Today, we know that while floods, droughts, fires, earthquakes, and tsunamis do not discriminate on the grounds of caste, religion or gender, their impact is profoundly discriminatory. Studies have shown that it is women (and the poor and marginalized) who bear their heaviest burden.
When Swarna Rajagopalan, a political scientist who specialises in gender issues, mentioned the g-word at a meeting to discuss natural disasters, she was told curtly: “This is not about gender. It’s about an emergency.”
That was 10 years ago.
Today, we know that while floods, droughts, fires, earthquakes and tsunamis do not discriminate on the grounds of caste, religion or gender, their impact is profoundly discriminatory. Studies have shown that it is women (and the poor and marginalised) who bear their heaviest burden.
Continue reading “Women should lead the way in rebuilding Kerala”
There’s a sickness infecting some of our boys caused by a toxic combination of over-indulgent parents, schools obsessed with ‘brand image’ and the normalising of sex and violence by mass media.
On Instagram, the seventh-grader threatens to have his teacher and her daughter raped. The eighth-grader emails two of his ‘very hot’ teachers and invites them to a ‘candle light date’ since “I feel like f***ing you right now.”
These kids are respectively 12 and 13 years old. They study in a posh Gurugram school and it is tempting to see them as aberrations, silly boys with raging hormones.
Yet, how do we continue to ignore a rising graph — all involving young male perpetrators — that includes at its most extreme, the murder of a seven-year-old student in another school allegedly by a senior student of the same school because he wanted the exams postponed? Or a 17-year-old who is allowed to drive his family Mercedes and ends up killing another man? Or the two teenagers who shoot to death an Uber driver? Continue reading “Over-indulgent parents and brand-conscious schools are failing our kids”
Delhi’s well-off function as independent city-states with their own security, water filtration and supply, power back-ups and, now, air purifiers. Our kids don’t study in government schools, we don’t use public transport, we don’t seek treatment at government hospitals. With no stake in public services, we don’t demand better quality or, for that matter, any quality at all.
Just as surely as the seasons change, our angst at the state of our cities will pass. The capital’s toxic air will cede to other crises. Again.
In Chennai and Mumbai, the annual rite of monsoon flooding will hold sway, then the rains will cease and we’ll move on. Again.
Every season, we reignite the same debates, ask the same questions and read the same analyses.
Take the zeitgeist, air pollution and its unwavering script: Children and seniors advised to remain indoors; schools shut, construction stopped, traffic rationed. Relax, says our environment minister, this isn’t the Bhopal gas tragedy. How reassuring. When the weather changes, the haze will lift and all will be forgotten. Continue reading “We, the elite of India, are to blame for the state of our cities”