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Every day, patriarchy rears its head in many ugly incidents, and while the media has a field day with these, we, the citizens, have become mere consumers of news.
Over the past few weeks, rape in India has been in the news again. First, a horrific incident involving a mother and daughter rape in Bulandshahr, and then, some news in the Times of India and Vagabomb reporting that rape videos are now being sold for Rs. 50-150 apiece.
While all this news is gruesome and repulsive to most of us, the question that begs to be answered is: why is this considered heinous, but crimes committed in and abetted by a deeply patriarchal society not?
Why is marital rape not looked upon like this? Or pornography? And aren’t rape videos being sold just like the Hindi films of the seventies, that included a mandatory rape scene to titillate?
The world we live in is patriarchal. I am speaking not only of women being crushed, tormented, victimised. Anyone who is weaker is marginalised. And patriarchy is so common, no one even notices it any more, and it rears its ugly head everywhere.
Think of eunuchs. Think of the gay man tortured and beheaded in Syria. Think of the disabled or the mentally ill forced into incarceration and stigma.
Perhaps journalists are to blame too for the consumeristic fashion in which we read, share and consume news now. Social media, Facebook, Twitter, and more; the way news is fed to us – even those of us who choose not to watch news or read newspapers any more, are forced to consume news as our friends (me included) share news voraciously. And then people discuss, like, comment; and whether we like it or not, we are all voyeurs.
Are we, sitting in our armchairs, consuming such news, not as much to blame as the men who look at the rape videos? Or look on in Bulandshahr? Or avert our gaze when we notice atrocity or patriarchy?
I don’t know what the answer to all these disturbing questions is. I just know that my heart is heavy as I see the world we live in these days. I feel bad for all our children and don’t think this is a safe world for them. I feel sad for the animals and I feel sad for the trees.
But, perhaps, all this horror forces us to live every moment with more integrity. With more authenticity. With a deeper awareness of every hour of our day. With more mindfulness. And that can only be a good thing.
Because once you realise that horror or death can come to you at any moment, you will choose to live joyfully and you will celebrate every moment.
Image source: youtube
Jhilmil Breckenridge is a poet, writer and activist who speaks out about mental health, incarceration and abuse. She has just completed her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster. Her poems often worry read more...
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What I loved was how there is so much in the movie of the SRK we have known, and also a totally new star. The gestures, the smile, the wit and the charisma are all too familiar, but you also witness a rawness, an edginess.
When a movie that got the entire nation in a twist – for the right and wrong reasons – hits the theatres, there is bound to be noise. From ‘I am going to watch it – first day first show’ to ‘Boycott the movie and make it a flop’, social media has been a furore of posts.
Let me get one thing straight here – I did not watch Pathaan to make a statement or to simply rebel as people would put it. I went to watch it for the sheer pleasure of witnessing my favourite superstar in all his glory being what he is best at being – his magnificent self. Because when it comes to screen presence, he burns it, melts it and then resurrects it as well like no other. Because when it comes to style and passion, he owns it like a boss. Because SRK is, in a way, my last connecting point to the girl that I once was. Though I have evolved into so many more things over the years, I don’t think I am ready to let go of that girl fully yet.
There is no elephant in the room really here because it’s a fact that Bollywood has a lot of cleaning up to do. Calling out on all the problematic aspects of the industry is important and in doing that, maintaining objectivity is also equally imperative. I went for Pathaan for entertainment and got more than I had hoped for. It is a clever, slick, witty, brilliantly packaged action movie that delivers what it promises to. Logic definitely goes flying out of the window at times and some scenes will make you go ‘kuch bhi’ , but the screenplay clearly reminds you that you knew all along what you were in for. The action sequences are lavish and someone like me who is not exactly a fan of this genre was also mind blown.
When Jaya Bachchan speaks her mind in public she is often accused of being brusque and even abrasive. Can we think of her prodigious talent and all the bitter pills she has had to swallow over the years?
A couple of days ago, a short clip of a 1998 interview of Jaya and Amitabh Bachchan resurfaced on social media. In this episode of the Simi Grewal chat show, at about the 23-minute mark, Jaya lists her husband’s priorities: one, parents, two kids, then wife. Then she corrects herself: his profession – and perhaps someone else – ranks above her as a wife.
Amitabh looks visibly uncomfortable at this unstated but unambiguous reference to his rather well-publicised affair with co-star Rekha back in the day.
Watching the classic film Abhimaan some years ago, one scene really stayed with me. It was something Brajeshwarlal (David’s character) says in troubled tones during the song tere mere milan ki yeh raina. He says something to the effect that Uma (Jaya Bhaduri’s character) is more talented than Subir (Amitabh Bachchan’s character) and that this was a problem since society teaches us that men are superior to women.
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