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.

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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…]

Elizabeth Lauten – A Note From An Ex-Teenage Dirtbag

I want a tattoo.

See? Indian Culture is seeing a Tattoo renaissance, it used to play a big role in my culture but it lost out to the actions of Victorians and Christian Revivalists who claimed that the Tattoos of our Hindu/Animist past were superficial and invited Satan into your lives.

I would want something medical to celebrate my achievement. I don’t know what I would like yet, but it is something I cannot take lightly.

For those who have seen me online during the Google Hangouts I sometimes slink about in? You may notice I shave my head. The reason I started doing that was two fold.

Firstly? When I was younger I had hair that was rebellious. I dyed my hair Red/Blue and had spikes in it. Lots of product. When I joined Medical School I had to change

Secondly? I lost my hair. My hair never grew back properly after my childhood and my hair began to fall aged 18.

Shaving my head was a fashion choice as much as a choice of rebellion. It was a skinhead cut, the ultimate rebellion for an Indian Man. A shaved head is for those in mourning or in penance.  [Read more…]

Cherchez La Femme – Looking for Women in Atheism

It’s a bad sign when the Discovery Institute start making fun of you.

There is a problem in atheism. It is a mainly white male dominated issue but it is changing. While we do see people dragging their feet about representation and what it means and we do see people who aren’t conducive to a more diverse atheist demographic with large fan bases, the fact remains that more and more minority atheists are being seen and heard. Put it this way? Just 10 years ago you couldn’t name any south Asian freethinkers.

Today on JUST this platform alone? Taslima Nasrin, Mano Singham, Heina Dadabhoy and Yours Truly. Now I am not as active in meat space as those 3. Taslima’s books are still selling in India, Heina’s a veteran of a bunch of American Atheist Stuff and Mano’s got books out. I just make loud noises and spelling mistakes. [Read more…]

Ethics in Gaming

I am surprised in general about the whole ethics in games journalism.

Oh I agree that games journalism has problems. Games Journalists don’t make the sort of money they need to review games so are reliant on free handouts. This isn’t a bad thing, most game reviewers of note are pretty biased but they make their biases clear. We have PS4 junkies and XBox Junkies and and PC Gamers all promoting their “master” system.

BUT here is the thing? We have always known that. We listen to the game reviewers of our choice as they share the same biases.

Okay? Gaming is a Subjective Medium. There are people who are enthralled by the plots of games, there are people who don’t mind sprite graphics and clunky interfaces and learning curves akin to rock climbing walls rather than gentle hills. Guess what? These gamers aren’t going to take advice from the Call of Duty Shooter Reviewer. Likewise we have reviewers such as Yahtzee whose snark adds to the experience of the review.  [Read more…]

Another Side of Domestic Violence

I have been a bit busy with work this week and even more busier with getting things set up for my professional licensing exams in the UK (I am licensed for India but require licensing back in the UK or the EU in order to practice).

For those who follow me on Facebook, you would know I had a rather tough week. For those who don’t? The following post is about a case of domestic violence that came in during my Emergency Room surgical shift. This was a case whose history I took and who is alive today because of prompt action that I took.

The following contains medical imagery and photographs of surgery. And photographs of injuries stemming from abuse. The point of this post is to show people what abuse looks like from a medical stand point. How we sometimes detect it and the repercussions of abuse. The photographic imagery shows a procedure I assisted with. And it is surgical in nature so some people may find it uncomfortable but it is MY view of domestic violence. It is how domestic violence presents itself and what side of it I see. I see the external wounds, the internal ones are for others to deal with.

This piece contains pictures of surgery. They are at the very end. If you are squeamish then be aware of them.
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Not the Ducks! – Jennifer Marguilis and 45 Reasons to Not Have a Home Birth

These were put up by Home Birth activist Jennifer Marguilis. It’s a satirical attack on the practice of Obs/Gynae while trying to encourage more women to utilise an often ignored form of quackery.

Home Births are an often ignored form of quackery. While not as pervasive as homeopathy, a lack of female skeptics has meant that this issue has generally not seen as much airplay as anti-vaccination and homeopath quackery. I myself came across this on a post on herbal medicine for deliveries and how a midwife was using “Natural Methods” rather than our evil medicine which is powered by the souls of forsaken children.

Open Heart Surgery

It’s a pretty big list but let’s have some fun with it! And yes this is a mainly “obs/gynae post”. Male readers may go cross eyed and stare uncomfortably at their wives. [Read more…]

Celebrity Pornography

So famous people take naked photos of themselves.

It isn’t just the very amusingly named Anthony Weiner who is a fan of pictures of genitals. Turns out? People who have access to a camera and privacy invariably like taking pictures of themselves or others nude. With the advent of camera phones the naked selfie is much more common.  [Read more…]

Age of Kali – For India to Progress, the Village Headman Must Die

Gandhi was wrong.

See? As an ethnic Indian, I never learnt Indian history through the lens of India. This is a problem for a lot of Indians as we shall see in a later article, but for now? Trust me, Indian history classes are fraught with politics. People add their own spin on things.

Gandhi’s words have become gospel because of an unwillingness to look at him as a man who has his flaws, weaknesses and mistakes.

Want to know something? Me and Gandhi probably would not have got along. You see? Gandhi rejected a lot of things from the UK including vaccination. I am sure someone would come trying to insist otherwise so here you go… [Read more…]

Didgeridon’t – Rolf Harris and the harm caused by Trolls/MRA

The heroes of our youth in the UK are no more. They died in ignominy. Gary Glitter and Jimmy Saville turned out to be paedophiles. While Glitter became synonymous with Child Molestation and went to trial quickly, Sir Jimmy Saville was beloved of many and a knight to boot.

He died and his legacy went down fighting against charges made. Now some may say the victims should have come forward earlier while the man was still alive so he could be punished. Maybe, but do you think we would have listened?

[TW – Rape, Sexual Assault, Paedophilia, Harassment]

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