RULE OF LAW



A few words may be said here about the concept of Rule of Law as other ideas
and concepts relating to Constitutionalism will be discussed in due course in the
following pages.
The doctrine of Rule of Law is ascribed to DICEY whose writing in 1885 on
the British Constitution included the following three distinct though kindered
ideas in Rule of Law:


(i) Absence of Arbitrary Power : No man is above law. No man is punishable
except for a distinct breach of law established in an ordinary
legal manner before ordinary courts. The government cannot punish
any one merely by its own fiat. Persons in authority in Britain do not
enjoy wide, arbitrary or discretionary powers. Dicey asserted that
wherever there is discretion there is room for arbitrariness.


(ii) Equality before Law : Every man, whatever his rank or condition, is subject
to the ordinary law and jurisdiction of the ordinary courts. No man is
above law.


(iii) Individual Liberties : The general principles of the British Constitution,
and especially the liberties of the individual, are judge-made, i.e.,
these are the result of judicial decisions determining the rights of private
persons in particular cases brought before the courts from time to
time.


DICEY asserted that the above-mentioned features existed in the British Constitution. The British Constitution is judge-made and the rights of the individual form part of, and pervade, the Constitution. The rights of the individuals are part of the Constitution because these are secured by the courts. The British Constitutional Law is not the source, but the consequence, of the rights of the individuals as defined by the courts.
DICEY was thinking of the common law freedoms, such as, personal liberty, freedom of speech, public meeting, etc. What DICEY was saying was that certain Constitutions proclaim rights but do not provide adequate means to enforce those rights. In the British Constitution, on the other hand, there is inseparable connection between the means of enforcing a right and the right to be enforced.
Referring in particular to the Habeas Corpus Act, DICEY said that it was “worth a hundred Constitutional articles guaranteeing individual liberty.” DICEY however accepted that there was rule of law in the U.S.A., because there the
rights declared in the Constitution could be enforced, and the Constitution gave legal security to the rights declared.
The third principle is peculiar to Britain. In many modern written Constitutions, the basic rights of the people are guaranteed in the Constitution itself. This is regarded as a better guarantee for these rights and even in Britain there exists at present strong opinion that basic rights should be guaranteed. DICEY’S thesis has been criticized by many from various angles but, the basic tenet expressed by him is that power is derived from, and is to be exercised according to law.

In substance, DICEY’S emphasis, on the whole, in his enunciation
of Rule of Law is on the absence of arbitrary power, and discretionary power,
equality before Law, and legal protection to certain basic human rights, and these
ideas remain relevant and significant in every democratic country even to-day.
It is also true that dictated by the needs of practical government, a number of
exceptions have been engrafted on these ideas in modern democratic countries,
e.g., there is a universal growth of broad discretionary powers of the administration;
administrative tribunals have grown; the institution of preventive detention
has become the normal feature in many democratic countries. Nevertheless,
the basic ideas are worth preserving and promoting.
The concept of Rule of Law has been discussed in several international forums.
The effort being made is to give it a socio-legal-economic content and a
supranational complexion.
Rule of Law has no fixed or articulate connotation though the Indian courts refer
to this phrase time and again. The broad emphasis of Rule of Law is on absence
of any center of unlimited or arbitrary power in the country, on proper
structuration and control of power, absence of arbitrariness in the government.
Government intervention in many daily activities of the citizens is on the increase
creating a possibility of arbitrariness in State action. Rule of Law is useful as a
counter to this situation, because the basic emphasis of Rule of Law is on exclusion
of arbitrariness, lawlessness and unreasonableness on the part of the government.

Best Lifestyle Blogs to Follow in 2021

Lifestyle Blog niche is one of the most competitive blogging niches around. Lifestyle bloggers are competing against digital lifestyle magazines, in a niche that is already quite saturated. So lifestyle blogs that gain a large readership are of a high standard in both design and content.

Online mags often have huge budgets, a print edition as well as digital, and content that is varied and expertly written, with professional photos. But lifestyle blogs have an edge in that they can supply new content every day if they so wish. Lifestyle blogs are free to access whereas digital magazine editions can only be accessed through paid subscriptions.

For a lifestyle blog to thrive, the authors need to provide excellent, accurate content and photos that create interest and capture the readers’ imaginations. Lifestyle bloggers have raised their standards to compete with the best of both online mags and other lifestyle blogs.

But what exactly constitutes a lifestyle blog?

Let’s find out!

Defining Lifestyle Blogs

A lifestyle blog is defined as digital content representing the author’s everyday life and interests. The word “lifestyle” according to the dictionary means “habits, attitudes, moral standards, which together constitute the way of life of a given person or group”. (source: dictionary.com)

As a result, lifestyle blogs can fall into many micro-niches. This allows bloggers to provide content for a specific target audience. Lifestyle bloggers often promote products, brands, and services to monetize their blogs. So it’s almost essential that the person behind the blog is well-versed in whatever the specific topics are.

Here’s a shortlist of typical Lifestyle Blogging niches:

  • Luxury Lifestyle Blogs
  • Foodie Lifestyle Blogs
  • Home & Garden Lifestyle Blogs
  • Fashion Blogs & Beauty Lifestyle Blogs
  • Travel Blogs & Photography Lifestyle Blogs
  • Health & Fitness Lifestyle Blogs
  • Men’s Lifestyle Blogs
  • Natural Living Lifestyle Blogs
  • Outdoor Lifestyle Blogs
  • And Lifestyle Blogs for people with children (also called mom blogs or parenting blogs.)

Sometimes even these categories get split into various combinations, depending on the blogger. So you could end up with a Fashion and Travel Blog, A Natural Living Mom Blog, or even a Foodie and Photography Lifestyle blog.

Lifestyle blog vs. personal blog

Lifestyle blogs are not personal blogs because they focus more on users (readers). The content is created here for the reader and his expectations. What’s more, lifestyle blogs focus on the author’s benefits, not just on telling stories.

In personal blogs, the most important are the author’s emotions and thoughts, who expresses his opinions, writes about his experiences, feelings, reflections. In the personal blog, the author himself is the most important, not the reader.

I can’t write about lifestyle blogs without mentioning a few from each niche. I’ve tried to give you a selection of the most captivating from each subgenre (or micro-niche). These Lifestyle blogs check all the boxes. They are fun, relevant, trendy, polished, and loaded with content that appeals to a specific target audience.

A Quick Note To Would-Be Lifestyle Bloggers

Before I launch into “Our Best Of” list, a word of caution to would-be lifestyle bloggers; even if you have many areas of interest yourself, try to whittle your content down to cover only one or two main topics. This helps when you are trying to grow a steady, loyal readership.

Male readers don’t want to read about fishing, fashion, and raising a brood of ankle snappers! A young professional will not be interested in “Ten Tips To Wean Your Child off Breast Milk”, and your Luxury Lifestyle blog will not impress our Tree Hugging friends who will recoil in horror at the decadence of luxury lifestyles! Readers who enjoy luxury will also not be impressed with Frugal Living!

On the other hand, the lifestyle blogging niche allows the most freedom for bloggers who genuinely do have a vast array of topics that pair well together. If you can create the content and maintain the variety, then you will create space for a wider readership.

Top blogs in lifestyle category

This collection of blogs showcases the variety and range of lifestyle blogs that get it right!

1. Goop.com

Goop was one of the first lifestyle blogs to hit the circuit, way back in 2008. The brainchild of actress and mother, Gwyneth Paltrow, Goop covers everything for the modern woman. She focuses on wellness and how to create a balance between parenting and work. Something all working moms know about! She has a strong team behind her and Goop is a mini-empire in its own right.

Goop covers:

  • Beauty
  • Food & Home
  • Style
  • Travel
  • Wellness

Target Audience: Women of all ages and enlightened men.

2. The Pioneer Woman (thepioneerwoman.com)

This is a lifestyle blog that stands out for me. Unlike so many lifestyle blogs, Ree Drummond blogs about a lifestyle that all Americans know and love. Pure salt of the earth, rustic ranch life. The blog packs a punch! Ree has combined recipes, style, beauty, home & life, food & cooking, news, and entertainment. And great giveaways. She started as a lone ranger but now has a team of editors assisting her in keeping the blog relevant, trendy, and homegrown.

Target Audience: People keen on ranch-style living.

*3. Brightbazaarblog.com

Bright Bazaar blog was founded in 2009 by Will Taylor. This is the place where Will blogs about his love for colorful design, travel, and fashion. This blog is recommended by esteemed publishing houses Elle Decor, Martha Stewart Living, and many others.

If you need more home inspiration, look at other famous bloggers in the article: The Best Interior Design Blogs.

Target Audience: People who love design.

4. Cup of Jo (cupofjo.com)

Joanna Goddard is a perfect example of what can be achieved through blogging. Joanna launched Cup of Jo in 2007, as a hobby. At that time her career was quite a high-powered one. She has loads of editorial experience and her resume brags the likes of Cosmo, Bene, Glamour, and New York.

Today Cup of Jo has a team of writers and is Joanna’s full-time gig. She lives in Brooklynn with her husband and two kids. The blog covers relationships, design, food, style, travel, culture, and motherhood. This is a great blog for women.

Target Audience: Women and mothers of all ages

. Say Yes (sayyes.com)

. Say Yes (sayyes.com)

swami vivekananda’s teachings and philosophies

Swami Vivekananda was a hindu monk from india. He played a significant role in the growing indian nationalism of 19th and 20th century, reinterpreting and harmonising certain aspects of Hinduism. His philosophy was instrumental in introducing Vedanta and yoga to the west, and is credited with raising awareness, bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion during the late 19th century.

According to Vivekananda a country’s future depends on its people, stating that “man making is my mission.” It’s totally correct and obvious if people doesn’t want there country to be wealthiest, educated, and developed their present as well as future will also not be good or happy.

Swami Vivekanand believed in “unity of all religions”. He thinks that all religions are equally important and valueable, but in today’s world debates, fights even wars are common over religions. Religion is the most sensitive issue and although every religion encourages the idea of peace and tolerance, almost no one remains in peace or tolerates anything when it comes to their religion. History is full of relegious wars and some of them have continued for years and killed many.

He also said that “whatever you think, you will be. If you thinks yourselves weak, weak you will be; if you think yourselves strong, strong you will be”. It’s true as it reminds us that we are the incharge of our lives. When you allow negative thoughts about yourself and your life to build up, you start to project these thoughts out into the world.

Vivekananda thaught us that “If you have faith in all the three hundred and thirty million of your mythological gods, and still have no faith in yourselves, there is no salvation for you”. Have faith in yourselves, and stand up on that faith and be strong; that is what we need. There are thousands of example which proves that you can do anything in life if you have faith in yourself and your ability to handle whatever situations are presented to you. You are blessed with freedom from doubt in yourself.

He emphasized that success was an outcome of focused thoughts and actions; in his lectures on Raja yoga he said, “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success, that is the way great spiritual gaints are produced”.

His teachings mainly focused on human development. He wanted “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest”.

Vivekananda linked morality with control of the mind, seeing truth, purity and unselfishness as traits which strengthened it. He advised his followers to be holy, unselfish and to have faith. He supported brahmacharya, believing source of his physical and mental stamina and eloquence.

There are many more teaching and philosophy of swami vivekananda. Even the great and successfull businessman Jamsetji TATA follows the preachings of swami vivekananda, he also establish the Indian Institute of Science, one of the best known research universities inspired by Vivekanand.

EQUALITY

Gender equality is a human right first and foremost. A woman has the right to live in dignity, free from hunger and fear. Women’s empowerment is also a critical strategy for achieving development and alleviating poverty. Women who are empowered increase the health and productivity of their families and communities, as well as the chances for future generations.

Discrimination against women and girls remains the most pervasive and persistent form of inequality, including gender-based violence, economic discrimination, reproductive health disparities, and harmful traditional practises. During and after humanitarian emergencies, particularly armed conflicts, women and girls face enormous hardship.

They typically have less access to medical care, property ownership, credit, training, and employment than men do. They are far less likely than men to be politically active and far more likely to be victims of domestic violence.

Equality between men and women exists when both sexes are able to share equally in the distribution of power and influence; have equal opportunities for financial independence through work or through setting up businesses; enjoy equal access to education and the opportunity to develop personal ambitions.

The first step towards women empowerment is educating a girl child. It is said that when you educate a woman, you educate the whole society. With good education, girls can get high paying jobs and consequently wage gaps could be lowered. Increased health awareness prevents early pregnancy and malnutrition. When women have more freedom, they can involve in unexplored areas like politics.

MENSTRUATION: A TABOO IN 21ST CENTURY

Menstruation marks the onset of adolescence in girls. A girl’s body undergoes several changes during this phase. Menarche or the first menstruation usually begins between the age of 11-15 years. It also embarks the beginning of maturity of the female reproductive organs. It is the phenomenon in which the lining of the uterus, resulting in bleeding from the vagina. Menstruation is a beautiful natural process in a woman’s life. Yet, many taboos still revolve around it. These are because of inaccurate, inadequate or incomplete knowledge about menstruation. It is always surrounded by secrecy and myths in many societies. Will we ever get over these taboos? Let us take a glance at the situation in India.

MYTHS RELATED TO MENSTRUATION

In India, taboos related to menstruation still prevail at a large scale. Even in 2020, girls aren’t allowed to talk about periods. They cannot mention it not only in front of males but in front of anyone. Most of the students get introduced to the phenomena of menstruation in class 8. The silence in the class and the disgust on the faces of students tells us a lot about the situation in our country.

Menstruation is still considered as dirty and impure. Cultural norms, parental influence, personal- preference and socio-economic pressures affect menstrual hygiene practices. 

 This social stigma is especially prominent in rural areas. Women are not permitted to engage in household works and not allowed to enter the kitchen. They are not allowed to pray and enter temples when on periods. In Hindu belief, it is always believed that a woman must be “purified” before returning to her daily chores. Some believe,     consuming curd, tamarind and pickles will disturb the menstrual flow. Some even view it as a disease and isolate those undergoing it. Some girls even to believe that exercising during periods may result in excess bleeding. There seems to be no logic and scientific reasoning behind the same. In reality, doctors say that exercising may relieve bloating and cramps. It also releases serotonin, making one feel happy. These taboos have led girls to associate their bodies with a curse and impure.

IMPACT OF MENSTRUATION MYTHS ON A WOMAN’S LIFE

The prevalence of these taboos have affected women’s emotional and mental state. Not only this but it also affects their lifestyle and health. Over 23% of girls drop out of school when they begin menstruating, in India. The main reason behind this is lack of clean toilets in school and access to sanitary products. 71% are unaware of periods until they get it themselves. Parents rarely prepare their daughters for something is set to happen. This unpreparedness leads to anxiety and fear. According to a study, only 35% of women use sanitary pads in India. The rest are dependent on old rags, ash, mud, soil and leaves. From an early stage in life, girls learn to tolerate mental and physical pain. This makes it difficult for them to reach out to others for help during periods. These unhealthy menstruation practices have a direct impact on reproductive health. Further deteriorating their health in the long run.

POSSIBLE STRATEGIES TO COMBAT THESE MYTHS

First and foremost, educating the girls from the very beginning is very important. These taboos still exist mainly because of lack of education. Awareness needs to be raised not only among girls but each human being. Sanitary products are sold at prices that are not affordable to everyone. Low-cost sanitary pads can be made and sold locally, especially in rural and slum areas. The National Rural Health Mission aims to provide low-cost sanitary pads to 1.5 crore adolescent girls. This scheme is yet in its pilot phase and needs more implementation. Men also need to be made aware of menstruation. They need to be sensitive about these issues and help to combat the disbeliefs. It is important for them to understand it and support all the women in their lives. Health workers and Anganwadi workers should be sensitised and involved in spreading awareness. Arunachalam Muruganantham, the real Padman of India is one such person who challenged the stereotypes. He not only gave women the opportunity to become entrepreneurs but also helped change the social outlook. Women and girls need to understand that they have the power to procreate because of this virtue. 

No girl or women should feel ashamed of bleeding every month. In the 21st century, where women are reaching new heights, they should not be pulled down because of this natural phenomenon. Today we talk about women empowerment but make women feel insecure about their bodies. Social media is accessible to almost everyone. This platform can help in raising awareness and showing support. It’s high time we stop judging and discriminating and start engaging in meaningful conversations about periods. Next time you hear the word “period”, don’t feel uncomfortable and talk about it openly. Starting to bring a change now will only help the generations to come.

#BlackLivesMatter: A Wake-Up Call for India’s Closeted Racism

 

 

‘Racism and prejudices are the exhaust fumes of damaged egos.’

 

As protests erupt in America, over the injustices inflicted on black lives after the institutional murder of George Floyd, we are finally forced to look closer into out own country for similar patterns of systematic and institutional racism that exists in our own country. At a time like this, it’s essential to introspect and heck our privilege in the everyday. When we start looking for their stories, it comes barely as a surprise that their voices are muffled amongst the clamour of noises. This begs the question- ‘Is there racism in India?’ Yes, there’s racism in India, but not just to other races, we are also racist towards our own race. It is almost like we hate ourselves, so much that we’d trade in our hide to be a white without batting an eyelash.

There exists racism on the basis of place a person belongs to which is nothing but an ugly truth of this nation. The hatred is such that people have died in thousands. People from north east are considered as aliens and those who belong to states like Bihar, Jharkhand are considered to be illiterate , mannerless, untouchable in metro cities like Delhi, Mumbai, etc. Just an example, that happens everywhere in this country. Not only metro cities but every state have their own reasons to hate one from other state. There’s racism on the basis of language we use. We are blessed to have hundreds of languages all with their own unique identity and importance and yet we have failed as a nation to give every language its due respect which includes one of the oldest languages of human civilization. There’s also racism on the basis of culture and colour. India is blessed with a rich variety of cultures, yet we leave no stone turned to mock each other’s culture, well, that’s how we show admiration to some of the oldest cultures in the world. And as of racism based on someones skin colour, all that can be said is that it’s extremely disheartening. Lastly, there also exists racism on basis of religion. As unfortunate as it is, this is probably the time when it’s most prominent.

People from Bihar have been subjected to racism from several decades. Everything about them from their looks, language, culture, accent is ridiculed pretty much all over the country. The term ‘Bihari’ itself is being increasingly used as a curse word in the northern parts of the country If there is ever a rape somewhere in India, the convict is automatically assumed to be a Bihari . If someone speaks Bhojpuri, he is assumed to be a ‘gavaar’ (illiterate). But this issue is never shown in the media, neither it is ever taken seriously, because according to some folks in our society these people are meant to be bullied. Whether someone is from Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh, he is no more than a “Madrasi” to a North Indian. Abusive comments on their skin colour, food habits, culture are quite prevalent among the North Indians.

People are so ignorant about their own culture that they even forget that their is an integral part of India called the “seven sisters” or the “North East”. Recently in an interview, the child actor of the movie “Tubelight”, who hailed from Arunachal Pradesh was asked by a reporter, “How do you feel after coming to India for the first time ?”.

It’s worth mentioning that with the outbreak of the pandemic, the situation of racism became more vivid and more clear as the people of North-eastern region were told to vacate their apartments or other accommodations. Some were beaten up, some were prevented to enter the grocery stores to buy their basic necessities and some were even abused on grounds of internalised racist assumptions around the virus. Well, they can’t really change how they look, can they? Can anybody suggest a ‘guru’ who can teach them what ‘Indian-ness‘ means without having to lose their identity?

To top it all off, there’s the whole conundrum of white skin versus dark skin, with underlying tones of colourism and casual racism. Being a dark-skinned Indian woman is significantly harder. The sexism endemic in Indian society is such that the beauty standards for women are stricter and less fluid compared to men. You do occasionally find the odd dark-skinned south Indian hero, but they are largely relegated to the roles of comedians or villains; dark-skinned Indian women are lucky to be cast as extras or auxiliary dancers. It is even more prominent during matchmaking. In Indian culture, aesthetics and beauty are said to be the jurisdiction of women, whereas work and wages tend to define men-or as the adage goes “udyōgam puruśa lakśańam”. My mother remembers when she had to stand up for one of my aunts during matchmaking negotiations when the groom’s parents demanded more dowry to compensate for my aunt’s dark skin. Even today when brides are in demand from decades of a skewed sex ratio, dark-skinned women fare poorly in the Indian marriage market; a cursory glance at any matrimonial ad using the search term ‘fair’ can substantiate this.

Essentially, every non-Hindustani Indian has a difficult time in India. They can find themselves obligated to learn more languages than their Hindustani counterparts, unable to take exams in their mother tongue or face difficulties accessing state services. None more so than the Northeast Indians. Lacklustre investment in their states has meant that youngsters move seeking greener pastures elsewhere in India. It is incredibly heart-breaking to hear the harrowing tales of men and women being treated so harshly, often disproportionately subject to molestation and harassment and called racist slurs within their own country. Government funding towards languages and other infrastructure is skewed in favour of Hindi, and even Sanskrit. This has resulted in several languages and tribal identities in India facing extinction, especially in the South and the Northeast. Northeast Indians, compared to their South Indian counterparts, have poorer representation in Indian media.

We have a long way to go to become a country where we learn to accept all cultures, religions and habits. after all, the first step in solving a problem is realizing that there is one. If Indians do not collectively admit that we have a problem with racism, we’re going to be in serious trouble. We have several ethnicities in India. This simple fact seems to be lost in the hullabaloo about religion in the mainstream. Media is not a passive entertainment industry. It is a projection of culture and aspiration for many. It directly affects our choices, preferences, tastes, fashion, trends and even politics. Young Indians, especially girls, consuming this diet of cultural crap from media and society will mean that a generation of Indians will emerge with serious physical and mental issues. An unregulated industry of face whitening products often containing dangerous carcinogens like hydroquinone makes medical risks very real. What makes this even more remarkable is the warm reception that dark-skinned people of South Asian heritage have received elsewhere in the world- Kunal Nair, Romesh Ranganathan, George Alagiah, Naga Muchetty, Aziz Ansari and the list goes on. Thus, the Black Lives Matter Movement should be wake up call for India.

‘Let us make it our purpose to listen deeply to those who suffer racism so that we may better comprehend what it is, how they feel and how we can build the society they need. It is wrong to become defensive, and right to open our hearts all the wider, to love and acknowledge that all are fully sacred. We are called to love, and the more we love each other the better our world will become.’

What is Social Justice?

Social Justice is a word that we hear a lot on public platforms and in the media these days. The idea of justice encompasses notions like equity, fairness, getting what one deserves, and the absence of bias. It is a fundamental element for the proper and ethical functioning of any civilization or society. A society that is lacking in justice and does not seek to amend for this lack will be marked by discrimination, violence, and a loss of the recognition of the intrinsic value of life. It is fundamental to our existence as human beings and necessary for the harmonious co-existence of diversities.

The United Nations’ definition of social justice is as follows: “Social justice may be broadly understood as the fair and compassionate distribution of the fruits of economic growth.” The US Centre for Economic and Social Justice defines it as thus: “Social justice encompasses economic justice. Social justice is the virtue that guides us in creating those organized human interactions we call institutions. In turn, social institutions, when justly organized, provide us with access to what is good for the person, both individually and in our associations with others. Social justice also imposes on each of us a personal responsibility to work with others to design and continually perfect our institutions as tools for personal and social development.” The concept of Social Justice arose in the 19th century during the industrial revolution in Europe. The industrial revolution saw the emergence of Capitalism which thrived on exploitation and cheap labour. Concepts of social justice were brought forward to remedy the injustices that were being thus perpetuated in society. However, today we use the term to not only signify disparities in economic situations but also various other social injustices and discriminations. These could be related to gender, caste, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or anything else that becomes a means by which negative differentiation comes about in society.

Social justice has become an umbrella term under which various struggles and fights against societal inequalities take place. It is intrinsically connected to human rights and operates under the assumption that all individuals are equal and have the right to enjoy equal access to health, justice, societal privileges, etc irrespective of the background or culture that they come from. It is employed to fight systemic injustices manifested in political, economic, and legal structures. Equality can be achieved through protests which are to lead to changes in policy. It is also supportive of affirmative action that allows groups that have been marginalized and oppressed over centuries to be given compensatory benefits. This is to ensure that they are able to move ahead and be on par with their peers in the long run, while also not being victimized by any oppressor. It stands for political representation and equity in all spheres of life.

Social justice should be the concern of every honest individual in society who cares about his fellow being. Those who fight for social justice are to understand the deeply rooted inequities in society and call them out, working towards better policies and laws. But it also involves changing mindsets, unlearning privileges, breaking apart structures of thought, opening up spaces. Recognizing privileges and being allies to those who have been subjugated by powers and thereby forced into a life of heightened oppression and lesser opportunities is absolutely necessary at this juncture in history. We have come a long way and won many battles against societal evils but there are more that need to be fought, and there is always more that we can do for others.

Is Religion The Problem?

Humanity’s most vicious ambitions have been carried out in the name of gods no one has ever seen and beliefs followers are not willing to question and investigate. Until humankind learns to more closely examine their beliefs, wars waged in ignorance will continue to plague our species and prevent lasting peace.

If the emotions of one in need are like a hurricane, then religion needs to learn how to create the space a hurricane needs to slow and become calm. Rigid rules to such a person are like trying to nail down a hurricane. Guilt makes the winds blow all the harder. Only in moments of calm, when sought, will advice be of help – any other time it will add de- bris to the winds. There a time to actively help and a time to love quietly, trust yourself to sense the difference.

Religion initially commenced as a solution for the problems existing at that time, say 5000 BC. However, at some point in time, it started appearing as the pebble in the shoe of humanity and it’s progression . The anarchy, unprovoked killings and disorderly social structure needed a system, and religion got itself evolved. While it was evolved many others came forward with their own versions to super implant the existing ones. But their actions only increased the number of religions. We landed up with Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Islam etc. Since more religions came into existence, there were varieties to choose for the people. After having chosen, the people started propagating them. In their enthusiasm, they started negating the existing ones. This resulted in hatred, mistrust and hostility which ended up with problems for the state. Instead of being a solution religion has turned out to be a problem.

Religion is neither the problem nor the solution. The point is, religion was a vessel out from which human curiosity was able to spring, but it is also a tool of social control and thus is opposed to actual progress. It’s about faith and perception of it which is posing as the biggest problem in our country. Every single religion here has it’s own good and bad preachings. If one feels that his or her faith in a religion is far more truthful and look down upon remaining religions is nothing but adult way of showing you are having bigger scoop of ice creams than your friend, like we used to do when we were small kids. This is what happening in our country now, everyone wants to pretend that their faith is much greater than others which has lead to all sorts of quackery and blind modifications of original teachings given in our sacred books. Again by good teachings I meant, the one’s which brings happiness in every living being and doesn’t hurt even a single person at the cost of one’s satisfaction.

One thing most misused after horns in India is religion! Different religions became a problem in India from the day we forgot about our roots. India has always been a diverse nation, and religion accounts for a big diversification. Now you see the problem is, we are not educated. We might be literate but still we are not educated. There’s a big difference between the two! Politicians have always taken advantage of this. And they would continue this until and unless the masses themselves realize the mistake. If we, as the public masses, don’t realize this then soon we’ll be heading towards an authoritarian government which will forcefully assimilates all of the subcultures within it’s polity and create a syncretic identity. Such an orthodoxy that some people dream of would also dissolve the constitution that has given crucial rights to many people. For example, the constitution bans untouchability, which no Dharmashastra did before. The constitution has also given several fundamental rights that the orthodox do not see applicable in their “dharmic” framework. Theocratic societies have several such drawbacks.

So it’s better to focus on more important aspects of life rather than talking about religion at all times. It’s time to let go and rise above the outdated and cruel exploits of our past that we inherited from our ancestors, and realize that our early misinterpretations of our world do not have to define the future of humanity. We have grown. We have reached a time in our history where the misunderstandings of the past must be reconciled and the truth about the origins of our early beliefs must be revealed. It’s time that our world’s religions face the tragic horrors of their past and make honest progression towards love and kindness for all of humanity. Our world, our peace and our growth all depend upon us and our ability to move forward in our understanding. It’s time to embrace our humanity and cultivate the harmonious future we all deserve.

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Is Religion The Problem?

#BlackLivesMatter Vs. #AllLivesMatter

Saying that black lives matter doesn’t mean that other lives do not.

The tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police has sparked intense debate over the question of racism in USA and triggered the Black Lives Matter movement. The protests have also sparked wide-ranging conversations about the responsibility industries and organizations — including the media — have to address institutional racism. To be clear, for much of its seven-year existence, the Black Lives Matter movement has been seen by many Americans as a divisive, even radical force. It’s very name enraged it’s foes, who countered with the slogans “Blue Lives Matter” and “White Lives Matter.” The tragedy, however, dramatically sparked a wave of protests sparked and enabled the Black Lives Matter movement to go has gone mainstream. The struggle is no longer confined to the national borders of the United States. However, soon enough, #AllLivesMatter became a slogan that has come to be associated with criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement. However, saying #AllLivesMatter completely missed the point of the Black Lives Matter.

Imagine that you’re sitting down to dinner with your family, and while everyone else gets a serving of the meal, you don’t get any. So you say “I should get my fair share.” And as a direct response to this, your dad corrects you, saying, “everyone should get their fair share.” Now, that’s a wonderful sentiment – indeed, everyone should, and that was kind of your point in the first place: that you should be a part of everyone, and you should get your fair share also. However, dad’s smart-ass comment just dismissed you and didn’t solve the problem that you still haven’t gotten any! The problem is that the statement “I should get my fair share” had an implicit “too” at the end: “I should get my fair share, too, just like everyone else.” But your dad’s response treated your statement as though you meant “only I should get my fair share”, which clearly was not your intention. As a result, his statement that “everyone should get their fair share,” while true, only served to ignore the problem you were trying to point out. That’s the situation of the “black lives matter” movement. Culture, laws, the arts, religion, and everyone else repeatedly suggest that all lives should matter. Clearly, that message already abounds in our society.

Just like asking dad for your fair share, the phrase “black lives matter” also has an implicit “too” at the end: it’s saying that black lives should also matter. But responding to this by saying “all lives matter” is willfully going back to ignoring the problem. It’s a way of dismissing the statement by falsely suggesting that it means “only black lives matter,” when that is obviously not the case. And so saying “all lives matter” as a direct response to “black lives matter” is essentially saying that we should just go back to ignoring the problem. The phrase “Black lives matter” carries an implicit “too” at the end; it’s saying that black lives should also matter. Saying “all lives matter” is dismissing the very problems that the phrase is trying to draw attention to.
Needless to say, dialogue matters and the George Floyd uprising has brought us hope for change. Now we must turn protest to policy.

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All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter.

New Media And Reporting Gender Based Violence

Trigger Warning: Mention of Rape and Sexual Assault

New Media has also changed the style of journalism, such as the rise of online journalism, where facts, information, and reports are produced and distributed through the internet. News in the New Media era is enabled to spread more widely and rapidly. News content is now enriched by lots of digital elements such as images, embed videos, comment box. These elements make the information presented becomes more attractive. One of the salient characters of online journalism is its dependency on speed in delivering information. When we talk about the emerging trends in media, we cannot afford to overlook the role of online media in changing the scenario in the context of women’s issues. The content that the online media produces reflects the pattern of value the society. The prevailing attitude of society gets revealed through the way subjects dealing with women are treated by the media (Arpita Sharma, 2012). 

Media has the choice of acting as both, a protagonist and as a perpetrator-it can either reinforce the gender-based discrimination by portraying sensational and stereotypical images of women or it can provide balanced reportage that empowers women and not degrades them while exposing acts of gender-based violence. Rape cases and sexual assault cases are not a recent trend in the society but sensitive reportage and wide coverage by media while also bringing these issues forefront are relatively very new. 

Gender-based violence or GBV is violence that is directed against a person because of their gender. Both women and men experience GBV but the majority of victims are women and girls. GBV and violence against women are terms that are synonymous as it is widely acknowledged that most gender-based violence is inflicted on women and girls, by men. The issue of GBV reaches every corner of the world. The numbers of women and girls affected by this problem are shocking. According to the World Health Organization’s data from 2013, one in every three women has been beaten, compelled into sex or are abused. One in five women is sexually abused as a child, according to a 2014 report.

In coverage of GVB, several stereotypes are often perpetuated by the new media. These include that rape is similar to sex, that the assailant is motivated by female lust, that the assailant is perverted, crazy or a monster, that the woman provokes rape or assault, and that only women are only victims. Scholars have found that these stereotypes and myths are pervasive in media coverage of rape and assault cases. Not only the language and the framing of the headlines but also the visuals used in the articles regarding GVB play an important role in the general perception of these issues.

In Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media (UNESCO, 2012), under Category B- Gender Portrayal In Media Content, B1.5- Strategic Objective 5 states the indicators for the coverage of gender-based violence. Three of them are-

  1. Use of non-judgmental language, distinguishing between consensual sexual activity and criminal acts, and taking care not to blame the victim/survivor for the crime 

2. Use of the term ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ unless the violence-affected person uses the latter term or has not survived 

3. Use of background information and statistics to present gender-based violence as a societal problem rather than as an individual, personal tragedy 

Terms such as ‘victim’ or ‘survivor’ are often used to describe individuals who undergo these experiences. The term ‘victim’ reiterates feelings of helplessness and lack of female agency, while the term survivor connotes a sense of strength and resilience. However, the affected person should have a say in what to refer them as. The ‘victim’ terminology limits individual self-agency and identity. It is important to note that experiences of violence do not define the individual, but rather are a piece of a larger self-identity. Such labels focus on experiences of violence and presuppose an individual’s inability to change or undergo any personal development to transform their identity into a peaceful, empowered personality. 

Images of sexual violence in the media often depicts women as covering their face, being silenced by looming hands, teary faces, large shadows near the woman, are some of the visual examples. These images not only fuel the stereotypes of women as helpless and weak, but also these images are also extremely triggering for the survivors of sexual assault and rape. 

When media reports women who have been assaulted or raped as nothing but victims, society can disengage and fail to take the issue as a broader societal issue and fail to take responsibility for any individual or group action to change it. It is crucial then for journalists to report on GBV in an informed way and to have a good theoretical understanding of the roots of these gender based violence’s and what needs to change in society. Otherwise, they can do harm by perpetuating patriarchal stereotypes and falsehoods. 

FEMINISM

feminism Archives | Green European Foundation

With the aim to have an equal world for both males and females, in 1870, a revolution for change by the name ‘feminism’ emerged from France. It firmly believed in equal space for females at par with males. Feminism is a counter to patriarchy – a society in which the males dominate; which is a prevalent form of societal arrangement around the globe. As a movement, it focuses on pointing out the adverse and disastrous effect that patriarchy can bring to a woman to face, not only in the home but also in workplaces.

A constant refraining of females’ equality that they should have been subjected to, make them sceptical of their own self. They accept it as inevitable and devalue themselves. Even biology is widely used as a defence for male’s dominance over females, by limiting the abilities of women, categorizing what they can do and what they can’t. Thus satisfying the deep-rooted gender stratification which hierarchically ranks people in society based on gender. It’s just a very simplified way to stratify society into males and females. But feminist think sex and gender as two different things, sex on the hand is predominantly based on physical things and attributes, gender on the other hand concerns psychological and cultural differences between males and females. In such circumstances around the globe, feminism appears to be that driving force that drives women to stand and ask questions to these patriarchal norms, not themselves. The whole objective is making a change in behaviour and action of society towards females. It’s a journey from A (status quo) to B (female equality). 

Feminism, though being a common and well-heard concept to many, is often wrongly interpreted to mean ‘treating women over and above men’. In the pursuance of this misunderstood concept of feminism the aim sometimes becomes ‘destroying men’ instead of destroying the ‘patriarchal ideas’ that are deep-rooted into society. It needs to be realised that this movement is not about making men lesser than women but to make the women equivalent to the men. By meaning or calling men in any way inferior to women, goes completely against the whole idea and concept of feminism.

The very aim of Feminism is not to override men’s’ race and thrash it all together but to rather question and root out patriarchal thoughts from society. Based on these two interpretations, we have two classes of feminists, equality feminists and difference feminist. While the former focus on sameness, latter focuses on putting females somewhat on privileges over males. Formerly made highlights in 19th and 20th century, latter was prevalent near the 1980s and 1990s and afterwards. 

To conclude, until women subordination is “common” to both females and males, establishing a society of equality among them is a far cry. All Feminism can do is, it can reach to females and tell them their worth and encourage them for the demand for equality. But the interpretation and foot-steps of feminism must be carefully watched otherwise people will have to start a future movement to root out matriarchy.