15.6.08

Deducing reducing

This is how we reduce people…

Toilet cleaners to walk NY ramp

New Delhi: A year ago, Vimla Atwal eked a living by cleaning outdoor pits used as toilets in a village. Next month, she will sashay down a New York ramp with top Indian models.

29 other female toilet cleaners who now have other jobs thanks to a rehabilitation programme run by a local firm, will participate in a series of events by the UN to mark the International Year of Sanitation. During their stay in New York, the 30 women will present a short film on their lives as well as take part in a fashion show.

For 12 months these women have been working in other jobs. Not everyone is so lucky. So why are they participating in anything to do with sanitation? Why are they being made to regurgitate their past? I am sick of these UN-sponsored events that make a mockery of people and the hard work they put in to make a decent living.

“A year ago I was looked down upon as an outcast in my village, but now I am ready to fly in a plane and take part in a fashion show,” said Atwal.

See, this is what happens. Embroidery, making pickles and noodles are not good enough for respectability. Has the UN invited people who do chikankari, who are part of the milk co-operatives, the group that has made a success of a papad company?

And I am emphasising people. Why are only women toilet cleaners being invited? There are thousands of men who are also in this job.

This is one more gimmick.

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Sikh model the new rage in US

New York: One of the key attractions at New York’s Rockefeller Centre is a life-size picture of a turban-clad young Sikh. It has the Sikh community buzzing, with messages pouring in from across the globe praising him for turning his religious identity into a fashion statement.

An ad by fashion designer Kenneth Cole solicited, “A Sikh male, about 25 to 35 years old, who is ‘attractive’” for a worldwide campaign titled ‘Non-Uniform Thinkers’ to mark the brand’s 25th anniversary, with the focus being: “We all walk in different shoes.”

Caberwal was honoured for this achievement during the fifth annual Capitol Hill Dinner organized by the US-based Sikh Council on Religion & Education (SCORE) on June 11. Sikhs from across the world are all praise for Caberwal, especially at a time when the community feels it is being increasingly racially profiled in the US post 9/11 and elsewhere in the world as it struggles to maintain its religious identity.

I agree there is racism. But is being a goddamn mute picture because you are attractive or of a certain age sending out any special message? The fashion house specified Sikh male; they wanted a bloody turban to sell their “different shoes” idea. They were using him, his religious identity.

This is simply outrageous. And to think that he is being feted for it.

We as a society have begun to believe that getting scraps from the West is enough. If they are racist, then they have to solve the issues in their heads. Let us not get carried away by these token gestures. What the hell does “non-uniform thinkers” mean here? Are fashionistas thinkers (except perhaps when they have to think about what to wear and what to team up with which pair of shoes, belts, and accessories)? And non-uniform means different, as in not one kind. So the Sikh is being put up in a cardboard form but he sure as daylight is not a part of the mainstream.

Now go hang yourselves with that long rope you have been given…

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And…

Sharif wants Musharraf hanged

The crowds have been chanting this. The same crowds that voted for democracy and civil society. The same society is even listening to Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, whose histories are not quite without blemish?

Yes, hang Musharraf. But before that do something about the Constitution.

3 comments:

kb said...

You are being harsh on the first news,for those women it is god given opportunity.The Sikh item your observation is absolutely correct

FV said...

Wouldn't you want to know what are the dynamics involved? It is a god-given gift for the agencies...what will happen to those women after the tamasha?

Mask said...

C'mon, no one's hanging Musharraf. We haven't even impeached him yet, have we?