Monthly Archives: December 2012

Information on the attack

Many people are seeking more information about the attack on Nirbhaya, and I think that the more people know, the better equipped they are to form opinions and take meaningful action. So below is every thing I know about the incident and the source I learned it from.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Delhi_gang_rape_case

-The victim was a physiotherapy student.

-She boarded a bus at 9:30 pm with a friend after seeing a movie.

-Supposedly the bus was being driven by “joyriders.”

-A group of 6 men began to verbally harass the two victims.

-Nirbhaya’s friend was beaten unconscious.

-The group raped Nirbhaya in the back of the bus, and then threw the two victims off the vehicle. One of the men then cleaned the bus.

-Medical reports show that it’s possible that the men raped Nirbhaya using the iron rod. She was found with only 5% of her intestines inside of her, which–according to a doctor at the hospital where she was treated–was because upon inserting and removing the iron rod into the victim, the victim’s intestines actually came out with the rod.

-In India, the damaged intestines of the victim were removed.

-While the victim was in critical condition, she was flown to Singapore for further treatment.

-The men arrested in the case: Ram Singh–the bus driver, Mukesh Singh–the brother of the driver, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta, Raju (that’s all there is for his name…it says that he’s a minor, so perhaps that’s why his full name isn’t revealed.), and Akshay Thakur. Supposedly Gupta has accepted his guilt, and has requested to be hanged. 

From http://www.kaurista.com/2012/12/30/delhi-rape-indias-national-culture/

-4 men raped Nirbhaya.

-Upon her resistance, the men inserted the iron rod into her vagina, which caused much physical damage to her.

-After the victims were thrown naked from the bus, it was an hour before a passer-by took action.

Information is constantly changing as new details are uncovered. This case is going to evolve over the next few days, so keep your eye on the news, and keep refreshing that Wikipedia page.

I hope this helped–

M

P.S-Some may feel that the spread of this information is disrespectful to the victim, and at first I had apprehension to share it as well. But if this information brings shame on to anyone, it should be to the attackers. Nirbhaya did nothing wrong, and had no control over the events that occurred.

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Fearless One

A little bit 😦 today. I had a post written earlier this week, but something’s been happening in India over the past couple of weeks and I think it deserves attention.

There are too many cases of rape in India that get ignored. In the state of Punjab, the conviction rate in incidences of rape is a feeble 10.8%, which means that 89% of rapists in Punjab walk free. And two weeks ago in Delhi, a 23-year-old woman and her friend saw a movie and the took a bus home. On the bus, they were beaten, and the woman was raped by 6 people and then thrown from the bus, which was moving. Another rape to be ignored and forgotten.

That is, it would be.

But it seems that the entire population of India, from Amritsar to Thiruvananthapuram (I just said that out loud and I feel very accomplished, you should try it. Go on. Go back, try it. There you go. I bet you feel accomplished right now.), is tired of rapes being swept under the rug. Because of them, protests have been held all over India, and this case has gained international infamy.

delhirapedelhigangrape delhigangrape2 delhigangrape3 delhigangrape4 delhirape

It may seem odd; people protesting rape. It’s like protesting murder–murder being something where it’s assumed that everyone is against it. But in a country like India, you can’t always count on the government and law enforcement to do the right thing in cases of rape. And because the details of the attack (which involved an iron rod, by the way) on this woman were so horrific, I think that people are that much more afraid that nothing will be done in this case. And so they’ve taken to the streets to show that they are fed up with the way that rape culture has developed in India. The name of the victim has not been released, but the public has given her names such as Nirbhaya, meaning fearless one. On Wednesday she was moved to a hospital in Singapore after part of her intestine was removed. On Friday (which was Saturday in India)  she passed away, succumbing to her wounds, as well as to pneumonia and abdominal infection.

Personally, I was so surprised to hear that Nirbhaya had died. I had been focusing on the  protests, and what they mean for the future of India. The protests still deserve attention, but it’s heart-wrenching to think that the victim won’t see the laws that will be written because of what happened to her, or see her country so unified in the wake of what happened to her.

On twitter for example (I promise twitter isn’t my only source of information) when you click to see the trending topics in India, it gives you an option of which city to look at. And check out the top tweet for every city they have:

rapetwitter rapetwitter1 rapetwitter2 rapetwitter3

rapetwitter8 rapetwitter10 rapetwitter11 rapetwitter12 rapetwitter13

rapetwitter9

These were just ten of them, but all 14 had RIP Nirbhaya as their top trending topic.

An entire country is reeling, and emotions are high. Some are even calling for the rapists to receive the death penalty, and one man connected to the crime has actually requested that he receives capital punishment. I don’t know if I think that that’s the way to go, but I guess we’ll see what happens soon, because the public has their eye on the government to make sure nothing gets delayed.

Overall, what happened was nothing short of terrible. Horrifying, and sick . But if anything positive can be said about it, it’s that this was the last straw. The government will have a hard time ignoring this case due to the uproar that’s sweeping India. Hopefully this public outrage will cause permanent reform in the Indian Justice system and in rape culture.

To quote one of the signs being held in the pictures of protests above, don’t tell your daughter not to go out, tell your son to behave properly.

My heart goes out to Nirbhaya, her family, and the victims of the thousands of attacks like this one that have occurred in India and around the world. All Nirbhaya did was get on a bus, and now she won’t get to finish her physiotherapy internship, or the rest of her life, and the lives of her loved ones have been changed forever. Nobody should have to be afraid to ride a bus. I think it can already be said that the rape and death of Nirbhaya have shaken the world, and are  a step toward a safer future for women.

-M

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French-Sikhs, it’s Turban Time.

Update: 2/22/13–  It is true that the U.N has declared the turban ban to be a violation of rights, but France has not officially lifted the ban. There is an upsurge in protests against the ban, and the Prime Minister of India– who is a Sikh– has recently made a statement regarding it. You can read more about this HERE for the Prime Minister’s statement and HERE for information on the recent protest.

 

 

SO this week something awesome and long overdue happened over in France.

At the same time, something awesome happened in the U.S– a blogger just typed “France” and then realized that she has left-over french fries waiting for her.

WAIT RIGHT HERE.

Okay, so as I was saying, in 2004, the French Government banned certain head-wear in public schools, which included turbans worn by Sikh men and women, as well as children, considering them “conspicuous.”

People protested this ban all around the world, but to no avail. In fact, you could say that the French government sort of got on a role, because in 2010 they also banned the burqa and niqab, which look like this:

These are banned everywhere in France, not just in public schools.

Well, let’s hear it for oppressing peoples’ culture!

THIS IS STILL A POST ABOUT THE TURBAN BAN I PROMISE! But the thing that got me about the burqa and niqab ban is that this law might be helpful in some countries where many women are forced to wear a burqa or niqab, because it would allow women to tell their oppressors “I can’t wear it, it’s against the law.” But…this is in France. Technically though, this ban was part of a law banning all face coverings, including some helmets and stuff, but people who speak out in support of the ban say that burqas and niqabs oppress women. ( So that I don’t get on a tangent about this, you can check out my post on the oppression of women HERE if you would like) But really anytime you force a person to do something, you’re oppressing them. So couldn’t they just have banned people from forcing women to wear burqas and niqabs? Sigh. This law is still in effect.

ANYWAYS back to turbans. After it was passed, students began getting expelled from school for not removing their turbans. And big ups to those kids by the way– in a post-9/11 world, it’s hard enough going out with a Sikh identity. Not only did these kids have to defend themselves everyday around their peers, but from the law as well.

One of the parents of a boy who refused to remove his turban opened the Shere Punjab private school, welcoming students who wore turbans.

Maybe I should explain why turbans are such a big deal for Sikhs. Basically, during the time of our Gurus, or the founders of our religion, people who were minorities were often killed, and Sikhs have always been minorities. It was a scary, messed up time. But Guru Gobind Singh Ji, our 10th leader, told Sikhs not to hide. In fact he told them to wear their identity proud so that everyone knew they were Sikhs and that they weren’t afraid to show it. So Sikhs grew out their hair, put on karas, or silver bracelets, and donned turbans. This became the Sikh identity. Sikhs risked their lives to show their devotion. And so today, wearing our identity is so important because those are our ancestors. I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching here–and by no means am I saying that you have to wear a turban to be a Sikh. These are simply some reasons why Sikhs may choose to do so.

Anyways, another thing about this law– in a press release, it was said that the law was partially enacted to protect the safety of Sikh students. I definitely see where they’re coming from here, because as Sikhs, we get bullied for our identity all the time. But then shouldn’t they outlaw bullying instead? It’s like when people say its a woman’s fault for getting raped because she wears dresses, when really it’s the rapist’s fault. So this month, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that France did not have a valid reason for the law, and that the ban infringed upon a Sikh’s right to manifest his/her religion, as stated in this press release issued by United Sikhs: http://unitedsikhs.org/PressReleases/PRSRLS-14-12-2012-01.html

This ban had no place in the 21st century, and I’m glad to see it gone. I have a little cousin named Arik who lives in Paris. His parents don’t wear turbans, and neither does he. But it’s good to know that if one day he wants to, he can. Congratulations Arik, and to all my French-Sikh brothers and sisters, and to everyone who didn’t support the ban in the first place. For the French ladies who are waiting to put their burqas and niqabs back on, maybe this is a step towards your freedom as well. I definitely hope so, and I hope that day comes soon 🙂

And with that, I’m off. I hope you have an awesome holiday, whether it be Christmas, Hannukah, Quanza, or just that awkward day when the whole world is celebrating something and you’re not. If you’re that last one, I feel you bro. You can come to my house on Christmas–we’ll drink cha and watch the sunrise.

-M

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A Survivor Recalls: Part II (For real this time.)

So it’s been a long time coming, but here is the last part of my grandmother’s ( my Bee Ji’s) Partition story. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ PART I, or if you want a little more information about the Partition of India, click the smiley, it’s waiting for you–😀

Enjoy!

When my Bee Ji and her family arrived at the train station, all was well. They got on the train, leaving their house, their belongings, and their father Pakistan. They had no way of knowing that the train that was supposed to leave the station right after their’s would never leave at all. It was ransacked by a mob, and the passengers were raped and killed, because it was sort of chaos everywhere.

The family sped across the newly formed border, leaving everything they knew behind.

Eventually my Bee Ji and her family arrived in India. They went to a refugee camp in Phagwara, Punjab, where they would only stay for a few days. At this point, they had realized how serious things were, and that they probably would not get to return to their home in Pakistan, where the father of their family was waiting for them. They would have to stay in India.  Meanwhile, in the family’s home in Pakistan, my great-grandfather was realizing the same thing. He was forced out of the family home by what I assume was yet another mob, and was left to find his family across the border.

In the refugee camp in Phagwara, my male relatives were about to take part in the chaos around them.

A caravan of Muslims was seen passing by on its way to Pakistan. It would never arrive at its destination. It was my Bee Ji’s uncles who did it–they went out to the group of Muslims and killed every last one of them. Every one, that is, except for two of them: A woman and her baby somehow managed to evade my relatives and sneak away. My Bee Ji’s mother quietly met the woman and actually housed the two Muslims in the refugee camp, taking care to hide them from her male relatives, who would have killed the family of two.  The next morning, another group of Muslims was passing by, and my great-grandmother sent the two refugees along quietly with that group.

And as suddenly as it was disrupted, life began to settle again. Somehow, my Bee Ji’s dad was able to find the family in the refugee camp. After leaving their home in Lahore, Pakistan, my Bee Ji and her family never settled in any one place in India. They stayed in the state of  Punjab, but they moved around to different cities; from Phagwara to Jalandhar, Amritsar, Firozpur, and eventually Sangrur, where my Bee Ji would eventually meet her husband.

Well, I guess that’s all folks. Part II was a long time coming, I know. But at least it had some action? Tears even? Did you cry? It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone if you did. No? Okay. That’s cool. You do you.

I know it was kind of short. I wish I was able to get some more details. I’m visiting my other grandparents this weekend, so I might get some new stories then. I wanted to finish this off with saying something insightful about the Partition, but in the words of Russell Peters…http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=b8NLVxr4WjM#t=4s

And I guess my Bee Ji’s story says quite a bit on its own. Overall, the Partition was a time of confusion and dislocation. My grandmother never saw her home again. Friends and families were split apart. But out of all of this came the nation of Pakistan. And please, don’t get me wrong: I love Pakistan. I have some really cool Pakistani friends, and I even consider myself Pakistani, as well as Indian. But it is cool to think that 66 years ago, India was so diverse in religion and culture, even more than it is today.

If you didn’t know about the Partition of India, I strongly suggest Wiki-ing it. To put it in official terms, that Partition cray.

And with that, I bid thee adieu. I hope you have an AMAZING SPECTACULAR SUPERCAGAFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS WEEK, SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU ARE AMAZING SPECTACULAR SUPERCALAFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS AND THEREFORE YOU DESERVE A WEEK AS AMAZING SPECTACULAR SUPERCAGAFRAGILISTICEXPIALADOCIOUS AS YOU ARE.

-M

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A Survivor Recalls: Part II (except not)

Hi there! So part II of A Survivor Recalls is all wrapped up, but I’m trying to conclude it without sounding dramatic. I watched this documentary in school the other day and the narrator was so dramatic and now I’m really paranoid that I’m going to sound that dramatic.

Like at one point the guy, who was an underwater photographer, was in the hospital and he was like:

“Suddenly I couldn’t be in the ocean. And they were dripping the ocean into me.” He was talking about having to be hooked up to and I.V.  This guy. I secretly loved it though.

Anyways, Part II will be posted tomorrow. Until then, please enjoy this video of the evolution of “Hug Me Brotha!!” on Drake and Josh: CLICK ME! (OR SHOULD I SAY HUG ME!! no, you shouldn’t. WAIT WHAT? WHO IS THAT? It’s me, the monitor of lame jokes. My radar just went off–that joke was really lame. COME ON, YOU’RE THE MONITOR OF LAME JOKES? THAT SOUNDS LIKE A TERRIBLE JOB. It..it’s not terrible. ADMIT IT MAN, YOU WANT MORE OUT OF LIFE. I…I guess I have some unfulfilled dreams. THAT’S IT. YOU’RE QUITTING YOU’RE JOB. WE’RE GOING TO VEGAS. Yeah! I’m in! THEN HUG ME BROTHA!!)

…I don’t know what just transpired, but I sincerely apologize for it. My lame joke monitor quit and now I just don’t know where to stop.

-M

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Connecticut

Really quickly I just wanted to talk about the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut yesterday. Some 30 people were shot and killed in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. 20 of them were children.

Some people are mentioning how this kind of thing happens around the world all the time, but I don’t think that makes this any less heartbreaking.  And, on twitter at least, it seems like the rest of the world is grieving for this tragedy as well:

shootingtrends7


(The little symbol next to the 26 and the 20 means “people,” as in “20 people.”

shootingtrends5 shootingtrends4 shootingtrends3 shootingtrends2 shootingtrends1 shootingtrends

Another thing people are talking about is gun control–“The USA is the only place where guns are a right but healthcare is a privilege.”  I don’t really know that much about gun control laws right now, but after all the shootings this year I really want to know more. Could restrictions on arms have prevented this from happening? What about the Wisconsin Sikh Gurdwara shooting? White supremacy groups are 100% legal, which I get, because of free speech, but are white supremacists allowed to walk into a store and buy a gun without any restrictions, like Wade Michael Page must have done?And healthcare does play a role in this as well, particularly mental healthcare. If these shooters had had access to free psychiatrists, would these crimes have been committed? Hopefully the new year will bring some answers, and maybe some change as well.

Praying for the victims and their loved ones, in Connecticut and all around the world. Rabh Rakha.

-M

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It’s crazy how similar Lincoln and Kennedy were tho.

Well hello there!

So my computer sort of died, and I’m currently writing this from my mom’s phone.

BUT I HAVE A PLAN:
About 8765 years ago I posted part of my grandma’s Partition story in a post called A Survivior Recalls Part I. And I’m thinking I’m going to post part II next week. So I put part I down below for anyone who hasn’t read it before. If you have…please enjoy this list of coincidences between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy: CLICK ME 😀

Enjoy!

A Survivor Recalls, Part I:

When the British left India in August, 1947, families like mine weren’t celebrating. Because when the British left, they created Pakistan for the Muslims. And all of a sudden, my formerly Indian family was no longer in India. They were in a whole new country without even having moved an inch. The catch was that we aren’t Muslim. Hindus wanted Muslims out of India, and Muslims wanted Hindus out of Pakistan.

1947.
It was the Partition.

My grandmother’s Partition story has always fascinated me. I’ve wanted to share it for a while now, so here goes:
She was around 13 when it happened. My grandmother, my Bee Ji, had had a picturesque childhood up until then. She had three sisters and two brothers, she went to school (and was quite the class clown) and ran kites with the boys, her eldest sister having to make sure she came in for dinner, after which she would be back outside again. Once, she accidently dropped a cinder block onto her sister’s finger, which to this day is bent. I don’t know what they were doing with a cinder block.
My grandmother and her sisters would walk home from school with their burqa-clad girlfriends. She remembers being scared of an insane woman who would chase them down the street. They’d run from her. She remembers once going to some kind of park and seeing British women in a part that was exclusively for the British. A sign said, “Dogs and Indians not allowed.” She was fascinated by their dresses and their different kind of beauty. All of these elements would soon clash. The British were leaving, and they decided to make a certain parts of India, the parts with the largest Muslim population, into a new country. Pakistan. Here’s a visual:

The green part labled West Pakistan is where my grandmother lived. And all of a sudden she wasn’t in India anymore. Her family debated moving. Her father thought it was unecessary to move. The rest of the family felt that staying would be dangerous. And they were right. When you tell people, “This land is designated to you,” they get a little possesive. When you tell them, “This land belongs to you because of your religion,” things get crazy. And they did, seeing as the Partition resulted in an estimated one million dead. It was from the exhaustion of the traveling and from attacks on one another. And remember, it was summer then. August. And we’re talking no air conditioning folks. We’re talking practically no cars. Anyways, back to my Bee Ji.

Refugi camp, Pagwara, Jalandhar:
When the family packed what they could and left, my grandma’s father stayed behind. The family was planning to return to Pakistan after things calmed down. So my grandmother and the rest went to the train station in Lahore. They couldn’t have predicted what happened there.

Stay tuned for part II!

-M

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SAT

This one is going out to anyone who’s been finding themselves in this position lately:

Where I live, the SATs are coming up as they do every few months. I’m in my junior year of high school, so a lot of my friends are stressing out about it. I try to tell them what I tell myself- that we’re going to have so many other opportunities to take it before college and this is practically like a practice round- but I don’t think any of them believe me. I was talking to a friend of mine (Shout out to TINA!) and she pretty much cleared up the issue for me when she said that her parents are expecting her to get a perfect score this time around. I’m sure a lot of kids are getting this from there parents right now, which I can imagine is very stressful and is the main reason people are on edge.

BEFORE WE CONTINUE THOUGH.

Remember, as cliche as it sounds, your parents really do just want the best for you. Yes, they may sometimes do a bad job of showing it, but they have good intentions (unless they abuse you or something because that’s not okay). I’m going to stop talking about this because I have a whole post on it that I’m afraid I might start repeating word for word if I continue (check it out HERE). OKAY. THE MAIN THING HERE WAS THAT YOUR PARENTS HAVE GOOD INTENTIONS UNLESS YOU ARE GETTING ABUSED IN WHICH CASE YOU NEED TO TELL SOMEONE. OKAY. MOVING ON.

As much as our parents are awesome people who we can get advice from and who have been through a lot in their lives, they might not always be spot on with everything. If you don’t do well on the SAT, it really is going to be okay. There are many opportunities to take it before you have to apply for college. And your entire application does not revolve solely around your score. If that was the case, it would be the only thing that we’d have to submit. But it’s not! You submit your grades to colleges, your extracurricular activities, your recommendations from teachers, your written college essays, etc. And even if this is the last time you can take the SAT and you’re afraid you’re going to bomb and you haven’t done well on the other ones and you’re freaking out that your life is coming to an end, it’s still okay. You have a ton of options, like community college. Yes, community college. I think in some communities there’s some weird stigma against community colleges, but that’s just uninformed hoopla. I have a friend who isn’t stressing about the SAT (and his parents aren’t either) because he’s planning on going to a community college and eventually becoming a nurse. Many doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc., went to community college. I have a couple of cousins who went to a community college, took a year off from school, and are now enrolled in a university, on track to becoming physical therapists. The way things are going for them, it looks like they’re going to have pretty stable lives, and no one knows or cares how well they did on the SAT. Let’s just sum this up: Clint Eastwood went to community college. I think I’ve made my point.

I know it must be hard to have parents who breathe down your neck about the SAT and grades and stuff, and you should definitely always do your best in school and in what ever else you do. But if school is a major source of stress for you, remember to take a step back to breathe every once and a while. Study hard, but play hard too. Your life does not revolve around one test or a single acceptance letter.

-M

*Update: Omg. I actually took the SAT today and the lady proctoring my test was so sweet. Before we started she was all And you know, if you don’t do well today, the sun will still rise tomorrow, the tide will still come in, Christmas will still come. She was wearing this cute cardigan and she had a really cute Southern accent and it was literally the best.

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