Review :- Tikli & Laxmi Bomb Written By Aditya Kripalani

Published January 9, 2016 by priyanikomal

Quote for this Book :- The Only Thing that the society has done for them(sex workers) is to label them as “prohibited”.

My Views :-
In our Country, where every news is made a breaking news, where law & orders are pure myth and scamp are for channel TRP’s than why the dark side of our so called “modern” society has not been exposed yet ??

In this male-chauvinist society where women are forced to become salves of this insane patriarchy, in these ongoing situations this book is a sarcastic slap to all those narrow-minds who think that women aren’t important part of this society.

This book keeps revolving around Tikli & Laxmi and their gang who are sex workers by profession…From Tikli’s sparking & bold trait to Laxmi’s flare-up trait,From Mhatre’s evil aspect to Shinde’s greediness, From Those peanut farts to those non-bearable snores,From Sharanya’s – Tsamchoe’s supportiveness to Mangatram & Manda’s creepiness, From the Revolution to the sacrifices…this is a thought-provoking read.

Wow & Oops Of The Book :-

Language :-It was a commendable attempt on the authors part to experiment three different languages on a same project but somewhere this mixture was a bit clumsy.

Content :- Many have written women-centric books in the past but the thought & aim of this book was quite unique & fresh but somewhere i felt the execution was bit off track as episodes were irrelevantly repeated (Like that farting-snorring one,old monk-peanuts one,existence lines all).

Overall , This book unveils the opaque side of sex workers life thus, raising a series of questions in my mind that is Why these sex workers are criticised and not the people who feast upon them & Why their existence is invisible to our “smart-phonic” society. ??

(Being produced as a film also)

 

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INTIMACY UNDONE: Marriage, Divorce and Family Law in India.

INTIMACY UNDONE: Marriage, Divorce and Family Law in India by Malavika
Rajkotia. Speaking Tiger Books, Delhi, 2017 – Book Review

MATRIMONIAL litigation has an emotive component where the law is used
as a tool to reach emotional closure, sometimes through fair,
rights-based means and, on many occasions, through the ‘misuse’ of the
process of law. Malavika Rajkotia’s Intimacy Undone: Marriage, Divorce
and Family Law in India captures this hidden emotive side of
matrimonial litigation in India. Matrimonial conflict, she explains,
is much deeper and far more complex than what gets presented in the
lawyers’ brief or the judicial orders. With the object of
foregrounding the hidden aspects of divorce proceedings, she weaves
into the legal narrative her experiences as a woman lawyer in the
gendered courtrooms, anecdotes from personal and professional life and
stories of her clients’ grief, despair and resentment as they struggle
through painful divorce proceedings. The non-linearity of style and
liberal borrowing from the constitutive contexts of law – history,
culture, politics, literature, mythology, popular culture – give the
book a form refreshingly distinct from the standard legal writing
which is catalogued only with hard law, i.e. statutes and cases.

Rajkotia traces the messy history of personal laws in India – how the
shape and content of family law was determined in and through the
colonial encounter as the British interpreted the scriptures and
customs ‘to form a unique amalgam of Indian and English common law.’
Independent India inherited this legacy, and ‘reforms’ in marriage and
divorce related laws were widely imported from the UK, the most
significant of them being the deeply problematic ‘fault theory’ as the
basis for divorce and judicial separation. However, an answer to the
present flaws in the system is not a return to ‘a glorious past’, for
that would be tantamount to a regressive call for a return to the
scripturally sanctioned oppressive notions against women and lower
castes.

The book, as it deals with different aspects of matrimonial
litigation, revolves around three concerns: the promise of gender
equality, respect for religious pluralism and an ability of empathic
engagement with the litigants’ rather complex psychic states as they
labour to discover peace through law. She understands that
emancipatory reform of family law is possible only if gender based
inequalities at the heart of institutions of family and marriage are
acknowledged and addressed, when the rhetoric of reform is severed
from the agenda of majoritarian politics that erodes the promise of
cultural pluralism, and when legal practitioners step out of the
‘realm of the rational’ in order to understand the human failings in
intimate relationships.

It has long been established by feminist scholarship that family law
is a gendered realm where the discourse is contingent on the
subjective moralistic values of the lawyers and judges. Rajkotia
candidly accepts that ‘the present legal system is a form of primitive
patriarchy at its worst, and benevolent patriarchal patronage at its
best.’ Therefore, the objective of family law, according to her, ‘is
to dilute the impact of such unfair attitudes, which can and do
translate into illegal acts. ‘Feminism’, she is clear, ‘is an active
movement to arrive at gender equality.’ It is as much for men, as it
is for women: for men, too, carry the burden of masculinity. Advancing
a strong critique of marriage as she writes about love and sex within
matrimony, she discusses various decisions where sexual intimacy was
made the primary focus of the divorce proceedings, exacerbating
women’s vulnerability in marriage: since absence of sex amounts to
cruelty, sex becomes a marital duty and consequently, women may not be
able to plead marital rape as cruelty!

Rajkotia provides insights into how the fault theory of divorce,
designed with the view to preserve the institution of marriage, has
turned matrimony into a ‘holy deadlock’. Easy divorce, it is her
argument, will help the institution of marriage. It is to be noted
that divorce petitions are resisted not merely for financial and
social reasons; anger, resentment and bitterness are often at the root
of resistance to divorce. Offering an important insight into human
emotions, she rightly contends that cruelty emerges from a helpless
desire to control. During the divorce process both sides turn into
‘righteous avenger[s] for their own perception of the suffering they
have borne’: victims turn into aggressors, and former aggressors
suffer the other’s victimhood as an act of aggression.

Discussing the progressive 2005 amendments to the Hindu Succession
Act, Rajkotia argues through various illustrations how the sense of
entitlement of a man to the family property has not diluted despite
this law. Maintenance and alimony also remain fiercely contested
claims in the divorce proceedings. According to Rajkotia, maintenance
and alimony should be decided on the basis of needs, wants and
compensation. Presently, the lifestyle rule only provides for needs.
She makes an argument not only in favour of counting the unpaid work
of women to assess their claims of maintenance from the husband’s
wealth (for ‘the tenure of a marriage is the investment for which it
is reasonable to expect a return’), but also for compensation for the
anguish caused in marriage to either of the spouses. The idea of such
quantification of pain, loss and trauma, however, makes one wonder if
the future of family law can only be imagined through the translation
of emotions into economic justice. It is difficult to reconcile
Rajkotia’s critique of consumerism with her position on lifestyle
based maintenance wants which ‘can include shopping worth lakhs,
luxury travel, membership of exclusive wine and food societies,
personal trainers and expensive diet food.’ Her feminist position
contests those who would view such financial claims as immoral, but
her feminism has no critique of ‘class’ or consumerism of the
neoliberal variety that forms the core of familial relationships,
including matrimony.

There is a lot to be said about children in divorce courts. The
chapter on children is particularly striking as it creates a much more
complex image of a child than the dominant view, according to which a
child is an innocent being whose welfare is to be decided by
all-knowing adults: parents, counsellors, lawyers, judges. While
dealing with children, it is important to take note of their complex
subjectivity, their different sense of time, their vulnerability as
much as the deception and manipulation they learn from the surrounding
environment. Unfortunately, the custody courts are yet another arena
for parents to fight to claim their exclusive control of the child.
Rajkotia quite rightly contends that the word ‘custody’ (which implies
exclusive ownership of the child by one parent) should be substituted
by ‘co-parenting’. It is not only the adversarial legal process that
deals with children in an instrumental fashion, but parents themselves
reduce their children to ‘divisible assets’ or worse, tools to take
revenge. However, to realize the principle of the ‘best interest of
the child’, the courts need to evolve innovative processes and
adjudicative techniques such that the voice of the child is not
smothered in the cacophonic legalese and warring parents. This can
happen only if the court is singularly guided by the welfare of the
child, rather than equal rights of the parents.

She builds an argument for right to privacy (of adult members of the
family) within the family and also during the divorce proceedings. A
2015 decision of the Delhi High Court decision lays down important
guidelines to ensure privacy and confidentiality in matrimonial
matters so that the dignity of the persons involved is protected. On
the misuse of gender specific laws, her position is categorical and
clear: the benefits of women-enabling legislations outweigh the ‘pain’
of misuse and, therefore, these laws should be retained. The abuse of
law by women, viz. the retributive justice that they seek by pushing
for penal provisions against the family-in-law needs to be situated
within the pent up anger and disappointment, as much as the social
rebuke of failing to ‘adjust’ in marriage. The desire for payback is
often rooted in grief and suffering – the way to deal with it is not
to remove the women-enabling laws, but to work towards repairing the
social rubric which produces such damaged psyches.

Further, there is also misuse of the laws by men in the family
proceedings who manipulate the legal system to force their wives into
submission. She points out that intelligent and honest investigation
can filter false complaints by both men and women. Making an important
clarification about ‘false’ accusations, she states that rejection of
some evidence by court does not necessarily mean that it was a false
case. It may be that the evidence did not meet the high standard of
proof that is needed in a criminal trial. But the same evidence may
pass the lower standard of proof in civil cases.

On the issue of the Uniform Civil Code, she takes the view that
reforms, including reforms towards gender equality should emanate from
the community, including the women of that community. Moreover, UCC
does not make it incumbent only on the minorities to introduce
reforms; the Hindu majority also needs to answer whether it is ready
for a UCC where marital rape would no longer be protected under the
guise of a sacrament, where kanyadaan which is at the root of dowry
will be given up, where Hindu women will not be cast into
stereotypical roles of devoted sacrificing wives and mothers and the
caste system and Brahmanical patriarchy will be rejected.
Understanding the politics of UCC, she remarks that a push towards UCC
may prove counter-productive as it may impel the minorities to adopt
outmoded identities and customary practices as a defence mechanism.

However, in her analysis one finds an uncritical acceptance of the
court evolved ‘essential practices’ doctrine which she believes
maintains a fair balance between religion and illegal practices. The
Supreme Court, according to her, can drive reform in the domain of
family law; it can ‘cajole and convince all religions’ and ‘try to
convince upper caste Hindus that the caste system is not a part of
Hindu religion.’ With the memory of the aftermath of Shah Bano still
alive, such faith in the Supreme Court appears unrealistic and almost
naïve. In fact, it undercuts her own critique of the top-down
structure of reform where people are not participants but objects of
social change.

Rajkotia illustrates that the expectations from law to do justice in
family law are fraught with many unanswered issues since there are
dangers in expecting the law to adjudicate on moral and emotional
aspects of marital relationships. What would be ‘justice’ in a
situation when a fatigued and exhausted person seeks divorce from a
mentally ill spouse? Would ethics of care in such a situation
transform into a legal obligation to stay in the marriage? The book
pushes the reader to think about these questions without offering easy
or quick solutions. This makes it a welcome addition to the scarce
critical literature on family law in India. However, Rajkotia’s
politics largely remains confined within the liberal frame. Her
uncritical endorsement of the Verma Committee report, half-baked
critique of consumerism and the blind spot of ‘class’ in her version
of feminism run the danger of slipping into a privileged, neoliberal
subject position, thereby circumscribing the project of reimagining
the domain of family law.

Latika Vashist

Indian Law Institute, Delhi

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Novel – A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife – Book review

Written by: Meena Kandaswamy
Publication: Juggernaut
Pages: 231 pages

How does one tell a story of a 26-year-old intelligent, educated woman being battered by four months of marriage? To start with, Meena Kandaswamy trips the reader by almost drawing a chuckle. The first to play storyteller is the woman’s mother, a figure familiar from lachrymose soaps and painful personal experience. She gets around the socially devastating fact of a divorcee in the family in the tradition of middle-class matriarchs: she makes it about hygiene (when her daughter returns home, “her heels were cracked”, her head was teeming with lice) and herself. “This is how my story of Young Woman as a Runaway Daughter became…the great battle of My Mother versus the Head Lice,” says the narrator of the novel, wryly imagining the fable taking a metaphoric life of its own, being “taught in gender studies programmes”, though it “was a little too dirty and disorienting for white feminists”.

The moment any woman speaks out against the violence and sexual abuse, it does not remain her story. This is lived experience. Why was she out late? What will the relatives say? Did she try hard enough? Is she really as chaste as she looks? Kandaswamy’s narrator is keenly aware that her story — a common one in India, where a majority of women face domestic violence — must be wrested back (“I must write my own story”). At one point in the novel, among her many fears — of being beaten to death, disfigured by the daily rape, and trapped in a police case — is that of turning into Althusser’s wife.

The French Marxist philosopher had strangled his wife and rationalised it as “suicide by proxy”, a kind of “non-consensual consent” — and gotten away with it. “As long as a woman cannot speak, as long as those to whom she speaks do not listen, the violence is unending,” Kandaswamy writes. This novel, based on the author’s personal life, is an account of unspeakable marital violence, but the subtitle signals her declaration of intent. The writer as a young wife is here to claim the Authorised Version, even if the title, When I Hit You, makes her just another object.

Hit he does, the husband, with everything he can get his hands on — from heavily-buckled belts to MacBook charging cords, from the back of the broomstick to ceramic plates and the drain hose of the washing machine. The house weaponised, against a woman. Communism and the Little Red Book used to show her her place. She is slowly isolated and cut off from the world. First goes the Facebook account. Next, she surrenders her email password, and then he yanks off the cord that connects her to the world: her internet connection. Finally, he deletes all her emails. Marriage becomes a course in Communism 101. There are tutorials which explain how a woman writer cannot claim to be postcolonial because she is a “whore” writing in English, and why, when revolution comes, there will no lipstick for “petty-bourgeois bitches” and how a Communist woman is treated equally by comrades in public but can be slapped behind closed doors”.

This novel does not seek to answer — why didn’t she walk out? — and flip the responsibility of explanation on to the victim. It instead demonstrates how toxic masculine entitlement enables violence, how being hit and beaten eats away at self-confidence and esteem of strong, able women, and how the quicksand of family pressure and societal indifference is always ready to swallow women, given one misstep. The husband in the novel is a one-dimensional figure, but also an accurate one — education and ideology only a top dressing on the soil of sexual insecurity and contempt for women.

But this novel, raw and stifling in parts, stands out because it is seeking — through language, art, through narration — to reclaim dignity and shake off victimhood. To the narrator, it is art and the self-reflexivity it brings that gives her distance from her abuse. When she is being smashed against a wall, she imagines how she might write about it. In defiance of his suspicion about her sexual past, she writes love letters to old lovers, and deletes them before her husband returns. “Every line I have written to you is a thought-crime, which does not leave a trail of evidence.”

Her abuse is primarily physical and sexual, but she feels it equally through the skin of her language — through the expletives he hurls at her during rape. “Every part of my body is a word spat out in disgust.” She bemoans that the smattering of Kannada she has picked up in this small town only permits her to be a housewife, while “English makes me a lover, a beloved, a poet. Tamil makes me a word huntress, it makes me a love goddess.” But it is in language that the novel triumphs, where it fights its battles and wins them. Through memory and knowledge, Kandaswamy reclaims language as “a secret place of pleasure”, as a pact between two lovers, and a solace for a solitary woman. “I am the woman sheltered within words,” she writes.

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Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality – Book Launch

Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality

Book Launch

To guide youths in interfaith love, the author Dr. Dilip Amin established a non-profit forum, www.InterfaithShaadi.org  in 2009. He has since assisted countless individuals and couples, and through which he has personally guided 1200 youths. This new book is a summary of his research of past 12 years in this field. This is the first book to exclusively cover marriage relationships between Abrahamics (Jews, Christians and Muslims) and Dharmics (Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs).

This guidebook “Interfaith Marriage” covers different perspectives on God, religious scriptures, nations’ marriage laws, pre-nuptial agreements, and dealing with parents & children about interfaith relationships. The best part of this book is that it covers 81 real-life love experiences of Hindu, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jain and Parsi youths. It also covers an interracial relationship and situations in within-faith marriages.

This book is not for or against interfaith marriages but is written to provide wealth of information to dating couples. This book will be of help to youths in interfaith love relationship, their parents, community and religious leaders, intellectuals interested in comparative religions, and marriage consultants.

About the author:
Dr. Dilip Amin is a Director of the Peninsula Multifaith Coalition of the San Francisco Bay area, a certified speaker at Islamic Networks Group, and a Dharma Ambassador of Hindu American Foundation. He has co-authored the book Hindu Vivaha Samskara. He founded the web forum InterfaithShaadi. org and guided 1200 youths and summarized his experiences in the book–Interfaith Marriage: Share & Respect with Equality.

About InterfaithShaadi:
InterfaithShaadi is a non-religious, non-profit and an independent organization. All profit from sales of this book will be used for promoting pluralism.

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Book review – #Republic -Divided Democracy in the Age of Social Media. By Cass Sunstein. Princeton University Press; 310 pages; $29.95 and £24.95.

LAST June Facebook announced a change to its newsfeed. Henceforth it would rejig the way stories were ranked to ensure that people saw “the stories they find most meaningful”. But what does “most meaningful” actually mean? Posts from family and friends, apparently, as well as those users you frequently “like”. Your newsfeed should be “subjective, personal and unique”, Facebook went on, promising to work on building tools to give users “the most personalised experience”.

Cass Sunstein, a law professor at Harvard University and Barack Obama’s former regulation tsar, is one of Facebook’s dissatisfied customers. “Facebook can do better,” he writes in “#Republic”, his new book about democracy in the age of social media. Mr Sunstein is disturbed by some aspects of ultra-customised information, yet he shows himself a master of restraint in his criticism. He clearly wants to influence Mark Zuckerberg and other tech titans without alienating them. Although Mr Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, perhaps he can still pick up the occasional book by a Harvard professor—along with his new honorary degree.

In some ways, “#Republic” is a kind of Democracy 101, a review of the basic requirements for those who may have skipped the course. These requirements include, among other things, that citizens be exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives—even, and especially, those they would not choose to see or hear. Unplanned, chance encounters—with a protest as one wanders down the street, or a competing argument aired on the evening news—help guard against “fragmentation, polarisation and extremism”. They ensure that people are not hearing only an echo of their own voice. They reduce the likelihood that people will be stirred to extremes, such as terrorism. And they promote shared information and experiences, making it easier to solve problems and govern in a heterogeneous society.

In some ways, “#Republic” is a kind of Democracy 101, a review of the basic requirements for those who may have skipped the course. These requirements include, among other things, that citizens be exposed to a wide range of ideas and perspectives—even, and especially, those they would not choose to see or hear. Unplanned, chance encounters—with a protest as one wanders down the street, or a competing argument aired on the evening news—help guard against “fragmentation, polarisation and extremism”. They ensure that people are not hearing only an echo of their own voice. They reduce the likelihood that people will be stirred to extremes, such as terrorism. And they promote shared information and experiences, making it easier to solve problems and govern in a heterogeneous society.

This is the positive side of the free- speech principle, Mr Sunstein writes. It means not only forbidding censorship, but also creating a culture where people engage with the views of fellow citizens.

In the digital age social media function as the public forums where ideas are exchanged. But when people filter what they see—and providers race towards ever greater “personalisation” in the name of consumer choice—democracy is endangered. People live in separate worlds. Even hashtags, meant to help users find information on a certain topic, lead them to different bubbles. Democrats use #ACA and #blacklivesmatter; Republicans use #Obamacare and #alllivesmatter. Partyism might be said to exceed racism in America, Mr Sunstein argues. Whereas in 1960 only 5% of Republicans and 4% of Democrats said they would be “displeased” if their child married outside their political party, by 2010, those numbers had reached 49% and 33%, a far higher percentage than those who would be “displeased” if their child married outside their race.

Mr Sunstein wants an “architecture of serendipity” to combat these forces: that is, media that promote chance encounters and democratic deliberation like the public forums of old. Facebook might design “serendipity buttons”, he suggests, allowing users to click for opposing viewpoints or unfiltered perspectives. Conservative news sites could feature links to liberal sites and vice versa, alerting people to material beyond their usual sources. A site like deliberativedemocracy.com—the domain is not yet taken—could offer a space for people of divergent views to discuss issues. Democracies should take their cue from Learned Hand, an American judge who said the spirit of liberty is that “spirit which is not too sure that it is right”.

It is not just up to Mr Zuckerberg, then, to foster a culture of curiosity and openness. Citizens must demand it, Mr Sunstein argues, and they must seek out those serendipitous encounters. “#Republic” is full of constructive suggestions. It should be required reading for anyone who is concerned with the future of democracy—in Silicon Valley and beyond.

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