One of the annual stars of Justice Rocks, Sofia Ashraf, tells her brief story of shedding expectations and shackles, and embracing her heart in her brain. Power to her and all of us.
The toughest part about following your heart is the trail of broken ones you leave behind. Standing up to society doesn’t mean picket fences and tear gas. My Tiananmen Square was hearing my grandmother plead, with tears in her eyes, for me to accept Islam again while I refused to give in. My hunger strike was seeing the pride my family had in me slowly drain away. My hemlock was willfully accepting that my mother could never truly accept the person I have become. But I am too brutally honest to lie to myself. I did it for 22 years and I couldn’t do it anymore… …I am not the same girl who left home 4 years ago and yet I am still her. That girl was rebelling against pop culture by wearing her convictions on her sleeve. This girl has a whole new revolution to sustain. That girl couldn’t experiment with her clothes, so she expressed herself through her hair. This girl still loves to take scissors and colours to her hair. I mean, I went bald for heaven’s sake. If haircuts are therapy, that right there is rehab! That girl may not relate to this one nor vice versa. But I think the two can respect each other. They both believed in something.
Read the full story on Homegrown
Fellowship Opportunity – The Urban History Project
“Neighbourhoods constantly change, and this change is a result of many forces that interact, and often resist each other to create the city that we see today…We hope that through granular narratives of people’s experience of place-making in Chennai, we gain insight into how we can build a more inclusive, and supportive city.”
Let’s start with Chennai…
The Old Mount Road. Source: The Hindu
The families and students of 1965 remember the Buhari’s at Mount Road, not the expensive chain of restaurants today, dipping chicken in chilli powder and frying it in deep boiling oil to create Chicken 65. What is the use of such a memory other than inducing an association or feeling in an individual(s)? Just a year before this Bob Dylan sang on American television sets The Times They Are a-Changing…
The million plans of restoration/beautification try to make Chennai a mega/metro/singara/swachch/industrial/growing city that arrogantly ignores the lives here. You and I are meant to move with the times that are a-changing. You or I might not own a strip of land here or have the status of power to make direct changes, but we do have our memories and our lives. We are introducing you to a new group of people who want to gather these memories and aspirations of our lives in this place and channel it for constructing Supportive Cities.
This fellowship opportunity is for any writer/filmmaker/photographer/historian or anyone who does not mind being unpaid in Chennai, while they set out on a six month journey to collect, collate and curate such memories. They promise bi-weekly training and a hand-held process that will end with a public exhibition at Dakshina Chitra. We think any student looking for internships or some experience should jump at this opportunity.
The IT industry has broken many traditional characteristics of relationships between employees & employer. It provides handsome salaries and a sort of flexible work time/location. Women too enjoy more rights than in other industries.Yet, due to less gender sensitivity in this industry women continue to face challenges in their work life balance. Save Tamils Movement, a collective of IT and other professionals from Chennai, is conducting a survey among women workers in the IT industry to understand the ground reality of their day to day life.
Friends from other industries are please requested to share this far and wide. (Participate in the survey here – itsurvey.in)
from Livemint.com (click to read full article)
Urvashi Butalia runs a publishing house called Zubaan: an imprint of Kali for women. Childless, Naturally is part of a just published collection, Of Mothers and Others: Stories, Essays, Poems, edited by Jaishree Misra. Urvashi writes,
I’ve set up my own publishing house, publishing books by and about women. I am fiercely passionate about this, it’s what gives me joy, it’s what involves me, I know this is what I want to do all my life. I want somehow to make a dent in the way the world sees women, to be part of that change. Is this madness, this obsession? Why didn’t I feel this way about children? Or am I just deflecting an unfulfilled desire? I’m told motherhood is a woman’s destiny, it’s what completes her. So what’s all this about publishing? But I don’t feel incomplete, or that I have missed my destiny. Is there something wrong with me?
In this essay, she explores how we choose to understand a woman and motherhood as one and the same. She asks, who is a mother? Does motherhood come naturally to a woman? Is it selfish if a woman is unwilling to have children? Can anyone be a mother? Can motherhood be learned? Is motherhood about unconditional love? If so, how or why do children pay back? Can mothers be violent? Is the relationship between a mother and a child always a wonderful one?
Childless, Naturally is very beautifully written. Please send it to anyone you know.
Families are diverse. Courtesy: Gender Anarchy
Please scroll down all the way. Shocking.
A new study published earlier this year in Marine Policy put the number of sharks slaughtered each year at 100 million, or roughly three sharks caught per second. Outraged by these shocking numbers, Joe Chernov and Robin Richards created an infographic to put the figures in perspective. While shark attacks on humans do happen (there were 12 fatal ones last year) the existential threat humans pose to the future of sharks is far graver. While there’s a lot to be said about the horrors of shark finning, we’ll let this graphic do the talking.
found by Rahul Muralidharan.
Brief excerpts from the executive summary of the fact-finding report by a team of three from Alternative Law Forum and Delhi Forum, after a visit to the Dhinkia panchayat, consisting of the three villages of Dhinkia, Govindpur and Paatna, in Odisha, between 22nd December 2012 to 24th December 2012.
[Read, download, and share the complete fact finding report from here – Captive Democracy: Abuse of criminal system to curb dissent against the POSCO steel plant in Odisha. Feb 2013]
The Government of Orissa and Pohang Steel Company (POSCO), Republic of Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on June 22, 2005 for setting up an Integrated Steel Plant in Orissa, in Jagatsinghpur district, affecting 8 villages of three Gram Panchayats of Kujang Tahsil, i.e. Dhinkia, Gadakujanga and Naogaon. The attempts by the district administration to acquire land have been thwarted by strong local opposition starting early 2006, primarily by the POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti, that spearheads the movement against POSCO. In response to this resistance, the State Government has been using the tactic of the abuse of the criminal system to file numerous false criminal complaints against all persons resisting the project, including members of the PPSS leading to threats of arrest perpetually hanging over them.
The fact-finding report observed that the biased and arbitrary functioning of the police targets the villagers resisting the POSCO steel plant, instead of initiating any criminal action against the goons and other persons perpetrating violence against the villagers. The report outlined the following impacts of police actions –
- The filing of false cases to curb this fundamental freedom of the people is nothing short of an attack on the democratic process and the values embedded in the Constitution.
- The filing of cases and warrants against almost 2000 persons has resulted in the targeting of entire villages, who are under constant threat of arrest and have not left the villages in 6-7 years, and whenever they do leave, are constrained to do so surreptitiously. In many cases, entire families have been implicated, resulting in none of them leaving the village for years on end.
- The inability to leave the village has resulted in a complete lack of access to medicines or any medical treatment to the villagers. A team of doctors who visited these villages found that at least 30 women needed urgent medical intervention, else their condition would deteriorate. Most arrests of persons take took place when villagers were compelled to leave the village to visit the doctor requiring medical assistance.
- The inability to leave the village and maintain business ties has adversely impacted this trade which is the major source of livelihood for them
- The Government has taken other forms of coercive action, and terminated government employees for having protested against the POSCO Project, including Shri Babaji Charan Samantara, who worked as postmaster in Dhinkia for 28 years and Shri Kailash Chandra Biswas was employed as a high school peon, at the Government School, Dhinkia, for over 20 years.
2. Cases must be immediately registered in regard to the violence perpetrated against the villagers of POSCO affect areas including but not restricted to the following:
b) Against hired goons in regard to the violence on 14th December, 2011during the peaceful protest against the construction of the coastal road connecting Paradip port to the proposed site of the POSCO steel plant.
Christopher Ketcham while reporting on an annual corporate Monopoly tournament, travels into “the antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game.” Do read.
…The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow.
…At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).
…The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land.
…Before being monopolized by a single person working in tandem with a corporation, Monopoly had in fact been “invented” by many people—not just Magie and the Raifords but also the unknown player who gave the game its moniker and the unsung Ardenite who had perhaps aided Magie in advancing its rules. The game that today stresses the ruthlessness of the individual and defines victory as the impoverishment of others was the product of communal labor.
Centre for Science and Environment recently launched a public information system to track environmental and forest clearance of industrial and development projects in key sectors in India from 2007 till date: Greenclearancewatch.org
Begin by going through “Facts about Environmental and Forest Clearances – 2007 & Beyond” which lays out some important statistics on the number of environmental clearances granted, the kind of developmental projects, the land and water requirement of these and so on.
Following the pressing need for increased transparency in the environmental and forest clearance regime in India, the GCW portal aims to be a one-stop resource base that can help communities access information and statistics, and participate in the decision making process.
A selection of public hearings for developmental projects have been release out in the public domain by GCW. They perceive this will help “develop a clear understanding of the community’s involvement in the decision-making process of a given industrial project.”
- Facts about environmental clearances granted since April 2007 for major industrial sectors viz., Thermal Power Plant, Cement, Iron and Steel, Coal Mining, Bauxite Mining, Limestone Mining, Other Minerals, etc.
- Information on environmental clearances, that can be tracked by specific company name (the project proponent), industrial sector, state, district or village name.
- A main component on the GCW is the map, which gives a visual understanding of the spatial distribution of industries.
- Videos of public hearings that have been covered by CSE and partners.
- Information of upcoming public hearing that CSE (or the organization’s partners) plans to cover.
- Latest judgements of the National Green Tribunal.
- Major news updates and reports on environmental clearances, public hearing or related topics made available through their fortnightly magazine Down to Earth and their clearinghouse India Environment Portal.