Thursday, May 12, 2005

Rituals & Marriage

Marriage symbolizes the legal union of two people and does not require a purohit (priest) to sanctify it. The only reason that such marriages are common in India and all over the world is because of our faith and belief that this method symbolizes the blessings of our forefathers, the Devas and all the deities who preside over the function.

The current request by the DMK chief to the speaker of the parliament to let Hindus wed with no rituals will work best for people who do not believe in the above system. Definitely not a bad idea but I feel the necessity to question the move, especially because it has been raised by Dr. M. Karunanidhi, who is known more for his subverting of tradition than for his promoting healthy opposition.

It would be more pertinent at this stage and age to ensure that crimes against women are controlled and various laws pertaining to dowry, child-marriages, abuse, are ensured. It would be a waste to create a new law for marriages without rituals, when we have been proven time and again that laws are meant to be broken and are done so more by the people who are entrusted to guard the same – Prime examples are our politicians (law-makers) and our police (law-enforcement) personnel.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Butchery of Gayathri

Ms. Anu Srivastav, the organizer of a fashion show at iFest - an international festival held at Houston, TX, is completely miffed by the outrageous behavior, no, let me reproduce her exact words – “completely uncivilized behavior. These are grown men who are jumping around. There's a proper way to handle conflicts. You can speak about it in a calm manner. There were six to eight men, all older than I am, who kind of came after me. They were yelling and speaking disrespectfully,” said Ms. Srivastav.

The organizers did change the music for the all-important-highly-priced Mayor’s gala. But according to Ms. Srivastav, "We did not remove that song because we accepted that it was wrong. There's only one reason, and that is we're here to help the festival showcase India to an audience made of much more than just Indians. The Mayor's Gala was a fundraiser for a good cause. There are people who had spent large amounts of money to support that cause, and I did not want any of them to think they had wasted their money. I was concerned that this group of people would misbehave in a public setting and once again cause embarrassment for the Indian community."

The song which Ms. Srivastav so casually dismisses is the Gayathri mantra - considered as the mother of all Vedas. Millions chant it everyday believing that it protects and fosters all forms of life. There are people who believe that only a person who is initiated into the mantra has the right to chant it and when they do, they chant it for every life form. The older gentlemen who were “yelling and speaking disrespectfully” to Ms. Srivastav did so because they were appalled at the temerity of the organizers to use the most sacred of all chants during a fashion show and not to discredit India in the eyes of a gora-sahib or “once again cause embarrassment for the Indian community”.

Does she realize who caused embarrassment to whom? Believe you me; I am mighty embarrassed by Ms. Srivastav’s irresponsible behavior in using the holy mantra as a background score for a fashion show. I am mortally embarrassed that she does not realize the seriousness of her actions still and has the audacity to actually ‘blame’ the VHP for protesting and trying to ‘misbehave’. According to her, the protesters were harassing her. But, does she realize that she is harassing Indian culture, heritage and our religion?

Ms. Srivastav, it is not how the models were dressed, whether the men who were whistling were husbands and associates, or that it has been used before for the same purpose at Mumbai and NY by other organizers. It is appalling to note that sacred chants from our Vedas are being misused in the name of fashion! Were this a different country or religion in question, you might have never been given a chance to justify your actions before you were flogged in public.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Mutilate, rape = marraige?

What a gall! He butchers her and then proposes to her from the stands. Jail tolls for rapist, not wedding bells In his words, he offers to marry her “because no one else would”.

A ward boy, Bhura, tried to force himself on a 19 year old nurse. When she struggled, he plunged his fingers into her eyes, gouging out her right eye and wounding the left. He then dragged her to an adjacent bathroom, raped her and locked her in. She lay unconscious and bled through the night.

Unfortunately, her misfortune did not end there - When she was found, Shanti Mukund Hospital did not treat her and referred her instead to Guru Tegh Bahadur hospital, where doctors did not attend to her for three days. As a result of the delay, the victim lost sight in her right eye. She had to undergo four major facial operations and psychiatric treatment for depression.