Open up your mind and your potential reaches infinity…

Archive for August 15, 2011

Why can’t most men understand this ?

Looking through the e-papers from the subcontinent, it is hardly ever a day when some incident of rape is not reported. Be it rape of a medical student near the bus stop in New Delhi,  a doctor on duty raped after being drugged in Dera Bugti, a minor girl raped by her dance teacher in Bombay, a girl partying with friends in the posh areas of Karachi, a woman gang raped on the order of a local jirga, in Muzaffargarh.

The scenarios differ, cities differ, but the crime remains the same. The mindset remains identical. Age is no bar. Infancy upwards, one finds all age groups being the victims.

Unfortunately this is one situation which sees no barriers of age, color, creed or class, the world over..

Rapes are on the rise in the subcontinent, too.

The statistics do the speaking here…

In 2010, 489 rape cases were reported in Delhi, India  while 459 in 2009.The figures given by Delhi Police reveal that a woman is raped every 18 hours or molested every 14 hours in the capital.

Similarly in Pakistan, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, estimates “every two hours a woman is raped in Pakistan and every eight hours a woman is subjected to gang-rape. Another report I came across claimed that at least 100 rapes are committed in Karachi alone everyday according to Additional Police Surgeon (APS. (

Needless to say,  majority are not even reported, and just a handful get punished, on either side of the border.

When this is the statistics of two megacities, one can fathom what would be the situation in the other places.

It was worse still to hear responsible men of these cities pass heartless judgements on rape and its victims..

In mid July, Commissioner of Police, Delhi advised women going out late night should be accompanied by a male or a driver, to avoid the risk of being raped.

I remember as a  child, in Delhi asking a friend of my fathers who was a senior police officer, ‘Uncle what do you do ?” And he had replied, “Beta, we protect you and others  in the city.” Probably he was just bluffing.

Almost at the same time , a video circulated on the social network,  in which Karachiite, Munawwar Hussain, the Emir of JI, in a TV interview, surpassed all these responsible individuals and commented that since bringing 4 witnesses for rape is next to impossible, it is better to ‘keep shut’ ones mouth and eyes, on the crime being committed. When the anchor attempted to argue, he simply totted at him the emotional gun of ‘denying’ the writing of Quran. The apathy in his talk and body language for the rape victim was appalling.

Not just our men, but their men also fail to understand…

A few months ago, a police officer from Toronto and a Russian priest from Moscow, had ‘advised’ that women should not “dress like sluts” or “wear miniskirts”, respectively, if they want to avoid rapes.

Not leaving behind  London in this race, Kenneth Clarke, the very justice secretary in UK, passed yet another piece of judgement that the rape committed by unknown offender is a ‘serious’ rape while implying that those committed while on a date isn’t. When the anchor interjected “rape is rape”, he replied: “No it is not”.

I wish all these men of responsibility knew the ‘secret’ of why the rapes occur?
It is certainly not because a woman was dressed so, or walked alone on the street late at night, or was attending a party with her friends. No certainly not. Rapes occur because some men want to rape. Yes it is that simple.

And why would these ‘some’ men want to rape ?
This has a simple answer too., Rape is the culmination of a series of systematic experiences that a boy is exposed to, from infancy to manhood—in which he is told, with or without so many words, that he is stronger, and a woman is not just weaker, but a commodity.

How I wish, more than anything else, these responsible people knew what does rape mean to a woman?
Rape is not merely the breach of a woman’s physical privacy, but is followed by cascade of short- and long-term problems, including physical injury and illness, psychological symptoms, economic costs, and death (National Research Council 1996).
In a summary, a rape victim is an embodiment of a severely disturbed and dysfunctional individual for rest of her life, unless properly rehabilitated.

So long as such a mindset persists, the legislation to punish rape would never be a deterrent.

We need to look towards primary prevention of this crime rather than just struggle for appropriate punishment after a case gets highlighted.

We have to empower our girls with ‘right information’ and break the barrier of rape being a taboo issue in front of these ‘innocent’ minds. It is these innocent minds which make them an easy prey.

A girl should be taught to be assertive. As one of the self help sites on rape prevention says: “ Look up as you walk and stand up straight; pretending as though you have two big panthers on either side of you as you walk may sound silly, but it can help boost confidence. Attackers are more likely to go for those who they think cannot defend themselves.”

They should also be told that over 90% of the perpetrators are known to the victims, even if it is an uncle, a cousin or a friend, if she feels the touch as uncomfortable, she must trust her gut and not let it continue.

Moreover, if we cannot change the mindset of our grown up men, we can at least guide our young sons to respect women and not consider them a commodity that is ‘available’.

Use of neo cortex, a sign of evolution, entails men to be able to restrain their behaviours and train their minds that nothing can be forced upon any woman, without her free will.

For those who cannot change their mindsets, a real need for harshest of punishments to the rapist as a mode of learning is mandatory too.

Till the healthier minds grow up, fear of punishment should be the real deterrent against this heinous crime.

Dr Ilmana Fasih.

A scene from the slutwalk in Delhi in July

National anthem of Pakistan

Pāk sarzamīn shād bād
Kishwar-e-hasīn shād bād
Tū nishān-e-`azm-e-`alīshān
Markaz-e-yaqīn shād bād

Blessed be the sacred land
Happy be the bounteous realm
Thou symbol of high resolve
O Land of Pakistan!
Blessed be thou centre of faith
Pāk sarzamīn kā nizām

Qaum, mulk, sultanat
Pā-inda tābinda bād!
Shād bād manzil-e-murād

The order of this sacred land
Is the might of the brotherhood of the people
May the nation, the country, and the state
Shine in glory everlasting!
Blessed be the goal of our ambition

Tarjumān-e-māzī, shān-e-hāl

The flag of the crescent and star
Leads the way to progress and perfection
Interpreter of our past, glory of our present
Inspiration of our future!
Shelter of God, the Glorious and Mighty

Written by: Hafiz Jallandhari, 1952
Composer:  Ahmed Ghulam Chagla in 1950
Fisrt played on Radio Pakistan : 13 August 1954.

Jana Gana Mana~Tagore

Jana gana mana ...the national anthem of India was written and composed by Rabindranath  Tagore in 1911.
It was first sung at the Calcutta Session of the Indian National Congress on 27 December 1911. Jana Gana Mana was officially adopted by the Constituent Assembly as the Indian national anthem on January 24, 1950.

There is a controversy that the poem was composed in December 1911, precisely at the time of the Coronation Durbar of George V, and is considered by some to be in praise of King George V and not God.
A British newspaper reported:
“The Bengali poet Babu Rabindranath Tagore sang a song composed by him specially to welcome the Emperor.” (Statesman, Dec. 28, 1911).

However, many historians aver that the newspaper reports cited above were misguided. The confusion arose in British Indian press since a different song, “Badshah Humara” written in Hindi by Rambhuj Chaudhary, was sung on the same occasion in praise of the monarch. The nationalist Indian press stated this difference of events clearly:-
The proceedings of the Congress party session started with a prayer in Bengali to praise God (song of benediction). This was followed by a resolution expressing loyalty to King George V. Then another song was sung welcoming King George V.” (Amrita Bazar Patrika, Dec.28,1911).

Even, Tagore himself in a letter mentioned:
“I should only insult myself if I cared to answer those who consider me capable of such unbounded stupidity as to sing in praise of George the Fourth or George the Fifth as the Eternal Charioteer leading the pilgrims on their journey through countless ages of the timeless history of mankind.” (Purvasa, Phalgun, 1354, p738.)

Jano Gano Mano Adhinaayako Jayo Hey,Bhaarato Bhaagyo Bidhaataa
Panjaabo Sindhu Gujaraato Maraathaa,Draabiro Utkalo Bango
Bindhyo Himaachalo Jamunaa Gangaa, Uchchhalo Jalodhi Tarango
Tabo Shubho Naamey Jaagey, Tabo Shubho Aashisho Maagey
Gaahey Tabo Jayogaathaa
Jano Gano Mangalo Daayako, Jayo Hey Bhaarato Bhaagyo Bidhaataa
Jayo Hey, Jayo Hey, Jayo Hey,Jayo Jayo Jayo, Jayo Hey

English Translation

Oh! the ruler of the minds of people, Victory be to You, dispenser of the destiny of India!
Punjab, Sindh, Gujarat, Maharashtra,Dravida(South India), Orissa, and Bengal,
The Vindhya, the Himalayas, the Yamuna, the Ganges,and the oceans with foaming waves all around
Wake up listening to Your auspicious name, Ask for Your auspicious blessings,
And sing to Your glorious victory.
Oh! You who impart well being to the people!
Victory be to You, dispenser of the destiny of India!
Victory to You, victory to You, victory to You, Victory, Victory, Victory, Victory to You!


Rabindranath Tagore ~If they answer not to thy call WALK ALONE,

Rabindranath Tagore was a larger than life personality –  poet,  philosopher, playwright, novelist, essayist, painter, composer and educator.

He was the first non Europeon to get a  Nobel Prize in 1911, which he  received as Nobel Prize in Literature for his collection of poems which were initially written in Bengali, but later translated in English by himself.

He is the only person who has the honour of being the lyricist of National Anthems of two countries –namely Jana Gana Mana of India and Shonar Bangla of Bangladesh.

He translated Shakespeare from English to Bengali in his teens. He also translated 100 poems of  saint Kabirdas from Hindi to English in 1930s , hence familiarising Kabir as the most read Indian poet to the west in  those times.

Rabindranath Tagore, was knighted with the title of ‘Sir’ when he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. However, after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1916, he gave up the knighthood in protest.

He, thrice, refused invitation to visit Canada in protest against the massacre of 376 native Indians in Komagat Maru incident in 1914. However, when he visited Canada at the invitation of National Council of Education to address at the triennial conference, Vancouver he made it a point to make his statement as follows:

“Canada must believe in great ideals. She will have to solve . . . the most difficult of all problems, the race problem.”

Tagore also had the opportunity to interact one on one with another ‘great’ of his times, namely Einstein. Their highly intellectual conversations are documented word to word. An  excerpt from the dialogue of one of the three meetings is as follows:

TAGORE: Melody and harmony are like lines and colors in pictures. A simple linear picture may be completely beautiful; the introduction of color may make it vague and insignificant. Yet color may, by combination with lines, create great pictures, so long as it does not smother and destroy their value. 
EINSTEIN: It is a beautiful comparison; line is also much older than color. It seems that your melody is much richer in structure than ours. Japanese music also seems to be so.

Y B Yeats another Nobel Laureatte oet who later wrote the Introduction of Tagore’s Geetanjili had the chance to read Tagore before he met him. He commented, ” I have carried these manuscripts with me for days, reading it in railway trains, on top of  omnibuses, inrestaurants and often had to close it lest some stranger see how much it moved me.”

Gandhi and Tagore’s differences are famous and still debated. While Gandhi started a non cooperation movement against the British, Tagore remarked,” …there was a thin line between nationalism and xenophobia —besides, hatred of the foreigner could later turn into a hatred of Indians different from oneself.”

He was particularly sceptical of the claim that non-co-operation had or would dissolve Hindu-Muslim differences. And ultimately Tagore was proved right on this issue.

The two  personalities met only twice, but kept a regular communication through articles and letters. And like two great human beings, they kept high regard for each other, despite differences.

Gandhi remarked:  “Gurudev and I early discovered certain differences of outlook between us. Our mutual affection has, however, never suffered by reason 0 f our differences … ” 

Another Nobel Peace Laureatte Aun San Su Kyi is another person who derives inspiration from Tagore. And claims her “most precious lesson” had been from Tagore: “If no one answers your call, walk alone.”( the above poem).

Apart from being a eastern mystic, Tagore was a visionary who articulated ideals of humanism, equality and freedom long before the League of Nations or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.  Tagore was  one of the strongest critics of war and colonialism, fascism, and the dangers of narrow-minded nationalism.

In the 1920s, he had already identified racism as the greatest problem in a fast globalizing world.

Perhaps looking at today’s world he was accurate in his prediction, sadly though. 

The following is a popular poem written by Rabindranth Tagore.  The music for the song was also composed by him.

Jodi Tor Dak Soone Keu Na Asse
Tobe Ekla Chalo re
Ekla Chalo Ekla Chalo Ekla Chalore

Jodi Keu Katha Na Kai Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Sabai Thake Mukh Firae Sabai Kare Bhay
Tabe Paran Khule
O Tui Mukh Fute Tor Maner Katha Ekla Balo re

Jodi Sabai Fire Jai Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Gahan Pathe Jabar Kale Keu Feere Na Chay
Tobe Pather Kanta
O Tui Rakta Makha Charan Tale Ekla Dalo re

Jodi Alo Na Dhare Ore Ore O Abhaga
Jodi Jharr Badale Andhar Rate Duar Deay Ghare
Tobe Bajranale
Apaan Buker Panjar Jaliey Nieye Ekla Jalo re

English translation: *Touching words*

If they answer not to thy call WALK ALONE,

If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,
O you unfortunate,
open thy mind and SPEAK OUT ALONE.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O you unfortunate,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track TRAVEL ALONE

If they do not hold up the light when the night is troubled with storm,
O you unfortunate,
with the thunder flame of pain ignite thy own heart
and let it BURN ALONE.

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