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Neenaz Ichaporia
Tuesday , November 26, 2013

'Her wishes don't count': troubling commentary on the Tarun Tejpal sexual assault case

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The cacophony around the Tarun Tejpal sexual assault allegations has grown so loud that I feel we have missed the point of both the survivor's words as well as her silence. We have stopped listening to others and to what we ourselves are really saying. What troubles me are the appalling and downright callous statements emanating from all sides. Some from the very people that claim to be in support of the victim, or vocal champions of women's rights. Others from journalists. The comments quoted in this blog have largely been made in the social media, a semi-private yet increasingly public space. Take the example of one former journalist - female - who raised the disturbing question of why the victim didn't come forward sooner. Here's a quote from the post on social media, "And yes i also support the fact that the 'victim's' 'letter' was published. I think....

Thursday , March 29, 2012

The other side of Hu Jintao's visit: racial profiling

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National integration, unity in diversity. Forget all the civics lessons and ignore any government propaganda. It's all bunkum anyway, if anything is to be learned from my run-in with the Delhi police during the ongoing visit of Chinese president Hu Jintao. If you are wondering what national integration has to do with the visit of a foreign plenipotentiary to our land, read on. Hu Jintao is visiting New Delhi to attend the BRICS summit, a meeting between representatives from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, mainly to discuss trade and economic issues. But before Mr. Jintao and the Chinese delegation's visit, protests regarding Tibet proved unavoidable. The desperate self-immolation of a Tibetan youth in the national capital sent the watching media and security apparatus into a frenzy. This brings us to my personal experience, and in this case the personal is definitely the political. I....

Friday , April 02, 2010

Disney killed The Little Mermaid

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Snow White, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, The Twelve Swans, The Princess and the Pea. All these fairy-tales tell the story of a young girl, innocent and beautiful, suffering for her love and that love's 'just reward' - the proverbial 'happy ending'. So if little girls grow up expecting to be rescued from the boredom and drudgery of everyday life by a Prince Charming on a white horse (or its modern equivalent - a Mercedes coupee), only to be bitterly disappointed by the realities of existence, it's easy to find a scapegoat. Blame Disney, DreamWorks and the movie studios for selling us sentimental drivel, tales that begin 'once upon a time' and end 'happily ever after'. Even 'reality television' has followed suit. What is the modern make-over show such as 'Covershot', but a re-enactment of the night-of-the-ball scene in Cinderella, where the household drudge is....

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

To the moon and back

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'Buy a piece of the moon today!' No, I haven't gone looney writing this blog, I've simply gone lunar. It's not often that one can claim to be gobsmacked, by which I mean genuinely, honest-to-goodness started or tickle-me-pink amused. But last night while clicking through my Facebook page; a little corner advertisement achieved just this effect. 'Now you can really promise someone the moon...' Our friends at the Lunar Embassy in the UK are doing just that. For a fee, they claim they will sell you a sizeable bit of land on the lunar landscape. Sealing the deal are the following add-on items: A stylish metallic box, a lunar deed in your name, and a lunar site map showing your property's location. Ok, if this claim fails to send you into orbit or leaves you universally unimpressed then please click through to either....

Friday , January 08, 2010

Her Lonely Battle

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When I first found Gayatri Devi, she was a lonely crumpled figure, roaming around the emergency ward of RML hospital, here in the national capital. I watched her for a few minutes, wondering if she was in fact the person I was looking for. All I had was a name and a description, '90 years old, a tiny woman but with a great spirit, speaks Maithili.' It didn't take me long to figure out I had found her. She was the only unaccompanied person in the ward, and was asking the staff for directions in the dialect of Bihar. So this is my freedom fighter, I thought to myself as I approached. What a terrible state to be reduced to, so old and all alone in this cold and hostile place. A friend had told me her story. 'There's an old woman from Bihar who claims she was....

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A Towering Controversy

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I read the reports with increasing dismay. The blinkered view that European politicians take of their national identities is short-sighted and unsustainable in the long run, given current migration patterns. Here in India, I have grown up with very different ideas of secularism and inclusiveness. As in all cultures, differences scare us too, yes. But the way to deal with these differences cannot be to place blanket bans on the outward indicators of cultural fission. Commanding a woman not to wear a headscarf or stopping the building of minarets is a bit like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand at the first sign of danger. If you don't see the differences, does that mean the differences will just go away? The rightist Swiss politicians have little moral authority. While loudly condemning conformity to traditional Islam, they are only really telling people to exchange one type of....

Friday , December 19, 2008

Voices From The City Of Dreams

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'Dear Neenaz, I have been feeling a void for a long time now since those 3 days, and every article or blog, of anger, sadness & grief is doing little to the empty feeling. Bothers me that the attack, if we can call it that, and everything that followed in terms of words, discussions primetime newsrooms, statements by the political class....all of it is so familiar, repetitive and empty. Life has become one tuneless broken record. Love, Namrata'. This was my friend's response when I mailed her the first draft of my blog on the Mumbai terror attacks. Disquieted, I re-read it and found that, in a way, she was right. The sentiments I had expressed echoed hundreds of blogs, articles and opinion pieces written in the past few weeks. Despite being a Mumbaiite myself, I could see her point perfectly. In the days following....

Saturday , October 18, 2008

Big fight, small community

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There's a quiet revolution underway in one of Mumbai's most well recognised minority communities. Over the past two weeks, Parsis have been coming out to vote for whom they'd like to see in control of their richest body, the Bombay Parsi Punchayet. The election may not be on the scale of a general election, or even a state poll. But the campaigning has been just as fierce and the excitement is just as palpable. To some, the 'bickering' of the community may seem like a storm in a teacup. After all, how many do they number? According to some figures, less than one lakh worldwide. So why should the average Indian care? Because, one of the world's oldest religions is making its last stand. And though they are few in number, they are big on passion, big on ideas and big on debate. The average Mumbaikar....

Tuesday , June 24, 2008

Fighting Demons

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On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court ruled that a person convicted of raping a child cannot be given the death penalty. The decision has reignited a long standing ethical dispute. The judges themselves were almost evenly split on the issue, five voted against the death penalty, four in favour of it. While the ruling has found some support, its detractors are many. That includes both presidential candidates, Barack Obama and John McCain. While the ruling has set the world talking, it got me thinking about similar issues closer to home. The sexual assault on a six year old girl traveling on a school bus in Hyderabad, elicited shocked reactions from people earlier this month. The convent school student was the last child on the bus when she was reportedly abused - and possibly raped - by the bus driver. Only six months ago, a bus attendant raped another....

Saturday , April 19, 2008

A Protest in Pictures

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CHILDREN OF TIBET These little ones were out in the hot sun with their parents, probably unaware of the hubbub around them, of the reason why they were there. But rebellion, joy, mischief, pain, unhappiness, and confusion, are as clearly etched on these young faces as on their parents'. FACES This is a cause that unites people from all walks of life, irrespective of age, gender and profession. While there were some disturbances at the Olympic torch relay at Rajpath, the Janpath protest was peaceful. Sloganeering and long speeches took up most of the protestors' time. For the police personnel posted on the spot, there was little to worry about. The more pressing concern seemed to be the heat, after all cops are human too.


More about Neenaz Ichaporia

Neenaz Ichaporia is a book lover, a teacher and communications trainer, former full-time journalist and occasional blogger and writer (she promises to try and turn the 'occasional' into 'frequent'). Originally a Mumbai girl, she now lives and works in Delhi, where she is busy making forays into all of these fields.


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