All About Eve

The Book of Genesis of The Bible, states that the first man and woman created by God, were Adam & Eve. Blessed were these immortal creations and they led a happy and free life in the garden of Eden. Their only restriction, never to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. But the couple succumbed to temptation.

The temptation came first to Eve, the woman, who managed to persuade her male companion. For their sin, the two were banished from the Heavens and cursed with hard labor and pain. Some believe, that the punishment for this Original Sin should be borne by all of Eve’s daughters and her daughter’s daughters and so on. Meaning, the woman is to be given no importance and should be subjected to all kinds of hardships.

Ask any woman and you’re bound to get a long list of the various physical traumas they endure throughout their mortal lives. But the sons of Adam, i.e. the men decided that was not enough punishment for the women folk. So it came to be that the woman in almost every civilization was to be given no post of any importance and be subjected to humiliation and inferiority complex time and again. Thus began the mental trauma that every daughter of Eve has been enduring since times immemorial.

Some of you may argue that this is all in the past. After all, today’s woman walks shoulder to shoulder with her fellow man, excels in almost every profession, industry, endeavor as much as any man and has thus come a long way since the days of the Bible. Are you certain?

Take something as trivial as arranged marriages in the Indian society. Although now a crime, the groom’s family still insists on some form of ‘dowry’ from the bride to be and her family. Why? Well after all, the groom is a man, the bread-winner, the king of the castle. This despite the fact that the bride in question is as educated, well-read and probably has the same salary as the groom in question. But still, her gender has already decided her importance in her in-laws house-hold.

India and many other nations in this part of the hemisphere consider the birth of a girl-child a liability. To the extent that until recently female infanticide was an epidemic and governments were forced to take drastic actions to curb this practice. And if you’re thinking this is a belief in rural parts, you’d be surprised! Most urban families staunchly believe that a male child is a must to carry on the family name.

For the longest time, the Catholic churches shunned the very idea of a woman priest. The same is true for the temples, mosques, synagogues of other religions. Although today women priests are becoming more common. But even with all the progress and acceptance I doubt I’ll ever see a female pope in my lifetime.

Even the entertainment industry is no exception to this practice. Compare the price tags of male and female actors and a stark difference is obvious. The same is true for the life of either gender of actors. You won’t find too many forty something female actors romancing young hunks, but the opposite is almost always common! As recent as last week, when the Oscars were announced, in the 82 year history of the Academy awards, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman director to win the coveted award!

Closer home, a battle is raging to pass a bill that would guarantee the reservation of seats in the Parliament and State legislatures for women. Opponents of this have valid justifications but the fact remain that of the 539 seats in the Lok Sabha, a paltry 44 are occupied by the fairer sex. Obviously somewhere we aren’t taking the steps to ensure equal opportunity.

So what is that I wish to say. Well in a nutshell, women are still treated a second-class citizens in our society. Whether or not that is correct and should anything be done is a choice I leave to you, the reader.
But just remember this the next time you try to snub a woman – the individual who carried you nine months in her womb, gave birth to you, fed you, let her personal life take a back-seat and treated you as if you were the most important person in the world, was a woman. Would you like it if she was treated as a nobody? Answer this truthfully and you’ll have made your choice!

Wishing all the Eves around the world, a Happy Woman’s Day!

Why I Like Bal Thackeray

Let me begin by clarifying something. I dislike the Shiv Sena and it’s illegitimate spawn, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. Wait let me correct that, I do not like the agenda and beliefs that these political outfits and their like stand for and promote.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock or are not from India, you are no stranger to their brand of politics. Their stand on employment and welfare of the “Sons of The Soil” has caused much disharmony in the state. Off-late their agenda has taken a very brutal and ugly face in the form of public violence and blatant disregard for the laws of the land.

I guess by now you’re probably confused about the title of this post. Well allow me to explain. The aging supremo of the SS (hmmm… why does that sound familiar?) attacked Sachin Tendulkar for saying that “Mumbai belonged to all Indians”. In an editorial in the Sena mouthpiece, Saamna, Thackeray, warned Sachin to “keep off the political pitch” for his own well-being. Or else, he would have “run out” from Marathi minds.

In a country, where Cricket is a religion and Sachin its God, attacking the legend himself, is an open invitation for criticism. Political parties, intellectuals and civic society leaders have expressed extreme disgust towards the editorial by the 82-year old Sena chief. Some have even deemed the literary piece worthy of the dust-bin.

Thackeray’s editorial has in a sense united Indians against his kind. His comments enraged the millions (dare I say hundreds of millions) of fans of Maharshtra’s, scratch that, India’s beloved son. This rage, ironically is turning out to be a strong catalyst for many to realize the truth about Thackeray and his kind.

Trust me, the men behind these political parties are merely capitalizing on the sentiment of the average Marathi Manoos. Given the opportunity, these Sainiks would gladly sell their “beliefs” to the highest bidder.

I sincerely hope fans of “The Little Master” and others as well, will see these men for what they truly are and ensure that they NEVER get in a position to wield power.

So, in conclusion, I must thank Bal Thackeray for his vociferous attack on Sachin Tendulkar. It has resulted in enough political backlash and public criticism to silence him for quite some time.

Blame It On Rio!

Even as the citizens of Rio celebrate the IOC’s decision to host the 2016 Olympics in their city, closer home, in Delhi, the powers that be are struggling to meet the deadlines for the 2010 Common Wealth Games. With a day less than a whole year (that’s 364 days in case you were wondering!), many of the planned projects are way behind schedule. 

The tensions are apparent as government officials are touring the project sites personally to get the true status at the ground level. Interruptions are present at all levels of preparations. Work on the new stadia, increasing the city’s hotel accommodations, connecting the various venues, housing proper medical infrastructure are some of the prime concerns which are yet to be finalized or in some cases even established. 

The work underway in the national capital will result in a more urbanized and infrastructure sound metropolis. With 47 fly-overs, additional AC buses, new routes for the metro and mush more, Delhi is all set for a major make-over for the mega sporting event, which will sustain long after the games end. But the flowery image is far from reality and is haunted by many constraints ranging from financial to the political.

The last major international event of any note that the city hosted were the Asiad Games in 1982. Clearly the large void in between has been a cause for the “Kumbhakarana” approach for this event. It’s time the officials and authorities got their act straight and started crossing some milestones instead of indulging in bureaucratic debates and blame games.

The clock is ticking and the world is watching. So, here’s hoping that the people that matter do what matters most!

The Statue of Poverty!

The world has been reeling under severe economic depression for the past few months. Our nation has also felt the gloom and experienced several financial setbacks. To make matters worse, the delayed monsoon has further complicated the plight of our agrarian economy. The state of Maharsahtra, the worst hit due to the irregular monsoons, apart from many other issues is also insanely cash strapped. So what is the solution for the drought hit Maratha-land? According to the state’s ingenious government, a Rs. 350 crore (3.5 billion).

The statue, an election promise by the congress-NCP alliance, way back in 2004, will be green-lit pretty soon as the state has already sanctioned the funding for the same and only awaits a nod from the environmental lobby. The reason for undertaking this project? A tribute to the greatest Maratha, who shaped the destiny of this state. Having studied about this Maratha legend in school, I am well aware of his valor, brilliance and sacrifice. There is no doubt that his contribution commands greater respect than many others and so rightly deserves some form of momument dedicated in his memory. However, a gigantic statue in the middle of the sea is not what I would deem appropriate.

At a time when agriculture is taking a severe beating due to seasonal and geo-political reasons, this project seems frivolous. The previous year, the nation was shocked to learn about the suicides of hundreds of debt-ridden farmers from our state. Perhaps the funding allotted to this “prestigious” project could find its way into the houses of the families of these sons of the soil. The money could be used to pay-off the financial institutions and give the other agri-men a fresh start.

There is a parallel argument being made by proponents of the statue that the cost of the statue is a fraction of the cost which was borne for the recent MSRDC mega-project, the Bandra-Wroli Sea-Link. Although they hold some merit in their line of thought, comparing the sea-link to the statue is akin to comparing apples and oranges! the sea-link, albeit without the high toll, is a great addition to the heavily clogged asphalt arteries of the metropolis.

One could argue that the proposed 371 ft. monument (the statue of Liberty in New York towers at a mere 305 ft.!) could serve as a major tourist destination and rake in some serious phoren and desi moolah. Hmmm…somehow, I don’t see a tourist from Denver, Colorado (or for that matter from Vikhroli, Mumbai) travelling all the way to Mumbai, struggling through the city’s ill- maintained roads, making his way through a crowded Virar local, walking amidst piles of open garbage, dealing with incourteous authorities to come and take a fleeting glance at a statue.

Now I’m no economist, but as an employed bloke, I know simple household budgeting and money management 101 clearly states that when you are broke, you don’t squander on lavish purchases. Considering the cost that would be borne for a monument of this magnitude and the alternate outlets for the money, the state government should seriously rethink their “patriotic” decision.

The Indian Elections ’09

They must’ve done something right in the last five years, because they’re back with a bang. Yes the Indian Election Results are out and the UPA has been re-elected into government!

The winning alliance secured 256 seats in the LS polls. Their challengers, the NDA came a distanct second with 164 seats. The UPA secured leads in most of the larger states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, strenghtening their hold over newer constituencies.

However the Congress alone,with 200 seats, is a formidable presence in the Lok Sabha. This dominance translates into the much needed freedom to take decisions without the interferene and demands of their allies within the UPA. In fact the degree of their dominance suggests that this time around the pesky allies would have no option but to fall in line. For the people this would hopefully mean a leaner and more efficient governement.

Interestingly, statistics show that the voter turn out this time around has been abyssmally low. This could suggest that the re-election of the UPA is a sign of apathy and the unwillingness of the people of this nation to vote for a change. One can only hope that the new, or rather old governemnt makes good of it’s second innings and brings about some much required changes.

Re-electing an administration, that has been successful in it’s previous term, is always a good thing. But the measure of success is rather subjective and may be percieved differently by different people. That’s what they call democracy! So it remains to be seen whether the re-election fo the UPA is in fact an indicator of its past performance and future potential or simply choosing the lesser of two evils!

Anyhow, the histrionics, pomp and chaos of the elections are over and finally the tamasha has come to an end…or has it?