Pilot Baba and other con-men
India certainly doesn't have a shortage of con-men who fool the public repeatedly in the name of religion. It amazes me that not only the illiterate,poor and uneducated, but also educated and affluent are fooled by these people. Some of these people therefore are extremely powerful and well connected politically. CNN-IBN has done commendable work in exposing some of these people, but as expected has been accussed of insulting Hindus and Hinduism.
Kisses and Courts
This whole Richard Gere kissing Shilpa Shetty controversy has been ridiculous right from the beginning, but the arrest warrant issued by the Jaipur additional magistrate is shocking and a gross misuse of the judicial system. It has rightly triggered an outrage among India's top legal experts who called it a "cheap publicity stunt" that bordered on "judicial indecency".
The magistrate apparently watched a CD of the function where the 'offending' act took place and pronounced that the act (which was a hug and a few kisses on the cheek )was "sexually erotic" and "indecent".... obviously he hasn't seen any recent bollywood movies , if he had quite a few actors and actresses would be charged following his logic.
The ruling has been criticised by former attorney-general Soli Sorabjee as reminiscent of the "Taliban moral police". He goes on to say that "the order is totally unsustainable and makes us look ridiculous." Other top legal experts have said that this is yet another instance of "hounding orders on frivolous complaints" and expressed a view that the act was not one "to deprave the morality of the nation".
I too support the general view that the ruling is incorrect and makes a mockery of the Indian judiciary and , that the high court should take 'suo motu' notice of the order and quash it.
The Art of Deception
If I had read about the dean of a prestigious university in India resigning after nearly three decades at the uni , because of revelations that she had fabricated her academic records, I wouldn't have been too surprised. But the fact that the university in question is the prestigious MIT makes this not only shocking but quite funny to a certain extent!
Women and choices
I admit I didnt follow the recent Supreme Court ruling on partial birth abortions as closely as I would normally have, because my mind like that of most of the United States and the world has been focussed on VT. But the article I read concerns me - in fact like the author, as a woman, I too am outraged by the decision. With even the 'less conservative' Republicans like Rudy Guiliani supporting this ban, its quite alarming to think what a Republican victory will mean for women's reproductive rights in the United States -
I thought I'd write some more today... Although I'd rather be writing on my blog rather than writing my European Union law coursework, the latter beckons since I really do want to graduate this summer!
But here are some interesting and thought provoking articles I read-
The Economist has once again shown itself to be worthy of my regard ;)http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?Story_ID=9040170
On the day of the shooting a friend , who is a phd student was locked in the computer lab in another building for safety - he was trying to find out what was happening from the internet news sites. I was just relieved he was safe.
But each day after the shooting has been awful as more details have been revealed -
Yesterday when I saw the picture of Prof. Loganathan - the Indian prof who was killed I felt physically sick because I knew him - you never imagine such a thing could happen to someone you knew - he was a wonderful man - I first met him at the ISA Association Diwali function and then met him a number of times later. He always stopped and talked to to me on campus to asked me how I was doing and how I was finding American university life. Apparently he was friendly with all newcomers.
Then I heard that an acquaintance was in the classroom that the israeli professor was shot in - he was among the students who jumped out of the window on the grass - he hurt his leg but is safe now.
Today, I saw the detailed map of the building on nytimes.com- the room where most people were killed - 207 Norris - was a class I can never forget- it was my TA class C Programming.
Often when you read about awful incidents you read them objectively like a third person but I guess your perspective shifts when you know people involved or if you have a close connection with the place....
I know I haven't blogged for ages ... I've been really busy with uni work etc and wasn't too inspired to write something voluntarily beyond the loads of compulsory coursework. The events of the last few days have disturbed me enough to blog again...
Virginia Tech -- a school known for engineering and college football has now become a household name for the worst possible reason - a horrific tragedy where 33 lives were lost on 16th April 2007.
I lived in Blacksburg during my first two years in the United States when I attended VT. Blacksburg was an idyllic univerisity town and the small and secure community helped me to made it easier to adjust to university life in a foreign country. Blacksburg was the safest place I have lived in the US- so much so that I could not believe it when I initially heard the news of the shooting on Monday - I was convinced it was the Northern VA campus near DC until I saw the coverage of the campus on TV. I have wonderful memories of Virginia Tech and Blacksburg as a beautiful and peaceful place. My friends and I often complained Blacksburg was boring but the word unsafe never came to our minds- after all it was a huge joke that the crime of the year was the theft of a bike being stolen which had actually been reported in the Collegiate Times! Thats the way a university should be - a safe haven for students - where they come to gain an education without fearing for their lives.
Over the next few days the press will write loads more about the killer, his motives, his mental state etc - the liberal press may write on the fact that VA has the most lax gun laws in the country - anyone can buy guns (ask me - I lived near the NRA headquarters in Fairfax, VA) but unless the government actually acts or does something seriously about access to guns or gun control theres a limitless potential for more tragedies to occur at universities and schools by pyschos who have access to heavy duty guns!
self imposed hiatus
I just realised that my last blog was over 3 months back! That got me thinking about my self imposed hiatus from blogging - am I too busy or have I become too indifferent to things around me that I'm not outraged enough to blog anymore? Maybe I'm just lazy :)
Outdated Laws ??
I was pretty amused when Aki sent me this article about a law against cohabitation in NC.
The article said that NC was one of the 7 states with such a law. Also in these states convicted offenders faced a fine and upto 60 days in jail. Out of mere curiosity I googled "law against cohabitation" and found this link http://www.unmarriedamerica.org/News-About-Us/Anti-cohabitation.htm
It seems the 7 states with laws against cohabitation are Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Arizona and New Mexico "de-criminalized" cohabitation in 2001. (how progressive!)
So I guess this makes a lot of people I know * closely * law breakers;)
I *cannot* believe that these laws still exist even today. Even the county authorities don't take the law seriously I guess , because they don't prevent people who cohabit from buying a home together.. they can do that under federal law as "tenants-in-common".
Oh I really really need to move across the river now..
While the whole country is engaged in debates on whether Terry Schiavo's feeding tube should be disconnected,with the pro-life lobby saying its a "sin" to take a life away, the horrible shooting incident in MN yesterday that claimed 10 lives(including the life of the shooter) seems to be a secondary issue. The shooter in question , a 16 year old named Jeff Weise, shot his grandfather ( a veteran police officer) and his companion, stole additional weapons , a holster, bullet-proof vest and the squad car and then proceeded to Red Lake High School, where he shot the security guard and opened fire on the students. He finally ended the carnage by shooting himself in the head. This is the worst shooting since Columbine in 1999. To be fair, the media is covering this incident avidly, and the President did issue a statement expressing "regret" over the incident. But I'm sure that nothing will happen beyond this - whatever details are revealed by the police and whatever recommendations are made to enhance security, Congress won't meet with the urgency they did for Terry Schiavo ( to appease the pro-life social conservatives and evangelists) . In fact no "real" steps will ever be taken since it would involve stricter gun laws and that would provoke outrage among the NRA and gun lobby. Unfortunately in a country where people who are pro-life go to any extent to prevent lives from being "lost" through abortions and euthanasia, so many more lives are "lost" every year because of opposition to gun restrictions by most of the same people.