India Today Mind Rocks Youth Summit 2013 – Part 1

When a media giant like India Today organizes a youth summit, you expect it to be mind blowing. But when it turns out to be scintillating, power packed and incredible, you know you made the right decision to attend the full day event.

 

The anchors of the show!

MindRocks started on a pretty high note with the performance of the band “antarishk” and the tempo just got better from there.

The very handsome and modest Leander Paes

The first guest to grace the occasion was ace tennis star Leander Paes. He talked about how he was conceived during the Moscow Olympics (it was shut down for 4 days due to a terrorism alert), how his growing up years were and what it still takes to go back on the field every time with the hunger to win even after playing and being at the top of the game for 23 years. Inspiring to say the least. He fielded questions from the audience about his “break up” from the legendary Lee-Hesh jodi. A couple of lucky people from the audience also got signed tennis balls “served” by him.

 

Hard Kaur with RJ Aparshakti Khurana of Oye 104.8 FM!

The next celebrity in waiting to dazzle us with her music and words was the Brit-Indian rapper Hard Kaur. Did you know her parents named her Tarandeep Kaur Dhillon? Her attitude was pretty much like what she pulls off on the stage – reckless and carefree. She shared how it wasn’t easy for an Indian girl to make it big in a space of hard core hip-hop rappers and how it was sheer will and belief that made her a success.

 

Hard Kaur doing a jig for the audiences!

 

Dhruv Shinghi 

Successful entrepreneur Dhruv Shinghi, CEO, yatra.com shared how the idea of starting Yatra was actually conceived during a drinks session with friends on the day he was fired from his job! He also shared his long list of failures before he finally found his calling. Many a budding entrepreneurs in the audience had questions for him

The mother of all sessions waited for us next. The topic of discussion was “Crime, Not Age” and on the panel were Dr. Kiran Bedi, Actor-model Gul Panag, and Nishtha Gautam, Observer Researcher Foundation. Dr. Kiran Bedi educated the audience on the nitty gritties of the Juvenile Justice act, and how it was being misused by “juveniles” to get away with heinous acts. Gul Panag, looking pretty as a picture, had some pretty strong views on women abuse, juvenile justice and gender discrimination

Deep in thoughts: Gul Panag

Some of the audience raised some pretty valid points about how women are always made to second fiddle even when parents say things like “ye to mere bete jaisi hai” or when businesses are named “GopalChand & Sons”. Its high time the betiyaan are accorded their rightful place in the family and businesses are divided equally between the sons and daughters.

Nirbhaya’s parents

The highlight of this session were a couple sitting in the front row. So simple, you wouldn’t give them a second look until someone told you they were Nirbhaya’s or the Dec 16 gangrape victim Jytoi Singh Pandey’s parents. They were quite composed, as opposed to the audience, majority of who had tears in their eyes. They thanked the people for supporting them through the worst time in their lives, and urged them to keep up the battle to bring about a reform in the existing Juvenile Justice Act.

Nirbhaya’s parents with the panel in discussion

After this heavy duty session, it was time to take it a little easy. There was the famous author of the Shiva trilogy Amish Tripathi sharing how it was the story teller inside him that got a “creatively challenged” person like him to pen down 3 complete books, one after the other. Apart from the perseverance he had for following his passion, he advised the young junta to keep their jobs before plunging into their hobby headlong because, after all, if you are not the Tatas or Birlas or Ambanis, you got no rich daddy to pay your bills…right?

Amish Tripathi fielding audiences’ questions

Sheer luck..I also got H’s copy of Immortals of Meluha signed by Amish as a gift for him.:D A day of several firsts!

This session, that happened just before lunch, had more jhatkas than the 440 volts. There was Deepender Singh Huda (member, Congress), Mr. Sanjeev Kaul (member, BJP) and Arvind Kejriwal (member, AAP). The topic of discussion was, of course, the upcoming elections, Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Mr. Kejriwal, one to never mince his words, had quite a few endearing words to say to his contemporaries which they neither had the gall to deny and were left royally squirming in their seats.

Rahul Kanwal, introducing the panel members for discussion!

 

Putting his best foot forward!

To be continued….

Will the Real Men please stand up?

Even as I write this, there are thousands like me and you who are out there on the streets of New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Simla, Mumbai, Patna and various other states in India for they are angered. Nirbhaya or Damini or whatever name you want to call her with, the girl who was brutally gang raped in Delhi in a moving bus last week finally succumbed to her grave injuries today. Her death has instilled a fear in each one of us that we could be the next.

Even as her death is deeply troubling, so are some other issues that have happened since the incident.

I wrote about the gang rape just after it happened, and the article and my subsequent post on FB saw a lot of men taking offence.

They said I was attacking their gender.

Why didn’t I write about the cases where women harass men and even kill them?

That women are misusing dowry laws to take advantage of men.

A virtual reader Partha goes on to say that “Whatever has happened in Delhi is barbaric (if true and no media exaggeration)”.
Partha also says that “on one hand women always object to objectification and on the other hand they want to look sexy and wear all those revealing clothes to show off how independent they are. If men look at them or call them sexy that becomes harassment for them. If men do not look at them, those become impotent.”

I was quite mortified after hearing Abhijeet Mukherjee’s comments on young women whom he called hypocrites because they held candle light marches in the day and wore make up and went to discos at night. He also called the women “dented and painted”. A few hours (and possibly a kick in the ass) later, an apology was issued by the President’s son and the way he said “I want to withdraw my statement. It was not meant to hurt anyone’s sentiment” clearly showed how it was just a cover up and he was completely unapologetic about it. But it did give us a fair amount of idea what kind of minds are ruling our country. But then, we have known that for a pretty long time. We are not new to moral diktats from the police or the govt. like “she invited rape by dressing in a certain way”, or “by being out of the house after 9 P.M.” and so on and so forth.

But what really churned my gut was when some fellow virtual people started attacking me for my blatant article which said that “anatomically having b***s doesn’t make you a real man. If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.”

I still stand by it. And I also want to address the above questions one by one.

Attack on a gender: 

Now, I am really confused here. Are women raped by women? No. Raped by men? Yes. Who am I targeting here? Men. Isn’t LHS = RHS? What gender am I attacking? I am just stating the facts.

It’s quite sad that because of a large population of indecent, lewd, uncultured men, a whole gender is being targeted here. BUT. If you are a real man, I expect you to understand that. I didn’t expect some of you to have such shallow egos that got hurt at the mere mention of rape. Did you ever think about countless women who have to experience something as horrendous, then face police and system apathy and get on with their lives?

YOU come out of your cozy bedrooms and get real.

2) Why didn’t I read write about the cases where women have harassed women? 

Tell me, if your house was on fire, would you call up the fire extinguisher first or get your faulty plumbing fixed first?

The point I am driving at is the country and it’s women are facing an unprecedented number of sexual exploitation cases in the form of molestation rapes, gang rapes and forced prostitution. In this regard, a lot of laws have been made and maybe a handful of women misused them for their own benefit. But does that take it away from the real issue its brutality? Don’t you realize the gravity of the situation, if gangrapes start happening in the heart of the city, inside public transport ? What is the working class women supposed to do? Sit at home, to defend her honor? Not venture out of the house at all?

I did say in my article that we need the strictest punishment for the culprits. So what’s wrong with it? I still demand it and I stand by it!

And we HAVE to address and fix this issue; before we go on to amend the existing laws at a human level and not on a gender bias.

3) Mr.Partha or whoever you are:
You don’t quite believe in all the cases of women harassment that media has reported because you think that they are possibly dented and painted too like the women of this country.

You seem to be a spurned lover whose advances got a sharp reaction from a girl. Let me tell you something. The way you have the right to look at a girl (to admire or to scorn at her), the same way, the girl has an equal right to either allow your advances or put an end to it. Be man enough. Learn to take it in your stride.

If your ego is the size of a dinosaur, it’s better to turn to men who will understand your signals better. May be you will never have to “prove” your (im)potency to anyone, ever again.

People like these guys have no right to tell us women what we do/don’t do right! Even if a women walks naked on the street, NO man has to right to force himself on her. We live in a civilized society, not in a jungle, where you pounce on anything that looks like a prey.

I don’t know if capital punishment is a deterrent, or chemical castration is, or efficient policing and fast track courts et al. What I do know for sure is that if all the men around us pledge to protect us, to see us as equals and not as objects of sexual gratification, this country will be a far better place to live in. Where no mother will ever have to loose a bright and brave girl like Nirbhaya at the hands of drunk and perverted men. 

Men will be men! But when did they turn into animals?

The nation is in an uproar over the gang rape of a 23 year old student in Delhi. People are up in arms against the government, carrying out candle light marches and protests, fighting for fast track courts for rape cases and calling for the most stringent and rigorous punishment for supposed “men” who commit such crimes. The common man is blaming the police and so is the government. But why suddenly this hullabaloo? Is this the first time that a woman has been raped? Or is it that we have become so immune to a rape that unless it assumes proportions of a monstrous magnitude like this one, where the girl has not only been raped by 6 animals, but also been tortured physically to an extent that she might not even survive. And even if she does, she will have to undergo various surgeries to fix her vital organs and will possibly have to depend on intravenous fluids all her life. I don’t know what to want for her. Should I pray to God for her life, a life where she will always have to depend on others or should I want her to die – a life that was burning bright with dreams of a happy future but maimed, because six animals in our city couldn’t control their perversion?

Reacting to news incidents like these feels like a joke now. Because what we are doing is just letting the frustration out of our system. It does not affect anyone. In fact, the people who matter will say that girls invite trouble by their dressing, or by being out on the streets “late” in the night. By that logic, Muslim women who are covered from head to toe should never be raped, or young girls (kids) who stay at home invariably unless otherwise taken out by the parents shouldn’t be either. But that doesn’t deter people from heaping the blame on a victim. The Khaps in this country have an unmatched sense of humor. They will blame everyone, from mobile phones to chowmein, but never their men for a rape. The problem doesn’t lie with a few men, but with a whole society that is hell bent on covering up everything that points a finger at their men. What kind of a democracy is this? Where all the freedom is for the men and all the diktats (on how to dress and behave) for women?

The objectification of women needs to be put an end to. It’s not just rape. Women face eve teasing, molestation, forced prostitution and other such malice just because supposed “men” view women as sex objects. They possibly don’t see them as other human beings who have as much right over their body as them. They possibly think that it’s fine to be lecherous, to pass lewd comments or touch them in inappropriate places or even force themselves on her. Who gives them this thinking, this mindset? Their fathers who beat their mothers to establish a patriarchy in the family? Or movies which show that men stalking women to express love is very cool, or how even a policeman doing pelvic moves and dancing around with an item-girl like heroine is “fun”? Or the women leaders who blame a rape victim of being morally unsound or too adventurous for having it brought it upon herself? Who is the real culprit here?

No matter what happens with these 6 men or countless others who are yet to be convicted or even those, who are still roaming freely on the streets, because what’s been done is done. But will it really deter other animals before doing or even thinking about it? Attacking this evil at the root is an urgency. Every family needs to teach their sons the correct way to behave with women. The government needs to pull up their socks and make an example out of this case. Had they done this earlier – the Assam molestation case, the Dhaula Kuan rape case, rape of the German diplomat, the Mumbai case, maybe we could have avoided this. The need of the hour is to send out a very strong message, a spine chilling one and it needs to be understood by supposed “men” that anatomically having ba**s is not the only ticket to manhood.  

If you are a real man, learn to protect and respect your women. Otherwise you are just another animal. One that needs to be herded and chained and invariably killed one day.

PS: No wonder the Mayans said that HUMANITY will end in 2012.