Kerala Model Floods-The Main Culprits

 

Kerala Model Floods- The Main Culprits

Kerala Model Floods- The main Culprits

KERALA MODEL FLOOD-THE MAIN CULPRITS

Kerala has got a unique way in dealing with any fields which the people and the government come across. We generally call it as a “Kerala Model”. The state fought against the 2018 and 2019 floods valiantly-a “Kerala Model” where people of various religious, social and financial status stood as the “ONE” against the roaring floods. Likewise, a Kerala Model against both Nipah(which fought and won) and ongoing battle against Covid-19. These models were both nationally and internationally praised. Besides this “a Kerala Cult” in education- from “pallikoodams” (setting up schools near Christian Churches) to “aashathis” (specialized language tutors).

Despite all this, it is unfortunate that the state also has a “Kerala Model Flood”. The 2018 flood (flood of the century) and the 2019 floods are the best examples of it. The 2019 flood-affected all parts of the state which was left out by 2018 flood….a weird act of the nature!. All these floods are wake up calls for the people and the government. Everyone must ask questions-“Why do these recurring floods occur?”. Finding answers to the above question also shows the ways to tackle the same.

So before getting into it I would present you some facts and reports about the previous floods which struck Kerala in 2018 and 2019. These statements will clearly give a picture of how intense these floods were, by affecting the socio-economic and financial structure of the state.

According to the 2018 flood reports submitted by KSDMA (Kerala State Disaster Management Authority), fatalities were 483 (this is an official number), but unofficial reports sums up more than 500 people and a 140 missing. These numbers are huge as it states that within a span of 2 weeks of flooding more than 500 people were dead. The economic and financial portfolios were also affected as the flood produced a staggering revenue loss of 479635 lakhs(a value comparable with GDP of the state).(I don’t intent to point out the revenue loss in different fields like agriculture,… cause it may seem boring to you readers). https://sdma.kerala.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Memorandum2-Floods-2018.pdf 

Visit the link given above to get a crystal clear idea of the revenue loss regarding various fields.

In a sense, when comparing both the floods I would say that 2019 flood was more dynamical because of a series of landslides in Wayanad. Many parts of the state lay on the belly of “geologically sensitive” Western Ghats. This means that within very less time(decades)  it’s going to crash land on the state if the present situation continues.

Eye-watering photos of the 2020 landslides in Munnar may repeat every year. Unimaginable but true that a part of the hill got separated and slid over residents even making it difficult to retrieve the dead from mud and stones-“a mass grave by nature”. A clear statement by the nature that- “If you hurt me I will hunt you down”. We have to learn how to live with nature, not living over the nature.

After the 2018 floods there were debates (in news channels) on why these floods occur and how to tackle them. But the same repeated in the next year and those 213floods seems to be just news material for a fun-filled debate session. And even this year, big debates on floods are loading………

Questions on those debate sessions are the questions of common people and those who are deceased. An affected (like myself) may ask a simple question “Why do these occur?”. A high-school student would answer it and we all know the answers to it. Still it haunts cause the people to turn their faces against the truth basically for two reasons( to preserve the hidden agendas and also because people do not know the worse extent how it could affect the present and how worse it can be in the future).

Rain is assumed to as the main culprit of flooding. Considering this case, let me point out a fact that South West Monsoon has dominated Kerala for centuries. It is an integral part of the state’s climate system and it is known in Kerala as “Kaalavarsham”. From it the state receives an average of 204 cm rain.

On saying all this I wanted you to consider two periods of Kerala. Let’s say the year 2019 which received a rainfall of about 230 cm(a 12% from the normal). And likewise the year 1975 also received about the same value that of 2019. So while considering the two years 1975 did not have a flood while 2019 had to face flood. Readers, please don’t jump into the conclusion that rain is not a villain (Rain must be the secretary of the right hand of the main villain and that is of course “Us”).

Monsoon has undergone through a serious of changes in the past few decades. So what is that change? The rate and the intensity of the rain has increased like a 10fold. That is, the South West precipitation is distributed over 4 months of monsoon. (With June and July receiving highest rainfall following the next 2 months). This is the normal case. But now the situation has changed, as per the records the monsoon precipitates at its maximum in August and September preceded by conventional type of rainfall in June and July.(Its quite natural for you to think that” Monsoon just changed its months but what effect does that cause”). To clear that clutter let me clearly point it out with the records of IMD. Kerala receives its 1month rainfall in just a few days. That is August must receive 100 cm rainfall in 30 days. But now within 5 days, 100cm rainfall pours down.(which is close to be called as cloud bursts).

On 07/08/2020 from 10 30 hrs to 11 30 hrs I placed 3 rain gauges around my house within a radius of 10 meters. And I could record a rainfall of 2.56 cm for just one hour. These numbers are so alarming. Because a 10  fold of rainfall must have fell on the forest and mountains. (Athirapilly and Ezhatumugham).

To understand the effect of it I will ask you to do an experiment. Make 2 models of small-scale mountains(identical) using mud and stones. Let it set for some time. Now take a bucket of water and within 10 secs pour down the whole water on to a model.

Then make small holes at the base of the same bucket and now let it rain over the other model from the same height.

Please comment your inference. Use old buckets……and I also prefer funny inferences.

This is what happens in a landslide and as a result, flood caused by the same. The cloudbursts are caused due to changes in the cloud structure. Clouds start to develop vertically above the normal(due to pollution-induced aerosols) and later it grows so heavy to pour down gallons of water in few time spells and over a specified region supersaturating the land surface and pushing down the slopes of the hills. No one can even imagine, a village being swept away by a part of the hill.(This is what happened in Wayanad(2019) and Idukki(2020).

Now rain has reached the surface and the next thing is the flow of collective water(rain) over the surface. Riverine flooding is a natural phenomenon. Comparing with the number of rivers in Kerala(44) riverine flooding is quite natural. The 44 rivers and all its tributaries make a well-defined riverine system in Kerala. But “How is it dangerous to people?”.

How many of you believe that more than 60 per cent of various tributaries do not exist any more and many of them have are on the verge of disappearing. Intrusion by people have killed many tributaries and small streams blocking a well-defined outflow system of flooded river. “This blockage is not as tall as the sky”. Water flows over it washing off villages and residents. ”Nature takes back what is taken away from it”. But here the most extreme condition is when the river tends to change its course due to a block in its normal flow. This is what happened in 2018 where Chalakudy river changed its course and flowed over a village.

Now, what if the rain pours over urban residential areas? There should channels only created for disposal of rainwater or a more efficient way of rainwater harvesting. What if both are absent or what if the existing drainage system is inefficient? That is where water gets logged and causes flood. The extreme condition is flooding in Chennai. Waterlogging in urban areas will prolong for more time as water can’t surpass through huge cement basins. Now what if huge discharge of rain over urban areas happen? A large swimming pool over houses and people……? Maybe…..

Besides all of this, there are many low lying areas in the district of Alappuzha. For many decades embankments prevent it from flooding. But failing of these embankments are common as for earthen embankments. Flooding is so common in these regions of yearly failing in those which prevent flooding.

Next question arises what if dams get filled? Yes, the obvious answer is to open the shutters.

The 2018 flood was also influenced by mismanagement in operating dams. Kerala has 33 dams and reservoirs. Dams get easily filled when there is an above-average rainfall which is mainly concentrated in the infields of forest which is the source of dams. So what if there is communication gaps between the forecasting department and dam management authority. A serious threat to super flooding.

The best example is the 2018 flood. An active monsoon over residential areas were followed by another active monsoon over the forest areas. The later was least excepted which forced dams to be opened.

But this year dam management was better as many dams were opened before it reached its maximum level.(A proper communication between forecasting and dam authorities.)

So now let’s deduce the main villain for the Kerala Model Flood. From the above points, it is clear that the humans are the supervillains. Many would deny it. But the truth is that the root cause of floods are humans themselves. But the fact is that we are unaware of it, because it is our life processes which become a direct and indirect cause.

What we should learn is that we are both heroes and villains. What the Keralites did during the floods were undeniably heroic. But the real fact is that we caused all the problems and solved it. So what if we do not become the cause of it or we could mitigate our deeds which causes flooding, then we will have a more heroic part in us.

I personally believe that these floods have cheated their entrance time and came early. It really must have come in the future when we are fully equipped for it. We are the accelerators but we can do way more than that(in a good way). We are the game-changers.

 

 

Also Know How National Education Policy 2020 addresses the existing drawbacks of Indian Education System?

 

THE HALF UMBER FACED DOG

THE HALF UMBER FACED DOG

THE HALF UMBER FACED DOG

Small squishy creature playing around my feet, I was three when I first saw my guardian cherub with invisible wings. He had white as the base colour and broad umber spots all over his body, the best part of his look was his face, it was half rust-coloured, half white, a normal country tyke. I have no memory of how he was brought home, but from my very first consciousness, I remember me gambol with him. This dainty little creature was named “Jack”.

I used to tie a thin jute noose around his neck and walk around the yard, he would pow in between, “oh what a cute pow it was”. we pretty much grew together. As time passed Jack grew stronger and powerful, legit powerful, he was feared by everybody in the colony. It was the time when I got a baby brother as a bonus, cute little chubby, bubbly being.

My pudgy little brother and Jack had a great bond, Jack was so concerned and empathetic towards us, he would jump, lick, and sit near us staring. He would always be near us when our parents were not around. He usually was not chained, but, because he grew aggressive toward the colony beings, we had to chain him in the evenings, the fun fact no chain could restrict his strength, he broke the chains and would jump on the compound wall and sit there watching the people passing by.

Ok, Once There was this lady who used to come home every morning to help my mother and give my brother an oil massage and a bath. She sits on the floor with legs stretched straight, And position my brother on her legs and drench my brother with oil all over his body, during this process my brother would screech and cry on top of his voice, This little screech would reverberate in my dogs ear even if he’s not around, and in a flash, he would be there, He would stand there staring and growling at the lady, and out of fear she would not move an inch or touch my brother, that intense was his concern.

My Jack had a pure heart and a pure soul, it makes me cry. but destiny did not let him breathe.

The name Jack was so feared in the colony that people would think a hundred times to surpass our house. Jack would pounce on the bikes which crossed our house and people would just skid, hit the wall, fall, and were bruised. this behaviour of Jack terrified us, we tried to chain him, all for nothing. finally, the day came when the whole colony stood against us, they started protesting on the road demanding to kill my dog. they got a petition to kill my Jack.

Next day after the protest there came four dog snatchers with a huge net, meanwhile, jack was sleeping in the backyard bathroom, sleeping in peace and I was standing outside the bathroom looking at him, crying sobbing, my heart was so heavy I can still feel the pain, standing there in front of him and “I still see the small cherub with his little pigtail”.

I cannot put this pain in words. the four-dog snatcher stood at the door with the net wide open, they tried agitating my Jack, so that he jumps out and they can easily snatch him, and it happened! I stood there weak, crying and screaming, my whole family weeping, my Jack! my Jack was in pain and I could do nothing, just nothing. they took him, took him so far beyond my hands, every day I kept asking my parents where is Jack? like literally every day, they kept telling me don’t worry he is safe, he will come back, little did I know.

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Disaster! Assam Flood 2020- A Conceptual Study

Assam Flood 2020- A Conceptual Study

The River Filled Eyes of Assam

The “Brahmaputra floods of 2012” was one of a kind, that dismantled the state of Assam. The aftermath of “the great flood” was a wake-up call for the governments. The 2012 flood caused lives of 124 people including children. The  Brahmaputra overflowed, breaching embankments, flooding both agricultural and residential regions, affecting a total of more than 6 million people. The flood showed no mercy even to the animals, flooding  Kaziranga National Park and other 14 districts.

According the flood reports submitted by the government, about 540 animals died in the National Park – a sum of 16 one-horned Indian rhinoceros, numerous Asian Elephants, swamp deers, porcupines and water buffaloes- “ an integral part of food cycle”

Assam Flood 2020- A Conceptual Study

    Breached embankments and flooded Kaziranga National Park (Source: Times of India)

Assam is a flood-prone state and it can be proved with the flood reports of 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 – Drowning more than 600 lives; a revenue loss of more than 2000 crore every year due to “Annual Floods”. Assam floods also have endangered many animal species – One-horned Indian rhinoceros, and Asian elephants.

“The last decade has reported a death of  more than 100 rhinoceros by “Annual Floods- flooding the national  park”

Assam flood in 2019 – Kaziranga National Park, Assam   (Source: National Geographic)

Since 1950, 14 major floods have struck Assam, making the state “the most vulnerable areas to flood” in India.

2020 Assam Flood

This year is also a “no-stranger” to the Assam Floods. The government has reported it as one of the great floods of the decade.

The flood report depicts the intensity of the flood.

Total number of people died 66
Number of districts affected 28
Number of villages affected 3014
Total crop area affected 1,27,955(hectares)
Total population affected 35,75,832
Total number of relief camps and inmates 711       ,    51,421
Animals affected >25,00,000

(Source: Assam State Disaster Management Authority) (Dated:17/07/2020 )

Why is Assam such a flood-prone area?

The flood season in Assam commences at the month of June with the onset of the South-West Monsoon. Almost every year three to four waves of flood ravage the flood-prone areas of Assam.

5 prime reasons for “super-floods” in Assam.

Intense Monsoon

The long-term rainfall data for Assam, however, shows a decreasing trend that has accelerated since 1981. The annual average rainfall for Assam is 1,524.6 mm. “Assam receives more rainfall than any other states”.

But as per the reports, the average rainfall in Assam is decreasing, but each year the flood is getting intensified. The reason is that there are many other interlinked factors causing the flood. But intense monsoon also imparts its role towards “Annual Floods”.

Brahmaputra River

Assam is built on the banks of the Brahmaputra. It divides the state into Northern and Southern Assam.

 

Hydro-Geomorphic “  features of the state is mainly influenced by the geographic location and characteristic features of the Brahmaputra- width, areas over it flows, tributaries and riverine discharges.

source: Opindia News

Brahmaputra is both a boon and a curse for the Assamese. For half of the year, it is a boon- drinking water by huge underground water reservoirs, watering the crops, discharging natural fertilizers. For the rest of the year it is curse by flooding habitat and crops

 

 

“How come the river be a curse?”

Brahmaputra is a glacial river. It originates in the Manasarovar Lake”  region a close proximity to the Northern Himalayas.(Mount Kailash”).So it has huge water discharge throughout the whole year.

  • The glaciers melts during the summer and the huge water discharge reaches Assam during the on-set of monsoon causing an increased water level till the off-set of monsoon.
  • Brahmaputra is widened as it enters Assam. It can go as wide as 10 km during the monsoon, engulfing the banks. The average width is 6 km.
  • Huge sediment discharge makes its tributaries braided which intensifies the “super flood” every year.

Pollution Induced Global Warming

Global warming is directly linked with uncontrolled melting of glacial ice which becomes a super source for the glacial rivers. It increases the water discharge into the rivers causing flood. ”Super floods “ in Assam is interlinked with the summer glacial discharge and monsoon discharge.

Glacial ice are a good reflectors of radiation. That means there is a negligible melting of ice due to absorption of radiation as they have comparatively high albedo ratio. So the enhanced glacial melting is an outcome of deposition of “black carbon” on ice. Black carbon has poor albedo ratio making them good absorbers of longwave radiation of the sun.

The fine particles absorb light and about a million times more energy than carbon dioxide”.

Emission of industrial effluence causes high deposition of radiation-absorbing aerosols- black carbon and dust of industrial raw materials.

Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt, says a study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the world, with emissions expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades. Black carbon is the second largest contributor to climate change behind carbon.

 

 

“The melting of glaciers in the Himalayas have doubled over the last two decades to around 20 inches in a year- which is equivalent to 3.2 million Olympic swimming pools of water every year”

Black Carbon deposited on Himalayan Glaciers

Source: Tree Hugger

Ill-built Embankments

  • Assam’s flood management depends on the embankments built over regions where the river could overflow over the danger mark.
  • “Embankments -bank of earth for constricting the overflow of flooded river over crops and residential areas.”
  • Several hydro-electric projects (dams) over the river were planned but was of least efficiency cause it floods several areas of Arunachal Pradesh and low lysing Assam. The large width of the river also made these projects inefficient and impractical.
  • Embankments have failed to constrict the overflow in Assam.
  • Embankments in Assam are not built under proper studies and plans. Terrain is uneven and embankments built on uneven earth could not constrict flood over low lying regions even though it is embanked.
  • Ill maintained and poorly constructed embankments.
  • Flooding over braided tributaries have sunk several embankments due to “super discharge”.
  • “197 earthen embankments have been damaged or breached this year”, reported by ASDMA.
  • A mono-strategical approach towards the flood management is least efficient leaving the officials with no “Plan B”.

Human Impinging

  1. Human habitation near the embankments have increased vulnerability to floods. They are exposed to flooding due to poorly built domicile which cannot withstand “Annual Floods”. Government has taken no interest in rehabilitating people near embankments.
  2. Uncontrolled deforestation near the banks of the river – soil erosion which leads to overflow and as result land slides of elevated areas underneath it.

What next?

The government has failed to look into these primes and to make a study of it to control and manage flood.It has drowned thousands of lives of humans and animals.

“Governments are not addressing the problem at the source. – they are firefighting”.The measures of governments are “short term” and “amateurish”. An integrated studies of different flood-prone regions must be undertaken and manoeuvre must be guaranteed by the experts and governments.

References:

9 more dead in Assam floods—The Hindu. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 July 2020, from https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/9-more-dead-in-assam-floods/article32082262.ece
Assam Floods: Latest News, Photos, Videos on Assam Floods—NDTV.COM. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 July 2020, from https://www.ndtv.com/topic/assam-floods
Assam Floods: News, Photos, Latest News Headlines about Assam Floods—The Indian Express. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 July 2020, from https://indianexpress.com/about/assam-floods/
Home | Assam State Disaster Management Authority | Government Of Assam, India. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 July 2020, from https://asdma.assam.gov.in/
IMD | Home. (n.d.). Retrieved 19 July 2020, from https://mausam.imd.gov.in/

Drug Yourself, Yours Sincerely DEATH….

 

LOVE ME, NOT METH….

Drugs and Drug related problems has been prevailing as an international concern and various countries have designed and implemented a plethora of ideas and strategies to curb the issue. But then, has there been a downfall in the statistics globally? A report by the World Health Organization states that 33 million people die each year due to harmful use of alcoholic substances and its overdose. Considering alone, the developing and underdeveloped countries, especially where the legal framework for constraining drug-related problems as well as the treatment facilities are limited, the condition is far worse. The stigma associated, along with the restrained clinical facilities are causing at least seven people to commit suicide in India per day under the wheels of Drug disorders.

Some of the most common drugs that circulate in every society are Alcohol, Cannabis, Opium and Heroin. Various other high risk and expensive drugs are available in the black market through deep web purchasing and illicit trafficking across national borders. Tonnes of such illegal drugs have been seized through the collaboration of agencies and via legal authorities. But such actions alone cannot put an anchor to the influx of drugs like Heroin. Even after stringent legal framework and 24/7 Surveillance, the problem prevails. This is because it is not something done in small scale and low ground but drug trafficking is an organized, well-planned business done with the help of corrupted authorities within the country. The victims are normal working class and rural population especially teenagers and adults who falls into the cakehole.

As we have already explained that teenagers are the most vulnerable group affected by drugs. The psychosocial theory by Erik Erikson who stated that the adolescent period is that of experimentation and establishment of an identity can be read together with this. To find a solution to drug abuse is a necessity globally and particularly in India where we have the largest number of youth accounting to nearly 356 million. Addressing their safety and health is a matter of national concern. If unresolved or ignored, the future implications will be awful. Integrated solutions through accountable institutions and clubbing of professionals who can provide results are needed. Creating awareness, providing curative treatments and curbing the demand and supply are three important areas along the path of successful drug prevention.

Studies presents that biological, psychological and environmental factors play a significant role in a person’s interest in drugs and related products. Theories of positive psychology states that happiness can indeed stand as an active solution to various problems. People who use drugs fall into two main categories, one is for immediate freeness from all problems that the person is having where the chemicals of the drug-like tranquillizers act along the Central Nervous System to bring immediate calmness and the second one is through peer groups for enjoyment. In either case, there is a high chance that it can turn into an addiction. Social Connectedness and recreational activities can highly promote the mental health and boost the morale of people. But then, deprivation from these can cause mental disorders like depression and anxiety and consequently people find shelter in the use of these illicit drugs. Thus, the drug abuse in India is rather an indigenous problem with the need of local solutions at the expense of global prescriptions. First, people have to get free from the stigma attached to drug abuse and treatment. Secondly, proper awareness campaigns and education at a lower level has to happen. Response should start from family, through teachers and peer groups. Awareness groups and clubs should be formed at the school level to check and prevent any child in the school to fall prey to the issue. From a bigger perspective, task forces that continuously survey and curb the inflow and supply of drugs should work. Third and the final cone is the treatment. Drug Treatment clinics have to be set up in every district along with trained social workers who can provide effective counselling and therapies like CBT (Cognitive behavioural Therapy) and motivational interview. Continuous monitoring of patients to a particular period of time and follow-ups can effectively prevent relapse.

The strategies should always strike at the root cause of any social problem. In every society drug addiction and use can be due to some kind of deprivation, a vacuum in the society which indirectly affects individuals. Thus, providing security, wellbeing and mental health should be the concern of the day. Rather than admitting to the stigma, the realization of oneself and the drug in oneself that can cater for all humanly pleasure, should be explored. For that effective systems should support. Online counselling and other mental health projects should be developed more intensively for all the citizens in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. Better knowledge regarding every aspect of life and asking for help is necessary. As this year’s theme presents, BETTER KNOWLEDGE FOR BETTER CARE will support for the betterment of oneself and for the society.

പ്രതിരോധം തീർക്കുന്ന കളിക്കളങ്ങൾ

പ്രതിരോധം തീർക്കുന്ന കളിക്കളങ്ങൾ –  ആരോമൽ സുബി സ്റ്റീഫൻ

പ്രതിരോധം തീർക്കുന്ന കളിക്കളങ്ങൾ

                                                                        ~  ആരോമൽ സുബി സ്റ്റീഫൻ

ലോകത്തെ മുഴുവൻ സ്തംഭിപ്പിച്ച കോവിഡ് 19  ലോക്ക്ഡൗണുകൾക്കിടയിലും അടച്ചിട്ട മൈതാനങ്ങളിൽ സാമൂഹിക അകലം പാലിച്ചും കാണികളുടെ ആരവങ്ങളില്ലാതെയും വിവിധ ഫുട്ബോൾ, ക്രിക്കറ്റ് മത്സരങ്ങൾ ആരംഭിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. അത്തരം കളിക്കാഴ്ചകൾക്കിടയിൽ മനസിനെ സ്പർശിച്ച ഒരു ചിത്രമുണ്ട്. കോവിഡ്  ലോക്ക്‌ഡൗണിനു ശേഷം ഇംഗ്ലീഷ് പ്രീമിയർ ലീഗ് ആരംഭിച്ച ദിനം ആഴ്സനൽ – മാഞ്ചസ്റ്റർ സിറ്റി മത്സരത്തിൽ കളിക്കാർ അണിഞ്ഞത് തങ്ങളുടെ പേരുകളുള്ള ജഴ്സികൾക്കു പകരം “ Black lives matter” എന്നെഴുതിയ ജഴ്സികളാണ്. മാത്രമല്ല, ഇരു ടീമുകളിലെയും കളിക്കാർ മൈതാനത്ത് മുട്ടുകുത്തി വംശീയ വിവേചനങ്ങൾക്കെതിരായി ലോകമെങ്ങും നടക്കുന്ന പോരാട്ടങ്ങളോട് ഐക്യദാർഢ്യം അറിയിച്ചു. തങ്ങളുടെ പേരുകളെക്കാൾ തങ്ങളുടെ നിലപാടുകളാണ് പ്രസക്തമെന്നും ആ നിലപാടുകൾക്ക് മനുഷ്യ രാശിയോടുള്ള പ്രതിബദ്ധതയുടെ സ്വഭാവമാണുള്ളതെന്നും അവർ അടയാളപ്പെടുത്തുന്നു. ഈയിടെ സതാംപ്ടണിൽ ആരംഭിച്ച ഇംഗ്ലണ്ട്-വെസ്ററിൻഡീസ്  മത്സരത്തിനിടെയും സമാനമായൊരു ഒരു കാഴ്ച നാം കണ്ടു. ഒന്നാം ടെസ്റ്റ് മത്സരത്തിനു മുന്‍പ്,വംശീയ വിവേചനത്തെ തുടച്ചെറിയാൻ മനുഷ്യ രാശിയെ ബോധവത്കരിക്കേണ്ടതിന്‍റെ ആവശ്യകത മുൻ  വെസ്ററിൻഡീസ് താരം മൈക്കൽ ഹോൾഡിങ് ഊന്നിപ്പറയുകയുണ്ടായി. ലോകത്ത് ഏറ്റവുമധികം കാണികളും ആരാധകരും ഉള്ള കളികളാണ് ഫുട്ബോളും ക്രിക്കറ്റും എന്നു കൂടി പരിഗണിക്കുമ്പോൾ ഇത്തരം സമീപനങ്ങൾ സൃഷ്ടിച്ചേക്കാവുന്ന പ്രതിഫലനം വലുതായിരിക്കും എന്ന വസ്തുത പ്രത്യാശ നൽകുന്നു.

വംശീയതയ്ക്കെതിരെ കായിക ലോകം പ്രതിഷേധിച്ച സംഭവങ്ങൾ ഇതിനു മുമ്പും ഉണ്ടായിട്ടുണ്ട്.1936 – ൽ ബെർലിനിൽ നടന്ന സമ്മർ ഒളിമ്പിക്സിൽ ആര്യൻ വംശ മഹിമ ഉയർത്തിപ്പിടിക്കാനുള്ള ഹിറ്റ്ലറുടെ ശ്രമങ്ങൾക്ക് ട്രാക്കിലും ഫീൽഡിലുമായി  നാലു സ്വർണമെഡലുകൾ നേടിയ ആഫ്രോ- അമേരിക്കൻ അത്‌ലറ്റ് ജെസ്സി ഓവൻസ് നൽകിയ മറുപടി ശ്രദ്ധേയമാണ്.ഹിറ്റ്ലറുടെ വംശീയ വാദങ്ങളെ തകർത്തെറിഞ്ഞ മനുഷ്യൻ എന്ന നിലയിലാണ് ജെസ്സി ഓവൻസിനെ ചരിത്രം ഓർമ്മിക്കുന്നത്. അതേ ഒളിംപിക്സിൽ ജർമനിയെ തകർത്ത് ഹോക്കിയിൽ സ്വർണ്ണം നേടിയ ധ്യാൻചന്ദിന്‍റെ നേതൃത്വത്തിലുള്ള ഇന്ത്യൻ ടീമും ഹിറ്റ്ലറുടെ ആര്യൻ മേധാവിത്ത- അനുകൂല നിലപാടുകൾക്ക് കനത്ത പ്രഹരമേൽപ്പിച്ചിരിക്കണം.

       ആദ്യമായി മനുഷ്യൻ ചന്ദ്രനെ വലം വെച്ച വർഷമായിരുന്നു 1968.വർണ്ണവെറിക്കെതിരെ ശബ്ദമുയർത്തിയ മാർട്ടിൻ ലൂഥർ കിങ് ജൂനിയറിന്‍റെ മരണം,പ്രാഗ് വസന്തം, വിയറ്റ്നാം യുദ്ധത്തിനെതിരായ പ്രതിഷേധങ്ങൾ, വിദ്യാർത്ഥി പ്രക്ഷോഭങ്ങൾ… ഇതൊക്കെ കൊണ്ട് ശ്രദ്ധേയമായ വർഷം.ആ വർഷത്തെ മെക്സിക്കോ ഒളിമ്പിക്സിനുമുണ്ടായിരുന്നു ഏറെ പ്രത്യേകതകൾ.

ലാറ്റിനമേരിക്കയിൽ വച്ചു നടന്ന ആദ്യത്തെ ഒളിമ്പിക്സ്, ഡിക്ക് ഫോസ്ബറിയുടെ  ഫോസ്ബറി ഫ്ലോപ്,  ബോബ് ബീമോന്‍റെ  8.90 മീറ്ററിന്‍റെ ലോങ്ങ്ജംപ് റെക്കോഡ് എന്നിവ അവയിൽ ചിലതാണ്. എന്നാൽ ആ ഒളിമ്പിക്സ്  അനശ്വരമാകുന്നത് വംശീയതയ്ക്കെതിരായ  വേറിട്ടൊരു പ്രതിഷേധത്തിന്‍റെ പേരിലാണ്. 200 മീറ്റർ ഫൈനലിൽ വിജയികളായവരുടെ സമ്മാനദാനച്ചടങ്ങിൽ വെച്ച് മെഡൽ ജേതാക്കളായ ആഫ്രോ അമേരിക്കൻ അത്‌ലറ്റുകൾ ടോമി സ്മിത്തും ജോൺ കാർലോസും അമേരിക്കൻ ദേശീയ ഗാനം ഉയർന്നപ്പോൾ തല കുനിച്ച്, കറുത്ത കൈയുറകൾ ധരിച്ച് മുഷ്ടി ചുരുട്ടി മുകളിലേക്ക് ഉയർത്തി. വെള്ളി മെഡൽ ജേതാവായ ഓസ്ട്രേലിയൻ അത്‌ലറ്റ് പീറ്റർ നോർമൻ ഇവരെ പിന്തുണച്ചു. മൂവരും മനുഷ്യാവകാശ ബാഡ്ജ് ധരിച്ചിരുന്നു. കറുത്തവർക്കെതിരായ അതിക്രമങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെയും മനുഷ്യാവകാശ നിഷേധങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെയുമായിരുന്നു ഈ പ്രതിഷേധം.‘ബ്ലാക്ക് പവർ സല്യൂട്ട്’ എന്ന പേരിൽ ഈ സംഭവം ചരിത്രത്തിൽ ഇടം നേടി.

അതേ വർഷം ടെന്നീസ് കോർട്ടും ഒരു വ്യത്യസ്തതയ്ക്ക് സാക്ഷ്യം വഹിച്ചു. ആ വർഷത്തെ യു.എസ് ഓപ്പൺ കിരീടം  ആർതർ ആഷെ എന്ന ആഫ്രോ- അമേരിക്കൻ താരം നേടി. പിൽക്കാലത്ത് ലോക ഒന്നാം നമ്പർ താരമായി മാറിയ ആർതർ ആഷെ തന്‍റെ മികവിനെ വംശീയതയ്ക്കെതിരെയുള്ള പോരാട്ടമാക്കി മാറ്റി. മനുഷ്യാവകാശ ലംഘനങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെയും എയ്ഡ്സ് രോഗികൾ നേരിടുന്ന വിവേചനങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെയും അദ്ദേഹം ശബ്ദമുയർത്തി.

1971-ൽ നൽകിയ ഒരു അഭിമുഖത്തിനിടെ പ്രശസ്ത ബോക്സിങ് താരം മുഹമ്മദ് അലി, താൻ കുട്ടിക്കാലത്ത് അമ്മയോട് “Why is everything white?” എന്ന് ചോദിച്ചിരുന്നതായി വെളിപ്പെടുത്തിയിട്ടുണ്ട്. തനിക്കു ചുറ്റുമുള്ള പലയിടങ്ങളിലും  കണ്ട കറുപ്പിന്‍റെ അസാന്നിധ്യത്തെ കുറിച്ച് ചെറുപ്പത്തിൽ തന്നെ ചിന്തിച്ചു തുടങ്ങിയ അദ്ദേഹം വംശീയ വിവേചനത്തിനെതിരെ ഉള്ള വലിയൊരു ചിഹ്നമായി പിന്നീട് ആഘോഷിക്കപ്പെട്ടു എന്നത് ചരിത്രം!

മേൽപ്പറഞ്ഞ സംഭവങ്ങൾ കായിക ലോകം പ്രതിരോധത്തിന്‍റെ ഭാഷ സ്വീകരിക്കുന്നതിന്‍റെ നേർച്ചിത്രങ്ങളാണ്. എന്നാൽ “കളിക്കളങ്ങളിലെ അസമത്വങ്ങൾ” ഒട്ടും ചെറുതല്ല. .2019 -ൽ ബാലൺ ദ് ഓർ പുരസ്കാരം നേടിയ അമേരിക്കൻ വനിതാ ഫുട്ബോൾ താരം മേഗൻ റാപിനോ ഫുട്ബോളിൽ നില നിൽക്കുന്ന വിവിധ വിവേചനങ്ങൾക്കെതിരെ വാ തുറന്നു സംസാരിക്കാൻ ലയണൽ മെസ്സി, ക്രിസ്റ്റ്യാനോ റൊണാൾഡോ എന്നിവരുൾപ്പെടെയുള്ള താരങ്ങളോട് ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു. “Who will scratch Messi or Ronaldo from world football history for a statement against racism or sexism?” എന്ന റാപിനോയുടെ ചോദ്യം ഏറെ ശ്രദ്ധിക്കപ്പെട്ടു.ടെന്നീസ് താരം സെറീന വില്യംസ്,വനിതാ ഫുട്ബോൾ താരം എനി ആലുകോ എന്നിവർ തങ്ങൾ നേരിട്ട വംശീയാധിക്ഷേപങ്ങളെ കുറിച്ച് തുറന്നു സംസാരിച്ചിട്ടുള്ളവരാണ്. ശരീരത്തിലെ ടെസ്റ്റോസ്റ്റിറോൺ എന്ന ഹോർമോണിന്‍റെ അളവ് ഇന്‍റർനാഷണൽ അസോസിയേഷൻ ഓഫ് അത്‌ലറ്റിക് ഫെഡറേഷന്‍റെ( IAAF) ഔദ്യോഗിക മാനദണ്ഡങ്ങൾ നിർണയിക്കുന്നതിലും കൂടുതലായതിനാൽ, ഒട്ടേറെ പ്രതിസന്ധികൾ നേരിട്ട ഒളിമ്പിക് സ്വർണമെഡൽ ജേത്രി കാസ്റ്റർ സെമന്യയ്ക്ക്, സമൂഹത്തിലും കായിക ജീവിതത്തിലും അഭിമുഖീകരിക്കേണ്ടി വന്ന പ്രശ്നങ്ങൾക്ക് വംശീയതയുടെ ചുവ കൂടിയുണ്ടെന്ന് പറയാതെ വയ്യ. കാസ്റ്റർ സെമന്യയെപ്പോലെ തന്നെ ഉയർന്ന ടെസ്റ്റോസ്റ്റിറോൺ സാന്നിധ്യത്തിന്‍റെ പേരിൽ നിരവധി പ്രശ്നങ്ങൾ നേരിടേണ്ടി വന്ന ഇന്ത്യൻ അത്‌ലറ്റ് ദ്യുതി ചന്ദ് കായികലോകത്തെ ലിംഗവിവേചനത്തെ കുറിച്ചും ഇന്ത്യൻ സമൂഹം വച്ചു പുലർത്തുന്ന ഹോമോഫോബിയയെ കുറിച്ചും സംസാരിച്ചിട്ടുണ്ട്. ചുരുക്കത്തിൽ, വനിതകളും  LGBTQ താരങ്ങളും അഭിമുഖീകരിക്കുന്ന പ്രശ്നങ്ങൾ പല മാനങ്ങളിൽ ഉള്ളവയാണ്.

 ഈ കൊറോണക്കാലത്ത് പ്രശസ്ത വെസ്റ്റിൻഡീസ് ക്രിക്കറ്റർ ഡാരൻ സമ്മി നടത്തിയ ചില വെളിപ്പെടുത്തലുകൾ ഇന്ത്യക്കാരായ നമ്മുടെ വംശീയ ബോധത്തെയും തുറന്നു കാണിക്കുന്നതാണ്. ഐ പി എല്ലിൽ സൺ റൈസേഴ്സ് ഹൈദരാബാദിനു വേണ്ടി  കളിച്ചിരുന്ന കാലത്ത് അദ്ദേഹത്തെയും ശ്രീലങ്കൻ ക്രിക്കറ്റർ തിസര പെരേരയെയും ഇന്ത്യക്കാരായ സഹതാരങ്ങൾ വംശീയമായി അധിക്ഷേപിച്ചിരുന്നു എന്നായിരുന്നു അദ്ദേഹത്തിന്‍റെ തുറന്നു പറച്ചിൽ. താൻ സഹോദരരെന്ന് കരുതിയിരുന്ന ഇന്ത്യൻ താരങ്ങളിൽ നിന്ന് അദ്ദേഹം ക്ഷമാപണവും ആവശ്യപ്പെട്ടു. ഇത്തരം സംഭവങ്ങൾക്കിടയിലും ചില വെളിച്ചങ്ങളെ നാം കാണാതെ പോകരുത്. വംശീയാധിക്ഷേപങ്ങൾ നേരിടേണ്ടി വന്നതിനാൽ 2018- ൽ ജർമ്മൻ ദേശീയ ടീമിൽ നിന്ന് രാജിവെച്ച മെസ്യൂട്ട് ഒസിലിന് പിന്തുണ നൽകി വംശീയ വിവേചനത്തിനെതിരെ തന്‍റെ നിലപാട് വ്യക്തമാക്കിയ ടെന്നീസ് താരം സാനിയ മിർസയുടെ മാതൃക അതിലൊന്നു മാത്രമാണ്.

എല്ലാവരും മനുഷ്യരാണെന്ന ബോധ്യം നഷ്ടപ്പെട്ടു പോകുന്നിടത്താണ്, വ്യത്യസ്തതകൾ അംഗീകരിക്കപ്പെടാതെ പോകുന്നിടത്താണ്, ഇത്തരം വിവേചനങ്ങൾ ഉയിരെടുക്കുന്നത്. ഈ മണ്ണിൽ ജീവവായു ശ്വസിക്കാനുള്ള അവകാശം പോലും നിഷേധിക്കപ്പെട്ട  “ജോർജ് ഫ്ലോയ്ഡു”മാർ  ഉണ്ടാകുന്നതും അങ്ങനെ തന്നെ. അതുപോലെ, മികവുണ്ടായിട്ടും മെച്ചപ്പെട്ട ജീവിതാവസരങ്ങളും നേട്ടങ്ങളും ഇത്തരം അസമത്വങ്ങൾ കൊണ്ട് നിഷേധിക്കപ്പെട്ടവർ പല മേഖലകളിലുമുണ്ട്.

ഈ കോവിഡ് കാലം മനുഷ്യന് സ്വന്തം നിസാരത ബോധ്യപ്പെടുത്തിയ കാലമാണ്, വംശീയതയ്ക്കും  അസമത്വങ്ങൾക്കും എതിരെയുള്ള ചെറുത്തു നില്പ്പുകളുടെ വേറിട്ട കാഴ്ചകൾ നൽകിയ കാലമാണ്. അതു കൊണ്ടു തന്നെ തിരിച്ചറിവുകളുള്ള പുതിയൊരു മനുഷ്യരാശിയെ കോവിഡാനന്തര കാലത്ത് പ്രതീക്ഷിക്കാം. ആ പ്രതീക്ഷയ്ക്ക് ഒരു ജലരേഖയുടെ ആയുസ് മാത്രമാവാതിരിക്കട്ടെ. കളിക്കളങ്ങൾ വീണ്ടും പഴയ ആരവങ്ങളിലേക്ക് തിരിച്ചു പോകുമ്പോൾ അവ ഇത്തരം ചെറുത്തു നിൽപ്പുകളുടെയും മാനുഷികതയുടെയും ഭാഷ സംസാരിച്ചു കൊണ്ടേയിരിക്കട്ടെ .

References:

  1. https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/football/story/premier-league-manchester-city-vs-arsenal-black-lives-matter-coronavirus-1690173-2020-06-18
  2. https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/arsenal-kit-vs-man-city-epl-premier-league-nhs-black-lives-matter-a9571356.html
  3. https://www.indiatoday.in/sports/cricket/story/michael-holding-black-lives-matter-documentary-video-racism-cricket-ebony-rainford-brent-1698377-2020-07-08
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2020/jul/08/west-indies-england-black-lives-matter-take-the-knee-racism-cricket-first-test
  5. https://www.manoramaonline.com/sports/cricket/2020/07/11/michael-holding-breaks-down-in-tears-while-speaking-on-racism-faced-by-his-parents.html
  6. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_sport
  7. https://www.thehindu.com/sport/when-jesse-owens-and-dhyan-chand-wowed-hitler/article30831037.ece
  8. https://thewire.in/books/dhyan-chand-india-olympics-hitler
  9. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-45182043/mesut-ozil-racism-row-germany-s-minorities-speak-out-with-metwo
  10. https://m.hindustantimes.com/football/sania-mirza-extends-support-to-mesut-ozil-after-racism-controversy/story-b806dYuOB4rBv8b8Zbv3zI_amp.html
  11. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-52988605/muhammad-ali-why-is-everything-white
  12. https://www.mathrubhumi.com/sports/specials/olympics-2020/news/1968-olympics-black-power-salute-tommie-smith-and-john-carlos-1.4431995
  13. https://www.manoramaonline.com/sports/other-sports/2018/10/15/black-power-salute.html
  14. https://youtu.be/OtbzJVm75FM
  15. https://www.businessinsider.com/megan-rapinoe-asks-messi-ronaldo-ibrahimovic-to-fight-racism-sexism-2019-12
  16. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/newsbeat-50307943/megan-rapinoe-on-racism-equal-pay-and-lgbt-rights
  17. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-europe-45182043/mesut-ozil-racism-row-germany-s-minorities-speak-out-with-metwo
  18. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/02/scrutiny-caster-semenyas-body-fits-into-an-ugly-pattern/
  19. https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/caster-semenya-race-science-guinea-pig-saartjie-baartman-a8971081.html
  20. https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/aug/24/lot-of-england-team-still-havent-apologised-eni-aluko-after-whistleblowing
  21. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2018/09/11/long-history-behind-racist-attacks-serena-williams/
  22. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/29/the-careful-complicated-activism-of-arthur-ashe-219610
  23. https://www.biography.com/news/jesse-owens-adolf-hitler-1936-olympics
  24. https://m.economictimes.com/magazines/panache/whats-with-the-gender-inequality-dutee-chand-talks-about-the-tests-female-athletes-face-before-competing/articleshow/69851149.cms
  25. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali

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Surviving the Greatest Pandemic~ Depression

 

DEPRESSION, DEPRESSION, DEPRESSION. The whole world is running behind depression all of a sudden. But Why? At present mental health is spoken in an emphatic voice. We randomly see posts, quotes, stories of it in and outside social media. Do you think depression is an illness that is only destined for certain people? 

Depression is an illness that many people have been facing for some time but it is sad to acknowledge the fact that we humans have taken a long time to discuss depression on social platforms. According to the statistical report, more than 264 million people of every age are under depression. 

Nobody is born into the world tagged depressed. It is one’s battles in life, their experiences, and their run to prove themselves to society rather than being their true self that lead them to the path of mental illness.

In this competitive world, it is difficult to manage one’s emotions in the right proportion. Family is the place where one starts to learn the first lessons of life. Just by teaching your kid, how to graduate with prestigious degrees is not enough instead, teach them how to enjoy and to find happiness in small things. Make sure that you turn out to be a friend to your child, a friend with whom they could share their happiness and sorrow without a second thought. Be an understanding parent to your child without a prejudiced mind when they come up with their difficulties. 

Schooling is one of the important phase in shaping one’s character, therefore, the roles played by teachers and peer groups are equally important as that of one’s family. In the present curriculum, it is equally important that we should emphasize on inculcating social values into the same.  

Let your actions speak louder than words. Yes, you read that right. Being there for someone at the right time may change their lives for better. Just a smile or a message or a small talk would make the difference.

Remember that everybody may not be lucky as you are, they may not have a sound background. Be thankful for your well being and make sure you would be there to lend your ear to listen to the ones in need.  Learning and practising these values from childhood will definitely make oneself better in the long run

It is good if we learn life values, compassion, treating and talking to others nicely, being there for others, building mental strength, social interaction and other values from our small age. Yeah, we will be taught by our parents and teachers but, not all students are privileged to learn it from home. Apart from value learning we mostly learned about scoring good marks, not to fail, to be successful in life, and so on.

But somewhere down the lane, no one taught us life lessons like learning to rest when we are tired, being there for each other, to love everyone without a prejudiced mind.

Being there for the right person at the right time may flip their life for good. So let’s encourage mental awareness from childhood. And we can hope that there will be more happy ones than sad ones.

Depression is not a blame game. It is just an illness like any other illness. We cannot accomplish success as a sole person. Only when people start to be there for each other we could accomplish success in this journey.

 

      LET US BE THERE FOR ATLEAST A PERSON, 

     STAY HAPPY STAY SAFE

 

 

Also See:

The Religions Impact on Corona Out Break; The Super Spreader

Patriarchy and Male Chauvinism; A Curse to Indian Film Industry-Part 1.

Patriarchy and Male Chauvinism; A Curse to Indian Film Industry.

In a letter denying permission to screen the award-winning film Lipstick Under My Burkha in India earlier this year, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) wrote that the film was a “lady-oriented film… with a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society”. The letter sent to the filmmakers sparked outrage. Eventually, the Bombay high court overruled the CBFC.

Patriarchy and Male Chauvinism

The image shown below is the letter from the CBFC;

Untitled

india_illo_h_2016

Cinemas are medium for social reforms. It is not only a piece of art but a tool for expressing human feelings and idea of the contemporary society. With a value of over 180 billion Indian rupees and producing more than 1500 films per year, Indian Film Industry is one of the largest. Even sustaining the high position, the industry’s distribution of the opportunity in a gender-equal mannerism is a question mark!

why gender inequality and discriminations high among women in the film industry??? What are the situation of the women filmmakers and women-centric characters?? Why are filmmakers thinking from a male audience perspective for making and marketing films?? Why male chauvinism is high in Bollywood?? How Kerala women filmmakers won the battle against patriarchy??

Even when women shines gloriously in various fields like science, space, business and writings by marking their breakthrough achievements, the film industry still showcase male chauvinism and patriarchy in various forms.

Gender Inequality in Indian Films…

Before Independence…A Period of High Patriarchy.

  • In the initial stages of history, the media was handled largely by men and the media images of men and women were tailored according to the preference of men.
  • Being an extremely patriarchal society where the male has a dominant role and women being subordinate of men, highly reflected in Indian Cinema.
  • Inspired by ‘Manusmriti’– an age-old Dharmashastra written by Manu for followers of Hindu faith – a female actor is never allowed to transgresses the scriptural paradigm that mediates women’s role as always in obedience and servitude to man, like Sita – the scriptural paradigm of femininity.
  • In the beginning, the role of women in Indian cinema was always subjected to be an obedient daughter, taking care of her sibling, helping mother in the kitchen and marrying a man of her fathers choice.
  • Another role include as a self-sacrificing mother who don’t have any desires in her life.
  • The third and most abused image of a woman presented onscreen is the role of an ideal wife. Wife who sacrificed everything for her husband. Thus, the wife is expected to be immensely devoted to her husband at the cost of her own pleasures, desires, and ambitions. This ideal wife has to be sexually pure, taking care of the children and live faithfully under the dominance of her husband and once she becomes a widow should lead her life embracing the husband’s memories.
  • Later in Films, there were differences showcased between good women and bad women. The bad women who usually is against the values and beliefs of the society. The dichotomy between good-bad women were popular in films, which distinguish between the heroine and the negative women. whereas men always remain centre character and control other characters and was always pure…
  • Apart from the patriarchal system, the caste system was also a curse to the Indian film industry before independence and portraying a heroic character from the untouchable will certainly lead to failure of the film.

The portrayal of women in the film reflected the societies thoughts before independence where women were considered as impotent, defenceless, low and dependent on the males. In such a situation introducing a role change in films may disturb the patriarchy system and the film would be a fail.

The first Malayalam movie Vikadakumaran directed by J C Daniel in 1930s out of his passion for making a film was stopped screening by the upper caste men as the film portrays a low caste woman as the heroine ( well depicted in the film Celluloid, directed by Kamal).

Indian film post Independence…The Curse of a patrilineal System!

The Indian Film Industry gained more colour after independence. The women gained more freedom from the husbands and four-cornered walls to an open workforce society after feministic movements in India.

  • The representation of women in Indian Cinema has increased after independence but since a patrilineal system( where descent and inheritance are traced through the male line and men are generally in control of the distribution of family resources.) governs the society, the characters given to the female actress were of the same kind.
  • 1980 saw the beginning of the action era in Indian Film Industry where the men were highly worshipped by the audience for the extraordinary superpower he had to fight bunches (12*n) of enemies in the air.
  • The heroines lost their strength and space to the hero. She was reduced to a glamorous component of the films. She danced around trees, kidnapped, raped or get killed.
  • It was the time when the people start to believe the superpowers of the actor is real, started to get admired by their romance, fight and saving poor people from crooked villains. The fan power for such heroes raised in such a way that the incidents of people electing film stars as the chief ministers and leaders are evident in a few states.
  • In such a high time for men in cinemas, the roles of women were less accepted by the common people and female-centric films saw a failure in common people as it showcases the struggles of women rather than thrillers and actions.

Thus in post Independence, the contribution of women in Indian film has increased but always stayed down the line of the patriarchal society. The film gained colour, high sound system, more clarity and high technology but the women still get biased due to highly existing gender discrimination in the society.


#Challenge 1

Hey, have you ever watched these movies????

Well, Good, you may have watched a few( great, if you have watched all) of those movies.

Indian Film Post- globalisation…Liberated but Controlled! 

Globalisation has shifted society to another dimension where liberalisation plays an important role in bringing gender rights. The second feminist wave evolved in America get reflected in India and gender equality in the Indian film industry has stepped up.

  • Still, there were criticisms and patriarchial symptoms which supported mass male-dominant films, where women were considered as an “adding beauty character”. The advancement in film technology rarely supported the women audience and looked from a men perspective way.

Vast differences between the male and female characters also occur in their respective occupations onscreen. While men are shown in their workplaces, in meetings with their colleagues or even in uniforms and hence ‘on duty’, women are largely shown within the domestic sphere—their labour within the home rendered invisible by its marked absence.

Sexism in Indian Film
  • The studies shows that Bollywood stands high in male chauvinism in films. In 1995, it was a leather jacket-clad Raj from Aditya Chopra’s debut, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, who found no issues with ‘flirting’ with a woman travelling with her friends, even after she has asked him to back off. The study takes an expansive look at the next couple of decades as well. Whether it is Rahul in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Rancho in 3 Idiots (2009) or Barfi in Barfi! (2012), a woman’s personal or professional space is often taken for granted.

A recent analysis which shows about sexism in Bollywood;

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  • Sexism is not new to Tamil and Malayalam cinemas, the industry has long been an example of stereotyping, misogyny as ‘macho’ (and macho is always a man!). The whistles, that heroes receive when they berate a woman, chastise her or do moral policing explains the embedded ‘chauvinism’ in Tamil audiences. While these stereotypes flourish under ‘creative freedom’, the glorification of ‘male chauvinism’ has become a genre by its own right.

Characters and dialogue

Male characters account for nearly twice as many as female characters (Graph 2) in the credits. Try looking at the number of dialogues between the male and female protagonists and the latter only manages to cross one-third of the total figure.

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Dialogue Distribution among men and women in films

Controversies surrounding Women in Cinemas…

The Post-modern society after globalisation and its impact on liberalisation leads to advancement of high technologies in films. There were may female directors contributing to the Indian Film Industry and most of them have women-centric characters in their films.

Deepa Mehta’s  Fire and Water

  • Women centred films, where women have tried to break the conventions have stirred immense conflicts and controversies in the Indian society. Films like Fire, directed by Deepa Mehta(1998), became the recipient of several international awards when it was released in the US and Europe in 1996.
  • This movie depicted a romantic relationship between two sisters in law in an urban, middle-class household of North India. The film when released in India gained extensive criticisms, especially the rigid Hindu families.
  • The Shiv Sena an extreme right-wing of Hindu organization led by Bal Thackery, violently opposed the screening of this movie leading to riots. According to them, this film’s story attempted to degrade Indian women, and it encouraged the collapse of marriage and family.
  • Another film of her, Water (2005) which showcased a plot supporting the right for women. There were large criticisms and riots all over by the same group which destroyed her fame in her last film.

The main reason of this riot was not due to the portrayal of women like her previous film Fire, but it was because a women director was daring enough to make a period film that divulged the dark side of Hindu religion, especially to the Western audience.

  • The various religious and political groups anticipated that this was an attempt
    to make an anti-Hindu unit for the West. It was further believed that there was political doctrine and plan behind organizing a nuisance even before the shooting of the film.

Aandhi (1975)

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  • This political drama centres around a woman politician whose appearance was uncannily similar to that of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
  • This led the film to face allegations that it was based on her, especially Gandhi’s relationship with her estranged husband.
  • However, the filmmakers had only borrowed the protagonist’s look from the Prime Minister and the rest had nothing to do with her life.
  • Even after its release, the director was asked to remove scenes which showed the lead actress smoking and drinking during an election campaign and the film was completely banned during the national Emergency later that year.

Bandit Queen (1994)

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  • The biographical film is based on the life of Phoolan Devi, a feared woman dacoit who led a gang of bandits in northern India.
  • Phoolan belonged to a poor low caste family and was married to a man three times her age. She later took to a life of crime.
  • The film, directed by Bafta-winner Shekhar Kapur, was criticised for its excessive use of abusive language, sexual content and nudity.
  • Despite the backlash, Bandit Queen went on to win the National Film Award for Best Feature Film.

The Pink Mirror (2006)

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  • The Pink Mirror is the first mainstream film to have two transsexuals as protagonists.

  • While it was a groundbreaking moment in Indian cinema, the Central Board of Film Certification had other opinions, calling the film “’ vulgar and offensive”.
  • The Pink Mirror remains banned in India but it went on to win the Jury Award for Best Feature at the New York LGBT Film Festival and the Best Film of the Festival at Question de Genre in Lille, France. You can catch the film on Netflix now.

S… Durga (2017):

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  • Initially called Sexy Durga, the film’s name was changed to S Durga by the CBFC while giving clearance with a U/A certificate.
  • The film also received 21 audio mutes but no scene cuts. Directed by Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, the film highlights the patriarchal set up in Kerala through the eyes of an eloping couple and the horrors they endure on the way.
  • The film, which was first included in IFFI Goa, was later removed from the Indian Panorama section at the behest of the Union Ministry (which considered the title to be insulting to Hindu sentiments).
  • The director then approached the Kerala High Court, which in turn ordered the film to be screened at IFFI.

Kasaba (2016):

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  • The film was criticised for glorifying misogyny, more so as it showed Mammootty playing a cop who makes sexually explicit remarks to a lady officer and get away with it, accompanied by celebratory BGM.
  • Two years later, actor Parvathy found herself in the eye of a storm when she criticised Mammootty for acting in a film like Kasaba that glorified misogyny. That was enough for his fans to go on a rampage on her FB page, demanding an apology and showering her with every expletive available in the dictionary.
  • Of course, Parvathy did no such thing and issued a counter-attack, with the adage OMKV – or go to hell for all I care (being the kinder translation) – at those who targeted her, like director Jude Antony Joseph. She proudly hashtagged herself as feminichi and resolutely stuck to her guns.

Portrayal of Men and Women in Indian Film…

In most movies its common that the hero who, initiate a fight as the villain( men) catch his shoulder leading to vengeance and revenge and to add beauty to the revenge in the film he falls in love with a girl that he sees from a bus, helping the blinds to cross the road or bargaining with the flower seller(slow motion). Romance, Songs, Rain dance are welcomed as per the wish of the hero and at last the villains Kidnap his girl, threaten the hero through the phone. Hero will reach the place to fight the villains in air and take back her(slow motion)` happy endings…

Another simple way to analyse stereotyping in films is by closely looking at the trailers of the films. The trailers have a major portion of it as male-centric hiding women faces.

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Research analysis on 880 Bollywood movies

 

  • The use of vulgar words on women by the hero boost the audience and waves of claps and whistles echo in theatre.
  • There is a scene in a Malayalam movie where the hero is proposing a woman with a blatantly chauvinistic dialogue. He says he wants a woman whom he can kick around after returning home sozzled and who would deliver his babies and wail when he dies.
  • There are also characters like Jose Alex IAS from the movie king who says a long dialogues suppressing women.

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I feel I shouldn’t have written it. When I wrote it, I never thought of belittling women or even degrading the gender, it was just contextual for the film. Those who clapped for those lines have later found it disturbing. If I knew that what I was writing based on a situation will have a different interpretation in the future, I wouldn’t have written that. Definitely, I regret it. If a woman who sits in a crowd finds that my dialogues in the film is degrading her gender or has offended her, I agree that it was a mistake from my side. But I would like to make it very clear that I have never intended to demean anybody.   ¬ Renji Panicker 

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Research analysis on the adjectives used on men and women in Indian Films
  • Not surprisingly, gender stereotyping extends to the kind of roles male and female actors enact and the occupations they are shown to be engaged. In most films, it is evident that the males have the roles of doctor, police officers, gangster… and females have the roles of teacher, secretary, student…

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It’s evident than even in films which are widely accepted by the audience( both male and female) there are plots and scenes which show misogynist dialogues. Mind it, these are superstars who can profoundly influence the psyche of the average film-going youth. When they glorify such misogynist scenes in their movies passing it off as heroism, it can have disastrous consequences.

Marketing Strategy Of Indian Films…

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  • Film marketing and advertising play a key role in the success or failure of films, and films are also sites for advertising.
  • Research shows that in India, The largest film audiences come from poor lower caste and lower class urban males (Ganti, 2004).
  • This group numbers around 165 million. They have low levels of disposable income and, as men have much higher status than women, women are more likely to be confined to the home than men, though they still attend the cinema, in lesser numbers.
  • Key aspects of Indian society that film advertising represents and encapsulates are the preoccupations, tastes and fantasies of the predominantly male mass market that are being targeted. The pulling power of stars, along with the genre of the movie, is the main attraction for audiences.
  • The movies are marketed from the perspective of men as the audience in the theatre is more men than women
  • There is a change in trend in film marketing in states like Kerala in which the audience accept films both artistic as well as entertainment films and the question of whether the film is “suited for the family” is often asked among the audience a yes to the question is a green flag for the family members( men and women) to be in the theatre or else is men who go for watching it.

Gender Discriminations in the Indian Film Industry…

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Equal Pay????

  • Despite the continued efforts of activists and policymakers, in many ways, gender equality is still a pipe dream. Research shows gender discrimination mostly against women and in favour of men in many realms, including the workplace.
  • Even though the overall gender gap in India has reduced slightly from 2104 to 2015, according to Monster Salary Index, women on the whole still make 25% less than men, and as many as 68.5% of women in Indian workforce feel they have experienced wage inequality.
  • The actresses are paid much less than actors in the  Indian industry even though they have established their stardom through films.

The gender pay gap in Bollywood results from the patriarchal mindset of society, which does not see women as heroes, superstar Amir Khan has said.

  • Globally in Film Industries, the trend of paying less to female stars than male stars are evident form articles and researches… Even Globe itself is a Patriarchal village…

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 Casting Couch…

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After the #metoo movement, the women were strong enough to raise their voice against the sexual harassment and discrimination they faced. Casting couch, one of the evil in the Indian film industry faced by newcomers was one such harassment faced by women for entering in to cinema.

  • It was the film industry which gave us the term casting couch. Today it remains a professional body where that couch has become almost institutionalised.
  • The metaphorical casting couch is the place where young newcomers, seeking to break into the world of glamour and glitz, are often forced to offer sexual favours in return for roles.
  • And it continues to exist because the laws regarding sexual harassment in the workplace have never applied here.

The casting couch refers to a mentality in which directors and filmmakers take undue advantage and favor from aspiring film actors or actresses. The youngsters are provided with the filmy option in exchanged of sexual favors.

#metoo campaign

  • 2018 saw the rise of the #MeToo movement in India. Inspired by a global campaign against sexual harassment and assault, women across the spectrum opened up and shared their stories about abuse by men in positions of power.
  • And it began in October with actress Tanushree Dutta accusing actor Nana Patekar of sexual harassment while shooting for the 2008 film ‘Horn Ok Please’.
  • What followed was a series of posts by other women who shared their experiences with the world. From actors, film directors, artists and writers and politicians, women professionals called out obnoxious behaviour at the workplace.
  • From unwanted attention in the office to sexual innuendos on the film set, there were many kinds of allegations that surfaced.
  • But, the #metoo challenge does not exile the accused people as they continue to work in the Indian film industry.
  • People who were called out are back at work; they have neither been proven guilty nor acquitted. On the other hand, women who came out have had to face a pushback from the industry…

Kerala Way of Fighting Patriarchy in Indian Film Industry…

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Casting couch was visible all over in the Film Industry. The risk for a woman to enter into a profession that she like is tough in a patriarchal society and in film it is far too risky.

  • As the time moves, the role and power of women in the society also increased. Now she has the support of her family and friends to enter in Film, She works hard for her passion to be an actress and she knows how to speak and stand for her right.
  • But is that enough?  But what about the large mass of women… the extras, the group dancers, the aspiring starlets, the production assistants and many others, for whom the job means survival? To whom do they appeal when things go wrong? What do they do when they get pregnant or have small babies to nurse? Do they get proper changing rooms and toilet facilities on site? Do they get properly paid?
  • These were the questions which were asked before, but does not get answered and yes it get an answer now…in Kerala…

Women In Cinema Collective (WCC)

Vision

Equal spaces and equal opportunities for women in cinema.

 

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from the left: Rima Kallingal, Manju Warrier, Deedi Damodaran and Anjali Menon

 

  • It was formed after the horrific abduction and assault of a leading film star in Kerala and work for the right and welfare of women in Film Industry.
  • On November 1, 2017 Women in Cinema Collective was registered as a society in Kerala.

Mission

  1. WCC works towards building a safe, non-discriminatory and professional workspace for women in cinema through advocacy and policy change.
  2. WCC encourages more women to be a part of the industry through outreach initiatives for career advancement opportunities, industry support, and mentorship opportunities for its members.
  3. WCC showcases the creative acumen of women by curating films and bodies of work by women.
  4. WCC seeks to create awareness about gender bias and exploitation faced by women in the film industry,  both onscreen and off-screen.
  5. WCC promotes responsible filmmaking practices accelerating the work culture transformations required for a gender-just film industry and cinema.

Activities 

  • Punarvaayana a major activity done by WWC which focused to bring awareness in the society on issues such as exclusionary workspaces, workplace exploitation and gender discrimination. The initiation of the programme has brought together several successful women from various fields to address these problems.
  • On May 18, 2017, WCC submitted a petition to the Chief Minister Kerala, requesting an inquiry and prompt action on the sexual assault case, against a prominent film actress in the Malayalam Cinema. Later WCC also publicly condemned and revolted against the decision of AMMA to reinstate actor Dileep back into the association. 

 

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WWC members with Chief Minister of Kerala

 

  • WCC members have requested the intervention of the government to formalise wage structure and welfare schemes for women working in the film industry such as maternity pay and tax subsidies for production crews that have at least 30% women representation, among many others.
  • WCC requested the Kerala government to start more movie production-related technical courses that provide direct employment opportunities for more women and provide for more women’s reservations in government-owned studios.

 

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WWC’s announcement on launching a film society, named after PK Rosy

 

 


A statement that you my friend..are making in a million unheard voices!And to those voices I apologise..for at an age and time when I wasn’t wise enough..I have been part of films that celebrated misogyny..I have mouthed lines that vilified regard for your self respect and I have taken a bow to the claps that ensued. NEVER AGAIN..never again will I let disrespect for women be celebrated in my movies! Yes..I’m an actor and this is my craft! I will whole heartedly trudge the grey and black with characters that possess unhinged moral compasses      ~Prithviraj Sukumaran

Even after decades, Indians love to see the big screen and are tirelessly watching movies. Due to this reason, the Indian Film Industry is one of the leading industry in the world. Even being in heights, by bringing high-quality movies, but fails in the aspect of gender equality. The remaining curse of patriarchy, gender discrimination, caste systems and highly stereotyping thoughts in the modern nation hinders the growth of Indian Cinema. Being in a land with existing patriarchy, it is tough to have a feminist perspective for both orthodox males and females. In the book titled Feminist Social Work, Lena Domicellie have written about her perspective towards feminism. Feminism is not against men’s well-being, but it is firmly against sexism and privileging men’s welfare over women’s. This includes privileges emanating from practices that: endorse the preferential treatment of men over women on sexist grounds in any arena. 

If the ideologies and philosophies raised by socialists( in such situation, for gender rights) may feel like piercing an arrow to your thoughts, contradicting your beliefs and value system; Its high time to initiate a journey for the unanswered questions and certainly you may end up in logical interpretations which may support or oppose the dealing scenario.

#Challenge 2

Now, how many of you have watched these movies??

(These are few best movies which fight patriarchy in Indian Film Industry. They may not be in box – office hits but they have told stories about the dreams of millions.)

What is your opinion???

 

Does the virtuality ruins the reality??

Virtuality

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“Virtuality” is a concept in philosophy. The term was first put forward by French thinker Gilles Deleuez. Deleuez use the term “virtual” to something that is ideal(not real) in real world.

Today, In this 21st century the word virtuality  is common between everyone. Especially  for the “Digital natives”(those who born from  the past two decades who are more familiar with digital technologies than analog mechanics),virtual world or say cyber world is part of their life. All the accessories of digital world like mobile,computers,tabs support virtuality. Internet plays a major role in promoting cyber space.

Reality

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“Reality” is the state of things as they actually exist , rather than as they may appear or might be imagined.

Reality includes everything that  is observable or comprehensible .we are living in  the real world hence we can say our life itself is a reality as it is real and is not ideal.


Is virtuality a threat??

  • The present generation so called “new gen” including me are strict addicts of  that virtual hero called internet and its elements.This includes all the internet activities like browsing ,chatting,gaming etc…
  • These are essential, as it help us to gain knowledge,relation,communication etc..in short internet and other social medias plays an important role in moulding us.

But seriously thinking or just say, analyzing the present us.the questions arise:

  • Are we destroying  the reality by being in virtuality?
  • Who is the master? The real “Me” or the Virtual “It”?
  • Is virtuality dominating  the reality?
  • Am I a virtual hero or a real hero?

Use of virtual tools are necessary in this present generation,but addiction to these is really diverting us, giving as a duplicate character or just say a mask  to our real character.


WHY ME?

Let me share my experience regarding this. I was born on 1997,in Kerala ,India. Time when LAN-phones where the major communicating tool. Even though there was internet discovered, but was not common. I was born in to a joint family called “MAVELY Family”  When the classes get dispersed, we use to ran home just to reach first in the pit. As the rule of our cricket follows FCFS (First come first served) system in batting. Game changes according to the season.In summer we play cricket, In winter football. The best time I would say is Rainy season,where we got in to rain. Swimming was the main item during rainy season as canals were full with water. Those days of greenery, Where all talk face to face.Enjoying each second of liveness!!

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But for past few years things are not compromising. all are busy wit some thing. we rarely play, laugh and talk. All were through communication apps and through SMS.I too was addicted to social medias like watsapp and facebook. My behavior just get altered. I Start to get frustrated very fast ,got angry on silly things .I spend a lot of time in social medias.I lagged in talking to my family members.even, I was not able to talk to anyone by looking in to their eyes.Seriously,for parents I was just like an alien.I forgot  all the manners and social ques that my behavior supports, instead I was becoming some one else.

I was not having any sense to this till Last Easter(celebrating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead). It is because, may be  i was just flowing with the new world. Easter changed me a lot. As for Christians, preparation for Easter includes 50 days fasting(Fasting is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.) and when all took fasting on non-veg, I took it for social media. It was bitter for first few weeks but later I got control on myself. Woww!! Those days were amazing I felt very energetic and fresh. I felt freshness for everything.I felt the same liveness that i was missing for many years.Thank God, those period helped me to find another angle and lead to this blog.


Just to think..

  • Cyber space is an area for interacting through an ideal means. It is an another world.it is a virtual world which is entirely different from the real world. It is the beautiful creation of some awesome brains.
  • All the things in the virtual space(every online activities) is separated from real world. because both are two different areas. cyber space is an electronic world and we belongs to real world.
  • The one thread which connect cyber world to real world is  “chatting”. Through chatting we can communicate to anyone in any part of the real world. so we talk through virtual space.Thus we can say chatting links both virtual world and real world.

Is chatting realistic?

For instance, let us take the one of the common chatting tool  called whatsapp .

  1. Well, I am chatting with my friend Robert through whatsapp.  What is the guarantee or assurance that the person to whom I am chatting with, is Robert ?What if  I am cheated?The name indicated as Robert to me  in my chat box, but what if I am chatting with Robert’s father instead of Robert or say to some other friend of Robert? I think this is one of the major reason which lead many to suicides as they were cheated.
  2. Whatsapp is a tool which help to maintain communications and relations between friends,relatives,cousins, etc..But actually, as the communication gap through cyber space is reduced. automatically, the communication gap in reality increases. This is an inverse proportionality.We forgot the communicating style in real life.This is the reason why the young generation are less reactive when a difficult situation arises.
  3. In cyberspace social medias give us an identity.Our identity in Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc..make us strong  and famous among social medias.In Virtuality we are becoming more popular. What is the case in reality? The person who  gets 1k likes in facebook  or any other social media, Does he/she have 1k likes in his/her real life?Being good in social media is temporary action, But being good in life is permanent.
  4. Virtual space is a created space and if we are addicted to this means we are merging to this space and a mask will be automatically hiding our true personality.And this mask which is not real ,never take as to success in life.

Conclusion!!

All social medias are good and is essential for a person to survive in today’s world.But just give a limit line to everything. While spending too much time in virtual space. Just think, raise your head and look through the window.

THERE IS A WORLD OUT!!!WAITING FOR US!!!WHICH IS REAL!!!WHICH IS SO BEAUTIFUL!!

THE END!!