The Amartya Sen debate-Why am I enraged as a woman?

I have been watching the election circus which will soon be telecast live in our drawing rooms, with as much interest as any other ordinary Indian of my age. To put the record straight, I have a habit of reading up stuff. I read up the newspapers and I am in the loop. But I am simply disinterested! Why? because it is all the same. The mumbo jumbo that goes on every 5 years. Every time there is this towering figure who is the centre of attraction. Our politicians prefer talking about the person more rather than concentrating on issues. Issue based politics and policy decisions are not part of our Parliamentary system and it is high time we accept that.

A few years back the entire Indian polity was utterly confused about what to do with Sonia Gandhi and her origins. The ‘bahu’ brigade justified her lineage with our age old ‘culture’ and what not and the people who proclaim themselves to be the true upholders of ancient Indian culture detested her. This time it is none other than the charismatic Gujarat chief Minister Narendra Modi who is in the limelight. I have heard from my peers that Mr. Modi is an excellent administrator and after hearing a few speeches on youtube about his vision of Bharat and her development, I am a tad convinced. May be because it will be  a decision between who is the lesser evil(?)- the kid who refuses to grow up, who does not show up to take any responsibility anywhere, anytime, whose party has been responsible for some of the biggest scams in the recent times and someone whose credibility for some (high funda?) inclusive growth is under scanner, always.

Yes, we all like development. Economic ones per se. I come from a state which is a living example of how economic decay has led to the complete destruction of the moral fibre of the society. I am from West Bengal, I am from Calcutta and I proudly say so. But the incidents and the facts and figures that I encounter everyday makes it a very difficult decision for me to stay back in the city I love. I had given up a well cushioned job in another city to be here. I took a pay cut. But I was happy. Not that everyone will be. I am talking about the very little opportunities that the place offers nowadays. It’s a hard truth that I have no option other than accepting.

But this post is not about that. I see a point in Modinomics because my state is an example about how your basics in economic growth needs to be in place for you to survive. A world renowned Economist, a Nobel Laureate does not agree with me. Fair enough, Amartya Babu, you are entitled to have your opinion. And so are you Chandan Babu. Everyone can have their opinion. The fundamentals of our Constitutional practice, which is so eloquently depicted in one of the brilliantly written documents of recent history, records and recognises that. A little knowledge of our ancient Indian culture and scriptures will reveal that it has always been that way. ‘Sahanshilata’ is a part of our Indian way of life.

But what enrages me and engulfs with utter disgust is the way how the debate about whether Mr. Modi is an ideal Prime Ministerial Candidate or not is progressing. I for one will choose him over the ‘other’. But the campaign on various social networking sites which personally attacks Mr. Sen by circulating morphed pictures of her daughter, actor Nandana DevSen, is malicious, hurtful and tragic to say the least. The pictures question the right of Mr. Sen about expressing his opinion on the grounds that he failed to impart moral lessons to her daughter.

My question is even if Nandana DevSen participated in those nude photoshoots, how is that even related to the debate? She is an actor. I do not find her to be a good one, but it is her chosen profession. Ms. DevSen is a well read lady and she is capable of making her decisions on her own. It is her right over her own body and how she prefers to use it (photographed or not!) is completely her domain of choice. Her father has no business being ashamed of it. The point about imparting moral lessons to the daughter about how she can pose and act in such films or for such photographs is a disgracefully patriarchal one. And that makes me even more concerned when we are going through the times when women in our country are raped over their choice of clothes, not on the heinous mental indifference of the man. This very attack again brings to fore that even after those promises of changing mentality, nothing actually has changed.

And I am surprised that nobody is questioning that. Reminds of Charles Dickens all over again 🙂

P.S. I am equally enraged about 65 elected representatives seeking a third party referral from a foreign government about grant of visa to one man. Obsession has new limits.

Advertisements

Shanghai- It really makes you think!

The joys of weekend is back in my life since I decided to take another plunge back to corporate life and it has been a nice experience so far. I will not deny that the amount of money, not obscene but the decent amount in Calcutta, that they are paying me has been a deciding factor. I am still not sure about how can I keep my promise to myself about taking up writing seriously going (and my blog bears testimony for it), but will probably never stop loving it enough.
So, enough of chit chat over, let’s come to what is more relevant. And that is Shanghai! what a movie! probably the best after Kahaani this year. In fact, we should feel lucky to be part of a year which gave you gems like Kahaani and Shanghai, albeit with Bong boys and their sentiments written all over them.

Shanghai is special, Shanghai is close t my heart because it touched a chord. Back in college I had this favourite Professor of mine called Prof. Amita Dhanda. I remember doing a jurisprudence project on “Dev D”  for her. Wish I could do the same theroisation for Shanghai for her class. I so miss NALSAR and the wonderful course readings we had. Nietzsche, Nussbaum and Tagore in a melting pot. Ah! life.

And before I am overtaken by nostalgia, I just want to let everyone know that go and watch Shanghai- a must watch for the very underrated and subtle performances. For Abhay Deol who never fails to surprise us. A Jat speaking in that immaculate south indiaised hindi accent. And he is a dream of an IAS officer as Krishnan. For Emraan Hashmi because this is undoubtedly his career best performance till date. As a local ruffian he never fails to surprise you. You can never relate to his serial kisser image. For Kalki Koechlin, and thank you anurag Kashyap for discovering her( and making her an integral part of your life). Kalki’s enraged performance engulfs you. However, her roles are now becoming a tad bit repetitive. For the supporting cast who makes Bharatnagar special. And for the none other than Prosenjit Chatterjee’s Dr. Ahmedi. The very dapper Dr. Ahemdi is something you will cherish through out the movie even though his screen time is limited.

And thank you Farooq Sheikh. I seriously miss you on screen. That we had something going on since the day I saw Chashme Buddoor on television or heard a portion of the recital of ‘Tumhari Amrita’, is a different story altogether. Something that Deep will be utterly jealous of maybe 😉

Shanghai shakes you up. It stays all over your mind long after you have left the theatre. May be because it stands for a cause I find my self deeply attached to- “Kiski desh? Kiski pragati?” A question which gets lost in all the rat race that we are in today and in between all the probabilities of a better lifestyle. Probably the water that costs you Rs.35 per glass 🙂 Shanghai is based on a Greek novel, but Dibabkar Banerjee makes it relatable…and in every aspect.The irony is I watched Shanghai seated in a plush multiplex where the irony gets lost in the overpriced coke glass that you buy for yourself during the movie. But I sincerely hope the portrayal and the idea behind Shanghai doesn’t remain solely limited within the arty farty multiplex classes. Because its something which we need to answer now…soon! An answer which we face every day…my state faced it a few years back. And it has been a constant struggle since then. What is development? what actually? Can that plush house in the neatest corner of the city compensate for real smiles? Or do smiles generate otherwise. Think! because we nowadays rarely do so. Shanghai is disturbing that ways. It makes you think.

“Bharat mata ki jai”

Girl…uninterrupted

Once upon a time, when Ms. Dutt was hot and credible enough, I took the flashes of breaking news on screen seriously. I still do. Otherwise how will I learn about Sunanda Pushkar’s fetish for orchids? or for that matter when Mr. Goswami screamed that they were bringing you exclusive image of some kitten being born by cesarean methods (I made that up, but it will fit the mode). This Pakistani chick Veena Malik’s hyperventilation on television was no different. Needless to say Mr. Goswami was her knight in shining armour again. Truly speaking her allegations and more importantly the timing of it made me wonder whether Rakhi Sawant was so popular across the border also.
But I was wrong. And I must say thank you Prof. Dhanda. Your classes really made me look beyond the served fare and ‘problematize’ the issue. I am no cricket enthusiast, but India Pakistan matches always remain special in any form of the game. Spot fixing or not, the charges remain to be proved. The Pakistan Board refuses to act. I am almost appalled at their level of non action. Also, it’s high time the ICC decides to strip them off their test status. The failed state is not only an economic, administrative and political failure but the public viagra of cricket is no longer there to save their day. Wonder how will Kashmir alone do the balancing act?
But my point was not that. There have been substantial coverage on the issue and Veena Malik has rushed from one channel to the another. One channel played parallel interviews of Malik and Dheeraj Dikshit. and just like any other issue, as the initial hoopla settles down, people have started questioning Malik’s credibility which the accused are always entitled to do. But my primary concern remains- On what ground? That Veena Malik played an interlocutor between her ex and the bookie needs to be probed in to, but that her allegations are being looked in to just because she is eye candy? sorry! err….we still remain in the 1940’s. I amindifferent to this supposed Pakistani showbiz star who is needless to say attractive. But why do we have to tag along success/ failure equations of women in society with their looking good or not. and to take it to a ‘risque’ level on their ability to flirt with the sensibility of men? Dheeraj Dikshit claimed that Malik’s footage was being shown to provide visual relief to audiences from the boring newsdesk presentations? I am sorry to say he was not wrong. I was in Calcutta last week. Eastern India’s biggest English daily The Telegraph’s widely read supplement t2 carried a photo feature on the lady of the moment. Apart from her portfolio pics what found substantial space where here alleged nude pics from the internet. What kind of journalism are we into?
In case Malik is a fraud star cashing on the Spot fixing scandal while seeking revenge from her ex, then prosecute her by the law. But it is no ground to attempt to discredit her evidence by saying that she is of loose moral characters just because some of her morphed images are being spread on the net. It is a very patriarchal school of thought to stifle voices of dissent just by maligning ones character. and to tell the truth it’s a very easy ploy. Time and again, we all have faced it somewhere down the line. Men can’t handle the fact that they are being dumped so they spread stories of the woman in question to be a master in the art of two timing. And when the facts are corroborated, the truth points to some other direction. Trust me, am speaking from personal experience. But keep hope, I have seen ‘real’ men who are way out of the league of the hanky pankys. So just keep faith.
But can we keep faith on the media. Yes, am thoroughly against their pointless journalism at this point of time. I have read up a bit on the feminist theories across times and truly speaking none of our “aisha” loving brigade stand a chance to be called one. But this is about basic human dignity. I support Malik when she says what does her moral character has to do with her allegations. Why aren’t the evidence that she passed on to the ICC detectives being taken seriously, looked into and discussed as vividly as her nude images on the net or her wild affairs. I mean come on we can expect that from Pakistani media, but editorial team of Telegraph? am sure you must be knowing that our codified law of rape makes provision for consent of even a sex worker. Isn’t it your duty to point out that the discussion is listless whether she posed for those pictures or not? Right or wrong, that’s a very different moral issue. But what has her rumoured affairs, nudity has to do with spot fixing scandal? Her initial role as an interlocutor surely needs to be investigated, not her filmography and the allegations of casting couch.