Thursday, April 30, 2015

Marital Rape and our ostrich GOI

The Government Of India has just decided not to give women any relief from Marital Rape, with those tired old excuses of the sanctity ( really ?) of the  so-called sacrament that leads to (more often Disastrous) marriages,  to uphold a Society already fractured by the ancient and modern evils.
As usual the first claim is of upholding an ancient label  “Marriage is a sacrament, a ritual”, with the belief that it is unique to our culture.
Sorry to disappoint you, GOI’s self appointed defenders of Marital Rape.  You have competition, severe competition, even if we don’t have exact figures.
South Carolina in the US of A., sees 1 woman dead every 12 days, more than 300 in the last three years.  That is more than their soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The women were killed by their own men, whether boy friends, ex or current husbands.
The most common reason quoted for their not quitting when domestic violence crosses a critical threshold is that they took their marriage vows very seriously, especially the one that says “….. till Death do us part.”
The bright side of that picture is that steps are being taken to address this very real social problem across that whole country, with varied success in other states, even a nil death return in one state.
 Our heads remain, ostrich-like, stuck in the sand.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015


What made this March 2015 Pune trip truly awesome was a surprise twist:
On my visit to Pabal, the sarpanch of the Pabal Gram Panchayat, Savita Bagote decided on a surprise ceremony to felicitate me in the traditional fashion:  a shawl and a shriphal (coconut) presented.
The honor was for being the first lekhika (Woman writer)  who had done so much research on Mastani and then written the book in English-- another first;  my book took the story of Mastani out of the realm of myths to retell her story more authentically and also took it out of Pune into the whole wide world outside too.

Even more heartening for all of us associated with Mastani and the people of Pabal was the fact that i had been part of the instigating persons in forming a Baji Rao Mastani memorial committee, which after months of efforts was able to instigate an authentic  restoration of the Mastani  property in Pabal, by the Archeological survey.
At the time of their marriage, Mastani's father, Maharaj Chhatrassal of Bundelkhand had presented a huge jagir in Madhya Bharat to Baji Rao, one which gave him access to Delhi, without going through Rajasthan and the numerous kingdoms there.   When they arrived in Pune,  Baji Rao bestowed on Mastani three villages, Pabal, Kendur and Loni --- yes the one famous for Raj Kapoor's association with it!
Once the restoration  is completed and the property is able, hopefully to be put on the proposed Mastani tourist trail, along with the magnificent Mastani Mahal in the renowned Kelkar Museum in Pune, it could spin off into jobs and opportunity for the young people of Pabal.   a Wonderful thought for all of us.
For me, the thought that Pabal had recognized the role I played in all that, was truly a lifetime achievement!!