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Two brothers from Panvel have been arrested for uploading a photograph on a social networking website depicting one of them desecrating a Shiva lingam.
Police had arrested the duo while they were at a relative?s house in Panvel on Thursday. Both the accused were laying low after the photo they uploa..
In a white circus tent heated to 105 degrees, 600 not-quite-naked people contort their bodies into positions you never knew were possible. The men have perfect, rippling muscles. The women (and the majority of students here are female) are long and taut, with fatless stomachs curved just enough to be erotic and breasts that perk cheerfully upward. They sit with their legs tucked behind their heads, bodies arranged like pretzels, then gracefully deploy their arms, hips, hands, and legs to open like Georgia O’Keeffe flowers into variations on the split. The mats beneath them are damp with sweat. Overhead, great white plastic ventilating tubes, 70 feet long and 5 feet wide, pump humidity into the air. The vinyl of the tent drips with condensation, and a locker-room aroma hangs in the air.
I’ve only just arrived, but this bacchanal of bare flesh has been going on for two months. These men and women have come to the sprawling Town and Country Resort Hotel on the outskirts of San Diego to become certified instructors of Bikram Yoga, the controversial American variant that is performed at extreme temperatures. Each has paid $7,000 in tuition and $3,900 in residence fees (all students must stay at the Town and Country) for nine weeks of study, six days a week. This includes two daily 90-minute yoga sessions, as many as five more hours of posture clinic (where they learn to correct their spine or shoulders in particular asanas, or postures), and evening lessons in anatomy and Hindu philosophy followed by Bollywood movies and Indian soap operas until 2:30 or 3 in the morning. When they leave, they will be certified to teach at one of the 5,000 Bikram Yoga studios worldwide.
That’s assuming they’re able to execute the demanding series of postures that make up Bikram. Right now, the students are in head-to-knee pose, or dandayamana-janushirasana: From a standing position, lift one leg so that it’s at a right angle to your body, keeping your knee locked, then bend your upper body forward toward the lifted leg. Imagine the tableau, the kaleidoscope of slim, strong-hipped, bowed bodies, the scene multiplied by the mirrors lining three of the four walls. Now it’s camel pose, or ustrasana: On your knees, hands on your hips, bend back until you grab your heels with your hands, then thrust your chest into the air. Before the session is over, 50 or so students have rolled up their mats and left, overwhelmed. I hear what sounds like the chop-chop-chopping of helicopter blades and realize it’s my own heartbeat. The ceiling spins. I roll over, open my eyes, and watch the ballet of it in the mirrors. I see more than I bargained for. Because of the heat, everyone is wearing the smallest, tightest thing they can, and, especially with the sweat, the clothes do not cover so much as exaggerate.
Morning practice is bigger than usual today because this is “Intensive Training Week,” when many come for the recertification required to maintain their teaching credentials. Most are working through the 84-posture intensive series, the two-hour-plus advanced routine practiced by the elite. This is the portion of the program that is personally supervised by Bikram Choudhury, the 64-year-old founder of Bikram Yoga. Only the best, bravest, and most beautiful practice at the feet of the guru, who sits cross-legged on a giant inflatable leather throne against the back wall. He’s in a black Speedo, bare-chested, his hair tied in a topknot. His triceps stand out like pistons. Sometimes a woman will brush his hair or wash and massage his feet. He resembles a cartoon genie on his magic carpet. Between cell-phone calls, he barks Bengali-inflected criticisms and corrections into his headset. He speaks only in exclamation points.
“You, Miss Teeny-Weeny Bikini! Spread your legs! You, Mr. Masturbation! Until I say ‘Change,’ you do not move a muscle!”
It’s hard to tell if these directives are intended for anyone in particular or if Choudhury is just working the crowd. He keeps up a patter of bawdy, sexually suggestive, often male-bashing banter throughout the session. Students—men, especially—have been known to complain, but for most, Bikram’s commentary is part of the package. He’s built his business, which has been estimated to earn him nearly $5 million a year, in large part by applying a veneer of eroticism to this ancient spiritual practice. For the women here, the “boss,” as he calls himself (and everyone else), offers a path to sexual awakening. For the men, Bikram Yoga is a great workout, and maybe an opportunity to get close to a few kundalini-stimulated hard bodies once class lets out.
Choudhury hums “Killing Me Softly” into the mic of his headset as his pupils struggle to hold a posture, even the strongest among them trembling. At last he gives the signal to change.
“This posture called dirty old bitch! Because not even one more inch can you stretch!”
UNDER THE BIG TOP: Choudhury strikes a favorite non-yoga pose.
Born in Kolkata, India, Where Yoga is a competitive sport as well as a spiritual practice, Bikram Choudhury claims to have become the All-India National Yoga Champion at the age of 13. He left in 1970 after his guru, Bishnu Ghosh (the younger brother of Paramahansa Yogananda, who is generally credited with bringing yoga to the West), instructed him to spread the practice throughout the world. Choudhury’s principal innovation—heat—is supposed to increase flexibility and prevent injury, but he came to it by necessity. In Japan, where he first taught, he found himself shivering through his postures during winter, so he brought in space heaters. Suddenly it was easier for his students to lock their knees and touch their palms to the floor. As an added benefit, the saunalike temperatures heightened their sense of euphoria and purification after workouts. In 1972, when he launched Bikram’s Yoga College of India in a tiny studio in the North Beach section of San Francisco, the heaters came with him. Bikram Yoga was born.
Nithyananda, who was in the centre of a sex scandal, has inexplicably been conferred the honorific title of ‘Mahamandaleshwar’.
The Mahanirvani Akhara of ‘naga’ sadhus has conferred this title on controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda.
“Swami Nithyananda is a prominent seer who has been taking part in all the Kumbh congregations. He was conferred with the title of Mahamandaleshwar at a ceremony held at our camp in the ongoing Kumbh Mela Wednesday night,” Sachiv (secretary) of Mahanirvani Akhara Mahant Ravindra Puri told newspersons on Thursday.
The move was aimed at dispelling the notion that seers from the south were not given due representation in akharas, he said.
Asked about the controversies surrounding Nithyananda, Puri said “Akharas believe in giving people an opportunity for redemption. Moreover, the allegations against him are his personal matter and have nothing to do with the Mahanirvani Akhara.”
Swami Narendra Giri of the Niranjani Akhara said the title of ‘Mahamandaleshwar’ is conferred in the presence of representatives of all the 13 akharas. “In this case, the formality was not observed and hence conferring of the title cannot be said to have been in order,” he said. He, however, evaded a direct reply when asked about the propriety of conferring the title on the controversial godman.
Meanwhile, the self-styled godman who had been staying in the Kumbh Mela for the past fortnight, has left for Varanasi, sources in the Mahanirvani Akhara said.
The picture is similarly shocking for women across India. In 2011, 65% of men surveyed said they thought it was OK to beat a woman; last month, after the brutal Delhi gang rape, a survey showed that 92% of men in Delhi knew someone who had harassed or sexually assaulted a woman.
The temporary ordinance just signed by India’s President Pranab Mukherjee toughens penalties for rape (in fact, it allows for the death penalty, against the recommendation of the panel headed by Jagdish Sharan Verma, former chief justice of India, who was tasked with suggesting revisions to the rape laws). It also adds penalties for stalking, acid attacks and trafficking of women and children.
But the ordinance ignores recommendations from the Verma committee to criminalise marital rape and remove barriers to prosecuting soldiers for rape.
It also changes the legal term rape to sexual assault, making it gender neutral. That might seem a progressive move; many countries, including the UK and the US, already have legal language that makes sexual violence a crime, whether perpetrated by males or females. But many activists fear that India’s notoriously slow and ineffective legal system will become bogged down as men accused of rape file counter charges against their victims, saying the women sexually assaulted them.
These omissions in the new law leave big gaps in protection for women and leave many wondering whether the government is at all serious about ending the epidemic of violence against women and girls.
At root, all these horrors grow from cultural attitudes that see women and children as worth less than men. And it’ll take more than changes in the law to make the key shift here.
The child sex abuse epidemic demands that there be training for police, courts, social workers and medical personnel so they know how to properly respond to child sex abuse. There must be reliable monitoring, oversight and enforcement of the law and related policies – and above all, perpetrators must know that sexual abuse of children will be punished.
Meanwhile, Avaaz has proposed a massive, sustained public education campaign across India to cure the epidemic of violence against women by driving home the message that it’s always wrong. The effort would enlist top celebrities from the worlds of sport and entertainment, as well as social leaders across the board, in a high-profile programme of media outreach and engagement focused on transforming people’s attitudes.
It won’t be cheap; to be effective, this campaign will likely cost about 50 rupees (about $1) per person per year. That works out to $1.2bn annually for at least four years running – and core education programmes should carry on for decades.
But look at the price, in money as well as human suffering, of the current situation. Keeping India’s women and children under a state of siege has untold costs, from stifling economic growth to the emotional and psychological stresses of constant fear and uncertainty.
Avaaz activists in India drove a symbolic pink bus through New Delhi to demand a mass public education campaign to cure India’s rape epidemic (Avaaz)
This type of campaign can change even deeply entrenched social attitudes. In the US, drink driving – once seen as relatively harmless – is now widely frowned upon. Cigarette smoking – once something a majority of adults did – has been socially stigmatised and continues to shrink. In India, the Bell Bajao campaigndramatically increased awareness of laws and discussion on domestic violence.
So by continuing to strengthen legal protections for women and children, as well as embarking on a focused, sustained campaign to shift cultural attitudes, India can end the culture of impunity for abusers – and help set the global standard for how a just and compassionate society treats them.
There may never be a better moment to fix this problem, and make sure that something good finally comes from an appalling tragedy on a Delhi bus.
Read more: Check out Curing India’s Rape Epidemic: The Education Option, Avaaz’s forward-looking proposal for making the difference for women in India. Then pledge below to help end the global war on women – and share this with everyone.
Sources: Avaaz, India Today, Wall Street Journal, Al Jazeera, Association for Democratic Reforms, CNN, Unicef, Christian Science Monitor, Human Rights Watch, International Centre for Research on Women, NDTV, IBN Live, Times of India, First Post, Tehelka, Washington Post, National Institutes of Health, Bell Bajao
What is not in the above CBC/CP propaganda feed is that the cop was out
of shape. Really wasn’t fit for the job.
The PMs son had some woman hate speech statements about women not in
Canadian’s censored news, a sure indication about how the degenerate
member of parliament was raised yet with this in mind, anyone believe
the lies from his father the PM?
Gets better. Look at how quick the cops arrest women for a out of shape
fat cop yet dozens of gang rapes have occurred since and not many
These are not ordinary rapes. Lots of witnesses and no one sees
anything. Poor woman in above has been in critical condition ever since
and needs organ transplants including intestines. Sounds graphic? Yep,
this was torture-rape.
Gets even better, two cops have been suspended and government is not
saying why. Did they participate, or just let the perps go leaving the
woman to die? Amazing how witnesses disappear in corrupt India.
India also overlooks under age brothels.
But no arrests. This rabbit rat brained Indian government
don’t give a ***t about their women, sisters, mothers….low life human
garbage runs the show over there.
But the PMs son does show the attitude and why nothing gets done. Just
more liar politicians.
India, you are disgusting.
Liberal-socialism is a great idea so long as the credit is good and
other people pay for it. When the credit runs out and those that pay
for it leave, they can all share having nothing but debt and discontentment.