Tuesday, 12 May 2009

A shocker-16,000 student suicides in three years

May 02, 2008

New Delhi: Over 16,000 school and college students in India committed suicide in the last three years, says the Health Ministry, shedding light once again on the sorry state of mental healthcare in the country.

As per the ministry, 5,857 students committed suicide in 2006 and the figure for 2005 was 5,138. Similarly, in 2004, 5,610 students committed suicide.

"We know about the gravity of the situation and are going to re-strategise the national mental health programme," Anbumani Ramadoss told IANS.

Experts, doctors and even the World Health Organisation (WHO) believe that a multi-pronged strategy needs to be put in place to tackle problems ranging from anxiety, depression, stress and finally suicidal tendencies.

Cherian Verghese, a specialist with WHO India, said: "The mental health system needs an overhaul. Our schools might be giving good education but we need education in life skills. From counselling to increasing the number of mental health workers, the strategy should be holistic."

"Students are a vulnerable group. Age, competition and relations in the family are all contributing to the growing cases of suicide among schoolgoers," Verghese said.

He said some private schools in India had started appointing counsellors but "government schools across the country need to make a move now".

"There is a gamut of problems; India lacks the required number of psychiatrists as well. The social taboo around mental health also fuels the problem. A country which houses a huge number of youngsters must not take mental health lightly," Verghese added.

He said since India faces a lot of natural disasters and deaths thereof, the country needs a brigade of social counsellors. Their job is to counsel people during post-disaster trauma disorder.

Nimesh Desai, a leading psychiatrist in the national capital, said: "India needs a 10-fold increase in the number of psychiatrists. Across the country, there are not more than 3,500 such processionals".

"The doctor-patient ratio, social stigma, growing competition and the desire to succeed in every field are leading to a higher level of anxiety, stress and acute depression," Desai said.

Health ministry officials said the mental health programme in India would be revamped. Under the new plan, regional mental health institutes would be established.

All mental health hospitals would be modernised and the district authorities would be asked to go for community mental health services, life skill education and counselling would be introduced in schools. IANS


Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Argument on Aluva's place-name origins

Somalatha escorted to yagasala

By K.J.Francis Joy:: First Published : 28 Apr 2009 01:53:00 AM IST
ALUVA: The Agnishtoma Somayagam Yagasala witnessed a rare ritual on Monday when the Somalatha, which was brought from Mujjuhva mountains of the Himalayas, was installed on a cart pulled by two calves and escorted to Agnihotrisala amid chanting of Vedic hymns.
Poojas were conducted for the Somayagam participants, considering them as Gods (Devas). An elderly devotee who was honoured as Somarajan was offered a seat on Ahanthi.
Yajamanan Kurusaroor Narayanan Adithiripad performed pooja by giving ‘Argyapadyadhikal.’ A ritual ‘Adhithyeshti’ was offered to Lord Maha Vishnu.
In another ritual, the Vedic scholars agreed to conduct Somayagam touching the ‘Thanunathram,’ the specially prepared holy ghee.
Performing ‘Pravargya Sambaram’ ritual, the scholars made clay pots named Manthrapoorvam, Mahaveeram and Upasayam.
Thousands of devotees visited the Yagasala and attended the ‘annadanam’ on Monday. The Somayagam will conclude on May 1.

Thank you, Mr.Ravi. Yours is the exact style in which Sankara used to argue. Sankara's pre-conditions were that the opponent should, if he is defeated, jump into fire, consume poison, jump to death from the hill-top, become Sankara's slave etc etc. I request Mr.Ravi to read Swami Vivekananda's comments on Sankara's personality. Sankara's style was typically bully-istic and not straight. That is how he 'defeated' the peaceful and innocent Buddhist monks that used to easily fall into his trap. Even here, Mr.Ravi tells me, "Thats why ur missionary find it difficult to convert indians(hindus) in large scale which u did anywhere in world"; arguing from a gross basic misconception. Anyway, what I said is Aluva's hidden history, hidden in ways similar to Western historical ideas about Indian heritage. By R.Sajan 4/29/2009 12:06:00 AM

Sajan,u r wrong.sankara philosophy is based on Knowledge rather rituals.The Buddists philosphy itself copied from Upanishads which they succesfully demonstrated among common people who kept away from sanskrit.But Sankara defeated all interpretation of Buddists regarding "atman" and developed "advita" which is the turning point in the fate of Buddism in india.Unlike in western or middle east caountries,where "philosophies" faught with swords and "iron rods", in india(Bharath) the philosophical battle done by great literary works and thesis in an academic point of view.Thats why ur missionary find it difficult to convert indians(hindus) in large scale which u did anywhere in world. By Ravi 4/28/2009 8:24:00 PM

‘Aluva’ was earlier ‘Aalawai”. The Rail station is even now Alwaye. The place got the name when Adi Shankara got his chieftain follower Jayaram to impale 700 Buddhist monks on Aalawai or Alavaanks [ iron rods sharpened at one end]and leave them on the Periyar shore to slowly die in pain. The Buddhists were in those days the only saviours of the oppressed subjects of local chieftains who saw their saviour in Adi Shankara. It is ideal that the Yaga is being held there. Yet it is Aceldama kind of blood-ridden land. Swami Vivekananda described Shankara as a mad fanatic because of such incidents. By R.Sajan4/28/2009 1:51:00 PM

Blaring PA system at the site is most ridiculous. Are these Yagas not to be conducted in peace and solemn silence? In the evenings, cacaphonic cultural programmes hamper the chanting. By R.Sajan4/28/2009 1:32:00 PM

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Taliban executes 14-year-old girl for planning to elope


Daily Telegraph
First Published : 15 Apr 2009 01:35:11 AM IST

KABUL: The pair were shot dead in front of their village mosque as their villagers looked on in south western Afghanistan, a district official said.
Hashim Noorzai, head of Khash Rud district of Nimroz province, said the girl, called Gulsima, had been unhappily engaged to marry when she fell in love with Aziz, aged 17.
The pair attempted to escape the village of Lokhi and planned to head to Iran and marry, but were captured by villagers and dragged back.
After two days of deliberation, a council of elders had been unable to decide how to resolve the dispute, Mr Noorzai said.
Half the elders favoured some way of allowing them to marry, while the other half favoured execution.
As the council was deadlocked, local Taliban militants stepped in, overruled village religious leaders and declared the lovers must be executed, he said.
Ghulam Dastageer Azad, governor of the province, said the execution was an "insult to Islam".
Nimroz, a sparsely-populated, desert province on the borders of Iran and Pakistan has little or no Afghan government or foreign presence.
Taliban militants rule large swathes of the province with impunity and dispense justice based on their own interpretations of Sharia law and tribal code.
Abdul Jabar, police chief of the province, admitted he had no police stations in the district and said and many of the fighters who summarily judged cases were themselves often no more than 18 or 19.
Across the border in Pakistan, a deal to allow Sharia law in the Swat valley has seen Taliban militants hold public executions.
Mobile phone footage appearing to show a 17-year-old woman being publicly flogged for adultery in the valley sparked international outrage earlier this month.
Under Pashtunwali, the tribal morality code in southern Afghanistan, relations between unmarried or unrelated members of opposite sexes are strictly regulated.
Extrajudicial "honour killings" are also practised by families who believe a relative has brought them shame, including by refusing to marry a chosen partner.
The Taliban swept to power in the mid 1990s by offering strict justice and Islamic order after years of chaotic rule by predatory and rapacious warlords.
Their travelling justice commissions continue to settle disputes in much of the lawless south where the government has no power and traditional tribal power has been eroded by decades of war.
I think this is a mischief by Sree Ram Sene activists who have infiltrated into Taliban ranks to malign it with this kind of cruelty. The Taliban is a secular force as every Indian secularist knows. They would not stoop to such atrocity.
Indian feminists should call the lie and expose the Sene role. They should lose no time in collecting more pink chaddies for the Sene.

Monday, 13 April 2009

In Kerala, they don't throw shoes!

In Kerala, they do not throw Chappals!

Throwing Chappals is the in-thing in India now. We are a great people for imitating others.
In Kerala however, this ['throwing'] has been a usual procedure during strikes and Bandhs which they have daily.

As usual, the CPM showed the way. For the past 40 years, striking or agitating CPM guys have thrown things at non-participants.

They do not throw shoes [few wear shoes] or chappals though, because both are costly. Instead, they throw human excreta on the enemies. Striking government employees and teachers use nothing else, because they are educated, perhaps.

A few years ago, a member of the State Human Rights Commission took some action against some CPM civil servants and woke up one morning to find his entire house painted with human excreta. The Police refused to collect the material evidence and the investigations were a non-starter.

During Election time now, CPM cadres rough up journalists that they do not like, everywhere. So far, the journos have been protesting it by holding protest marches. Since 'throwing' is more effective, they might soon turn to it to protest. One hopes Kerala media men would not use the favourite Kerala material to throw at politicians.

Perhaps, they should. They are the 'model state' that the rest of India looks up to.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Paying bank loan doesn’t absolve one of fraud: Apex court


New Delhi, April 11 (IANS) The Supreme Court has ruled that a person accused of having availed a bank loan through cheating, forgery or criminal conspiracy with bank officials would be liable to be prosecuted even after paying the loan.

A bench of Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice Mukundakam Sharma gave this verdict Wednesday, rejecting a West Bengal woman’s plea to exonerate her of the charges of taking the bank loan in collusion with its officials as she had paid back the loan.

“When a settlement is arrived at by and between the creditor and the debtor, various criminal offences (like forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy) committed to take the loan do not come to an end,” said the bench, dismissing the woman’s plea.

“It is now a well settled principle of law that in a given case, a civil proceeding and a criminal proceeding can proceed simultaneously. The bank is entitled to recover the amount of loan given to the debtor,” the bench said.

“If in connection with obtaining the loan, criminal offences have been committed by the persons accused thereof including the officers of the bank, criminal proceedings would also indisputably be maintainable,” the bench added.

The apex court bench upheld the trial court ruling, which was further endorsed by the Calcutta High Court. All the courts below had consistently held that an accused cannot be absolved of his of her criminal liability by settling the civil dispute.

The case pertained to Calcutta woman Rumi Dhar, who had taken a loan from the Oriental Bank of Commerce in 1993.

As she failed to pay the bank loan in time, the bank initiated criminal proceedings against the woman, her husband and some other people, including some of its own officials saying they had defrauded and cheated the bank as per a criminal plot hatched amongst themselves.

The matter was referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which filed its probe report to the designated CBI court in Kolkata indicting all the accused for hatching a criminal conspiracy to cheat the bank and sought their trial.

Meanwhile, the bank also moved the debt recovery tribunal and it reached settlement with the woman that she would pay a sum of around Rs.2.5 million to settle her debt to the bank.

As per the settlement, the woman paid the requisite amount to the bank, which also returned her property documents, confiscated by the CBI, which she had pledged to the bank earlier.

After reaching settlement with the bank she approached the trial court in February 2006 pleading that she be exonerated from the criminal charges. But the trial court dismissed her plea. So did the high court in 2007 and the apex court now.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Indian Elections are Rigged

The voting begins on April 16; but the results come out only on May 16! This is because it takes a few days for the Rigging program in the EVMs to work. The Illuminati have already decided the results and rigged them into rhe machines. The EVMs have no Audit Trails.
Look at the casual way in which the Congress deals with the breaking up of the UPA. They already know how the results would be.

Friday, 27 February 2009

The Plunder of Iraq’s Heritage

By Aisha El-Awady

The US-led war on Iraq has resulted in the looting and destruction of thousands of priceless historical and archeological relics from civilizations that date as far back as 6000 years ago. Paul Zimansky, an archaeologist of the University of Boston, described the loss of such irreplaceable exhibits as “a wide-scale catastrophe.”

The extent of damage caused by the bombings and looting is not yet known, but in a country that contains from 10,000 to 100,000 ancient sites, any bombing must have resulted in damage especially since a large number of the country’s relics are found in Mosul, Tikrit, and Nasiriya, which were all sites of heavy bombing during the war.

What’s at stake?

Mesopotamia, the ancient land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, is considered the cradle of Western civilization. This region was the center of the first civilizations, those of the Sumerians, Akkadians and Babylonians. These cultures built cities and developed irrigation systems, a legal system, a postal service, a system of writing and also explored sciences such as astronomy and mathematics. In later times, Baghdad also played a role as a center of Islamic learning and civilization.

According to archaeologist McGuire Gibson of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, “The whole country is an archaeological site….People don't understand that Iraq is more important than Egypt in world heritage.”

The bombings and the looting that occurred after the war have caused substantial harm to unique cultural heritage in the form of damage or loss of irreplaceable artifacts, ancient structures and archeological sites.

During the first Gulf War, US bombing of Iraq damaged a number of ancient and historic structures, such as the damage caused by shellfire to the brickwork of the ziggurat at Ur, which was built in 2100 B.C. Ziggurats were temple towers and were the first major building structures of the Sumerians. They were constructed of sun-baked mud bricks and were usually colorfully decorated with glazed fired brick. The ziggurat housed the city-state's patron god.

Other structures destroyed include thousand-year-old bridges in Baghdad, and a 10th century church in Mosul that was partially destroyed. The 13th century Mustansiriya and the Kaplannya Mosque in Baghdad and a 4,500-year-old royal cemetery were also seriously damaged. The extent of damage resulting from the bombings in this recent war on Iraq has yet to be discovered.

Following the war, looters ransacked and set fire to Iraq's National Library, turning to ash priceless books, including Ottoman historical documents. They also raided and burned Iraq's main Islamic Library, which contained Qur’ans from the very early Islamic period.
The looters also destroyed or stole priceless artifacts from the National Museum. Among the works missing are tablets containing the Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest known codes of law. King Hammurabi, who became ruler of Mesopotamia in 1792 B.C., had the code carved upon an eight-foot-high black stone monument. It provided uniformity among the various city-states.

Other missing artifacts include a 4,000-year-old copper head of an Akkadian king, golden bowls, bejeweled lyres, colossal statues, and ancient cuneiform tablets containing some of the first examples of written words.

The Anglo-American forces have drawn criticism and worldwide condemnation for their failure to stop and prevent the looting and destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage.

What’s next?

At a recent news conference, Gibson revealed that he had received unconfirmed information that some looted items were already on sale in Paris and Iran. "It looks like part of the theft was a very planned action, probably by the same gangs that have exploited and destroyed sites in Iraq over the past 12 years," said Gibson, "I have a suspicion it is organized from outside the country by people who pay those in the country to loot the sites. People have no money and will do anything to feed their family. But once it was organized, there were 300 or 400 people working on a site."

Now that the war is over, an international group of archeologists and museum directors has decided to send a fact-finding mission to Iraq in order to assess the damage inflicted upon the museums and archeological sites of the country.

UNESCO (UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has set up a special fund for the purpose of buying back stolen artifacts in Iraq. Italy has already donated $1 million, and France, Qatar, Egypt and Britain have made other offers of financial aid. UNESCO has also appealed for the tightening of controls on stolen artifacts by the World Customs Organization, Interpol, and neighboring countries.

The United Nation's cultural agency and the British Museum declared that teams will be sent to help in the restoration of the ransacked museums and artifacts, but no matter what measures are taken, the loss and damage to Iraq’s rich heritage is irreparable. Professor John Russell of the Massachusetts College of Art expressed it this way: “In a sense, it is a total war against the past. History is being erased, with no possibility of being recovered."


Thursday, 26 February 2009

Have Abhaya-accused helped terror-accused?

Malini removed from FSL
She had forged documents to get job
Deccan Herald, Bangalore. Feb 25, 2009:

Yielding to pressure from the Opposition parties, the State government on Wednesday, took the decision to discharge Dr S Malini from the post of assistant director of Forensic Psychology division of Forensic Science Laboratories in Bangalore. She was on probation.

Home Minister V S Acharya, announced this decision in the Legislature Council, after members of the Congress and the JD(S) staged a dharna demanding her dismissal.

JD(S) leader M C Nanaiah, raising the issue, said that Malini had furnished forged documents to get the appointment. She had been working in the institute on a contract basis since 1999. She was appointed to the post on a regular basis in 2007.

She gave false date of birth to claim eligibility to the post and furnished fake documents as proof of her expertise in the field. While her date of birth is 12-05-1960. She lowered her age by four years to become eligible for the post. The documents, she furnished, had been attested by her husband Dr B K Muralidhar, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UVCE, Nanaiah said.

He, further, said the DG&IGP had sent a report recommending the Principal Secretary (Home Department) to discharge her from the service as she furnished wrong information to get recruited to the post. The DG&IGP recommended action against Dr Mohan, Director of FSL, Mudduveeraiah, Chief Administrative Officer (Office of DG&IGP), who were in the recruitment committee. Other two in the committee were the then DG&IGP K R Srinivasan, who is no more and Subhash Bharani, who was ADG (Crime & Tech Services). He took VRS in April 2008.

Nanaiah said the CBI, investigating into the Sister Abhaya case of Kerala, had also alleged that Malini manipulated the CDs related to tests conducted on the accused. A deputy director of CBI had subjected Malini for an interrogation in this connection on February 6 this year. In addition, Nanaiah said, Malini leaked the contents of the brain mapping and lie detector tests, to media well before submitting the same to the investigating agency. “A huge amount of money is involved in such affairs,” he said.

Acharya said the department had served a notice asking her to reply to the allegations levelled against her.

Action would be taken in accordance with the reply, he added. Dissatisfied with the reply, the Opposition members staged a dharna, compelling chairman Veeranna Mathikatti to adjourn the House for sometime.

When the House reassembled Acharya said the officer would be sent on leave. However, the Opposition did not budge from its stand. Eventually, Acharya declared that she would be relieved from the service. Later the Congress and the JD(S) withdrew the protest. Leader of the Opposition V S Ugrappa and Nanaiah demanded that those responsible for her getting the post should be suspended.
With Dr. Malini's discharge, the Congress Opposition has possibly rendered all the cases that she handled, especially the terrorism-related ones, liable to be thrown out from courts all over India. As the Opposition MLC admitted, “a huge amount of money is involved". Powers to influence even the PMO and the CBI were attributed to the Abhaya-accused in the Kerala High Court.
Karnataka politics is known for criminality and corruption. The Opposition enthusiasm in the Malini issue is therefore, suspect. The truth must be brought out through a lie-detector test! Is it the Abhaya -accused or the terror-accused that caused the enthusiasm?

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Khushwant Singh on the Left and the Nuclear Deal

With Malice Towards One And All | Khushwant Singh
Hindustan Times
July 25, 2008

Objection overruled

I have done my very best to understand the Communists’ objections to government’s proposed nuclear deal with the United States. I have failed to do so. They say it will compromise our sovereignty and will make us subservient to America in our foreign policy. That makes even less sense to me. America has never tried to dictate our relations with other nations and has often regretted our growing friendship with countries hostile to it.

We have ignored those protests and made our own decisions. If any country has questioned our sovereignty over our territories, it is Communist China. It never accepted the sanctity of our northern borders with it: it waged a war against us, inflicted a humiliation on us, and to this day lays claims to territories that are ours. Our Communist comrades had never a word to say against the Chinese. Ask them why.

Do we need nuclear power? The answer is yes, we do desperately, and the sooner the better. We cannot afford to pay the exorbitant prices of oil, petrol or gas which we have to import to run our cars, buses, trains and aircraft. We cannot produce enough hydel or fossil-produced energy to cope with our ever-increasing demand for more power to run our factories and keep up the pace of development.

Comrade Prakash Karat is of the opinion that the government must first go to the people before signing the nuclear deal. I am not sure what he means by people: does he mean people who know what nuclear energy is and why it is needed, or just everybody who has a vote? If it is the former, then those who know about it have already spoken in its favour. They include the scientist — ex-President Abdul Kalam (Bharat Ratna), most nuclear scientists, many leading industrialists and Brajesh Misra, the most trusted political adviser of ex-Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP.

However, if he means the common man who understands nothing about it, he clearly means an earlier election, which he says he does not want. Whatever it be, he is in for a nasty surprise. Whenever the next general elections take place, it will be a significant diminution of votes for the Communists and gains for his sworn enemy, the Hindu-Sikh communal parties. And hopefully comrade Prakash Karat will fade into the background of the Indian political scene.


Mom sells newborn to pay bills

Hyderabad, PTI:
She delivered the baby by Caesarean section last week and Ishwar, an auto-driver, bought the baby for Rs 6,500 on Monday at the hospital, police said.

A young poverty-stricken single mother allegedly sold her newborn son for Rs 6,500 to a childless couple so that she could pay the medical bill in a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh but the two were reunited within 24 hours and two persons arrested.

“My financial position is really bad,” a distraught-looking Rajitha, 20, who could not afford the Rs 2,000 hospital fee, said from her bed at the government area hospital at Kothagudem in Khammam district.

She delivered the baby by Caesarean section last week and Ishwar, an auto-driver, bought the baby for Rs 6,500 on Monday at the hospital, police said.

Both Ishwar and Sunitha, who played a mediator in the ‘sale’ of the baby have been arrested, police said.
They also said they would take action against the hospital which also faces an inquiry whether its doctors took any money as bribe from the woman. The incident occurred in the parliamentary constituency of Union minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury.

“At least, she is safe and the child is neither dead and nor killed. I think they are the most important things that we need to look at,” the minister said.http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Feb252009/scroll20090225120592.asp?section=updatenews
======================================================================The Minster who was in the forefront of the Chaddy Campaign is showing extreme flippancy in her comment on the matter. One can only be happy that such a shallow person did not call for a Chaddy Campaign against the Auto driver that bought the baby.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Kerala LDF Goes Islamic


Left moots pension for Madrassa teachers to please Muslims

Daily Pioneer: Kozhikode: 22 Feb 2009

The CPI(M)-led LDF Government in Kerala are planning some quick pre-poll measures to regain the trust of the minorities, especially Muslims, which has been affected of late by moves like the one by the Law Reforms Commission which has suggested strict controls on polygamy.

Local Administration Minister Paloli Muhammad Kutty, who had headed a panel for studying the possibilities of implementing the Sachar Committee recommendations in Kerala, announced on Saturday that the Government wanted to implement a programme for providing a handsome pension to those who retired as full-time Madrassa teachers.

At a function organized here to announce the formation of a welfare fund for the Madrassa teachers, Paloli said the plan was to give a sum of at least Rs 4,000 a month as pension to those who had completed at least ten years' service as full-time Madrassa teachers.

He also said that the Government was also considering to institute 5,000 scholarships for students from the minority community. There was also a plan to provide Rs 1,000 towards hostel fee for minority students in the higher education sector. Centres would be started for imparting training to minority candidates for preparing for civil service examinations, he said.

The Paloli-headed committee appointed to study the ways to implement the Sachar Committee recommendations in Kerala had in February 2008 last suggested that all Muslim children below poverty line should be given all the educational concessions presently enjoyed by those in the scheduled tribes. The committee's report had said special scholarships of up to Rs 2,000 should be given to these children on the basis of an income ceiling.

The report had also asked for a hike in the grant for children living in orphanages (Yateem Khanas) from the present Rs 175 to Rs 250 per month and for increasing this by Rs 25 every year. The LDF Government, disregarding the serious concerns and criticisms raised by leading political parties and community organizations in the State, had on April 30 last decided to implement the report of the Paloli committee. Various organizations had complained that the CPI(M) effort to implement the report was part of its efforts to win the Muslim vote-bank even by jeopardizing the religious harmony in the State.

The report had recommended creation of a Muslim Development Corporation, establishment of an Arabic university and more government schools in Muslim majority areas, etc. The committee also recommended constitution of minority cells in the district level. It also suggested starting of more educational institutions in the Government or aided sector in places with higher density of Muslim population.

Paloli's new announcements have come just when several Muslim outfits, including Jama'at-e-Islami and the Sunni sect led by Kanthapuram AP Aboobacker Musliar, have indicated that they could not support the Left in the coming elections. Jama'at-e-Islami's Kerala Amir T Arifali had recently said that they might reconsider their association with the CPI(M)-led LDF.

To pay a monthly pension of Rs.4000/- each to about one lakh Madrassa teachers is an abuse of public funds.
These Madrassa teachers, unlike all other segments of pensioners in the country, are to be allowed pension after a mere 10 years of service. A large number of the pensioners would thus be in their 30s and would henceforth be free to spread Jihad on a government pension. The quantum of pension [Rs. 4000/-] is higher than what even most government employees would receive after 30 years of service. The annual burden to the exchequer would be around 500 crores. This in a State with a mere Rs 30000 crore Budget!
The Madrassa teachers are without any specified academic qualifications. Many of them are even illiterate. They are not appointed on the basis of any reasonable standards. There are no recognised or approved track trails of their service either. That many of them are responsible for all the communal tension in the State is known to all. They are merely teachers of Islam and not of benefit to the general society. In the absence of any such pension scheme to priests and religion teachers of other communities, the government move is extremely partisan. Before long, pension would be demanded by Christian priests and preachers also.
That Communists have always been responsible for much of the religious divide in Kerala, beginning with their creation of the Moslem Malappuram district, is beyond dispute. In West Bengal, they drive out Taslima Nasrins or imprison Statesman editors to appease Moslems. If the move is not opposed and force backed, a dangerous trend of communal appeasement and misuse of government funds to catch votes would be further impressed upon styles of administration in the State for times to come.

Government to fund maths and science in madrassas

New Delhi. January 22, 2008
The human resource development ministry will link madrassas with the National Institute of Open School and introduce mathematics, social sciences, Hindi, English and other regular subjects as part of the modernisation process of the religious schools.
There are demands to treat madrassa degrees at par with those of public schools.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

A Nun`s Autobiography: Sex And Lies In Convent

February 20, 2009
Sister Jesme, a nun in the Indian state of Kerali, wrote an autobiography called “Amen”, in which she openly wrote about sexual abuse behind the doors of convents. She and other nuns were abused by priests in the convent.

The autobiography had to wait until the nun withdrew from the convent in question, so that it could be published, however, even then, the Church severely criticised it. According to the media, the Church even offered money to the author so that the publication might be stopped. Furthermore, the Church tried to discredit the nun, calling her mentally ill.

- When a woman is molested, sexually harassed, will she speak out? Only one out of a thousand will speak out. So think of nuns! They will never speak out. They fear that their nun hood will be lost – sister Jesme, the author said.

The first edition disappeared from bookshelves in an instant. The second edition followed, which was also sold-out, and now the third edition hit the shelves.

- Thirty-three years cannot be penned down in 180 pages but there are points the I want to make about the capitation fee, the quarrels that happen within the church, about the homo-sexuality, the hetero-sexuality – sister Jesme.

However, the resistance was great and former colleagues at the convent disagree with Jesme. One of the sisters told Jesme she would sit in a corner and pray for all of her books to be burned so that not a single person reads a copy.

Indian nun claims sex is rife within Catholic Church
An Indian nun has stunned the Catholic Church with a confessional autobiography claiming widespread sexual abuse and bullying within its cloisters.
Bookshops throughout India's Christian communities in Kerala have already sold out of Amen, the autobiography of Sister Jesme, who has alleged that priests and nuns not only broke their vows of celibacy with each other but regularly forced novices to have sex with them.

The Catholic Church in India is mired in a series of sexual controversies, and has only just begun to recover from the dismissal of a senior bishop who "adopted" an attractive 26-year-old female companion as his "daughter".

The book by the former nun reveals how as a young novice she was propositioned in the confession box by a priest who cited biblical references to "divine kisses". Later she was cornered by a lesbian nun at a college where they were teaching. "She would come to my bed in the night and do lewd acts and I could not stop her," she claims.

When she was sent to Bangalore to stay with a priest known for his piety, he lectured her about the need for "physical love" and later assaulted her.

"Back in his room, he tried to fondle me and when I resisted, got up and asked angrily if I had seen a man. When I said no, he stripped himself, ejaculated and forced me to strip," she writes.

According to Sister Jesme, senior church officials twice tried to admit her into rehabilitation clinics and claimed she had mental problems after she complained about the scale of sexual abuse and the number of illicit affairs between nuns and priests.

Dr Paul Thelekkat, a spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Catholic church said he had some sympathy for sister Jesme, and respected her freedom to express her views, but he believed her claims were trivial. "How far what she says is well-founded I can't say, but the issues are not very serious. We're living with human beings in a community and she should realise this is part of human life," he told the Daily Telegraph.

Woman to Pay Maintenance to Estranged Husband

New Delhi | Jan 28, 2009
A working woman's bid to get maintenance from her estranged and ailing husband in a matrimonial case has boomeranged in a Delhi court which not only dismissed the plea but also asked her to bear his expenses.

"From the documents, it is clear that the petitioner is a lady of means and earns handsomely. So her application under section 24 (demanding maintenance from husband) of the Hindu Marriage Act is dismissed," Additional District Judge Umed Singh Grewal, in an unusual order, said.

On the contrary, the court allowed the plea of the estranged husband that, in fact, he was entitled for maintenance and as he was ill and unable to sustain himself.

"The wife is directed to pay Rs 500 per month as maintenance amount to the husband from the date of filing of application... She is also directed to pay Rs 3,500 to the man as litigation expense so that he may engage an advocate," the court said.

The order came on two cross-applications filed by the estranged spouses in a divorce petition seeking interim maintenance from each other.

The wife, a resident of Najafgarh here, had contended that she was a housewife and had no source of income to maintain their four school-going kids.

On the other hand, her husband was a man of means and used to earn Rs 15,000 per month by running a shop in weekly 'bazar' in the area, she said.

However, the court held that she failed to substantiate her claims. The man had countered the claims with documentary evidence and placed on record Income Tax returns of his wife and proved she was earning Rs 9,000 per month.

"It is clear from the tax return for the year 2006-2007 that the woman earns Rs 9,000 per month. The respondent (husband) has placed on record the photograph of 'Puja Kids Care' nursery school being run by the petitioner (woman). He has also placed on records her special Police Officer card," the court noted.

The man also proved that his wife and one of the children were using mobile phones, the court said.

The maintenance applications were filed by them in the petition filed by the woman for grant of decree of divorce to her on the ground of cruelties meted out to her.

Meanwhile, the court dismissed two applications seeking medical examination of the woman and DNA test of one of their kids to ascertain their parentage.

"The forum cannot be used to collect evidence in support of any party," it said.

Friday, 20 February 2009

The Pink Chaddi Campaign

The Pink Chaddi Campaign is the very heights of vulgarity. The Christian lady has, at the behest of some Christian group, managed to rub Indian womanhood in the mud for a long time to come. Would she dare to send her Chaddi to any Moslem cleric? She would piss in her pants, if she dares to. Beginning with Menses Pad advertisements on TV, the market forces have finally succeeded in totally vulgarising our women.

Why we said pants to India's bigots
Nisha Susan
The Observer, Sunday 15 February 2009
A week ago, when my friends and I formed a Facebook group, the Consortium of Pub-going, Loose and Forward Women, it was a delayed reaction. Earlier in the month, the Sri Ram Sena, a Hindu, right-wing group based in Karnataka state, attacked some young women in a pub in Mangalore. The men were proud of defending Indian culture from cocktail-drinking floozies.

The attack had been caught by a news crew, discussed, dissected, and was ready to be forgotten. It was considered natural that the attackers got out on bail and the girls were afraid to press charges. It was the aftermath which caught our attention.

The SRS was stepping up its efforts. Its leader Pramod Muthalik announced that his group would ensure that no couples were seen together in Karnataka on Valentine's Day. Any couple who defied them would be married off immediately. One would imagine this would have been the cue for the arrival of the men in white coats. But no. All the spectators understood that SRS, a new and unwelcome franchise of India's favourite corporation, the moral police, was announcing a play for greater power. Karnataka's government watched to see what would happen next. Could Muthalik pull off what he boasted?

Our first step was the Pink Chaddi campaign. Chaddi is a childish word for underwear and slang for right-wing hardliner. We invited people who disagreed with Muthalik's plans to send him pink chaddis. Indian women are aware of our tenuous grip on our rights. We worry that our next move will condemn us: running, sitting in a park, hugging a man, whistling, consensual sex, writing, buying a condom, asking for a share in property, getting a demanding job, leaving a husband.

It could be any of these. The rules keep changing. Anger is never permitted because friends, on any point of the political spectrum, will say that you are lucky: what about the woman who walks 15 kilometres for water? So it amused us to embrace the worst slurs, to send pretty packages of intimate garments to men who say they hate us. One day, the campaign had 500 members; a week later, it had 30,000. A 75-year-old woman from Delhi sent us panties. A Bollywood lyricist wrote a poem in honour of the rose-coloured chaddi. Amul, India's best-known brand of butter, put up a billboard featuring a pink chaddi. More than 2,000 chaddis arrived at the SRS office.

The SRS accused us of being from bad families. They still imagined that we were all party girls. Yet for many of those who signed up, neither Valentine's Day nor pub-going meant anything. What we agreed on is the need to end violence in the name of somebody's idea of Indian culture. Later, a better-informed SRS hoping to shame us into modesty said that it would send us pink saris. We announced that we would wear them with pride because for 15 minutes in Muthalik's life we had freed his rhetoric from violence. Supporters across the world fell about laughing.

Three days ago, Muthalik retracted his threat of Valentine's Day violence. On Friday, he and his supporters were placed in preventive custody by an embarrassed Karnataka government. It is difficult to cheer. This is not the jail sentence and obscurity we wish for him. Last week, a Hindu girl in Mangalore, who had been harassed by right-wingers for talking to a Muslim boy, committed suicide. Even the supportive media flinch when we talk about such things. Whatever happened to the cute story of Indian girls sending pink panties to save Valentine's Day from the clutches of evil?
In the Blog called 'Overdrive' of Usha Pisharody, I said:
R.Sajan said...
Please read the recently published 'Amen- Autobiography of a Nun' by Sr.Jesme of Kerala. Please read the Reports about St.Abhaya, Sr. Anupa Mary etc. These women were victimised not for drinking in public; but for becoming nuns to lead pure and secure lives. Their abuses are more serious than men and women getting involved in bawls in pubs.

Do you ladies not feel for them? Please get Nisha Susan, herself a Catholic, to lead you in sending Chaddis to the Pope and Kerala Bishops. Rush to the couriers right now.
February 21, 2009 7:49 PM
Usha Pisharody said...
@R.Sajan, Most certainly, all such abuses are serious and each deserves action and total condemnation. No woman, not even a prostitute deserves to be attacked or assaulted or raped.

The voices that were raised, as i read it, and still do, is against any sort of violence against women, and here, it took that highly visible and traumatic incident, and subsequently unrepentant justification by the perpetrators to make it such a juggernaut of a movement.

As I am sure, you too have been following, the Church, in its highest authority's directive has at least made the first move, albeit thousands of years late, to speak of how wrong they were, and have been with respect to denial of several scientific discoveries, and of late the horrific stories of pedophile that have emerged. I am sure that when such cases come into the public view there are, and will be many to come forward and ensure that the oppressed find voice, and that the oppressors are taken to task.

And why any of us, i am sure that this suggestion of yours can be directly put on the blog that Nisha Susan has started! Actually, it would be more meaningful too if you could perhaps please start an appropriate campaign. We will support you. For we don't jut speak up for what you seem to understand only as as "brawls" [which incidentally anyone having followed that incident in Mangalore would know wasn't- it was an outright act of violence by the SRS against young girls!]- that campaign was for the way violence was perpetrated, and a most non violent one too!
February 22, 2009 10:15 AM
My following Post in reply to the above, they did not publish.
Men that go to bars face brawls often. Women cannot say that they alone must not have brawls.
In toddy shops in Kerala, women drinkers often have fights. Cases of drunken women creating problems in public transport buses etc are often reported. Recent media reports said that Vinaya, a controversial woman police Constable was being proceeded against for a drunken brawl in a Send-off party. I am told that bar brawls of women often happen in Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi. Many women get drunk and beat up their wimp husbands in the higher society there.
In Mangalore, sufficient publicity was pre-arranged. The objectives were thus evident. There was no sexual assault. Nobody knew of any Ram Sena till then. Look how internationally publicised they are now.
The pink panties campaign further evidenced the hidden hands of 'market' forces. The involvement of Congress politicians from Delhi cannot be ruled out. After all, we still remember how a woman candidate canvassed votes in the nude in an Italian parliament election. Indian women having progressed from demureness to panties-waving, we might also be blessed with such appealing postures from the likes of Renuka Chowdhary etc at the elections in April. As a dirty male, I look forward to it, though not to the Himalayan Renukaji. I understand that Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy, Ajitha etc were also felt out to send their panties. We don't know why they did not come up brandishing them.
Anyway, as with Moslem clerics, the fighting spirits of underwear feminism seem to be afraid of Christian priests also. Otherwise, Vatican should by now have been reeling under tonnes of Indian panties. If so faced, the Church might only ship them back to India to be used by the nuns and the Christian orphanage inmates from whom the priests would fondly remove them from time to time.
As for my leading your Campaign, I regret inability because I am too uncultured and backward that I touch even my wife’s panties when need arises, only with her permission. I cannot think of other women’s panties being removed at my instance, even if they be sex workers.
Feb 22

NCW member sacked over pub assault comment
28 Feb 2009
NEW DELHI: Nearly a month after her controversial comments on the Mangalore pub attack, women and child development (WCD) ministry on Friday sacked
National Commission for Women (NCW) member Nirmala Venkatesh.

Venkatesh was part of the two-member inquiry committee sent to investigate the shocking case where hapless women were beaten up by Sri Ram Sene men at a pub `Amnesia'. Instead of submitting the report to the commission, Venkatesh had made public certain comments related to the victims' clothes and the pub licence, much to the embarrassment of the WCD ministry and ire of several women's groups.

In a notification issued on Friday, the ministry accused the former member of the Karnataka legislative council of dereliction of duty. "She has been removed from office with immediate effect," a senior ministry official said. The notice quotes section 4(3)f of the NCW Act that states that the Centre can remove the chairperson or member if they have abused their position and their continuance is "detrimental to public interest".

In its notification, the ministry took serious objection to Venkatesh's public comments without submitting an interim report to the commission, despite repeated reminders. It said she had challenged the authority of WCD minister Renuka Choudhary.

Following uproar over her visit, the ministry had resorted to quick damage control and had ordered another inquiry into the Mangalore incident. The second inquiry under ministry joint secretary Kiran Chadha found that the victims had been harassed and were fearing for their lives.

Meanwhile, NCW found several lacuna in the report submitted by Venkatesh including the fact that she had not met any of the victims and had exceeded the terms of reference by commenting on the pub's licence issues.

NCW chairperson Girija Vyas rejected the report, describing it as inadequate and the member's "individual opinion" rather than that reflective of the entire commission.

Acting on Vyas's report, the ministry issued a showcause notice to Venkatesh seeking an explanation on her conduct.

"Venkatesh's reply was not satisfactory and she was found to be acting unbecoming of the high office of an NCW member," a source said. The NCW member had, however, remained adamant in her stand saying she had gone by the book and had nothing to hide.

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Johann Hari: Why should I respect these oppressive religions?


Whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents say they're victims of 'prejudice'
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
The right to criticise religion is being slowly doused in acid. Across the world, the small, incremental gains made by secularism – giving us the space to doubt and question and make up our own minds – are being beaten back by belligerent demands that we "respect" religion. A historic marker has just been passed, showing how far we have been shoved. The UN rapporteur who is supposed to be the global guardian of free speech has had his job rewritten – to put him on the side of the religious censors.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind – and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth. Today, the Chinese dictatorship calls it "Western", Robert Mugabe calls it "colonialist", and Dick Cheney calls it "outdated". The countries of the world have chronically failed to meet it – but the document has been held up by the United Nations as the ultimate standard against which to check ourselves. Until now.

Starting in 1999, a coalition of Islamist tyrants, led by Saudi Arabia, demanded the rules be rewritten. The demand for everyone to be able to think and speak freely failed to "respect" the "unique sensitivities" of the religious, they decided – so they issued an alternative Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. It insisted that you can only speak within "the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community".

In other words, you can say anything you like, as long as it precisely what the reactionary mullahs tell you to say. The declaration makes it clear there is no equality for women, gays, non-Muslims, or apostates. It has been backed by the Vatican and a bevy of Christian fundamentalists.
Incredibly, they are succeeding. The UN's Rapporteur on Human Rights has always been tasked with exposing and shaming those who prevent free speech – including the religious. But the Pakistani delegate recently demanded that his job description be changed so he can seek out and condemn "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets". The council agreed – so the job has been turned on its head. Instead of condemning the people who wanted to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself.

Anything which can be deemed "religious" is no longer allowed to be a subject of discussion at the UN – and almost everything is deemed religious. Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage. The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" – and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.

Here is a random smattering of events that have taken place in the past week in countries that demanded this change. In Nigeria, divorced women are routinely thrown out of their homes and left destitute, unable to see their children, so a large group of them wanted to stage a protest – but the Shariah police declared it was "un-Islamic" and the marchers would be beaten and whipped. In Saudi Arabia, the country's most senior government-approved cleric said it was perfectly acceptable for old men to marry 10-year-old girls, and those who disagree should be silenced. In Egypt, a 27-year-old Muslim blogger Abdel Rahman was seized, jailed and tortured for arguing for a reformed Islam that does not enforce shariah.
To the people who demand respect for Muslim culture, I ask: which Muslim culture? Those women's, those children's, this blogger's – or their oppressors'?

As the secular campaigner Austin Darcy puts it: "The ultimate aim of this effort is not to protect the feelings of Muslims, but to protect illiberal Islamic states from charges of human rights abuse, and to silence the voices of internal dissidents calling for more secular government and freedom."

Those of us who passionately support the UN should be the most outraged by this.

Underpinning these "reforms" is a notion seeping even into democratic societies – that atheism and doubt are akin to racism. Today, whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents immediately claim they are the victims of "prejudice" – and their outrage is increasingly being backed by laws.

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don't respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don't respect the idea that we should follow a "Prophet" who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him.

I don't respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don't respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of "prejudice" or "ignorance", but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand "respect", you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.
Johann Hari: Why should I respect these oppressive religions?
Whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents say they're victims of 'prejudice'

The right to criticise religion is being slowly doused in acid. Across the world, the small, incremental gains made by secularism – giving us the space to doubt and question and make up our own minds – are being beaten back by belligerent demands that we "respect" religion. A historic marker has just been passed, showing how far we have been shoved. The UN rapporteur who is supposed to be the global guardian of free speech has had his job rewritten – to put him on the side of the religious censors.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights stated 60 years ago that "a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief is the highest aspiration of the common people". It was a Magna Carta for mankind – and loathed by every human rights abuser on earth. Today, the Chinese dictatorship calls it "Western", Robert Mugabe calls it "colonialist", and Dick Cheney calls it "outdated". The countries of the world have chronically failed to meet it – but the document has been held up by the United Nations as the ultimate standard against which to check ourselves. Until now.

Starting in 1999, a coalition of Islamist tyrants, led by Saudi Arabia, demanded the rules be rewritten. The demand for everyone to be able to think and speak freely failed to "respect" the "unique sensitivities" of the religious, they decided – so they issued an alternative Islamic Declaration of Human Rights. It insisted that you can only speak within "the limits set by the shariah [law]. It is not permitted to spread falsehood or disseminate that which involves encouraging abomination or forsaking the Islamic community".

In other words, you can say anything you like, as long as it precisely what the reactionary mullahs tell you to say. The declaration makes it clear there is no equality for women, gays, non-Muslims, or apostates. It has been backed by the Vatican and a bevy of Christian fundamentalists.

Incredibly, they are succeeding. The UN's Rapporteur on Human Rights has always been tasked with exposing and shaming those who prevent free speech – including the religious. But the Pakistani delegate recently demanded that his job description be changed so he can seek out and condemn "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets". The council agreed – so the job has been turned on its head. Instead of condemning the people who wanted to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself.

Anything which can be deemed "religious" is no longer allowed to be a subject of discussion at the UN – and almost everything is deemed religious. Roy Brown of the International Humanist and Ethical Union has tried to raise topics like the stoning of women accused of adultery or child marriage. The Egyptian delegate stood up to announce discussion of shariah "will not happen" and "Islam will not be crucified in this council" – and Brown was ordered to be silent. Of course, the first victims of locking down free speech about Islam with the imprimatur of the UN are ordinary Muslims.

Here is a random smattering of events that have taken place in the past week in countries that demanded this change. In Nigeria, divorced women are routinely thrown out of their homes and left destitute, unable to see their children, so a large group of them wanted to stage a protest – but the Shariah police declared it was "un-Islamic" and the marchers would be beaten and whipped. In Saudi Arabia, the country's most senior government-approved cleric said it was perfectly acceptable for old men to marry 10-year-old girls, and those who disagree should be silenced. In Egypt, a 27-year-old Muslim blogger Abdel Rahman was seized, jailed and tortured for arguing for a reformed Islam that does not enforce shariah.

To the people who demand respect for Muslim culture, I ask: which Muslim culture? Those women's, those children's, this blogger's – or their oppressors'?

As the secular campaigner Austin Darcy puts it: "The ultimate aim of this effort is not to protect the feelings of Muslims, but to protect illiberal Islamic states from charges of human rights abuse, and to silence the voices of internal dissidents calling for more secular government and freedom."

Those of us who passionately support the UN should be the most outraged by this.

Underpinning these "reforms" is a notion seeping even into democratic societies – that atheism and doubt are akin to racism. Today, whenever a religious belief is criticised, its adherents immediately claim they are the victims of "prejudice" – and their outrage is increasingly being backed by laws.

All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don't respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don't respect the idea that we should follow a "Prophet" who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him.

I don't respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don't respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of "prejudice" or "ignorance", but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.

When you demand "respect", you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.

But why are religious sensitivities so much more likely to provoke demands for censorship than, say, political sensitivities? The answer lies in the nature of faith. If my views are challenged I can, in the end, check them against reality. If you deregulate markets, will they collapse? If you increase carbon dioxide emissions, does the climate become destabilised? If my views are wrong, I can correct them; if they are right, I am soothed.

But when the religious are challenged, there is no evidence for them to consult. By definition, if you have faith, you are choosing to believe in the absence of evidence. Nobody has "faith" that fire hurts, or Australia exists; they know it, based on proof. But it is psychologically painful to be confronted with the fact that your core beliefs are based on thin air, or on the empty shells of revelation or contorted parodies of reason. It's easier to demand the source of the pesky doubt be silenced.

But a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.

Yet this idea – at the heart of the Universal Declaration – is being lost. To the right, it thwacks into apologists for religious censorship; to the left, it dissolves in multiculturalism. The hijacking of the UN Special Rapporteur by religious fanatics should jolt us into rescuing the simple, battered idea disintegrating in the middle: the equal, indivisible human right to speak freely.

An excellent blog that keeps you up to dates on secularist issues is Butterflies and Wheels, which you can read here.

If you want to get involved in fighting for secularism, join the National Secular Society here.

February 13, 2009
Johann Hari: Despite these riots, I stand by what I wrote
The answer to the problems of free speech is always more free speech

Last week, I wrote an article defending free speech for everyone – and in response there have been riots, death threats, and the arrest of an editor who published the article.

Here's how it happened. My column reported on a startling development at the United Nations. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights has always had the job of investigating governments who forcibly take the fundamental human right to free speech from their citizens with violence. But in the past year, a coalition of religious fundamentalist states has successfully fought to change her job description. Now, she has to report on "abuses of free expression" including "defamation of religions and prophets." Instead of defending free speech, she must now oppose it.

I argued this was a symbol of how religious fundamentalists – of all stripes – have been progressively stripping away the right to freely discuss their faiths. They claim religious ideas are unique and cannot be discussed freely; instead, they must be "respected" – by which they mean unchallenged. So now, whenever anyone on the UN Human Rights Council tries to discuss the stoning of "adulterous" women, the hanging of gay people, or the marrying off of ten year old girls to grandfathers, they are silenced by the chair on the grounds these are "religious" issues, and it is "offensive" to talk about them.

This trend is not confined to the UN. It has spread deep into democratic countries. Whenever I have reported on immoral acts by religious fanatics – Catholic, Jewish, Hindu or Muslim – I am accused of "prejudice", and I am not alone. But my only "prejudice" is in favour of individuals being able to choose to live their lives, their way, without intimidation. That means choosing religion, or rejecting it, as they wish, after hearing an honest, open argument.

A religious idea is just an idea somebody had a long time ago, and claimed to have received from God. It does not have a different status to other ideas; it is not surrounded by an electric fence none of us can pass.

That's why I wrote: "All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don't respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don't respect the idea that we should follow a "Prophet" who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him. I don't respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don't respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. When you demand "respect", you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade."

An Indian newspaper called The Statesman – one of the oldest and most venerable dailies in the country – thought this accorded with the rich Indian tradition of secularism, and reprinted the article. That night, four thousand Islamic fundamentalists began to riot outside their offices, calling for me, the editor, and the publisher to be arrested – or worse. They brought Central Calcutta to a standstill. A typical supporter of the riots, Abdus Subhan, said he was "prepared to lay down his life, if necessary, to protect the honour of the Prophet" and I should be sent "to hell if he chooses not to respect any religion or religious symbol? He has no liberty to vilify or blaspheme any religion or its icons on grounds of freedom of speech."

Then, two days ago, the editor and publisher were indeed arrested. They have been charged – in the world's largest democracy, with a constitution supposedly guaranteeing a right to free speech – with "deliberately acting with malicious intent to outrage religious feelings". I am told I too will be arrested if I go to Calcutta.

What should an honest defender of free speech say in this position? Every word I wrote was true. I believe the right to openly discuss religion, and follow the facts wherever they lead us, is one of the most precious on earth – especially in a democracy of a billion people riven with streaks of fanaticism from a minority of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. So I cannot and will not apologize.

I did not write a sectarian attack on any particular religion of the kind that could lead to a rerun of India's hellish anti-Muslim or anti-Sikh pogroms, but rather a principled critique of all religions who try to forcibly silence their critics. The right to free speech I am defending protects Muslims as much as everyone else. I passionately support their right to say anything they want – as long as I too have the right to respond.

It's worth going through the arguments put forward by the rioting fundamentalists, because they will keep recurring in the twenty-first century as secularism is assaulted again and again. They said I had upset "the harmony" of India, and it could only be restored by my arrest. But this is a lop-sided vision of "harmony". It would mean that religious fundamentalists are free to say whatever they want – and the rest of us have to shut up and agree.

The protestors said I deliberately set out to "offend" them, and I am supposed to say that, no, no offence was intended. But the honest truth is more complicated. Offending fundamentalists isn't my goal – but if it is an inevitable side-effect of defending human rights, so be it. If fanatics who believe Muslim women should be imprisoned in their homes and gay people should be killed are insulted by my arguments, I don't resile from it. Nothing worth saying is inoffensive to everyone.

You do not have a right to be ring-fenced from offence. Every day, I am offended – not least by ancient religious texts filled with hate-speech. But I am glad, because I know that the price of taking offence is that I can give it too, if that is where the facts lead me. But again, the protestors propose a lop-sided world. They do not propose to stop voicing their own heinously offensive views about women's rights or homosexuality, but we have to shut up and take it – or we are the ones being "insulting".

It's also worth going through the arguments of the Western defenders of these protestors, because they too aren't going away. Already I have had e-mails and bloggers saying I was "asking for it" by writing a "needlessly provocative" article. When there is a disagreement and one side uses violence, it is a reassuring rhetorical stance to claim both sides are in the wrong, and you take a happy position somewhere in the middle. But is this true? I wrote an article defending human rights, and stating simple facts. Fanatics want to arrest or kill me for it. Is there equivalence here?

The argument that I was "asking for it" seems a little like saying a woman wearing a short skirt is "asking" to be raped. Or, as Salman Rushdie wrote when he received far, far worse threats simply for writing a novel (and a masterpiece at that): "When Osip Mandelstam wrote his poem against Stalin, did he ‘know what he was doing' and so deserve his death? When the students filled Tiananmen Square to ask for freedom, were they not also, and knowingly, asking for the murderous repression that resulted? When Terry Waite was taken hostage, hadn't he been ‘asking for it'?" When fanatics threaten violence against people who simply use words, you should not blame the victim.

These events are also a reminder of why it is so important to try to let the oxygen of rationality into religious debates – and introduce doubt. Voltaire – one of the great anti-clericalists – said: "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." If you can be made to believe the absurd notion that an invisible deity dictated The Eternal Unchanging Truth to a specific person at a specific time in history and anyone who questions this is Evil, then you can easily be made to demand the death of journalists and free women and homosexuals who question that Truth. But if they have a moment of doubt – if there is a single nagging question at the back of their minds – then they are more likely to hesitate. That's why these ideas must be challenged at their core, using words and reason.

But the fundamentalists are determined not to allow those rational ideas to be heard – because at some level they know they will persuade for many people, especially children and teenagers in the slow process of being indoctrinated.

If, after all the discussion and all the facts about how contradictory and periodically vile their ‘holy' texts are, religious people still choose fanatical faith, I passionately defend their right to articulate it. Free speech is for the stupid and the wicked and the wrong – whether it is fanatics or the racist Geert Wilders – just as much as for the rational and the right. All I say is that they do not have the right to force it on other people or silence the other side. In this respect, Wilders resembles the Islamists he professes to despise: he wants to ban the Koran. Fine. Let him make his argument. He discredits himself by speaking such ugly nonsense.

The solution to the problems of free speech – that sometimes people will say terrible things – is always and irreducibly more free speech. If you don't like what a person says, argue back. Make a better case. Persuade people. The best way to discredit a bad argument is to let people hear it. I recently interviewed the pseudo-historian David Irving, and simply quoting his crazy arguments did far more harm to him than any Austrian jail sentence for Holocaust Denial.

Please do not imagine that if you defend these rioters, you are defending ordinary Muslims. If we allow fanatics to silence all questioning voices, the primary victims today will be Muslim women, Muslim gay people, and the many good and honourable Muslim men who support them. Imagine what Britain would look like now if everybody who offered dissenting thoughts about Christianity in the seventeenth century and since was intimidated into silence by the mobs and tyrants who wanted to preserve the most literalist and fanatical readings of the Bible. Imagine how women and gay people would live.

You can see this if you compare my experience to that of journalists living under religious-Islamist regimes. Because generations of British people sought to create a secular space, when I went to the police, they offered total protection. When they go to the police, they are handed over to the fanatics – or charged for their "crimes." They are people like Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the young Afghan journalism student who was sentenced to death for downloading a report on women's rights. They are people like the staff of Zanan, one of Iran's leading reform-minded women's magazines, who have been told they will be jailed if they carry on publishing. They are people like the 27-year old Muslim blogger Abdel Rahman who has been seized, jailed and tortured in Egypt for arguing for a reformed Islam that does not enforce shariah law.

It would be a betrayal of them – and the tens of thousands of journalists like them – to apologize for what I wrote. Yes, if we speak out now, there will be turbulence and threats, and some people may get hurt. But if we fall silent – if we leave the basic human values of free speech, feminism and gay rights undefended in the face of violent religious mobs – then many, many more people will be hurt in the long term. Today, we have to use our right to criticise religion – or lose it.

Postscript: If you are appalled by the erosion of secularism across the world and want to do something about it, there are a number of organizations you can join, volunteer for or donate to.

Some good places to start are the National Secular Society [http://www.secularism.org.uk/join.html], the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason [http://richarddawkinsfoundation.org/foundation,donations], or – if you want the money to go specifically to work in India – the International Humanist and Ethical Union [http://www.iheu.org/donate]. (Mark your donation as for their India branch.)

Even donating a few hours or a few pounds can really make a difference to defending people subject to religious oppression – by providing them with legal help, education materials, and lobbying for changes in the law.

An essential source of news for secularists is the terrific website Butterflies and Wheels. [http://www.butterfliesandwheels.com/notes.php]
February 12, 2009
Editor arrested for 'outraging Muslims'
By Jerome Taylor
Protests against Indian newspaper over article reprinted from Independent

The editor and publisher of a major Indian newspaper have been arrested for "hurting the religious feelings" of Muslims after they reprinted an article from The Independent. Ravindra Kumar and Anand Sinha, the editor and publisher of the Kolkata-based English daily The Statesman, appeared in court yesterday charged under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code which forbids "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings".

Sections of central Kolkata have been paralysed by protests for much of the past week after The Statesman republished an article by The Independent's columnist Johann Hari. Titled "Why should I respect oppressive religions?", the piece was originally printed in The Independent on 28 January. In it, Hari said he believed the right to criticise any religion was being eroded around the world.

The Statesman, a highly respected liberal English-language daily, reprinted the article on 5 February, causing a major backlash among a small group of Muslims who felt that the piece slighted the Prophet Mohamed and insulted their religion. Peaceful protests were held outside The Statesman's offices at the weekend but by Monday, demonstrations had turned violent. Angry crowds began blocking roads, attacking police and calling for the arrest of the article's author and the newspaper's publisher and editor. On Monday and Tuesday police used baton charges to try to disperse crowds and more than 70 protesters were arrested.

Staff at The Statesman were forced to barricade the front entrance to their building and were escorted into their offices through a side door by police. The office is opposite the Tipu Sultan Masjid, Kolkata's largest mosque.

One journalist at The Statesman said: "The police have surrounded our building all this week but the protesters kept coming back. There was a small section who were absolutely hellbent on causing problems."

Last night, Hari defended his article. "I wrote in defence of the right to criticise religion – all religion – and it is vitally important to keep that right alive in the world's largest, and in many ways most admirable, democracy," he said. On two separate occasions Mr Kumar, The Statesman's editor, issued statements standing by his decision to publish the article. But he also said he had not meant to cause offence to any religion. A note published on 8 February said The Statesman had reprinted Hari's article because "it mourned the marginalisation of the middle, liberal path in modern society". It added: "The Statesman has always upheld secular values and has a record of providing space to all viewpoints, even contentious ones. If we were unable to fulfil this role, we would rather cease publication with honour than compromise our basic values.

"The publication of Johann Hari's opinion was not intended to cause hurt, or defame any community or religion. Nor was it intended to provoke societal tension. If unwittingly we have aggrieved any section of society, we deeply regret it."

As well as the protests, a complaint was also filed at a police station by a member of the public, Mohd Shahid, calling for arrests. Speaking to The Independent last night, Mr Kumar said he voluntarily attended the police station yesterday to try to calm tensions. "Upon learning that a case had been registered by Kolkata police, I contacted officers and offered to assist the investigation and to aid efforts to defuse tensions," he said. "Following this, the arrests were made early today and we were released on bail last night."

Since Mr Kumar's arrest yesterday protesters have dispersed.


Sunday, 15 February 2009

Report: India court 466 years behind schedule

Report: India court 466 years behind schedule
Judges spend about 5 minutes on cases, but thousands still pending
The Associated Press. Feb. 12, 2009
NEW DELHI - The High Court in New Delhi is so behind in its work that it could take up to 466 years to clear the enormous backlog, the court's chief justice said in a damning report that illustrates the decrepitude of India's judicial system.

The Delhi High Court races through each case in an average of four minutes and 55 seconds but still has tens of thousands of cases pending, including upward of 600 that are more than 20 years old, according to the report.

The problems of the Delhi High Court, which hears civil, criminal, and constitutional cases, is more the standard than the exception in India. The country's creaky judicial system has long been plagued by corruption, inefficiency and lack of accountability, often making the rule of law unattainable for all but the wealthy and the well-connected.

The United Nations Development Program says some 20 million legal cases are pending in India.

"It's a completely collapsed system," said Prashant Bhushan, a well-known lawyer in New Delhi. "This country only lives under the illusion that there is a judicial system."

One reason for the delays is that there aren't enough sitting judges. India — a country of 1.1 billion people — has approximately 11 judges for every million people compared with roughly 110 per million in the United States. India's Justice Ministry last year called for an increase of 50 judges per million people by 2013, but it was unclear how the government would pay for such a massive overhaul.

The Delhi High Court, the state's top court, had 32 judges in 2007 and 2008 instead of the allotted 48, according to the chief justice's annual report, released Tuesday.

The court had at least 629 civil cases and 17 criminal cases pending that were more than 20 years old as of March 2008. Although, that's an improvement from April 2007 when the court had 882 civil and 428 criminal cases pending that were that old.

Chief Justice A.P. Shah said in the report that "it would take the court approximately 466 years" to clear the pending 2,300 criminal appeals cases alone.

Critics say another major problem is corruption, a plague throughout every layer of Indian government.

'Corruption is commonplace'
"Of course corruption is there," said J.S. Verma, a retired Supreme Court justice. "The people who man the courts and the court system come from the society" where corruption is commonplace.

Last year, the Delhi High Court convicted two senior lawyers for trying to influence a key witness to change his testimony in a high-profile case involving a hit-and-run that left six people dead. The lawyers, who were busted in a sting by a television news channel, received what some called a light punishment: They were barred from appearing in court for four months and fined 2,000 rupees ($50).

The corruption in the case was only notable because one of the lawyers had defended important political figures, said Bhushan

"There are plenty of lawyers who are engaged in this business of bribing judges," he said. "It's a lucrative business."

The hit-and-run case was another example of the long lag between crime and conviction: the accident occurred in 1999, but the driver was not found guilty until 2008.

Critics say other problems include the strict formalities that slow down every step of the legal process and are common across India's vast bureaucracy.

Bhushan says the Herculean task of simply registering a case wastes time and denies ordinary citizens access to the court.

"All kinds of objections are raised — the copies are dim, the margins are not wide enough, it's single-spaced instead of being double-spaced," he said. "For a layperson, it's impossible."

Verma, the retired Supreme Court judge, said extending working hours would be a major step toward clearing the backlog.

The Delhi High Court hears cases for five hours and 15 minutes a day, and is open for 213 working days a year, according to the report. Verma and others said the court could easily work longer hours.

"A commitment and proper work culture can solve at least half the problems, if not more," Verma said. "I don't think you would have to wait four centuries to have a case decided."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29164027/

Would they dare to send panties to Moslem clerics? No!!

New Indian Express. Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sene men count pink 'gifts'
BANGALORE: With Sri Ram Sene leaders in jail and thousands of police personnel on the streets to thwart disruption of Valentine's Day celebrations in Karnataka, activists of the rightwing Hindu group were Saturday left rummaging through cartons of pink underwear that they were sent by a women's group.

"Four or five parcels have already arrived with around 500 underpants," a Sene activist said, holding up one of the cheeky 'gifts' sent to their leader Pramod Muthalik from "pub loving, loose, forward women" - a group formed on a social networking site.

The cartons of pink underwear began arriving Friday at the Sri Rama Sene office in the town of Hubli in response to the Hindu group's threat to disrupt Valentine's Day celebrations in the state.

The messages on the underpants varied - from the simple "Be my Valentine" to "Wear this and rot in hell".

With around 20,000 women and men signing up for the "Send Pink Chaddi (underwear) to Sri Rama Sene" campaign, a few thousand underpants are expected to reach the Sene headquarters.

Muthalik was Friday taken into preventive custody in Gulbarga town as he had threatened to marry off men and women publicly displaying their love on Valentine's Day.

Though he had given up the plan, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the state did not want to take any chance and had him and other leaders, like Sene's state vice convenor Prasad Attavar, put behind bars till Feb 16.

Attavar was detained late Friday in Mangalore town, where Sene men had bashed up young women in a pub on Jan 24. A few days later, a Kerala legislator's daughter was abducted, allegedly by Sene men, for talking a Muslim friend and safely released after an hour.

Police have taken over 400 others, mostly in capital Bangalore, into preventive custody to ensure peace Saturday.

Nearly 18,000 police personnel, mostly in plain clothes, were out on streets of Bangalore since morning, keeping an eye on popular youth hangouts like pubs, malls, shopping complexes and hotels.

All these places have also stepped up vigil, deploying additional security men to ward off trouble.
Would they dare to send panties to Moslem clerics that do not allow their women even to pray in mosques? They would first piss in their pants! As usual, Hindus are easier intimidated. And the cheerleaders of globalism and secularism know it.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Women in Manu Smriti


Manu Smriti : Chapter 5

146. Thus the rules of personal purification for men of all castes, and those for cleaning (inanimate) things, have been fully declared to you: hear now the duties of women.
147. By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house.
148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.
149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband's) families contemptible.
150. She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure.
151. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father's permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory).
152. For the sake of procuring good fortune to (brides), the recitation of benedictory texts (svastyayana), and the sacrifice to the Lord of creatures (Pragapati) are used at weddings; (but) the betrothal (by the father or guardian) is the cause of (the husband's) dominion (over his wife).
153. The husband who wedded her with sacred texts, always gives happiness to his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world and in the next.
154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.
155. No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven.
156. A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead.
157. At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died.
158. Until death let her be patient (of hardships), self-controlled, and chaste, and strive (to fulfil) that most excellent duty which (is prescribed) for wives who have one husband only.
159. Many thousands of Brahmanas who were chaste from their youth, have gone to heaven without continuing their race.
160. A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men.
161. But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband, brings on herself disgrace in this world, and loses her place with her husband (in heaven).
162. Offspring begotten by another man is here not (considered lawful), nor (does offspring begotten) on another man's wife (belong to the begetter), nor is a second husband anywhere prescribed for virtuous women.
163. She who cohabits with a man of higher caste, forsaking her own husband who belongs to a lower one, will become contemptible in this world, and is called a remarried woman (parapurva).
164. By violating her duty towards her husband, a wife is disgraced in this world, (after death) she enters the womb of a jackal, and is tormented by diseases (the punishment of) her sin.
165. She who, controlling her thoughts, words, and deeds, never slights her lord, resides (after death) with her husband (in heaven), and is called a virtuous (wife).
166. In reward of such conduct, a female who controls her thoughts, speech, and actions, gains in this (life) highest renown, and in the next (world) a place near her husband.
167. A twice-born man, versed in the sacred law, shall burn a wife of equal caste who conducts herself thus and dies before him, with (the sacred fires used for) the Agnihotra, and with the sacrificial implements.
168. Having thus, at the funeral, given the sacred fires to his wife who dies before him, he may marry again, and again kindle (the fires).
169. (Living) according to the (preceding) rules, he must never neglect the five (great) sacrifices, and, having taken a wife, he must dwell in (his own) house during the second period of his life.

Manu Smriti - Laws of Manu
Chapter 9 :
1. I will now propound the eternal laws for a husband and his wife who keep to the path of duty, whether they be united or separated.
2. Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one's control.
3. Her father protects (her) in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in old age; a woman is never fit for independence.
4. Reprehensible is the father who gives not (his daughter in marriage) at the proper time; reprehensible is the husband who approaches not (his wife in due season), and reprehensible is the son who does not protect his mother after her husband has died.
5. Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families.
6. Considering that the highest duty of all castes, even weak husbands (must) strive to guard their wives.
7. He who carefully guards his wife, preserves (the purity of) his offspring, virtuous conduct, his family, himself, and his (means of acquiring) merit.
8. The husband, after conception by his wife, becomes an embryo and is born again of her; for that is the wifehood of a wife (gaya), that he is born (gayate) again by her.
9. As the male is to whom a wife cleaves, even so is the son whom she brings forth; let him therefore carefully guard his wife, in order to keep his offspring pure.
10. No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the employment of the (following) expedients:
11. Let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfilment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils.
12. Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded.
13. Drinking (spirituous liquor), associating with wicked people, separation from the husband, rambling abroad, sleeping (at unseasonable hours), and dwelling in other men's houses, are the six causes of the ruin of women.
14. Women do not care for beauty, nor is their attention fixed on age; (thinking), '(It is enough that) he is a man,' they give themselves to the handsome and to the ugly.
15. Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world).
16. Knowing their disposition, which the Lord of creatures laid in them at the creation, to be such, (every) man should most strenuously exert himself to guard them.
17. (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct.
18. For women no (sacramental) rite (is performed) with sacred texts, thus the law is settled; women (who are) destitute of strength and destitute of (the knowledge of) Vedic texts, (are as impure as) falsehood (itself), that is a fixed rule.
19. And to this effect many sacred texts are sung also in the Vedas, in order to (make) fully known the true disposition (of women); hear (now those texts which refer to) the expiation of their (sins).
20. 'If my mother, going astray and unfaithful, conceived illicit desires, may my father keep that seed from me,' that is the scriptural text.
21. If a woman thinks in her heart of anything that would pain her husband, the (above-mentioned text) is declared (to be a means for) completely removing such infidelity.
22. Whatever be the qualities of the man with whom a woman is united according to the law, such qualities even she assumes, like a river (united) with the ocean.
23. Akshamala, a woman of the lowest birth, being united to Vasishtha and Sarangi, (being united) to Mandapala, became worthy of honour.
24. These and other females of low birth have attained eminence in this world by the respective good qualities of their husbands.
25. Thus has been declared the ever pure popular usage (which regulates the relations) between husband and wife; hear (next) the laws concerning children which are the cause of happiness in this world and after death.
26. Between wives (striyah) who (are destined) to bear children, who secure many blessings, who are worthy of worship and irradiate (their) dwellings, and between the goddesses of fortune (sriyah, who reside) in the houses (of men), there is no difference whatsoever.
27. The production of children, the nurture of those born, and the daily life of men, (of these matters) woman is visibly the cause.
28. Offspring, (the due performance on religious rites, faithful service, highest conjugal happiness and heavenly bliss for the ancestors and oneself, depend on one's wife alone.
29. She who, controlling her thoughts, speech, and acts, violates not her duty towards her lord, dwells with him (after death) in heaven, and in this world is called by the virtuous a faithful (wife, sadhvi)
30. But for disloyalty to her husband a wife is censured among men, and (in her next life) she is born in the womb of a jackal and tormented by diseases, the punishment of her sin.
31. Listen (now) to the following holy discussion, salutary to all men, which the virtuous (of the present day) and the ancient great sages have held concerning male offspring.
32. They (all) say that the male issue (of a woman) belongs to the lord, but with respect to the (meaning of the term) lord the revealed texts differ; some call the begetter (of the child the lord), others declare (that it is) the owner of the soil.
33. By the sacred tradition the woman is declared to be the soil, the man is declared to be the seed; the production of all corporeal beings (takes place) through the union of the soil with the seed.
34. In some cases the seed is more distinguished, and in some the womb of the female; but when both are equal, the offspring is most highly esteemed.
35. On comparing the seed and the receptacle (of the seed), the seed is declared to be more important; for the offspring of all created beings is marked by the characteristics of the seed.
36. Whatever (kind on seed is sown in a field, prepared in due season, (a plant) of that same kind, marked with the peculiar qualities of the seed, springs up in it.
37. This earth, indeed, is called the primeval womb of created beings; but the seed develops not in its development any properties of the womb.
38. In this world seeds of different kinds, sown at the proper time in the land, even in one field, come forth (each) according to its kind.
39. The rice (called) vrihi and (that called) sali, mudga-beans, sesamum, masha-beans, barley, leeks, and sugar-cane, (all) spring up according to their seed.
40. That one (plant) should be sown and another be produced cannot happen; whatever seed is sown, (a plant of) that kind even comes forth.
41. Never therefore must a prudent well-trained man, who knows the Veda and its Angas and desires long life, cohabit with another's wife.
42. With respect to this (matter), those acquainted with the past recite some stanzas, sung by Vayu (the Wind, to show) that seed must not be sown by (any) man on that which belongs to another.
43. As the arrow, shot by (a hunter) who afterwards hits a wounded (deer) in the wound (made by another), is shot in vain, even so the seed, sown on what belongs to another, is quickly lost (to the sower).
44. (Sages) who know the past call this earth (prithivi) even the wife of Prithu; they declare a field to belong to him who cleared away the timber, and a deer to him who (first) wounded it.
45. He only is a perfect man who consists (of three persons united), his wife, himself, and his offspring; thus (says the Veda), and (learned) Brahmanas propound this (maxim) likewise, 'The husband is declared to be one with the wife.'
46. Neither by sale nor by repudiation is a wife released from her husband; such we know the law to be, which the Lord of creatures (Pragapati) made of old.
47. Once is the partition (of the inheritance) made, (once is) a maiden given in marriage, (and) once does (a man) say,' I will give;' each of those three (acts is done) once only.
48. As with cows, mares, female camels, slave-girls, buffalo-cows, she-goats, and ewes, it is not the begetter (or his owner) who obtains the offspring, even thus (it is) with the wives of others.
49. Those who, having no property in a field, but possessing seed-corn, sow it in another's soil, do indeed not receive the grain of the crop which may spring up.
50. If (one man's) bull were to beget a hundred calves on another man's cows, they would belong to the owner of the cows; in vain would the bull have spent his strength.
51. Thus men who have no marital property in women, but sow their seed in the soil of others, benefit the owner of the woman; but the giver of the seed reaps no advantage.
52. If no agreement with respect to the crop has been made between the owner of the field and the owner of the seed, the benefit clearly belongs to the owner of the field; the receptacle is more important than the seed.
53. But if by a special contract (a field) is made over (to another) for sowing, then the owner of the seed and the owner of the soil are both considered in this world as sharers of the (crop).
54. If seed be carried by water or wind into somebody's field and germinates (there), the (plant sprung from that) seed belongs even to the owner of the field, the owner of the seed does not receive the crop.
55. Know that such is the law concerning the offspring of cows, mares, slave-girls, female camels, she-goats, and ewes, as well as of females of birds and buffalo-cows.
56. Thus the comparative importance of the seed and of the womb has been declared to you; I will next propound the law (applicable) to women in times of misfortune.
57. The wife of an elder brother is for his younger (brother) the wife of a Guru; but the wife of the younger is declared (to be) the daughter-in-law of the elder.
58. An elder (brother) who approaches the wife of the younger, and a younger (brother who approaches) the wife of the elder, except in times of misfortune, both become outcasts, even though (they were duly) authorised.
59. On failure of issue (by her husband) a woman who has been authorised, may obtain, (in the) proper (manner prescribed), the desired offspring by (cohabitation with) a brother-in-law or (with some other) Sapinda (of the husband).
60. He (who is) appointed to (cohabit with) the widow shall (approach her) at night anointed with clarified butter and silent, (and) beget one son, by no means a second.
61. Some (sages), versed in the law, considering the purpose of the appointment not to have been attained by those two (on the birth of the first), think that a second (son) may be lawfully procreated on (such) women.
62. But when the purpose of the appointment to (cohabit with) the widow bas been attained in accordance with the law, those two shall behave towards each other like a father and a daughter-in-law.
63. If those two (being thus) appointed deviate from the rule and act from carnal desire, they will both become outcasts, (as men) who defile the bed of a daughter-in-law or of a Guru.
64. By twice-born men a widow must not be appointed to (cohabit with) any other (than her husband); for they who appoint (her) to another (man), will violate the eternal law.
65. In the sacred texts which refer to marriage the appointment (of widows) is nowhere mentioned, nor is the re-marriage of widows prescribed in the rules concerning marriage.
66. This practice which is reprehended by the learned of the twice-born castes as fit for cattle is said (to have occurred) even among men, while Vena ruled.
67. That chief of royal sages who formerly possessed the whole world, caused a confusion of the castes (varna), his intellect being destroyed by lust.
68. Since that (time) the virtuous censure that (man) who in his folly appoints a woman, whose husband died, to (bear) children (to another man).
69. If the (future) husband of a maiden dies after troth verbally plighted, her brother-in-law shall wed her according to the following rule.
70. Having, according to the rule, espoused her (who must be) clad in white garments and be intent on purity, he shall approach her once in each proper season until issue (be had).
71. Let no prudent man, after giving his daughter to one (man), give her again to another; for he who gives (his daughter) whom he had before given, incurs (the guilt of) speaking falsely regarding a human being.
72. Though (a man) may have accepted a damsel in due form, he may abandon (her if she be) blemished, diseased, or deflowered, and (if she have been) given with fraud.
73. If anybody gives away a maiden possessing blemishes without declaring them, (the bridegroom) may annul that (contract) with the evil-minded giver.
74. A man who has business (abroad) may depart after securing a maintenance for his wife; for a wife, even though virtuous, may be corrupted if she be distressed by want of subsistence.
75. If (the husband) went on a journey after providing (for her), the wife shall subject herself to restraints in her daily life; but if he departed without providing (for her), she may subsist by blameless manual work.
76. If the husband went abroad for some sacred duty, (she) must wait for him eight years, if (he went) to (acquire) learning or fame six (years), if (he went) for pleasure three years.
77. For one year let a husband bear with a wife who hates him; but after (the lapse of) a year let him deprive her of her property and cease to cohabit with her.
78. She who shows disrespect to (a husband) who is addicted to (some evil) passion, is a drunkard, or diseased, shall be deserted for three months (and be) deprived of her ornaments and furniture.
79. But she who shows aversion towards a mad or outcast (husband), a eunuch, one destitute of manly strength, or one afflicted with such diseases as punish crimes, shall neither be cast off nor be deprived of her property.
80. She who drinks spirituous liquor, is of bad conduct, rebellious, diseased, mischievous, or wasteful, may at any time be superseded (by another wife).
81. A barren wife may be superseded in the eighth year, she whose children (all) die in the tenth, she who bears only daughters in the eleventh, but she who is quarrelsome without delay.
82. But a sick wife who is kind (to her husband) and virtuous in her conduct, may be superseded (only) with her own consent and must never be disgraced.
83. A wife who, being superseded, in anger departs from (her husband's) house, must either be instantly confined or cast off in the presence of the family.
84. But she who, though having been forbidden, drinks spirituous liquor even at festivals, or goes to public spectacles or assemblies, shall be fined six krishnalas.
85. If twice-born men wed women of their own and of other (lower castes), the seniority, honour, and habitation of those (wives) must be (settled) according to the order of the castes (varna).
86. Among all (twice-born men) the wife of equal caste alone, not a wife of a different caste by any means, shall personally attend her husband and assist him in his daily sacred rites.
87. But he who foolishly causes that (duty) to be performed by another, while his wife of equal caste is alive, is declared by the ancients (to be) as (despicable) as a Kandala (sprung from the) Brahmana (caste).
88. To a distinguished, handsome suitor (of) equal (caste) should (a father) give his daughter in accordance with the prescribed rule, though she have not attained (the proper age).
89. (But) the maiden, though marriageable, should rather stop in (the father's) house until death, than that he should ever give her to a man destitute of good qualities.
90. Three years let a damsel wait, though she be marriageable; but after that time let her choose for herself a bridegroom (of) equal (caste and rank).
91. If, being not given in marriage, she herself seeks a husband, she incurs no guilt, nor (does) he whom she weds.
92. A maiden who choses for herself, shall not take with her any ornaments, given by her father or her mother, or her brothers; if she carries them away, it will be theft.
93. But he who takes (to wife) a marriageable damsel, shall not pay any nuptial fee to her father; for the (latter) will lose his dominion over her in consequence of his preventing (the legitimate result of the appearance of) her enemies.
94. A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner.
95. The husband receives his wife from the gods, (he does not wed her) according to his own will; doing what is agreeable to the gods, he must always support her (while she is) faithful.
96. To be mothers were women created, and to be fathers men; religious rites, therefore, are ordained in the Veda to be performed (by the husband) together with the wife.
97. If, after the nuptial fee has been paid for a maiden, the giver of the fee dies, she shall be given in marriage to his brother, in case she consents.
98. Even a Sudra ought not to take a nuptial fee, when he gives away his daughter; for he who takes a fee sell his daughter, covering (the transaction by another name).
99. Neither ancients nor moderns who were good men have done such (a deed) that, after promising (a daughter) to one man, they have her to another;
100. Nor, indeed, have we heard, even in former creations, of such (a thing as) the covert sale of a daughter for a fixed price, called a nuptial fee.
101. 'Let mutual fidelity continue until death,' this may be considered as the summary of the highest law for husband and wife.
102. Let man and woman, united in marriage, constantly exert themselves, that (they may not be) disunited (and) may not violate their mutual fidelity.
103. Thus has been declared to you the law for a husband and his wife, which is intimately connected with conjugal happiness, and the manner of raising offspring in times of calamity; learn (now the law concerning) the division of the inheritance.

118. But to the maiden (sisters) the brothers shall severally give (portions) out of their shares, each out of his share one-fourth part; those who refuse to give (it), will become outcasts.
119. Let him never divide (the value of) a single goat or sheep, or a (single beast) with uncloven hoofs; it is prescribed (that) a single goat or sheep (remaining after an equal division, belongs) to the eldest alone.
120. If a younger brother begets a son on the wife of the elder, the division must then be made equally; this the law is settled.
121. The representative (the son begotten on the wife) is not invested with the right of the principal (the eldest brother to an additional share); the principal (became) a father on the procreation (of a son by his younger brother); hence one should give a share to the (son begotten on the wife of the elder brother) according to the rule (stated above).
122. If there be a doubt, how the division shall be made, in case the younger son is born of the elder wife and the elder son of the younger wife,
123. (Then the son) born of the first wife shall take as his additional share one (most excellent) bull; the next best bulls (shall belong) to those (who are) inferior on account of their mothers.
124. But the eldest (son, being) born of the eldest wife, shall receive fifteen cows and a bull, the other sons may then take shares according to (the seniority of) their mothers; that is a settled rule.
125. Between sons born of wives equal (in caste) (and) without (any other) distinction no seniority in right of the mother exists; seniority is declared (to be) according to birth.
126. And with respect to the Subrahmanya (texts) also it is recorded that the invocation (of Indra shall be made) by the first-born, of twins likewise, (conceived at one time) in the wombs (of their mothers) the seniority is declared (to depend) on (actual) birth.
127. He who has no son may make his daughter in the following manner an appointed daughter (putrika, saying to her husband), 'The (male) child, born of her, shall perform my funeral rites.'
128. According to this rule Daksha, himself, lord of created beings, formerly made (all his female offspring) appointed daughters in order to multiply his race.
129. He gave ten to Dharma, thirteen to Kasyapa, twenty-seven to King Soma, honouring (them) with an affectionate heart.
130. A son is even (as) oneself, (such) a daughter is equal to a son; how can another (heir) take the estate, while such (an appointed daughter who is even) oneself, lives?
131. But whatever may be the separate property of the mother, that is the share of the unmarried daughter alone; and the son of an (appointed) daughter shall take the whole estate of (his maternal grandfather) who leaves no son.
132. The son of an (appointed) daughter, indeed, shall (also) take the estate of his (own) father, who leaves no (other) son; he shall (then) present two funeral cakes to his own father and to his maternal grandfather.
133. Between a son's son and the son of an (appointed) daughter there is no difference, neither with respect to worldly matters nor to sacred duties; for their father and mother both sprang from the body of the same (man).
134. But if, after a daughter has been appointed, a son be born (to her father), the division (of the inheritance) must in that (case) be equal; for there is no right of primogeniture for a woman.
135. But if an appointed daughter by accident dies without (leaving) a son, the husband of the appointed daughter may, without hesitation, take that estate.
136. Through that son whom (a daughter), either not appointed or appointed, may bear to (a husband) of equal (caste), his maternal grandfather (has) a son's son; he shall present the funeral cake and take the estate.
137. Through a son he conquers the worlds, through a son's son he obtains immortality, but through his son's grandson he gains the world of the sun.
138. Because a son delivers (trayate) his father from the hell called Put, he was therefore called put-tra (a deliverer from Put) by the Self-existent (Svayambhu) himself.
139. Between a son's son and the son of a daughter there exists in this world no difference; for even the son of a daughter saves him (who has no sons) in the next world, like the son's son.
140. Let the son of an appointed daughter first present a funeral cake to his mother, the second to her father, the funeral to his father's father.
141. Of the man who has an adopted (Datrima) son possessing all good qualities, that same (son) shall take the inheritance, though brought from another family.
142. An adopted son shall never take the family (name) and the estate of his natural father; the funeral cake follows the family (name) and the estate, the funeral offerings of him who gives (his son in adoption) cease (as far as that son is concerned).
143. The son of a wife, not appointed (to have issue by another), and he whom (an appointed female, already) the mother of a son, bears to her brother-in-law, are both unworthy of a share, (one being) the son of an adulterer and (the other) produced through (mere) lust.
144. Even the male (child) of a female (duly) appointed, not begotten according to the rule (given above), is unworthy of the paternal estate; for he was procreated by an outcast.
145. A son (legally) begotten on such an appointed female shall inherit like a legitimate son of the body; for that seed and the produce belong, according to the law, to the owner of the soil.
146. He who takes care of his deceased brother's estate and of his widow, shall, after raising up a son for his brother, give that property even to that (son).
147. If a woman (duly) appointed bears a son to her brother-in-law or to another (Sapinda), that (son, if he is) begotten through desire, they declare (to be) incapable of inheriting and to be produced in vain.
148. The rules (given above) must be understood (to apply) to a distribution among sons of women of the same (caste); hear (now the law) concerning those begotten by one man on many wives of different (castes).
149. If there be four wives of a Brahmana in the direct order of the castes, the rule for the division (of the estate) among the sons born of them is as follows:
150. The (slave) who tills (the field), the bull kept for impregnating cows, the vehicle, the ornaments, and the house shall be given as an additional portion to the Brahmana (son), and one most excellent share.
151. Let the son of the Brahmana (wife) take three shares of the (remainder of the) estate, the son of the Kshatriya two, the son of the Vaisya a share and a half, and the son of the Sudra may take one share.
152. Or let him who knows the law make ten shares of the whole estate, and justly distribute them according to the following rule:
153. The Brahmana (son) shall take four shares, son of the Kshatriya (wife) three, the son of the Vaisya shall have two parts, the son of the Sudra may take one share.
154. Whether (a Brahmana) have sons or have no sons (by wives of the twice-born castes), the (heir) must, according to the law, give to the son of a Sudra (wife) no more than a tenth (part of his estate).
155. The son of a Brahmana, a Kshatriya, and a Vaisya by a Sudra (wife) receives no share of the inheritance; whatever his father may give to him, that shall be his property.
156. All the sons of twice-born men, born of wives of the same caste, shall equally divide the estate, after the others have given to the eldest an additional share.
157. For a Sudra is ordained a wife of his own caste only (and) no other; those born of her shall have equal shares, even if there be a hundred sons.
158. Among the twelve sons of men whom Manu, sprung from the Self-existent (Svayambhu), enumerates, six are kinsmen and heirs, and six not heirs, (but) kinsmen.
159. The legitimate son of the body, the son begotten on a wife, the son adopted, the son made, the son secretly born, and the son cast off, (are) the six heirs and kinsmen.
160. The son of an unmarried damsel, the son received with the wife, the son bought, the son begotten on a re-married woman, the son self-given, and the son of a Sudra female, (are) the six (who are) not heirs, (but) kinsmen.
161. Whatever result a man obtains who (tries to) cross a (sheet of) water in an unsafe boat, even that result obtains he who (tries to) pass the gloom (of the next world) with (the help of) bad (substitutes for a real) son.
162. If the two heirs of one man be a legitimate son of his body and a son begotten on his wife, each (of the two sons), to the exclusion of the other, shall take the estate of his (natural) father.
163. The legitimate son of the body alone (shall be) the owner of the paternal estate; but, in order to avoid harshness, let him allow a maintenance to the rest.
164. But when the legitimate son of the body divides the paternal estate, he shall give one-sixth or one-fifth part of his father's property to the son begotten on the wife.
165. The legitimate son and the son of the wife (thus) share the father's estate; but the other tell become members of the family, and inherit according to their order (each later named on failure of those named earlier).
166. Him whom a man begets on his own wedded wife, let him know to be a legitimate son of the body (Aurasa), the first in rank.
167. He who was begotten according to the peculiar law (of the Niyoga) on the appointed wife of a dead man, of a eunuch, or of one diseased, is called a son begotten on a wife (Kshetraga).
168. That (boy) equal (by caste) whom his mother or his father affectionately give, (confirming the gift) with (a libation of) water, in times of distress (to a man) as his son, must be considered as an adopted son (Datrima).
169. But he is considered a son made (Kritrima) whom (a man) makes his son, (he being) equal (by caste), acquainted with (the distinctions between) right and wrong, (and) endowed with filial virtues.
170. If (a child) be born in a man's house and his father be not known, he is a son born secretly in the house (Gudhotpanna), and shall belong to him of whose wife he was born.
171. He whom (a man) receives as his son, (after he has been) deserted by his parents or by either of them, is called a son cast off (Apaviddha).
172. A son whom a damsel secretly bears in the house of her father, one shall name the son of an unmarried damsel (Kanina, and declare) such offspring of an unmarried girl (to belong) to him who weds her (afterwards).
173. If one marries, either knowingly or unknowingly, a pregnant (bride), the child in her womb belongs to him who weds her, and is called (a son) received with the bride (Sahodha).
174. If a man buys a (boy), whether equal or unequal (in good qualities), from his father and mother for the sake of having a son, that (child) is called a (son) bought (Kritaka).
175. If a woman abandoned by her husband, or a widow, of her own accord contracts a second marriage and bears (a son), he is called the son of a re-married woman (Paunarbhava).
176. If she be (still) a virgin, or one who returned (to her first husband) after leaving him, she is worthy to again perform with her second (or first deserted) husband the (nuptial) ceremony.
177. He who, having lost his parents or being abandoned (by them) without (just) cause, gives himself to a (man), is called a son self-given (Svayamdatta).
178. The son whom a Brahmana begets through lust on a Sudra female is, (though) alive (parayan), a corpse (sava), and hence called a Parasava (a living corpse).
179. A son who is (begotten) by a Sudra on a female slave, or on the female slave of his slave, may, if permitted (by his father), take a share (of the inheritance); thus the law is settled.
180. These eleven, the son begotten on the wife and the rest as enumerated (above), the wise call substitutes for a son, (taken) in order (to prevent) a failure of the (funeral) ceremonies.
181. Those sons, who have been mentioned in connection with (the legitimate son of the body), being begotten by strangers, belong (in reality) to him from whose seed they sprang, but not to the other (man who took them).
182. If among brothers, sprung from one (father), one have a son, Manu has declared them all to have male offspring through that son.
183. If among all the wives of one husband one have a son, Manu declares them all (to be) mothers of male children through that son.
184. On failure of each better (son), each next inferior (one) is worthy of the inheritance; but if there be many (of) equal (rank), they shall all share the estate.
185. Not brothers, nor fathers, (but) sons take the paternal estate; but the father shall take the inheritance of (a son) who leaves no male issue, and his brothers.
186. To three (ancestors) water must be offered, to three the funeral cake is given, the fourth (descendant is) the giver of these (oblations), the fifth has no connection (with them).
187. Always to that (relative within three degrees) who is nearest to the (deceased) Sapinda the estate shall belong; afterwards a Sakulya shall be (the heir, then) the spiritual teacher or the pupil.
188. But on failure of all (heirs) Brahmanas (shall) share the estate, (who are) versed the in the three Vedas, pure and self-controlled; thus the law is not violated.
189. The property of a Brahmana must never be taken by the king, that is a settled rule; but (the property of men) of other castes the king may take on failure of all (heirs).
190. (If the widow) of (a man) who died without leaving issue, raises up to him a son by a member of the family (Sagotra), she shall deliver to that (son) the whole property which belonged to the (deceased).
191. But if two (sons), begotten by two (different men), contend for the property (in the hands) of their mother, each shall take, to the exclusion of the other, what belonged to his father.
192. But when the mother has died, all the uterine brothers and the uterine sisters shall equally divide the mother's estate.
193. Even to the daughters of those (daughters) something should be given, as is seemly, out of the estate of their maternal grandmother, on the score of affection.
194. What (was given) before the (nuptial) fire, what (was given) on the bridal procession, what was given in token of love, and what was received from her brother, mother, or father, that is called the sixfold property of a woman.
195. (Such property), as well as a gift subsequent and what was given (to her) by her affectionate husband, shall go to her offspring, (even) if she dies in the lifetime of her husband.
196. It is ordained that the property (of a woman married) according to the Brahma, the Daiva, the Arsha, the Gandharva, or the Pragapatya rite (shall belong) to her husband alone, if she dies without issue.
197. But it is prescribed that the property which may have been given to a (wife) on an Asura marriage or (one of the) other (blamable marriages, shall go) to her mother and to her father, if she dies without issue.
198. Whatever property may have been given by her father to a wife (who has co-wives of different castes), that the daughter (of the) Brahmani (wife) shall take, or that (daughter's) issue.
199. Women should never make a hoard from (the property of) their families which is common to many, nor from their own (husbands' particular) property without permission.
200. The ornaments which may have been worn by women during their husbands' lifetime, his heirs shall not divide; those who divide them become outcasts.
201. Eunuchs and outcasts, (persons) born blind or deaf, the insane, idiots and the dumb, as well as those deficient in any organ (of action or sensation), receive no share.
202. But it is just that (a man) who knows (the law) should give even to all of them food and raiment without stint, according to his ability; he who gives it not will become all outcast.