Until the Nobel…


Kailash Satyarthi

Let’s face this: How many of us knew about Kailash Satyarthi before the Nobel? To be honest, I had read about GoodWeave perfunctorily, but knew nothing about the man behind the mission.

Now everyone is talking about “The philosophy and work of Kailash…” This is how the media fails itself perennially. It fails us, too. Continue reading

Swachh Bharath: Please do not sweep the issue under the carpet

sweepbaby“I am scared of these ‘porake’s.” They are not going to solve the problem. Instead, this opportunity should have been used to create awareness on segregation because all this mixed waste is going to end up in Mandur.”

This is what senior activist N S Ramakanth of Solid Waste Management Round Table said in a panel discussion aired by a Kannada TV channel this evening as a prelude to the Swachh Bharath campaign to be kicked off on Gandhi Jayanthi tomorrow. Continue reading

Katra gangrape & murder: Open defecation is only the proscenium. Gory scenes are on the backstage.


The recent gangrape and ‘murder’ of two teenage Dalit girls in Katra in Uttar Pradesh allegedly by upper caste men spews out multiple questions. To attribute the entire tragedy to open defecation alone would mean refusing to see the issue in its eye. Stubborn patriarchy, dehumanising caste system, honour killing of innocent victims (the hush-hush allegation amongst the villagers who think there couldn’t have been a better end to the girls’ lives) and everything else that finds it normal to let half of its human race out to defecate…

What a magnificent desolation India has turned itself into! Continue reading

‘Satyameva jayate’: Are our star TV anchors poor actors, or Aamir Khan a better journalist?

Aamir Khan at the 2010 Toronto International F...

The ripple effects of ‘Satyameva jayate’ are being felt all over the nation. Actor Aamir Khan has roiled up the stagnant system by picking out burning issues for his TV show. The nation, so drowned in trivial sitcoms, ‘reality’ shows and talk shows that can put street cockfights to shame, seems to be finally experiencing self-awakening moments.

What is it that Aamir doing to wake up a nation that prides itself on the pip-squeak number of flyovers and malls it builds, but shuts its ears when it comes to female foeticide, child sexual abuse—the issues that Aamir handpicked for his first two episodes? Did these episodes act as truth-finders? Continue reading

Sridevi & Madhuri can do more than removing stains & washing dishes

Sridevi at at Neeta Lulla's show for Lakme Fas...

Long back, when Malaika Arora returned to work after her first delivery with an item number, a news channel went berserk debating a teeny-weeny stretch mark on her belly. It kept on zooming in on the almost unnoticeable line over and again. A ‘dismayed’ newscaster criticised the falling standards of Bollywood—a world where item girls and marriage cannot inhabit one sphere, much less stretch marks.

All of us know that Bollywood masala can’t do without two main spices: youth and beauty. No wonder we see Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit—two storehouses of talent that our Bollywood directors failed to exploit to the fullest—appearing in soaps, fabric conditioners, dishwashing solutions and basmati rice ads. Continue reading

“The Aishwarya effect”: why media forgets feats of lesser mortals?

Indian actress Aishwarya Rai

Image via Wikipedia

This week, the media reported Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s “feat” of delivering a powerful statement: opting for a normal delivery “at a time when every fourth woman in Mumbai undergoes a Caesarean section”.

This bit of research termed “the Aishwarya effect” helped us realise this much: that the media finally found something to push this Bollywood star and millions of Indian women under one set of statistics. Continue reading

Bachchan family’s right to privacy vs. Malegaon blast accused’s right to freedom

Indian actor Abhishek Bachchan with wife/actre...

Image via Wikipedia

November 16, 2011 clearly defined what it means to be born in the First Family of Bollywood.

First, it begins with obsessive speculation and gossip in the media. Every movement of the pregnant star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is watched with bated breath. An unheard-of security ring thrown around the Seven Hills Hospital makes sure that the disheartened paparazzi’s desperate attempts capture only a few glimpses of the star walking into the hospital. Discussions on whether it’s going to be a baby girl or a boy or twins leave you wondering whether this modern-day fairytale has just begun! Continue reading