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The events that led up to Sunanda Pushkar’s death had India agog. Twenty-four hours after this successful, wealthy businesswoman went hysterical on social media, accusing a Pakistani journalist of having an affair with her high profile politician husband, and gave a spate of interviews to newspapers and television channels on the same, she was found dead in a hotel room.
The post-mortem report said her death was “sudden and unnatural.” But what really happened to Sunanda Pushkar in her hotel room on the night of January 17? Did she commit suicide? Was she murdered? Or did she accidentally overdose on her medication? There are reports of people hearing angry arguments she had with her husband, that may have turned physical just before her death. What explains the bruising on her arms, wrist and neck? Pushkar’s 21-year-old son, from a previous marriage in which she was widowed, insists that his mother was too strong woman to commit suicide, even as he absolves his step-father of any wrong doing.
For all the questions and inconsistencies that surround this case, the fact is we probably will never know what really happened. It will be just another mystery buried in Delhi’s dirty corridors of power where glamour, politics, business and media make for sordid bedfellows.
But the question to which we know the answer, and this is the question to focus on, is – Was Sunanda’s death needless? Could it have been avoided? And the answer is Read more…
The 50 Million Missing Campaign’s Discussion Blog on female gendericide in India was viewed about 390,000 times in 2013.
The campaign’s Blog on News and Crimes Reports against women was viewed about 15,000 times in 2013.
The busiest day of the year for our Discussion Blog was 24th May, 2013, with34,065 views. The most popular post that day was Is it A Crime to Menstruate?.
These are the posts that got the most views on the Discussion Blog Read more…
Originally posted on REVOLUTIONS IN MY SPACE: A BLOG BY RITA BANERJI:
Who is Shikha Bhandari? She is one of Kolkata’s unknown heroes. Her husband works as a guard, and his meager income sustains his whole family.
Despite this economic hardship, twice a day, every day, Shikha cooks a giant bucket of food – rice, vegetables and sometimes chicken or fish if there’s any to spare, and walks around her neighborhood and feeds the street dogs who live there. She stops at certain spots and the dogs immediately come running to her. Then she puts our large steel plates on the pavements, and with a long ladle, puts generous amounts of food for the dogs and waits for them to have their fill.
She has been doing this for 30 years, ever since she married her husband Swapan Bhandari and moved to…
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On January 13, 7am (Melbourne time) Lalitha Chelliah of 3CR Community Radio in Australia will interview The 50 Million Missing Campaign founder, Rita Banerji. They will be discussing the cultural and social issues surrounding female gendercide and violence on women in India.
Hear it live on this website: http://www.3cr.org.au/girtbysea
Check your dates and time zone below for the live broadcast :
Melbourne time: 7 a.m. / Jan 13
New Delhi : 1.30 a.m./ Jan 13
London: 8 p.m. / Jan 12
New York (U.S. East Coast): 3 pm/ Jan 12
If you miss it, it will be posted at the above website 1/2 hour later) to listen to as well
And it will also be podcast within a week.
Standing at the Chembur platform my two flat mates and I gravitate towards where all the other women are standing and assume that they know where the female car of the railway halts. Waiting for the train, we’re carefree, not anxious, not worried, but relaxed. This is partially because we are so excited to finally be in Mumbai, but primarily because we know that no men are pressing up against us in preparation for getting on the train and none await us with prying eyes and wandering hands in the packed train. Yes, we are relaxed and even as we are pushed and shoved into the slowly moving train, we’re still calm. Once we are in the women’s car our only concern is people watching and gazing out the open doors into the madness of Mumbai’s inner city.
After a few stops a transgender individual enters the car wearing a bright yellow sari and smiles to expose a set of missing front teeth. She proceeds to do a short dance and then touch us all on the head, perhaps to bless our woman-ness or supposed femininity but mainly to extract money from those amongst us who are superstitious of non-conformity. Cheerfully she makes her way through the car and eventually disappears into the male dominated general section of the train. She is the first person to call into the question the space we inhabit, this ‘female only’ car that relieves us and makes us Read more…
A 2013 survey by the India Today group and MDRA on the sexual habits and attitudes of men and women in India makes a surprising revelation. It shows that despite the increasing prevalence of premarital sex among men and women, 77% of men say that they will not marry a woman who is not a virgin! In mass weddings organized by the state governments for poor families, the brides are forced to undergo virginity tests to qualify! In Jan 2014, the High Court in Delhi in a judgment ruled that when an adult woman has premarital sex, “she does so at her own peril…[and]She must understand that she is engaging in an act which not only is immoral but also against the tenets of every religion.”
ABOUT THE WRITER
Rita Banerji is an author and gender activist, and the founder ofThe 50 Million Missing Campaign to end India’s female genocide. Her book ‘Sex and Power: Defining History Shaping Societies,‘ is a historical and social look at how the relationship between gender and power in India has led to the ongoing female gendercide. Her website iswww.ritabanerji.com She blogs at Revolutions in my Space and tweets at@Rita_Banerji
Why would a television series on the various issues that oppress women in India, including dowry, be considered insulting to religious sentiments and be banned?
Feminist author Taslima Nasreen’s scripted television series (in Bengali) titled ‘Dusahobas’ meaning ” Unbearable Cohabitation,” although ready for telecast has been “indefinitely postponed” for airing, because of pressure from Islamic clerics in the state of West Bengal.
Abdul Aziz of the religious group Milli Ittehad Parishad said their group had written to the producers of the show and told them to withdraw Taslima’s name and reference from the serial, even though Taslima has scripted the show! Aziz said, “We have been told that there are some scenes in the serial that might hurt our sentiments,” even though he does not specify as to what exactly in the show is hurtful to Muslim sentiments in India.
In fact this show is not about Islam but about issues that are effecting women of all religious and cultural communities in India, issues like dowry, dowry violence, sexual violence, and prevention of education. Issues that Indian society needs to contend with through mass media like television. According to Taslima Nasreen, the story line Read more…