Mr. Gauhar Raza, an eminent scientist and poet, was maligned, defamed and hate engineered against him by the malicious, concocted and motivated news telecast carried by Zee News in March, 2016. Mr. Raza was branded as a part of an “Afzal Premi Gang” for reciting his poems in the ‘Shankar - Shaad Mushaira’.
A complaint was then filed by Mr. Raza with the News Broadcasting Standards Authority against Zee News along with another joint complaint filed by eminent artists like Mr. Ashok Vajpeyi, Ms. Shubha Mudgal, Ms. Sharmila Tagore and Dr. Syeda Hameed. Advocate Vrinda Grover arguedf on behalf of Gauhar Raza and other complainants.
The NBSA, vide its order, has upheld the constitutional right of Mr. Raza to freedom of speech as well as his right to dissent, and held that media house Zee News cannot use their might to intimidate citizens and prevent them from exercising their constitutional right to dissent and freedom of expression. Upholding the rights of Mr. Gauhar Raza, ZEE news channel has been held liable for their false, malicious and distorted coverage. NBSA has directed that
to publish an Apology on 08.09.2017 at 09:00 pm on their channel, in Hindi text, in large font size, on full screen, and a clearly audible vioce over in slow speed
Fine of Rs. 1 lakh to be paid in 7 days. The NBSA has awarded the highest punishment in its jurisdiction, reaffirming that big media houses cannot trample over the rights of citizens to freedom of speech and expression, which includes the right to dissent
A pdf of the order will be uploaded here when it becomes available. In the meanwhile, copies of individual pages may be found here.
“A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.” ― Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays
Suicide is a subject almost everyone has thought of at some point or the other. Almost everyone has wondered what it would be like to end our own life or how it could be done without confronting the great fear - pain, suffocation or other discomforts. Yet suicide remains a taboo subject. The feelings behind suicide. What makes someone commit suicide. We can talk statistics or prevention or helplines, but in the face of actual pain that drives a person to suicide, we have no skills. There is a difference between contemplating suicide and planning to commit suicide. An important one. The first is a fairly common and natural response to unbearable negative emotions. The other is an irreversible action.
I admit I have often considered suicide. I have written about suicide before too. From a perspective of statistics, from a perspective of understanding widespread distress needing political answers, from a perspective of empathy when I read about suicide, from a perspective of failing to support and grieving when someone I know commits suicide and I have also considered suicide as an option to end my own life when I was very sad. Yet, whenever I have tweeted about the subject, I have immediately got responses that amount to stopstopstopstopstopstopstopstopSTOP! It is so immediate that it would be hilarious if the subject were not grave. I have got helpline numbers as replies, I have got advice to not let dark thoughts enter my mind.
Hello! I write and tweet and comment and contemplate issues of human rights abuse. How in the world can one do that without having any dark thoughts? If I were planning to commit suicide, why would I be tweeting instead of finding myself a rope? I understand that it can sometimes be a cry for help by a distraught person, but if the rest of the words are perfectly normal, where is the harm in reading to find out what is being said?
Because here is the thing. Even if a person were tweeting about suicide publicly as a last ditch call for attention and help, the last thing they'd need is to be told to shut up or a sea of platitudes. What they would be needing is an empathetic listener who cares.
What exactly is this fear of talking about suicides?
“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche
I admit I have spent a great deal of time contemplating committing suicide over the years. As in killing myself. I have been in unhappy relationships involving heartbreak, I've been in an abusive marriage with an alcoholic, I've been a broke single mother of a disabled child. Despair and depression are no strangers. And yet I am here, typing this post.
I have actually found thinking about suicide in great detail helpful. Instead of fearing the pain of death (and thus possibly taking a rash step "while I have the courage" maybe after a glass or two of vodka), I've gone and researched methods of suicide. What would cause the least pain? What are the consequences of failure? What is the best method so that it causes least pain and least risk of failing and living with permanent damage? And anyone who knows me knows that when I say research, I mean obsessive information finding till I am convinced I know the subject in and out without actual experience. Enough to make a very well considered decision. On and off, when I'm in utter despair, I've gone and rechecked all the information. And yet here I am, typing all this.
Is this a guarantee I will never commit suicide? No. But it pretty much guarantees that I have given it thorough thought and not found it a better tradeoff for now. It guarantees that if I do it, it will not be a thoughtless impulse, but a decision I take about my life after considering all options I have.
So how has contemplating suicide helped me?
By giving me an option. By giving me an exit from the pain. By giving me the concrete information that if all this gets unbearable, I still have the option to exit. In the process, a miracle happens. I am no longer cornered by my despair. I always have the cheat route out. And because I know that, I am never out of options. I lose the fear of making attempts to change my circumstances that could fail. Just allowing myself to spend time thinking about ending myself is a catharsis. If no one else, at least I am acknowledging how bad things are. I am listening to myself. It helps me feel heard. It gives me a vocabulary for describing my situation when asking for help. No, I don't mean "I am suicidal, help me or else." I mean "This, this and this is the reason for my despair. I am not able to see functional ways out. I need help." - because hello, I've gone through all the reasons in my contemplation and have them now sorted out in my head.
And sometimes, in a very cynical way, the contemplations have saved me. If I don't care whether I live or die, why not try this one last thing or the other? If I hit a dead end, I can always die.
“Killing myself was a matter of such indifference to me that I felt like waiting for a moment when it would make some difference.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
Here is an example how. When I was younger, my emotions were more volatile. Taking what I felt seriously and giving it serious thought helped me see things more clearly and invariably, I ended up thinking that if there was any hope, I could use it and if there wasn't, well, I could always die. But the well thought out option being there and not at any threat of being taken off the table gave me the confidence to know I could opt for it any time and there was no need to do it right now. I could afford to wait and see. I am truly grateful no one immediately tried to stop me at such times, or I'd have been tempted to use the opportunity before someone blocked it from me.
Now I am older. I have a young disabled child. Whoever knows me knows that I'd chew my arm off before I allowed anything to harm him. Well, losing a mom would definitely harm him. So suicide is totally not an option any more. At least while he is alive. He needs me. Period. Again, if I hadn't thought this through, I could have been at risk of giving up without considering the impact.
In some of my more selfish and melodramatic ways, I've even thought "What will be, will be" If I am not there, someone or the other will care for my son, though I can't imagine who, right now. But then, in such a melodramatic moment, the desire is also to leave a lasting mark on the world when I die. And oops, it is not "orphaned kid in moment of despair". I'd like to be remembered for something better, thank you very much.
Whatever it is. Others may have their own reasoning. Still others may come to a well considered decision that suicide is actually a good choice for them, When my father was dying of Parkinson's, he had the option of looking forward to an indeterminate bed ridden existence with little control over his body, being bored out of his wits and too exhausted to do anything about it but to wait to die. He begged me to kill him almost every week. It is illegal and I have two more dependents, or I would definitely have arranged for him to be freed as per his will if it were legal. Others do it out of poverty. Starvation. When the alternative is to live in debt and watch your family suffer with no hope of ever providing for them in sight, it can be a brutal life to look forward to, and death may simply be a matter of running out of the ability to fight.
“Let them think what they liked, but I didn't mean to drown myself. I meant to swim till I sank -- but that's not the same thing.” ― Joseph Conrad, The Secret Sharer and other stories
Whatever it is, however it plays out, a suicide is not about dying or exiting the world, it is about escaping unbearable torment. A person who feels unheard and uncared for, is unlikely to respond to a panicked flood of platitudes that s/he has heard a hundred times that drowns their voice all over again, even in the contemplation of death.
How agonized we are by how people die. How untroubled we are by how they live. ~ P. Sainath
My suggestion is that we all examine what this fear is that stops us from listening on hearing that word. Because the lives of many around us could depend on how we respond to their pain. If someone has made a well considered decision to die, there isn't much we can do about it, but if someone is screaming into a void of despair, perhaps us offering a listening ear will give them the space to be heard, and in the process get a clearer view of their situation.
I have said this before, but it bears repeating. The common man of India does not care much about corruption. They care about what the bottom line is for them. This is exactly how corrupt - even known corrupt politicians keep getting reelected - they do things people find relevant and useful and keep their corruption irrelevant to the immediate interest of their voters.
It would be folly for Aam Aadmi Party to ignore this aspect while being an anti-corruption party.
The common man has little awareness of National Wealth. How much wealth the country has, how it gets used or looted or who loots it are so distant to him, that they might as well not exist or be the same difference either way. It makes little difference to the common man whether an expose happens or the loot continues unabated in terms of direct relevance to their lives - the money is out of their reach anyway. If the corrupt are doing good things, they will ignore the corruption because either way the money won't reach them, and vote on the basis of the interest satisfied.
Exposes alone will fail to "clean" Indian politics.
What Aam Aadmi Party should do as strategy - and I believe that it is also appropriate justice and accountability - is that it must make an effort to accompany every expose with a desired demand for action that is immediately beneficial to the people. For example, an expose of an electricity scam should demand that the losses suffered by people from undue billing should be recovered and refunded to them. This is beyond the actual demand for justice or PIL that gets filed. Perhaps the demand can also be in the PIL.
Exposing the irrigation scam is not enough when people are losing orchards to drought. the expose should be accompanied by a demand for immediate arrangements of water on an emergency basis by the government - on the establishment of the fact that irrigation paid for has not been delivered for a decade - regardless of who is found guilty or prosecuted and so on. When the guilty are found,the amount the government spends can be recovered with interest from their hide, but the aid to the region must not have to wait for projects to complete or cases to be judged. The PIL itself should include a plea for the government to make immediate arrangements and amends on a war footing and the conclusion of the case will decide who ends up paying for it.
Such actions will also pressure the governments to conclude cases faster to recover own funds and will help citizens understand what corruption did to them and what advantage an accountable government can offer them.
When I suggested this on twitter, several people claimed that AAP cannot do such things if it is not elected with majority. This is not true. Many agitations and protests happen through non political channels too! Let alone political channels with some representation and voice at least.Besides, the demand being stated itself will provide people with a vision of possibilities - that wrongs done to them can be repaired to some degree, not merely relegated to the abyss of newsprint while their lives continue to be the same.
As a side bonus, it will also provide AAP with ready data on exactly how many lives their expose improved.
Hope this makes sense.
Comment away, make suggestions to improve this, pick at fallacies, whatever.
There is no doubt every law can be misused, particularly in a state where enforcement is haphazard at best. At the same time, the continued disinformation campaign by the supposed "Men's Rights Activists" (a false term, explained later) that the 498a is mainly a tool to victimize men is false, from all the data I have come across. This post rubbishes some claims I came across today.
Before getting into the data, I first want to clarify that I do not think that men are never oppressed by women. Nor do I believe that all women are innocent. Also anyone dismissing my views for being "feminist" in the interpretation of unfairly prejudiced in favor of women would do well to focus on the content and respond to it, because I have never hesitated to take the side of men I believed to be wrongly accused by feminists. The latest being the Tarun Tejpal episode.
I call the "Men's Rights Activists" BOGUS for several reasons. To begin with, they have little to do with the rights of men and their focus is on men wrongly accused under laws they believe to be biased in favor of women, chief among these being the 498a which provides women valuable protection against domestic abuse. To the best of my knowledge, Men's Rights Activists have largely ignored most other abuse against men, including male on male rape or other sexual abuse, which is an serious area which has voice neither in law nor social activism.
Further, the activism cites a handful of cases and uses them as a premise for claiming that most cases of domestic violence are false, completely ignoring routine news reports of women landing up in hospital or dead - which is kind of tough to fake for framing "innocent men". The "possibility" of misuse is presented as the factual trend and heavily warped interpretations of statistics are used to create bogus victimhood.
Finally, I want to say I do recognize that there are serious problems facing men, but creating prejudices against already vulnerable women does not help them, it only provides sanction for further prejudice. This is also my motive to aggressively debunk the disinformation. I do not believe it helps anyone and I believe it harms women.
Women are "equally guilty" as men of domestic violence
Facts around us dispute this absurd claim. The number of women in hospitals and morgues alone make a mockery of the idea that men are going through the same at the hands of women. Professor Surinder Jaswal of TISS conducted a study of women admitted to rural and urban hospitals in Thane as Medico-legal cases and found that 53% of them had injuries due to domestic violence.
Men's Rights Activists conveniently hide behind the pretense that no records are maintained for male victims of domestic violence, therefore their claims must be accepted as fact. However, male victims of assault landing up in hospitals can be tracked. It is one example of official records that are neutrally maintained that can be accessed. Another would be cases filed against wives and husbands for "provoking suicide", which would give them exact numbers for how many commit suicide because of their wives (another bogus claim, addressed later).
Currently, the data on record does not support this absurd claim, but that doesn't stop them from claiming it anyway.
Men are physically stronger, but mental violence is equal/worse by women
I challenge any reader of this post to do their own research of family discussions. Videotape it, because you will not believe the results you get. Mark number of times for:
How many times did a man interrupt a woman and how many times did a woman interrupt a man.
How many times was a sarcastic or otherwise derogatory comment made by a woman to a man and a man to a woman.
How many times did a man's voice not count toward a group decision and how many times did a woman's voice not count toward a group decision.
Any outright abuse directed at men. Any outright abuse directed at women. (Bad words, swear words, accusations about self-worth like income, character, intelligence, wastefulness, etc)
Then we talk. Mere claims are not enough. Bring data. I have yet to come across a social or family situation where women had the more powerful voice or where women were able to impose their will on unwilling men. So "abuse" becomes rather difficult. I don't say it is impossible. I have not seen evidence in my life of "equal" on the contrary, I have seen evidence that it would be extraordinarily rare.
Conviction rate as "proof" of a wrong law or misuse
Article in IBNLive quotes a survey by some organization called Hridaya-Nest of Family Harmony and says, "In West Bengal the number of cases under the section has grown exponentially at the rate of 11 per cent in the last two years but the conviction rate has dropped to just 4.4 per cent from 6.3 per cent earlier, as per the survey." Waitaminit. This is misleading on several fronts.
Firstly, this is no survey data, it is lifted off the National Crime Records Bureau data for the year 2012. The likely reason it hasn't been identified as such would be curious minds heading over to the conviction rates on theNCRB website and finding out that the conviction rate nationwide (which should have been quoted to challenge a nationwide law) is 15%. From the same table, conviction rate in Uttarakhand is 65%, Uttar Pradesh is 49% and Arunachal Pradesh is 50%. Does the "expert" want to comment on that?
Conviction rate for custodial rape is ZERO percent. Are we to assume that custodial rape does not happen? Conviction rape for Arson is 15.6% Should we assume that people accused of arson are basically framed?
The basic fact of law is that the lack of conviction is not proof of innocence. A conviction may not happen for many reasons ranging from out of court settlements - which are really common, because the relationship is obviously headed for divorce and it is really common to allow the woman a "quick divorce by mutual consent" or fight it out in courts, where she is basically homeless and under dubious social status for as long as it takes, while the husband continues to live in the marital home and control the marital property.
I get a few calls every month about domestic abuse. Some of them complete with assault and terrified kids. That don't even result in complaints.
Exaggerated claims about maintenance
Here is a quote from that bogus organization. "She can ask you for maintenance under ALL these sections and as per recent judgments; you will have to maintain her at the same living standards that she was accustomed to before marriage or after marriage, whichever is higher. If your wife is the greedy type, she may also ask to increase her maintenance amount in case you get a salary hike even after years of separation! People have even been asked to sell their kidneys to pay maintenance amounts or else go to jail."
In India, 3% of the population pays income tax. Proving the husband's income to get a share is near impossible. The maintenance is not a default, and the courts have to grant it. Further, the maintenance is nothing remotely like "same living standards" and is more usually betwen 2% and 10% of the husband's (proved) income. A study of divorced/separated women by the Economic Research Foundation shows that most women go through a drastic drop in lifestyle after divorce or separation. This contradicts your claim that husbands are forced to maintain their wives as per same living standards. About 80% of women don't file for divorce because they have nowhere to go. Vast majority of the remaining are forced to become dependents with parents or other relatives. 60% of divorces are by mutual consent as reported by Vicky Nanjappa a fairly pro MRA journalist. 46% of women awarded maintenance never get it.
Where is this wholesale persecution of men you are talking about?
10 lakh women have been jailed by 498a
As per the latest available statistics, there were less than 8 thousand women in jails nationwide. This number 10 lakh that gets promoted is about all women arrested since 2001. There is no such thing as wholesale jailing. Accused get bail in most cases. The case may drag on, but no such thing as 10 lakh women languishing in jail. It is no specially worse than other laws.
It is easy to trap and destroy men by sending them to jail for years on the accusation of a woman
Men's Rights Activists need to get their propaganda straight. What is it? 498a has a low conviction rate, or everyone accused of 498a gets sentenced on the mere word of the woman? Return when you have decided what it is. As for arrested on accusation, it happens with all kinds of crime from IT Act violations to theft. You'll have to ban the IPC if you want to do this in a fair manner.
There is no proof that men are more violent than women
You gotta be seriously doped for this, but you can check out photo and video footage of mobs, riots, statistics of people arrested for murder, assault, rape, kidnapping, check with bar bouncers how many men and women get thrown out for brawling.... the works. Heck try road rage too while you are at it. What makes you imagine that this gender difference in violence gets reversed once at home?
This post is already too long. Will write another one with more other stuff later.
Basically, there are better ways to help men than harming women. Those who care about the well being of a community will also be found actively helping those in need, not just giving stock examples with little evidence of actual help for people in need. If your "rights" are protected just against a specific target, then your objective is opposing that target, not the rights. The idea that men can rape men and it is not our area of focus, but women must not nag is a bit bizarre to come from "Men's Rights Activists"
Psychological abuse is designed to strip a person of all self esteem. It is mental violence that may or may not be accompanied by physical violence. It erodes self-esteem, isolates its victim and prevents actions to seek help. Psychological domestic abuse usually happens as a constant corrosive factor in a relationship rather than the easier to recognize physical violence, which occurs as distinct episodes with visible damage or actions of harm.
In a patriarchal culture, psychological abuse is rarely recognized as active harm being inflicted, but it is very damaging to the victim. Psychological abuse is almost always a part of domestic abuse, but less recognized and equally true is that where there is psychological abuse at home, it is domestic abuse as well. A person does not have to be hit to be abused.
"Do you want some tea?" "You need to ask?"
***brings tea*** "Is this the time to drink tea?"
***makes tea, does not give*** "You can't even make tea for everyone?"
"Is it Diwali? Can't you switch lights off?"
***reverse isn't true*** "Please remember to switch lights off" "So I forgot, you can't even do such a small thing yourself if you spot it?"
"I am used to eating staying hungry. At least feed the kid."
"Can't you cook anything better? I'm sick of eating this all the time."
"Why do I have to tell you what to cook? Can't you even manage that much on your own?"
"Cook one day, tell everyone about it for a month."
"House is always untidy. What do you spend your time on?"
"What do you need money for?"
"So what if you spend or work more at home? Do I do these comparisons?"
"Whatever you have is because of me, you ungrateful bitch."
"Anyone else in my place would have kicked you out long ago."
"If it weren't for the child, I'd have kicked you out long ago."
"Where are you going? Or is it too much to ask?"
"I'm not interested in the useless things you do."
"Why are you dressed like this?"
"You can't go now. You have to help me with this."
***taunts in front of other people***
"She's always eating."
"Any time I drink, I have to see her long face."
"Best wishes on your wedding. May your wife turn out to be better than mine."
"You're lucky. My wife is always spending my money and asking more."
"She doesn't understand all this."
"Can't go one day without embarrassing me."
***if you seek help***
"Go... tell the world how you are suffering. It is fashionable to complain."
"What will you do? Everyone will sympathize with you, but agree with me."
"Not even your father will take you back. Your actions are like that."
"Go approach who you want, but don't come back to this house."
"You won't last a day on your own."
More easily recognized forms include rage, blackmail and other intimidation. It is very common to have some "trigger subjects" that result in extreme rage and the victim is blamed for "starting it" knowing the reaction she gets. Such subjects usually are a reasonable expectation that the abuser does not want to agree to as a form of control over the victim. So extreme rages can happen over "I want to do a job" or "You need to contribute to household expenses." or "Going somewhere for a few days" or anything. Really.
Such talk is designed to keep a person defensive and unable to question the treatment they get. It is abuse. Seek help. Find someone to speak with. The reality being painted is one designed to make you see yourself as an inferior, undeserving person getting advantages you don't deserve, when the reality is usually the opposite.
Domestic mental abuse may not leave visible injuries, but it does result in other physical manifestations ranging from stress related ill health, psychological disorders, paranoia, sleeping or eating disorders and can be a risk factor for suicide. Apart from the obvious problem with it. It is unjust and hurtful.
It is likely you will recognize these words as some you hear often. To yourself, to others around you.... or you may recognize this as how you talk.
If you are a recipient of such talk, it is important to know that you are not responsible for the actions or speech of another. You have not caused this person to be nasty. They are nasty because they want to be nasty.
If you speak in such a manner, you are basically an abusive person, who I hope changes or meets an ugly end. Such conversation is often a part of "normal" home for many, who don't realize it is abuse to speak in such a manner. If you wish not to speak in such a manner, it is important to keep an eye on what you say. Counselling for anger management can help dramatically in achieving an ability to express yourself without declaring to the world that the only way you can be right is by being too much of a nuisance to engage with to disagree with your self declared claim.
If you see such talk happening around you, you are in a position where with very little effort, you can disrupt the talk and show solidarity with the victim. Here are some idea on how you can prevent or fight domestic abuse around you.
It is possible for a person to be an abuser as well as abused. It is also possible for men to be abused, and it is a difficult area to understand, because accusations of women torturing men are more commonly used as psychological weapons against women to isolate them from sympathy. A good example is the highly strident "Men's Rights Activists", who are almost always found describing women as oppressors, while rarely seen seeking help for securing justice for any of the abundant men they believe to be "equally wronged by women". On the other hand men who actually suffer end up silent for fear of social shame. A reliable indicator to check for is if the claim of abuse an accusation or a description of suffering. Using accusations of mental violence as further psychological weapon against a victim is common. However, When using such accusations to vilify, the sense of the communication is one of aggressive dominance, dictated interpretations of reality, generalizations and there is a distinct lack of any sense of helplessness, even when describing a situation where the "victim" is left with no choice. This goes for women who may use accusations against men too, though this is considerably rarer, specially if they are residing in a home owned by those they accuse.
The important thing is to remember that fixing guilt on any party is not useful, particularly when there are mutual accusations and a relationship history. It will also not help the victim for abusers to be able to claim a bias against them. The priority is for the abuse to end and space for talk to be created or distance so that the abuse cannot harm while a more proper resolution can be seeked.
The important thing is that all talk is a choice. A bully chooses to speak in a manner that hurts. Like any other abuse, no one "asks for" or "deserves" mental abuse either. No matter what.
Are there common phrases you hear that are not included in this post? Add them in comments. Let us help people learn to recognize unfair talk.