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Social Media Ethics, Safety and Privacy issues – Guftagu at Azad Foundation

Originally posted on Samyukta Media:
By Sanjukta Basu I recently delivered a series of 2-3 hours talks, something we call a Guftagu (chit chat) with groups of young women from marginalized background as part of capacity building initiatives by Azad Foundation. Founded… Continue reading Social Media Ethics, Safety and Privacy issues – Guftagu at Azad Foundation

Aside notes on Mohan Bhagwat, Sanghi Trolls and Abhijeet Bhattacharya

Mohan Bhagwat appears on national television and gives his expert opinion about how great the government is functioning. Who th hell is Mohan Bhagwat? Why is he on TV telling us how good or bad govt is? What's govt got to do with Dusserah? Again who the F is he — Sanjukta Basu (@sanjukta) October 22, 2015 The Sanghi trolls are busy attacking Gulzar, and all other writers who have registered their protests against Dadri lynching by returning their Sahitya Akademy Awards. Their common argument, why they didn’t return award during 1984 riots. MORONS listen: They didn't return award in 1984. They didn't do so in … Continue reading Aside notes on Mohan Bhagwat, Sanghi Trolls and Abhijeet Bhattacharya

Represented by a male mascot

Is the Ad campaign for Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit gender biased?

While flipping through the latest Outlook Magazine I came across the advertisement of the forthcoming Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit to be held in Nov 2015 in Jaipur.

The campaign had an image of an impressive masculine male face complete with beard and mustache set against the background of a beautiful tribal illustration, with the caption “I am Rajasthan. I’m Ready” in bold capital fonts. Bheel artist Prakash Jogi has been given credit for the illustration. Continue reading “Is the Ad campaign for Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit gender biased?”

Love is not complicated people are

10th Oct 2015

Last night the adda at SVD’s place was particularly fun, I cannot remember when was the last time I laughed so much. Perhaps it was the good Icelandic liquor and potent dope or a recently heart broken R who opened up a lot more than he usually does or a frustrated M who cannot make one coherent statement without cribbing about the lack of a man in her life or SVD who always asks these interesting questions for which you’d always give some ridiculous answer or all of the above. If there would have been a hidden camera somewhere in the room and somebody saw the recording of our conversation it would have made wonderful comedy. Continue reading “Love is not complicated people are”

london marathon tampon girl and the winner

Running marathon & other sports without tampons or pads becoming a mass movement

Ms. Kiran Gandhi ran the London Marathon 2015 without any sanitary device while publicly bleeding. She said she did it for feminism. I think that is bull. I think it is 0% feminism and 100% publicity stunt. In addition, her story seemed a bit fake too. Perhaps it was an accident and the whole ‘I did it for feminism‘ spin was an afterthought. I mean, she was planning for this marathon for years, but she didn’t know her period dates were clashing with the marathon dates until the night before? Continue reading “Running marathon & other sports without tampons or pads becoming a mass movement”

My feeling of patriotism in a BJP ruled India

“Patriotism cannot be our final spiritual shelter; my refuge is humanity. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds, and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live. ” ~Rabindranath Tagore

doug stanhope on nationalism 2Every Independence Day and Republic Day I grapple with the concept of patriotism and nationalism. Am I a patriot? What does it mean to be one? Does it encourage me to hate people I have never met and take pride in accomplishments I had no role in? Does it teach me to put nation before humanity? It certainly does not. There are two major flaws in patriotism and nationalism as we know it today. Continue reading “My feeling of patriotism in a BJP ruled India”

masaan film poster

Feminist Film Review – Masaan – A story of desiring bodies

masaan film poster 2Update: Kindly read the full review on Women’s Web as I have an exclusivity contract with them so cannot share the full review here.

There were at least three points in the film when I almost started weeping, there were points where I was anxious about what was going to happen and finally when I came out of the theatre I had a heart full of emotions but the mind was calm, as calm as the river Ganga depicted in the last scene of the film. The feeling was of surrender to the circle of ‘life and death’ of ‘loss and gain’. No more words, no more tears no more grief just sail away with the river and see where it takes you, to the confluence or to the other side of life. Continue reading “Feminist Film Review – Masaan – A story of desiring bodies”

Porn ban in India – mainstreaming of women’s lack of sexual agency

Approximately 800+ pornographic websites suddenly went off the internet in India. There were no prior announcement, discussion, no legal basis to the decision. But that’s not to say it is entirely thoughtless, hell no. The great thought behind is that a ban on porn is going to put an end to rapes in this country.Versace--woman and naked man--various women's 90s

Continue reading “Porn ban in India – mainstreaming of women’s lack of sexual agency”

The ‘Ek Aurat Hi Aurat Ki Dushman Hoti Hai’ Myth

My sister has a very important observation about the most commonly heard statement that women are their worst enemy. The mother-in-law v. daughter-in-law war in which the son is passed off as the victim at best or bystander at worst. Her observation opens up so many potential research area actually, I would be taking them up sometime soon. She writes, Continue reading “The ‘Ek Aurat Hi Aurat Ki Dushman Hoti Hai’ Myth”

Feminist film review: Piku

Feminist Film Review – Piku

Regular readers of my blog already know about my Feminist reviews. These are film reviews done by me after wearing my feminist glasses. So this time I did an exclusive review for the women centric collaborative blog ‘Women’s Web’. Below is the full version of the review, they have put up an edited version. Continue reading “Feminist Film Review – Piku”

whisper pads

PVR Saket security guards won’t let me in with my bag: What I did next will shock you

Feel free to try this at a cinema hall near you. The security guards at PVR Saket cinema hall wouldn’t let me enter the hall with my bag which was not enough lady like. What I did next sure did shock them, something they would remember for a really long time, if not rest of their lives. Continue reading PVR Saket security guards won’t let me in with my bag: What I did next will shock you

Image from BBC

What is a Sacred Indian Marriage and how Marital Rape may destroy it

Some idiot from the BJP Government recently said that government has no intentions of making marital rape (rape of wife by husband) a criminal offense because marriage in India is so bloody sacred. Oh no, it is not some loony like Saskhi Maharaj making a passing reference at some random event, this is a Minister of State standing inside the Rajya Sabha giving a written reply to a question raised by DMK MP Kanimozhi. Continue reading “What is a Sacred Indian Marriage and how Marital Rape may destroy it”

On reconnecting

“People move on, get hurt, come back and find me there still.” On reconnecting with a man who used to have a crush on me a decade ago. He still remembers the crush. Told him I was always just a text away. There is nothing worse than two lonely friends not connecting with each other. It just kills me when my single eligible bachelor friends come and tell me how lonely they are. I am like, dude, am I invisible or what? I am single eligible and available, why are we not dating? It was a day of re-connecting with friends, … Continue reading On reconnecting

singer sewing machine low res-8

The woman and her sewing machine – portrait of Indian middle class mother in 70s-80s

The Singer sewing machine is a cultural symbol from a bygone era. Every woman or man has their own memory and story around the Singer machine. My mom’s story begins when at the age of 11 she lost her mother. The sound of her mother working on the singer sewing machine till late night, when the kids were asleep, was one of the strongest memories she had left behind for my mother to hold on to. Continue reading “The woman and her sewing machine – portrait of Indian middle class mother in 70s-80s”

things feminism has ruined for me

Pretty Woman, Fight Club, Che Guevera & his Motorcycle Diaries: Few things that feminism has ruined for me

I studied Picasso in school and once spent a whole day at the Picasso Museum in Barcelona. I was a fan. But that was before I became a feminist. When I went to see a Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern with my mum a few years ago, my internal monologue went a bit like this: “Object, object, object, boobs, object, object, woman-object, boobs, object, object, object, boobs.”

Continue reading “Pretty Woman, Fight Club, Che Guevera & his Motorcycle Diaries: Few things that feminism has ruined for me”

peshawar attack child shoe

What India should learn from the tragedy in Peshawar, Pakistan

Ever since the massacre in Peshawar broke, I have been expressing these scattered thoughts that I am going to pen down here, through various social media spaces. Now someone more intelligent at Firstpost said the same thing, and I hope the BJP supporters and Modi Bhaks would take it seriously before it is too late. Continue reading “What India should learn from the tragedy in Peshawar, Pakistan”

People of Haryana stand united against girl power

The stories and videos turning the Rothak sisters who fought back in the bus are quite hilarious shows…! Men in Haryana are now scared to go to college because of two girls…Wow! People of Haryana did a great job of uniting against girl power, how could they have risked their son’s future by allowing some girls become heros by fighting back. Imagine the message that would have sent to other girls in this state which is no less than a safe haven for women. Girl power is the common enemy they must fight together. No wonder they have come together … Continue reading People of Haryana stand united against girl power

Sphinx

Hybrid Gods in Greek, Roman civilization also by plastic surgeons in ancient India?

Indian Prime Minister recently claimed that in ancient times there must have been a plastic surgeon who fixed elephant head on human body and thus Lord Ganesha was created. By that logic, all such hybrid creatures worshiped as Gods in various other civilizations like Greek, Roman and Egyptian are also results of plastic surgeries. Does that mean all civilizations had equally advanced technology? Or did they come to India to get surgeries done? Continue reading Hybrid Gods in Greek, Roman civilization also by plastic surgeons in ancient India?

ENTERTAINMENT-US-FILM-CLOONEY-BRITAIN-LEBANON-PEOPLE

Disappointing! Amal Alamuddin changes name after marriage

Feminists for some reason were very excited about the marriage between actor George Cloony and acclaimed international lawyer Amal Alamuddin. While the global media carried headlines that Cloony marries Alamuddin, the headlines on The Business Woman were ‘Internationally acclaimed barrister … Continue reading Disappointing! Amal Alamuddin changes name after marriage

Aamir Khan Satyamev Jayate 2

Freedom For LGBT – Satyamev Jayate’s 3rd epi season 3 – Indeed Aamir is brave enough

In my previous post, I was wondering if Aamir Khan is brave enough to take up the issue of LGBT rights in the 3rd episode of Season  3 of Satyamev Jayate. Turned out he is indeed that brave. The topic was homosexuality and freedom of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the discriminatory law Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Continue reading “Freedom For LGBT – Satyamev Jayate’s 3rd epi season 3 – Indeed Aamir is brave enough”

Kailash Satyarthi

Kailash Satyarthi didn’t blow his own trumpet that’s why media doesn’t know him

A journalist called asking if Dr. T is in office. I said, “no he is traveling, would be available only by 16th.”

“Oh, but I wanted to ask him if he has Kailash Satyarthi’s number.”

I didn’t get the name at first go. “Kailash who?” I asked.

Kailash Satyarthi,” he replied.

Is he someone known to Dr. T? I mean what’s the connection?

No, he is this child right activist who got the Nobel Peace Prize. I thought Dr. T might have his number.

Oh, ok. I am not sure, but I’d check with his PA and let you know.” I said and hung up. Continue reading “Kailash Satyarthi didn’t blow his own trumpet that’s why media doesn’t know him”

mardaani feminist film review

Feminist Film Review: Mardaani – An important film, because it changes the way we see women

Mardaani is just the kind of film I always wanted to see – a film with complete gender role reversals.

The hundreds of movies I’ve watched in my lifetime, I’ve always wondered how would it be if we changed the gender of the leading characters? In Mardaani, that’s exactly what I have. As a film its nothing unusual, its not something we haven’t seen before. It’s a regular cop movie, a larger than life hero whom the common man can worship because he can single-handedly save the day by kicking asses and knocking solid punches. There are the usual Bollywood elements such as the hero trying to fight the system that is not very supportive, predictable turn of events such as the case being pulled out of the hero’s hands and so the hero decides to carry on investigation alone without any support from the police department and eventually emerge as the winner.  Continue reading “Feminist Film Review: Mardaani – An important film, because it changes the way we see women”

Self styled censorship and moral policing on Indian TV

Self styled censorship and moral policing on TV just boils my blood. The other day they censored the word ‘sex’ and blurred out a woman’s cleavage in the film Queen. On VH1 they routinely censor the most harmless everyday language and scenes. In a song by Maroon 5 (Maps) they blurred out the face of an accident victim. In another song by Meghan Trainor (All about that Bass) they censored the word ‘Booty.’ But on Bollywood music channels they have no qualms in playing the song ‘Punjabiyan di Tooh’ (from Gori Tere Pyaar Mein). Tooh and Booty means the same … Continue reading Self styled censorship and moral policing on Indian TV

women multi tasking moder indian women's aspiration

Airtel TV commercial Boss – Half way to gender equality and Modern Indian Women’s Aspiration

There is a new Airtel commercial on TV titled ‘Boss’. The ad shows that a woman and her husband both work at the same place where she is the boss. She gives some task to the husband and insists that it be finished within a tight deadline. He argues that it’s not possible but she asserts the he doesn’t have a choice, the task must be completed and shows him the door. Next thing we see is that she goes home cooks a nice dinner and video calls her husband, entices him with food and pleads him to come home soon. It turns out this is the same guy she was bossing around at work. Continue reading “Airtel TV commercial Boss – Half way to gender equality and Modern Indian Women’s Aspiration”

Selfish women who don't give a damn about other women who are oppressed. They don't need feminism because their lives are comfortable

Women against feminism are a bunch of confused privileged women living in their little bubbles

While Indian social media was outraging over the Airtel commercial where the wife/boss goes home and cooks for husband/subordinate, another kind of social media outrage was going on in America. Bunch of women posted their selfies holding placards that gave ground braking justification to why they don’t need feminism. Obviously feminists are outraged. Nobody is surprised though, throughout the history of feminism, there have been women who didn’t know a shit about gender, patriarchy and feminism and were idiots enough to claim they don’t need feminism. Continue reading “Women against feminism are a bunch of confused privileged women living in their little bubbles”

NDA govt to dilute environment rules to promote industries

Environment rules to be diluted by NDA govt and dissenting voices of civil societies likely to be crushed

News is in that NDA govt is going to dilute the environment rules for projects and in another news, foreign aided NGOs are being labelled as anti development. At one hand govt is likely to flout environment laws to promote industry and on the other hand they are likely to silence any protests by civil societies. What would be the impact of these two news read together on the India’s environment? Continue reading Environment rules to be diluted by NDA govt and dissenting voices of civil societies likely to be crushed

The Ishti Kutum war – Archi Baha fans v. Kamalika fans – A very real war with Facebook taking sides

What have I got myself into? An online war where Facebook is taking sides with my enemy and punishing me arbitrarily. The fight is rather insignificant and juvenile, mere rivalry between the fans of a Bengali TV show Ishti Kutum. But what has been revealed through this is that Facebook is UNFAIR and BIASED. They are taking arbitrary decisions of removing posts at the behest of somebody they consider powerful or so. Worse is Facebook doesn’t give me the right to challenge their decision of removing my content. They say the content are in violation of ‘community guidelines’ but they … Continue reading The Ishti Kutum war – Archi Baha fans v. Kamalika fans – A very real war with Facebook taking sides

Ishti Kutum 2

An open letter to Ankita Chakraborty, actor playing Kamalika Majumdar (Mun) on award winning Star Jalsha mega serial Ishti Kutum

Note: This post is about the Bengali TV serial Ishti Kutum. If you are not a follower of the show, please follow the posts on category archives for context. Dear Madam, These days on Star Jalsha, promos of the forthcoming … Continue reading An open letter to Ankita Chakraborty, actor playing Kamalika Majumdar (Mun) on award winning Star Jalsha mega serial Ishti Kutum

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I met Lucky but I didn’t get lucky – Delhi’s Thak Thak Gang’s smooth criminals

Oye Lucky Lucky Oye that Abhay Deol starer film was one of my all-time favourite films. Not anymore for I met a Lucky in my real life.

It happened in broad day light at the Hauz Khas – IIT gate traffic signal, opposite to Essex Farm, amidst a heavy Monday evening traffic and right under the nose of 4 traffic cops posted at the signal.

I was on my way back to my residence in Dwarka after finishing a meeting at the Adchini area. If you know the map of that area you’d know that in order to go to Dwarka or Airport from Adchini which is on your left you have to drive till the signal opposite to Mother’s International School and take a U-turn so that landmarks like Essex Farm, Indian Oil petrol pump or Turcoise Cottage are now on your right. Straight ahead is Hauz Khas and on your left is the IIT gate, you take a free left turn for Dwarka / Airport from this point. Free left turn only if the traffic allows, sometimes it doesn’t. Continue reading “I met Lucky but I didn’t get lucky – Delhi’s Thak Thak Gang’s smooth criminals”

TEDxITMU talk by Sanjukta Basu

My TEDxITMU talk – Have we survived the rape and violence?

TEDxITMU

I was recently invited as a speaker at TEDxITMU, the TEDx event at the Institute of Technology and Management University, Gurgaon. I shared the stage with a range of very interesting speakers like, Actor Vipin Sharma (of Taare Zameen Par fame), Delhi FM station Hit 95’s popular RJ Suroshree Dasgupta, Jazz musician duo Adil Manuel & Vasundhara Vidalur, Babar Afzal Founder, KashmirINK, Artist Roop Chand and others. Here is the complete list of speakers. Continue reading “My TEDxITMU talk – Have we survived the rape and violence?”

I survived rape

Shashi Tharoor is right – Reveal rape victim’s name – Kudos to girl’s family for agreeing

Let’s admit there is a discomfort in the word ‘RAPE.’ Often during light coffee table discussions we would not even utter the word and instead would convey what we mean by gestures or by typing special characters. To me the discomfort is to such an extent that I was seriously pained by the famous ‘balatkar pe balatkar‘ scene from 3 Idiots. Continue reading “Shashi Tharoor is right – Reveal rape victim’s name – Kudos to girl’s family for agreeing”

Ishti Kutum 25-dec-2012 Archi's birthday

Ishti Kutum – Archi Mun’s divorce – Legal position of both marriages, validity of tribal marriage

How does a typical Indian middle class joint family deal with a divorce? With paranoia, hypocrisy double standards and melodrama. As exposed through the story of Ishti Kutum – the Mukherjee family is shattered on hearing the DIVORCE word from Archi. Broken marriage mean different thing for family’s sons and daughters. Ironically, the patriarch of Mukherjee family who is so concerned about Archi’s broken marriage and its effect on his family, have never uttered a single word regarding his own daughter’s estranged marriage. The legal position of both of Archi’s marriages, legal requirement of divorce and validity of Tribal marriage. Continue reading Ishti Kutum – Archi Mun’s divorce – Legal position of both marriages, validity of tribal marriage

I survived rape

That’s it, she died – but did I survive the rape?

The Delhi gang rape victim died in Singapore Hospital. She had one life, just one and now its lost. We can keep talking about rape and justice, means and methods, causes and reforms but for her and her family its ‘The End’ Continue reading “That’s it, she died – but did I survive the rape?”

A not so small crowd

New Garia Halt Station at Panchasayar Garia – Inauguration by Sh Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury

Panchasayar, Garia, one of Asia’s largest housing societies, a cooperative society for the staff of Accounts and General West Bengal and Income Tax Department of West Bengal, is the place where I spent the first 7-8 years of my life. Continue reading “New Garia Halt Station at Panchasayar Garia – Inauguration by Sh Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury”

Excerpts from the book

[Part of the Manoshi’s story thread]

Moving on is easy, there is so much work to do. You remain so preoccupied you don’t even have the time to think about anybody or anything. Manoshi certainly had moved on. It was almost a year since he last called. Before leaving Manoshi insisted he returns her book of Oscar Wilde, the one he borrowed long back. She had said with sweet anger, “Dekho, please return my book. I am quite certain we are never going to meet again and then years later I would sing that stupid song ‘mera kuch samaan tumhare paas para hai‘.

Continue reading “Excerpts from the book”