Archive for June, 2010

बीबी के हाथ का खाना

डिनर के लिए बैठे पति ने पत्नी से पूछा : यह जो सब्जी तुमने बनाई है , उसका नाम क्या है ?
पत्नी : क्यों पूछ रहे हो ?
पति : क्योंकि अस्पताल में मुझसे पूछा तो जाएगा कि मैंने क्या खाया था।

Categories: Hindi

पति से लड़ाई

शादी के दूसरे दिन बेटी अपनी मां से : मेरी उनसे लड़ाई हो गई।
मां : शादी के बाद झगड़े तो होते ही रहते हैं , फिक्र मत करो।
बेटी : वह ठीक है पर अब लाश का क्या करूं ?

Categories: Hindi

Marriage needs adjustment: Ash

Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan More Pics
Three years after they married, Junior Bachchan and wife Aishwarya Rai Bachchan are still very much in love.

Asked how she knew Abhishek was ‘the one’, the former Miss World and actress says, “You know, it’s weird, but the moment we got together, it was a sense of coming home. Like I would have been surprised if we didn’t.”

Do they make compromises in their marriage? During an interview to a magazine, Abhishek said, “I don’t look upon any of it as compromise. The fact that she is in my life and I am married to her is of more importance and happiness to me than anything that I could possibly compromise on.” Adds Ash, “I think marriage takes for adjustment, not compromise, and it means doing all that you need to do to commit to your relationship. If there is anything that makes you feel like it’s a compromise, that means there is an area of discomfort, and that means there’s already something unsettling. But why talk of marriage and compromise? Life asks for adjustments and you do that. You are like water—you find your fit. You look upon life like that, why necessarily compartmentalise marriage?”

How does the couple think their 25th wedding anniversary would look like? Ash exclaims, “Wow. I don’t think that far. I can’t believe we just celebrated our third wedding anniversary. It still feels fresh, it feels like yesterday we were being congratulated for our marriage. A certain song starts playing, and it feels like yesterday. It doesn’t feel like a long time ago, and God willing, it continues to feel this way. We’ll be there in a flash, I think. I just didn’t think my life would pan out the way it has. In my initial interviews I would say one day at a time, and I am still holding on to that.” Keep the love flowing!

Categories: Other news

Woman, parents seek divorce in same court

MUZAFFARNAGAR: Years of marriage might have reconciled the warring couple, but after their daughter, who took the vow around 36 years ago, filed a case for divorce, the two did some soul searching and found they were not‘‘compatible’’. Nearly 50 years after they got married, the couple have decided to seek divorce in the same court where their daughter has filed her case.

Madhu, who had married Lalit Wadhwa in 1974, sought divorce from him in 2009 due to a family dispute. She cited ‘‘irreconcilable differences with her husband’’ and moved court. While her mother Prem Narula (70) supported her decision, Madhu’s father, Shiv Chandra Narula (72) opposed it. The mother felt that there was enough logic in her daughter’s decision to seek divorce. She opined that her daughter had ‘suffered’ a lot over the years. Her father, however, maintained she could give her husband another chance.

The father’s support for the son-in-law and mother’s support for the daughter created a rift between the elderly couple, and Shiv Chandra last week filed for divorce from Prem in the same court in Saharanpur where their daughter’s case is pending.

Categories: Other news

Caught between fighting parents

Caught between fighting parents
As custody battles get uglier and messier than ever before, children are growing up with serious emotional scars – from commitment problems and alienation, to substance abuse and violent mood swings…

Mumbai-based Raju Cherian, in the middle of a custody battle with his wife, ran away with his two teenaged children to Kerala. And in a shocking display of intrigue and pettiness, he told his children that if they stopped communicating with their mother, it would help him and his wife reunite. Innocent and unsuspecting, the kids fell for the bait and did not speak to or see their mother for two years. But soon enough the effect of prolonged separation from their mother started showing. His son, in a fit of rage, attacked his school teacher and was later sentenced to a juvenile home.

V Ravichandran,a US-based scientist pitted against his ex-wife Vijayasree Voora for the custody of their sevenyear-old son Aditya, issued advertisements in Indian newspapers declaring that his wife was an ‘international kidnapper’ who had run away with their son. The two got divorced in 2005, and the US courts granted custody of Aditya to his father. But Voora fled the US taking Aditya along. The FBI has issued a warrant against her, and the CBI, too, has sent lookout notices for the mother and son.She now carries a cash reward of Rs 100,000 on her head. When TOI-Crest finally managed to speak to Aditya, he said, “I want to dig a trench and hide there with my mom, so that even the CBI cannot find us. I don’t want to go to my dad.” Voora continues to move from city to city with her son, trying to hoodwink her husband and the authorities.

Far too often, parents go to extremes in order to win the custody, and love, of their children – without realising they have alienated them in the process. This is Simran’s story. By the time Simran’s mother won custody over her after seven years of an ugly and messy legal fight, she had lost out on her daughter’s smile and affection. The 14-year-old girl, who lives in Chandigarh, has emotionally isolated herself from her mother and pines for her father’s love. “I don’t want to recall those horrible days. My parents should have at least thought about my feelings, but they didn’t,” says a bitter Simran. She sorely misses her father, especially when her friends talk about their dads. “I just have a few memories of my father even though he is very much alive,” she adds, pain writ large on her face. Now she has asked her mother to send her away to a residential school as soon as she completes her class 10.

Like Simran, many other children from broken homes want to escape their parents. Clinical psychologists say the emotional ordeal such children undergo leads to serious commitment issues later in life. They feel inadequate and some vent their frustration – often physically – on friends, colleagues or spouses.

Kolkata-based psychiatrist Amarnath Mallik explains this behaviour citing the example of one of his clients, a 21-year-old engineer. He would serially dump his girlfriends for no apparent reason. However, a talk with Mallik revealed that the engineer loved to see his girlfriends suffer during and after a break-up. “Having grown up with his grandmother, away from his divorced parents, this was his way of getting even with fate,” says Mallik.

Fifteen-year-old Tupa is fighting similar demons from her past. She has twice been suspended from her school in Mumbai for violent behaviour. She was just five when her parents got separated. When her father used to pick her up on his visitation days, Tupa’s mother would hand her a list of dos and don’ts. Both her parents hurled a lot of lies at each other through her. Now, years later, Tupa is undergoing counselling as she is “very angry, resists all authority and does not trust adults”.

In the dark recesses of family courts, sparring spouses not only bury their marriage, they also write obituaries to childhood.

Though courts throughout the world insist that the welfare of the child is of paramount importance in custody battles, squabbling parents, numbed by hurt and stung by bruised egos, forget the trauma they subject their children to. They gloss over, sometimes deliberately, the changes brought about in the tender psyche of young kids, some of whom go into extended bouts of depression and endless crying, show signs of regression, attention deficit, nervousness, low self-esteem and an unwillingness to attend school.

“In teens, the tension and pain manifest as rebellion, substance abuse and bunking of school,” says Shelja Sen, a Delhi-based clinical therapist who regularly counsels children of parents who are in the process of separation. Such children struggle to understand why their parents are fighting, or why they are being asked to choose who they want to live with – the mother or the father?

“Parents in a bad marriage unfairly make children the target of their anger,” adds Dr Harish Shetty, a Mumbai-based child counsellor. More insidiously, parents often take undue advantage of their child’s innocence.

Every city has more than its share of horror stories of how custody battles harm the child.Not that there aren’t parents who don’t let their personal differences and dislike for each other influence their child.A divorced couple in Pune, for instance, has decided to keep a semblance of normalcy and civility in front of their children, especially at social functions and at school PTA meetings. The children,in turn,are grateful that their parents have spared them the name-calling, the one-upmanship and other power games. Over time, the children have accepted the reality and are well-adjusted – both at school and at home.

As Shetty says, “It’s important for parents to heal themselves first and then put their heads and hearts together in the best interest of the child.” Punebased psychologist and counsellor Sandy Dias Andrade has a word of advice: “Despite the feelings of conflict between two parents, it is important to not let them come in the way when dealing with custody issues. Do not use kids as confidantes. Spare them the details. All they need to know is that both parents love them, despite the circumstances leading up to their split.”

-Shobita Dhar with inputs from Daniel P, George, Chennai; Swati Deshpande, Mumbai; Supriya Bhardwaj, Chandigarh; Prithvijit Mitra, Kolkata; Kalyani Sardesai, Pune

Categories: Other news

Oh man, not again!’

Viveka Babaji

Viveka Babaji
Don’t blame the man if a woman commits suicide, there may be more to their broken relationship, says our study…

It’s happening again. The media is uncertain whether supermodel Viveka Babaji left a suicide note on Friday blaming boyfriend Gautam Vora for driving her to end her life. Neighbours in the Bandra apartment block heard the couple fighting late on Thursday night. And the last entry in Viveka’s diary allegedly reads, “You killed me Gautam Vora.”

But does that incriminate Gautam in an abetment of suicide case under Section 306 of the IPC? It shouldn’t because Viveka, according to her elder sister Vineeta, had attempted suicide before, and was known to be hyper-sensitive, emotional, given to manic depressions, and lived a model’s life that flirted with drugs and alcohol abuse, loneliness, bad and broken relationships, the stress of insecurities and competition.
It’s also not fair to the guy in a case like this. Especially if the girl, as he discovers late into their relationship, is neurotic or even psychotic. We’re not saying this was Viveka’s condition. But certainly, only a loss of contact with reality could have led her to commit suicide. Her boyfriend, perhaps recalling how men in similar circumstances were hounded by the police, harassed by courts, and rejected by society, has gone into hiding already.

Cases in point are Miss India, model and TV host Nafisa Joseph’s suicide in July 2004 after fiancee Gautam Khanduja called off their wedding following differences of opinion over his earlier marriage and divorce. Her suicide led to his arrest and a case being filed against him that went on for quite some time. Likewise model and TV actress Kuljeet Randhawa’s suicide which brought her boyfriend Bhanu Uday under the scanner. Then there was air-hostess Sucheta Anand’s case in Mumbai two years ago where her boyfriend, co-pilot Arjun Menon, was arrested.

A study by BT has revealed that people are sympathetic towards men caught in such predicaments. And the general consensus is that unless the men are directly responsible for pushing the women to the edge, like in dowry deaths, they should not be held responsible, declared guilty, and punished. This is what our study revealed…

Not guilty, say the men

Narendra Kumar, designer
Of course, the man could be at fault, but not always the culprit. Men jump off buildings, too, and could be the victims sometimes. On one hand we say women and men are equal and on the other, the men are the first to be blamed. It all boils down to how well an individual can cope with a situation.

Kunal Kohli, filmmaker
Naturally, the suspicion will fall on the person closest to the victim, who’s been spending maximum time with her. It’s not fair because there can be a lot of reasons for a person to take such a step.

Acquin Pais, model
For someone to take such a drastic step means that he/she has been hurt/cheated by someone very close and dear to them. And usually, it is the boyfriend/ lover. In a superficial industry such as this, it can get extremely lonely. And most often than not, to get into such a frame of mind, it has to involve someone close to you.

Rahul DaCunha, adman
It’s too easy to blame suicide on spurned love. The guy can have been the last straw to an already suicidal mind.

Milind Soman, model
Unless you know, you shouldn’t talk. Useless speculation is a waste of time and energy.

Timmy Narang, businessman
It’s not fair. One always has the choice to stay or walk away from a relationship and take control of his/her life. It is not fair to blame others for your own weaknesses.

Pritish Nandy, writer
There are countless other reasons in today’s complex and extremely competitive world that can drive a girl to suicide. Why always blame a man? Relationships break down every day. Not everyone goes out and kills herself.

Chetan Hansraj, actor
When something drastic like this happens, the first reaction is to blame a bad relationship, thereby putting the blame on the boyfriend. It’s wrong, but then again, it’s natural.

Not guilty/ Medical experts
Psychiatrist Dr Anjali Chhabria says, “Not every suicide is a result of something traumatic in an individual’s life. It could be because of depression or the individual’s inherent personality. In borderline personality disorder cases, suicidal attempts are common. Indian society is women-oriented and there’s a natural tendency to blame the men when things happen. Until a matter is investigated thoroughly, no fingers should be pointed at anyone.” Suicides often take place due to career lows or failed relationships. Dr Rajan Bhosle, psychotherapist and relationship counselor, says, “Women are heart-oriented, their expectations are different. The man initially tends to make a lot of promises and later doesn’t keep them. That’s when the lady feels cheated and gets very demanding, which, in turn, pushes the man further away and they break up. However, the man can’t be blamed because both are responsible. She was wrong in putting all eggs in one basket and in believing that the end of one relationship is the end of the world.”

Not guilty/Legal expert
Criminal lawyer Satish Maneshinde says, “In a large number of cases, suicides happen because of breakups or fights in relationships. Whenever there is a suicide, the police zero in on people who are connected emotionally or through authority (employer in the case of an employee committing suicide) with the deceased. They even book people under abetment of suicide to prove that they’ve carried out their investigations. Abetment means either to goad or assist or help in preparation or instigate a person to commit suicide. But none of these really apply when it comes to suicides related to relationships/ breakups. Most of these suicides are to do with the person’s individuality or character, it’s more inbuilt and it’s not viewed as acquired. So when the abetment cases go to court, after a full-fledged trial, the people are let off because of lack of evidence and because abetment cannot be foisted on these cases connected with relationships.

What the law says…
Section 306, IPC on abetment of suicide says: If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine. However, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy clarifies that mere mention of the man’s name in the suicide note does not make him culpable in each case unless it is convincingly proved that by his mental and physical harassment and abuse of the woman, he drove her to commit suicide.

Categories: Other news

Wanted: A fairer law

Wanted: A fairer law

How could a woman of easy virtue claim to have been raped? The policemen accused of raping a tribal woman were let off on that reasoning. It took such a miscarriage of justice by the Supreme Court in the 1978 Mathura rape case to trigger a nationwide campaign against anti-woman laws. Many changes have since been made in the statute book, including the provisions relating to rape. Manoj Mitta looks at some of the more important gender law reforms that are overdue…

Despite misgivings of tokenism, the 1993 measure of reserving one third of the seats for women in the third tier of the Indian democracy – Panchayati Raj and Nagar Palika – has proved successful in empowering the targeted group. But all attempts to extend the same principle to state legislative assemblies and Parliament have come to naught because of resistance, overt or covert, from various political parties.

However, the latest attempt made in 2008 seems promising, not the least because the Bill was introduced for the first time in the Rajya Sabha and, therefore, did not lapse when there were elections to the Lok Sabha the following year.

One sticky issue that has remained is that the proposed rotation of reserved constituencies in every election may reduce the incentive for an MP to work for his constituency as he may be ineligible to seek re-election from there.

In a bid to prevent child marriages, polygamy and desertions, the Supreme Court declared in 2006 that it was compulsory for all marriages to be registered. But when it reviewed the implementation of its verdict the following year, the apex court found that only some of the states had framed the necessary rules for compulsory registration of marriages. It was also noticed that those fresh rules were made only in respect of Hindus.

None of the states dared touch the Muslim law, partly because it apparently permits polygamy and partly because the Supreme Court judgment was liable to be misconstrued by minorities as an attempt to force a uniform civil code through the backdoor. The Hindu law was perceived to be more amenable to this reform as it already provides registration of marriage as an option.

While divorce by mutual consent or no-fault divorce was introduced way back in 1976, no government has so far mustered the will to enact the next logical reform. Namely, to empower the courts to grant divorce even when one of the two parties is opposed to it and none of the prescribed grounds for divorce could be established. The Supreme Court has repeatedly called for the introduction of “irretrievable breakdown of marriage” so that the judiciary in India, as its counterparts in advanced countries, is empowered to grant divorce on coming to the conclusion that the marriage was beyond repair.

The unfettered freedom among Hindus to bequeath their self-acquired properties to any person(s) of their choice has often worked against the interests of their female legal heirs, especially daughters. Experts have suggested that a Hindu should have the discretion to bequeath by a will only up to two-thirds of his properties. The remaining one-third of his estate should be governed by the succession law, which has been reformed in recent years to include daughters among legal heirs.

The abuse of Section 498A IPC is as patent as the need to confer such protection on the wife from the cruelty of the husband or his relatives for dowry or otherwise. There is clearly a need to amend this law, if nothing else because women too (mothers-in-law or sisters-in-law )are often casualties of its abuse. In a bid to save this well intentioned provision from the odium of being a cover for blackmail, the courts have repeatedly directed that the police should not resort to arrests till they complete their investigation and file a charge sheet.

In one of its most anti-feminist provisions, the Indian Penal Code 1860 defines adultery as an offence that is actionable only between the adulterer and the aggrieved husband. But if the husband commits adultery, the wife cannot seek action against him and his sexual partner. The husband can get into trouble only if his sexual partner happens to be married and, then too, only from her husband.

Surprisingly, the Supreme Court upheld this iniquitous provision in 1985 on the ground that it was dealing with “a wrong against the sanctity of the matrimonial home”. But the Law Commission and the Malimath Committee on criminal justice reforms proposed that the adultery provision be made gender-neutral.

For all the possible ways in which this extremely violent offence is committed, the definition of rape, provided in Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code 1860, hangs by a narrow thread. While “sexual intercourse” is a necessary condition, “penetration” is stipulated as a sufficient condition. This means that, however much he might have sexually assaulted the victim, the offence of rape is not made out unless the crime involved “penile-vaginal penetration”.

The Law Commission, therefore, suggested a fresh definition, which makes it clear that penetration could be of vagina, anus or urethra, with any part of the body of another person or object manipulated by another person. It also seeks to include oral sex and manipulation of any part of the body with sexual intent.

One leftover of the old notion that the wife is the husband’s property is the absence of any recognition of the fact that she could be raped even within the institution of marriage. Mercifully, the one circumstance in which marital rape is acknowledged by law is when the wife is less than 15 years old. Even so, she will have to lodge the complaint within a year and then the husband, upon conviction, would get a maximum sentence of two years. This is a far cry from the minimum stipulated sentence of seven years for rape.

Though child wives do need greater protection, there is no justification for the presumption that, unlike their counterparts in western countries, Indian wives above the age of 15 can never be raped by their husbands. The closest the law has come to recognising this crime is in the context of the 2005 Domestic Violence Act, which created a civil remedy for such victims even as it refrained from criminalising marital rape.

The Victorian vintage provisions dealing with “outraging the modesty” of a woman (Section 354 IPC) and “insulting the modesty” of a woman (Section 509) are clearly out of date. The notion of regarding a woman in terms of her “modesty” does not fit in with a world where she competes with men on equal terms. The Supreme Court sought to redress this anomaly in its landmark Vishakha verdict in 1997, when it laid down guidelines for dealing with sexual harassment at work place. This temporary measure, meant to be replaced by legislation, has proved ineffective as it depends on the responsibility of employers to create a remedial mechanism.

So, one option before Parliament is to enact a special law on the lines of the court guidelines. Another option is to amend the Indian Penal Code as suggested by the Law Commission in 2000. The panel recommended replacing the ‘outraging the modesty’ clause with one dealing with “unlawful sexual contact”, which would cover touching the body of any person other than one’s spouse “with sexual intent and without the consent” of such person.

The Ruchika Girhotra case of last year has served to highlight a lacuna in the Indian law which, contrary to a progressive global trend, does not contain any special provision for child victims of sexual molestation.

While there are special provisions in Section 376 IPC for child victims of rape, where the minimum punishment is 10 years jail as against the norm of seven years, Section 354 IPC, covering all forms of non-consensual contact other than rape, makes no such distinction between adult and child victims. Hence, the “unlawful sexual contact” provision suggested by the Law Commission is designed to enhance the penalty for child abusers to seven years from the present level of two years for any molester.

The strict restrictions imposed by the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act on where and how prostitution could be practiced resulted in action being taken most of the time against the victims themselves. An amendment Bill introduced by the Manmohan Singh government in the earlier Lok Sabha in 2006 seemed to be a step in the right direction. But after it lapsed in 2009, with the dissolution of that Lok Sabha, UPA II has not so far revived the proposal of reforming the trafficking law.

The reforms included deletion of the provisions that penalised prostitutes for soliciting clients. Instead, the 2006 Bill for the first time sought to punish any person visiting a brothel for the purpose of sexual exploitation of trafficked victims. The provision to penalise clients of prostitutes has, however, raised apprehensions that it could drive the flesh trade underground and thereby block legal channels of support to victims of trafficking.

Categories: Other news