#RIP- Actor Jiah Khan found dead in Mumbai; police suspect suicide


PTI
Mumbai, June 04, 2013

Jiah Khan plays the second woman in Akshay’s life in the film.

25-year-old Bollywood actress Jiah Khan allegedly committed suicide on Monday night by hanging herself at her Juhu residence, police said. According to the police, her maid, watchman and neighbours are being interrogated to find out her last visitors.

Jiah’s mother and sister had gone out

and she was alone at the house when the incident happened, police said.

“Jiah’s mother and sister found her hanging when they returned at around 11 PM,” police said, adding that Jiah used her own dupatta to hang herself.

Police said postmortem of the body will be conducted today and they have registered a case of accidental death.

Police are yet to record the statement of the actress’ mother as she is in shock.

Jiah made her acting debut in Ram Gopal Varma‘s controversial movie, ‘Nishabd‘, where she acted opposite Amitabh Bachchan.

Upon its release in March 2007, the film received mixed reviews, but Jiah was noted for her confidence, attitude, and sex appeal.

She also got a Filmfare Best Debutant Nomination.

She then appeared alongside Aamir Khan in A R Murugadoss‘s ‘Ghajini’, the Hindi remake of the director’s own Tamil film of the same name.

Later she appeared as a supporting actress in Sajid Khan‘s multi starrer comedy film ‘Housefull’ (2010). This was her last film.

Jiah was brought up in England and had shifted to Mumbai recently to act in Hindi films.

Actor Dia Mirza reportedly broke the news of Jiah’s death on micro blogging site Twitter.

Police today questioned Suraj Pancholi, son of actor couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, to whom actress Jiah Khan had made her last phone call before ending her life.
25-year-old Jiah hanged herself at her Juhu residence between 11 PM and 11.30 PM yesterday, sending shock waves in Bollywood.

Jiah, according to police, last spoke to Suraj around 10:40 PM.

Suraj had gone to Juhu police station along with his actor parents and was being questioned, sources said.

According to Jiah’s mother Razia Khan, the actress, who made her dream debut opposite Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Nishabd’, was unhappy about her acting career. She had last appeared in a supporting role in Sajid Khan’s multi-starrer comedy ‘Housefull’ in 2010.

As per her mother, Jiah was exploring a career in interior designing besides acting in films.

Khan told the police that Jiah had gone to Hyderabad on June 2 for an audition which did not go well.

Her last rites have not yet been performed because the family is waiting for her friends and relatives to arrive from London, where she was born and brought up.

Police have also questioned her maid, watchman and neighbours to determine the cause of the alleged suicide.

The post-mortem examination at J J hospital suggested the death was caused due to hanging.

 

जगजीत सिंह, उद्धव ठाकरे और रमन सिंह करते हैं मजदूरी !


smart cards ‘reveal’ Jagjit Singh, Uddhav are labourers in MP

जगजीत सिंह, रमन सिंह, और उद्धव ठाकरे की तस्वीरों वाले नरेगा के स्मार्ट कार्ड।

टाइम्स ऑफ इंडिया | May 17, 2013, 01.03PM IST

भोपाल।। छत्तीसगढ़ के मुख्यमंत्री रमन सिंह, शिवसेना के नेता उद्धव ठाकरे और स्वर्गीय गजल गायक जगजीत सिंह मनरेगा के मजदूर हैं! मध्य प्रदेश के रेवा जिले में महात्मा गांधी राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण रोजगार गांरटी स्कीम (मनरेगा) के कुछ स्मार्ट कार्ड देखकर आप भी हैरान रह जाएंगे।

मनरेगा स्कीम के तहत बैंक से पेमेंट के लिए बनाए गए स्थानीय लोगों के नाम वाले इन स्मार्ट कार्ड्स में तस्वीरें जानी-मानी हस्तियों की छपी हैं। ये कार्ड यूनियन बैंक ऑफ इंडिया ने 2009-10 में जारी किए थे। बैंक ने ये कार्ड FINO नाम की कंपनी से बनवाए थे।

कार्ड्स में बड़ा गड़बड़झाला है। एक कार्ड कैथा गांव के मंगल सेन के नाम से जारी किया गया है। लेकिन उस पर छत्तीसगढ़ के सीएम रमन सिंह की तस्वीर लगी है। इसी तरह गांव के राहुल दुबे के नाम से जारी कार्ड में स्वर्गीय जगजीत सिंह की फोटो है। उधर, रेवा के जिला कलेक्टर शिव नारायण रुपाला को इसमें धांधली का खेल नजर नहीं आता। उन्होंने कहा कि अगर ये कार्ड्स जालसाजी के लिए इरादे से बनाए गए होते तो इनमें जानी-मानी हस्तियों की तस्वीरें नहीं लगाई जातीं। रुपाला ने कहा इस इस मामले की जांच के लिए यूनियन बैंक के असिस्टेंट जनरल मैनेजर को निर्देश दिए गए हैं।

दूसरी तरफ यूबीआई के एजीएम एस.के. सिंह को इसकी पीछे कार्ड बनाने वाली कंपनी के किसी कर्मचारी की शरारत नजर आ रही है। उन्होंने कहा कि स्मार्ट कार्ड में लाभार्थी का फिंगरप्रिंट रेकॉर्ड भी होता है। इसलिए पहली नजर में उन्हें नहीं लगता कि इन कार्ड्स पर कोई पेमेंट हुआ होगा। उन्होंने इसका दोष कार्ड बनाने वाली कंपनी FINO पर मढ़ते हुए कहा कि गलती उनकी ओर से है। कंपनी के किसी कर्मचारी ने यह शरारत की है।

उन्होंने कहा कि इन कार्ड्स की डीटेल्स बैंक और FINO के सर्वर में नहीं है। ये कार्ड बैंक से लिंक भी नहीं है। उन्होंने कहा कि फिर भी इन कार्ड्स की पेमेंट डीटेल्स मांगी गई हैं। अगर कोई दोषी पाया जाता है तो उसके खिलाफ कार्रवाई की जाएगी।

उधर, FINO कंपनी के एक पूर्व कर्मचारी स्वप्न कुमार तिवारी ने कहा कि इसके पीछे करप्शन का खेल हो सकता है। आईटी एक्सपर्ट की मदद से इसकी जांच की जानी चाहिए। उन्होंने कहा कि इस गड़बड़ी को उजागर करने के बाद जून में कंपनी ने उन्हें सस्पेंड कर दिया था।

 

#India – shocking child rape – time to re-examine exactly how we’re bringing up our youth #Vaw


Second sight

Syeda Hameed | April 27, 2013, Times Crest

 

zoom

The shocking rape of a child in Delhi must force us to re-examine exactly how we’re bringing up our youth

We are all numb with the events of the last five days, when the five-year-old child’s cries were heard by a neighbour in New Delhi and her small bloodied form was discovered in the basement, forty hours after the heinous deed. Manoj and Pradeep, the two alleged perpetrators of bestiality on the five year old ‘Gudiya’, were migrants to the city from Muzaffarpur and Lakhi Sarai in Bihar.

Around 15 years ago I had gone to these two districts in Bihar. Manoj and Pradeep must have been five or six year olds at that time, growing up in their hometowns. What schooling, what upbringing, what values were being imparted to them? Did they or their families ever imagine this tragic scene in their lives 15 years later?

In Muzaffarpur I had gone to see the work done by an activist, Viji Srinivasan, with the children of sex workers. Muzaffarpur has a famous red light area called Chaturbhuj Sthan where a certain congested row of houses has nameplates bearing names like ‘Neelam Kumari, dancer’ or ‘Pooja Kumari, dancer’. On entering the houses I discovered that all these sex workers, were Muslim girls with ‘concealed identities’. Viji’s organisation was training their daughters in skills which would help them escape the pressure of entering the sex trade.

Lakhi Sarai was another story. I had gone there to a large girls school for their Class 12 farewell function. The place was filled with girls of all ages performing around the theme ‘Beti ki Bidai’. They had used the metaphor of marriage to say goodbye to the outgoing students. Songs and dances were mostly tearfilled;the message given was that they were now ready to be married, hence the bidai. No one spoke of higher education, careers, jobs and freedom for the graduating girls.

From this intensely patriarchal society these two young men had found their way to a metro. All their supports were left behind in the village. A grandmother, an aunt, a sister;people with whom they had shared life and who were there to offer help. The city is too large, too impersonal, too cruel. Their only friends were young (and not so young men) from their own cluster of villages with whom they could speak in their own tongue.

They learnt their lessons on coping with the city from these ‘old timers’. If they were sodomised and brutalised in the process, it was part of the deal. To forget their own pain they had easy access to alcohol and pornography. They were thus hammered and hardened just as their teachers had been hammered and hardened during their own initiation.

Then there was easy access to Bollywood films in which their icons and heroes showed them the ropes. Bollywood lyrics gave then the lessons on playing havoc with a woman’s body. Examples abound;such as a song from Akshay Kumar‘s Khiladi 786 which puts words to their mouths: Chhad ke mein aaya voh tang galiyan / Aya mein aya vekhan teri rang raliyan/ Long drive pe chal pe chal mere nal soniye. (I have left behind my narrow lanes/ to feast my eyes on your fun and games/ Come for a long drive with me, Babe)

Against this black hole of a life in a big city, these two men had consumed alcohol, watched porn on their cell phones, bought chocolate bars and gone out in search of prey. That is when they saw the little child playing outside the building.

What values we are imparting to our children ? Are we teaching them to respect women and girls from the word go? What are they learning from their mothers and fathers, from families, from their schools, from their peers? Do they have the wherewithal to cope with the pressures of moving from rural to urban? We cannot stop the movement;we have not created livelihood opportunities in their native places. We have taken away their traditional livelihoods;we have opened up the world before their astonished eyes. This cohort of boys and men will grow monumentally in the years to come.

Nirbhaya is gone. Gudiya is struggling to stay alive. Media has started placing stories of sexual violence as centerpieces. Life in the cities is being disrupted by political parties and others who are using this event to make a political killing or grab media attention for two seconds. If only there were quick answers to the anguish that is pouring out from all quarters, they are very often at the wrong targets.

In Gudiya’s pain or Nirbhaya’s sacrifice we are not seeing our own failures. The road is long and arduous but it is a road that must be taken: the road to healthy values, better life and hope. Regardless of the colour of politics, it is this slow bandwagon to which all political parties need to hitch themselves to. We, the people, challenge them to do so.

The writer is member, Planning Commission, New Delhi 

 

Don’t divide films based on region: Kay Kay Menon


Chennai, April 16 (IANS) Don’t divide cinema region-wise, says actor Kay Kay Menon, who is moving from Hindi cinema and theatre to the south with the Tamil film “Udhayam NH4”.

“There is absolutely no need to divide cinema region-wise. Except for the language, I don’t see any difference in cinema made in any part of the world. By dividing cinema based on its region, we are only taking that language for granted,” Kay Kay told IANS.

“We have catered enough to the masses with stupid films. Time has come to make films with certain calibre. I can understand Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil and Bengali. I’m ready to do films in these languages if I find something off the beaten path,” he added.

He admits language is a barrier when you do not understand it and adds: “One of the reasons I chose to work in ‘Udhayam NH4’ is because I can understand the language. I hate to mouth dialogues in a language I don’t understand.”

Why didn’t you do a Tamil film all these years?

“Honestly, I haven’t been approached. Moreover, I have been extremely busy with Hindi films. I have finally decided to diversify because I’m bored of being part of films that are made only to churn profits,” said Kay Kay.

The 45-year-old, who’s a management graduate, worked in Bollywood ventures like “Black Friday”, “Sarkar”, “Silsiilay”, “Gulaal”, Life…In A Metro” and “Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd”.

His first Tamil film “Udhayam NH4” is a road movie. The upcoming film also features Siddharth Suryanarayan, Ashrita Shetty, Deepak, Ajai, Kalai and Karthi.

The film’s story has been penned by National Award-winning director Vetrimaaran; it is being directed by debutant Manimaran.

“I agreed to work in the film because of Vetri (Vetrimaaran). I consider him a modern-day filmmaker. He had a clear-cut view about what they were making and what they want from me,” he said.

“The personality of a director reflects in his or her cinema. I have heard about Vetri’s National Award-winning film ‘Aadukalam’, but I haven’t watched it yet. However, when I met him, I knew from his personality that he is not one of those directors catering to a particular type of audience,” he added.

Kay Kay plays a character who realises the power of love while chasing a couple across three states.

“It’s a road film that takes the characters on a journey from Karnataka to Tamil Nadu via Andhra Pradesh. Two lovers are being chased by the character I play and how in the process my character realises the power of love. This forms the story,” said the actor.

As far as work culture is concerned, Kay Kay doesn’t find any difference between Bollywood and the south.

“Bollywood has made good and bad films; so has the Tamil film industry. Even the organisation structure and work process in both these industries are much similar. The only difference I find is the language,” said Kay Kay.

The trend of remakes doesn’t excite Kay Kay.

“I always want to be part of something new and original. If a film is really worth being remade for larger audience, then I would love to be part of it. I wouldn’t mind being part of a remake if it’s done effectively with a purpose, but we all know why remakes are made.”

(Haricharan Pudipeddi can be contacted at haricharanpudipeddi@gmail.com)

IANS 2013-04-16 13:21:13

 

The queen of mujra moves #Sundayreading


Moupia Basu | April 6, 2013, TimesCrest

Chic in a trouser-kurti ensemble, former actor and dancer Minoo Mumtaz is completely at ease as she reclines on the sofa in her Pune home. She has a flight to catch in a couple of hours as she heads back to home and family in Canada. “I can’t wait to be with my grandchildren, ” she says excitedly. At 72, she has seen it all – the glory of being a Bollywood diva and its pitfalls. Unlike most of her contemporaries from the golden era of Hindi cinema, Minoo Mumtaz leads a contented life today. “My family is my strength, especially my husband who has never let me shed a single tear in our nearly 50 years of marriage. “

It is difficult to picture her as the original item girl, who played the seductive courtesan in “Saaquiya aaj mujhe neend nahi aayegi” (Guru Dutt’s Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam), one of the best mujra sequences of all times. But she takes umbrage at being called an ‘item’ girl. “We were not ‘item’ girls, but professional dancers and actresses. I feel ashamed watching them today gyrating in scanty clothes to obscene lyrics. “

There was something about Minoo Mumtaz, born Malka Begum, that endeared her to millions of moviegoers. It could be the smile, the nakhras, the come-hither look, but her hypnotic grace lingered long after the dance ended. Although she never rose to the height that Madhubala or Meena Kumari did, her presence in a film could not be ignored.

Mumtaz‘s performances were free-spirited and spontaneous, especially her dance numbers. This applied to her classical compositions also. “I surrendered myself to the dance director. I knew no technique but dance came easily to me, ” she says. “I would watch my father (Mumtaz Ali), a very good dancer, and mimic his moves in front of a mirror, much to my mother’s horror because she was dead against movies. “

Mumtaz grew up in a conservative Muslim household of Nawabi descent. But the family, which once supported at least 35 residents in a huge bungalow in Mumbai, fell on hard times when Mumtaz Ali took to drinking. “I decided to help out financially although I was only 13. Those were the worst two years of my life because I also lost my mother, ” she says.

But she loved life too much to give in. “My sister and I would walk on the railway tracks from Malad, where we lived, to Mohan Studios in Andheri and wait – often in pouring rain – until producer-director Nambhai Vakil took us in. I started off with a substantial role in Sakhi Hatim, my very first film. I was paid Rs 500 for the film and Rs 200 for a dance. My price quickly shot up to Rs 800 and within three months, I bought my first car. ” Within three to four years, Mumtaz had bagged important roles including that of a heroine, with top actors of the time like Balraj Sahni.

It was her professionalism and no-nonsense attitude that took her to the top. “I was not interested in anything other than my role. I would carry my knitting to the studios and once the cameras were switched off, I would knit. Those who came to me with dishonourable intentions were shooed away, ” she says. Moreover, her brothers, especially legendary actor Mehmood, were always around to protect her.

As she speaks, Mumtaz’s slender fingers often curl up in a mudra. “Dance is in my blood, ” she says. “If I get into the mood, I can dance even today, but where are the songs, where’s the music?” She is unhappy with modern Bollywood music. “Hindi film music lacks the lyrical quality today, ” she says.

At the peak of her popularity, she married assistant director Ali S Akbar. “Although we belonged to different Muslim sects, Mehmood Bhai went ahead and organised the wedding. And, he did it in style. Parts of the Sheesh Mahal sets from Mughal-e-Azam were used to do up the wedding venue. But, Bhaijaan forbade me from acting thereafter, ” she says.

It’s been a long time since she faced the arclights, but the memories have not dimmed. “I feel sad for Meena aapa, it was she who rechristened me Minoo Mumtaz. An unhappy and childless marriage led to her collapse, she simply wasted away. She was one of the greatest actresses ever, with no nakhras!”

But she smiles at the mention of Madhubala. “She was like a sister and I was her confidante. When her romance with Dilip Kumar broke off, she turned to me. ” But Mumtaz’s first meeting with Madhubala was not all that pleasant. “She ignored me completely as I waited for our first shot together in Ek Saal Baad. But I walked up to her and asked her why she chose to behave so badly with a devoted fan. Her arrogance crumpled, and we went on to become the best of friends, ” she says.

As for her male co-stars, she has a special corner in her heart for Dev Anand. “He was a thorough gentleman and one of the most handsome men ever, ” she remembers. Guru Dutt is another actor she was very fond of. “Dada was not just a creative genius, he was very humble as a person. Each time I walked on to the sets, he would get up from his director’s chair to welcome me, and I was not even the heroine. “

The years have flown past and Minoo Mumtaz has accepted all that came her way with a rare grace. As she gets up to leave for the airport, she flashes a smile and says, “I thank Allah for bestowing me with so much. “

 

Madhu Kishwar to script Ashutosh Gowariker’s next


mkishwar

April3, 2013,

Ashuthosh Gowarikar today chose an unlikely scriptwriter for his next film. The writer is none other than Madhu Kishwar whose name got viral due to her Modinama series. The details about the film are not yet known.

Madhu Kishwar, whose archaeological and paleontological evidence suggests her existence as a feminist, is reported to have impressed Gowarikar with her writing skills.  Gowarikar who is known for his tele serial like and never ending films hopes to end the financial draught his films experienced in the box office by partnering with Kishwar. He told us

” She is fantabulous! Look at the way she brings characters in her Modinama series. Who else can white wash a person (Modi) as beautifully as she does. She has perfectly forgotten that people have common sense, this is exactly the kind of the person we want in Bollywood.  Look at her characterization of people and the way she fits them to into the story, this is what we did in historical cinema like Jodha Akbar. She belongs to the same school of thought to where I belong. Nobody can last long till my movie is over, same with her articles too.”

He became further eloquent talking about her imagination

“The way she make conspiracy theories can even make Subramanian Swamy shame.  Look, she calls Togadia a congress agent, I don’t think even if one consume all the weed in the world, he will be able to think as great as her”

Madhu Kishwar agreed to the offer as the film doesn’t have any ‘ism’ in the title and it doesn’t have any left liberal mousetraps. Bollywood hopes the film will be a hit as Kishwar has got the perfect mix of misogynism and retrogressiveness recently. There have been unconfirmed reports that Ekta Kapoor wants to  televisionise Modinama and she is in discussion with Kishwar about adding a mother in law in to the plot to complete the masala.

Source- http://www.naklileaks.com

 

I&B Ministry calls for truce between filmmakers and the CBFC #censorship #bollywood


VICKEY LALWANI, Mumbai MirrorMar 29, 2013, 11.54AM IST
(A still from Dabangg )

I&B Ministry calls for truce between filmmakers and the CBFC over censorship issues

At a time when Hindi films have come under criticism for disrespectful portrayal of women, and Censor Board decisions are increasingly being viewed as arbitrary, the Information & Broadcasting Ministry has stepped in to broker peace between the warring parties – the producers and the Board.

The bone of contention being the Cinematograph Act 1952 that the film industry thinks is outdated. The I&B Ministry has called for a meeting with all parties concerned between April 3 and April 5, though the venue hasn’t been decided yet. Representing the film industry will be Farhan Akhtar, Ramesh Sippy, President of the Producers’ Guild Mukesh Bhatt, President of the Association of Motion Pictures and TV Programme Producers (AMTPP) Sajid Nadiadwala and Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association Chief TP Agarwal.

Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Chief Leela Samson and CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur will represent the censors. Also present will be senior members from the special panel that was instituted under the chairmanship of judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to review the functioning of the Censor Board.

The meeting will set the pace for the necessary amendments to the Cinematograph Act 1952, after taking into consideration suggestions by all concerned. Special song and dance numbers, foul language, and scenes portraying actors and actresses smoking and drinking are likely to be discussed during the meet.

Agarwal confirmed the news and said: “The very fact that the meeting spans three days indicates we are going to have a very long discussion. I am very optimistic about the outcome.” Said Mukesh Bhatt: “Today, there is a lot of ambiguity about what will be cut and what will go through. As things stand, there are no guidelines.”

Meanwhile, a filmmaker on the condition of anonymity, said censors seem to have turned a bit too prudish. “Recently, Leela Samson assured there is a wrong impression within the film industry that the Censor Board has adopted a rule to certify all special numbers with an ‘A’ (adults only) certificate. Despite the assurance, filmmakers are extremely cagey. The meeting on April 3 is very good news for the films being made,” the source said.

On the subject of special numbers – particularly Fevicol Se from Dabangg 2 and Sheila Ki Jawaani from Tees Maar Khan - having faced a lot of flak, a leading producer (on request of anonymity), said: “It isn’t now that special numbers have come into existence. One can think of many actresses in the past who have done such numbers. Is it that the censors turned a blind eye to them simply because they weren’t lead actresses? Moreover, cuss words are chopped in one film while they are retained in another film. What are the rules? Who draws the line, and where?”

Writer-director Rensil D’Silva said: “Too much money rides on movies. If there is clarity, there will be no jolts at the time we submit our films to the censors.”

When contacted, I&B Minister Manish Tewari said: “We already have a panel headed by judicial expert Mukul Mudgal to look into certain issues which the film industry has. But if they still have some issues, we are ready to walk the extra mile.

 

Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) campaigns against outsourcing of diagnostic centres #Chhattisgarh


TNN | Feb 1, 2013, 03.04 AM IST

RAIPUR: Jan Swasthya Abhiyan,  today started a campaign against the proposed move of the government to outsource diagnostic centres at 379 public health facilities in the state. A public meeting was also held to show discontent with the decision.Talking to TOI, Sulakshna, member of JSA, said that instead of improving and expanding services in the existing system, the government is replacing it with private service providers. “What is disheartening is that the Raman Singh government has taken no lessons from other states where privatisation in this sector flopped,” she added.

Some senior officials in the state also agree that the government seems to be in a haste to privatise the service. They admit that flaws do exist in the system, the biggest being that privatisation would not solve the problem of understaffing. “How will the private sector get qualified staff in Bastar when the government cannot get it on their own,” one of them said.Experts say that unless and until checks and balances are put in place and they are implemented in letter and spirit, the move is bound to backfire. Moreover quality and not the quantity of the tests conducted should be the criteria and the same has to be monitored on day to day basis, a difficult proposition in the present scenario.A senior official commented that merely putting tough conditions on the contract paper will not resolve the problem. “What is required is monitoring, which is a difficult task”, he said.

 

#India – has Yo Yo Honey Singh already won ? #Rap #Vaw


A song that celebrates rape and sung allegedly by Honey Singh has been ‘discovered’. The tragedy in Delhi created the ground for this. If the discovery was supposed to raise awareness against the contents of the songs, that scheme has failed miserably. The number of online views of the said song has shot up steeply ever since the free publicity. Honey has denied singing the ‘Balatkari’ song.

Many people and groups, who, till yesterday had hardly heard of Honey Singh or this song, have assembled his paper and cloth idols to consign them to flames in public amidst much supportive sloganeering. This speedy move from relative ignorance to active denunciation, however heartfelt, is all too familiar. This has also given a good cover to misogynists to peddle high-decibel righteousness. If morality-fired censorship riding high on the back of a human tragedy is not immoral and cynical, I do not know what is. Even more cynical is how some such groups stand side-by-side folks who have devoted decades working at the grassroots – Honey has provided a strange equalizing opportunity, a short-cut.

Many patriotic songs are full of exhortation of death and killing of name-less ‘enemies’. ‘Religious songs’ have elements of killing demons (considered by many as euphemism for Dalits) and infidels. Most of the folks who want to stop watching Anurag Kashyap’s movies for his association with Honey, will not stop using products that are advertised using advertisements that ‘objectify’ women or boycott filmstars who publicly endorse such products. Walking the talk requires a different culture than consumer culture. We are like this only.

Honey Singh has put to tune fantasies that are known and liked widely — what many draw on bathroom walls. Some argue that the free distribution of such material creates an ambience that facilitates viewing women in a certain way – rape is a part of that way of viewing. The individual, in such a milieu, has a greater propensity to rape. The problem with such conjectures is that they do not have a clear causal relationship with criminal action. In the absence of that crucial strict causal link between action and crime, to criminalise human behaviour, however reprehensible it may be to some, leads all of us down an extremely slippery path. Theories of broad propensity are good enough. Consider the implications of this for the ‘single, migrant, underclass, male’ theory.

We should strive towards a fuller understanding of the popularity of songs such as these. The sad use of ‘impressionable children’ to grind their own axe has to stop. There is no evidence that grandfathers from ‘purer’ times are any less likely to grope. And why should everything be ‘family friendly’ anyways? Media ‘explicitness’ as a cause for sexual violence also tacitly legitimizes the ‘titilation’ theory. The less said about that, the better. We have more to lose by sacrificing free expression than the supposed gains of censoring Honey Singh.

There is an anxiety that unless there are curbs, Honeys will take all. There is a tacit acknowledgement that there is no robust alternative on offer. And there is the rub. There is a secret fear that there is no cultural repertoire that is up-to-date and ‘presentable’ as alternative to ‘the youth’. Beyond religion and sex, the relationship of the market with non-sexual elements of ‘Lok-sanskriti’ is faint. Real ‘Lok’ is important in production, consumption and propagation. When profiteers limit ‘Lok’ only to consumption, we have a problem. Organised industry has a certain idiom it is comfortable with. Socially rooted cultural produce without corporate intermediaries, say, the Baul-shahajiya minstrels, thrive in a supportive ecology. One cannot take away the ecology and then expect that it will continue its own evolution, as if nothing changed.

No number of ‘folk-music’ festivals in Delhi can provide alternatives in the backdropwhere ‘folk’ are systematically displaced and brutalized on a daily basis. Music and art, in their many shades, spring forth from life. Without it, it is simply a plant without roots — destined to die sooner or later. The new world selectively cuts roots. Hence Honey lives. After the destruction of rooted cultural idioms and ways of life, from where does one expect songs of life to spring? What will the songs be about – since sadness and pain are ‘unfit’ for modern consumption? Even the idea of songs from struggles of the displaced is met with the some kind of mental cringe, if not a mental block. Consumption is the basic framework in the new world. And there are no holy hills, groves, cultures, homelands, people. Honey Singh has sung the allegorical anthem of the new world. He may have sung it a bit too loudly, at an inopportune time.

Garga Chatterjee is a postdoctoral scholar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

#India- don’t focus too much on individuals in the battle against sexual violence, #Censorship #Vaw


PRERNA BAKSHI, The Hindu  #India-Towards a Decisive Victory in the Historic Battle for Women’s Rights

Against the recent backdrop of the gang rape incident in Delhi, rapper Honey Singh found himself surrounded by a number of protesting activists and NGOs. Some of his songs have come under the scanner and have been termed by these activists as offensive towards women.

However, the rapper himself has denied being associated with one such song which has in particular grabbed attention for demeaning women. The song has been doing the rounds on internet for quite some time even though neither the management nor the singer has claimed responsibility towards the ownership of the song.

While the trueownership of this song could be debatable, the question that needs to be asked is should this matter be given the amount of attention it has and more specifically, are songs such as those made by Honey Singh responsible for the growing rape and sexual violence towards women.

While it would be true to say that many of the contemporary songs do objectify women (of which Bollywood has a lot to answer for) which further affects the position of women in society, it is important not to lose sight of the bigger picture while making such claims.

On New Year’s Eve, Honey Singh was forced to withdraw from the show at Bristol Hotel where he was scheduled to perform. Many people on social media celebrated the occasion by terming it the ‘first battle won’ on the first day of the New Year. It is here where the masses, activists and progressives need to take a step back and reassess their goals and strategies in a manner which does not over generalize and trivialize the issue at stake.

While there is not enough space in this article to look deeply at these issues, I have highlighted them in order to contribute to the debate about both the causes of gender violence, and the debate about what can and should be done about it.

A few points must be taken into account. Firstly, by focusing primarily on a single agenda and on a single individual, notwithstanding how achievable or worthwhile it is, we lose sight of more significant issues, thereby weakening the argument and the cause itself. By no means should any form of derogatory remarks towards women be tolerated in songs or public speeches but it should be recognized that removing sexism in songs and speeches, though helpful, cannot in itself fix the problem.

Secondly, by focusing on silencing the sexist elements within one’s speech without taking into account the existing power structures prevalent within the society, any efforts made in this direction would prove to be futile in the long run. It is for this reason the ultimate goal should be to alter the existing gender power differentials by aiming for a radical social transformation in order to truly achieve its ultimate aim of women emancipation. This cannot take place without altering the very power structures that have given rise to the ideology that gets manifested in speech towards women. Thirdly, devoting too much time and resources in shutting down the activities of people like Honey Singh would unnecessarily shift the focus of the debate from the praxis of gender relations to a debate about freedom of speech and would end up dividing public opinion and complicating matters further.

This is not a suggestion that time and effort should not be spent in protesting against such people but rather that it is imperative to address and correct their sexist and misogynistic attitudes. It is also not suggested that people should have the right to free speech no matter how violent and discriminating it may be towards women but that it has to be met with responsibility and accountability. The only necessary point is to refrain from over generalizing the effects of certain songs on the whole praxis of gender relations and not to attribute certain songs wholly as the cause of sexual violence and rape crises prevalent in the society.

Fourthly, caution is to be exercised whilst advocating for a ban or censorship of certain songs as doing this could further provide an impetus to the reactionary conservative forces that could later use this move to further their own agenda of maintaining the status quo and perpetuating existing power structures and thus consequently could prove to be detrimental to a revolutionary change in the society.

Censorship may sound appealing when the censors are targeting people we dislike, but for anyone interested in social transformation, censorship is negative in the long run.It is for these reasons that attitudinal and discourse level changes cannot be brought about independently and remain strongly influenced by the material and structural conditions. Without a change on the structural level, any meaningful change would seem unattainable.