Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Bharat Gopi... Actor par excellence is no more....

Question: Smita Patil, Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Amitabh Bachchan are four of the five actors who have had the honour of a retrospective of their films being shown in Paris by the French Government. Who is the fifth?

I won't be surprised if most of us get this wrong. The answer is Malayalam film actor Bharat Gopi. Bharat Gopi expired today, Jan 29, in Thiruvanantapuram of a heart attack. He was 71. He was taken ill five days ago while shooting. My mother told me this when I returned home today evening. She liked Gopi as an actor and knew that I was also a fan of Gopi.

Gopi was at his peak during the eighties. He was famous for his roles in films directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Aravindan, K.G. George and Govind Nihalani among others. A paralytic stroke laid him low for a long time during which he faced a lot of difficulties. He turned to film direction later on.

In her tribute to Gopi written for rediff.com Shobha Warrier mentions how Gopi got noticed in his very first film Swayamvaram directed by Adoor Gopalakrishnan. His frustrated face drew attention to it for the brief span that it was shown on the screen. The Guardian had an article on him titled The Face of Unemployment. Click here to read Goodbye Mr. Bharat Gopi, Shobha Warrier's excellent tribute to Gopi.

Some of his well known films include Kodiyettam (1977) which won him the National Award for acting. This award was known as the Bharat award in those days. It was after this award that he came to be known as Bharat Gopi. He had also acted in Mani Kaul's Satah Se Udta Aadmi and Govind Nihalani's Aghaat.

His book Abhinayam Anubhavam won the National Award for the best book on cinema (1994). His production Padhyam (1991) won him the V Shantaram award for the best film. A very intense person he overcame personal tragedy and put great passion into everything he did. He will be missed.


Wikipedia article on Bharat Gopi.

Tribute in the Hindustan Times

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Manil Suri's The Age of Shiva

Book Received:

The Age Of Shiva by Manil Suri
464 pp; Rs 495

One shouldn't write about a book before one has read it. But then some rules are made to be broken. One good thing about being a member of an online book club- I am able to get new books at roughly the same time as my friends living in the big cities of India.

Manil Suri's The Age of Shiva is one book I was looking forward to reading. And now that it is here I look forward to savouring the craftsmanship of this U.S. based Professor of Mathematics who also writes novels.

Suri was born in Mumbai and teaches mathematics at the University of Maryland (USA). His first novel The Death of Vishnu received rave reviews and (so important in today's age) a six figure advance (in US dollars).

The reviews have all been adulatory. A few samples:

"In The Age of Shiva India's birth as a new nation parallels a woman's complex psychological journey confronting tradition and modernity. Exchanging sentimentality for clear vision, Suri reveals an immense humanity, and a tenderness for women making their way in a world of men. Drawn by this compelling narrative, I read this marvelous book in one sitting." —Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2006.

"Both intimate and epic... a majestic story about love and its unexpected consequences" - Amy Tan

"...consistently engaging and provocative. It’s only January yet, but it’s unlikely that there will be many better novels this year." - Jai Arjun Singh in Tehelka

"... like the Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar, he is blinded by the beauty of the feminine. Even though he is excessively diversionary, in The Age of Shiva, it is as gleaming as a tear drop." - S Prasannarajan in India Today.

Do read Jai Arjun Singh's review in Tehelka - Click here. And also his blog entry on the book - Click here

Meanwhile, I will get on with the book....
UPDATE. Feb 1 2008.
Not all reviews have been adulatory as I wrote earlier. I happened to see one by Kalpish Ratna in the magazine Outlook dated 4 February. A few extracts:

If you, dear reader, abjure primetime Hindi soaps, then Manil Suri's new novel is not for you....

The myths of Andhakasur and Ganesh - often read as Indian versions of the Oedipus complex - are intricately ramiform, and Suri never peers beyond the surface.

Indian publishers, who deem novels written in India as scarcely worth the paper they're written on, must read The Age of Shiva. It might shame them into reconsidering the slush pile.

From my scrapbook: An interview with Manil Suri when he attended the Jaipur litfest in late Jan. From a supplement of the Hindustan Times dated 31 Jan. Click to see larger (and readable) image.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fakers, False Feminism and Flotsam:

I am sure you would understand that if it were not to be the significance of this issue, I would not have called upon your attention. The subject, I believe is important both for India as a social construct and for Indians- by this I restrict myself to thousands vulnerable young minds who stand exposed to the vanities of some insane individuals roaming about freely on the net.

It is a trend we had discussed before with some alarm; that of almost every other Indian with a modem declaring himself as a feminist, without the least idea of what it means or its current position or form in the contemporary times. And in turn, influencing many other susceptibles, thus substantially imperiling its validity, veritability, itself.

The present series is related to the unfortunate molestation incident that you might have heard recently that happened on the early hours of New Year day in Bombay. Reportedly, two women while walking with their partners were sexually touched and groped by a boatload of uncouth men who could not come up with a better idea to start the year with. But thanks to couple of brave journalists, who happened to be at the premise, not only was further damage contained but also the shameless episode was caught on film and subsequently and rightfully made an issue, which is taking its own course now.

Well then, it is not new to our knowledge that such incidents naturally bring about the best of the social outpourings. More so and more often in the Indian blogosphere, where, it is a habit to show your camaraderie with your friends by exchanging cognition, the formulaic construct of which is defined by commending each other for their views and collectively attacking any sign of slight disagreement.

But in relation to the Bombay incident it seems that such an Indian congregation has outdid itself. My first contact to the whole episode was through a forwarded mail. With some disbelief I read the words asking women to come out and enlist the details of their sexual abuse. For whatever purpose it was put up, I must say I have never come across more uglier words anywhere. As you can see, the unbelievably appalling sentiment ended up making me crisscross (no pun) the preceding events and posts.

Here is the background account. It would be clearer if we trace it in its chronological order. And, I suggest you check on the links before proceeding with my post so that you can make your own impression for the discussion, and not be, influenced by mine.

In the background of aforementioned molestation incident, a blogger named Sakshi wrote this post, which was linked to by Desipundit which I gather is a sort of blog-consortium that assorts together various posts of the day in the blogosphere by linking to them. With the Sakshi’s link though it seems to have triggered a huge debate.

The bone of the contention: One group arguing that Sakshi has been misread and misinterpreted; the phrase-the crux of the conflict being ' blaming the victims ' which was used as the linking words by someone named Lekhni to describe Sakshi's post on the Desipundit template. The other party vociferously arguing that the mentioned phrase was apt and reflected Sakshi's intention to blame the victims and soft-pedal an imposing patriarchal model by asking women to be safe. The discussion like any other such discussion by Indian bloggers has remained inconclusive and devoid of any new perspective; In fact has snaked away into imaginative arguments about seat belts. All in all, as always, both the parties have ended up holding onto what they already believed in with the ultimate sign of conviction- to each his own. However, this time around though, it did not quite end there.

Not content with the disagreement, one other blogger, the main voice of accusing Sakshi of covert patriarchy, a chap called Falstaff found himself a chance to score a Brownie point by posting another entry here that requested women to enlist the shape, form and co-ordinates of any violation they have experienced. The purpose of the post as claimed was to somehow support a frustrating argument that has been already abandoned. And it was this post that was brought to my mail box with a subject line: schoolboy does it again!
With all the patience that you know I can permit myself around such idiocies, I have read all the posts. From my impression these are my views and contentions:


On the why of the misinterpretationism:

Speaking of the primary post, had I come across it in a neutral context, I am sure I would not have thought of it any more or any less than an open advice. The likes you often see in magazines and TV shows. Personally I don't think the post implies the notion that women are responsible for their own safety any more than men, animals and ghosts are for their own. And certainly never by any length of suggestion that women, well, are to be blamed for perverts who lack manners and behaviour; latitudes and lipsticks notwithstanding. However, if we really have to regard such hot-blogging as a serious affair, I think the post lacks a centre and enshrouds its own intent of purpose. Besides, as you can notice, the post is more or less a rendition of common-sense of real time and space. But, having said that and after following the counter arguments I think it can be seen that the intent of the post is to a certain extent confounded by the use of dubitable phrases, two of them that I discovered by couple of readings- moral of the story (what story?) and better sense must prevail; However, the post is crystal on two aspects: Safety-that women aren’t safe anywhere? Perverts exist! So we should keep an eye on ourselves. Secondly women should mind their drink: excess becomes, on many levels hideous. (more on these later)

Sakshi is entitled to hold her views. If the views are polemical, she is obligated, within the framework to justify or expound on her views. And her views alone. This is what is judged? She is neither obligated to explain any one single or all the possible interpretations of the views nor she is open to be questioned if she should have held such a view in the first place. But this is precisely what Sakshi has been, comment after comment bullied to explain. This is a classical instance of that lovely and underrated theory by Derrida [Sorry cant seem to find better link for Derrida's text online] which fits like a fuck in the post-modern world [Remember Danish Cartoons?]

And this is the chant passed as debate: Oh why oh why oh why you think such? You are wrong because I think it is consistent with patriarchy or whatever the bollocks I can think it is? Now, If you don’t explain why it is not (consistent with patriarchy) then you must be wrong, which I think you already are.

Consider an example: Lets say I don't like Jews. The judgment on this view should be based on and only on why I hold this view. And if I state openly my view, it doesn’t make me obligated to explain ideologies, anti-Semitism, Nazism or make me one of its supporters. Such a reductionist expectation naively equates anti-Semitism to not liking Jews! I might just not like because they make me pray too long before the food, which, as a matter of fact is not anti-Semitism.

I think all of us can do the substitutions.

Holycows on a witch hunt:

Meanwhile, at the Desipundit site, the vagaries of thoughts and the anguish of post-modern cubicle existence can be seen in full flow. The debate starts between the usual realist-nominalist schools and proceeds to seat belts and sausages. The first group led by alpha articulate Falstaff (PBUH), convinced about Sakshi's ulterior christian intent to soft swaddle a subliminal anti-feminist message in a saheli talk, has repeatedly subjected her to full-frontal attack and open vilification. Based on an assumption, the gang has logically extended the argument to its own desired end, and consummated Sakshi's view in an allegation (vide supra). In the process has, disregarded both-the intricacies of the feminist ideology as well the autonomy of the writer.

As for the argument, it is best described as unfounded for it does not provide any form of evidence that would either support the allegation or preclude a defence. Speaking of the allegation itself, it is neither drawn by deductive nor inductive reasoning from the post, but purely imaginative (drawn out of thin air)! All of this is not new; it is the good old Fragile Girl Theory of the eighties which argued that society exists, in all its form to victimize women and women alone. Meaning: the world existed to make women extinct. Such paranoia, was chucked out in toto in no time by Christina Sommers which is why you probably might not have heard it.

So in summa, we have an allegation which has no evidence but only belief. Like : I believe you meant this and this alone and therefore you are wrong. If you aren’t wrong then you must be wrong. So what would you like then: to burn or to drown?

I suppose since we are not medieval anymore, we are not allowed such pleasures but expected to clarify: both the intent and the content.

On intent:
But then, Sakshi the very writer of the purportedly outrageous (you wish!) post has been given no space to confirm or deny if she intended to blame the victims. Even when out of her own initiative she has denied repeatedly and categorically the presumptuous charge of any intent to lay the blame on the victims or as her allegers believe peddle in patriarchy she has been totally ignored for convenience!!! No one from Desipundit has explained the reasons for the continued insistence of the validity of the interpretation.From the interactions, it is inferable that the general sentiment of the arguing school, cheered by a few low-lives, is visibly punitive and ornery.

It is worthy to state this again because people seem to have missed it. The writer has been held accountable to one allegedly implied view which has no reasonable proof; no proprietary claim by the writer yet is propagated as a criminal act. This is fundamentalism. If we really understand the meaning of the word then the debate- another widely misunderstood term as I found out, ends here.

But then if we don’t give them the benefit of the doubt then we are making the same mistake we have accused them of:

Desipundit has been questioned by many independent readers regarding the contentious words which form the link. Also, its worth to the claim of having interpreted the post rightly. I personally have tried to understand the underlying reasoning in the continued insistence on the righteousness of their impression as the sole possibility, despite the fact that the writer has openly refuted and disowned the intent. Till date, there have been three apologetic defences on record:

The first by a certain Neha, who says thatMost of us are bound to come to that conclusion” (and by implication that alone). She also personally tries to convince me that there isn't any ulterior motive in Desipundit's intent but that “When sometimes people write posts things tumble away and give meaning other than what the writer intended”.

I dont have to tell you that such thoughts are the product of a mind that has been closed; well, at least in the context.

The other one by Lekhni, the one who linked the post, the messenger, as she sees herself states “There are so many different concepts in the universe that all of you cant try to comprehend”.

Of course, surely. For one, such reasoning is beyond me. I simply can’t understand the fact that when both the sender and recipient/s of the message are disputing its passage, she thinks herself as only an innocent conveyor.

At the moment, I am trying to look more into- if these issues are because of lack of reason or culture.


To the content and the contentions:

A sentence can only say, it can’t be, in any realm expected to show. As long as it fulfills that, it can be true.

~ Ludwig Wittengenstein, explaining why logic isn’t true in society in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Before we move to the content and my views on it we must understand the contested perceptive values and the abstracted notions which the content includes.Though this is likely to be more of a monologue, I believe, given the confusion and the subsequent rhetorics I have noticed it has given rise to, we can only put all of it into perspective by clearly explaining the attributes involved: responsible, safe, blame, victim, (therefore, freedom, society and law)

Freedom is a value, a right to live freely and openly within an agreed framework. It is not a fancy to do whatever you want whenever you wish! That is anarchy. Since the demands upon such a framework, society in this instance are heterogeneous, it tries to harmonize the divisive extremities into a collective common of best interest by generating a concept of law. Law is best defined, I think in phenomenological terms as the representative wisdom of the people and the times. Within this defined framework, we are to claim our rights by following our duties.

Here, it is important to note that it does not include the two extremes – evolutionary consciousness of instinct (common sense) or flights of fantasy (ideals, idiocy or illness).

This means, to give an example, we are free to chop our hands off. It is not against the law.Yet no one does it. Law presupposes that such knowledge has been internalized by centuries of instinctive memory. On the other hand (if you haven’t done away with it) it isn’t illegal to argue that numbers (1, 2, 3...) or adjectives (moron, millionaire etc) or separate toilets for men and women should be banned because they are against principles of equality. Yet, no one does. Well except a few who can only see the numbers and alphabets of the keyboard.

It is for the reasons above, that law, promises freedom but only strives to preserve safety. This means, regardless of whether you are a man, woman, Hamlet or his father you are free to walk the streets at 3 am but you cannot insist that the statue must ensure your safety i.e. that no one attacks you. Followingly, if you are attacked, the charges are of assault not danger!

In the spirit of striving for this safety the state advises you against the possible dangers at various fronts in a variety of forms: expiry dates (food, medicine), condoms (sex), parental guidance (entertainment), smoking (leisure). It is neither obligatory nor legally required to follow them. You are held accountable to yourself alone. No autonomy or freedom is undermined. In other words, by following them you will not ensure your absolute safety or by ignoring them you will not attract sanction. Meaning you are held accountable to only your choice of discretion. That is responsibility.

It is one of the infinite abstractions unique only to man. Others, to name a few are: justice, humour, risk, and love (the most abused one) . These all are learnt in life by all of us when we are in our early teens. These are arbitrary values of unique subjective significance. It is to moderate the potential heterogeneous excesses of such attributes did society bring the law in the first place. (above)

The example in question is an amazing irony because Sakshi reiterates commonsense (as described above) that women should watch their back, mind their drink etc. Yes, perhaps needless, but the role of such a sentiment in the society has been explained. In the arguments, it is countered with the other end of the pole- delusions of fancy- which can only exist as a priori truth in mathematics. For instance, why shouldn’t someone be whacked out of their minds?
If such an act had no variables exclusive of the act itself or no bearings from the act, ie a value in the realm of mathematics, (say number 17, which is free as number 17 and nothing else) it is true. Unless proved otherwise. The event alluded to, unfortunately did not take place in mathematics!

This means our arguments must be valid to the defined set and the context of what is being talked about. But as I see that has been ignored in favour of vain rhetorics. Also, in the background of this gross overlooking, there are couple of rumours doing rounds that putting together such rhetorics, with a comma and a conjunction in a syntax is reasoning!! (Why haven’t proofreaders and secretaries ever given rise to philosophical schools?) Let us dispel all notions of such arguments one by one.

Howzat 1:

Asking women to exercise caution is blaming the women?

This is the fundamental premise of the interpretation and the argument. This is one of the astounding leap of delusional logics I have seen.
Consider this: Women are advised to examine their breasts regularly, now if they develop a lump then everyone in the world would blame them for it?
Consider scenarios where a second party is involved: Say, women are asked to be careful during being out in a night; now if she gets murdered she is to blame? Would this mean it is not a crime and the murderer is not a criminal?
If it doesn’t apply in such contexts why is it applied here? Would she not be the same woman? Why doesn’t anyone object to such advices?
And what exactly is some blame, as it is mentioned in the link?

Tip, Googly: The opposite of responsibility is not blame.

Howzat 2:

Asking someone to be safe implies they aren’t safe enough?

This is absurd! As explained above safety is an abstract attribute and not a value in logic. It is based on perception of risk, which again is an abstract subjective value. There exist departments and disciplines for risk management.(fact)

One where I work, we know that the risks are not quantifiable or cant be qualitatively concurred upon; to use the defining phrase: not objectively predictable and not objectively preventable. Hence we bring in measures to minimize and manage it; one of them might be to take actions to prevent the risk.
And since we always work(or live) with a belief that we aren’t safe enough, it doesn’t imply we are off-gaurd. It doesn’t imply that we were careless every time there was an incident. Every woman who is reading this in her heart knows this. And yet every time she hears a Danger-story, she wants to put the learning hat on and introduce an apt safety measure into her safety structure. That's Darwin.
So if we go to a higher threat level (orange/red) that means we are more vulnerable than before and that alone, it never means we are/were complacent or ignorant!!!( How preposterous!)

Tip, Chinaman: For women or anyone there isn’t any absolute safety. We strive for it though. (Vide supra)

Howzat 3:

Asking someone to be safe is a value judgment of omission? So if you ask some one particular to be safe (or whatever) it means a judgment of their safety (or lack there of)?

The foolishness of the argument is impossible even for imagination. We have already defined the nature and form of risk and the place of advice in the scheme of things.
So if I ask my girlfriend to take care, that means she is reckless and vagabond? And if she doesn’t happen to take care as I had asked her to, and god forbid should something happen , I am going to judge her/blame her?

Tip, Off spin: Lets not get ahead of ourselves and our lives, which we seek to enrich. We all live a life, we dont think it out.

Howzat 4:

If you ask someone to be safe then you should define safe, when where and the time?

This is heights of existentialism from where we can only fall into hinterland of vast uselessness. Again let us not forget the significance and individuality of value of the word safe and the definition of risk. This arbritariness is what we deal with day in and day out. This is how we live, love.

For the purpose here, imagine this fictional conversation between Sartre and Simone-

Sartre: Bye, honey.

Simone: Bye, I love you.

Sartre: Er, excuse me, Define Love.

Simone: ? What?

Sartre: Define love?

Simone: er? Get lost.

Sartre: Define get lost? Where should I get lost to?

Simone: Ok You pig! Define Define.

Sartre: !!@"£!! errr.....I’ll get back to you.

Simone: Don’t bother.

Yes the hilarity of the conversation is a prompt reflection of the utility of the argument in the given context.

Tip, Half Volley: How, where, when? It was said long back:
Quantum vis, quantum sufficit, quantum libet-- as much as sufficient, as much you please, as much you wish. Yes,
It is up to you. Really. ( No not Radiohead =), Commonsense.

Howzat 5:
Since you haven’t told me when and where to be safe then you are so terribly wrong in advising about safety?

This is reasoning? That to ask people to be responsible (however silly) you have to define where and when? Isn’t such thinking a farce of the farce of the farce? This confounds the very meaning of responsibility (as above).

So if Sakshi says, Yes it is not safe at Camden market at 3 am. She and Falstaff will go and check it out at that time? And if some hapless fellow misbehaves with Falstaff, then should we infer Camden market is unsafe forever? Or if he is not bullied does that mean it is safe forever?

It isnt funny. No Sir. But people who ask such questions believe since two people cant agree on a definition of dangerous premise (arbitrary) as dangerous (subjective value) across time, space and matter, one shouldnt regard anything or any place or anytime as dangerous at all! And since what one can regard is different from other, one should never venture to use the word dangerous unless one defines it by time, space and matter? What Nonsense?
What is the premise that defining the location and time going to prove in the context?

Tip, outswinger: Articulation is conveying a concept, a thought; not assassinating your own character grammatically.

Howzat 6:

Telling anyone to be safe is okay, but telling women to be safe is promoting patriarchy?

That is a classical stereotype of the eighties feminist mind (after all bras were burnt, acid-trips were had, rock stars were slept with): Eternally offended by patriarchy and wanting to fill it into the vacuity of their and everyone else's lives. This has been picked up some aimless and mediocre Indian minds and used on the internet just to prove their fashion-liberalism over people who don’t know much. Let’s see why and how they are inconsistent.

There are thousand messages aimed at women daily: beauty, health, grocery, safety.

Some might recall women in India are warned about chain-snatchers on buses and public places. The other day, I remember someone in Indian blogosphere writing women should be careful on orkut and people were falling on themselves to agree with him. No one questioned him of pushing in patriarchy? But as we are going to see, questioning here is not only poor understanding of patriarchy but also feminism. I think there were some discussions to this effect on Desipundit.

First Patriarchy is not in itself or even by implication asking women to be safe. Or locking up women for the fun of it. The fundamental basis of Patriarchy is women discriminated against and dominated over for control. And further, only because they are women.

If I persuade my girlfriend to stay at home today because I am concerned that if we go out, she is going to swipe my card clean, it doesn’t constitute patriarchy. But if I say you should not go out because you are a woman that’s patriarchy.

In the post Sakshi hasn’t discriminated against women because of their gender, nor has she asked them to submit their control to men. She is only asking women to mind themselves against what she so eloquently puts as sexually frustrated fuckers. Further, she has said both women and men should watch their drink. She, however has also stated, that she doesn’t like women being pissed and making themselves vulnerable which is entirely personal and not discriminatory. That is a matter of experience and I concurr. Personally, I have seen the sight of women being touched totally unaware whilst under the influence of alcohol as well had not so very proud moments of being carried munted on high-street by mates on early Saturday mornings. Hence, such a view isn’t discriminatory or intended to be dominant against womanhood; it is only a matter of learning. I am sure women and men who have gone out, seen and experienced things would agree. (Btw, that doesn’t constitute a value judgment on people who haven’t.)
All this is only an example of Isaiah Berlin's theory .

Tip 6 leg break: Drink your drink do not let the drink drink you.( Dont tell, I know I am being stupid here )

Thats an over.

All that said, what is the insane idea that patriarchy is wrong in all contexts?

There are so many South Indian Brahmin women I know who are educated, intelligent but who don’t want to subject themselves to the disapproval of their fathers. Or they want to go at length to make their fathers approve of their choices. (Arranged marriage?) Though this is changing, it is but still prevalent. This is real hard fact. Not fantasy!

Last week, I interviewed a woman from Congo with an interpreter. (My French isn’t sensitive enough for such interviews). She was serially raped in her own house (safety anyone?) in front of her husband who was killed later. She was trafficked to UK and in the process she was exploited by different men in various capacities in many countries because she was on her own. Home office wouldn’t have her and she cant get back to her country and her family which has been killed.The sad part is she says a few months back she was living happily with her husband and earning a living working from home (weaving). Perhaps she was submitting to his will in their culture, but she was content and functional? All her painful memories are when she was out of his protection. The interpreter, neither acquainted nor trained to deal with such gruesome tales was in tears.

These are facts and not poetry or movie reviews. The examples are to show the positive influence of patriarchy. Personally, I dont approve of it and believe it has to be systematically phased out. But that doesnt include jumping on dubious online posts, arguing when the intent is denied, and asking women to give evidence of their abuse to feel good about ourselves. If that is, count me out.
The most important point is to set the tenets of what form of patriarchy is acceptable and to what extent without undermining the autonomy of women in general and a woman in particular in a given context? That's a point to think for a real debate. (Think No.1)

I have cited so many examples of advices in our lives involving women: breast lump, road and online safety, chain-snatching, domestic violence, relationships. No one in the society we live has questioned their validity till now or alleged that such messages are patriarchal. But we all jump on and about when the context is sex? Notwithstanding the intricacies of all such advices and if possible ignoring subtexts of the sentiments they imply, let's just step back a bit and think who exactly is equating women to their bodies here?

On the Falstaff of it:

Now lastly, as if such nonsense wasn’t enough, Falstaff went on to post this hideous blog while a few extras of the internet who can’t think even if paid for, approved of it in no time.

Here I must share a few observations on Mr. Falstaff and co., the modus operandi is post it hot, cook black & white soup and kill any dissent. When challenged justify your view by attacking proofreading and copywriting skills(which can be paid for) and eventually become silent and dismiss the rest of the world on those grounds. Ditto this blog too.

Coming to the blog itself, after you have managed to ignore the over-spilling self love , the most you can do, if at all you can manage, is to infer it is morbid.

Firstly, on a moral level, (vide Kohlberg above) it is: So, when did you stop beating your wife? argument. If women respond (thanks none did) then as we all know, he would have subjected them to a synchoretic cross-examination reminiscent of the melodrama in a 1980s Hindi movie climax. ( Magar, Tinaji us wakht aap wahan kya rahi thi?, aapki paas saboot hain?) to such an extent that women would feel as if they were being molested?

If they don’t respond (women are always smart) then oh eureka, I proved it? I am the feminist. So we have proved beyond doubt that Sakshi was wrong in advising women to be safe? See win-win.

The idiocy of the argument is, given the nature of it, a joke no one can laugh at. I am sure, the intent is not perverse or malice but it is so deeply swimming in its own vanity even to realize that the page would be an investigative search result if some sex-maniac goes overtime in Pennsylvania. ( thats how they operate)

Even limiting ourselves to logic; Kindly see above the relevant paragraph for asking definitions of safety which fits in perfectly here.

So if women don’t come out and tell him about it, that means to infer there is no one woman in the world who feels they could have watched out a bit more? Is that it? What Rubbish! And even if someone came would that mean it is wrong? I have discussed above how platonic logic is limited in its application to argue in the setting of day to day constraints.

Now lets consider real logic:

The argument is between Sakshi’s view, say X and Falstaff view Y.

Now if the hypothesis Z (the poser question in his blog) is taken to be a proof by exclusion to the second view (Y) , it would still only provide support to the second view. (Y) , and within its own set constraints. How is that going to counter or disprove Sakshi’s view X?

On similar lines, it assumes that all views that arent compatible with X should be agreeable with Y. Furthermore, Y and its hypothetical proof Z assumes everyone who reads Sakshi's post have to arrive at Y except Sakshi. I have read the posts and my view is Y1 which I believe is valid and I think Y is a conclusion of a mind that is disposed to misreading. I can count bloggers for all my fingers of the two hands who dont agree withY.(I have thing for hands?). Therefore it is logically (logically, logically) inconsistent.

Here it goes more plainly: See, I asked this question and no one answered so I am right. But that doesn’t make Sakshi wrong, unless it is logically proved that both X and Y cant be true in the same context. This means that all the women who were/are/being abused etc have to sit before their computers, come to the site and give their view about X and Y. Given that is even possible, then no one should have disclosed all the nonsense requested: Real name time blah blah !!
Figure that? We all know it is a fourth order idea that closely borders on illness- this can possibly be accomodated in one and only one mind. At our age, we are at least expected to sense the stupidity of it, if not know.

Despite all this, just to see how it goes, I have given example to the question asked: Of R vs Benjamin Bree (meanwhile it would be useful for people to know R is Regina which is one of standard anonymous, not give me your real name?). Bree had been sentenced for five years for rape but in this appeals-court verdict the sentence was quashed claiming that the allegation was lacking (not in evidence for the incident, but allegation itself) The basis of acquitall was secondary effects of excess alcohol. (Her memory was patchy). There are many more such cases. I know two personally where women have regretted and felt they shouldn’t have drunk so much.

The point is alcohol has lot of acute effects, the very reason why it is consumed, but if done in excess (the notion of excess itself can be influenced by the alcohol , google for Mallenby effect). To name a few pertinent effects here: disinhibition, decreased reflexes, delayed co-ordination, imbalance, impaired vision, increased sexual drive (this is regardless of gender) and impairment of short term memory.

All of them, would render both men and women vulnerable for exploitation and even when exploited, it is sticky wicket esp. with memory impairment. So if the defence lawyer can prove to the jury that your memory was impaired then your allegation is going to be shaky. That whether you were so careless enough to make yourself drunk to an extent you might have consented and not known? As in the above case. So, be careful. I know personally of women who woke up with someone they didn't recognize in the morning.
But as expected, all these cannot be digested if you have already made up your mind on what to believe and what is right. So naturally, my points were first missed, then not understood, and having not understood and not to my surprise refuted away. With guess what? It’s all patriarchy argument.

Of Misliberalism:

Some of you here have asked me whether such ignorant sentiments should actually be worth our time. Mostly No. But not always. None of us are perfect but then it is important to address a problem when it sets a dangerous precedent, and more so when it is always from one source and passed on ignorantly as some rare esoteric wisdom.

I think it is here I should speak of Falstaff; I have never before spoken of any one blogger or likely to again but I speak now because I think he is setting a dangerous example of some false liberalism without any understanding either by thought or by any experience and continues to do so without realizing any of it.

I gather from a source that he is one of the knowledgeable folks on poetry in Indian blogosphere, which is admirable. He has my respect for his enviable grammatical skills and for not using comment moderation( he is not devoid of censoring though). But I humbly feel he should keep himself out of social commentary because his primary thought process is located in a realm of idea outside the paradigm of social functionings. I am certain that he is nothing but nice as a person so what follows is not a reflection of him as a person but only his insane ideas propogated as fashionable on his blog.

The first time I interacted with him was during the Shilpa Shetty Big Brother Row. You might recall that Shilpa Shetty was subjected to racist remarks by two eejits on a TV Show. Sentiments like Indians are undernourished because they eat underprepared food. And Indians live in a shant were expressed on a reality television programme. It was first objected to by disgusted British public and later spilled over into a typical pop-controversy.

Falstaff who having not seen the show(!) thought it wasn’t racist at all (if that isn’t I don’t know what is?) he then went on to argue that people who watch television, more so reality television are morons and instead advised the humanity that they should all read a book to enhance the meaningfulness of our lives. (Don’t ask me)
I am not making it up, funny it may be but it is true. Over here.

What happened: The next week the eejits were voted out by an overwhelming number of British audiences. Both of them lost their contracts and endorsements (in real life) and their sponsors disowned them (in real life). They have been since consigned to obscurity.Shilpa Shetty meanwhile, for whatever it was worth went on to win the show voted by British audience. ( who according to a survey have the highest average for books read per person in the world.)

The second time was when Taslima Nasreen was attacked in Hyderabad, with the incident being captured on film, Falstaff without any shame took the chance here to share his exotic library (yes, a man of letters!) and went on to suggest- you guessed it, to read a book. But this time it was Taslima’s as he himself was reading, in an effort to prove a point to all the illiterate goons who had attacked her. I am sure he found the book hopelessly average.

What happened: Taslima sadly has been packed and parcelled around the land by various governments. She is presently under state protection in an undisclosed location due to concerns of her safety. Also, with shame we must note, she has removed the objectionable sections of her book. Still, things are not settled and considered as brewing.

This time, he has come out with a post intended to elicit the sexual violations of women to prove a point which is flawed even for fantasy as shown above. This is superflous and against the very tenets of the learning theory. This is not one but consistent gaffes of serious lack of judgement clouded by absurd reasoning and hopeless self-righteousness. Something is seriously moribund in such thinking and if not realised now is going to grow into a regret.

With such a bearing, lets return back to his post- which if dismissed as a product of a mindthat cant, even willingly look beyond itself, what about the readers? The folk who pride themselves in announcing that they are feminists even before their names? Though it is there for everyone to see, though it openly humiliates the very women it is apparently is trying to defend, till date there hasn't been a single person who has deemed fit to raise the issue of the offence it purports to women. So much gasbag feminism. And to think of it, all of this to prove a fashionable notion against what even remotely doesn’t constitute a threat to feminism. Even if we assume that the such a sentiment of safety advice, deliberate or not, in some form or the other qualifies to be considered as an veiled attack and a danger to the principles of the freedom of the women, would it, even by any stretch of imagination deserve to be condemned with asking for details of a molestation? Is this Feminism? Or is this the sort of feminism we want to encourage? Are we getting ahead of our own enthusiasms here? ( Think No.2)

Reflecting upon it, is it not in the beauty of this evident irony: in this feeling, that it is or was worthwhile to ask such a, for the lack of better word, irresponsible question lies the proof for the accusation that most feminists or Pro-feminists, try to hide their ego and rationalise their agenda as a form of veiled humanistic movement? It is indeed true that feminism has to fight many battles.

Finally, all of this-- from the attack on Sakshi to this mindless vanity, I believe it is all wrong and I have taken my time and resources to explain my conviction why it is. Not to moral police, not to sound clever, not to vilify or embarrass anyone, but only to register this is wrong. And that alone. Nothing more nothing less. In the post, I have highlighted two points that I feel every one of us should think about. Plus, it would also be useful pondering over, if you wish, of what worth is wanting to hang on to something when its refuted by the only one who was responsible for it?

All said, don’t take it otherwise. I am all for feminism, provided we understand it. All I am saying is this is not.

Europe can thrive without feminism, while American feminism is academic cocktail talk; but the real thrust of future surge is in Asia and Africa.

If India continues to sustain with the current rate of progress that we all are witnessing, in around 20 years we would be able to realize a revolution--millions of women shrouded in the darkness of millennia of oppression would be able to break free from all the cobwebs of history; I am speaking of not one but millions of women, who make India, who perhaps even as we speak now might not have enough to drape themselves with respect, forget someone ripping it off them; Women, who after all these years find themselves in a position to realise their potential and find their own voice. I think it is up to us, that we help them find that voice and when they find it, make sure it is the right voice- free with all the possibilities and free from prejudice. I think we owe it to them.

Thank you for your patience, hope it was worth it.