An Open Letter To The Prime Minister of India

An Open Letter To The Prime Minister of India

Sir, The Kashmiri electorate, especially youth,  has the right to choose their own representatives, without any back door political deal between the NC and the Congress. A fair election is the need of the hour.  Restoring confidence in the electoral process is the way forward for Kashmiris who wrestle daily with power shortages, political unrest and a destabilizing regional strategy that has not accomplished peace and security in everyday life.  No pre-poll alliance by any party, in advance of voters casting their ballots is in the best interest of Valley civil society and good governance. Let Kashmiris speak in their own individual voices at the polling booth if they want to.  No party can tell Kashmiris how to vote and who to vote for.  Let the people decide, with each vote they cast, without interference from political operatives who don’t want to put Kashmir first. There are several compelling reasons national, regional, inter-regional, global and geopolitical — why it is crucial in 2014, for Kashmiris to have the opportunity to vote their conscience, their dignity, their right to heal as a family and as a people.  The problem is not the Kashmiri people,  but their corrupt and opportunistic, greedy ‘leaders’ who play politics every day with their  lives, depriving them of peace, stability and security, quality education, power resources, job opportunities and a path to prosperity. Any backdoor deals  that overturn the political will of the Kashmiri electorate may well endanger the prospects to build a just and lasting peace in the Valley.  55% of all Valley youth will have reached voting age by 2014, a game-changer if youth participate in the election. The majority of youth are disillusioned and cynical about their current leaders and representatives.  However the youth are leaning forward and not holding back.   They want to have a say in their own future.  The youth are sick and tired of being exploited by selfish and self-interested politicians and their surrogates. They may well play a critical role in changing the outcome of the election. If they detect a behind the scenes power play to devalue their vote and disenfranchise their voice on issues of education and jobs, they may take...

Ban on porn and pornography of ban – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

Ban on porn and pornography of ban – Ravi Shanker Kapoor

The demand to ban watching of pornography is deeply flawed in theory; the consequences will be damning if it is accepted. To begin with, nobody has been able to draw a line between literature and pornography. Even great literature has been called obscene. Many classics, Indian as well as Western, can be targeted for promoting improper ideas or thoughts. And we are not discussing Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Ulysses, the books which faced the charges of obscenity even in the West. Madame Bovary and Anna Karenina could be accused of glamorizing, if not promoting, adultery. Owing to explicit description of women, the works of Kalidasa can also be seen as pornographic. Contemporary Indian literary works can face charges of exalting ideals and values that would harm any society. Agyey’s Shekhar: Ek jiwani has shades of incestuous relationship. Premchand’s Nirmala also has a similar tinge. The works of Manto and Ismat Chugtai have also been called obscene. So, if pornography is banned, literature will suffer vicious bowdlerization, if not proscription. Second, the law criminalizing the watching pornography will be neither observed nor enforced. The reason is that there are millions of people doing that; it would be practically impossible for the law-enforcement agencies to track all offenders and bring them to justice. At any rate, it will be a big responsibility for the police and the judiciary that are already burdened with too many cases. It would be a scandal to let them focus on an activity which is victimless. Third, banning of pornography will embolden moral cops. As the tagline of a soft drink said, Yeh dil maange more. Why not restrictions on item numbers in Hindi movies? Why not a ‘more decent’ dress code for models on ramps, IPL cheerleaders, etc.? Why not monitor the depiction of women on calendars, advertisements and so on? Four, the guardians of public morality will not stop at matters related to women; they would seek to come up with a longer list of prescription and proscription. Why not ban alcohol? The causation between crimes and drinking is very strong. Why not restrictions on foods which are high on calories and cholesterol and low on nutrition? Five, ban...

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