Is this Anti-Rape bill or Anti-Raped bill?

By Ramesh Sethuraman

Bharath has traditions which are highly regarded and followed as social and personal ethics (Dharma). Our ancestors who built the global dictionary for sex called Kamasutra have also defined dharma for bachelorship (brahmacharya), marriage (vivaahaa) and post-marriage (Karpu).

Starting from Vedas to modern age books from west, everyone accept marriage and sex as two souls coming together and not seeing it as just 2 bodies quenching their thirst. Our ancestors have clearly defined what a legal relationship is and what an illicit one. Based on this, our current laws are also defined to a certain extent. In Bharath a sex before marriage is seen as unethical in the society. Similarly after marriage not being loyal and honest to the partner and having an extra marital affair is also seen as an offence and  socially unethical.

Bharateeyata - Seeing Divinity in Everything
Bharateeyata – Seeing Divinity in Everything

Since independence, many governments have come and gone. They have done a detailed study and have confirmed that the minimum right age for women marriage is 18. (This also complies with the age standards set by several developed nations). This is primarily because the girls at the age of 18 attain the right level of physical, mental and emotional balance before they are ready to carry a child. Similarly a right or rather legal age for a man to get married is set at 21 as the person should have physical and mental strength to support his spouse and family. At the age of 18, a girl or a boy will possibly be at her high school so that she has the right knowledge to legally tackle social challenges. Hence the law has clearly defined the age for a major and a minor citizen.

The Group of Ministers of (GoM) of UPA government has agreed to bring down the age of consensual sex from 18 to 16 as part of the anti-rape bill. Many parents and responsible citizens of our country are seeing this as a move by the UPA govt with malicious intentions of destroying our nation’s tradition (Paramparya), ethics (dharma), integrity, discipline and family value system. There is an urgent need to see beyond what is put up in papers.

Redefining the Baseline - Prescription for increase in Violence against Women
Redefining the Baseline – Prescription for increase in Violence against Women

Although everyone including the minister for Women and Child Development want the age of consensual sex to remain at 18, the UPA GoM is forcibly bringing it down to 16 on the ground that marriages happen at an early age in rural India saying that the bringing down of the age will prevent in criminalization of sex. Unfortunately, the government has failed to create awareness in rural India regarding the ill effects of early age marriage and doing this to justify the failure as success.

Let see first why the age for consensual sex must remain at 18:

  1. Till the age of 18, children are under the custody of parents or legal guardians and they are not entitled for making legal decisions.
  2. Any decisions taken by a minor will be emotionally immature and hence the law considers it as null and void.
  3. As per Indian constitution, the age for legal employment is 18 and below 18 is considered to be child labor and it is a punishable offence.
  4. Today teen pregnancy is a major challenge in the so called developed nations of western world. (There are ample reports available on the public domain).
  5. Kids below 18 years might not engage in sex with proper protection such as condom / contraceptive pills. This might lead to transmission of sexual diseases and may also result in teen pregnancy.  This will lead to increase in abortion rates and may result in death of the girl if not done properly or at the right time.
  6. In the case of consensual sex at 16 years, the responsibility of the pregnancy will not be the kid’s own but the entire family’s (parents or legal guardian)
  7. A girl might have sex at 16 and get pregnant. But she will not be legally eligible for marriage. This might be beneficial for a sex seeking boy but not for the girl or her family who will face trauma due to social issues and might even get forced to commit suicide.
  8. Teen pregnancy will result in fatherless children who will be psychologically affected and it has been proven that many fatherless children engage in crimes. (Reports available in public domains)
  9. If a girl is raped at minor age (assume above 16), the rapist can escape legal battles or win through blackmail or by threatening the girl and her family.
  10. Some families might disown the pregnant girl and the girls might end up committing suicide or may end in the wrong hands of society resulting in growth of prostitution rings and illegal drugs.

Our government is keen on internet censorship to curb voice of public. Similarly they are interested in media censorship and they debate on TV’s like FTV which may contain semi-nude contents which is common for European countries like France. Where as the same government is not worried porn sites which has adults only contents but are freely accessible to children home alone!

If the bill is successfully passed as per new recommendations of GoM, at the end only the Hospitals, drugs companies, Condom companies, etc., will get benefitted. Probably this is part of UPA’s economic reforms agenda for short term. In future, based on similar logic, govt may even try to reduce the age of consensual sex even further which will only be beneficial to wolves with sexual thirst.

Lowering Age for Consensual Sex - An exercise fraught with dangers
Lowering Age for Consensual Sex – An exercise fraught with dangers

Not sure if this is part of the UPA’s employment creation and economic development plan to attract foreign investments by making India a sexual tourism hub and create lot of prostitutes from young citizens who have great potential to build this nation’s future and make it proud in the world stage.

Jai Hind!

(You can follow Sri Ramesh Sethuraman on Twitter here)

Hundredth Hundred and Under Achievement – Cynicism Rules

Amidst all the gloom that otherwise I saw around me during the past week, it indeed was an exhilarating experience for me when Sachin Tendulkar, the iconic “Human Being” surpass a humongous milestone. Humongous not due to the enormity of the task itself but the super weight of expectations of Crores of “Knowledgeable & Expert” Indians. Everyone in India seem to have an opinion and strategy when it comes to Cricket. I love cricket but by no means be classified (atleast not these days) amongst those fanatic lovers of the game putting the world on Pause button. But what he gifted to the mankind is something that cannot be brushed away so easily. And remember in a country where dreams of the entire nation is driven by 70 year + politicians , at 39 years it indeed is a weight of expectation, no ordinary Human Being can bear without cracking up. And here he is a great guy who did not crack up for over 2 long decades. And by God! He did handle his success like no God did and my admiration goes up manifold for this. Mythology has lot of stories where even some Gods had to pay a price for their haughtiness.

The 100th 100 jokes were very cruel on someone who was sincere student of the game. Did we ever hear an instance of arrogance or misbehavior from this legend who could have had the world at his feet? And when he did get there, it was ironical. We had an effort for a losing cause. But I give a damn. A fellow countryman is right up there – extremely lonely at the top. We only can look up and admire (or alternately pelt stones). Statistics (rightly referred to as Fool’s Mathematics) were thrown about (all wrong ones though to prove why someone else was better), his application for Ferrari duty exemption raked up, jokes started going around again that he always has a century in a losing cause. He has had his quirks, reason why I kept stressing the “Human Being”.

Though what he achieved is nothing short of what a “God” could have done. Folks, Gimme a break! Take out each of those 100s and we never know what could have happened! No one bandied statistics on this. Look at statistics of matches India lost and his scores too to get the real and overall picture. And the bashers would do well to also look at statistics of any other Indian or foreign cricketers. He is not just shoulders above the rest – a whole height.

Damned if you do…damned if you don’t. Looking back I know this Gentleman would realize that despite all this achievements it indeed is a thankless world. Definitely this is a feather in the cap as compared to the other shameful achievements that we otherwise are known for in the world – Scams, Rapes, Female Infanticides, Murders. Let us allow these positive achievements to swamp the negative ones. We as a nation owe it to ourselves. What these great man ha achieved is no small feat. The whole world is looking up and saluting this Little-Big man. Let us atleast be indifferent if not supportive. Criticism is simply out of place.

Now, getting to the basic purpose of writing this blog – at the risk of sounding too sermonizing which is better than agonizing, I try to do some loud thinking.

Why have we ended up as a populace that is cynical as a nation? Why are we unable to celebrate any achievement whole heartedly? Why look for holes in anything that comes under our vision? We can always blame politicians and other leaders for this. They never put thoughts in our minds, do they? India, a nation that breaks into celebration for anything (so many festivals are proof enough), India that worships anything (crow, monkey, elephant, sun, moon, and a variety of Gods), India that always practiced peaceful co-habitation, ultimate acceptance (I don’t like the word tolerance)& inclusiveness, India that celebrates just being happy like none else – what has come to us? Where are we losing it? Where is that never ending smile and ability to break into celebrations.  Has western civilizational!!! practices overtaken us? Has materialism replaced our spiritualism? Has competition overridden the sense of belongingness?

Time we redeemed those values. The whole shift happened when Traditional Bharath gradually transformed into Material India. As His Holiness Sri Sri Ravishankarji says, we have to Deepen our Roots and Broaden our Vision. That is real development. If not, I am afraid we end up no better than the Western World where is a volcano that keeps erupting quite often. The sense of richness is a facade to the underlying insecurities that they face every day. Bharath has everything to meet everyone’s need but never enough to satisfy anyone’s greed. Let us resolve to enjoy the richness of the traditions that is available on our platter. No other civilization can boast of what is available to us.

Imagine a Bharath where Politicians, Business Leaders, Educationists and every citizen develops an ultimate sense of belongingness – every marriage, childbirth and achievements become everyone’s achievement. Ratan Tata’s impeccability no longer gets diminished because of a Telephone Call, enormity of Sachin’s 100th 100 achievement will continue to elicit awe despite the only known indiscretion of an Exemption Application. Do we forget everything that these great Bharateeyas have gifted to us? Or is it to score some ego points amongst the intelligentsia in the e-world. Imagine the happiness we feel when our child speaks the first word, puts forward the first step – isn’t that a great milestone in our lives? Why? Sense of Belonging. Expand this thought and we can embrace our society, the city, state and the country. Everything that anyone achieves is like our baby rolling on to her stomach first time or that innocent Blabbers uttered first time.  It is that easy really!

This fundamental flaw of seeing everything through a jaundiced eye  is pounced upon by the real enemies to exploit. The Muslim rulers first and then British did it for Centuries. Karma is a great leveler. Today Bharath is far more secure and stronger nation than any of these so-called Developed nations – this despite the system that is slowly but surely getting corrected by a few brave visionary spiritual and political leaders. Handful but the reform is well underway irreversibly.

And finally, to those Tendulkar bashers, Ramesh Tendulkar ji did feel extremely pleased when his son looked up after almost a year. Not too many naysayers can even dream, let alone achieve what his son did. He is a Human after all. And remember he has scored not just the 100th 100, he did score 99 earlier 🙂 No mean achievement. Hats off Little Master! Proud of you. I am proud of yet another gentleman who called it quits. Rahul Dravid – a thorough human being too equally worthy of emulation.

PS: I write this blog because I just recovered from a bout of the extended attack – Attack of Cynicism

Idol Maker

Reflection time amidst the crisis facing a movement that I am intimately associated with. A honest introspection and in my humble conclusion brings me to the root cause of the issue. De-spiritualization of the movement. There is a lesson for all of us from this and definitely for me in my future engagements with any social cause.

A people’s movement in Bharath that caught the imagination of the world, was gradually turned into a movement of India driven by a few egoistic leaders who apparently grew bigger than the cause that was being espoused. The very leaders fell victims to the malady that we were fighting. The sustenance of such a mass movement that started from the spiritual space slowly turned into a ego battle and hence almost sounded the death knell but for some timely realization. It was realized by leadership that the only way the movement can be recovered, strengthened and sustained by arresting the de-spiritualization. Nothing is bigger than the cause or institution that they stand for.

With due respects to everyone, I present a nice story for all of us, especially for those self anointed and aggrandized leaders. Here it goes… (I think it is an Aesop’s fable).

An idol-maker had to deliver an idol to a customer. He placed it on his donkey’s back and they started on their journey. Now the idol-maker was extremely skilled at his job and this particular idol was one of the best he had ever made. Whoever saw it, stopped to bow down and pray.

The donkey thought they were bowing to him. He was enormously pleased and flattered and not wishing to go away from a place where he was held in such high esteem, came to an abrupt stop. Nothing his master did would induce him to start walking again, and finally his master lifted the idol on to own head and resumed his journey.

The donkey stood where he was, head held high, and braying sonorously until he suddenly became aware that there was no one watching him. The people were now following his master and bowing to the idol.

The donkey realised that his pride had clouded his judgement and feeling ashamed of himself, ran to rejoin his master.

Let us all remember the lesson from this story. Without His grace we all are Zeroes ;-). However much we try to corner the glory, we will make an ass out of ourselves. If the Master are people who help start this movement, let them continue to be. There is no choice today!

Lots of love and laughter…