Tuesday, January 29, 2013

By the Grace of... Really?

For those not in the know, the Indian Institute of Management at Calcutta (IIM-C) is a premier educational establishment in the city of my birth. It is one of the top business schools in India, and according to the QS Global 200 Business School Report 2012, in the Asia-Pacific region as well. It offers several graduate (Master's and Doctoral degree and diploma) programs in Management and Executive Education.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It's not about the Honey (Singh)!

The first time in my life I heard about 'Indian Rapper' Honey Singh was when a dear friend of mine circulated a petition on Facebook - which called upon the General Manager of some Bristol Hotel, in the city of Gurgaon to cancel a scheduled show by the said rapper, because he allegedly promotes misogyny and violence against women via his lyrics. An example was provided in the petition; the lyrics in Hindi, attributed to Honey Singh, describe rather graphically the kind of violent sexual abuse the male protagonist wants to mete out to some woman.

The Cup of Shame Steadily Runneth Over

Indian News Media was abuzz since a couple of days by a remark by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, the Indian Minister of State for Human Resource Development, who tweeted his desire to have the new rape laws bear the name of the now-deceased victim of the brutal gang-rape outrage in Delhi. Under Indian laws, the identity of rape-victims are kept a strict secret, and the 23-year old victim has so long been referred to in the media variously as 'Delhi’s braveheart', 'Damini' (thunderbolt), 'Nirbhaya' (fearless), and 'Amanat' (treasure), perhaps to honor her desperate fight to remain alive after her grievous injuries. Now Mr. Tharoor has questioned the decision to keep the name of this rape victim a secret, indicating that the nation should honor her with her real name and identity. Expectedly, there have been a slew of responses on Twitter, supporting and decrying Mr. Tharoor's viewpoint in equal measures, while political machinations are already afoot to discredit him, with his own party distancing themselves from his remark in a cowardly manner. Let it be on record that I support Mr. Tharoor in this matter; our names form a large part of our identities, and if new laws are promulgated (and old one, strengthened) against rape and sexual violence against women, we as a nation can honor the victim by associating her real name with the said laws, as a mark of respect and remembrance. Similar practices exist in other civilized countries.