Dear Nahid Afrin, Here’s a Short History of Fatwas on Indians to Cheer You Up

Nahid Afrin, a 16-year-old girl from Assam, who received fame through her singing talent displayed in Indian idol, has a Fatwa issued on her name by some Muslim clerics. This fatwa bans her from performing at any public entertainment event. She has come out boldly against the move saying ‘Singing isn’t anti-Islam’ and has confirmed that she will never stop singing. She has also been supported by the CM of the state.

Nahid Afrin Receives Fatwa

Feeling like an elder sister in this scenario, I thought to compile a list of Fatwas for the unstoppable you, Nahid.

What is a Fatwa?

It is a religious ruling passed by a qualified jurist or a mufti against someone who goes against the Islamic principles. A fatwa cannot create a judicial havoc, though. It gets dangerous when a fatwa states that a person may be killed if it is not followed.  Continue reading “Dear Nahid Afrin, Here’s a Short History of Fatwas on Indians to Cheer You Up”

The Most Absurd Thing About Ramjas College Violence Issue

The Most Absurd Thing About Ramjas College Violence Issue

From the violence at Ramjas College to harassing a 20-year-old social media campaigner Gurmeher, the last few days have kept the nation in a constant confusion. Which side to take, who’s right and who’s wrong. Umar was to talk about his research as a ‘Bastar’. He was not invited as an activist.

Umar Khalid, who is on bail from the High Court for six months, for lack of evidence in his sedition case (which means they couldn’t prove whether he said ‘anti-national’ things) was invited to a panel discussion at Ramjas College. What was this panel discussion about?

It must definitely be about Kashmir as Umar Khalid can speak about nothing else, thought the ABVP.

While quite contrary to popular beliefs, he was invited to talk in a closed-door panel with other speakers on a topic about ‘Bastar’ a village in Chattisgarh, that has been burning between the Naxalites, policemen and the army. ‘Bastar’ is Umar’s PhD research topic. He was not invited as an activist.

Continue reading “The Most Absurd Thing About Ramjas College Violence Issue”

Why is a Rape Threat Not an Anti-National Activity?

Gurmeher Kaur (@MeherSpeaks) a name that was unknown until a few days is now talk of the country (Twitter and the Media). It is not a common name and hence people are finding it difficult to pronounce it, hence they call her ‘martyr’s daughter’. Some say good things and some say bad things. She has led forward a social media campaign aimed at protesting against the violence perpetrated on the Delhi University campus by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) last week, the student organisation affiliated to the Hindu nationalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), students from many universities all over India changed their profile photos similarly.

If you have seen just the screenshot of her saying, ‘Pakistan did not kill my Father. War Did.’ You must see the actual video first, even before there’s a word forward. Because that way, you could take a screenshot out of any video and make it look out of context.

This video was made in May 2016. This is not a recent video. You can see in the video very clearly that Gurmeher is trying to emote how ‘war’ in general is harmful. She is a peace activist, so whether Pakistan starts a war or the USA or India, peace activists always make sure there is no war. Rajvinder Kaur (Gurmeher Kaur’s mother) tells LiveMint about Gul’s childhood: ”

“When she was six years old, I realized she was carrying a lot of anger in her heart. One day I met a child who had scratches on his face from a fight with Gul. On another day, in Meerut, she moved forward to attack a woman in a burqa. From what she had heard around her, she had begun to form the impression that Muslims and Pakistan had killed her father. That’s when I sat her down and explained to her that war had killed her father. There are children like her in every country who have lost their parents to mindless war. I did not want my child to grow up with hatred instead of love in her heart. I wanted to raise a child who would seek to change the way things are.”

Isn’t it incredible that the girl whose father has died in a war is talking about peace?

 

What is Peace Activism all about?

Another example of peace activism is the campaign called Aman ki Asha started in 2010. by The Times of India’ and the Jang Group, two leading media houses of India and Pakisan respectively. Both the media houses had joined hands after a Border Concert called ‘Dil se Dil’ was stalled in 2007. “Peace efforts between India and Pakistan are the real need of the hour and only prudence, foresightedness and sincerity can do wonders for both countries. In this people of India and Pakistan communicate with each other.” they had said. There are several NGOs world over, focusing on this.

What do Peace Activists want?

They want active dialogues between conflict zones. They don’t mean to disrespect our nation or army men. They mean to try and solve problems through increased dialogue. In any given circumstances, a declaration of war is not going to help any of the nations. So talking about peace is a better alternative.

If any Indian or Pakistani is against talks on Peace Talks, they would have been against Gandhiji too.

But let’s assume you disagree with Gurmeher’s opinions. So what do you do next?

  • Give her rape threats
  • Appreciate people who gave her rape threats
  • Justify that she has said supposedly anti-national things, hence it is justified to give her rape threats or rape her?
  • Post obscene comments on her Twitter handle explaining how you’d want to rape her.

If you are one of those mentioned above, there is no point of any dialogue with you. If you know about this and you can’t/don’t condemn this, it is an equally pointless situation. However, it is not the first time when an Indian girl has had to prove her Indianness in front of the public. Sania Mirza has had to assert her Indian-ness once upon a time.

Tonight’s news bits on the streets of Delhi/India had even women/aunties/college students talking about how ‘they condemn a girl believing in anti-national beliefs.’ Have they seen the video? Do they have any idea? No.

This 20-year-old choked while speaking about the things she has gone through in the past few days.

 

Until our countrymen (and women) don’t understand this statement my Voltaire, everything else is pointless:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

Imagine, an educated Indian girl from a good college in a metro city getting a public rape threat, what will be the situation of the minorities and the foreigners?

“Do I support people shouting anti- national slogans? No. Do I support pelting stones at innocent students because of that? NO” -Gurmeher

 

Bura Mat Suno

We are living in an era where only a certain people and few opinions can be voiced out. You need to have power and/or money to speak up and not get trolled or abused or killed. By this, they shall protect ‘anti-national’ sentiments being spread because obviously most people in our country don’t have brains of their own, and they will be disillusioned or swayed away if they even hear ‘the other opinions’.  Or perhaps it is about our ego that we will not let any voice of dissent against the system or some of the people out there. Although since when did speaking ‘against ABVP or RSS’ become anti-national? Isn’t this the same party that killed Gandhi?

Is it a part of our Indian culture to give rape threats or rape women? Are we going to learn how to make arguments without violence? And are we going to condemn rape threats as much as we condemn an opinion we disagree with?

Congratulations to so and so people, on getting this girl out of Delhi, and making her quit. Because no one wants to be raped over this. Unfortunately, you can’t kill all of us yet, nor can you shut all of us out.

What is the rudest thing you can ask to a woman?

What is the rudest thing you can ask to a woman? ‘How old are you?’ ‘What’s your weight?’ No.

No, the worst question is, “How do you juggle it all?’, people constantly ask me and they have that look in their eyes. ‘You’re fucking it all, aren’t you?’ their eyes say.

-‘Bossypants’ by Tina Fey

She’s right. We then compare ourselves and our work to colleagues, usually men, who have far fewer home chores; and find ourselves doing inadequate. Look at her, she is the ‘10 to 6 types.’ And so, you are generally kept out of the late night meetings, slowly you don’t get invited to parties, and even if you do go by any chance, everyone keeps reminding you of your Cinderella Time.

On the other hand, we compare ourselves with our mothers who have dedicated their lives to their family and it’s again miserable. So “she must not be cooking at home, or give enough time to her family.” ‘Enough time’ is an imaginary percentage that is generated according to the time you spend doing things directly for your family. That decides your worth in the end. So, what did I say before? Miserable.

The key lies in understanding that we can’t do it all. There are some jacks and hacks that we ought to make. And still we won’t be perfect.

Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) was petrified to open up to her office collegues about her routine of leaving at 5:30 PM. But she was later successful in making them understand that she gives two hours after 9 PM to her beloved work when she’s done feeding and spending time with her beloved family.

That’s a small hack. I understand that not everyone has the luxury to do that. Not everyone has bosses/colleagues who’d understand that. You have to find your own hack.

I have a little hack too. I live 12kms/45 min away from office and it’s generally difficult to reach sharp at 10:30 with my home chores and personal schedule. Although I am the owner and I can have my own schedule, I see how it affects my employees who are directionless for the first 30 minutes of their working day. It reduces their productivity.  So I’ve found a hack to it. I take out 20 minutes, anytime between from 8:30 to 9 to plan the day for them and me. Then I write to them about their tasks for the day. With time, I’ve seen that this works magically. When I finally reach office, they are already working and after their first sprint, I can sit with them to solve doubts. This way, it doesn’t feel like I wasn’t there all this while.

I am lucky. Luck is most of the times directly proportional to your efforts and intentions. So, what is your hack?