Category Archives: women’s rights

A NEW FREEDOM FOR THE FUTURE

There is a bomb girl who frequents the same gym I go to. She looks like a movie star, and works ferociously at the various sculpting machines there. She keeps looking back at an imaginary fold of fat at the waist, and keeps whining to the trainer, “I am putting on weight!”
This beauty is spending money, time and effort to beat a non-existent disease: obesity. She is also, potentially, damaging her joints and heart when she pounds the treadmills and pumps the weights. Shouldn’t someone stop her before its too late?
There is another girl I know who wants to trim her inner labia. She seeks a cosmetic gynecologist who does vaginoplasties. And another one who wants a surgery to make her a virgin again, before she gets married a few weeks later. These girls are looking to seek potentially dangerous and complication-prone operations that treat no disease. They are merely expressing some inner wish to change their structure, though there may be nothing fundamentally wrong with them.
I had previously highlighted how the American College of Gynecologists (ACOG) is hotly after the man who has made vaginoplasty a commercial money-spinner. This merely illustrates the fact that there are people in the world, including medical experts, who want to stop procedures that alter one’s physical state. Sex change surgery is another example. There are countries where this is illegal.
The future is fraught with potentially more complex and controversial issues like using genetic engineering and cloning to create a new type of human being that may be peculiarly enhanced. For example, a mother may be able to select a baby who is genetically engineered to see in the dark. Or one who will be free of certain deadly diseases. If you have not read my article on ‘Disruptive Medicine’, this is your lucky day. Check it out.
A Swedish organisation called Eudoxa talks of this morphological freedom, defining it as “an extended right to your own life, including your body.”
Why would a man or woman want to alter his structure for overtly trivial reasons?

We express ourselves through what we are becoming.
Self-development is an intense motivational factor for most humans, and by its
nature this is a very personal and challenging achievement.

Look at tattooing. The way many conservative people see it, it is a kinky and perverse thing to do. It is, however, considered quite cool and contemporary by much of modern society.
It is a personal morphological alteration without specific reasons beyond an individual’s personal choice and freedom of expression.

But wouldn’t genetic modification of children alter society and endanger it? Should we not stop this before it is too late?

Recognizing the right to choose among the many options made available through
morphologic freedom also supports the right not to choose them; the positive and
negative rights are two sides of the same coin.
Purely negative goals like the EU Commission’s directive on children’s right to be
born with unmodified genes will often end up in conflict with positive goals such as
providing children with the best possible medical attention. This right is also
mentioned by the Commission, but is undermined by the negative goal.
One of the many ways this positive goal can be attained is through surgery in the
womb for certain congenital defects. This type of operation changes the body and
the potential person much more than any genetic modification we can bring about.

In other words, apart from the issues of personal freedom and choice, these same disruptive technologies that could change future generations could also save countless lives and improve the lifestyle of the suffering. For example, see the use of intelligent prostheses for amputees that work better than normal limbs.
For more details, check out this link and download a pdf of the statement of Eudoxa.

Whatever be one’s views on this, this issue is a sure one for the future. You haven’t heard anything yet!

TWELVE THINGS I HATE ABOUT WOMEN

I have this incredible tectonic, platonic love for women, as readers of this blog must have sensed by now. However, there are certain things about certain women that put me off.

1. Women with dirty navels: The ultimate revulsion. This hatred must be something I got from the time I was attached to an umbilical cord! As a laparoscopic surgeon, I am, um, bilious about the unclean umbilicus, one that strikes a chord in me.

2. Women with garlic or onion in their breath: this is a real no-brainer. Who likes ‘em? If a girl smells leek this, I spring away: my light bulb movement. As far as these women are concerned, I know my onions.

3. Women with male genitals: I somehow can’t seem to gonad gomad about their confusing plumbing system.

4. Bad English: call me snobbish, but I like women who speak good English, and have long been a lingo-raj for the Queen, her English, I mean! I have no problems with women who don’t speak English at all.

5. Women who can get hysterical: Hysteria is, etymologically, a disease which springs from the woman’s uterus (hysteros). I believe it. A hysterical woman is bad all the way inside. Avoid, dude!

6. Obsessively clean women: Married to one myself, I can speak on this with messive authority. They have a reason to find fault with you for every little thing you do:
“Why have you kept the chocolate wrappers and the orange peels on the bed? There are ants all over the place!” Well, idiotic, won’t you say? As if I invited all the ants over for dessert or something!

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“Why are you eating here? Look how much of sauce you have spilt here. Oh, my Gawd, you have kept the banana peel and the apple core on the table, like this? How horribly dirty you are! Get up, get up right now, that glass of water is just going to fall!”

You get the idea. She could drive me up the wall. Only that I can’t climb it because a bowl of soup landed on it last night as I was showing my son how to hit an extra-cover drive, forgetting that the bat was a bowl of soup, and a large one at that. She asked me, as the tallest member of the family, to clean it, but I told her, “Are you kiddin’ me? With Yuvraj batting like this?! Tomorrow is a Sunday, and tell me then.” This morning, she has been after my ass to complete the job, but it’s amazing how inconsiderate and lacking in understanding some women can be, isn’t it? Sourav Ganguly is batting now, I have three newspapers to read (with their supplements), I have so many blogs to visit, so many comments to defend, so many mails to read. Sigh. It will take me till lunchtime to get free. After which I will do it. Only if there is no movie I am forced to watch….

7. Organised women: Yes, once again, as one married to an organised woman, I can tell you they are serious risk factors for one’s healthy heart rate and rhythm. You keep a very hot phone number, flavored with a wee hint of lipstick, which you have jotted down on the reverse of a bill for the petrol you bought last week, and when you want to find it next week, it is not there. Why? The obsessive organiser has thrown it into the trash! How much injustice does a man have to suffer, tell me?! One can’t live life if one’s important phone numbers are trashed as if they have no importance in one’s own house. I have decided not to take this lying down. From now on, I am going to start writing the numbers on the wall with my son’s crayons. Let’s see what she does about that!

Are you actually thinking of asking me to get an organiser or diary? Huh. Silly things don’t work, and diaries are for sissies, anyways. No man with baseline levels of testosterone will ever stop writing on chits of paper, leaving them in the organised free market of his study table.

8. Jewelry-obsessed women: I am fine with a woman wearing a single pendant on a silk or leather thread. But never trust a woman who buys gold and diamonds on the specious plea that they are investments for the future. Never. If ever you get to the future and wish to redeem your investment, said woman and attached mother will rain on you like popcorn from a fat man choking on a mouthful when sitting behind you at a movie. Sell off jewelry?! Dhishhum, dhishhum! Bang! Crrash!!

9. Young women with BO: I have, over the years, learned to distinguish the various types of body odor in women and men. I will, perhaps, classify them one day for posterity. Readers may recall my earlier olfactory ordeals.
The typical BO is one of honest sweat, accentuated by local global warming. It is redolent of acidic, even rancid flavors (like French Blue Cheese), and goes well with crackers and wine, or even as a dressing. I meant the cheese, not the girl. Talking of which, these girls seem to be fond of fish, and avoid vegetables, too, for balance. Any woman who leaves an elevator before I enter it has it, somehow. Medical representatives, girls working in malls, girls assisting dentists, etc. are some of the brand ambassadors of BO.

10. The Delhi Police type of woman:
Imagine me sitting in the bedroom with my Mac, and WonderWoman comes in and asks me to shift because it needs dusting and cleaning. Once I shift to the den and start watching the cricket match, she comes in and says that the curtains and sheets are going to be changed, and I need to shift somewhere else. How inconsiderate can a woman be! A man can’t rest in peace without being treated like a hawker on the streets of Kolkata driven from road to road by a corrupt cop?!

11. The dirty, unorganised woman: A woman with chipped nails or one that throws things around carelessly, is just not my type. An irritating thing about her is her cell phone. She gets a call, and it rings inside her large handbag. One can then see, while the strains of a Hindi song call-her tune fill the room increasingly threateningly, the entire contents of the handbag: comb, papers, a coin purse, lipstick, compact case, migraine pills, spare sanitary pad, keys with extra-large keychain of Popeye (or Garfield or Mickey or Jerry), before the cellphone is dug out by its bejewelled chain. Why can’t these ladies keep the phone where they can always find them before driving others crazy with their bad taste in music? Where would they keep it, you ask? Why, they could hang it around the neck, so that the phone rests in the inter-mammary fold, always accessible….

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(pic: http://femailcreations.com/products/sku-51402.html)

12. A submissive woman: A woman of character should make up her own mind. She doesn’t act as a Yes-girl for her husband or her father. Supposed to be an endangered species in urban India. I have, somehow, never met this species of womanhood. All the women who have loved me have been on top of their relationship, nice, submissive guy that I am!

If I have missed out, tell me about it, guys! Ladies, what are your reactions?

CAN INDIA AFFORD RELIGION?

Religious India tramples individual rights repeatedly:
1. Taslima Nasreen is browbeaten in a supposedly civilized, free country.
2. MF Hussain is driven out of India.
3. Aaja Nachle (a new Hindi movie) is banned by a number of Indian states.
4. The movie, ‘Da Vinci Code’ was banned in several Indian states.
5. The Shiv Sena attack Valentine’s Day celebrations, as well as Orkut, the Indian social networking site.

Actually, all these are the mischief of the religious, though the purist will claim that the Dalit protectors who banned Aaja Nachle are atheists. Ah, that’s the catch! Atheists can subscribe to a form of belief that can only be called religion. Look at the BSP brand of belief: is it any less orthodox, rigid, or irrational than religion?
India is one of the biggest acts in the global stage. It pretends to be democratic and free, while it has been instrumental in oppressing the individual for decades in the name of ‘public interest’ or ‘protecting religious sentiments’. It bans books. It allows women to be beaten and stripped in public, as in Assam recently. It bans sex determination, but witnesses female feticide calmly. It celebrates religious festivals, but does not allow freedom of expression if it is perceived to be against a religion.

Religions are taking India to the level of a parody of a modern nation. It looks more like a medieval circus, where women are chased by some men, while the rest are clapping and cheering in thirst of real blood. Ultimately, all the vitriol of religion’s protectors seems to find a just conclusion in the act of stripping females naked or gang-raping them.

Purely in social terms, India will have to pay a heavy price for its religiosity. Its society is doomed to be in turmoil forever, with one wound after the other ripped up by the passage of time. I fear that this society will perhaps be irretrievably torn apart.

The contradictions of having a society that embraces Western-style civil liberties and economic freedoms along with an avowed betrothal to a rag tag of communists, environmentalists, social scientists, feminists, Islamists, and casteists will be exposed periodically. The educated class will perk up at each instance of atrocity and tut-tut about how things are going from bad to worse.
The answer to why things are going from bad to worse lies in our continually giving short shrift to individual rights. There simply cannot be collective rights anymore. In a multi-religious society like India, religion is merely the most glaring example of a collective.

HASTY LA VISTA, BABY!

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This morning, he started his day as usual, at 7 AM. He recorded his alibi at the Hospital OR, Surgeon’s Lounge.

As the weather in Kolkata has just begun to be less of a fly-paradise, he opened the window to let in some fresh air. Actually, in the changing room, when the window is open, one can see a women’s hostel with windows that host sundry ardent Surgeon-fans. I hope they are not looking in today, he thought, remembering that he had forgotten to wear his undies in his rush to be punctual and superior, poking the window open to check that his immodesty was visually inviolate. He knew now how women feel when they are scanned by hard-up male Romeos.

Right index finger pressed firmly on a large window to open it. Crash! It was as though he had just taken a slug of the Magic Potion that the Romans of Asterixine lore always wanted from the Gauls. The pane fragmented, and his index finger acquired some glass splinters the way a single girl’s name caught rumor. What a start to a day!

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This early, there were no other surgeons. He decided to operate on himself. He poked around the tiny wound in the right index finger with a pair of forceps in his left hand, and found a long, thin, invisible shard of glass impaled horizontally under the skin. He nicked the skin a bit with a scalpel blade (no local anesthesia), and tried to get the splinter out, when suddenly he could feel it no more.
Gone, and great surgery done, dude! he congratulated himself. Through the day, your favorite surgeon braved agonising, lancinating pain that traveled from the right index finger to the sacral spine, skirting the root of the left testicle, and shot up at the speed of light to his left brain.

In spite of this, he battled on, glassy-eyed, and finished off his list.
End of the day, his finger is swollen up, just like an injured finger swells up at the end of the day.
And you know what?
He can feel that splinter again!
So, he needs to undergo surgery soonest, and undertake other surgeries as well.

He learnt the following lessons:

1. Morning flights for the next two weeks would not be delayed on account of fog.

2. The Vista from Windows is one big pane.
(Vista link: click recommended.)

3. There are some bad days when you can’t put a finger on what goes wrong.

THE POLYGAMIST: PART DEUX

If nowhere else, you must have read in this blog about Warren Jeffs and his particular method of attaining closeness to God: having multiple wives, and using them as engines of reproduction, with multiple brats spewing out from the silencers (freely advertising their parentage and religion) and contributing to global warming, along with, and separate from, the fornicating and flatulent meese (make that moose), cows and sundry other quadrupeds (just so you know that Jeffs and his 10,000 followers aren’t zoophilic perverts).

I have always maintained, or have I not, that I agree wholeheartedly with this approach (not to digress into my views on bestiality- don’t mistake the prepositions here)? Having a communal union with an oppressed, endangered and protected species* as Hetero sapiens and shouting “Oh, my God!” several times a day or night (Midnight M’ass?) is clearly every man’s only means of washing himself from his Original Sin of being born of non-Muslim parents.

*Check out the seventh definition of the word ‘species’.

Well, here is an update.

Polygamist sect leader Warren Steen Jeffs was found guilty Tuesday of being an accomplice to rape for using his religious authority to push a 14-year-old girl into a marriage she did not want.

Jeffs stood with his hands folded and didn’t appear to react as the verdict was read.

The counts carry a maximum sentence of life in prison. His sentencing date was not immediately set.

And will this story end as “… and all his wives lived happily ever after?”

EMPOWERMENT OF INDIAN WOMEN: A MIRAGE?

The Bharatiya Janata Party, India’s so-called Right-wing opposition to the left-liberal UPA Government, has claimed a media brownie point by announcing that one-thirds of all their positions will be reserved for women. This is a major leap in the struggle for empowering India’s long-suffering and oppressed women, it is claimed.
India’s Governments have long believed in taking responsibility for implementing social programs aimed specifically at women, particularly in terms of law enforcement, health, and women’s rights.
But first, let us see how Indian women are faring, socially:

*More than 120 million women are very poor.
*India’s maternal mortality rates in rural areas are among the world’s highest. From a global perspective, India accounts for 19 percent of all lives births and 27 percent of all maternal deaths.
* Around 88% of pregnant Indian women suffer from anemia.
*There seems to be a consensus that higher female mortality between ages one and five and high maternal mortality rates result in a deficit of females in the population. Chatterjee (1990) estimates that deaths of young girls in India exceed those of young boys by over 300,000 each year, and every sixth infant death is specifically due to gender discrimination. Of the 15 million baby girls born in India each year, nearly 25 percent will not live to see their 15th birthday.
(for a blog debate on this, try this post.)
*The most striking aspect of contraceptive use in India is the predominance of sterilization, which accounts for more than 85 percent of total modern contraception use, with female sterilization accounting for 90 percent of all sterilizations.
*The Indian constitution grants women equal rights with men, but in most Indian families, a daughter is viewed as a liability, and she is conditioned to believe that she is inferior and subordinate to men.

According to the Hunger Project, the following are key issues with Indian women:
* Malnutrition: India has exceptionally high rates of child malnutrition, because tradition in India requires that women eat last and least throughout their lives, even when pregnant and lactating. Malnourished women give birth to malnourished children, perpetuating the cycle.
* Poor Health: Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth of easily prevented complications. Working conditions and environmental pollution further impairs women’s health.
* Lack of education: Families are far less likely to educate girls than boys, and far more likely to pull them out of school, either to help out at home or from fear of violence.
* Overwork: Women work longer hours and their work is more arduous than men’s, yet their work is unrecognized
* Unskilled: In women’s primary employment sector – agriculture – extension services overlook women.
* Mistreatment: In recent years, there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India, in terms of rapes, assaults and dowry-related murders. Fear of violence suppresses the aspirations of all women. Female infanticide and sex-selective abortions are additional forms of violence that reflect the devaluing of females in Indian society.
* Powerlessness: While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution, legal protection has little effect in the face of prevailing patriarchal traditions. Women lack power to decide whom they will marry, and are often married off as children. Legal loopholes are used to deny women inheritance rights.

So, to come back to the beginning of this post, how will having more women in political parties empower those others who don’t belong to political parties?
Yes, I hear you: because they would be more focused on gender rights, and bring in legislation to strengthen women, or implement existing legislation.
But isn’t there enough law already? You name a woman’s ‘right’, and there is a law to protect that. Examples: sati, dowry, child marriage, widow remarriage, sexual harassment, etc.
Implementing existing laws is impossible, because it would mean outlawing most of the Indian society.
The gender discrimination occurs because the society is primitive, feudal, patriarchal, and bonded irrationally to age-old, medieval prejudices that could easily dissolve in the light of modern reason. Will legislation change this? Has it, indeed? I think not.
One important cause of the state of the society being what it is for women is mostly unnoticed: the very instrument for social change, the Government, the last repository of the feminist.
Since the time of Nehru, the Government of India has made women empowerment a top priority. Nehru has memorably said, “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the condition of its women”.
I quote from an old paper:

The welfare state of India has taken up the responsibility of providing education, and maternity and child welfare to these women. It has gone further in incorporating the media in educating people regarding these various programs. This approach will help integrate women more fully into the economic, political, and social mainstream of independent India.

The welfare state has taken upon itself the responsibility to educate, feed, rear, protect, and empower our women.
In my mind, excepting the job of protection, it should have tried none of the others. With socialism came corruption, and the law enforcers became corrupt, and could not resist the temptation to take bribes from bride burners, dowry extortionists, rapists and plain old murderers. Women, being poor and oppressed as a whole, could do precious little to save themselves.
If law enforcement were honest and strict, there would be no need for any special rights. Freedom from State intervention in the economy itself could free up opportunities for the coming generations. In fact, the state of the urban woman has clearly improved, with the freeing up of the economy, with more women CEOs, doctors, lawyers, social workers, and indeed, feminists.

In its present state, more women in a corrupt control-mode polity would only make for more corrupt women. Because they would not be any different from men when it comes to the intoxication of power.
For knowing about other aspects of India’s women, I recommend Nita’s articles.
For other posts of mine that deal with rights, click here.