American Gun Culture creeping in India – Thanks to the UNSAFE CAPITAL – DELHI #VAW


Delhi women gun for arms licences

, TNN | Aug 4, 2012, 1

Delhi women gun for arms licences
It could be a new measure of women’s emancipation or just a passing fad, but Delhi Police has been stumped by the huge number of working women seeking gun licences.
NEW DELHI: It could be a new measure of women’s emancipation or just a passing fad, butDelhi Police has been stumped by the huge number of working women seeking gun licences. The trend is partly a response to the city’s lawlessness but may also reflect the growing need of women to be in control, claim senior officers.In the past two years, Delhi cops have received over 900 applications for guns from women. While year 2010 saw around 320 applications, the figure had grown to around 500 in 2011. But it’s not only the numbers that’s a break from the past. There’s a change as well in the reasons cited by women for bearing arms.”Women earlier mostly cited the inheritance clause – saying their fathers or husbands had a licence which they want to continue holding. Many women applying under this clause were proxies for men who themselves would not have got a licence. But of late women are citing ‘self-defense’ to apply for a licence,” said an officer in the licencing department.

In general, 20-22% of all applicants are now women. The officer said 27 licences were issued to women in 2010. Of these, 17 were those who had applied under the inheritance clause. In 2011, 33 women were granted gun licences, 12 of whom had cited self-defense as a reason.

Till July this year, five women have been granted licences on the basis of personal threats and six on the inheritance clause. In 2010 and 2011, over 600 rejected applications were rejected as no “personal safety threat was assessed”.

Rajya Sabha MP Renuka Chaudhry, herself a gun licence holder, was recently quoted as saying that women need guns more than men “who flaunt the weapons at weddings”.

Mridula Nandy, who unsuccessfully attempted to get a license last year, expresses a similar view. “They kept on asking what do I have to fear. Well, I stay in a place where I am taunted on the roads. At night, I feel unsafe. I will not necessarily fire at someone but a gun boosts confidence,” she said.

Interestingly, even as Indian shooters are doing reasonably well at the Olympic Games bagging silver and a bronze, some women are also applying for gun licences to pursue sport. While two women were granted license under the sports quota, the number doubled in 2011. This year, three women have already been granted licences for pursuing shooting.

In general, police are accused of being too strict while granting women licenses, with the age old inheritance clause still being is the surest way of acquiring a licence. Some allege “a recommendation from a higher up” is crucial in securing a licence.

Cops deny the charges, claiming the criteria for both sexes remain the same. “We grant licenses on three accounts. We check whether the woman has to travel alone at night, whether she is being stalked or harassed or whether she visits a crime-prone area,” said a senior police officer.

He added, “India cannot be seen as a state that promotes guns, unlike some western nations. We will ask everyone to go through the necessary checks and balances.”

Main culprit behind Mangalore homestay attack held #moralpolicing #VAW


 

By PTI – BANGALORE

04th August 2012 08:04 PM

The main culprit behind the Mangalore homestay attack has been arrested and booked under the Goonda act, Deputy Chief Minister R Ashoka said today.

Subhash Padeel has been booked under the stringent Act, Ashoka, who holds the Home and Transport portfolio, told reporters on the sidelines of a function.

So far 23 persons, including Padeel (who is the city coordinator of Hindu Jagarana Vedike), have been arrested in connection with the July 28 incident, he said.

Thirteen students, including five girls, celebrating the birthday of one of them at a homestay on the outskirts of Mangalore were targetted by alleged activists of “Hindu Jagarana Vedike” who accused them of indulging in “immoral activities”.

Television footage also showed them misbehaving with and assaulting some girls, with the episode evoking public outrage.

Ashoka also said select police officials and personnel are proposed to be trained by the Border Security Force to deal with threats from naxal and terrorism front.

 

Privatisation of water supply set in motion #wakeupcall


SATURDAY, 04 AUGUST 2012 00:08 RAJESH KUMAR | NEW DELHI

Following Planning Commission’s directions, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) has approved a proposal to involve Public Private Partnership (PPP) for better distribution and maintenance of water supply in Malviya Nagar, Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar in south Delhi areas.

DJB’s high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Friday approved a proposal to this effect. The Delhi Government will brief the Planning Commission about the proposal. Under the project, the entire distribution network in a particular area would be handed over to the private parties. They would be in-charge of maintaining the water pipeline networks. They would be responsible for repairing all leaking pipelines in the locality.

The decision was taken to save distribution losses which ranges between 40 to 50 per cent, sources said.

According to the proposal, a total of 32.21 square km would be covered in the pilot project.  Messers Suez Environment India Private Limited and, SPML Infra Limited and Degremont would look into Malviya Nagar project while M/s SPML Infra Limited, Tahal Consulting Engineers and Hagihon Jerusalem Water and Wastewater Works would look into Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar distribution system. The Degremont is the same company, handling the Sonia Vihar water treatment plant which supplies water in South Delhi areas.

The contracts would be awarded for 10-12 years for the key operators. Under the project, the assets will remain with the DJB and the Board would pay to private parties for distribution and maintenance.

Cost of Rs 253.30 crore is estimated for Malviya Nagar project, including recovery of 30 per cent operator’s contribution in Rs 87.68 crore (Rs 171.62 crore – Rs 83 crore) of rehabilitation and development cost. For Mehrauli and Vasant Vihar projects, the estimated cost is Rs 201 crore. The areas to be covered in Malviya Nagar include Khirki, Saket, Adhchini, Begumpuri, Chirag Delhi, Hauz Rani, Shivalik, Pushp Vihar, Sheikh Sarai, Qutub Institutional Areas, Nav Jeevan, Sarvodaya Enclave; Qutub, Lal Tanki, Bawaji Wala, Kishan garh and Garhwal colony in Mehrauli areas; West End Enclave, Shanti Niketan, Anand Niketan in Vasant Vihar areas.

After the meeting, Dikshit told that the Planning Commission of India had approved the proposal and this model would be different. “In this model, the assets will remain with DJB. This will ensure up-gradation to un-interrupted and pressurised water supply, reduction in the coping costs, minimal chances of contamination, free of cost change in service lines, prompt grievances redressal and improvement in services to consumers at no extra cost. It will increase revenue generation and will also reduce energy consumption,” she said.

It may be noted that DJB supply 76 MLD water per day to Malviya Nagar; 10-13 MLD in Mehrauli and 7 MLD in Vasant Vihar. Total 32,148 jal board connections are registered in Malviya Nagar which has a population of 3.82 lakh, while 7,216 connections in Mehrauli having population of 1.87 lakh. In Vasant Vihar, the population is nearly 50,000 and estimated connections are 6,847.

Since 2002, the Delhi Government has been planning to initiate water sector reforms on the lines of the proposals given by the World Bank. DJB also appointed PricewaterHouseCoopers as the consultant for the project. PWC suggested that DJB enter into contracts with companies who would manage the distribution network. But by 2006, the whole issue died down due to large scale protests. In 2011, the Delhi Government appointed a committee under the chairman of PK Tripathi to suggest a roadmap for water distribution reforms.

Rajasthan: Unable to study engineering, woman kills self #Shameofindia


 

ATTN- Parents who do not allow their daughters to STUDY for you #mustread

In her suicide note, Pooja Singh Kumawat said she was unable to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer because she was a woman, police said.

The incident occurred in Bhadara in Hanumangarh district, around 250 km from Jaipur.

Rajasthan: Unable to study engineering, woman kills self

“She was a first-year B.Sc. student in a private college. Her father is a milk supplier,” said a police officer.

The official said Pooja left for college around 8 am and three hours later jumped before the train near Bhadara Railway Station.

“We recovered a notebook from the spot in which she had written that she wanted to study in IIT. However, she was not allowed to follow her dream by her family members. She said only boys were allowed to pursue their dreams,” the official said.

Pooja had secured good marks in her senior secondary examination, the officer said.

 

Yesterday, Guwahati. Today, Mangalore. Tomorrow, where else? And again… And again… #VAW


 

And again… And again…

BY KALPANA SHARMA

When we need more than just strong laws... Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
The HinduWhen we need more than just strong laws… Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Yesterday, Guwahati. Today, Mangalore. Tomorrow, where else?

The outrage over the Guwahati incident has done nothing to stem the flow of similar incidents being reported from across the country. The naming and shaming of the perpetrators of the crime, the fact that the police managed to catch them and arrest them appears to have made little difference. On the contrary, it is almost as if the repeated footage from Guwahati played on television channels has encouraged others to do the same.

We must not forget that while the media went into over-drive on the Guwahati case, in another part of Assam, a young girl who went out to collect firewood was “molested” by Army jawans. She was saved when villagers heard her cries for help. How many more such cases take place each day in other parts of the troubled Northeast?

In action again

Almost matching Guwahati was what happened in Mangalore. We should not be surprised. In 2009, the self-appointed guardians of morality, the Sri Ram Sene, set about dragging women out of a pub, pulling their hair, hitting them — and all of this in full view of television cameras. On July 28, a mob belonging to the Hindu Jagaran Vedike decided that a group of boys and girls enjoying a birthday party were attending a “rave” event. Do they know what is a “rave”? Certainly not. But definitions do not matter because these upholders of public morality decided that what was happening was “immoral”.

Armed with cameras from local television channels, the men barged into the venue of the party, dragged, hit and molested the women, punched and hit the men, including the birthday boy, and made sure every minute was captured on film. There is a pathetic shot of several girls cowering on a bed, trying to cover their faces and bodies with pillows while the cameras continue to film. Even after the police intervened, the cameras did not switch off and kept trying to literally “uncover” the women as they left.

Still in the South, at Bhoovanapadu beach, a popular tourist spot in Srikakulam district, Andhra Pradesh, a gang of five young men pounced on a couple seeking a private moment. The man was beaten up while the woman, a 20-year-old college girl had her clothes ripped off. According to the police, the men had pinned her to the ground, had taken off her gold ornaments and were getting ready to record what would follow on their mobile phones when the police arrived.

In all these cases, the victims are deemed “immoral” while the attackers believe they are the torchbearers of decency and morality. We keep hearing this repeatedly, even from those who should know the law, given that they are the lawmakers. Yet recently, when a man at a Kolkata railway station attacked a girl returning from tuition classes, the Trinamool MP Chiranjit Chakroborty had this to say about the crime: “Eve-teasing is a very old thing. It has been going on for ages. One of the reasons behind the increase in incidents of eve-teasing is short dresses and short skirts worn by women. This in turn instigates men.” Really? “Eve-teasing?” Has no one informed the honourable MP that there is no such word?

The horror stories do not end. In Mandya, Karnataka, a 19-year-old garment worker was thrown out of a moving train when she tried to resist a gang of men who were harassing her. She is now in a hospital with multiple injuries, having fallen 25 feet from the train onto a rocky riverbed. She said none of the other women in the compartment intervened even though they saw the men harassing her, offering her money for sex.

Not enough

Even as these attacks on women were being reported from different parts of the country, the cabinet has approved the Criminal Law Amendment Bill that suggests changes in a whole range of laws that have a direct impact on women. Space does not permit a detailed discussion on the changes contemplated. But suffice it to say that while the law must be strengthened, it will not work as a deterrent unless the law-enforcing machinery actually enforces the law.

At the same time, the law-enforcers cannot become a moral police, literally giving a license to any other group that chooses to follow suit. The example of some in the Mumbai police is a particularly bad one in this regard and the outgoing Inspector General of Police in Mumbai has rightly emphasised that “enforcement of law is meant to uphold human rights.”

A new and stronger law will also fail so long as we allow and encourage a culture of impunity, where one group of people decides that it will enforce its own version of morality. In the long term, it is the Taliban-like actions of groups like the Hindu Jagaran Vedike, and the example they set, as well as the oxygen of publicity that the media appears to be granting them, that is cause for serious concern for the future.

Email: sharma.kalpana@yahoo.com

 

Teachers arrested for allegedly strip searching girl student in West Bengal


Press Trust of India | Updated: August 04, 2012 21:01 IST

Suri, West BengalTwo women teachers were arrested today for allegedly strip searching a girl student on the suspicion that she had stolen money at Kaligati Smriti Nari Siksha Niketan in Suri, about 170 kms from Kolkata.The girl, a student of class-XI, filed a complaint with the police that two teachers, Chaitali Gupta and Lipika Saha, took her to the teachers’ room yesterday and stripped searched her alleging that she had stolen Rs. 150 from another student, the sources said.

The money, however, was not found on her. The girl’s father told the police that she broke into tears after returning home.

Ms Gupta and Ms Saha were produced in a local court today which granted them bail. The headmistress of the school, Kalpana Roy, however, contended that the matter was exaggerated and only the student’s bag was searched.

Double amputee, ‘Blade Runner’ creates Olympic history #disability


 

EDDIE PELLS

Last updated 22:57 04/08/2012
Oscar Pistorius
BLADE RUNNER: Oscar Pistorius (right) of South Africa shakes hands with Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic after finishing second in his 400m heat.

It began with a smile at the starting line.

Moments later, Oscar Pistorius took off and the click-click-clicking of carbon on the ground was all but drowned out by the 80,000 fans on hand to watch him make history today. The first amputee to compete in track at the Olympics, Pistorius cruised past an opponent or two in his 400-meter heat, and by the end, the “Blade Runner” was coasting in for a stress-free success.

Typical. Except this time, it was anything but that.

“I’ve worked for six years … to get my chance,” said the South African, who finished second and advanced to Monday morning’s (NZ time) semifinals. “I found myself smiling in the starting block.”

Yes, this sun-splashed day at Olympic Stadium was a good one for Pistorius, a double-amputee who runs on carbon-fiber blades and whose fight to get to this point has often felt more like a marathon than a sprint.

Finally racing where he always felt he belonged, he finished in a time of 45.44 seconds, crossing the line and looking up at the scoreboard, then covering his face with his hands when he saw the capital “Q” – for qualifier – go up by his name.

The 25-year-old runner was born without fibulas and his legs were amputated below the knee before he was a year old. His is one of those stories that is every bit as much about the journey – dramatic, inspiring and controversial – as the final result.

“I know Oscar was the protagonist in the race,” said Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic, who actually won the heat by .4 but went virtually unnoticed. “But I love him. He’s a good racer.”

Pistorius has four Paralympic gold medals to prove that, but this latest trip around the track is about something bigger than that.

He waged a long fight to run in the Olympics against able-bodied opponents.

After dozens of hearings in front of hundreds of men and women in suits charged with the task of deciding whether the blades gave Pistorius an unfair advantage – then getting his country’s Olympic committee to enter him into the games – Pistorius finally got his chance.

He shook hands with his opponents, crouched into the blocks, flashed that smile and then – in so many ways, it was just another race, with Pistorius among the fastest men in it.

“I just see him as another athlete, another competitor,” world champion Kirani James said.

Bursting out of the crouch from Lane 6, Pistorius got going slowly, but built up steam in the backstretch. He made up the lag and was easily among the top three when the runners turned into the backstretch. He passed Russia’s Maksim Dyldin and then, as all the top runners do in a 400 prelim, let off the gas over the final few meters to save energy for the next one.

 

How Olympic Weightlifter Zoe Smith Owned Her Twitter Trolls


 

By Annie-Rose Strasser on Jul 31, 2012 a

Being able to lift 267 pounds is only one of the things that makes 18 year-old British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith tough. She can also swat down sexist Twitter trolls like they’re flies.

While Smith was preparing to set an Olympic record for Great Britain in the clean-and-jerk event, men (and some women) on Twitter were busy saying she wasn’t attractive enough, or that she was manly, or that there was something wrong with her body because she was so muscular.

So Smith took to her blog to respond:

[We] don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence.

Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble.

Sexism seems to be almost as common as sweat at this year’s Olympics — which has a record number of women participating — from female boxers being asked to wear skirts to differentiate them from the men to women’s teams taking coach while men’s fly first class.

 

INDIA-Left parties submit charter of demands to Prime Minister


 

NDTV.com | Updated: August 04, 2012 1

New Delhi: The four Left parties met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with a charter of demands concerning food security. This memorandum was submitted today after a five day dharna at Jantar Mantar.

Here is the full text of memorandum presented to Dr Singh.

Dear Dr. Manmohan Singhji,

The Left parties have held a nationwide campaign on the issues concerning food security. This phase of the struggle ended with a five day sit-in protest at Jantar Mantar attended by thousands of people from all over the country. Representatives of different States presented their experiences and highlighted the adverse impact of relentless food inflation on the lives of common people. There was a unanimous rejection of the draft Food Security Bill presently before the Parliamentary Standing Committee. We write this memorandum to draw your attention to what we consider are the critical issues.

1. India produces enough foodgrains to ensure a food security system which covers all sections of the people. The targeted system introduced as part of the so-called economic reforms from the decade of the nineties has proved to be a failure. Large sections of people who require subsidized foodgrains are excluded. It has been shown that in a country like India, with a large majority of the workforce in the unorganized sector with no fixed income, the errors of exclusion far outweigh those of inclusion in a targeted system. With the largest numbers of hungry people in the world, India requires a comprehensive and inclusive food security system, which can only be provided by scrapping the targeted system and replacing it with a universal system.

2. With the relentless increase in prices of food items, a universal public distribution system can also help to keep market prices down. Dal, edible oil and other essential commodities should be  supplied through the public distribution system.  Many State Governments using their own funds, however limited, are providing foodgrains at one or two rupees a kilo. The central food security system therefore must keep the prices of foodgrains down to a maximum of two rupees a kilo. We therefore believe that it is only reasonable that a minimum of 35 kg of foodgrains at a maximum price of two rupees should be provided.

3. The experience of targeting is not just in poor implementation but more fundamentally linked to the estimates of poverty converted into daily poverty lines and State wise quotas by the Planning Commission. You well know of the national outrage against the poverty line figures given by the Planning Commission to the Supreme Court of  Rs. 26 for an adult in rural India and Rs. 32 for an adult in urban India at 2010-2011 prices. We have learnt that yet another committee has been set up to look at poverty estimates afresh. We strongly oppose the linkages between Planning Commission estimates with either food security or other welfare rights and schemes. The present questionnaire for the BPL census also raises many questions as it is designed to exclude rather than include the deprived. This further underlines the urgent necessity for universalizing the right to food.

4. India can have a successful food security programme only if the kisans of India are protected from the volatility of market manipulation by powerful lobbies. In this connection the recommendation of the National Farmers Commission is for an MSP based on the actual cost of production, which is constantly rising given the increase in the prices of fertilizer, diesel, pesticides, seeds, electricity and other inputs plus a 50 per cent profit margin. This is an important aspect of providing food security.

5. At present the Government is holding around 5 crore tonnes of surplus stocks of foodgrains. In the name of “liquidating the stocks” the Government has decided to export the grains. Already 25 lakh tonnes have been exported. The grains are given at subsidized prices to private traders. Substantial amount of this grain will be ultimately used as cattle feed in developed countries. We believe that the grains should be distributed universally. Particularly at a time when India is facing one of its worst droughts, export of foodgrains is shortsighted and will only benefit big agribusinesses. We are against exports at this time.

6. All these issues should be reflected in the Food Security Bill. Instead it is unfortunate that the Bill seeks to push the so-called reform process further by linking the APL subsidy to acceptance by the States of certain objectionable conditions such as introduction of cash transfers, AADHAR cards etc. Cash transfers at a time of high food inflation will erode even the present inadequate allocations apart from other factors such as possible diversion of the funds for other pressing needs. In any case such conditions are an attack on the federal character of the constitution and an encroachment on the rights of the States. The Bill gives overriding powers to the Central Government. The present Bill also legalizes targeting in a new form by introducing three categories of general (APL), priority (BPL) and automatically excluded sections. We find this highly objectionable. We believe that the Bill in its present form will legalise food insecurity and must be radically changed so as to include:

Minimum allocation of 35 kg of foodgrains of reasonable quality per family at the maximum price of two rupees a kilo.

This should be a legally enforceable universal right, scrapping APL/BPL divisions.

Conditions such as cash transfers should be eliminated.

The Food Security Bill should be suitably amended and presented in the forthcoming session of Parliament.

We hope that you will consider our views and take appropriate action.

With regards

(Prakash Karat)                        
General Secretary, CPI(M)

(S. Sudhakar Reddy)
General Secretary, CPI

(Debabrata Biswas)                       
General Secretary, AIFB

(Abani Roy)
Secretary, RSP

 

Mangled Lore- Would our culture saviours revive the attire of the Chola bronzes? #VAW #Moralpolicing


 

MEENA KANDASAMY, in Outlook

Marriage took me to Mangalore. Living in Attavar, I saw the city as a sister/lover: a feisty woman caught in the grip of a violent, disapproving man, she’d be rid of him if she found her strength. So, when I first heard of the recent assault by Hindutva vigilantes at a resort in Padil, I was relieved that Mangalore’s everyday fate was finally gaining national attention.

Mangalore’s story has its twisted echo in Subash Padil, a right-wing criminal of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike with an astounding record: participation in the pub attacks in 2009 to real estate-related violence to masterminding the July 28 assault at Morning Mist Home Stay.

Mangalore’s story also shows how Hindutva seeks to regulate social life; how dress becomes a component of identity construction to define the Other. RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat had wanted the veils of Muslim women to be lifted so he could glimpse what they had to offer. Even ex-women and child development minister C.C. Patil, with a weakness for pornography, had exhorted women to dress decently. Here, Muslim women are blamed for covering up, Christian women are blamed for showing skin and Hindu women are blamed for aping them.

Capitalising on conservative tendencies, Hindutva has managed to turn everyone in the city into an informer. Bus conductors send SMSes to reactionary outfits when they see an inter-religious couple socialise. Mobilisation, like justice, is instant. Recruiting its rank and file from the backward castes like Billavas and Mogaweeras, Hindutva has indoctrinated them and created vigilantes. So, they break into private property to deliver justice. Under the BJP government, they have immunity from prosecution. To keep its loyalty intact, the police arrive late, chat with the assailants and question the “morality/necessity” of partying. Cases are filed against TV journalist Naveen Soorinje under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, though without his footage, this incident would have been buried in the hundreds of cultural policing episodes that hold Mangalore ransom.

Today, a friend tells me that in response to spontaneous protests by students, Kadri police station inspector Venkatesh Prasanna—infamous for inflicting violence on inter-religious couples—has vowed to make life miserable for students of St Agnes College.

The reaction of the state machinery is as much revealing as it is outrageous: Padil, July 28, is not viewed by the state machinery as sustained, majoritarian, hypermasculine Hindu terror in a multi-religious society; or as molestation, sexual harassment or non-penetrative rape enacted on the female body in order to punish and discipline it; or as a total sellout of the police to fanatical forces. Things that are normal almost everywhere else in the world—young people wearing stylish clothes, sitting next to each other in a bus, having a drink, partying—are identified as problem elements by Hindutva hooliganism that legitimises itself under the guise of protecting ‘Indian culture’.

This Indian culture is the most radical idea in recent years to have simultaneously entered the minds of Hindu fundamentalist groups and self-proclaimed feminists like National Commission for Women chairperson Mamta Sharma. In keeping with the patriotic spirit of the season, I call upon these outfits to revive the said culture by promoting the elegant style of clothing showcased by Chola bronzes. Desi Designer Wear. Since it’s always summer in south India, there’s no need to bother about a Fall/Winter collection.

Moving from apparel to food, I want to remind the right-wing outfits that Sangam-era warriors enjoyed their booze after a delicious meal cooked to such perfection that distinguishing meat from rice was like picking silt from river sand. That’s a couple of thousand years ago, but country booze can be brought back into fashion. In Tamil, there is documented evidence of toddy from the root of the fig tree, toddy from the bark of the usilam (sirisa) tree, toddy from the flowers of iluppai (mahua) tree, palmyra toddy, peepal toddy, coconut toddy and even paddy toddy. We Tamils were known to dig our drinks in its highly fermented form, so sour you would make a face just sipping it. My personal pick would be the mattu, distilled liquor from the sugarcane, a recommended aphrodisiac. Or, it would be the undaattu, an eponymous spirit that required you to drink, then dance. Ideally, I would buy it from a patuvi, a lady who sells liquor. Sorry for making references to my mother-tongue alone, but since you have Indian culture in mind, don’t forget that there are at least a thousand different languages here and 10 times as many drinks. Each of them is as Indian as the other. Dear Protector of Indian Culture, doesn’t this bubbly idea intoxicate you? Bring it back, bring it on, we’ll get drunk on this delight. Let us hit the dance floor, now.