Hell house ‘shelter’ horror

Muzaffarpur is emblematic of the large-scale systemic abuse of institutionalized children that we choose not to see.

One fought with her stepmother and ran away from home. Another was sold into prostitution and rescued in a raid. And a third was brought in by her mother who was too poor to feed her.

The girls who end up at shelter homes are, very often, nobody’s children; society’s most vulnerable. They have no one to ask, are you okay?

Not even the State whose job it is to protect them.

While the scale of horror at the state-funded hell house shelter in Muzaffarpur run by the politically connected Brajesh Thakur is staggering — 29 of 42 minor girls reporting rape, torture and being drugged — it is not unprecedented. Continue reading “Hell house ‘shelter’ horror”

Mob at Mumbai cinema diminished spirit of national anthem

Who decides what is nationalism and how best it is to be displayed? For some, standing up for the national anthem is tokenism; for others it is a sacred duty. For some, our flag and national anthem are the glues of nationhood; for others, nationalism is best expressed through being good citizens.

In 2009, months after the 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai, Ram Gopal Varma made a film called Rann. A critique of media’s insatiable appetite for TRPs, the movie’s title track was a remix of the national anthem, with the added word rann (or war). Jana Gana Mana rann hai, is rann mein zakhmi hua hai Bharat ka bhagya vidhata and so on. To nobody’s great surprise, the Censor Board raised objections and Varma had to drop the song.

What a long way we’ve come since 2009. Then, I wrote about how Varma had crossed a line. But nobody suggested that he was being unpatriotic or less than Indian or should be dispatched to Pakistan.

Now, forget about remixes, people who fail to stand during the playing of our national anthem are abused, threatened and ejected from movie halls by vigilante audiences. Continue reading “Mob at Mumbai cinema diminished spirit of national anthem”