Age of Kali – Uber, Rape and Indian Corruption

For many people who have been paying attention, Uber got into India and was revolutionising the Taxi Industry here in a deep way.

Here is the thing? My place is 3 Km from the hospital in Rural India. I get a bus, lifts and cycle to work. Sometimes (like today) I end up taking an auto rickshaw which is the equivalent of a New York Yellow Cab. These things are (also yellow) everywhere but  they hold a monopoly over pick up rides.

This means they don’t have to utilise a meter. They can charge whatever they feel like and if you are shit out of luck, you have to pay them. I pay around Rs. 160 a day if I have to take them. Not a large amount of money if you are converting from pounds but a sizeable amount if you live in India. To break that habit, I purchased a bicycle figuring the 4000 rupee outlay would save me money in the long term. It has. The price of showing up to work sweaty is a small one though but “India is hot and I sweat at work anyways, what’s sweating 15 minutes before I get to work going to do to me?

But along comes Uber. A non union taxi service which gave back the power of the taxi to the consumer. What we began to see was a gradual erosion of the monopoly. While I like Unions, I think  they should work towards the benefit of the service rather than simply creating a monopoly of shitty quality like in India.

But when an Uber driver raped an Indian woman? The government of Delhi banned the service, blaming it for hiding rapists. And I disagree. I was skeptical so I did some poking around the claim.

[Read more…]

A Voice for Me/Age of Kali – You aren’t Fighting For Men, You are Harming Us

Every so often A Voice for Men decides to help out Indian Men.

Usually by siding with the most harmful and idiotic arguments and encouraging the status quo. This started with a hilarious claim that India isn’t misogynist because women have free entry into nightclubs and their own lines.

I was amused by the attempts of MRA to try to compare the separate seating for women in buses and trains in India and comparing it to that endured by Rosa Parks. Two reasons. Firstly? If Black people were being touched up by White people in buses they would want separate seating to ensure they can get to places without the man putting his hand down your pants and think separate seating is a good idea. Secondly? Do you have any  idea how daft it is to bring up Rosa Parks as if she was the first person to think of this particularly to Indians. Come on! Do your research! Rosa Parks was INSPIRED by this man because this was a really old method of breaking the rules of Apartheid.

Hint. It is Gandhi. But this is just my being pedantic.

Seriously? In general the MRA have not been helpful towards men’s rights. A short list for new readers?

1. MRA attempted to spin the Delhi Rape and the fact that in India sexual assault and harassment is so normal and ubiquitous. That actually trying to find sympathetic Police to try and prosecute is hard and that even attempting to fight back can result in your death. MRA seriously tried to claim to me (I am from a scheduled caste. I am harijan) that caste issues in India are bigger than gender issues forgetting that you can be untouchable and female and have the shit from botth.

2. MRA attempted to claim that Afghanistan is not that bad for women and that men have it worse.

3. MRA have attempted to defend the rapists and blame the underage victim of the Steubenville Rape Attack.

4. MRA have attempted to blame the underage victims as found out by Operation Yew Tree. AKA The scandal where children’s TV presenters such as Stuart Hall and Jimmy Saville turned out to be paedophiles who preyed on children using their fame and fortune to protect themselves. American have seen a similar issue in the actions of Bill Crosby. A trusted figure turned out to be much more harmful. MRA weighed on the side of the attackers in both cases.

5. MRA and Gamer Gate got together to subject me to a barrage of racist and homophobic abuse. I was called a Nigger and a Faggot. A Voice For Men’s Communications Officer who has the good fortune to be responsible for the prior two defences of rapists and paedophiles attempted to defend the racism and homophobia as free speech. She also attempted to claim that “Fag” meant cigarette. Newer readers may be unaware but I am British. Fag to us means cigarette. However we are smart enough to know that when someone calls us a “Fag” it doesn’t mean “You are a Cigarette”, but “you are a homosexual and that is a bad thing”. She also used the “I am robbing the word Nigger of its power” argument. It finally ended with the statement from MRA that they don’t have any reason to deal with Gay Rights or Racism since they were just interested in Men’s Rights. This I must point out was in the aftermath of the Ferguson Racism Riots where it is mainly Black MEN who are being killed. Rather than fight actual issues pertaining to men, the MRA would rather defend the right to be racist if it fucks over someone critical of them.

So to see them weigh in on India and invite Indians to defend a culture that  babies Indian Men until it creates 21 year old toddlers with temper tantrums is astonishing. What’s worse is the willingness of Indian MRA to accept the racism within the MRA (We are aware of MRA such as Theadore Beale, The Spearfront and Return of the Kings) if it means gaining their support.

As I pointed out? The irony is Indian MRA often become the shield against racism that the MRA waggle at us when we call out their racism. It’s been nearly a month since the amalgamation of Gamergate and MRA called me a “Nigger”. Since then a couple of Gamergate have apologised for such behaviour. The majority have tried to spin it as “okay”. Among the MRA? Not one has had the spine to state that “It is unacceptable to accept racism and homophobia and it is an issue that affects all men”.

But let’s check out A Voice for Me’s recent attempt to push their ideas in India. [Read more…]

The Thug in Velvet – Not Your Dress

Indian women are often judged harshly for the clothes they wear. Either they are too revealing or too boring or too ugly or too scandalous. The idea of the “sexy” Indian woman exists only in the dream state of cinema.

The same men who whoop and holler at the sexy women on the big screen dancing to modern music would be quick to condemn both the music and much tamer outfits among “real women”.

Gauhar Khan is a fairly famous Indian actress who won last year’s “Indian Big Brother”. She was assaulted on stage by a man who took offence to the clothes she wore.

“Being a Muslim woman, she should not have worn such a short dress.”

It doesn’t matter what dress she wears. If you are offended then look away. She is not there to dress to your satisfaction.

I like it when Hera dresses up. It’s not a demand, it’s not even a request. It’s something she chooses to do to surprise me. But I don’t begrudge her in sweatpants and wearing my T-shirt while watching bad TV. The dress of a woman doesn’t allow you to touch her in any way. Her consent does. As any sort of man irrespective of the gods of your fathers, do you think it is acceptable to strike any human in public let alone a woman and promote the status quo of casual violence aimed at women?

And this isn’t the only such story of the casual nature of thuggish behaviour within Indian culture. It is very easy for a young man to be justified in his violence.

A young man belonging to the Scheduled Caste and his Muslim wife were hacked to death in broad daylight in a village of Hapur, Uttar Pradesh, on Saturday – allegedly by the woman’s brother – for defying the diktat of the village headmen and staying married.

Sonu and Danishta Begum got married four months ago and lived in his house in Fatehpur Village around 75 Km from Delhi. In a story that would have made our hearts swell? They were neighbours for 13 years and childhood sweethearts.

Sonu was hacked to death by Danishta’s brother Talib before he cut her throat. Talib and the girl’s mother Noor Jehan have been arrested. Four others have evaded arrest.

While we would think that caste or religion would be the cause of the murder, it wasn’t. It was fear of reprisals from the Village Headmen that drove the killing.  [Read more…]

The Untouchables

Unlike Eliot Ness’s squad of prohibition cops, the untouchables of India are a far far more fearsome proposition.

The dalits or harijans are people who were part of the castes who were associated with the traditionally unclean work. Leather work (hindus still wear leather despite not consuming cows), slaughter house work (the crime is in the killing not in the consumption), removal of rubbish and in one of the most abusive aspects of human existence, in the removal of human waste from latrines. The practice has died out in most of the cities but in rural areas it still persists. Which means its wide spread. Remember nearly 70 percent of India lives rural. Much like the 1950s and america, there is segregation in India. The idea is that uncleanliness is contagious and that contact with the dalit means that you are tarnished by association. Still many places have a practice where they refuse to let the dalit touch the same wells or even drink from the same cup. They will pour out water for you and you sip from the stream rather than a cup. Different temples, schools and funeral areas. They stay in their own ghettoes. [Read more…]

Age of Kali – A Year On

I got this mail last year. It effectively asked me why I wasn’t willing to stand up and say something about the Indian rape. Why my blog was filled with the stories of women and indeed men who fought against the rape.

Why not my story of the Indian Rape Riots and Protests?

I had a good reason. I am Indian by ethnicity. Not by nationality and my culture is “British Asian” which is a weird amalgam. That was the story of women in India, not my story of my time on the lines.

But it’s been a year. So I wanted to write about what I did and what I saw. [Read more…]

Progress Report

Sustainable progress is the name of the game.

When I first started out in India one of my projects was a tiny fishing village. Owing to sustained and interactive charity development we not only created economic growth, a lower environmental impact and progress through education but also improved their overall health. [Read more…]