“Waterfalls” , the hit 1994 Grammy nominated single was TLC’s hard hitting portrayal of how people chase intangible dreams without sparing a thought to the consequences of their actions. The words remain true even today.
A lonely mother gazing out of the window
Staring at her son that she just can’t touch
If at any time he’s in a jam, she’ll be by his side
But he doesn’t realize he hurts her so much
But all the praying just ain’t helping at all
Cause he can’t seem to keep his self out of trouble
So he goes out and he makes his money the best way he knows how
Another body laying cold in the gutter
Listen to me
The first verse of the song describes an inner city mother & son relationship. The mother knows he is chasing “waterfalls” (money and respect by dealing drugs), but worries for him because she is all too aware that the actions of his son cannot end well. She tries praying it all away but to no avail and so the helpless mother is in a painful place.
Don’t go chasing waterfalls
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all
But I think you’re moving too fast
Little precious has a natural obsession for temptation
But he just can’t see
She gives him loving that his body can’t handle
But all he can say is, “Baby it’s good to me”
One day he goes and take a glimpse in the mirror
But he doesn’t recognize his own face
His health is fading and he doesn’t know why
Three letters took him to his final resting place
Y’all, don’t hear me
The second verse depicts a man’s relationship with a woman. His “waterfall” is casual sex – he has a “natural obsession for temptation.” This could mean he is cheating on someone or the woman he is seeing is cheating on someone. Either way, he contracts HIV and dies (“three letters took him to his final resting place”). As a matter of fact, TLC were big on AIDS awareness – Left Eye would often wear condoms attached to her clothes and in her glasses to promote safe sex.
“It strikes me profoundly that the world is more often than not a bad and cruel place.”
― Bret Easton Ellis,
What’s the worst nightmare you’ve experienced in your lifetime?
Nothing can prepare you for the violence, torture, humiliation and gross maltreatment meted out to Junko Furuta at the tender age of just 17 years. The events that lead up to her death are so profoundly shocking that they can have but one of two instant reactions from someone, either utter disbelief or mind numbing shock. Her incessant torture and sexual abuse, that lasted 41 days was carried out by 4 teenaged boys, all under 17 years old themselves, points to a disturbing reality, that it doesn’t take a hardened criminal to subject another human being to cruelty, it just takes a criminal bent of mind. The violent streak in a person is not something that escalates from the first crime onward, it is rather a chance for him or her to act out on the need for carrying out violence that roots itself in their subconscious from what does seem to be a reasonably long time.
The atrocities inflicted upon Furuta seem to be from a script of a horror movie. Her ordeal began on the first day of her kidnapping, to last upto 44 days during which, she was subjected to all kinds of abuse imaginable. As per their own confession, the boys took turns raping her repeatedly for a total of over 400 times, fed her cockroaches & forced to drink her own urine. She was forced to masturbate, was burnt with cigarettes repeatedly, and was violated with foreign objects introduced in her vagina and anus.
Since she had gone missing suddenly, there was a clear danger of her parents getting worried and reporting the matter to the police, which could lead to a manhunt. To eliminate the possibility, the boys made her call her parents and tell them that she had she had left home and had gone away, but was with her friends and was safe.
The motive or reason behind the crime remains unclear.
On December 1, 1988, cruelty went several notches up, and Junko was severely beaten up a number of times. She was hung from the ceiling and was used as a punch bag. Her nose was filled by her own blood to the extent that she could only breathe through her mouth. When she was brought down from the ceiling, dumbbells were dropped on her stomach. The damage done to her internal organs was considerable, which is why she could not hold water inside despite being thirsty. When she asked for water and was given some to drink, she vomited it out almost as soon as she drunk it.
She also made an attempt to escape, but was caught and was punished by being burnt with cigarette butts. Inflammable liquid was poured on her arms and legs and she was set on fire for having tried to run away. Not just that; a bottle was also inserted up her anus causing injury.
Ten days later, on December 10, 1988, when she could not walk properly due to severe burns on the legs, she was beaten up by bamboo sticks. According to some unconfirmed reports, fireworks were inserted in her anus and were lit. She was beaten up by golf clubs and her hands were smashed by weights used for exercising and her nails were cracked to inflict pain.
Ten days later, the boys poured hot wax on her face and her eyelids burnt by cigarette lighter, and she was not only stabbed with sewing needles in the chest region, but her left nipple was also clipped with a plier and destroyed. Due to the insertion of objects in her vagina, she bled heavily, and was unable to urinate properly. The injuries to her private parts were so severe that it took over half an hour to crawl downstairs to use the lavatory to urinate. Her eardrums were also severely damaged though there is not much clarity about the real cause of the damage.
On the 40th day of her captivity, Junk virtually begged her abductors to kill her and end her unbearable suffering. But that was not to happen for another couple of days.
On January 4, 1989, the boys got furious over something and wanted to take it out on Furuta. They started hitting Furuta’s mutilated body with an iron barbell, and kept on until she started bleeding from her mouth. They also subjected her face and eyes to the flame of a candle. Thereafter, highly inflammable lighter fluid was poured on her arms and legs and she was set on fire alive. The fire was put out soon, but not soon enough to prevent injury; only soon enough to prevent immediate death.
Junko Furuta did not carry on any longer and died a couple of hours later the same day after suffering the unbearable agony for 41 days, which was further scaled up to the extreme in the final few hours of her life. Junko Furuta’s death was among the most painful individual deaths caused by human beings in the history of mankind.
On January 5, 1989, the boys filled a 55-gallon drum with concrete, dumped the dead girl’s body in the setting concrete. The drum was then cast away somewhere on the reclaimed land in Koto, Tokyo.
The boys were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced, but since they were juveniles at the time of committing the crime, the jail terms were lighter. They were sentenced to imprisonment ranging between four to seven years.
“Don’t you feel shame? I thought scum like you could at least feel shame”
― Kohta Hirano
The dumbest trending hashtag on the internet yet!
And it’s come into existence because of an advertising campaign coming from the house of Bianco Footwear and it’s premise is,
Equal pay is not enough,women need more!
First of all, unequal pay or the pay gap is an over used , beaten to death feminist talking point which is not taken seriously by anyone because every economist in the world rejects the conclusions of studies that are conducted around this , simply because it has been concluded via research that women make different choices than men when it comes to work life balance, deal with it.
Also, those that say there arnt enough women CEOs must acknowledge the fact that there arnt many women sewage cleaners and sanitation workers either…but i guess feminists want equality in all the glamorous, fun stuff.
And lastly, this ridiculous, feminist propaganda video suggests that it’s more expensive just being a woman so women deserve more pay than men! Imagine the outrage if this was a campaign for men!
Even so, this is twisted beyond words.
First of all, it is a CHOICE to wear expensive underwear, you can’t afford it? Don’t! There’s cheaper garments available too you know, that for your pocket, your employer is under no obligation to support your lifestyle choices!
And if you desperately want an expensive thong, how about you work overtime and EARN it ????
Stop begging for more lest people stop taking women seriously.
A lot has been said about men & their power dynamics in the corporate world. Power is corrupting & it takes a man of great character & a higher moral threshold than most to not exploit people when you’re in a position to. But why do we obsess over the exploiter & forget to address the people on the receiving end? I know when it comes to sexual exploitation, men & women are almost equally at risk for becoming the object of some corporate psychopath’s unwanted affection but because I am a woman, I want to TALK TO THE WOMEN.
Let’s start with the word ‘compromise‘. I am not sure why is the seeking of & complying with demands for sexual favors termed as a compromise in most scenarios. Is it the man who is lowering his standards of taste in women when he chooses to share himself with a woman suffering with such low self – esteem or is it the woman who is ‘compromising’ by letting herself get abused in this way by a man who thinks nothing more of her than a sexual conquest? I believe, in popular culture, the word is used to describe a corporate version of prostitution. That’s right woman. You’re not compromising, you’re prostituting. Think about it. A prostitute sleeps with men in an arrangement devoid of mutual respect & affection in exchange for money. She sleeps with the occasional politician or policeman for no charge but in exchange for survival & continuing to function in her line of business. And lastly, sometimes, she sleeps with the pimps so they help her raise in the ranks. Now do me a favor & replace the words prostitute with ‘female employee’ & the words depicting men in positions of power with ‘boss’. That’s you. It’s the ONLY difference. A twist of words. I hope this makes you realize the FACT that this is no compromise. Do not make the folly of letting yourself off that easy.
Now, let’s explore the reasons for this kind of a dehumanizing arrangement. The reasons for the exploitative asshole are simple. He is a man who obviously suffers from deep rooted self-esteem issues, is egoistic, a tad bit sadistic & feels that the only way he can make himself feel powerful is by rendering others powerless. What about you? Well, you suffer from low self – esteem too & lack confidence in your capabilities & feel this is the only way you can rise the corporate ladder. Either that or you’re just plain lazy. You know it’s the easy way out. Some of you would say you have personal reasons for not wanting to leave the organization because you are very ‘majboor’ (destitute). ‘Majboor’ for what? Think. What’s the worst thing that you would probably have to do if you leave this job? Join another organization? Work from scratch in a new place? You can’t find another company that’s an equally good paymaster?
While I was working with Intelenet Global Services, one of my fist trysts with the corporate world, I did experience a situation like this first hand. The Operations Manager for the Healthcare process I was an associate in was notorious for his ‘deep interest in female employees’. He was a God in his own mind, at least that’s the feeling you got if you stole a glance across the busy operations floor over to the area divided by glass walls, the place where he seated himself, legs spread wide apart, a sly grin on his face. There was something about him that made your stomach churn. You do get awestruck with these people. I for one, was in awe of his sheer audacity. He had turned around a lot of careers thanks to his ‘feedback’ & ‘grooming sessions’. I was 22, fresh out of my first job, had heard a few corporate horror stories but never imagined something like this could be soon coming my way. My TL, walked up to me one day as I was busy chattering away to glory with one of my friends. I stashed away my bag of chips as we were not allowed to eat on the ops floor, but who cared about that! I only cared about the torturous monologue my TL would subject me to if caught. Usually, he would start his infamous monologue on floor hygiene as I would be wiping my hands but this time he had a grin on his face. A grin of amusement, almost. ‘A**r has called you. He wants to speak with you, just walk over to his bay”. I wasn’t sure what this was about. Did I process a claim incorrectly? Has he received a complaint? Have I screwed compliance? Why is my TL not talking to me about this? Why is he not accompanying me? I was very nervous as I approached the man I had previously only said ‘Hi’ to on occasion.
“You look nervous…relax, here, have a seat”
I parked myself in one of the chairs lying around his desk & thus began one of the most confusing conversations I had ever imagined to be a part of.
“Isha, I am not going to beat around the bush! I really like young talent & my vision for this process is to take it to another level altogether. I want to see everyone do well. Especially women under my wing. I feel women must be provided equal opportunities of growth as men are you with me on that?”
Who wouldn’t be? I nodded my head, grateful, that it’s not compliance, wanting very much to head back to my bag of chips.
“I see great potential in you in fact, I give your example in huddles because you come across as someone with great leadership potential”
Oh okay, I thought. Kept nodding. I also think very highly of myself, thank you.
“So what I have decided for you is, I am going to invest some time in you & groom you personally & believe me Isha, before you even realize what’s happening, you would be leading this team”
I had to intervene at this point to bring forth a crucial concern, “Sir I am not a graduate, I couldn’t complete my graduation for personal reasons but I am pursuing it, so I think that’s going to be a problem”
“Don’t be silly Isha! You think I can’t handle something as basic as this? It’s irrelevant. My only concern is , office hours are too busy. I can’t hamper business by pulling out people when they should be generating numbers, but at the same time, I do want to groom you, so tell me what can we do about this”
The ball was left in my court. “I can extend my shift for an hour sir, that’s not a problem”
Apparently, that’s not the answer he was looking for. “I am strictly against employees extending their working hours, I mean you have a family, you have a life too! Do you think we can meet outside of work at some point”
I thought about it, but it seemed too boring. I mean I was desperate for this to end right there, the mere thought of this conversation lingering on with this uninteresting man was too much for young me to bear. I thought about all the fun things I could do instead of spending time with him & said no.
“Sir I meet my parents every weekend, I make it a point to visit my family so that would not be possible”
He was quite for the longest two minutes of each of our lives.
Finally, he regained composure, “To build careers, you have to compromise your time. I have big dreams for you, but am disappointed to hear this lack of drive in your tone. Don’t you want to grow? Tell me, when are we meeting?”
“Sir, I will have to think about this, I mean I am really thankful to you for being so considerate however, I wasn’t prepared for this at all. I was under the impression that you are going to ask me to leave, TBH, because of something I did wrong from a processing perspective. Allow me some time please”
And so he did, with a deadline. My friend was shifting in her seat uncomfortably & my TL grinning stupidly when I waltzed back to my seat. “Glad that’s over” There’s always a ‘mummy friend’ in any team you’re a part of who wants to know about you’re day, you’re ups and downs and be there for you even if you don’t want it. But in this case I did, because I couldn’t wrap my head around why this chap was so interested in seeing me grow…“It’s not like he’s my dad” I joked.: Papa hi ban gaya tha yaar! Full on daddygiri! I want to see you grow ye hai vo hai kya hai bhai???
My mummy friend broke it down to me. And I was FURIOUS. “Aukaat dekhi hai apni?” Those were my first words. “He’s decided to play doll with the wrong person. Abhi HR main e-mail karti hun” Mummy friend asked me not to because he had not directly implied ANYTHING. We were assuming this conversation for what it was because we knew what kind of a man he is. There has never been a complaint against him in the past & he hasn’t said anything that can’t be twisted one way or the other. You will become the laughing stock or the troublemaker if you press it too much & will have to quit your job. So it was decided that I was going to ignore this guy completely. Not that I noticed him much or gave him much attention in the first place, but I was supposed to ignore his advances. He tried playing nice.He sent me a birthday wish which I ignored. And that pissed him off. By that time, it had been almost a month that he was trying to display how easy he could make my life at work by instructing my TL to give me special, unwarranted exceptions etc.Now, he wanted to demonstrate the opposite. When sweet dreams of a bright future weren’t working, he decided the threats of a nightmare would.
Suddenly I couldn’t be a minute late, I couldn’t extend my break by 5 minutes, I had to extend my shift even though I hate doing that, so on & so forth. So what, I thought, this is any day better than having to sleep with that clown. You have to weigh your choices & prioritize. Of course, this had to escalate because now his ego was bruised & his groin was bearing the brunt for it. Suddenly, I was summoned by my TL to tell me that there was a compliance issue in a claim I had processed. Now, I must admit, it was processed incorrectly. I mean, when you’re taking a hundred calls a day or processing hundreds of data file a day, just how difficult is it for somebody to pick out that bunch of calls that could potentially destroy your career in that company? Not very difficult. He did just that. I knew what this was. Now it was about survival & believe me, I was very ‘majboor’.
So what did I decide to do? Play right in his hands???
Remember I said, in a process where you’re taking a hundred calls a day, it’s not that difficult to find that ONE call that can destroy your career in that company? Isn’t that true if you turn the tables? I mean, I don’t know if you notice this, but your bosses DO NOT own the company. Your potential molester is probably a small pawn in the bigger game himself and just as vulnerable as you. A TL, Manager, Director is actually just a dog who wags his tail around the top honchos of the organization. And to them, business is very dear. And in a business where you’re managing 10 – 12 different teams comprising of 10 – 25 people each, how difficult is it to find that ONE malpractice, that can ruin HIS career in the company? How difficult is it to find that ONE person, who holds a grudge against him? Not very. That’s what I did. Cigna was a team that was very dear to his heart. Because Cigna drove numbers & we all knew how. It took just ONE E-mail with evidence of screenshots backed by 5 other people testifying against him to shatter his ambitions of playing God. Suddenly, there were quality checks run on Cigna. Suddenly there were scrutiny sessions with the team. Suddenly, he had to resign.
Ladies, God helps those who help themselves. It wouldn’t be a cliche if it weren’t true.
Weigh your options & prioritize. And believe in yourself. You are worth more than a thousand male egos put together. Be a WOMAN in a man’s world.
For those of you who don’t know who he is, Pahlaj Nihlani is the current Chairman for the Central Board Of Film Certification in India. This man gets to decide what we can watch, as a country, when we head to the movies or nestle in our lazy chairs at home in front of the idiot box. And he’s serious about his sanskaars. So serious that in a country that’s 1.2 billion strong & counting, where child marriage is still a reality, where children are raped irrespective of their gender, caste or social strata, he feels we’re not ready to hear the word ‘Intercourse’ on screen yet! The word that I last read 14 years ago in my biology textbook while preparing for my class 10 boards & which got replaced by the word ‘fuck’ as soon as I started college! Thta’s the word he has a problem with & wants beeped out in the new SRK movie, ‘When Harry Met Sejal’. Besides, Mr Nihlani has been a producer in the Indian film industry many moons ago & we all know…that his movies never had the word intercourse in them! Because I have just had breakfast, I do not wish to think about Nihlani’s movies or their sexual innuendos or even the double meaning lyrics because of obvious reasons.
And he not only has a problem with ‘intercourse’, he seems to have a problem with anything that is inherently ‘female’. Case in point, when he banned the movie ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ from being screened in India, here’s what was told to the film maker of this movie as to why the movie was banned
“The story is lady oriented, their fantasy about life. There are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused.”
Obviously, that remark is ridden with more problems than just poor sentence construction & grammar! Anyhow, the makers of the movie went on to get the movie cleared for a theatrical release in India after the country’s Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), decided that the film can be issued an adult certificate, equivalent to an NC-17 rating.
Even before this fiasco, he tried meddling with director/producer Anurag Kashyap, while his movie ‘Udtaa Punjab’ was due to release but fortunately or unfortunately, that controversial & fantastic movie got accidentally ‘leaked’ on you tube, much to the delight of the nation & Mr Nihlani went biting the curb then too!
By this point, I can understand how he would have been feeling powerless & as we all know, desperate times lead to desperate measures & so, in a bid to redeem himself, Mr Nihlani prepared a strategy.
- Aim low. Target a word rather than an entire movie. That way, movie makers would give in without much of a fight & Nihlani would get to feel powerful. A little.
- Chose an SRK movie for maximum impact.
It was all going according to the ‘plan’ when suddenly, he was asked a question by a reporter from a New channel called Mirror Now as to why did he have an objection to the word intercourse? This is what he had to say
“You take voting from the public and I will clear the word (intercourse) on the promo and the film also. I want 1 lakh votes and I want to see that India has changed and Indian families want their 12-year-old kids to understand the meaning of this word (intercourse).”
Now, Mirror Now’s Prime Time debates are hosted by an extremely rational, level headed journalist who hasn’t lost touch of reality or her sense of humour & so, in the right spirit, she, Faye D’Souza, accepted the challenge thrown by Mr Not-So-Smart & was able to gather much more than just 1 lakh votes. And I must say, she didn’t need to put in much of an effort either. Mr Nihlani, are you insane? What did I say our country’s population was? More than 1.2 billion. How many votes did you ask for? 1 lakh. All we had to do was send out a tweet to SRK’s 25 million followers on twitter and the ones who were stuck in traffic at that hour were able to accomplish the task!
What ensued was a laughter riot. It’s alright to fail now & then, but you can easily & gracefully redeem yourself by accepting defeat & stating that the people have spoken & I respect the verdict. But NOOOOOOO It’s a fool we’re talking about here. He has mastered the art of humiliating himself in full public view by now & so not only did he refuse to answer any question posed to him by a rather polite journalist who cornered him in elevator, but he even ended up looking like a nincompoop on National Televion!
You’ve brought the debate from “Whether Nihlani deserves to be Censor Board Cheif” to “Whether there’s a need for a Censor Board at all” Mr Nihlani. That, to me, is your one & only achievement. Hang tight to that.
“Admiration and familiarity are strangers”
Human beings are strange creatures. The wise among us have said million things & we hear them, admire them, hand them down to coming generations but obviously fail to understand them. This is what leads to a lot of lessons needing to repeat themselves again & again. For instance, they taught us all in childhood
“Familiarity breeds contempt”
We heard it, but did we understand it? Absolutely not. If that would have been the case, the institution of marriage would have been long dissolved. For that matter, the concept of family would have been outlawed. Why you ask? What is it like when couples start dating initially & then as time goes by they decide that they simply cannot live without each other & then when they do start co-inhabiting, they begin driving each other mad. No matter what you do, nobody can deny the fact that the most ignored, taken for granted people in our lives are also the ones we claim to love the most! That’s because they’re always around.Try this. Impose a curfew for a few days in a city and disallow people from assembling or even living together. Suddenly, everyone would start longing human company, the very same people whose sole desire in life is a little ‘me time’. A few free spirited junkies may even be happy for a while but then ultimately, would long company. That’s why even people who do not have any human friends to hang out with in the end, end up surrounding themselves with cats! Or lizards, depending on what they’re into! Which brings me to another quote we heard a long time ago but never really understood
“Truth is everybody is going to hurt you: you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for”
The human need to socialize & co-habituate is so deep, that we’re ready to bear the systematic murder of our feelings, just so we can be around someone, who also wants to be around us. But we are also quick to start detesting that individual the moment we’re with them because we start taking them for granted! We are complicated indeed. We display signs of cosmic abandonment. We all suffer from daddy issues. That’s right, among the theories presented to the world by scientists & religious nut jobs, the one theory that makes sense to me is the theory of Cosmic Abandonment by Mark Passio.
“We hate each other, but we’d rather be miserable together.”
Isha .V. Singh
That’s how I see it. And Mark Passio describes perfectly & reasonably as best he can.It’s a good presentation to invest your time in. Mark goes on to describe what he, & ancient Sumerians, believe to be the origin of the human race,& goes on the to provide an explanatory synthesis of the current human condition.
We are the results of a failed experiment & the ‘Gods’ who created us, our ‘fathers’ if you may, have long abandoned us. That’s why we are so screwed. Most of us do not even know what our suffering really is, we’re that miserable.
That’s where religion comes into the picture. According to a poll conducted in a country that’s touted as the leader of the free world, the United States Of America, more than 60% of American answered in the affirmative when asked if “religion solved all of my problems”. We’re so doomed, that we believe in a bunch of unsubstantial fairy tales just so that we can cling to the comforting hope of a messiah who would ultimately come & rescue us! We’re so desperate that we not only await the savior but have concocted his adversary too! And to make matters interesting, we fight with each other in an attempt to disprove the authenticity of the fable whose story line doesn’t coincide with ours! You see, there’s a lot of pent up resentment, anger & hatred within us & we’re constantly seeking ways to channelize these negative emotions lest they destroy our own selves. This is also why we are so prone to violence & being violent.
“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence”
This quote comes from the man touted as the most non-violent man in the history of mankind! We sell non-violence in his name! And yet, even he couldn’t resist acknowledging the human need for violence.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is, we’re screwed. We all are. And we’re all in it together. So, let’s be kind to each other. However difficult it may be to love one another, it’s always possible to be kind simply because we understand what it’s like to be miserable.
“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not”
So let’s stop the song & dance about love & switch our energies on being kind instead.
Grace & Peace!
When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.
May the weekend rejuvenate your spirit & prepare you for the drudgery next week!
What do you wake up to each morning? Your mobile phone, a newspaper, the television, a cup of coffee, an urgent text from your boss? You know what I woke up to this morning? FAN MAIL! And what makes it even better is the fact that it is for one the most CONTROVERSIAL writers in my fleet – Nishant Nishit! Now, by definition, the word CONTROVERSIAL means
“giving rise or likely to give rise to controversy or public disagreement”
So in that sense, my word selection to describe this individual is absolutely legitimate. Looking at the chaos he spins on social media everyday supports my claim. People go to the extent of using his own social media propaganda hashtags against him just to prove their point! I don’t know if you have your thinking glasses on but I do, & I can make out that that’s epic shit! Love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him. It’s a cliche, I know, but like every cliche, there’s an element of truth here too! Anyway, this isn’t the first time somebody has sent in an e-mail or message dedicated to Nik’s awesomeness but this is the first time I felt it is ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY appropriate to the tee, if you have to describe his thoughts, his journey & HIM! And why not, it’s been penned by John Lennon. So without further ado, allow me to share a message we recieved from Ujala Wani from the paradise on earth, Kashmir.
I’m Ujala Wani & I am from Kashmir. I do not know how to express my adoration for someone I have never met in person but whose soul I feel connected to through his words. I wake up each morning & the first thing I do is, check your blog to see what you have written today! I am no writer, but I do sing & I feel the following song just has to be dedicated to you. It’s a hard hitting number by John Lennon who I know you also admire, just as all epic people do. And here’s a picture of me, rehearsing for the day I would play it in person for you.
“Working Class Hero”
By giving you no time instead of it all
A working class hero is something to be
They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
A working class hero is something to be
When they’ve tortured and scared you for 20 odd years
Then they expect you to pick a career
When you can’t really function, you’re so full of fear
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
Keep you doped with religion, and sex, and T.V.
And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
There’s room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be
A working class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
Hmmm, I don’t know about Nishant but if someone would write a letter like that for me, I wouldn’t just be reading that John Lennon song, I’d be dancing to it! But it’s for Nishant, he’s the man of the hour, so I will urge him to dance to it instead & let me thank not only Ujala, but all those people who believe in ‘Broken Radio’, who believe in Nishant, who believe that the truth is irreplaceable even if it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Thank you for reading, supporting, following! One such letter makes the hate spewed on social media dissolve like salt in water! And a word to Nishant, you’re not that controversial after all eh? People have started agreeing with you…!
You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.
– Brian Tracy
What happens when you look into a mirror? You see your own reflection. If something seems amiss, you take care of it, like readjust your tie, spruce up your hair, straighten your crease & go about your day. But what happens when a mirror is shown to you? Somebody walks up to you when you’re least expecting it & shows you exactly how ridiculous you really are, that can cause some involuntary jolts & thought-less reactions.
This seems to be the case with some corporate psychopaths who thought it’s okay to play God in others lives just because they’re in a position to do so in a perverse sense. While I am deeply touched by the support Nishant has garnered from those who think alike & are reasonable minded, I am absolutely appalled by the audacity of those involved in the incidents highlighted in Nishant’s articles American Express India Campus – A Sexual Playground and American Express India Campus – A Sexual Playground – II
It started with veiled threats coming from a manager who warned Nishant that he could “Get into trouble” while claiming to be his well wisher. After an afternoon gone by of messages almost spamming my friend’s inbox, asking him to remove the ‘name’ , it went on to persuasion tactics applied over the telephone. Listen up Mr Manager, your bull shit worked while we were in that corporate steel cage not because you are some wise magician whose persuasion tactics are a force to be reckoned with, your feedback session was such a success mostly because nobody had a choice but to comply. OBEY. SUBMIT. AGREE. That’s not the case now. We’re allowed to report shit. We’re allowed to talk about things we see. Nobody can walk up to us say, hush up. Now, for the anonymous messages & the paid bot commentators falsely stating that the incidents highlighted are an exception, allow me to remind you of the time when a woman in Campus had filed an FIR against an American Express TL for sexual harassment & we were all asked to ‘un-tag’ ourselves from her Facebook post. I understand that you have to train yourselves to ignore what happens around you & protect yourself from reality but not us. In fact, ever since Nishant’s article has been published, there have been messages pouring in from people validating the very fact that not only is this the culture there, but also, their own experiences with regards to sexual approaches, innuendos & what not. But publishing hearsay is not our aim. Nishant simply wrote about what he has witnessed. WITNESSED. Not HEARD. We’ve heard a lot over the years & heard a lot more in the last two days. We don’t run on gossip. YOU DO.
Damage control can be more damaging to any situation. You end up validating the very fact that you want to falsify. Take my advise, stop trying to FIX THIS SHIT & fix the shit within you. Pledge never to try taking advantage of another individual & repent. That would be true damage control.
I see you,
as you storm into my court yard
blood in your eyes
sweat on your forehead
an expression of rage
the hatred that you exude
cannot be explained in words
I know why you’ve come
I know your intent
but what I do not understand
& I cannot comprehend is the reason for your outrage
the rationale behind your contempt
you fold your hands in prayer
I bend upon the floor
you seek your God in idols
I seek mine through his word
but don’t we both pray for the same kind of things
don’t we have the same needs?
Pray, tell me
have you not wanted blessings for your family?
never desired the well – being of your loved ones?
never hoped of a better world? a better future?
you have, haven’t you?
So have I
Then why do you not let me be?
why do I not let you be?
You say I offend you
with my manners that clash with yours
But how am I responsible for the life God chose for me?
It was he who sent me where he did
It was he who sent you where you are
It was he who destined us both to worship him in different ways
& call him by different names
Isn’t it possible we both worship the same entity?
what if he created differences intentionally
for the sake of diversity
after all, we seek different things in life too
we prefer change than monotony
& if we are made in his image,
as we both so believe
the odds of this being a possibility stand high
I know there’s no time for arguments
your blood-lust is riding high
you’ve entered my home to begin your killing spree
as you pull my sister by her hair & drag her to her humiliation
as you disrobe my aging mother
as you fondle my innocent daughter
as you set my brother alight
as you rob me of my belongings
& as you force me to witness the end of my world
kill me too
show me no mercy
but just tell me this,
does my mother not look like yours?
does my sister not remind you of your own?
does my daughter not spark any paternal instinct?
does my brother not resemble yours?
Do I not look like you?
Bleed like you?
Feel the same amount of pain?
It could be you, tomorrow, you know
considering how easy it is to mislead men of any faith
& turn them to butchers
I cannot help but think
Will you wonder in your final moments
Was I not You?
There are about 27 million Sikhs living across the world today, which makes about 0.39% of the total world population, according to recent data. Approximately 83% of all Sikhs reside in India, of which, roughly 75% reside in Punjab, which is the only place in India where they form a majority. People recognize Sikhs by their external appearance, mostly. Most Sikh men wear colorful turbans & maintain a beard, kept long or at times, short & the women can be recognized by their apparel, which is mostly a simple salwar kameez. The more devout Sikhs, or the Amritdharis are more distinguishable as they stand apart from the crowd by virtue of not just the turbans & beards, but also the kirpan they proudly display, worn across the chest with the help of a broad, strap like holder or band. The Amritdhari women are hard to miss too. They cover their heads with their own version of a turban & carry the kirpaan too. But that’s what lies on the outside. What remains hidden, is the symbolism behind these physical characteristics which most modern people don’t understand & the rich history it stands for. There’s a reason why devout Sikhs won’t renounce their hair or kirpaan even for the sake of vanity.
What amazes me is, how little people know of the origin of Sikhism & the sacrifices this sect has made for protecting the weak. What saddens me is how people, suffering of their own unawareness, end up ridiculing their appearance.
Early History & Vision
Sikhism was first revealed to Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the first Guru of Sikhism (historically, there are a total of 10 Gurus) in the 15th century in undivided Punjab in India. It is a monotheistic belief system which propagates that God is One & that all men & women are equal in the eyes of almighty. The holy text of the Sikhs, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, is considered not just God’s word, but the embodiment of the Guru himself. The final, living & eternal Guru & therefore extremely sacred. The vision in the Guru Granth Sahib is of a society based on divine justice without oppression of any kind. While it acknowledges and respects the scriptures of Hinduism and Islam, it does not imply a moral reconciliation with either of these religions.
Rise Of The Warrior Sect
Until the rise of the 10th & last Guru of the Sikh Guru lineage, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, Sikhism was never a formal religion. It was he, who formalized Sikhism in 1699 by calling for 5 men who were willing to give their heads, baptizing them to form the Order of the Khalsa, the panj piyaare, or the five pure ones.
Sikhism in the era of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji became heavily induced with the socio-political events of the time, mainly in Punjab Province. While the teachings of both Hindu & Islamic saints, poets & philosophers were respected in Sikhism, what it was in conflict with, was the Mughal empire. The law of Mughal rule dictated that people had one of two choices. Convert to Islam or die. Many prominent Sikh Gurus were killed by the Mughals for refusing to convert to Islam & for opposing the persecution of Hindus & Sikhs by the Mughal regime.
A very prominent chapter of Sikh history was beginning to unfold when Sri Guru Gobind Singh was only 9 years old. A delegation of Hindu Pundits appealed to Guru Teg Bahadar, the 9th Guru of the Sikhs & his father, for help in resisting forced conversion to Islam. Gobind Rai entered the council and asked what the meeting was about. His father explained, and the boy asked how a solution could be found. His father told him it would require the sacrifice of a great man. Gobind Rai told his father, that as a guru, he was the greatest of men.
Subsequently, Guru Teg Bahadur made arrangements to leave Anandpur, where the were residing at the time, in order to intervene on behalf of Hindus who were being forcibly converted by death threats. Guru Teg Bahadar appointed his nine-year-old son Gobind Rai to be his successor and tenth guru of the Sikhs.
Under the order of the Mughal Emporer Aurangzeb, Guru Teg Bahadar & his companions were arrested & every attrocity & form of torture known to mankind, was employed in an unsuccessful effort to coerce them into conversion. The 9th Guru attained Martyrdom, but he remained true to his faith till his last breath.
These events led to the Rise of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the formation of the order of the Khalsa as discussed earlier, who were the original Amritdharis. As a child, Guru Gobind Singh ji engaged in martial training from early childhood. He had a child-sized arsenal of weapons. Games with his playmates took the form of mock battles. After his father’s martyrdom, Guru Gobind Rai raised a guard, built a fortress, and practiced military maneuvers. A number of minor conflicts arose with local adversaries over petty jealousies of neighboring kingdoms. After founding the Khalsa order, Guru Gobind Singh fought a series of major battles attempting to protect his Sikhs and Anandpur from assault by Mughal forces. Vastly outnumbered, courageous Khalsa warriors defended their holdings to the last breath. As you can see, Sikhism militarized to oppose Mughal hegemony. The emergence of the Sikh Confederacy under the misls and Sikh Empire under reign of the Maharajah Ranjit Singh was characterized by religious tolerance and pluralism with Christians, Muslims and Hindus in positions of power. The establishment of the Sikh Empire is commonly considered the zenith of Sikhism at political level, during this time the Sikh Empire came to include Kashmir, Ladakh, and Peshawar. Hari Singh Nalwa, the Commander-in-chief of the Sikh army along the North West Frontier, took the boundary of the Sikh Empire to the very mouth of the Khyber Pass. The Empire’s secular administration integrated innovative military, economic and governmental reforms.
Sikh Contribution In The Struggle For Independance
Sikhs played a crucial role in India’s struggle for Independence from the British Raj as well. Let’s glance at the figures provided by Maulana Abul Azad, President of the Congress Party at the time of Independence.
- Out of 2646 Indians deported for life to the Andaman Islands (where the British exiled political and hardened criminals) 2147 (80%) were Sikhs.
- Out of 127 Indians sent to the gallows, 92 (80%) were Sikhs.
- At Jalliawalla Bagh out of the 1302 men, women and children slaughtered, 799 (61%) were Sikhs.
- In the Indian Liberation Army, out of the 20,000 ranks and officers, 12,000 (60%) were Sikhs.
- Out of 121 persons executed during the freedom struggle, 73 (60%) were Sikhs.
These numbers are HUGE considering not just the ratios at first glance in their own, but given the fact that they still form less than 2% of India’s total population even today. In fact they continue to serve and protect the country in the Army. The Sikh Regiment is an infantry regiment of the Indian Army that recruits from the Sikh community & is the most decorated regiment in the Indian Army.
Spirit Of Servitude
Sikh temples, or Gurudwaras double up as both places of worship as well as a refuge for the homeless, the hungry & the poor. The Harimandar Sahib, Or Golden Temple, situated in Amritsar, Punjab, is host to a 24 hr langar or communal meal without any cost to absolutely anybody who choses to eat the meal. The people serving at the Gurudwara are members of the Sikh community, who perform seva, or services out of their own free will for no charge to the Gurudwara or the people frequenting the holy shrine. There is absolutely no distinction made on the basis of caste, color, gender or social status.
The 1984 Pogrom & The Scenario Thereafter
In modern times, the spirit of servitude remains in the hearts of most Sikhs but unfortunately, history has never been kind to these brave hearts & while everyone dreamed of a better, freer future in post – independence India, this community was crippled by disastrous events like the tensions of the 1980s in the region of Punjab, the destruction of the Akal Takht (Holiest shrine of the Sikhs where the Guru Granth Sahib is kept) during Operation Blue Star in 1984 & the Anti-Sikh Pogrom that erupted across the country post the assassination of the then PM of India, Smt Indira Gandhi by her Sikh body-guards. Thousands of Sikhs lost their lives as the country suddenly became a burning pyre for the very community that so bravely protected it’s people throughout history. But the Sikhs gathered their inherent courage yet again, & against all odds, not only managed to revive their dwindled spirits, but re-established their lost homes & businesses to become a flourishing community once again.
The Drug Menace & Conclusion
Modern day Punjab, is in the shackles of an unchecked drug – menace, a by product of political corruption & an attempt to weaken one of the most courageous & enterprising communities of the country. It is time for the real lions of India to reclaim their lost glory & once again, rise to prove that it doesn’t matter who stands against them, they can outnumber the enemy not in numbers, but in the magnanimity of the spirit of Khalsa.
It is also time now, for the country to give them their dues long past & their fellow citizens to help & heal their spirits, heal Punjab & offer the respect they deserve.
What is Codex Alimentarius?
If I were to say ‘Food Code’ in latin, I’d call it Codex Alimentarius. Simply put, it is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines, and other recommendations relating to foods, it’s production & safety.
Its texts are developed and maintained by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a body that was established in November of 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, was joined by the World Health Organization (WHO) in June of 1962, and held its first session in Rome in October of 1963. Officially, it’s main goals are to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the international food trade & therefore serves as a ‘Food Court’ or in other words, a reference point for the resolution of disputes concerning food safety and consumer protection.
As of 2012, there were 186 members of the Codex Alimentarius Commission: 186 member countries and one member organization, the European Union (EU). There were 215 Codex observers: 49 intergovernmental organizations, 150 non-governmental organizations, and 16 United Nations organizations.
How Does It affect ME & YOU ?
If I were to break it down to you in simple, easy to grasp terms, Codex Alimentarius pretty much determines what you consume in the name of food, how that ‘food’ is going to be procured, treated & traded internationally. The ‘treatment’ of all dairy cattle, sea animals, live stock, vegetation etc with antibiotics & other harmful drugs are not only sanctioned but MANDATED by this international regulatory body you know absolutely nothing about. So unless your supply chain is local, you can be absolutely sure that the food you’re consuming is loaded with antibiotics, growth hormones and what not, thanks to a mandatory regulation passed by Codex Alimentarius, making it absolutely necessary for all food to be treated with the aforementioned drugs. That’s because the Codex Alimentarius covers all foods, whether processed, semi-processed or raw. In addition to standards for specific foods, the Codex Alimentarius contains general standards covering matters such as food labeling, food hygiene, food additives and pesticide residues, and procedures for assessing the safety of foods derived from modern biotechnology. It also contains guidelines for governmental import and export inspection and certification systems for foods.
Apart from governing your food consumption, Codex Alimentarius also sets the standard for classification of nutrients, herbs, vitamins, minerals etc . In 1996 the German delegation put forward a proposal that no herb, vitamin or mineral should be sold for preventive or therapeutic reasons, and that supplements should be reclassified as drugs. The proposal was agreed, but protests halted its implementation. The 28th Session of the Codex Alimentarius Commission was subsequently held July 4–9, 2005.
Among the many issues discussed were the Guidelines for Vitamin and Mineral Food Supplements,which were adopted during the meeting as new global safety guidelines: The guidelines state that “people should…be encouraged to select a balanced diet from food before considering any vitamin and mineral supplement. In cases where the intake from the diet is insufficient or where consumers consider their diet requires supplementation, vitamin and mineral food supplements serve to supplement the daily diet. This text has been the subject of considerable controversy among proponents of dietary supplements. Many countries regulate such substances as therapeutic goods or pharmaceuticals or by some other category, without requiring them to be shown to be medically useful.
What this implies is that these guidelines mandate restrictive upper limits on the dosage or consumption of vitamins & minerals & seeks to discredit the claim that vitamin & mineral supplementation is, in fact, significant in the prevention, alleviation & treatment of ailments.
What Influence Does It Hold In The Food Regulatory Practices In MY Country?
While in theory, the adoption of regulations & practices prescribed by Codex Alimentarius remains optional, the creation of the World Trade Organization in January of 1995 changed all that as the WTO endorses these standards as the benchmark in resolving International Trade Disputes involving food. The potential threat of losing in such trade disputes makes the adoption of these guidelines mandatory for member countries, thus in reality, losing their autonomy in the matter of adopting or declining to adopt Codex guidelines. The fact that a total of 149 nations, including India, are members of the WTO, it is only logical to assume that a vast majority of the population on our planet is directly affected by these regulations and policies.
If Not The General Population, Who Is Codex Alimentarius Designed To Benefit?
The pharmaceutical & medical industry. You see, disease is big business. The aim of alopathy, or modern medicine, is to cure the symptoms rather than the disease. Imagine the kind of money that will vanish from the health trade if people wake up & realize the power of holistic healing which by the way, if widely frowned upon under codex guidelines. Adopted in 1979, & revised in 1991, Codex General Guidelines On Claims place severe restrictions upon natural or holistic forms of healing endorsing pharmaceutical drugs as the only way to cure illness & discrediting all natural forms of healthcare. It also prohibits support for the claim that our normal diets cannot provide all the vital nutrients needed for disease prevention, therefore labeling naturally found nutritive elements as drugs.
I Consume Organic Food. Should I Worry?
Please do. Because in recent years, Codex has begun taking keen interest in the Organic Food Industry & it has now become increasingly evident, that Codex Alimentarius is working towards decreasing the standard for the same by allowing the use of carcinogenic (cancer causing) substances like sodium nitrite & nitrate, sulphur dioxide which potentially could cause allergic reactions in some people & carageenan which has been linked to ulcers & cancerous tumors in the intestines. The Comission has recently given the nod to artificially induce organically grown fruits & vegetables with ethylene to ripen faster.
Codex support for GMOs or genetically modified food has also grown over the years. Seeds for GMOs can be patented unlike the seeds for regular foods & this explains in part, why biotechnological companies are in such rigorous pursuit to have these foods forced on the global market. And since Codex regulates food labelling too, if the proposed texts are adopted, which they most assuredly will be, companies will no longer be required to label the presence of GM organisms on their edible products.
Also, Codex has specific committees that deal with food additives & pesticide residues. The effects of permitted additives & pesticide residues is considered generally, ignoring the long-term health effects of these permitted substances found in the food we consume on a daily basis.
There is ample research & testimonies of scientists & doctors that point to Codex Alimentarius being an aide to the pharmaceutical industry on the inside while carrying out the facade of having the ‘best interest of the people’ on the outside.
An important video to watch on the subject has been shared below
While it’s quite blissful to live in a state of utter ignorance, it can be empowering to gain knowledge, seek control of our lives be propellants for change.