Logic says that if you cannot pay workers on time, then do not employ them. But in recent times, media houses in Bengal seem to have defied that logic with some amount of recklessness. Hundreds of journalists and media staff including those in advertising and sales, circulation and administration have lost their jobs as a result of such recklessness. Newspapers and channels have closed down overnight, and the images of suddenly jobless grownup men and women weeping before TV cameras have been disturbing. Where do these people go from here in a market that is already saturated with too much media? Who handholds them till they settle down? Are they the only member of the family earning a livelihood? How do they pay rents or home loans? Who pays the school fees and the utility bills? How long will their ration last before they have to start starving themselves to survive? Some of them have not been paid for months, and now the shocker of losing their livelihood. A somewhat similar heartrending story from the airline industry comes to mind. It concerns the wife of a Kingfisher Airlines technician. A few months ago her husband was in a similar situation, without a salary for several months. She ended her life as there were no more doors open to even borrow, and no money to send her children to school. Several questions are thrown up now. But one that needs immediate attention concerns these media houses—how and why they become fly-by-night operators and leave so many jobless?
India has suddenly become the rape capital of the world. In some states, rape cases registered by police have jumped six fold in a matter of months. It does seem that what used to be a taboo quickly swept under the carpet is now flying about thick and fast in the open. Victims and families are no longer concerned about social stigmas and are seeking justice for the wrongs. In a nation of a billion plus, there will always be men who see women as commodities to be used and thrown away. Many of the rapes happen within families and are hushed up. Sometimes, rape isn’t just an impulsive, spur-of-the-moment act but carefully planned event. Employees of firms elaborately plan and execute rape against fellow employees by teaming up with cab drivers and even security personnel. Gang rapes are on the increase. It is not possible for the police to be present inside bedrooms, office buildings, and cars with dark glasses that become the theatres of such horrific acts. The police is also not empowered to shoot a rapist after he is caught, it has to produce the accused before a court of law and hope for justice in a system that is dependent on witness statements. Prevention of rape boils down to one thing, our mindsets. That women are not commodities must be repeatedly flashed across India’s cities, towns and even villages. Men who are hitherto dead to this concept need to wake up to it. Only then can India become a great land once more.
Hindus in Pakistan are increasingly under threat. Each day seems to bring fresh trouble for this community whose ancestors have lived in Pakistan for centuries before the nation itself came into existence in 1947. Their fault seems to be that they opted to stay back in Pakistan instead of migrating to India after partition. A group of 479 Hindu refugees left Pakistan in March for the Maha Kumbh. On arrival in India, they’ve made their intentions amply clear—they would not go back to Pakistan at any cost. They would rather die on Indian soil than cross the border again and return to their misery. A mother whose son was killed and whose body never handed or found ran away to stop the rest of her children disappearing in a similar way. One man spoke of Hindu girls in Sindh being married off by parents at age 15—an age that is illegal for girls to be married in India—because Pakistani men in Sindh are waiting to paw them when they get into their teens. Hindu families live in constant fear of losing their homes, their children, and their dignity. Hindu women who decorate their foreheads with the traditional vermillion are sneered. A retired army man in Rajasthan has taken it upon himself to provide these refugees food and shelter, saying that this was not a matter of a few Hindus, but that of an entire civilization. Even though the Government has extended the visa of these refugees, surprisingly political parties are eminently silent on the matter. After all, the refugees do not constitute a vote bank, isn’t it?
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