in life and family really worth?
Japanese Latin Americans Left Out
One chapter that is often left out of the history of Japanese Internment Camps is the fact that the United States pressured Latin American nations to deport their Japanese, German and Italian citizens to the United States. German and Italian prisoners had additional access to court hearings, but still suffered greatly. There's some speculation that some German Jews from Latin America may have been traded with Germany.
Japanese Latin Americans leaving a temporary internment camp in the
Panama Canal Zone to join their relatives in U.S. internment camps.
April 7, 1942. Courtesy of San Francisco Public Library.
At least 12 nations responded with Japanese and European prisoners, with two-thirds being Japanese and 80% originating from Peru. There were over 2,000 Japanese Latinos imprisoned in the United States; 800 were traded to Japan in exchange for prisoners.
These Spanish-speaking Japanese suffered double humiliations. They were disowned by their own countries, deported to a foreign country and then further alienated in a nation whose language they did not speak. Many of their native countries were simply reacting to racism and jealousy of a successful demographic. Peru had many successful Japanese businesses and schools, which were easily grabbed once their owners and participants were deported. After the war, many Japanese Latinos were not permitted by their former countries to return. Because of their limbo status, many were imprisoned for much longer than other Japanese. Today, many of them still have tainted immigration records.
Japanese Latinos were not included in the reparations. Janet Reno, who was US Attorney General and head of the Department of Justice at the time, interpreted the law to only apply to people who were citizens at the time of imprisonment. Because we forced these Japanese Latin Americans into our borders, Reno interpreted them as illegal aliens. Illegal aliens that our nation kidnapped and imprisoned in our borders.
One of the indignities of seeking redress is the fact that you have to sue to get your government to acknowledge what is plainly wrong. To hear your government only apologize after being sued is disheartening. To have to go through it twice is even more painful.
After a class action lawsuit was settled in 1998, it was decided that Japanese Latinos would only get $5,000. That's one fourth of what Japanese American citizens from the US received. In addition, there was no guarantee that it would be paid. Japanese Latinos were paid from a general fund only after Japanese Americans were paid their share.
The money ran out and only allowed for 145 Japanese Latinos to be paid from the fund.
"We need slaves," my friend says. "We need slaves to build monuments. Look who built the pyramids - they were slaves."
It is already home to the world's glitziest buildings, man-made islands and mega-malls - now Dubai plans to build the tallest tower. But behind the dizzying construction boom is an army of migrant labourers lured into a life of squalor and exploitation.
Click here for the full article.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
The Polish national took the boy out in his car and allowed him to pick out the prostitute, who was standing at the side of the road in the red-light district of Nottingham.
But the 42-year-old father was arrested because the teenager had chosen an undercover police officer, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons,was handed a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for a year, after he admitted a charge of trying to solicit a woman to have sex with a child, the Press Association reported.
The court heard that the father, who came to Britain eight years ago, was arrested last July during an undercover operation by the city's vice squad.
Prosecutor Adrian Harris said the man and his son had approached the undercover officer whose code name was Sarah and beckoned her over .
He asked "Sarah" how much it would cost for her to have sex with his son and they agreed on a 20 pound fee. However, when the car pulled over, the man was arrested by plainclothes police officers.
"The boy said that they had driven past the girl and his dad pointed to her and said 'will she do?'" Harris said.
"He said 'yes' and they had turned round. He said his dad did this because he was still a virgin and he was taking care of that for him."
Judge Jonathan Teare said he would spare the father jail because of his excellent character and that he believed he did not mean any harm to his son.
"You have a duty of care to your son and that is to look after his moral welfare, not as you might think to break him in to the ways of sex through a prostitute," he said.
The court was told the boy would continue to live with his father.