1) Writing in the Media Guardian today, former New Statesmen editor Peter Wilby:
Britain, the papers thought, was made to look powerless and wimpish by Iran and the interviews only reinforced that impression. But the press, I think, is misreading the game. The west is competing with Iran not to project power, but to project victimhood. It does not want stiff upper lips, but trembling lower ones, preferably with tears, to signify, by modern convention, the authenticity of pain. When Lord Palmerston wished to show foreigners they could not deal lightly with British citizens, he sent a gunboat. His successors send Sir Trevor McDonald into action. That is how wars are conducted in the media age.
2) In BBC News yesterday:
Fifty-seven per cent of the Muslims polled said they identified strongly with their country, compared with 48% of the general public. Muslims were also more likely to express confidence in the police (78% to 69%), national government (64% to 36%), the justice system (67% to 55%) and elections (73% to 60%). Nearly three-quarters of the Muslims said they felt loyal to the UK, and 82% said they respected other religions.
Can’t wait to see this poll come out in full. That should shut up some of the usual racists.
3) In Karachi, Pakistan, 10s of 1000s of people came out in protest against a harsh Taliban-style court set up by a mosque to curb “vulgar” activities. The imam of that mosque had also recently threatened President Musharraf. The protest organisers, MQM, branded the mosque “religious terrorists”.
4) Writing in CounterCurrents, Kavita Krishnan briefly mentions how the Hindu far-right movement (called Hindutva) have used women for their own ends, adding that:
But it would be a mistake to imagine that this aspect of Hindutva â€“ Bajrangi’s brand of violent policing of women, or the Bajrang Dal’s threat issued a few years back, that Hindu women who married Muslims would have their noses cut off, or its periodic threats against women wearing jeans or couples celebrating Valentine’s Day â€“ marks a rupture with a gentler and more benign Hinduism. Communal fascism of the Hindutva variety draws sustenance from the widely prevailing anxiety of Hindu caste communities about breaching of patriarchal codes, caste and community boundaries â€“ and the resultant threat to property relations and status.
Certainly, feminists can cite plenty of examples through Indian history to show how Hindu religious bodies have sanctioned violence against women (Sati) or put them in a lower social order (the Manu Smriti is one example). But there have been plenty of revivalist movements who don’t fit that patriarchal narrative. But more than that, such deep in-grained patriarchy in Hindu families (as there is in Muslim societies) has not come about through religious sanction but this system of caste, which puts all the emphasis on women as carriers of culture than men.
I’ll give you an example. Two weeks ago the author and former UN secretary-general candidate Shashi Tharoor wrote an article in the Times of India lamenting the demise of Indian women wearing the sari. As plenty of critics pointed out, and he acknowledged rather lamely, he said nothing about Indian men abandoning traditional Indian clothes in favour of shirts and trousers, focusing instead on women alone. Such sexist attitudes are endemic of course in Indian society, where a set of rules apply to women that apparently do not apply to men (including on modesty).
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Culture,India,Pakistan,Sex equality,South Asia