Monday, October 25, 2010

To Live (In) or not to Live (In)…

“How can this not have legal sanction”, “India has moved to medieval times”, “all the progress we have made so far has come to naught” a “huge blow for woman’s liberation” is the common theme of the articles in papers, (ND)TV brigade…

What happened ? Is it a cry against people beating up folks on valentine’s day, or against the church for calling women not to abort (in Kerala) and to breed plentifully, or is it against enforcement of Burqa for a college lecturer in Bengal ? Well, if you attempted to be logical like me about this you are likely to be disappointed. Wait in line. The urgent issue in question is the recent judgment of the supreme court of India establishing the parameters of what is “Common law marriage” and what are the criteria for compensation, if such a “marriage” were to split. Instead of thanking the SC for highlighting the fact that “Rights” come with “Responsibilities” (pseudo) intellectuals are up in arms !!

The specific case relates to a woman who filed for maintenance from the partner he had a live in relationship. The person is already a married man and lived with the litigant for a period of 2 years. The HC ordered him to pay alimony and sustenance. He went to SC which upheld that the woman is not entitled to any compensation. As a bonus, it (re)defined the parameters of what is common law marriage. In India we have “no Live In” relationship, either you are legally married or in “common law marriage”. There is no other union in the legal framework of the country.

The SC held that for all purposes the relationship under common law marriage is pretty much the same as marriage. There is no legal sanction to start or end such relationships. SC upheld that habitual live-ins are not common law marriage. Neither is live in relationship illegal as adults have the right to decide their lives. It held that you should have been living, and perceived by society as such, for all practical purposes a “committed couple in marriage”. That is you should assume the responsibilities of a marriage, which means taking care of elders children/relatives etc. The court clearly distinguished such common law marriages as distinct from habitual live in relationships. In the court’s view what is the additional responsibility in the relationship which is much more than “a service provided by a keep, or a live in maid” is a genuine but poorly worded question. Now the focus is on the wording and not the issue that court has pointed out.

The court has established that if you want the benefits of a legal union, then even if your “union” doesn’t have legal sanction, it should have abided by the rules of the societal marriage/relationship for that entitlement. E.g. if both of you are already married and say that we want to live-in and give us the benefits of a marriage, it can’t happen. It is this simple fact that SC has pointed out.

It is really sad that all the “pseudo intellectuals” who are screaming that this judgment is retrograde are forgetting a simple axiom in life “You can’t have the cake and eat it too….”, i.e. rights and responsibilities come together you can never choose rights alone….

Friday, October 15, 2010

Watch out for the “Civil Society”

This is an appeal to the real civil society to watch against the “Civil Society” of the media now planting opinions and stances against the Allahabad HC’s judgment on the Ayodhya dispute.

Usually this "civil society" consists of a Professor of History from the Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi (preferably an atheist), a parsi aunty (at one that looks like one), a SenGupta or some similar intellectual sounding (named) third person, of course a member of the minority community (who will wake up intermittently and say “can we all just get along ?”). This "civil society" will be invited for forums and lectures by several NGOs in various cities. Their presentations are liberally (pun intended) punctuated with “How can we have a new interpretation”, “faith has been made permanent”, “medieval”, “Hinduism is sanctified”, “How can god be a party to legislation”.

There will be stage managed questions, answers nauseatingly predictable and this "civil society" will get its moment of glory in the local media (the Hindu/NDTV kind) often by inviting the editor/owner of the media as the “moderator”.

There is a section of media and several NGOs are upset that now there is legal recognition that “Hinduism was the default religion of India, for some time in the past”. This recognition if you think about is just stating the obvious and has no implications whatsoever on the secular India of today. For some reason this is anathema to the “civil society”. They are concerned that the “English speaking, pseudo intellectuals” have been totally ignored by this judgment, this is something they can’t live with.

In fact, the ridiculous extent to which history is presented in the textbooks of the government, where in the fact that ancient Hindu sites were demolished by invaders is ignored meticulously. There is plenty of evidence both material and historical fact, in terms of ruins of somnath, Krishna janmabhoomi, Ram Janmabhoomi, Vijayanagaram (on the material side) and even in Babar Nama glorifying the emperor for destroying and building “Masjid-e-jamnasthan”(historical records). Yet, the real civil society has to move heaven and earth and wait for 63 years of legal proceedings to get recognition.

So more than fundamentalists and politicians this “pseudo civil society” that is doing the lecture circuit in the country is the real threat.

There can be no better security in a society than your own neighbors rallying to protect you in times of trouble. For a person of “Minority” it is a relationship which results in a “Majority” that stands by their side. The real civil society will see reason in this statement, the “pseudo civil society” will see a threat to minority from the majority.

Watch out….

Saturday, October 2, 2010

It is time Bollywood started making Hindi Movies….

On the face of it, this looks like an odd statement, but of late if you look at most of the Hindi movies, they all look like dubbed Hollywood ones. My family had the misfortune of watching Anjaana Anjaani. This movie is the latest in a long line of movies, which are typically as follows:

1. Pick troublesome dating scenario in the west
2. Make that happen to Racially Indian people
3. Make them yuppies, dwell a little bit longer on their problems of not having enough of something, love from parents, friends etc.
4. Throw in some liberalism (either a gay theme, live in relationship etc., top marks if there is a pregnancy outside of marriage)
5. Finally, for a miniscule dose of realism make it a story that happens in the west (New York being the top destination for now)

Now go back and replay the so called “Hindi movies” you have seen in the recent past, that fall into the category above. There is a section in the Indian Society, which feels that life in the west particularly USA is way superior to any other society or country. Worse, all the happenings in the western life are innately normal and worst of all should be the norm for every other society as well. This group of people, is collectively known as “mall multiplex” crowd and a probably one millionth of the Indian society at large. They have a disproportionate share of presence in the media and mindshare in the “pseudo-intellectual” NDTV brigade, a whole system of review/ratings are evolved. The farther , from reality the movies the greater the brownie points given. Worse, movies that have been traditionally Indian are derided as artificial.

Trust me, I live in India and for the Indian society in even amongst the Lutyens crowd in New Delhi a gay theme or live in etc. are as unusual as a hero bashing up 20 people in a masala, so who died and gave these morons the right to decide one as way superior to other. When Arnold Schwarzenegger or james bond pull off incredible stunts it is “awesomely special” when a Salman Khan does a Dabang, it is "simplistically crass"…

In this context, hats off to Southern Cinema which has not been swayed such a slave mentality to the west and is able to churn out moves like Bommarillu in Telugu, Katradhu Tamizh in Tamil etc.

Appeal to the Karan Johar and his wannabes in Bollywood please start making Hindi movies and not the seemingly dubbed pseudo western Trash…

Time to introspect why Endhiran is such a big hit and Anjaana Anjaani is a flop. The fault is certainly not with the movie goers….