Browsing: News

4 Anti-Rape Jeans – Wanted: Women Warriors

‘Anti-rape jeans’ – the term seems to have gone viral on social media. A link to an article that I posted about this phenomenon was seen by over 190,114 people on the Lassi with Lavina page, over 22,126 have clicked on the shortlink and 228 have shared it. The result to articles in the Guardian and Daily Mail are even more mind-boggling – with over 9660 shares.

Clearly, this is a topic which strikes a chord with everyone. According to statistics, a rape occurs every 22 minutes somewhere in India and each case diminishes us all. Everyone is sick to the heart, is looking for solutions and every new idea is welcomed because it brings hope for change.

0 Narendra Modi: ‘India’s Mazdoor Number 1’

Our wishlist for PM Narendra Modi – Make it a totally inclusive country where people of all religions, castes, colors, genders and sexual persuasions can live peacefully together. Make it a more compassionate nation where every child, irrespective of his background, has a level playing field.

Try to change the patriarchal mindset of the country, a place where women have always been less than men, and the birth of a girl child is a time for sadness. Yes, I know that centuries old biases can’t be changed in a day but so much depends on the tone set by the man leading the nation.

8 Indian Elections: The View from America

It is indeed telling that while the elections are being played out in India, some of the most avid watchers are thousands of miles away and separated by oceans and continents – in America. Indeed the Indian Diaspora from Africa to the Middle East to Europe are all deeply involved in the outcomes but nowhere is the connection so deep as in America. Men and women who left their homeland over 30 to 40 years ago, still are moved enough to catch all the details on television, Indian newspapers and by phone calls to the family in India. (Photo – Narendra Modi supporters in Silicon Valley hold a tea rally in California)

3 International Women’s Day – Some Thoughts

It’s International Women’s Day again and in a way, kind of grim that we still need to have a specific day set aside for women.
Why do we need one special day – why aren’t women treated like the special people they are every day of their lives?
The past year has been horrific with atrocities against women, young girls, even toddlers. When will all that end?

4 Aam Aadmi’s Tale of the Magic Jharoo

Growing up in India, I found that the jharoo – broom made of grass – was ubiquitous in daily life. It was used in all homes, rich or poor, to restore order and beauty to the surroundings. Years have passed but the jharoo is still very much a part of daily Indian life, even being used in fancy resorts. In fact, it is even available in Indian stores in the US for those who still need their Indian broom! So it is fitting that the Aam Admi party has embraced this humble tool as a symbol to clean up the country.

0 Devyani Khobragade Case: In the Court of Public Opinion

Talk about Devyani Khobragade in New York, and you get many opinions, some vociferous, some guarded. While Khobragade has not yet been tried, she has certainly been tried in the court of public opinion in the US. As one Indian-American notes, ” Who knows what the real facts of the case are but people bring their individual background perspectives to what’s happening. I do understand and identify with India’s feelings and I think this rush to judgment is very simplistic. You have to see what are people’s motives – everything is not what it seems and to be taken at face value.”

1 Khobragade case: Did Preet Bharara Go Too Far?

He’s been mocked as Uncle Tom on Twitter, asked if he uses Fair and Lovely and accused of being more white than the whites. This for someone who was earlier lauded as being the Sheriff of Wall Street and appropriated by Indians as their own Blue-Eyed Boy.

In the escalating drama of the Deyvani Khorbagade case, one figure who has gone from great acclaim in India to great notoriety is Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. So the question arises: Did Preet Bharara Go Too far?

0 Devyani Khobragade: A Missing Maid & an International Incident

The last time I saw Dr. Devyani Khobragade the setting was festive, the event a celebration of the newly installed India Chair at Stony Brook University in New York. Since the consul general of India was out of town, Khobragade as acting consul general was one of the chief guests at this gala event, feted at the head table with all the major donors.

It was indeed the lull before the storm.

Four days later the storm broke and what a turbulent storm it’s been!

0 Princie Diamond from Golconda Sells for $39.3 million

Do you have a few extra million dollars lying around? Did you just pick up the phone and bid $39 ,323,750 on a diamond? No? Well, someone did!
An anonymous collector bidding by phone just parted with $ 39.3 million at Christie’s. This was no ordinary sparkler – a rare 34.65 carat Fancy Intense Pink diamond named the Princie, which originated from the ancient Golconda mines in India.
It is the most expensive diamond ever sold at Christie’s – or in the US.

1 A New York Vigil for Jyoti Singh Pandey

They gathered in the dark, in the biting winter cold in Union Square, Manhattan’s instinctive gathering place for protests and vigils, for remembrance and for times of loss.
Encircled by towering buildings and rushing, frenzied traffic, they had come together, carrying lighted votives which glittered in the dark of the disappearing day.

It was appropriate that they had gathered here for though Jyoti Singh Pandey’s story may have taken place in a street in Delhi, it has gone on to become a global catalyst, not just for women but for men of good will, for all human beings.
Looking at the somber faces, not only Indian but of every race, one realized that sexual violence is something everyone has to contend with. I could even imagine Jyoti Singh Pandey, huddled in a coat with a votive in her hand, standing in solidarity with the crowd.
She was us and we were her.
(Photo: Athanasia Kotopoulos)

2 Newtown: The End of Childhood

“But this week, they are preparing to bury 20 children, a wrenching task that includes helping secure tiny coffins and eulogizing lives that had just begun.” – The New York Times.

It was their time for toys and games, for fun and fairy-tales – not for coffins, eulogies and funerals. In fact, these four words – ‘children, schools, guns and death’ – should not even be in the same sentence together. Yet this is exactly what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on that horrific day when Adam Lanza , 20, went on a violent rampage shooting 27 people, 20 of them children between the ages of six and seven. For these kids, life ended before it had even begun.

0 Obama for America, America for Obama

November 6. The big day is here – the day you get to write the future narrative of this country.

If you happen to be an American citizen, please do go out and vote. It’s no time for apathy. Hurricane Sandy may have exhausted you, recent events exasperated you but today you’ve got to pick yourself up and get to a polling station.
I know the last week has not been easy – my home is still without power and heat, and I know thousands are in the same situation with the cold weather coming on. Nevertheless, I too am headed back home from Manhattan, driving 3o miles to cast my vote at a nearby school where my polling station is located.
Never has one day been so important in setting the course of how life pans out for our families, for future generations.

8 Tragedy in the Oak Creek Gurdwara

In the past few days we’ve all been to the Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin again and again, if not in person then in spirit via scores of live reports on the senseless killings, the grieving congregation, the stories of the lives lost. There’s almost a surreal ring of deja vu to this whole episode as one recalls the painful stories of discrimination against Sikhs in the aftermath of 9/11.

Why does it take some people so long to understand a simple truth – that we may all look different but at heart we are all the same – human? Why do common-sense teachings go awry and lessons which are taught in kindergarten – kindness and love to one’s fellows – get misinterpreted so horribly?

What is particularly sad about these attacks is that they are a backlash against a community which has a sterling track record of service and openness, even to complete strangers. If this assailant had wandered into the gurdwara sick and hungry and hurt, looking for food and help, this would have been the one place in the neighborhood where he would have been showered with both, no questions asked. Indeed, one of the key tenets of Sikhism is service to humanity.

0 President Barack Obama Goes to India

“So often when we talk about trade and commercial relationships, the question is who’s winning and who’s losing. This is a classic situation in which we can all win. And I’m going to make it one of my primary tasks during the next three days to highlight all the various ways in which we’ve got an opportunity I think to put Americans back to work, see India grow its infrastructure, its networks, its capacity to continue to grow at a rapid pace. And we can do that together, but only if both sides recognize these opportunities.” – President Obama

0 Indian Americans Lobby Washington

It’s taken a century of lobbying – both formal and informal, organizational and personal – to arrive in the America of 2010 where Bobby Jindal sits in the Governor’s Mansion in Louisiana, Nikki Haley is poised to become the next governor of South Carolina, and where scores of Indian-Americans are serving in the Obama White House and many more are standing for political office.

0 Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai Rises Again

For all those who sat horrified and heavy-hearted as the terrorist drama unfolded on television, watching firsthand the destruction of the iconic Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, there is good news: you just can’t keep a good hotel down. The Taj is resilient – no doubt about it. This Independence Day, the 100 year old hotel is back in business with a beautifully restored wing.

6 Tata’s Nano Comes to the Big Apple

There it stood in all its bright yellow glory, an icon of style, right in the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design on Fifth Avenue! Yes, the Tata Nano is causing a buzz in Manhattan as museum goers circle it and peer at its many features, its cute shape and its various assets. There was a rope around it and no one was allowed to touch it, giving it even more of a celebrity status.

2 But Can Your Sari Sing?

Life seems to be turning into a Bollywood movie and you won’t even need to lip-sync as you sing and dance your way through life with your romantic hero – just wear a musical sari! Yes, you’ve seen those Made in China Christmas cards which sing, autos from everywhere which talk and clocks which nag you to wake up. Now you have a Made in India intricately embroidered sari which comes embedded with a digital player in the ‘pallu’, 8 micro-speakers on the border and can play over 200 songs for four hours.

4 Blurring of the American Dream

McMansions, hefty bank balances, unfettered success, Ivy League schools, a world embroidered with dollar signs.

For many Indian immigrants, that was the fabric of the American Dream. Add to that a Lexus and maybe a BMW in the double car garage, lots of travel, lots of dining out, and the ability to live a rich lifestyle.

For other Indian immigrants, the American Dream was much more modest—just the ability to survive, to consolidate some savings and send funds back home to family members still in the village.
Yet all these dreams, big and small, modest and immodest, have been gathered, whipped up and churned in the ruthless and noisy cement mixer of the economy—pummeled, pushed and battered by the worst crisis in memory as the global economy has taken a severe beating.