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Archive for category Suppression of Women in Hindu India

A Grim Independence Day for India

A Grim Independence Day for India
August 15, 2013
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, salutes during an Independence Day ceremony in New Delhi on Aug. 15
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, right, salutes during an Independence Day ceremony in New Delhi on Aug. 15

The Indian government tried to make this year’s Independence Day a special one, despite the country’s economic woes. That was never going to be easy, with the rupee continuing its long slide to record lows. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged the problems of India’s economy in his speech at the Red Fort, the Muslim-Mughal-era citadel in the center of Delhi. “Economic growth has slowed down at present, and we are working hard to remedy the situation,” Singh said as he marked the anniversary of the end of British rule in 1947.


In the days before the Aug. 15 holiday, the government tried to change the subject by publicizing some impressive military breakthroughs. The country activated the atomic reactor for its first Made-in-India nuclear submarine over the weekend, for instance, and followed that up with the launch of its first home-developed aircraft carrier. The 37,500-ton ship won’t actually be operational for several more years, so the debut seemed timed to provide a nice setup for Independence Day.


Then disaster struck. A day before the holiday, an explosion rocked a diesel-powered Indian navy submarine docked in Mumbai. The blast and the fire that followed left 18 Indian sailors dead. India is “deeply pained that we lost the submarine,” the Prime Ministers aid in his speech. “We pay homage to the brave hearts we have lost.”


At the same time that it was trying to use military wins to distract from the country’s economic problems, the government was trying to stem the currency’s weakness. Over the past few weeks, the finance ministry and the central bank have announced measures to prop up the rupee. The Reserve Bank of India yesterday cut the amount Indian companies can invest abroad: The limit had been 400 percent of a company’s net worth, but on Aug.14 the central bank lowered that to 100 percent.


The RBI also curtailed the amount of money Indians can send overseas: The annual limit had been $200,000, and the central bank cut that to $75,000. The central bank has also tried to make foreign-exchange deposits more attractive to local banks by exempting non-rupee deposits of Indians abroad from requirements to keep 4 percent in cash and invest 23 percent in government-approved securities.


The government is trying to discourage Indians from buying gold, too. The country is the world’s largest consumer of the glittery metal—and all the gold comes from abroad. That’s a major source of the country’s trade problems. Last month the government increased tariffs on gold and other precious metals while also increasing taxes on gold. Not everyone is impressed. In a report published on Aug. 14, HSBC (HBC) economist Leif Eskesen called the steps “a new set of plumbing measures” to curb oil, gold, and nonessential imports and open up for more external debt financing. “Will this be enough to fix the leaks?” he wrote. “We do not think so. Ultimately structural reform implementation is the solution.”


Einhorn is Asia regional editor in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Hong Kong bureau. Follow him on Twitter @BruceEinhorn.





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OUCH! Hindu god Shiv’s Penis (Lingam) Crushed By a Student in India.

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..

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The Overheated, Oversexed Cult of Bikram Choudhury

At an advanced teacher-training session in San Diego, the inventor of “hot yoga” instructs a new generation of gurus. Is he leading them to enlightenmentor hosting a giant hookup party?


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.

Fuck this ass hole he is involved in sexual harassment case with her students bloody pervert
Posted 3/19/2013 1:09:49pm
by Sonia

Read More http://www.details.com/culture-trends/critical-eye/201102/yoga-guru-bikram-choudhury#ixzz2R5kxegIj

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The Elephant in the Room


The Elephant in the Room

The biggest pain in Asia isn’t the country you’d think.


Think for a moment about which countries cause the most global consternation. Afghanistan. Iran. Venezuela. North Korea. Pakistan. Perhaps rising China. But India? Surely not. In the popular imagination, the world’s largest “democracy” evokes Gandhi, Bollywood, and chicken tikka. In reality, however, it’s India that often gives global governance the biggest headache.


Of course, India gets marvelous press. Feature stories from there typically bring to life Internet entrepreneurs, hospitality industry pioneers, and gurus keeping spiritual traditions alive while lovingly bridging Eastern and Western cultures.

But something is left out of the cheery picture. For all its business acumen and the extraordinary creativity unleashed in the service of growth, today’s India is an international adolescent, a country of outsize ambition but anemic influence. India’s colorful, stubborn loquaciousness, so enchanting on a personal level, turns out to be anything but when it comes to the country’s international relations. On crucial matters of global concern, from climate change to multilateral trade, India all too often just says no.

India, first and foremost, believes that the world’s rules don’t apply to it. Bucking an international trend since the Cold War, successive Indian governments have refused to sign nuclear testing and nonproliferation agreements — accelerating a nuclear arms race in South Asia. (India’s second nuclear tests in 1998 led to Pakistan’s decision to detonate its own nuclear weapons.)

Once the pious proponent of a nuclear-free world, New Delhi today maintains an attitude of “not now, not ever” when it comes to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. As defense analyst Matthew Hoey recently wrote in theBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, “India’s behavior has been comparable to other defiant nuclear states [and] will undoubtedly contribute to a deteriorating security environment in Asia.”

Not only does India reject existing treaties, but it also deep-sixes international efforts to develop new ones. In 2008, India single-handedly foiled the last Doha round of global trade talks, an effort to nail together a global deal that almost nobody loved, but one that would have benefited developing countries most. “I reject everything,” declared Kamal Nath, then the Indian commerce and industry minister, after grueling days and sleepless nights of negotiations in Geneva in the summer of 2008.

On climate change, India has been no less intransigent. In July, India’s environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, pre-emptively told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton five months before the U.N. climate summit in Copenhagen that India, a fast-growing producer of greenhouse gases, would flat-out not accept binding carbon emissions targets.

India happily attacks individuals, as well as institutions and treaty talks. As ex-World Bank staffers have revealed in interviews with Indian media, India worked behind the scenes to help push Paul Wolfowitz out of the World Bank presidency, not because his relationship with a female official caused a public furor, but because he had turned his attention to Indian corruption and fraud in the diversion of bank funds.

By the time a broad investigation had ended — and Robert Zoellick had become the new World Bank president — a whopping $600 million had been diverted, as the Wall Street Journal reported, from projects that would have served the Indian poor through malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and drug-quality improvement programs. Calling the level of fraud “unacceptable,” Zoellick later sent a flock of officials to New Delhi to work with the Indian government in investigating the accounts. In a 2009 interview with the weekly India Abroad, former bank employee Steve Berkman said the level of corruption among Indian officials was “no different than what I’ve seen in Africa and other places.”

India certainly affords its citizens more freedoms than China, but it is hardly a liberal democratic paradise. India limits outside assistance to nongovernmental organizations and most educational institutions. It restricts the work of foreign scholars (and sometimes journalists) and bans books. Last fall, India refused to allow Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan journalists to attend a workshop on environmental journalism.

India also regularly refuses visas for international rights advocates. In 2003, India denied a visa to the head of Amnesty International, Irene Khan. Although no official reason was given, it was likely a punishment for Amnesty’s critical stance on the government’s handling of Hindu attacks that killed as many as 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat the previous year. Most recently, a delegation from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a congressionally mandated body, was denied Indian visas. In the past, the commission had called attention to attacks on both Muslims and Christians in India.

Nor does New Delhi stand up for freedom abroad. In the U.N. General Assembly and the U.N. Human Rights Council, India votes regularly with human rights offenders, international scofflaws, and enemies of democracy. Just last year, after Sri Lanka had pounded civilians held hostage by the Tamil Tigers and then rounded up survivors of the carnage and put them in holding camps that have drawn universal opprobrium, India joined China and Russia in subverting a human rights resolution suggesting a war crimes investigation and instead backed a move that seemed to congratulate the Sri Lankans.

David Malone, Canada’s high commissioner in New Delhi from 2006 to 2008 and author of a forthcoming book, Does the Elephant Dance? Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy, says that, when it comes to global negotiations, “There’s a certain style of Indian diplomacy that alienates debating partners, allies, and opponents.” And looking forward? India craves a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council, seeking greater authority in shaping the global agenda. But not a small number of other countries wonder what India would do with that power. Its petulant track record is the elephant in the room.


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STOP DEGRADATION OF WOMEN IN INDIA: How India can end the sexual attacks on women and children

Sex scandal ‘swamy’ Nithyananda named ‘Mahamandaleshwar’


By NitiCentral Staff on February 14, 2013


 Sex scandal 'swamy' Nithyananda named 'Mahamandaleshwar' 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.




Leaving gaps

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.

Laws are not enough

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



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