International Day in Support of Victims of Torture

Given the current situation, suddenly there is seems to an increase in public lynching, police versus the commoner situation. So maybe today is the right day to see where we are on this one.

In 1997 UN launched the international day in support of torture victims this is a result of the UN convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This convention is binding according to international law

Torture could be infliction of physical or mental pain through violence, fear or massive humiliation. The UN also includes governmental torture like police or interrogative procedures to extract confessions, but pain or suffering caused by legal penalty is not considered torture.

In India the use of torture is quite widespread and predominant it is quite unchallenged and unopposed that it has sadly become normal and legitimate practise in investigating crimes or extracting confessions. Women face custodial rape, molestation and other form of sexual harassment, this is not just inflicted on accused but legitimate petitioners, complainants or informants are also subjected to inhuman degrading treatment that violates human dignity.

The constitution of India provides for life , dignity and honour in the chapter of fundamental rights, that makes it the primary obligation of the judiciary to ensure that its dignity is maintains. Article 5 of UDHR 1948 specifically proclaims, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”.  Article 7 of ICCPR (International covenant on civil and political rights) adds an addendum that no one shall be subjected without his free consent to medical or scientific experiment.  The Human Rights Commission has been delegated the responsibility of implementation of the above decree under the Article 40v-4 of ICCPR, the purpose of this article is to maintain human dignity, it is applicable even in situations of public emergency.

The Human rights committee includes corporal punishment at educational institutes and patients in medical institutions.

The Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment,(CAT) adopted on Dec.10th 1984 aims to prevent and prohibits acts of torture  in the

Article 1     it defines torture.

Article 2     says torture cannot be justified even during war or public emergency

Article 3     forbids states parties to expel or extradite a person to another state where there are substantial grounds for believing that he could be in danger of being tortured. It also allows the extradition of people accused on torture.

The implementation of this is monitored by a Committee Against Torture which consists of 10 experts elected by the state parties to the convention and they serve in their personal capacity.

India has signed the convention against torture but not ratified it, India has expressed concern over Art.20 and Art.22 of the convention.

Victims of torture tend to feel a lot of rage and focus on revenge and very defensive.  Torture survivors tend to get angry at the slightest provocation resulting in people staying away from them, social isolation and loneliness has tremendous impact on the person’s physical and mental health. Anxiety disorder triggered by recurring nightmares and flashbacks could happen. Sounds and sights associated with the torture could trigger the anxiety episode. Post torture anxiety victims tend to avoid social situation where they fear being judged, embarrassed or humiliated. Depression is wide spread in torture survivors and could experience recurring thoughts of death and suicide.  There are victims who go to great lengths to avoid thoughts, conversations, activities and places that could trigger a recollection of the trauma, leading to social withdrawal and isolation this is Emotional Numbing And Avoidance. Some torture survivors are suffer from hyper arousal, this is a condition where they are very vigilant and alert and are easily startled, this is a constant state and does not need a trigger. This in turn makes them stressed and angry many times they are not able to handle day to day activities. They tend to have outburst of angers. About 51% of the people suffering from post torture tend to exhibit sexual dysfunction particularly if they have suffered sexual torture or rape.  This at times is linked to depression or PTSD this in turn could affect the person’s confidence and the way he or she interacts socially.

The psychological effect varies with each individual so it becomes necessary to plan the treatment also case by case.


World College Radio Day

We were on one of our family road trips, my daughter and MrD were arguing over the two FM stations, the thought struck that television, radio, and all the sources of amusement and information surround us in our daily give us an illusion that our mind is active, for somewhere along the line we are conditioned to react to an external stimulus. But their power rather limited when it comes to keeping our mind going to an extent they are like drugs. We grow used to them and we continuously need more and more of them. after a while they have no effect, look at the number of people going to sleep with the TV on. But it kind of retards our tapping of our internal resources, and we cease to grow intrinsically… when we cease to grow we begin to die… with this wonderful intellectual epiphany I continued to reflect on the topic.

When we grew up in the 70- 80’s there were no televisions, forget internet it was all about radio. The news, songs, interviews participating in radio programs was a huge thing. somewhere I thought radio’s were relegated to the past, then came the  community radio concept.

With Lago Raho Munna Bhai, it occurred that the radio had re-invented itself, the world of RJ’s and their PJ’s I mean poor jokes, the creation of programs, think of this our local chain of supermarkets, Magsons has its own radio channel with the jockey saying, “RJ somebody or the other only Magsons FM channel” did I realize that just like in-house magazine there were in house radio channels.

I then discovered the world college radio day, college radio seems to be the happening things on US campus I am actually wondering why are the wannabe – American campus college’s in India don’t have it, more intriguing is how come it is not featured in KJo’s movies.

Anyway why college radio at all? keeping my prejudices away I decided to seriously look at the pros and cons of it all… well it creates the college community, weaves the faculty and students into a fraternity. Communication becomes clean and clear. it helps to put out information on interdisciplinary events, newer courses, announcements of various kinds, disaster awareness creation.

Somehow radio-jockeying has been limited to Journalism and media students or telecommunication students. Yet business management students and finance students would benefit from it too. Let’s look at how it could benefit the student community…

  • Radio-jockeying requires oratory skills, and creative connecting along with curetting music.
  • The listener is a kind of customer, so dealing with listeners helps to develop customer service skills.
  • Current issues and issues relating to the community are often the backdrops for the RJ’s play-list, this creates an awareness of the challenges of the community.
  • Gives problem solving skills
  • Being an RJ would mean showing up on the decided time, this develops a sense of commitment and responsibility towards time.
  • Introduces people to new music.
  • It also allows for lot of fun and goofing.
  • It is an added credence on the resume.

In 2011 the Indianapolis university started this program, and 2012 the movement went global and 600 colleges participated. Events include radio-jockeying marathon. The lone indian participants are  would you like to start your own college radio station then  check this out

At the end of the day what I realized is that everything is an energy we can use it either constructively or destructively.

world radio day-2.jpg

Bye-Bye Binary

“Clad not exactly as a boy but, rather confusingly, as the boy I would have been, had I been more of a girl”
― Sarah WatersTipping the Velvet

November is the month of transgender awareness and education and well as celebrating the gender identity it is different from the assigned sex, this is independent of sexual orientation.

Many experience gender dysphoria some seek therapy.  Some go through life hiding behind what is socially accepted. A current trend in Hindi movies is to have an exaggerated transgender.

Being a transgender is not funny,  and parents sorry to disappoint you, when your kids turn out bi- or transgender or even gay, it is not about you… if you happen to reject them or cleanse them with holy water it is not going to change them all that will happen is you will lose them.

Being a transgender could be either psychological or physical and the journey to self acceptance and acceptance in the society is usually quite traumatic. The individual gets quite discriminated on some simple examples

  • In the work place they are given lesser opportunities even if they did find opportunities they are accepted into the fold of the community. The last census in the united states revealed that 14% of the transgender are unemployed as compared to the 7% of the general population.
  • Since people are hesitant to rent out apartments to transgender or even sell it to them the reason cited is that the marketability of the rest of the apartments goes down majority of the transgender are homeless or live in make shift shelters.
  • Health insurance is unavailable to the transgender as the health insurance works on binary sexual scenario.
  • A cultural bias that being transgender is a psychological disorder or behavioural issue, that they are liars and frauds had lead to the individuals being socially ostracized.
  • Of routine dehumanization occurs through transgender related jokes.

The most dehumanizing of it all is the use of gender binary spaces like the toilets, and other public utility spaces. The transgender finally out of sheer self preservation either step out the community and relocate to exclusive or secluded communities or they then tend “pass” into the nearest gender in the gender-binary system.

The societies general reaction to transgender is that they are upsetting, because  they are perceived as choosing to inhabit a third space instead of “picking a side”, to some they are upsetting because they do not hide their birth histories, to others they are upsetting when to refuse to undergo a gender defining surgery or therapy. The label attached is the they are simply not trying hard enough to overcome their particular deficiency and become part of the mainstream… that is a particular gender though why they should is beyond me.

I just realized that we make assumptions everyday about other people’s genders without ever seeing their birth certificates, their chromosomes, their genitals, their reproductive systems, their childhood socialization or their legal sex. There is really no such a thing as real gender… gender is as we experience ourselves and the gender we perceive other to be.

Here is the link to a group that is working at giving the transgender their dignity.

The Brew

The first Thursday of November is the international Stout day and stout is a dark beer made of roasted malt or barley.

Like Frank Zappa puts it, you can’t really be a country unless you have a beer and an airline, it helps if you have kind of football team or nuclear weapon, but at the very least you need a beer. Beer tells a story of the people.

Coming to International stout day, it is about celebrating the craft and creating a beer revolution.

beer is essentially about an alcoholic beverage made from malt and flavoured hops. Beer is one of the oldest known beverages. Almost any cereal containing sugar can be fermented and processed to create beer. Stout Beer was first brewed in 1677, it was called so in honour of the sturdy stout porters. From then it has taken on many hues, 1721 the Porter brew was brewed.

Types of Stout beer

  • Milk stout, milk cream is added to the barley, it is quite sweet and is giving to nursing mothers as it is believed to be nourishing.
  • Irish stout is dry and un-sweet it is made from un-malted roasted barley.
  • Porter stout or the English stout is malted roasted barley.
  • Oatmeal stout has oatmeal added to the barley
  • Chocolate stout has noticeable dark chocolate flavour.
  • Oyster is another ingredient often associated with stout and the brew is called oyster stout.
  • Imperial stout is the Russian take on the Stout,
  • While Baltic stout is the Baltic version.

Beers made in India.

  • Kings beer goa.
  • Corona beer
  • Fosters beer
  • Claysburg beer
  • Hayward’s beer
  • Heineken beer

Whoever drinks beer is quick to sleep and whoever sleeps long, who ever sleeps less does not sin, who ever does not sin goes to heaven!! So drink beer. Wonderful isn’t it?

No Girl Left Behind

Today is the international girl child day,

I am looking back, when we grew up gender was never an issue, so to me lot of this stuff that media throws up is strange, yet last year a fellow blogger had put in a question, about girls changing name, I found it idiotic, I still do.

When BlogAdda requested us to blog for the India Today India summit I wrote my next blog before which out of curiosity I asked the 2nd year BBA girls about what do they want out life, and the answers just jolted me out. Most of the girls were from the army settlement with their father serving in the Indian army, they were sent to do graduation because it improves their marriage market, and BBA is because there are no exams, arts se business management behetar hai..

Coming to the point what did the girls want, well they wanted to be allowed to rest on Sunday’s like their brothers did, they wanted to be allowed to do their assignment like their brothers were, in short they wanted to be treated equal to their brothers, fair enough.

I eat the humble pie and acknowledge there are communities were gender inequality does exist.

The global theme of “No girl left behind”  my question is very simple, child marriages are not right I totally agreed, it could lead to young mothers, premature motherhood…well maybe but biologic motherhood happens only when the body is right, and emotional maturity is independent of the biologic age. I do find it very obnoxious that the western world keeps its teenage pregnancy under the wraps and goes to Africa and Asia with a missionary zeal.

It is not just Asia and Africa, look the US election Hillary is being held accountable for her husband’s misbehavior while Trump refuses to take on the onus of his own. When women speak they quote Michelle Obama or Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan but quotes from Lincoln are used a little less.

I remember that my grandparents decided to educate a niece who stayed home after standard 12, to cook and clean. She was academically not performing well, that was put down to her shaky early education, but she went into depression, it turned out she did not want to go to college study and make a career, she happy with her cooking , cleaning and embroidery my grandparents of course gave up clucking and were very upset. But couple of years  later she got married and in her married home she was acquired fame for her embroidery skills which eventually became an economic venture for her.Today she trains people and sells her work.

Maybe we can resolve not leave the girl child behind, we can resolve to give her the choice of destination and the route to reach there, but we also need to give our sons the choice of staying behind.

World Farm Animal Day

Ever thought about this, before the first supermarket appeared on American topography, apparently in 1946 …and in India maybe a decade ago… where was the food? The food was at home, in the garden, local fields or forests, backyards, pantry, food bought from the vendor vending peddling it door to door, or at the weekly market. Most of them fresh off the farms

There were the backyard kitchen gardens, I remember we had tomatoes, lemon and eggplant in or kitchen garden, Baiyamma next door, had a brood of chicken.  There was a whole biologic activity happening. The backyard kitchen not only added to the landscape, it was a living organism, the mushrooming engineering colleges and the Business management courses have turned these, we have little Kitta who is Akshay these days, working in a mall as an attendant, the farms lay barren and the average farmer is over seventy.

There were farms that raised pigs, chickens, and other farm animals, some of them became food, and others became family. Animals that are aware of their feelings and emotions are called sentient animals, this could be negative like pain, frustration and fear, it could be positive like comfort, enjoyment, contentment, and perhaps even delight and joy. Some interesting abilities farm animals.

  • Sheeps can recognize up to 50 other sheep’s faces and remember them for about two years.
  • Cows get excited when they discover how to open a gate leading to a food reward
  • Mother hen teaches her chicks to choose food

Sentience becomes essential as it allows the animals to cope with the world. The animal is able to sense a predator. It also helps animals handle social interaction both within its own species and the between other species.

This becomes relevant, because the evolution of animals occurred to cope with the wild, and domestication has altered the basic motivation and behaviour pattern. When animal husbandry has got institutionalized then many sentient animals are subjected to pain and deprivation. Commercially farmed animals are caged, and are in overcrowded sheds this confinements does not allow the natural animal behaviour.

May be it is in the perception, I mean animals that are eaten are probably not looked on like living, may that could explain why people love dogs and eat cows and not because cows and dogs are fundamentally different.

Here is a quote from the Buddha I think it is pretty interesting…. “Jīvaka, I say that there are three instances in which meat should not be eaten: when it is seen, heard, or suspected [that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself]. I say that meat should not be eaten in these three instances. I say that there are three instances in which meat may be eaten: when it is not seen, not heard, and not suspected [that the living being has been slaughtered for oneself]. I say that meat may be eaten in these three instances.”
― Gautama BuddhaThe Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya

Anyway this attempt at musing basically because today is the world farm animal’s day an international campaign for the farm animal rights movement. The idea is to resources and awareness and animal advocacy campaigns. This is apparently in honour of Mohandas Karmchand Gandhi.

world vegetarian day

October is the month of vegetarian awareness. This was established by the North American vegetarian society in 1977, and the international vegetarian union endorsed it in 1978. The idea is promote joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism, and whole halo of things.

A vegetarian way of living is definitely beneficial.

No I am not one of the wise-ass intellectuals who is going to tell you that eating meat is bad for your health, we are a sovereign democratic republic country we all have the choice of the rate in which we can kill ourselves, and method, contaminated vegetables or unhealthy meat, the choice should be available, as long as somebody’s cold dead body is not blocking my drive way.

Somewhere the biologist in me acknowledges that a human body in no way resembles other meat eaters, we are devoid of the hawk’s bill, or sharp talon, no roughness of teeth, neither does the stomach have the strength to bear the heat of digestion and convert or alter heavy meats. People  contend that they have an inclination for carnivorous food, but unlike other carnivorous animals, they do not eat right away, the kill is brought to the heath, knives and mallets are used instead of bare hands and teeth, the prey has to die, then its flavour masked by boiling, roasting and addition of other spices, changing and quenching the slaughtered gore with sweet sauces that the palate is deceived…isn’t it a hint that it is against the innate nature of humans to eat animate thing?

I still insist that being vegetarian is a personal choice, what I shared above is just random thoughts that float in and out without really devouring my energy.

In the Indian context of course I think meat eating should be banned due to sheer paranoia of the hygiene and health factor. I have seen too many food poisoning cases due to unclean or unhealthy meat.

Scientific studies and government records suggest that virtually all chickens get infected with E.Coli, about 50 – 60% stored in retail stores are still infected, around 8% are infected by salmonella, and many other such microbes are found in various alarming percentages.  Chicks are chlorine bath to remove, slime, odour and bacteria. To ensure that the chicken have that “chicken ” look they are pumped with broths and salty solutions,  may be the same goes for other meats, now you know where the paranoia comes from.agrawala (4)

Meat or no meat.. Vegetables are a must. Jim Davis gives an excellent menu carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie. If we want to go sanskaari, then we go with carrot halwa, lauki parathe, and kadhu ke kheer. But I am a respectable southie so my diet remains, rice –rasam-poriyal.