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The Weekly

BSERVER An IIJNM Publication

Volume 16 Issue 13

Tuesday, 17 January, 2017

Be prepared for a hot year ahead By Mrigakshi Dixit mrigakshi.d@iijnm.org Bengaluru: The city that is regarded as having a moderate climate throughout the year faced different conditions last years, recording temperatures not seen since last 85 years. And it was hot – at least by Bangalore standards. The city twice recorded record high temperatures - 37.2-degree Celsius in April and 31-degrees just days before Christmas. Nineteen-year-old Deepa, in her first year of law school at Christ University, remembers it well. “Last April, which was one of the hottest days, a few of my friends fell ill due to the sudden increase in the temperature and faced skin complications,” she recalls. “People are falling sick more often due to changing weather conditions. The climate is perpetually dry causing many kinds of skin diseases.” The last time the city saw such scorching temperatures, say officials at the Indian Meteorological Department, was Bengaluru is now experiencing a hotter climate than has been recorded in the past 85 years. Courtesy- India Today Group 85 years ago on April 30, 1931 the metropolitan area, which is different kinds of pollution and million according to the Road in temperature of city. Last year, with 38.3 degree Celsius. “Way back in 80’s and 90’s warmer than its surroundings as urbanisation. According to the Transport Office (RTO). This with the arrival of February the the temperature used to be very compared to the rural areas due reports provided by Indian Insti- increases the emission of car- temperature started to soar. And pleasant; summer was warm with to several activities by humans. tute of Science (IISC), the garden bon dioxide content in the air, this year the winters have already a bearable heat, with 24 hours Among the reasons for the increased city in its glorious days had about which gradually heats up the at- arrived with a warm climate. of rainfall that lead to extended temperatures is the lack of rainfall. 150 lakes and 71 per cent of green mosphere with the green house Recent factors that add up to the monsoons and cold embracing Usually, monsoons in July have cover.“Now the lakes are deplet- gases like carbon monoxide, climate woes are the idea of conwinter,” says Roopa Padmar, average rainfall of 103.9 milli- ing and green cover is gradually methane and nitrous oxide. The verting the city into a smart city. age 40. “Everything used to be metres, but last July, the rainfall shrinking.” says Dr. M.D Subhash earth has to maintain its natural “There is an urgent need for the moderate and there was nothing accounted for only 23 millime- Chandran, Professor at Indian carbon dioxide cycle by absorb- rejuvenation of lakes and for like extreme weather condition. tres. Thus, the average rainfall Institute of Science, Bangalore. ing Co2 from plant, lakes and soil creation of more green spaces Bangalore weather is said to be has declined by 10 percent, said The metropolitan city accounts for but with deforestation and 90 per between the buildings, to reguunpredictable, but I can say it was the metrological department. the population of about 8.52 mil- cent land used for human activi- late the climate naturally. The beautifully unpredictable back S. M. Metri, the Director-in- lion as per the census report. The ties the carbon cycle is disturbed unplanned growth of the city then. We used to enjoy every turn Charge of Bangalore Meteorologi- IT hub provides great number of further heating up the atmosphere. of the weather. Now I feel it’s just cal department, said, “The summer job opportunity and people from “The replacement of green areas should also be restricted. More summer throughout the year.” weather can only be predicted af- across the country migrate here and lakes by concrete buildings, time should be spent on educatAccording to Open Government ter the rainfall in April. If the rain- to seek employment resulting in roads and flyovers lead to a phe- ing the people and saving our Data, the temperature of the fall registered is less, then the at- to make a land of diverse culture. nomenon called ‘urban heat is- natural resource for the upcoming city between the years 2000 and mospheric temperature may rise.” “The city is said to be a natu- land’. Air pollution has increased generation,” said J Srinivasan. 2011 has consistently increased. According to Met official, the ral air conditioner, back then in dramatically in case of prolifera- He adds: “Now there are more “During the past 100 years the trend in the increase of tempera- early 2000’s it was an ideal va- tion of vehicles.” said Srinivasan. glass buildings and highways minimum temperature is increas- ture of a particular month ir- cation place with less pollution, “The extinction of the lakes is one been constructed. The use of ing by 2-degrees Celsius every respective of the season is one buildings and traffic. I moved of the major factor for the climate AC’s has been thoroughly inmonth,” said J Srinivasan of of the biggest indicators of cli- here seven years back, still it change of the city,” said Dr. Ra- creased contributing to the reDivecha Centre for the Climate mate change of the Garden city. was a better to live in but since madevi, consultant for climate lease of Chloro-fluoro carbons Change at the Indian Institute of Scientists believe, major fac- last two-three years there is an change at Environmental Man- into the atmosphere causing exScience, Bangalore. “It’s due in tors contributing to the climate excessive change in the weather agement and Policy Research In- cessive damage to the ecosystem” large part,’ he said, ‘because of change of the city are global patterns.” said Anup Purohit stitute, Bangalore. “The wetlands India recently signed the Paris the “urban heat island” effect.” warming, emission of carbon di- Due to urbanisation the vehicu- are set to be balancing the ecoThe urban heat island (UHI) is oxide into the air, deforestation, lar population estimates to be 1.5 system from over the years. But Climate Treaty in order to curb the emission of carbon dioxide in the now with fewer numbers of wet- air. India is the fourth largest emitlands, there is total disturbance of ter of carbon dioxide. As a part of climate activities leading to hot the treaty India plans by 2030 to sunny days and irregular rainfall.” The El-nino affect due to produce 40 per cent energy from global warming also contributes the non-fossil fuels. India will shift to warm weather and less rainfall. from coal based power generation The meteorological department to renewable energy resources. said, the upcoming year will According to the climate change also be hot with some fluctua- treaty, the countries with the tion in temperature. But the cata- highest carbon dioxide emisstrophic affect of global warming sion are China, United States can anytime add up to the rise and Russia followed by India.

The city is said to be a natural air conditioner, back then in early 2000’s it was an ideal vacation place with less pollution, buildings and traffic. I moved here seven years back, still it was a better to live in but since last two-three years there is an excessive change in the weather patterns


METRO

January 17, 2017, Tuesday

2

Incidents like mass molestation ‘could happen’ Home Minister, says in a controversial remark

By

Prabhakar Thakur prabhakar.t@iijnm.org

Bengaluru: Mahatma Gandhi Road popularly known, as MG road in Bangalore is one of the most popular places for youngsters to chill, eat and shop at the same time. This time on New Year’s Eve, thousands of people gathered there to welcome the upcoming year 2017. As the crowd was enjoying the final moments of 2016, several women were reportedly molested, groped and manhandled by hooligans who saw the massive crowd as an opportunity to get their evil wishes fulfilled. The next day, a city newspaper published several photos of women horrified and sobbing on the road after reportedly being sexually harassed by the goons. It then became major news and now we know that incident as ‘Mass molestation’. This heart-wrenching incident also affected the image of the city, which was considered as a safe place for women. “The crowd had started gathering from the evening itself. It took me 20 minutes to move 100 meters with my cycle at about 6 pm,” said Manoj who works as a security guard at an ATM on Brigade Road. He further added, “At night, there were too many people on the streets and the crowd seemed to go crazy by the passing time. I saw the police trying to control the crowd and several men and women running everywhere on the road. It was like a stampede.” Sexual assault against women is not confined to any city or state. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), every day, nearly ninety-three women are raped and many more are molested all over the country. This figure does not include many more cases, which are not even reported at any police station. Shikha Rao, a student in a city

engineering college said that the news of mass molestation is shocking for her. She said, “To be frank, someone passing a vulgar comment is not an uncommon thing but an incident like this makes me feel uncomfortable.” Bhaskaak, a member of Vidyaranya, an NGO that works for women’s rights said, “Women are treated as inferior to men right from their birth. They are taught that men are always right and that is why, many times, they are unable to resist whenever they are misbehaved or denied rights.” “I believe that condition of women can improve only when these women themselves realize their strength and assert their rights,” he added. Talking about the solution, he said that our change should begin from the family. “Women in the family should be provided equal rights and the males should be told to behave properly with women,” he mentioned. Politicians have given out controversial statements on the recent incident of mass molestation in the city. G. Parameshwara, Home Minister in Government of Karnataka said that during events like New Year, incidents like these could happen. The youngsters follow western culture and also dress modernly. While blaming the incident on western clothes, the minister also told that precautionary measures were taken. Another politician Abu Azmi of Samajwadi Party went one step further and said that it is the women who are to be blamed for these incidents. He also said that the girls should not have gone to such crowded place with someone who is not either their father, brother or husband. Both these statements have received heavy criticism from opposition parties and also on social media. It is difficult to look at these comments separately since these politicians represent the common people. Their voice reflects the mindset of the people and the society as a whole.

Are women in Bengaluru really safe? Abhinav, a student in a city college said, “Sexual violence against women is a big issue in India and somewhere, it is our society as a whole which is to be blamed for it.” “It is really shameful that we don’t respect women. Many of us see women not an individual but a substance. This mentality needs to be changed. Even some of my female friends have told me about the incidents of misbehavior with them,” he added. Women literacy in India is 65 percent as compared to 82 percent among men. For 1000 males, India only has 940 females. India needs to energize its women who constitute nearly half of India’s population. The nation dreams of becoming a superpower but is cannot be achieved unless potential of Indian women is tapped. Prof. Surender Kumar, Head of Department of History in Patna

University said, “Women have historically been treated unequally in the Indian society. Except for the Vedic period when they used to enjoy equality with men in different areas including education, their condition has never been up to the mark. They have been denied right to education, choice and freedom. They are considered as the property of their husband. Even in mythological movies and T.V. shows, we can see a woman calling her husband swami (master).” To enhance the condition of women, the Central Government has launched various schemes such as “Beti Bachao Abhiyan”and “Janani Suraksha Yojana”. Recently, the Prime Minister said that Rs. 6,000 would be provided to pregnant women upon hospitalization.

Courtesy- vancouversun.com The Siddharamaiah led state government is also running several schemes such as Karnataka Mahila Abhivrudhi Yojana, which aims to achieve gender equality in the state. Another such scheme is Udyogini scheme, which helps women achieve self-employment. Gender equality is the fifth and one of the most important agenda under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set up by The United Nations Organization (UNO), which has to be achieved by 2030. It aims to achieve equality for every woman, ensuring their rights and their empowerment. It has to be achieved by providing them access to education, health, work and representation in the government without any discrimination.

India gets its first OnePlus store in Bengaluru By Yogita Chainani & Ilona Dam

Bengaluru: Chinese Smartphone Company, OnePlus launched its first ‘Experience store’ at M.G Road, Bengaluru, on Friday, which holds the complete range of OnePlus products for people to experience. The launch saw a huge footfall, people joined the long queue outside the store, waiting to experience the wide range of products that One Plus had to offer. The Weekly Observer spoke to the Public Relations Director of OnePlus, Ms. Shining Li, on occasion of their launch.

1. Why did you plan to open your store in Bangalore and not in any other metropolitan city?

Ans. Bangalore was our first choice since it is an IT hub. It is a place of growing oppor-

tunities, which means a larger customer base. Moreover, we already have a service centre in Bangalore and decided this would be the best option.

2. Do you think your online sales will get affected, now that you have an offline store?

Ans. No, people can still buy stuff online from anywhere in the world. Nothing is going to change in our online market. The main purpose for opening an offline store in India is to enter the Indian market.

3. Do you have any particular expectations from the Indian audience?

Ans. All we ask for is the trust of our audience. We would be happy if they come to us with their problems and complaints about any of our products. We will be more than happy to help them.

In this way, we want to gain our customers’ trust and confidence.

4. What promotional strategies have you thought of so far for the store and your products?

Ans. Right now, our main aim is to carve out a space in the Indian market and win the trust of our customers. Sales aren’t exactly a priority for us right now. What is important right now is to build up our customer base by convincing people about the quality of our products and services. After we work on that, we will think about promotional strategies.

5. How were your sales on the first day? Ans. The first day was great! We sold more than 2000 phones. We were very happy with the turnout and hope that the footfall remains the same, in fact

rises, during the rest of the year.

6. When the OnePlus store was launched in India, people were really excited about the phone. Do you think you have lived up to their expectations?

Ans. Customers are our priority right now and we’re working hard towards building our relation with them. I’m not sure whether we lived up to their expectations. Only they can answer that. However, we promise to do so in future.

7. Recently, there was news that OnePlus had some battery problems. What do you have to say about this?

Ans. No there wasn’t any such problem. We did a thorough check-up with the phones to ensure that there were no battery related problems occurring in them. We didn’t find any. So our customers can use it without any worries.


January 17, 2017, Tuesday

METRO

Elephant in the room Menstruation still a taboo in Indian society

3 No online transactions: Demonetisation affects flea markets in Bengaluru By Ahana Chatterjee ahana.c@iijnm.org

Most women can’t afford overpriced sanitary napkins.

By Aarohi Pathak aarohi.p@iijnm.org

ing menstrual hygiene and provide

State of our washrooms According to the 2011 census, 89 percent of the nation’s rural population lives in houses which lack toilets. With no proper sanitary facilities, women find it difficult to manage during those days. “The washrooms in schools here are badly maintained. They are also not covered properly on all sides so as to give the girls some privacy,” says Shuma, a Gandhi fellow, who works with young girls of rural Surat in the state of Gujarat. “When the girls have their periods, they feel the need to visit washrooms more frequently. One of the girls told me that boys followed her to the washroom. She thought they must’ve peeked in while she was inside, as she saw them giggling when she came out,” Shuma adds.

free access to sanitary pads. Still, the situation hasn’t changed much. “We couldn’t just ask them to buy sanitary napkins. They can’t afford them,” says Gayatri Nair, communications manager at Sukhibhava, which is a social enterprise, was started in Bengaluru by Dilip Pattubala with an aim to educate women of low socio-economic background about menstruation and provide them cheaper sanitary napkins. Before starting Sukhibhava, Dilip initiated a survey to find out the level of menstrual hygiene among the urban poor women. His survey threw up some alarming facts. Only 12 per cent of women all over the country use sanitary pads. Further, on interviewing 250 women from three government schools, three urban slums and two garment factories in Bengaluru, Dilip found out that 82 percent women said they don’t use pads, 76 percent used old cloths while six per cent said they use materials like plastic, paper, sand, rags etc. While initially it was difficult for them to see a young man telling them about menstruation, the women showed a positive response. “90 percent said that they liked using pads,” adds Gayatri. “I had to use rags for most of my life as we never had the money to afford sanitary napkins. But I buy as many pads for my daughter as our income permits. I also make pads for us out of old cotton cloth,” says Kavitha, resident of a slum in Nayandahalli in Bengaluru.

Can’t afford sanitary pads The Indian government approved a scheme called Shuchi of Rs 150 crore in 2010 in order to spread awareness among women regard-

Women’s health Menstrual hygiene and education is important for a woman’s health and well-being. Over 62,000 women died of cervical

“They feel ashamed to tell their teachers that they are having periods. They just miss school on the pretext of being unwell,” says Shuma Banik. Shuma is one of the many young people in India who have taken up the arduous task of demystifying a biological process which is integral to sustaining the human species- menstruation. In India, this topic has always been the elephant in the room. A no-no to discussions on this topic has left young girls and women perplexed.

Courtesy- indiapromise.com cancer in 2015, accounting for 24 percent of the total cancerrelated deaths of women in India, as estimated by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). “Most girls here use rags and do not know how to use them hygienically. If they don’t take enough care, it could lead to infection in the urinary tract and further lead to reproductive issues,” says Shuma. Myths Aditi Gupta, a resident of Ahmedabad, has co-authored a comic book called Menstrupedia which is a humorous take on the very serious topic of menstrual education among females in India and also debunks myths about it. “Among the Muslim community here, the girls aren’t sent to school for a few days after their periods get over, as it is believed that they might have an ‘illicit’ affair during that time,” says Shuma. A major reason behind so many misconceptions about menstruation is the fact that it isn’t openly discussed. “We do not talk about these things in front of others. I have a son too,” says Kavitha. Gender Inequality This problem can also be viewed in a larger context of gender inequality. In the 2015 United National Development Program’s Human Development (UNDP) report, India ranks 130 out of 155 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII), trailing behind lesser developed Asian countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan which rank 111 and 121, respectively. These numbers are an indication of why issues related to women’s health rank so low on our priority list.

Bengaluru: The flea markets of Bangalore are facing tremendous economic losses due to demonetization. Even after two months of the decision being taken, huge numbers of shops are facing the cash crunch crisis. P.V Lokaya, 65, a resident of Shivaji Nagar, is the owner of a small shop in Commercial Street. The decade old shop does not have an online payment or a swipe machine facility. After the ban on legal tender notes was announced, he accepted the old notes of Rs.500 and Rs.1, 000 for more 10 to 15 days after the announcement, since he did not a have change for Rs.2, 000. He did not shut down his shop during that period since it’s his only source of his livelihood. It took him five to 10 days to exchange the old notes from bank. “I bought the goods with old notes as the suppliers were accepting them. At times, during the cash crunch I bought the commodities on credit as I did not have cash,” he said. The government announced the implementation of demonetization to track the black money in the country and to curb the circulation of fake currency. One of the aims of this process was to digitalize our Indian economy, so that everything can be viewed and done online. But due to this, small-scale shops in the flea markets are getting affected. Half of them do not have swipe machines or an online payment system. They solely depend on cash transactions and thus have been largely affected by demonetization. However, there are few shop vendors who have started using an online payment system after the

note ban. Ali, a shoe seller in the same market applied for a swipe machine from Axis Bank to overcome the loss he had faced during this period. But it has been a month and yet he has not got the machine installed and neither heard a reply from the bank’s end. From the past one month, the bank has been claiming that he will get the machine installed soon but nothing as such has happened so far. After the decision was taken for demonetization, Ali had to juggle between the opening time of his shop and standing in the long queues of the banks. He said that he started facing issues mainly after a month. People still come with Rs. 2, 000 notes and it’s very hard for him to give change. His business has faced around 60 to 70 percent loss up till now. “My business has been affected tremendously due to this cash crunch,” he said. For these small scale businesses, the idea of demonetization was not helpful. They cannot compete with the e-commerce portals and nor are they able to install essential equipment for online transactions . One of the furious jewellery sellers, Tausif, from the market, said, “The government should ban the Rs.2, 000 note and only keep Rs.500 as the highest currency denomination. We are facing loads of issues since demonetization has been announced. I don’t know till when we will have to deal with this.” Few shops have also started using ‘Paytm’ for online payment after demonetization. Shops with no modern amenities have faced a lot of trouble and this move towards a cashless economy has not gone down well with them. All the occurrences boil down to just one question - how far was this move effective for the common man?

Notes of Rs. 2000 are acting as a major hindrance for smallscale shopkeepers. Courtesy- AFP


METRO

January 17, 2017, Tuesday

4

Blogging: The art of expression By Yogita Chainani yogita.c@iijnm.org

Blogging initially started as one person’s passion and became thousands’ inspiration. Blogging has evolved in the last three years and people now use this medium to make money. Before inception of the concept of blogging, people never imagined that giving their opinions about vivid things could become a job for someone. We had only heard of people like critics, anchors and columnists who spoke and commented on people or things in media and got pay checks, but today, blogging is just the same with more hardworking individuals, who strive to survive and compete with media outlets mushrooming in the nation. Blogging has changed a lot more in terms of content, internet users and viewership. Three years back, celebrities started writing blogs to connect with their fans; while independent journalists used it as a medium to voice their opinion. But as things evolved, blogging too evolved in a humongous way. People started realising the power of social media and its ability to influence and change the world. People got an outlet to watch, listen and create content that was unheard of before. However, today, vitality of blogging is increasing and people who would’ve hid themselves under a rock, instead of going up on stage to speak, are sitting alone in their rooms and freely speaking to a camera that reaches millions of people. In this new era, it’s a tool for everyone, since one can easily showcase their talents online and get liked and paid for it. Jay Sanghvi, founder of ‘The

Food Punch’, a food blog with 46,200 thousand followers has an interesting story behind his blog. Sanghvi says, “The food blog was started in 2014 just for the love of food and Instagram was one of the easiest place to upload pictures and edit them. The blog was meant for people to know about my passion for food but suddenly my page got 7,000 likes and I started getting invitation from restaurants to review their food and this passion suddenly turned into a business where people paid me for my opinion.” The fact that blogging allows you the freedom to work from any part of the world, makes it more approachable for people who want to work in some other field while live their passion for blogging as well. Blogging makes it easy for working class to work and then to follow their passion of blogging. Blogging is now more about what you like to eat, what you like to wear and how one can be fit without paying a nasty amount for gym. With time and technology, social media has become more powerful. Especially, today in a world where one tweet can make you a hero or the most hated person ever. People with good food sense chose the social media platform and became Food Bloggers and people with good fashion sense became Fashion Bloggers. Blogging is not only interesting but also the immediate access to social media applications like Instagram and Snapchat makes it more users friendly. Once upon a time, celebrities were hired for all sorts of brand promotions but today, brands are hiring bloggers as their ambassadors. Brands now realize the reach and influence of these individuals and the value of their opinion and experiences. This changes ev-

Courtesy- Instagram @ Styledrive erything from the business point of view. Brands are spending less and getting more out of it. Aayushi Bangur, founder of ‘Style Drive’, a fashion and beauty blog, says that blogging has its own beauty and being a fashion blogger she not only gets an opportunity to give opinion about fashion but also gets to endorse many brands. “People follow me on Instagram and take my views on fashion, which makes me really proud and happy. Fashion was always my passion and to pursue it in this way, where I earn as well and this makes me more passionate towards my work.”

Courtesy- Instagram @ The Foodpunch

Blogs, nowadays, give us advice and teach us things in different ways. People have blogs on fitness, style, travel and even on memes for that matter. Each and every blog has its own uniqueness and the power of social media helps these blogs to grow even more, by spreading across a wider audience. Blogs not only act as an opportunity for young people to display their talent, but it also gives them a platform to earn money while chasing their dreams and doing what they are most passionate about. Tina Tengra, a beauty blogger, who recently started her beauty blog named; ‘We Makeup Life’ shares her experience by saying, “Insecurities are very high for all young adults in today’s day and age. We see Photoshop perfect bodies and face everywhere and it makes us feel like we have to be like that. I felt that a lot too but obviously I’m no Angelina Jolie and I still represent a large chunk of the girls wanting to look a certain way. And mind you, it’s difficult to put yourself out there for millions to judge.” Tengra further adds that she wanted to pursue her passion of makeup and beauty but also wanted to send across a message to women that no matter how far they are from the popular culture definition of ‘beautiful’, they still are the most beautiful in their own ways. Encouraging women to believe that they are strong and beautiful, Tengra further said, “I want to spread positivity and let everyone know that it is we that makeup our lives by being a universe within ourselves.”

Someone’s passion and someone’s dream - blogging has surely given a new platform to people who want to reach out to their audiences in the most creative way. Blogging is a new age of journalism and the trend in India is escalating as we now see around 25 well known food bloggers and each of them have their own unique take on food. With digitalisation, India will soon move to online completely and blogging then will be considered as a solid business plan for young entrepreneurs.

“spread I want to

positivity and let everyone know that it is we that makeup our lives by being a universe within ourselves. ”

- Tina Tengra


January 17, 2017, Tuesday

BREAK-THROUGH

5

Mad, fat, hairy? I don’t care! By Chhavi Nagpal chhavi.n@iijnm.org

B

ritish writer and broadcaster Rae Earl spent four months in a psychiatric hospital tackling body image issues and her weight problems. And she did it all before the cameras. The star of the sitcom “My Mad, Fat Diary,” spent 48 episodes, over the course of three seasons, trying to impress her “friends” and dealing with social isolation, teasing and hurtful jokes. Rae Earl is representative of many 17- to 30-year-olds in India, who struggle with the weight of their weight issues. Body-shaming intimidates, even bullies, people into believing in – and striving for - the “perfect body.” Images of how a perfect body should look are blowing up the Internet. There are fad diets, exercise trends and tabloid stories that criticize even the slightest weight gain by movie stars. According to Dr. Jaclyn Cravens of Texas Tech University, “Body shaming involves criticizing people about their weight, shape or appearance.” The inherent belief is that conforming to a particular physical standard set out by society at large means success, beauty and popularity. Preconditioned ideas and conventional stereotypes of beauty facilitate the formation of unrealistic expectations of what is beautiful, said Shama Parkhe, psychologist at Hank Nunn Institute in Bangalore. And at no time are we more focused on body image than in high school, she said. “Some well intending families also resort to body-shaming as a way to motivate children to adopt healthy lifestyles, especially by reducing weight and looking better,” said Parkhe. There is a fascination, fanned by the Hindi film industry, for the perfect 36-24-36 hourglass figure, with shaped eyebrows and hairless skin for both the sexes. Those are the minimum requirements if you want to even dream about making it big, people will have you believe. “Middle-aged men at my workplace ask me if I’m ‘healthy’ [code for fat] due to genetic issues,” said Iraada Parrikar, a Mumbai resident, working at IBM. “It does not matter to them that I am succeeding professionally. I have repeatedly had comments passed at my dressing choices, since I like to wear bright colors, which aren’t really flattering for a healthy girl.” “When I was studying at a business school, people like me would be laughed at if we tried to go to the gym because muscle-building boys considered the gym to be their exclusive property,” she added, recalling how her parents had told her how they had written excitedly to a relative about her birth only to have the relative reply, “7

Body-shaming intimidates people into striving for the “perfect body.” Courtesy- Kritika Trehan ½ pounds? Put her on a diet guys!” The concept of body shaming is so deeply manifested in a society’s practices that rare are the times when people realize the intensity or impact of their jokes or comments. “A combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors can lead to eating disorders,” said Parkhe. “Biological factors and genetics are likely to cause eating disorders in some people. However, a majority of people develop eating disorders in an attempt to seek some psychological comfort due to reasons such as poor self-esteem and negative body-image ensuing from the desire of being socially desirable, dysfunctional families, childhood and adolescent traumas, and stressful transitions or life changes.” Businesses take full advantage of the hoopla surrounding body image. Brands such as Fair N Lovely want everyone to believe that they can magically turn three shades lighter, and VLCC promotes laser surgery so people can slim down from their current largeness. Even the largest sizes of clothiers Abercrombie and Fitch and Zara fit only medium-sized people. And in some countries, larges clothing sizes cost more. And in one interview, Abercrombie and Fitch’s chief executive, Mike Jeffries was quoted saying that his brand deliberately doesn’t carry clothes for overweight people, and he isn’t bothered about excluding fat people, “Communication between hot people is our primary marketing tactic, it’s almost everything.” In media, Bollywood and Hollywood biggies reinforce the

idea of straight figures that are fair, make-up laden, with hairless bodies in their movies. Movies such as Mujhse Dosti Karogi, Student of the Year, Fat Like Me and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days promote two lessons: The fair, thin girl will get the boy and be successful in life because the overweight girl is too

“Some-

times I just want an oversized T - shirt, boxer shorts, unkempt hair & unibrows”

-Kalki Koechlin

ugly for anyone to notice; and fat people will always be socially excluded people and will always be the butt of the joke. Despite the suffering experienced by some large people, discrimination and criticism do not only tip towards this side of the scale. Thin, or skinny, peo-

ple are targeted equally and are told to “Get a sandwich,” or are called names like “match-stick.” In recent times, Indian actors have openly started protesting the perfect bodies they are forced to maintain. “Sometimes I just want an oversized T shirt, boxer shorts, unkempt hair and unibrows,” said actress and writer Kalki Koechlin in a powerful speech on International Women’s Day. “I want armpit hair long enough to plait, and I want a clean face without a trace of make-up. I want to be George Clooney basically, but with breasts and a muffin.” “I still have un-waxed arms and legs, full growth. My earliest memory of body-shaming is from 8th standard. All my friends got their waxing done, I didn’t and so I became the topic of discussion for how “un-womanly” women look and how it’s not okay for women to not have clean, fair skin”, said Devyani Srivastava, a feminist activist from New Delhi. Himanshu Sharma remembers being called a walking skeleton when he was in school, due to his thin, boney body. ‘Clothes on a hanger’, ‘malnourished’ and ‘weakling’ were just a few of the choicest words used by his classmates to mock him and another thin friend. Indian women are more likely to be obese than their male counterparts, new research shows. There were 20 million obese women in India in 2014 compared with 9.8 million obese men, according to a study published in the British medical journal, the Lancet. Severe obesity was observed in an additional 4 million Indian women. India saw a more significant rise in

obesity from its 19th position for both men and women in 1975 to rankings 5th and 3rd respectively in 2014. Worldwide, the number of obese people rose to 641 million in 2014 from 105 million in 1975. Still, there is either too much or too little to eat in India. India remains the country with the most underweight, with 102 million men and 101 million women underweight. India is home to over 40 percent of the global underweight population. It was this kind of body-shaming that led Kritika Trehan, an ex-student of Srishti School of Art and Design in Bangalore, to do a project on her experiences of body shaming. Coming from a family where her parents were from two different cultures, she has always had to face confusion as to how she is supposed to look. She had been reading “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf, which became the starting point of an enquiry. Even though she believes it happens to both genders, her research found that the balance of criticism was skewed towards women, who were always made to feel ashamed of their body. Trehan’s book, “Excess,” is a collection of digital collages that use satire to explore the relationship between body shaming and gender biases using images from the visual culture of India. She says she chose to do a collage since collages as a medium tend to alter the existing material to create something new and meaningful which is what shaming dictates you to do too. However, a difference has been recognized by the movement against body-shaming between accepting your body and being happy about it, and remaining overweight and ruining your health, like in the show “My 600-lb Life” where each episode follows a year in the life of a morbidly obese person and their attempts to reduce their weight to a healthy level, usually with the assistance of gastric bypass surgery. It is different to lose weight to avoid diseases like diabetes and heart-attacks, and it is different torturing yourself to slim down due to social pressure. So, what’s the solution? “The first step would be to recognize and acknowledge whether one is body shaming themselves or is allowing others to do the same,” said Parkhe. “As difficult as it may sound, it is us who allow the humiliation and shaming by accepting conventional stereotypes of a perfect body and refusing our body. Second would be to place more emphasis on having a healthy body as opposed to being good looking and beautiful based on conventional stereotypes,” added Parkhe.


January 17, 2017, Tuesday

6

UNWIND

Pongal: Festival of Harvest Protest at M.G Road By Mahak Dutta mahak.d@iijnm.org Just like every year, Pongal was celebrated with great zeal and fervor in South India. Pongal is considered highly significant especially in Tamil Nadu. It marks the celebration of a successful harvest of rice and other cereals, sugarcane and turmeric; all of which are important ingredients of Tamil food. This four-day long occasion carries a vibrant vibe with it and is known as more of a thanksgiving to the nature for its virtues. On the first day, people worship Lord Indra- God of rain to have abundant food stock and for peace and prosperity. ‘Bhogi Manthalu’ is a ritual which is observed on this day, where people abandon and light the old and useless household articles on fire and wish for new and positive beginnings. The second day, also called the ‘Surya Pongal,’ is marked by offerings made to the God of the sun. Many customs are meant to be followed on this day- women wake up early to prepare the

Pongal is celebrated heavily throughout Courtesy- Vivek Dubey

traditional dish of kolam and to decorate their houses. This is when the festival really begins. The third day is popularly known as ‘Mattu Pongal,’ the day of cows. People relate this day to the legend of Shiva and his bull Basava and decorate and worship their cattle as it helps in a healthy produce. This is the most anticipated day as it is full

Little Things

Little Things will bring to you the stories of people in Bengaluru that we come across everyday. Their lives are just as ordinary as ours and yet are beautiful in their own way. By Mrigakshi Dixit “Education is one of the most important aspects of life.” believes Geeta, a 32-year-old, resident of Malleshwaram area of the city. She shifted to Kumbalgodu, eight months back with her husband Raghu and two daughters. Popularly known as ‘Akka’, she runs a small grocery shop in the area for the students and residents. Her day begins at 6:30 in the morning and she continues to work in the shop from 7:30 am till 10:30 pm. Geeta, busy chopping onion for an omelette toast, says, “I enjoy working in this shop and making food for the students as they are all away from their home. It makes me happy to serve them and it keeps me busy throughout the day.”

She pauses and adds: “I have two daughters, the younger one is studying in first grade and the elder one in ninth grade.” “I did not receive proper education in my life, but I want my daughters to study well and become better humans; that will make us proud.” Geeta, through this shop manages the expenses of her family and the education of her two daughters. Apart from this she likes to do stitching and embroidering. “I hardly get leisure time these days but I like to do it whenever I find time.” says Geeta. “I am thankful to the people and students who add up some liveliness to my daily routine,” she smiles and adds “I like my life more now.”

of planned rituals and traditions. Finally on the fourth day, the women of the house are supposed to get up early in the morning and make preparations for puja where they pray for prosperity of the men of their house. Pongal is celebrated vividly and each day has an importance and significance attached to it.

Bengaluru: A protest was organised at M.G Road in the city. In order to raise voice against the recent New years Eve mass molestation incident. thousand of youngsters gathered together with a candle vigil to express their support and to raise awareness for such issues.

‘Change only happens when ordinary people get involved’ : Obama bids adieu to Americans By Ayushee Chaudhary ayushee.c@iijnm.org After serving as the President of the United States of America (USA) for eight years, Barack Hussein Obama addressed Americans in his farewell speech on 10 January, 2017 in Chicago. As Obama delivered his final words; people kept shouting “Four more years” and all Obama said was “I can’t do that” even as the people persisted. President Obama said “Yes, we can” for the first time as a presidential candidate in January 2008 in New Hampshire and from then eight years have been marked with the moments that kept on reminding people, “Yes, we can”. The reaction from people and conversations with the American people, in living rooms, in schools, at farms, on factory floors, at diners and on distant military outposts; were the results of his achievements. He said, “This is where I learned that change only happens when ordinary people get involved and they get engaged, and they come together to demand it “We, the People, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union,” added Obama as he maintained the focus of his speech that night

Obama says farewell as ‘the state of democracy’. “For every two steps forward, it often feels like we take one step back. But the long sweep of America has been defined by forward motion, a constant widening of our founding creed to embrace all and not just some,” he stated. There is never a perfect term or a perfect President but what made Obama earn what he earned were his constant efforts towards making a difference while keeping people closely involved. During his speech, he took people through a reverse journey. “If I had told you eight years ago that America would reverse a great recession, reboot our auto industry,

and unleash the longest stretch of job creation in our history, if I had told you that we would open up a new chapter with the Cuban people, shut down Iran’s nuclear weapons program without firing a shot, take out the mastermind of 9/11, if I had told you that we would win marriage equality, and secure the right to health insurance for another 20 million of our fellow citizens, if I had told you all that, you might have said our sights were set a little too high. But that’s what we did. That’s what you did. You were the change.” While concluding he stressed on the importance of the word “WE”, which he believes is the most powerful word in a democracy. “My fellow Americans, it has been the honour of my life to serve you. In fact, I will be right there with you, as a citizen, for all my remaining days. But for now, whether you are young or whether you’re young at heart, I do have one final ask of you as your President — the same thing I asked when you took a chance on me eight years ago. I’m asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change — but in yours.”

THE WEEKLY OBSERVER TEAM Editor-In-Chief- Mrigakshi Dixit Managing Editor- Chhavi Nagpal Copy Editors-Yogita and Ahana Photo Editor- Prabhakar Thakur Geeta Akka at her shop in Kumbalgodu Courtesy- Prabhakar

Staff- Sandra Branger

Layout Editor- Sumukh Kadekar Social Media Editors- Ayushee and Konica Proof Reader- Aarohi Pathak For feedback mail at- printstudents@iijnm.org

Issue 13 2017 batch A  

Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media Paper

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