beenasarwar:

It’s not just India… 

Originally posted on nilanjana roy:

(Photograph: Ruchir Joshi)

(Photograph: Ruchir Joshi)

That girl, the one without the name. The one just like us. The one whose battered body stood for all the anonymous women in this country whose rapes and deaths are a footnote in the left-hand column of the newspaper.

Sometimes, when we talk about the history of women in India, we speak in shorthand. The Mathura rape case. The Vishaka guidelines. The Bhanwari Devi case, the Suryanelli affair, the Soni Sori allegations, the business at Kunan Pushpora. Each of these, the names of women and places, mapping a geography of pain; unspeakable damage inflicted on women’s bodies, on the map of India, where you can, if you want, create a constantly updating map of violence against women.

For some, amnesia becomes a way of self-defence: there is only so much darkness you can swallow. They turn away from all the places that have become shorthand for…

View original 881 more words

V-Day and One Billion Rising

Gender-based violence has been recognised as a global epidemic for years (see Unicef press release of 2000). And yet the phenomenon continues.

What can we do? Each of us has a voice. Let’s use it. Check out the One Billion Rising website:

Screenshot of OBR website, Dec 29, 2012

Screenshot of OBR website, Dec 29, 2012

Join V-Day on 02.14.13 in a global strike to demand an end to violence.

Feb 14, 2013 is the 15th Anniversary of V-Day, the non-profit that began using The Vagina Monologues  the ground-breaking play by Eve Ensler to raise awareness and money to end violence against women. Continue reading

We must move beyond outrage against selected rape cases

Protest at India Gate against gang rape in Delhi. TOI photo

Protest at India Gate against gang rape in Delhi. TOI photo

Grieved to hear that the student who was gangraped in a Delhi bus has passed away in the Singapore hospital where she was flown for treatment. And about the teenage gangrape victim in Patiala who committed suicide – one of countless, not just in India but elsewhere in Southasia. And the 42 year old woman. And the two girls – minors – in Umerkot, Sindh who were raped. And that a woman is raped every 22 minutes in India – I don’t know what the rate is in other South Asian countries, but doubt it’s much better elsewhere. But will the outrage at the “Delhi Gang Rape case” and the victim’s death change things for women in our part of the world – not just in urban but in rural areas, not just for women? And for those, including minor girls and boys, who are routinely subjected to sexual abuse, not only by strangers and security forces, but most often by family friends and relatives? And for the countless who are subjected to ‘revenge rapes’ or forced to marry their rapists or exchange girls and women for peace? We need to move beyond outrage at selected cases and work towards changing attitudes, not just of of society but of law enforcing agencies and courts that shame victims more than perpetrators.

Five years on, same questions…

BB shaheed Bashir Ahmed Bilour Was her courage in vain, or do we still not know?

Text of editorial in Economic & Political WeeklyJANUARY 5, 2008:

Benazir’s Last Battle

Benazir Bhutto died battling the “state within the state”. Can Pakistan rid itself of the cancer?

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s former prime minister and opposition leader, on December 27 at the conclusion of an election rally in Rawalpindi has sent shockwaves across the world. Bhutto’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and the public at large held the government of president Pervez Musharraf responsible for the murder, while the government and its allies pointed the finger at Taliban and Al Qaida. The first reaction of US president George Bush also appeared to deflect blame from the Pakistan government and in the direction of Islamic militants. Continue reading

You know it’s India-Pakistan when… (The sad case of Idrees Alam, ‘The Nowhere Man’)

Kanpur: Idrees (left) shares a laugh with K. M. Yadav of IPFSA...but...

Kanpur: Idrees (left) shares a laugh with K. M. Yadav of IPFSA…but…

My article in Aman ki Asha today, re-posted here with links and more photos/documents. I’ve since been informed that Idrees is living in the compound of Police Administration (Police Line), Kanpur, under constant surveillance by two officers. He last communicated with his family over a year ago. 

You know it’s India-Pakistan when… overstaying a 15-day visa after a family tragedy leads to ten years in prison and a man’s continued 13-year separation from his wife and four sons .

Idris Alam - Mahesh Pandey

…but his eyes reflect the bleakness of his existence without hope, without family. Photos: Mahesh Pandey

By Beena Sarwar

The case of Mohammad Idrees Alam is a prime example of how people suffer due to the bureaucratic wrangling between India and Pakistan.

Stuck in India, he has been unable to meet his wife and four children in Pakistan for the last 13 years. Pakistan and India both refuse to verify his citizenship. He is, as the BBC termed it in a radio report of Oct 22, 2012, ‘The Nowhere Man’.

Originally an Indian citizen, he went to Pakistan in 1986 to visit relatives. While there, he got married and opted to stay on, obtaining Pakistani citizenship. In 1999, his father Ahmed Jan in Kanpur became seriously ill and in May, Idrees went to India on a 15-day visa. His father passed away, and Idrees, embroiled in last rites and legalities, overstayed his visa by a couple of months.
Continue reading

India-Pakistan ‘reunification’? Why not a South Asian Union?

himal_southasia_south-up_mapThe respected retired Indian Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju at a recent function New Delhi said that “the only solution to the Kashmir issue is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong, secular, modern minded government which does not tolerate religious fanaticism or bigotry and suppresses it with an iron hand.” Continue reading

Indian Supreme Court acquits Pakistani prisoner Dr Chishty

After the acquittal: Dr Chishty and Mrs Chishty with Justice Katju at the judge's residence, New Delhi, Dec 12, 2012

After the acquittal: Dr Chishty and Mrs Chishty with Justice Katju at the judge’s residence, New Delhi, Dec 12, 2012

At last! On 12-12-12, the Indian Supreme Court acquitted Dr Chishty. Earlier, an unprecedented Indian SC verdict had granted him bail to return to Pakistan, the first time ever that a Pakistani prisoner in India was given such permission. The retired virologist, now over 80 years old, had gone back to India quietly in November for the court hearing seeking to dismiss the murder charges against him. It’s been a long struggle since we first started campaigning for this, and there’s a great feeling of satisfaction that it has finally ended well.

Tehelka did a podcast with me this morning. I made a mistake in the chronology of how the process to free Dr Chishty began. In fact, Amna Chishty (Dr Chisthy’s daughter) had written to the Indian SC and Law Ministry, after which the trial was finally held (after 19 years); Justice Katju came into the picture a bit later – but his role in freeing Dr Chishty was, as I said, essential.

Local Opposition Rises Against Fracking Infrastructure Proposal

Tom Salamone of Minisink, New York addresses a rally in front of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission on Nov 15, opposing a natural gas compressor station being built in Minisink. Credit: Asha Canalos

Tom Salamone of Minisink, New York addresses a rally in front of the Federal Energy Regulation Commission on Nov 15, opposing a natural gas compressor station being built in Minisink. Credit: Asha Canalos

My article for InterPress Service a couple of days ago:  Local Opposition Rises Against Fracking Proposal

By Beena Sarwar 

BOSTON, Massachusetts, Nov 27 2012 (IPS) - Efforts to promote the use of hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of obtaining oil and natural gas, face stiff opposition from researchers and citizens who say that in its present form, the technology’s risks far outweigh its worth. Continue reading

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