Guest Post by RAHUL ROY
Nivedita Menon ends her commentary on the unfolding Tehelka sexual assault case in Kafila by asserting – “the time has come. It is now”. It should be, but is it? Are we witnessing the end game of an old Indian patriarchal sport called sexual assault? The sport is akin to another old game called the royal hunt that was an important part of elite political culture of South Asia. The rules of the sport were then as now heavily loaded in favour of the royal huntsman – weapons, support teams, timing, everything required for the thrill of a kill were with powerful men out to conquer. The expeditions however were not just about the kill. The sport was also a means of asserting authority over tracts of the wild and those that lived there and were by some misfortune not aware of prevailing authority structures. The royal hunt was an event to showcase to subjects the might, prowess and authority of the elite rulers. It was the stamping of power over human as well as animal kingdom. The royal huntsman could not but win. He could not but kill.
Continue reading A hunt, the aftermath, angry Indian men and a tragedy: Rahul Roy
Here’s wishing all men and women across borders and boundaries, in New Delhi and New Haven, Ranchi and Russia, Dublin and Damascus, Srinagar and Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Bermudas, a very happy International Women’s Day. These images are from the ‘I Need Feminism’ Campaign at the Lahore University of Management Sciences
Guest post by SWATHI SUKUMAR
Last week, I went to a bachelorette party. The party props were unbelievable to the point of being ridiculous—shot-glasses shaped like body parts, kinky trinkets, balloons in unmentionable shapes and sizes—and other items that would have made many women of another generation collapse in horror.
At the end of the party, everyone was slightly drunk and a good deal of time had been spent asking the bride-to-be embarrassing questions and cracking dirty jokes. I realized that our revelry had a close parallel in the cult classic “The Hangover”, a story of four men who go to Las Vegas to celebrate a very eventful bachelor’s party. Our party shared common themes from the script of the movie, including inebriation and the obsession with bodies, both perfect and imperfect. We missed the tiger and the stripper from the movie, but I am told that strippers are a very common feature in bachelorette parties in India.
Tigers are not common, I hope. Continue reading Notes from a bachelorette party in New India: Swathi Sukumar
Guest post by RAHUL ROY
I have been sitting quietly trying to finish my new film and had promised myself that I would not get side tracked and concentrate on the task at hand. But enough is enough. I am shocked and disappointed at the way men high jacked a protest that could have been and probably still is the most significant pouring out of women who may never have thought in their wildest dreams that they would be facing water cannons and cops giving them a chase with iron tipped sticks. I am sure it is a coming of age moment for many young women of the city of Delhi.
I am aware that there has been a fair bit of cynicism about middle class women running up and down Raisina Hill and whether it adds up to anything. It damn well does. The next time they see adivasis being chased down by the police in Chattisgarh or in Orissa a penny will drop. It already is, today there is an article by a 19 year old student form Lady Sri Ram College narrating her brush with Delhi Police at the Parlaiment Street Police station and quite significantly she adds that if they are capable of behaving the way they did with a group of ‘well connected’ college students in Delhi then what must be happening in the more remote areas of non metropolitan India. Continue reading What Do Men Have To Do With It?: Rahul Roy
A new product ’18 Again’ has hit the Indian market. A vaginal tightening gel, the advertisement left us mildly bemused.
With her newly tautened privates, the saree-clad lady seems in remarkably good cheer, given she apparently ‘feels like a virgin’ and ‘it’ (it presumably being sex), ‘feels like the very first time’. Namely awkward, painful, inexperienced fumbling? Ah well! There’s no accounting for tastes, not least the fantasies of the Indian man.
Regardless, we think this is a step in the right direction. Virgins being a scarce commodity these days, a handy at-home converter for any sacrifices you may have planned is a thoughtfully designed product indeed. (The makers of ’18 Again’ are unclear on what to do with those of us who escaped the wastelands of virginity before 18, but there you have it. You can’t please everyone, certainly not those sluts who didn’t even wait till they were legal). The makers of 18 Again are hoping for strong revenues on the back of exponential domestic demand.
As this article details, the Indian vagina now caters to a broad spectrum of consumer taste and preference. Backed by a strong commitment to product diversification, the Indian vagina is set to enter the 21st century with applications and appliances, room fresheners and Christmas trees. Needless to say, we are delighted; our only grouse being that the products are somewhat limited in scope and vision. And so with an eye to the future we present a small list of potential uses and a plea that we all broaden, rather than tighten, our imagination. Continue reading Gird Your Loins
Aman Kachroo is not the first teen to die of ragging. But there is one curious first: this time the death has not led to any ‘public debate’.
This time the defenders of ragging are silent. Who knows, maybe some of them have changed their views and are now lighting candles at Jantar Mantar. There are no TV debates calling ragging fun. This time no one is arguing that a murder case should not be used to defame the socially productive ‘tradition’ of ragging. This time nobody is asking how boys will become men unless they are ragged, and nobody is calling the victims sissies.
What has changed? Continue reading Where have they disappeared?