Queer Pride parade of Kerala

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.

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Chennai Rainbow Pride parade

Though homosexuality is still illegal in India under its oppressive colonial period law, there has been increasing acceptance and support for homosexuals in the civil society, at least in major cities.

Credit: Arun Sanker, AFP Getty images

Credit: Arun Sanker, AFP Getty images

On this Sunday  the South Indian city of Chennai witnessed  the annual Rainbow pride march of the LGBTQ community belonging to the Tamilnadu state.

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Honor killings and rape trivialisation are part of the same culture


A mother burnt alive her 18-year-old daughter Zeenat Rafiq on Wednesday for marrying a man of her own choice in an area near General Hospital on Ferozepur Road, Lahore, Pakistan.

Parveen Rafiq, who confessed to having murdered her daughter for “bringing shame to the family”, was arrested at her home in a low-income neighbourhood on Mast Iqbal Road.

Zeenat Rafiq - AFP

Zeenat Rafiq – AFP

Last week 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat was tortured then burned alive for refusing a marriage proposal from a school principal’s son in Murree.

In April a young woman was strangled and then her body set ablaze because she helped a friend elope in Abbottabad, another case that sparked revulsion.

Byra Reddy, a resident of Tamatampalli under Gownipalli police limits, Karnataka, India, allegedly strangled his daughter Priya Reddy (17). He was angry with her for her love affair with 20-year-old Harish, belonging to Ganiga (backward class), and suspected that they were planning to elope on Sunday.

Statistics indicate that about thousand people, almost always women, are killed both in Pakistan and India in a year in the name of protecting honour of the family.

Love and marriage are supposed to be happy events. But for vast sections of human society, even in this “enlightened” 21st century it is the cause of violence and sorrow, because of the culture of not respecting the autonomy of an individual, especially that of women.

From NYT website

From NYT website

Same lack of respect for autonomy of a woman and an undue respect for the athletic prowess of a rapist can be seen in this infamous court judgement in the Stanford rape case.

Both, the “honor” killings in Asia and trivialising of rape in USA, belong to two ends of the same universal misogynist cultural spectrum.  The troubling thing to my mind is most people are shocked by the former but few by the latter.

Wage gap as wide as ever

Generally the family driver is best paid while the maid is only paid around half of what the driver makes. The driver also trumps nanny salaries, suggesting people are willing to dish out more to take care of their cars than their kids.

Findings of a recent study on wage gap among domestic workers in India brings no surprise. If you are a male, you will be paid more regardless of the importance, severity or duration of work.

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Sadly there is no sign of any end to this gender discrimination.

Another gruesome rape-murder raises the same wrong questions

Three men were detained on Tuesday for the brutal rape-murder of a 29-year-old Dalit law student in a small town near Kerala’s Kochi last week, a crime that drew comparisons with the Delhi 2012 gang rape.
Police said two of the detained suspects are neighbours of the woman, who was alone at home and found in a pool of blood by her mother when she returned from work around 8pm on April 28.
“We have some leads in the case,” additional DGP K Padmakumar said.
The autopsy revealed she was savagely assaulted with sharp-edged weapons after being raped. The body bore at least 30 cut wounds, her abdomen was slashed and intestines were ripped apart.
The traumatised mother is bedridden in a hospital. “We had complained to police about the danger to our lives. The tragedy could have been averted had they taken timely action,” she said.

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Now an 8th century Kerala mosque opens it doors to women

After the success of the struggle of Hindu women to enter the Lord Saturn temple in Maharashtra with the help of judiciary, a historical Sunni mosque has opened its doors to Muslim women.

The mosque at Tazhathangady in Kottayam town of Kerala is supposed to be as old as 8th century. It is famous for its beautiful architectural style and exquisite wood carvings.

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid. Photo: Maya Menon... Read more at: http://travel.manoramaonline.com/travel/travel-news/when-thazhathangadi-juma-masjid-opened-its-doors-to-women.html

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid. Photo: Maya Menon

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A band with a difference

“Why are you begging on the street ? Why can’t you do a proper job ? ”

This question is often asked at Hijras of India. The answer is always this.

“Who will give me a job?  Who will give people like us jobs ?

Hijras are transgender women of India. They are shunned by society at large. Usually they are disowned by families and are forced to live in ghettos under a leader (Guru). They earn money by begging on the streets and trains. They also get some money by singing and dancing during certain ceremonies and many end up in sex work.

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Imposition or choice ?

Sushama Swaraj , the external affairs minister of India, visited Iran recently. From Tehran she went to Moscow for a joint meeting between foreign ministers of India, China and Russia.

From Twitter feed of Sushama Swaraj

From Twitter feed of Sushama Swaraj


Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj pose before their meeting in Moscow, Russia, (PTI)

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj pose before their meeting in Moscow, Russia, (PTI)

The irony is many a time Islam imposes dress code even on non-Muslim visitors but claim Muslim women follow dress code as a choice. And some people fall for it too.


A “period” protest

I remember that in my childhood, I was confused when I realised we were not allowed to touch women during their menstrual periods. I could not get any real explanation for this custom. Also they were not allowed to enter kitchen or rooms were gods are offered prayers.. I noticed this mostly in the ancestral home of my parents, when a large number of family members  converge for some occasions and not (as far as I can remember) in my own home. Of course they were not allowed to enter temples during that time and this restriction continue even now. I  was sure there were many more restrictions and taboos on menstruating women then and some are persisting.

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