Monday, February 27, 2017

'Hush' the Sex Taboo! 

When the ten year old son, watching a movie with his father asked,"What is a condom? All that he learnt then was to "Hush!" "Hush", for the questions and things that make you uncomfortable.
Same happened with the thirteen year old girl who asked her brother, and that, publicly, to get her sanitary napkins when her periods suddenly started while they were out for lunch. 
Not just these. Even with the kind of increase in the number of rapes, it was not discussed at the dinner table. 'Sex' turned the faces of numerous people on the train when read out loud by him. 
Even with all the modernity, the progress, the development and the education, an indian mind still has a very narrow, descriptive list of 'acceptable' things. 
A phenomenon as natural as menstruation is something that people are afraid to speak of. It has somehow become something impure, something to be hidden and be ashamed of. Why with the kind of modernity that we have accepted, do we need to wrap our sanitary napkins in black polythenes so that no one can see it? 
Sex, something that is as essential for humans as their existence itself, is the one thing that nobody talks about in the family. And then there all these sources for the little ones to know about it. But how much of it is accurate? And what exactly do they really need to know? These questions make the concept of sex education very important but then again, because of the discomfort caused to the learned ones, this topic is not given great attention. 
While giving good values to the new generation, so that they can continue to uphold our 'culture', we make them so narrow minded that as they grow older their capability to question and reason dies and their curiosity to learn new things fades away. 
The next time your kids, your younger siblings or any curious child asks you something or just talks about something 'inappropriate', be mature and grown up enough to respond responsibly instead of 'hushing'.


Harshita is a first year economics student and coordinates campaigns and issue based sessions at Sauhard

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Why I don’t support France: Shalkie

Why I don’t support France, 

and any other nation who has decided to wage war, as they say.

Last week after the dreadful terrorist attack in the French capital, Facebook recommended me to add the French tricolor filter to my profile picture to show my support. And I did not. I still won’t because I didn’t support France then, and I don’t today. Before you begin to brand me , I will like you to know that I  like anyone have mourned the loss of life and my condolences are with the families of the victims and survivors likewise, and all the French people who had to wake up to such disaster in their very midst. But I still don’t support France, because if I say that I support France I will be saying yes to the country’s decision for war and the intensified air strikes in Syria. To which I vehemently oppose.
Since the night of the attacks, Raqqa in Syria has been continuously subjected to air strikes by France, Russia, and USA and they have caused the damaged to already ABANDONED posts, hospitals and bridges, cutting off water and electricity supplies for the city. Oh but let me remind you this is nothing new for the Syrian civilians of course, their every night since last five years have been like this. What difference does these strikes make, right? People in the St. Denis suburb of Paris had to wake up to brutal sounds of gunfight between the police and the terrorist congregation on Wednesday morning; it was in all true sense a horrifying experience. But let me again remind you, this is all the Syrians have heard for past five years. My point? If violence does not belong in one part of the world, it doesn’t even belong in another. In fact violence does not belong anywhere. ISIS was born because of the violence, so who are these armed alliances trying to kill by violence, something which takes birth from it? So if the people in the diplomatic positions of these countries think that retaliating to already a retaliated attack is there exposition of not being afraid and an approach towards attaining peace? Don’t try to fool yourself, and don’t even try to fool the world.

Another thing that devastates me is the sudden overturn of the countries’ and several states of one country’s refugee policies. To escape the barbarous torture posed by ISIS, the Assad forces, other neighboring countries’ forces, and many other contributing factors, thousands of innocent souls finally had chance to see the daylight. I don’t know if these countries have realized how lucky they are to stand at such fortunate position where they can afford to give shelter and share their resources with the people in the need, something that many other countries just cannot.  Two things that I would like to highlight from the investigation that has followed are that: 1) all the terrorists were EU nationals, none of them were from Syria they did however travel to Syria to join Islamic State and 2) they did return back to their respective countries with the damaged psyche and some of them may have taken advantage of the refugee route. From the first point we can infer that the process of radicalization for these young terrorists actually began on the European ground. And from the second we can say that it brings forth the faults in the security and the screening process at these EU borders despite these terrorists being on the high alert list. The reason that I have listed these two points is because these are the two developments in the timeline for which if proper measures and precautions were taken at the right time in the history, the Paris attack would not have taken place. So thousands of refugees looking for rehabilitation are not responsible for anything and stripping them of their chance for new life is nothing but an irrational move and a highly political in USA.
Just remember when one migrant boat capsizes, 200 people die.
Also I congratulate French intelligence into preventing another attack.

The only reason why I am writing this is because even when I didn’t belong anywhere in the vicinity of the situation, I was very much disturbed with the attacks and the loss of life, my closest knows. I hold ISIS accountable as much as anyone is and in no way they should escape out of the consequences.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Violence-an eight letter word? : Bhavi Barad

Violence-an eight letter word which has the strength to permanently damage anything and is contagious too. How casually it is said, "Unn logo ko toh chappal uthakar maarna chaiye, ye baato se nai manenge.", "Bau bol nai ek laafo maari dais." and so on...! And also, that saying: "Laato ke bhoot baato se nai maante." As if beating up somebody is the last thing one can do to solve the problem. It's weird how we have restricted our thoughts. We don't think what is beyond one's action. It is unbelievable how easily we have accepted violence as a part of our lives. Since the time we were little toddlers, we are conditioned to behave how the society accepts us. We are taught to be scared than to love each other. Fear gives rise to insecurities and these insecurities become so heavy on our minds that we cannot think of things other than them and this results into frustration. We are taught to suppress our emotions which gives rise to anger, frustration, stress, depression.....VIOLENCE too. Why do we always forget that we are given the ability to feel for a reason? The senses are not for their name-sake, they are to give us the best experience of the beautiful world around us through sensations. Why can't we accept love, friendship, happiness, appreciation, respect, truthfulness, etc. as a part of our everyday life? Is it so hard to live life simply, by not complicating it at all? Sexual harassment, molestation, physical assault, abuse, rape, domestic violence, etc. All are the results of suppression of some or the other emotion.
A child tends to do/ be more attracted to something he is denied to have.(Remember, the times you denied your child not to eat the food in the plate, he/she/it did!) The scenario doesn't change even when the child grows up. If he is already conditioned not to express his/her/its emotions, he/she/it will express them all, but in a different manner. A child notices how elders behave and tend to copy them. If one has always seen violence in movies or anywhere around oneself since childhood, one tends to accept it quite easily and also practice it whenever any such situation arises. We have not seen the better ways to express ourselves and that is why we are stuck in impressing others through our actions. The act of violence has now become the latest trend, an easy way to express, a faster medium to reach out to people and to tell them about your opinion. What a myth!
Gandhiji once said that a non-violent person is stronger than a violent person because to beat up somebody and get your frustration out on someone is quite easy but to be calm and composed in a situation where everywhere, every single thing is provoking you to satisfy your ego and be violent, is difficult. 
"What is right is not always easy and what is easy, is not always right!"

Monday, October 19, 2015

It's FEAR, ohh MY dear: Gaurang Raval

Have you ever wondered why people get so violent on trivial matters and support some highly illogical ideology? Have you ever thought why it's easier to gather mob to spread violence than to gather 10 people to plant trees? Have you ever tried to understand why riots on the basis of religion, region or caste get support from 'educated' or so called 'civilized society' ? 

The answer my friend is...Politics of fear! As a child, most of us have faced the politics of fear when our parents make us do things they want us to do by spreading fear of ghost, cockroach, punishment, police or some really weird animal which actually doesn't exist...! Unfortunately, the politics of fear isn't restricted to families. This politics is actually used by our political and religious leaders on massive scale. World over, leaders create fear among people to divide people and win elections by polarizing votes, silent all crucial questions raised by common people against the administration (poverty, corruption, unemployment etc) or to gain support in favor of dictatorship or sometimes even to sale their products! (Yes products! Don't we know how few powerful counties sale their weapons to other countries by fearing the word on the name of terrorism?!) 

We know how religion, caste, regionalism become so important to people as soon as we witness elections in our country. 'There will be a massive threat of the existence of XYZ religion if ABC party comes to power' 'we need leader of 'our' caste so that he/she can protect our community' 'This election is a battle to protect the pride of our state' 'There is a threat from neighboring country and only one leader can save our country' 'Democracy has not helped this country. We need "powerful" leader'. We do hear such statements very often. Many feel that such statements or ideology do not make much of the damage but such ideology plant fear among common people. Also Such fear questions the existence of common people constantly and when this fear reaches to its saturation point, what all it need is a trigger to fire. Fear plays very important role in spreading all kinds of ideologies in our society. Sometime, fear is the biggest enemy of logic. The root causes of recent incidences in India and elsewhere in the world is fear. Ones insecurity/fear becomes a threat to another. 

The question is how to we combat the politics of fear? Fear can be combated only by spreading security and safety. And that will be possible only when we as human come out of various masks of identity. We need to see ourselves and other humans above any religious identities, caste based identity and even national identity. If my religious, caste and nationalist identity don't matter to me then how are you going to make me scared? If I just see myself as human then I will be left with only one fear and that Is death which in any case everybody is going to face one day. We must come out of our 'all social identities' and we must start accepting diversity. The more we accept diversity the more we will feel secure with different people and different culture around us. 
Remember what Gandhiji said "our fear is our biggest enemy". Do remember this line before you fall on the trap of politics of fear ! 

About author: Gaurang is the co-founder and currently the managing trustee of Sauhard. He strongly strongly advocates principles of  equality and social inclusion.   

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gujjus ROCK: Gaurang Raval

Yeah! This time, Gujjus have not only rocked navaratri with dodhiyu, popatiyu, be tali and heech but also rocked our tradition to celebrate diversity. Gujjus have rocked in real sense by staying united over threats given by a few groups to restrict non Hindus from entering Garba venues. Not only the Khelaiyas, but also the organizers have defeated the shameful attempt to divide people on the basis of religion and create fear among non Hindu youth. 

However, Gujjus known for playing Garba in every possible occasion, showed that love and celebration among communities are far more powerful than hate.

I am sure, we will be able to preserve our true culture of equality and unity in diversity for centuries to come. Don't forget, Christmas, Eid, Kite Flying festival, and many more festivals are coming soon and Gujjus would celebrate all these festivals inclusively !!

About author: Gaurang is the co-founder and currently the managing trustee of Sauhard. He strongly strongly advocates principles of  equality and social inclusion.   

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Go ask WHY ?: Bhavi Barad

It is believed that when a child is born, he is born with all the intelligence. The world he sees growing up is something different from his own eyes. He is born with his own talent, abilities and most importantly 'questions' for us. It is also said that, "Every child is born with all sorts of inquisitiveness in him." But the thing that makes me wonder is, why can't we say "Every adult grows up with the same inquisitiveness he is born with." ? Because that is not universally true. Right? O'come on, how many of us raise the same number of questions and with the same type of mindset like the way we used to when we were little kids? Hardly a few. 

It is a bit difficult to figure out the exact reasons for a child's lost level of inquisitiveness, but still a few are playing an important role in killing all the innocence and intelligence by suppressing a young child's questions. It does happen that a child who is all playful and outgoing in his childhood becomes all timid and quiet in his teenage. Yes, hormones do play an important role. But I'd say not every time. The environment a child is brought up in also plays an important role. Your behaviour towards him, towards others, towards yourself is being carefully observed by your child. In Fact, not only your own child but even other children are getting to know about you some or the other way. A child's questions are answered by all the parents, no doubt, in fact that how we get to know the world, but the real question is 'are all the questions a child raises answered?' The answers for this would be:-
1:- Obviously No. Sabhi sawalo ka jawab thodi hota hai. Hum bhagwan toh nahi hai.
(I would say.. it is because of the questions that weren't answered in your childhood. Because if you give such a vague answer in today's tech-driven world, you definitely need to explore your smart phone!)
2:- Somebody might say a Yes. And they would assure us they answer everything their child asks and in fact they would also do some research and get back to their child with answers when they themselves don't know about it.
(I would say...Excellent. Good going!)

See, I don't say parents don't want to answer their little child's questions, it becomes a headache for them only when they are asked in some weird situations. For an instance, we avoid some cliche queries of our child in public/ in a social gathering. We try to avoid the child's questions sometimes because we don't want to look foolish or uninformed in front of them by telling them we don't know the answer. But we shouldn't forget that just because we don't have an answer to the child's question doesn't mean the question doesn't have an answer. It does but it needs to be discovered. How can we forget, when we are all stressed out, our tiny little toddler's touch, his/her smile would make us all fresh and energetic but if, when the same toddler grows up a little and comes up with questions in the same situations, we might drive him away or divert his attention. Why so? Such little things haven't even noticed by us. But they are all being captured in the child's mind. We all grown ups need somebody to talk with, where we can share all that we feel. Right? It is human nature after all. A child is also in search of that 'somebody' where he can get his answers, 'somebody' who listens, 'somebody' who is attentive towards him/her.
It is also said, "Never let that little child in you, die." It is true. Because every single thought, revolution, change was brought only when a question was raised. I don't say 'Go. Be a revolutionist.' No, but don't we know change is inevitable? We change every second, every minute. New cells are born whether old ones die. Same has to be with our thoughts too. It has to stay updated. It has to be nourished. How long have you been suppressing your questions on your own inside your mind just because of the fear what others would say/think about you? Being diverted from the questions that you raised in your childhood is not your fault, but due to fear if you let that little child in you die then, my dear, you are at fault. "Ask yourself, What would you do if you weren't afraid, and go do that."

Politics: A dirty game?: Heer Vaghela

Politics, in India the word itself is considered as an abusive word . Well  the youth  of India has one basic and simple view point which is that politics=corruption, power game and scandals. Being sarcastic; if you are in Indian politics there could be two reasons either your forefather's were in same or you are shameless. for some it is a piece of a cake and some a smart business.  youth today is not interested as they see no scope for any improvement .  the lack of knowledge about the democratic system affects here youth being ignorant seem to have no or very less knowledge about Indian politics. 
Black pamphlets, this documentary movie showed insights of campus politics. Well if we see, the student elections should be decent and should provide a platform for the development of new leaders with new and novel ideas and transparency, but it has turned out to be a war. All sorts of crime can be seen, plus the main issue  which is to clear the problems of the students on campus level; to focus on the development of the youth and to give exposure is left far behind. Everyone is just after the chair, the presentation to impress and in this race they just want to win either by hook or crook. The money wasted in such useless presentation is another big issue. 

But the bigger issue is  the goons from where all this power comes, these goons are encouraged by the the political parties and any political party is not concerned with youth development they just want their power and the puppet youth leader with no knowledge. While at the same time the educated youth amongst them, some are really trying to work for the better future and some are just sitting back and watching drama. And after that complaining about the system. Well it's very simply said by PLATO, "One of the penalties of not participating in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors." Thus I have come to the conclusion that politics is a serious matter to be left in the hands of politicians.