Category Archives: Rants

BOLLYWOOD LET ME CALL YOU OUT REAL QUICK: RELIGIONISM AND ETHNICISM IN BOLLYWOOD

(Disclaimer: I wrote this like months ago, in case something I say doesn’t make sense time-wise.)

I hope religionism and religionist are actual words…

White privilege, Gandhi, man—I’ve been going HARD lately. So I was like, I should definitely do something light-hearted this week. But then I figured, I might as well get it all out, you know?

BOLLYWOOD.

Cheerful…

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Scenic…

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Romantic…

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And overall just a hoot, right?
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Mhmm. It is all of those things. But, as I’ve mentioned before, sometimes, bollywood gets a little bit offensive.

Just…

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A tad…
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rude.
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When portraying minorities. The minority I’ve noticed being discriminated against the most is Sardars, who are Sikh men who wear turbans. Sardars are almost always portrayed as drunk, irrational, uneducated men. Some infamous offenders are Jab We Met and Veer Zaara (although Bachchan isn’t actually wearing a turban in Veer Zaara). Also, Sikhs are often shown doing things that are blatently against Sikhsims, such as idol worship, and, overall,  Bollywood mixes Hinduism and Sikhism. A lot.  And I have a couple issues with that.

First, the whole drunk thing. An argument I hear for this very often is, “But it’s true!! Sikhs ARE drinkers!” Okay, I get it. It is true. But…it’s true to the point that it’s like, an issue. Like, the biggest issue for us, basically. Drugs and alcohol are killing Panjab. 73% of Panjabi youth are addicted to drugs. Not just users. Addicts. I have family members who have had to recover from serious drug problems at very young ages. And yes, Sikhs are known to drink. Fine. But does that mean that Bollywood has to portray Sikhs as alcoholics all the time? Think about little Sikh boys and girls. When all they is  see Sikhs portrayed as is drinkers, that’s what they’re going to think is expected of them. And so how can we ever progress? We can’t. And Bollywood’s not concerned about it.

Now when Sikhs are somewhat reasonable people in Bollywood, it’s great! But, it’s also not, because, the more reasonable they are, the more the movie makers want us to believe they’re actually Hindus. They do pooja, worship idols, have Hindu weddings, and do other things that I don’t even know what they’re called, because as a Sikh, I never learned them. Also, characters who are Hindus often wear karas. This I just don’t get. Like, I was thinking about it the other day–karas were given to Sikhs so they could be identified as Sikhs on the battlefield. And so I was thinking, I get that religious traditions blend together sometimes, but karas are for ride or die Sikhs, like, literally. When I was in India, I noticed how there isn’t really a line between Sikhs and Hindus, and that scared me a little. We make up just 2% of India’s population, making it totally possible for us to kind of get washed away. And seeing so much Sikh-Hindu confusion in Bollywood seems like a symptom of this. Even Rocket Singh, which is the best portrayal of a Sikh-Sardar Bollywood has ever done, shows Sikhs praying to pictures. This even got my grandma heated. So you know it’s not just me, a rebelious youth. Also, there’s the fact that the Indian constitution says that Sikhism is part of Hinduism. SO YOU KNOW, THERE’S THAT.

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Look, I love watching B-wood movies. And I’m not trying to turn anyone off of them. I just feel like we need to be aware that they don’t portray minorities, like Sikhs and Muslim, well. I don’t think anyone should stop watching them. But when you do watch them, and you see that the only Sikh and Muslim characters are the rickshaw drivers or something like that, notice. Just notice. And if you want to stand up in the theater, declare the movie ethnicist or religionist, walk out, and hold a picket-sign protest, feel free. If you feel like sending a strongly worded email to Karan Johar about how, while you have marathons of his movies every rainy day, they are damaging the image of minorities in front of an international audience, be my guest. Or blog about it heatedly. Either one.

See you next time, hopefully engaged readers,

-M

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PIND APPRECIATION AND JATTS AND BACKWARDS CLASS STATUS

SORRY NO POST LAST WEEK AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

 

A lot of Panjab, India is rural land made up of tons of small villiages, or “pinds” in Panjabi. Basically, there are cities, and there are pinds. Cities in Panjab are some of the richest in both India and I think Pakistan too–they can  have Pizza Huts and KFCs and the people wear jeans. And they really, truly are beautiful.

But when I was in Panjab, sitting in the car for hours at a time, about every fifteen minutes or so, the air would suddenly become fresher, the roads became clearer, and the view outside the window changed to this. CLICK IT. DO IT. PLEASE. I DIDN’T WANT TO COPY PASTE BECAUSE IT LOOKS LIKE AN OFFICIALISH PHOTOGRAPHYISH BLOG. BUT JUST CLICK ON IT YOU WON’T REGRET IT.

Panjabi pinds are where it’s at. Just ask Bollywood.

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Panjabi pinds are famous for their bright yellow fields of mustard, but they also grow wheat and sugarcane, among other crops. So I was definitely expecting those to be there. But I figured seeing that bright yellow sarson di khet would be kind of rare? Like maybe I’d get to glimpse a handful of these fields of mustard.

THEY WERE EVERYWHERE THO. Like I don’t think we ever drove 30 minutes without seeing at least one.

^^some of my pics from the car.

Another thing I didn’t foresee was these amazingly beautiful trees. They were like thin, tall trees with greenish yellowish leaves and, here’s the magic, they were lined up in perfect rows. Driving by them, which happened just as often as driving by the mustard fields, they looked like some kind of an optical illusion.

And CLICK HERE OKAY LOOK AT THIS AMAZING PICTURE OF THE PIND TREES THAT ISN’T MINE BUT IS BEAUTIFUL AND YOU REALLY SHOULD. This picture captures the optical illusionness of it all. It’s the same one I linked you to before. I’m linking you to it twice because for some reason I’m afraid you didn’t click it the first time #trustissues

And yeah. I’m starting to see that pinds are kind of a big part of Panjabi culture. They’re kind of more traditional. I didn’t get to check out any pinds that much while in India, but I like to imagine the ladies wear salwar kameezes, the guys wear kurtas, the kids speak Panjabi, and everyone loves to get down and giddha and bhangra, and on warm nights they sleep on cots on the roofs, under the stars.

*sigh*….pinds, man…<3

Unfortunately, pinds are also where the majority of Panjab’s huge drug problem lies. See, people who live in pinds are usually farmers, and Panjab is facing an enormous agricultural crisis right now, one which the Indian government has not helped very actively. In fact, the government does some things that tend to hurt Panjabi farms more than help them, such as channel more than half of Panjab’s water sources out of Panjab…and because of the agricultural crisis, many Panjabi farmers are without work, and have turned to drugs. There are some pinds in Panjab where you can find syringes littered on the ground. It’s a heartbreaking situation. From what I’ve heard, pretty much every family has been adversely affected by drug addiction.

Panjabi pinds are a wonder. They have a dark aspect to them, what with all the drug use, but they are also so beautiful and have so much culture. Sometimes people call others “pindus” or “pendus,” and it’s taken to mean you are ignorant (when I first typed this I spelled it “ignortant.” like just try saying that out loud.)…it’s usually used lightheartedly, but still, not too cool. I’ve probably done it too, and I’m seeing now how wrong and unfair it is. Now, if anyone ever calls me “pendu,” I always take it as a compliment.To be from a pind is a beautiful thing 🙂

Oh! Also, one more thing! A good amount of people who live in pinds are part of the Jatt caste. A lot of them are Sikhs, and in Sikhi, we are taught not to abide by the caste system. Buuuut sometimes the culture around you trumps religion. Personally, I don’t like to identify people by their caste, or even acknowledge castes. But this topic kind of focuses around a certain caste, so I’m going to this time. 

Anyways, Jatts and Jatt Sikhs  were recently named a “backwards class” by the Indian government as I found from on Diljit’s instagram

 

And at first, I was annoyed, like a lot of other Panjabis and Sikhs. I just thought it was more of the government hating on us, yet again. But this was the Panjabi government, when usually (but not always) it’s the federal government that sips the haterade. So I looked it up, and it’s actually kind of a good thing! Basically, the Indian government has set up this title of “backwards class,” as they call it, and by affording a group this title, the government acknowledges that this group has been underprivileged in the past, and that the government should do it’s best to put the group on equal ground with the rest of the country. It’s kind of like acknowledging their minority status. Here, Wikipedia says it better:

“Other Backward Class (OBC) is a collective term used by the Government of India to classify castes which are educationally and socially disadvantaged. It is one of several official classifications of the population of India, along with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SCs and STs). The OBCs were found to comprise 52% of the country’s population by the Mandal Commission report of 1980, a figure which had shrunk to 41% by 2006 when the National Sample Survey Organisation took place.[1]

In the Indian Constitution, OBCs are described as “socially and educationally backward classes”, and the Government of India is enjoined to ensure their social and educational development – for example, the OBCs are entitled to 27% reservations in public sector employment and higher education. The list of OBCs maintained by the Indian Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is dynamic, with castes and communities being added or removed depending on social, educational and economic factors.”

 

So I think this is actually a good thing! I mean…they probably should’t have “backwards” in the title, because it throws people off a little. Nonetheless, it’s a good thing. 

Apparently, the government didn’t include Jatts in this classification the first time around, and a lot of Panjabis were annoyed at this. But the government actually went back and added Jatts! 

And from what I know about the agricultural crisis and the drug problem, I think the hardships that Jatts and Jatt Sikhs are facing deserve to be acknowledged. Heck, all Panjabis in India probably deserve this status.  But this is a good start 🙂 

All women are afforded this status as well. 

 

Well that was one heck of a tangent. Man I hate when I go on tangents right before the end of the post. Because then it’s like, how do I end this now? Do I tie it back to the original topic? Do I pretend like the tangent never even happened? Do I pretend like I totally forgot about the original topic? Idk…this is too much. Too much stress. I love you. Bye. 

-M

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NABILA UR REHMAN: WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS NAME, AND WHY YOU DON’T ALREADY

The West has shown Malala Yousafzai so much support in her campaign for girls’ education. Her name is a household name, and it should be. She is an amazing, brave, Pakistani girl. Like, I love Malala, okay? That ain’t even in question.

In fact, she’s been up to some amazing things lately, including backing a campaign started by girls in the U.K for the education of female genital mutilation, and speaking up for the children of Syria.

But there’s another brave Pakistani girl whose life was changed forever after an attack in 2012, just like Malala’s was. Her name is  Nabila ur Rehman

Like Malala’s dad, Nabila’s father is a school teacher in Northern Pakistan. And like Malala, she was targeted by a force that should have killed her. But unlike Malala, that force was the U.S, not the Taliban.

Nabila and her 13 year old brother were gathering okra in a field with their grandmother on the day of the attack. A drone overhead fired more than once, killing their grandmother, pictured below.

 

Reports claimed that the drone killed as many as 5 militants, yet it killed none.

Nabila made the trek to Washington D.C from her village in Pakistan. The nine year old, her thirteen year old brother, and her father were scheduled to testify to Congress about the way the U.S’s drone policy affected their lives. Watch the testimonies here. Out of hundreds of Congress members, five showed up to listen to the family recount the day their grandmother was killed by the U.S government. It was the day before the holiday of Eid. Zubhair, Nabilia’s older brother, required sugery to remove shrapnel from his leg, but his family could not afford it. It was months before Zubhair’s family could raise enough money to pay for the operation. But no operation can change the fact that he, along with other children like him, are no longer safe to play outside. The family testified in Urdu, and required an interpreter, who wept while translating their words.

Stories like those of Nabila and her family are what took me off the fence about our drone policy, and made me  against the use of drones. Nabila’s family, and countless others, were never compensated for their medical bills. I am ashamed that my government kills and injures innocent people, and does not even do so much as pay for the operations they need to repair the damage. Drones have been effective in killing a number of militants. But, as Obama himself has said, “To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance.” The numbers of militants killed by drones are misreported, as are the numbers of civilians killed. If this is our drone policy, I cannot support it.

On October 9th, 2012, Malala Yousafzai narrowly escaped death when the Taliban shot her. We have since welcomed her to our country, interviewed her on our talk shows, and allowed her to meet our president. Malala lives in England, and is an honorary citizen of Canada. She has met the Queen of England. Malala truly deserves all of this and more. But in the same month of the same year that Malala was shot, another young girl narrowly escaped death. She left her villiage to come testify to the Congress of the United States, in the hopes that they would listen to what she had to say, and that she could prevent what happened to her to happen to others. We sent her back home. I cannot help but think that we celebrate Malala because her oppressors are the Taliban, while we ignore Nabila and her family because their oppressors are us.

-M

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!!BALLEWOOD!!

Go back up. Read the title. Make sure you don’t think it says “!!Bollywood!!” Now look back down. Your man could smell like Old Spice.

 

If you don’t know those commercials, this has undoubtedly been an awkward intro for you.

 

Guys. It’s been a few months now that I’ve had the TINIEST obsession with Bollywood. But it’s kind of over now. I have moved on. But it’s okay! Let me explain what has happened.

 

Here, let’s set the scene. You’re just outside, I don’t know, Amritsar, Panjab, admiring the mustard fields.

 

wearing your nicest Patiala salwar

 

eating some saag and roti, yum.

 

When, all of a sudden, you get some saag stuck in your throat (wow smooth I didn’t even know that was possible). You cough. Your companion of choice

 

asks you, concerned, if you need some water.

 

“Paani cheye?”

 

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EVERYONE. SPEAKS. HINDI. IN INDIA. EVEN IN PANJAB.

Not saying you do, Mickey Singh. You good.

“Thx.”

 

Okay, not everyone spoke Hindi in Panjab.  But A LOT of people did. And I wouldn’t even be that mad, right? If it weren’t for the fact that Panjabi is a dying language. But it is…so…

 

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And, I mean, I get it. Hindi is to India as English is to America. I definitely speak more English than Panjabi, and I am Panjabi. So how critical can I be to Panjabis in India who speak Hindi? But I guess I was just expecting to hear more Panjabi, at least in Panjab, you know? And after visiting Panjab, I gained such a huge appreciation for Panjabi culture and the language, even more than I had before. And there’s obviously nothing wrong with non-Panjabi cultures, IT’S NOT THAT, OKAY? It’s just that, Panjab, atleast the state in India, is so tiny compared to the rest of the country.

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And while I was there, it just kind of hit me how possible it is for Panjabi culture in India to kind of be washed away and forgotten, because it’s such a small part of the country, geographically. So basically I’ve become that auntie at gurdwara that tells you you must speak Panjabi, beta. That’s the whole point of what I’m trying to say, summarized into one convenient analogy.

 

And so now that I’m back in da states, I’ve kind of been watching Panjabi movies a little more and Bollywood movies a bit less, because of the bigger appreciation I have for all things Panjab.

AND GUESS WHAT.

I ❤ THEM.

THE…PANJABI MOVIES. YEAH OKAY. YOU GOT IT.

No, they’re not usually as high-budget as Bollywood movies, and yes, they can be somewhat corny, on occasion. But like, who doesn’t love corn?

No? k.
So one of the movies I’ve watched is called Chak Jawana.
I actually saw this before I left for India. It’s all about this dude and his friends in Panjab who do drugs and drink a lot and how drugs are ruining their pind (villiage) and Gurdas Maan comes to help. Drugs are a huge problem in Panjab, so I loved the message of this movie. The corn factor in this one can sometimes be a tad high, but it’s totally worth it. You will cry. Wait when did this turn into a movie review.
I also saw Sadda Haq before I left for the homeland.
It’s depicts the Sikh genocide of 1984, and it’s pretty great. Sad, but really really good, and much needed, in my opinion. And while most of the movie is serious, there’s a really cute song in it!
Ooh, no subtitles….well “Naina” means “eyes.” So….that’s that part.
As you can see, it’s not a Bollywood-scale dance number, but it’s still really sweet and enjoyable!
Another movie I saw before the trip was Long Da Lishkara <3333333333333333
I haven’t seen the whole thing, but it’s kind of an older one and it’s soooooooo great so far omg. My mom first saw it when she was a young lass, and she loves it too. And did I mention IT MADE GURDAS MAAN FAMOUS?!? Like he’s not even the main guy in it, in fact he plays a hermit-y guy, but he sings so well throughout the movie and tugs at the heartstrings sooooo incredibly much, that everyone was like WHO DAT.
This is his best-loved song from the movie, and possibly his all time best-loved, “Challa.”
GAHHH IT’S SO BEAUTIFULLY SUNG AND THE MUSIC IS BEAUTIFUL IT’S LIKE A CLASSIC PANJABI TUNE AND THE LYRICS ARE SO SAD AHHHHHHHEOIGJKLD.C
OKAY. Now that I’m back, two of the Panjabi movies I’ve watched are……….Jatt and Juliet and Jatt and Juliet 2

And I guess they really did me in. I am now in love with Panjabi movies. These two were so hilarious and great, and there’s just no going back for me now. Plus, I found out (thanks to the internet) that, just like there’s a name for the Hindi/Mumbai movie industry– Bollywood–there’s a name for the Panjabi movie industry. And it’s Ballewood.

I DIED. IT’S SO PERF.
“Balle Balle” is like a Panjabi phrase you say when you’re like, dancing, or if something good happens lol. BALLEWOOD. I JUST CAN’T.
I was so excited when I found this out that I even edited the “Cinema of Punjab” wiki page to mention “Ballewood” but I guess someone unedited it or something,  idk. Idk how Wikipedia works.
Anyways guys, I don’t know what it is. Maybe I love hearing people speak so much Panjabi. Maybe I love that they show Panjab. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t need subtitles to watch them. But Panjabi movies are my thang right now ❤ I would ABSOLUTELY recommend them to you guys, but I haven’t run across any versions with English subtitles 😦 So if you don’t know Panjabi, this might hinder your ability to enjoy them, just a bit. But hopefully they’ll start making them with subtitles? That’d be cool! Then more people could enjoy them!
Okay, imma peace out. Bye the way, I’m still trying to think of a way to finish telling you guys about the trip. But at the same time, I’m wondering how much you guys want to hear of it? I mean, I could write posts on posts about the trip, and I’d love too, but is that what you guys want? Do you have anything you for sure want me to talk about regarding it? Or any suggestions on the best way to blog about it?  LET ME KNOW! PLS!
Bye ily 🙂
-M

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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YA GIRL IS GOING HOME

That’s right. I had something else planned for this week’s post, but I CAN’T NOT TELL YOU GUYS I JUST CAN’T.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I N D I A  T R I P   I S  A  G O !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

source:http://perezhilton.com/tag/one_direction/#sthash.6oCg1hbn.dpbs

PUNJAB IS A GO

Source:http://naughtydirectioners22.tumblr.com/post/57988347319/preference-60-his-reaction-feeling-the-baby-kick

HARMANDAR SAHIB? OH HARMANDAR SAHIB….IS A GO

source: http://tommo-paypay.tumblr.com/

WAGAH BORDER AKA GETTING TO SEE MY OTHER LOVE PAKISTAN IS A GO

Source:http://shaddei-malik.tumblr.com/post/30326762208/one-direction-can-dance-sorry-your-argument-is

VISAS CAME THROUGH. TICKETS HAVE BEEN BOUGHT. IT’S HAPPENING. 

Source: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/one-direction/images/31805530/title/zayn-dancing-gif-fanart

     FIRST let me tell you what this means for the blog before I forget. I’m not taking a computer, so I won’t be able to write posts while in India, which will be for about 2 weeks. However, I’m going to write a couple of posts before I go, and schedule them to publish on the two Monday’s I’ll be gone, so it will be like normal ShadesofBrwn Mondays! You’ll grab your popcorn and go to your FAVORITE website and read the new posts and IT WILL BE LIKE I’M NOT EVEN GONE. That’s some magic mystical stuff right there. And so on the 23rd and the 30th there will still be posts even though I won’t be here, and then the following Monday, which will be the 6th of January, I’ll be back, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty to blog about 🙂

However, I won’t be able to approve comments while I’m gone. I don’t really feel like I need to have that setting on, where I approve comments before they appear, but I can’t figure out how to turn it off. (Any suggestions?) You can still leave as many comments as your heart desires, but they won’t appear on the blog until I come back and approve them. 

Okay, now that that’s out of the way…do you want to hear about my trip :))))))))))))))))))))))))))

We’re leaving the day after I get out of school for Christmas break, so the 18th.

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We’re landing in Delhi on the 19th.

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Hopping on a train the next day.

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ARRIVING IN PUNJABBBBB!!!! CHAK DEEEEEE PHATEEEE

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Driving from Chandigarh to Amritsar the next day, to see Harmandar Sahib ❤

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AND to see the border (although not during the ceremony). I’m soo excited for this. I get to see not only my number one, India, but my OTHER number one, Pakistan <333


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We’re spending the night in Amritsar, and then heading back to Chandigarh, and then on a day trip to Patiala, where my grandpa’s from 🙂
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And after a trip to a museum, we’ll be done in Punjab </3 

BUT then we’re going back to Delhi, where some of my family has relocated to after moving out of Punjab. I’m not sure exactly what our itinerary is for Delhi, but I know it will include…

Gurdwara Sis Ganj, where Guru Tegh Bahadar Ji was beheaded.
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And HOPEFULLY I’ll be able to convince someone to take me to see Jama Masjid, which is in Delhi and it’s really old and beautiful.

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AND AT SOME POINT, WE’RE GOING TO LEAVE DELHI REAL QUICK AND TAKE A TRIP TO AGRA TO SEE THE YOU KNOW WHAT. 

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And other than that, who can say what our trip is going to hold? Along with seeing the sights, we’re going to be seeing family we haven’t seen in years, and family we have in fact never seen. So that’s going to be nice 🙂 Alsooo while we’re in Punjab, we’re going to be just a 3 hour drive from a certain northern state…with a lot of mountains…and snow….

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Aaaaand I’m not saying we’re going to Kashmir…we’re for sure not planning on it…but even just knowing we’re THAT close to the most beautiful place in the world (next to Punjab, of course) will be so surreal. And I mean, it’s India. Who knows what’s going to happen 🙂

Anyways guys, thanks for indulging me this post. Sorry if hearing me rant about my trip wasn’t what you had in mind for this week’s post. But hopefully you enjoyed it? What do guys think about the schedule? Are we leaving off anything crucial?? TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS.

ily

-M

ps-also thank you guys for indulging me in person 🙂 swathi, merny, ria, simran, momster, and beeji 🙂

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Malala Meets ‘Murica

I can’t get rid of the whale background. I don’t know what spell it has over me but I just can’t. Also, I think it’s time we name the whale. Suggestions?

Okay sorry. Today’s post. Right. Malala. 

 Malala Yousafzai was in the U.S this past week, and she has been absolutely killing it : ) She’s done a few interviews, and the things she says are so so powerful. If you haven’t checked her out on The Daily Show, you can down below:

She was also interviewed by Christiane Amanpour, but I can’t find a video : ( But one of the things I loved from that interview was when Malala said Allah and Inshallah. By using these words, she’s kind of showing people that it’s not Islam she’s against, but rather the radicals. By using these words, she’s showing people that she is in fact a Muslim, and perhaps changing their preconceived notions that Muslims are bad. It’s like, see Malala over there? She’s a Muslim too! And she’s awesome!

Another thing– last night I was looking at an interview from before she was shot (which, I am ashamed to admit, I clicked on partially because I was intrigued by how on point her makeup looked…among other reasons though ok? Click here if you want to watch it.) and there were two things that stood out to me about it. The first was that she was speaking Urdu, which just kind of brings it home, you know? Like my mom and I were sitting there listening to her speak and understanding (my mom more than me) what she was saying, and it made us both realize, once again, how we are from the same part of the world as Malala, generally speaking, and yet there she is getting shot for going to school, and our lives our totally…totally different. And yet so similar. That’s always a pretty intense moment. 

The second thing about this interview is her voice. She sounds so sweet and gentle, which she does now too, but there’s something else. Now when she speaks, you hear so much strength in her voice, and so much power. Then, you could feel the power behind her words, but not, perhaps, quite as much as now. Granted, she was obviously younger in this video than she is now, and likely nervous, especially if it was one of her first interviews, but you can’t help but wonder if the strength she has now has increased because of what happened to her, you know?

Oh wait, one other thing about this interview–Malala says once again that she is a Justin Bieber fan.

Next time I get flack for being a Belieber, y’all what comeback imma have ready AM I RIGHT?!?

OH GOD WAIT OK one OTHER thing about this interview that’s really cool is how when you first see the interviewer, you’re kind of get the impression like “oh she’s probaby just going to ask a few questions and Malala’s going to do all the intense talking.” But the interviewer asks some amazing questions and the two of them engage in such an intelligent, thoughtful conversation that they BOTH contribute too. I’m embarrassed to say that when I saw the reporter in her cute salwar kameez, that that’s what my subconscious impression was–she was just there to smile. Gosh…it really disturbs me that I thought that. But she proved me wrong. Lookin  nice AND, much more importantly, speaking well and asking great questions GO ON GIRL!

Alright guys, it’s about time for me to go. If you haven’t seen Malala’s interview with Christiane Amanpour, I highly suggest you try to find it! If I come across it I’ll try to post it for sure! 

I know this post was kind of on the disorganized/rant-y side, but I hope you enjoyed nonetheless! What I had planned was actually totally different, so that’s probably going to be next week’s post. Hopefully it will make you laugh : )

See you Monday!

-M

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“I wish I could have saved her.”

So hey! It’s 2013 now!!

Don’t worry though, crazy ish is continuing to go down around the world as usual.

Nirbhaya’s death has taken the world by storm. To read more about it, click HERE, or HERE if you want information on it.

The second victim of the attack in Delhi has spoken out, and what he says is shocking, as well as heartbreaking.

He says that him and Nirbhaya were left on the street for 20 minutes before police were called. Naked, he called out to onlookers–cars, rickshaws–asking for help. It didn’t come for twenty minutes, as Nirbhaya bled, also unclothed. And even when the police arrived, it took them two hours to decide which hospital to take the victims to. The male victim was the one who carried Nirbhaya to the ambulance,  not the police. He explained the details such as these, each more horrific than the last. You can read all of his comments HERE. But before he talks about what happened that night, the man expresses his grief. He remembers visiting Nirbhaya in the hospital, where she was smiling and staying positive.

“I wish I could have saved her,” he says now.

New Delhi police have actually filed a criminal case against the network that aired this interview, on the claim that by airing the interview, it will be easier for people to figure out the identity of the rape victim, which is illegal in India. However, I think interviewing the surviving victim has confirmed suspicions that police negligence played a major role in this case.

Something else that happened towards the end of 2012–in a New York subway station, a man was pushed to his death onto the tracks of an oncoming train. Sunando Sen was born in India and raised as a Hindu. The woman who pushed him, Erika Menendez, said this: ” I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001.” Menendez has a history of ill mental health, and she had been mumbling to herself before pushing Sen. Because of this, I think it’s unfair to judge her as we would someone who was mentally healthy. Obviously she has problems that go beyond  a  racist mindset. But still, the incident is rightfully being classified as a hate crime. And still, a man is dead because of it.

These kinds of incidents have been pretty common after 9/11. For a while, things seemed relatively calm, but last year brought life back into hate crimes targeting brown-skinned Americans. After the attack on the Sikh Gurdwara last year, the son of one of the victims spoke very sincerely in a testimony. (Check it out HERE.) At one point, in reference to what happened to his mother, Harpreet Singh Saini said, “This was not supposed to be our American story.” For immigrants like Saini’s mom, bringing the family to America was the best thing you could do for them . No one thinks that by coming to America, you’ll end up getting shot in your place of worship. But this has become the “American story,” for too many victims. And when I heard about this recent attack at the subway, I was reminded of Saini’s words, because one more person’s American story had gone awry. And so Saini’s quote and what Nirbhaya’s friend said about wishing he could have saved Nirbhaya have sort of combined in my head, and now I’m sitting here (hold on, kids, it’s about to get dramatic)  wishing that I could have saved Sen in the subway–been there at that station and grabbed him and told him to leave, to run as fast as he could from the hate that was about to claim his life. I wish I could have been at the Gurdwara in Wisconsin, and in the Mosques that have burned down, with the families that have been shattered, with Bhai Seeta Singh, Bhai Parkash Singh, Bhai Ranjit Singh, Satwant Singh Kaleka, Subegh Singh, Parmjit Kaur Toor, Balbir Singh Sodhi, Surinder Singh, Rajinder Singh Khalsa, Iqbal Singh, Arjit Singh Cheema, Jasmir Singh, Sunando Sen, and the thousands of victims of hate crimes, and their families,  and told them  turn around and go back, because their American story would not be what they thought.

Well, this has been my first post in the New Year…I hope it had the cheery effect that was intended. Sorry :/ On a positive note, I’m seeing news about stronger action being taken in rape cases in India, which is a big victory for the protesters. Physically, Nirbhaya has gone, but she lives on in the impact she is already having on India. And as for hate crimes, they’re nothing new. Sometimes its hard to believe, but time will ease racism and prejudice in America. Despite some exceptions, it’s getting better everyday. So go out there and enjoy yourself without fear and without hate–2013 is waiting.

-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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WHAT IS GOING ON THO

How was your week? I hope it went well. The weather has been seriously gorgeous, man! Like that’s some nice weather, right there. *sips tea*

MEANWHILE IN THE WORLD, THE CRAZIEST STUFF IS GOING DOWN:

(My thoughts are in blue. Oh, and a warning to the reader: The following post is filled with an necessary amount of rhetorical questions. Reader discretion is advised. 😉 Oh, and scroll all the way down the post to see all the headlines–I had formatting issues :/)

All of these headlines have been on my mind the past couple of days. Malala Yousafzai is making a nice recovery so far 🙂 Also, the rapes in Haryana are terrible to hear about, but apparently it’s an issue that’s been happening for a while, so I think the media attention will encourage a solution. What’s not so good is that areas in North India are experiencing a drought, and supposedly Punjab has received no government support for the farmers suffering financial loss, while the other areas experiencing a drought have gotten help. Also, there’s the comment that Rahul Gandhi made– that 7 out of ten Punjabi youth have a drug problem.  Now I don’t live in Punjab and I’ve never been there, but from what I’m always hearing about it from people who have gone back, I have to wonder if there’s some truth to what he said. Aaaand a Punjabi girl has been kidnapped by a gangster and she’s currently missing. There’s some serious police negligence involved, like that the kidnapper was never arrested after being charged with rape, and was a free man when he abducted this missing girl. Finally, there’s the Afghans in Pakistan. This news is the most recent to break my heart. There are about 3 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. It’s being said, and I don’t know if this is official, but it’s being said that they are going to lose their refugee status by the end of the year, and they might get deported. And you know, I understand where the Pakistani government is coming from. The country is pretty young, at it’s going through rough times right now. It makes sense for them to want what must be a huge burden on their economy, population-control, etc. to be gone. I don’t think Pakistan is to blame. But the Afghans. Good lord. When are they going to find peace? Where? Afghanistan is saying they aren’t ready for the refugees, some of whom have been in Pakistan for 10 years, to come back, and Pakistan can’t keep them anymore either. And on top of that, the U.S is in the process of pulling out of Afghanistan. Whether you agree with this decision or not, it’s undeniable that this will be a big change for Afghanistan- one that they’re going to have to adjust to. At the same time, they’re going to have to take back 3 million people who they haven’t had to worry about in 10 years. I mean, forget about the politics for a second. Forget about the war, forget about the Taliban, just think about the people that have been living it. There are Afghans who have been born and have died within the time span of all of this. They lived their life in this mess; it’s all they ever saw. When are these people going to be okay? When are their lives going to be just average? My grandma thinks it won’t ever happens, and my grandpa says it’s been like this in Afghanistan of hundreds of years. But I think they could be wrong. To every Afghan out there right now- my thoughts are always with you. The world is unpredictable; your life can change in an instant. And I hope they will, and for the better. Stay strong. 

-M

P.S- Note to self: Posts written at 12:30 AM will turn end up being very dramatic and emotional. 

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Hindu Extremism ft. Chris Brown

So this week I saw a preview for this film called The World Before Her that’s being released in certain areas (see if you live near a screening HERE!) about two extremes of the women of India. The movie follows beauty pageant contestants, who go through rigorous training to compete. Additionally we see a second type of woman which is what interested me the most: the Hindu fundamentalists. The documentary-style film takes a look inside a camp for girls who are supposedly trained for combat and taught to dislike other religions. Before I saw this preview I had no idea this kind of thing existed. I still don’t know a lot about it, and my sources could always be wrong. If I was Hindu and I saw a Hindu camp being portrayed as something it wasn’t, I would definitely be frustrated. So please, if you know more about this let me know.

Check out the preview HERE, and an article I read HERE.

You can’t deny that the footage shows people who are outwardly praising violence for the sake of India and Hinduism. Since watching the trailer I’ve learned that these Hindu fundamentalists believe India should be a Hindu nation with a Hindu government. But even though these people exists, I know that all Hindus don’t feel this way. The majority of Hindus would probably be annoyed at what goes on in this camp and others similar to it, as would most people. The reason that this footage fascinated me isn’t because I was angry or scared. It fascinated me because it showed that every religion has extremes. Everyone points to Islam as the “violent religion” when in reality they are basing this off of violent people who claim they are Muslim, but who aren’t representing the religion the way the majority of Muslims choose to. In the western world, I think we perceive Hinduism as a totally pacifist and peaceful religion, which is probably because of Gandhi’s popular pacifistic teachings and the fact that he was Hindu.  But even the religion that was claimed by Gandhi is also claimed by people who are taking their beliefs to a violent extreme. And yet we don’t think of violence when we think of Hindus, but we think of it when we think of Islam, most likely because of the way Islam is portrayed in society. Like the Hindu fundamentalists, Muslim extremists are the minority of a larger, peaceful religion. Many would say these violent people aren’t Hindus or Muslims at all.

The girls in the video clip at one point shout “Ask for Kashmir, we’ll slit their throats.” This is probably in reference to Pakistan wanting the Indian part of Kashmir to be part of Pakistan. This chant doesn’t exactly fall into line with Gandhi’s famous “An eye for an eye makes the world blind” quote. This just goes to show that you can’t judge someone because of his religion. Everyone is an individual and follows his religion with his own interpretation. Just because one Hindu wants violence, don’t think they all do. If all Sikhs advocate for one thing, don’t look at a Sikh and think you know everything about her.

I think Chris Brown has a few words he’d like to say about people assuming things of others: CB Words of Wisdom

Also, beauty pageants. This actually is a topic I’ve been thinking about recently, but the other part of the video clip was way more interesting to me, at least right now. But yeah, I don’t really know how I feel about beauty pageants. I can see how someone could just take it as a fun, harmless event, but I tend to think the **** out of things. So my thing about beauty pageants is that if the women and men who take part in them are truly as charismatic and smart and well-rounded as they claim, society would totally benefit from them taking an active role and doing things to make the world a better place, right? It’d be cool to see the women they show in the clip take part in India’s progression as a country instead of competing for Miss India. But that brings it back to what if these are just sort of for fun, which I mean they’re not hurting anyone, so why not? But THAT brings me back to what if they are hurting someone as in little girls around the world as in the objectification of women?

Clearly my thoughts on this matter are not developed.

Anyways, the movie seems pretty awesome. I’d love to see it but it’s not screening anywhere near me 😦 If you do see it, let me know what you think of it, I’d love to know!

I hope you’re having an AWESOME week so far. (If you’re not, feel free to click on the Chris Brown link again. It’s not going anywhere, I promise. Click it, listen to his beautiful voice, it’ll be great. Wait but what if you don’t like Chris Brown…Taylor Swift? Flo Rida?  Maybe click all three at once, idk, you do you, I won’t judge. OMG NOW WE’RE BACK TO CHRIS BROWN AND THE JUDGING THING okay sorry I’m done)

Have a good one!

-M

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