Monday, October 31, 2011

education, schmeducation! Tribalism rules.

What's the fucking point of your fucking education and your fancy PhD degree if every time you go out with your wife, you insist (or, your religion insists and you endorse it heartily) that she cover herself head to toe in a fucking symbol of unenlightened medievalism?

All right. That was a rant RAGE speaking.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Proposed (Dis)Honor Killing Bill by India Government

Writing at the Lounge today, Aakar Patel focuses on a new Bill proposed by the Government of India, called “The Prevention of Crimes in the Name of ‘Honour’ and Tradition Bill”. As Aakar notes, all the heinous acts which find mention in this Bill - committing and abetting murder, coercion - are already punishable, but the Bill's sponsor, Dr. Girija Vyas, Member of the Indian Parliament, intends to create a separate law that will allow the prosecution of perpetrators of specific gruesome acts, coyly termed as "honour killing". Aakar shares his concern that this Bill, if passed into law, will fail to address the intended problem, a deeper and convoluted societal issue.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Curious Case of Two Indias

For a while now, I have been reading an interesting and engagingly written book by young British science journalist and author, Angela Saini, titled: Geek Nation: How Indian Science Is Taking Over the World. I would perhaps write a review of the book once I am done. In this post, however, I am going to share a few observations from the book that struck an immediate chord with me. I call it 'The Curious Case of Two Indias', referring to a strangely split personality of the country I was born and grew up in. India is, at once, progressive and retrogressive, modern and medieval, scientific and superstitious - a contradiction of existence; the book Geek Nation has ample illustrations of this dichotomy. I refer to a part that relates to my own experience.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Chronicle of Shame: Indian Manhood

It has been more than two years since I first reacted in anguish in this blog over what seemed to me to be nothing less than an epidemic of rape in the Indian subcontinent. I had asked:
What is it with Indian men and rape?

Is it about sexual gratification in a country where, inexplicably, sex is still a taboo subject and the Indian male is a lustful, prurient, sex-starved lot eager to carry out rape to fulfill a sexual fantasy whenever opportunity presents? Is it about power and control over certain individuals, or a group of people - an uncontrollable urge to dominate? Or, is it a violent response, a lashing out, of the patriarchal societal establishment to the increasing economic and social emancipation of the Indian women, whom it finds it cannot subjugate any further?

In India, it probably is all of the above.
As I have learnt more about the issues surrounding sexual violence against women, it appears that it is more of the latter than former.

Monday, October 3, 2011

RIP, Ralph Marvin Steinman (1943-2011), Nobel Laureate

It was just last week when I wrote about a paper featuring Dendritic Cells, the surveillance sentries of the mammalian immune system. It was remiss of me, and unconscionably so (hindsight, as they say, is 20-20), not to mention the name of Ralph Steinman, who - in conjunction with Zanvil Cohn (in whose lab he was a post-doctoral fellow at that time) - discovered, and coined the term, 'dendritic cell'. Steinman passed away on September 30, 2011, at the age of 68, three days before his name was announced for the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in recognition of his life's work on Dendritic Cells.