Pleasant news from my old campus.
How many of you will be comfortable with walking across the college garden with an uncovered packet of sanitary napkins in your hand?” asked Karthika, a final year student at the Calicut Medical College.
The Rio Olympics is almost over. India, the second most populous country in the world, will be coming home with just two medals, one silver and one bronze, unless a medal is won in the last wrestling event on Sunday.
Though India is never known as a great sporting nation, this performance was much poorer than the six medal haul including one gold and two silvers from London, 2012. But the silver lining of Rio 2016 for Indian sports was some sterling performance from women athletes. P V Sindhu won silver in badminton singles and Sakshi Mallik won bronze in 58 kilo gram freestyle wrestling. Dipa Karmarkar, first ever Indian athlete to qualify for Olympic gymnastics missed bronze by a whisker. Another notable performance was that of Lalita Babar, a 10th place finish in the 3000 metre steeplechase.
The child is small, alone, covered in blood and dust, dropped in the back of an ambulance with his feet dangling off the edge of a too-big chair.
He doesn’t cry or speak. His face is stunned and dazed, but not surprised. He wipes his hand over his wounded face, looks at the blood, wipes it off on the chair.
And he stares.
The world is staring back
August 15th is India’s Independence Day. This year the most significant of Independence Day celebrations will take place in Una, Gujarat.
Una was the town that recently witnessed this cruel and inhuman public flogging of Dalits for allegedly killing cows.
On July 31st more than ten thousand Dalits converged for a mega meeting at Ahmedbad in protest against Dalit atrocities taking place all over the country.
Kozhikode (Calicut) hosted the seventh edition of Kerala’s Queer Pride parade on this Friday amidst a riot of colours and music.
May be for the first time in its history a member of Kerala’s legislative assembly, Congress leader V.T Balram inaugurated the Queer parade.
The parade loudly proclaimed the rights of LGBTQ community to live a normal and peaceful life in India, a country were homosexuality is still a criminal act.
The parade also protested Dalit oppression and use of pellet guns in Kashmir.
It made sense that Buzz Aldrin, a man who has walked on the moon and lived without gravity, was in Rio to watch a teenage compatriot defy the earth’s forces like no other athlete in history.
The former astronaut cheered as the United States won the women’s gymnastics team title on Tuesday and saluted the special quintet, one of whom was the extraordinary Simone Biles.
Biles, the innovator, the ground-breaker, is a gymnast who comes along every other generation or so – a 19-year-old hailed as the most talented anyone has seen. She is already a superstar of her sport and, by the time the Olympic flame is extinguished, is likely to orbit the same space as the planet’s most recognisable stars.
This 4ft 8in gymnast from Texas, placed into foster care because of her mother’s struggles with drugs and alcohol and adopted when she was five by her maternal grandfather and his wife, has already won two Olympic golds at her debut Games.
She could win five. She is expected to win five. She is almost untouchable.
Irom Sharmila, 44, the Iron Lady of Manipur,a small state in north-east India, has ended her sixteen years old fast.
She started her fast unto death as a protest against the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) after troops of the Assam Rifles gunned down 10 civilians at Malom near Imphal airport on November 2, 2000.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act of 1958 (AFSPA) is considered to be one of the most draconian legislations that the Indian Parliament has ever passed. Under this Act, all security forces are given unrestricted and unaccounted power to carry out their operations, once an area is declared disturbed. Even a non-commissioned officer is granted the right to shoot to kill based on mere suspicion that it is necessary to do so in order to “maintain the public order”.
The AFSPA gives the armed forces wide powers to shoot, arrest and search, all in the name of “aiding civil power.” It was first applied to the North Eastern states of Assam and Manipur and was amended in 1972 to extend to all the seven states in the north- eastern region of India. They are Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland, also known as the “seven sisters”. The enforcement of the AFSPA has resulted in innumerable incidents of arbitrary detention, torture, rape, and looting by security personnel. This legislation is sought to be justified by the Government of India, on the plea that it is required to stop the North East states from seceding from the Indian Union. The law gives troops sweeping powers to kill even on suspicion and have immunity from prosecution.
I have heard several stories about how difficult it is to get out the clutches of church for a nun. Here is a new one from Kerala, India.
Sr Mary Sebastian, 45 years, has been serving the Catholic Church for last 25 years. Due to repeated mental and even physical abuses and frequent transfer of posting she became fed up with her job.