one is too much

India has a culture that worships the Feminine Divine such as Durga, Kali, and Parvati…a country whose ancient religion celebrates the union of Shiva and Shakti, where some depictions of Shiva show him as half-man, half-woman…the yin/yang that we all are…

Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die

If any of you have seen the movie Water, the above story will be familiar to you. Deepa Mehta was forced to film her movie in Sri Lanka because of the fundamentalist protests against the depiction of this subject in her movie. However, the plot of Water takes place in 1930s India, and the CNN story takes place now.

Indian widows, dowry deaths, female infanticide….for all of its “modernization” or “westernization”, whatever you want to call it, there are still aspects of India that make me shake my head. These are controversial subjects, and these practices are certainly NOT supported by the vast majority of Indians, but to burn even ONE bride, to abort even ONE fetus merely because of its gender, or to turn out even ONE widow is too much.

I know that a news story like this inflames passions, and I thought about whether I should post the CNN story. People are sensitive about how their countries or cultures are portrayed. The reporter’s tone is sensationalistic and the implication is that the majority of widows are treated like this, and that is not the case. However, that does not take away from the fact that the story is grounded in reality. The topic is something that should be thought about, along with the 50 MILLION WOMEN ARE MISSING PROJECT, a project started in India by an Indian woman (see earlier posts.)

To those of you who are upset about this Western portrayal of India, I suggest you channel that anger into something positive and make a donation to The Banyan, a Chennai-based organization “that cares for and rehabilitates homeless women with mental illness found in the streets of Chennai. …The Banyan provides the women a safe shelter, care, medical attention, and a supportive environment to enable them to recover and to take responsibility for their lives again.”

Instead of leaving negative comments on blogs or the CNN website, put your money where your mouths are and donate some rupees and dollars.

India is not all yoga, spirituality, and vedic chants. It’s a country and culture that has beautiful and wondrous aspects at the same time that terrible things happen — and that makes it just like any other country, mine included.

We are all yin and yang — the dark spot in the light, the light inside the dark.


50 million women are missing

Some of you might be familiar with the online photo gallery Flickr. Rita Banerji wants to raise awareness of female feticide/infanticide in India. She asks everyone to upload photos of Indian women and girls to represent the 50 million (and growing). This is her statement:

“About 50 million women are currently missing from India’s population. Through rampant feticide, infanticide, and the murder of young women by their husbands and inlaws for dowry, India has managed to invert its population ratio from 10:9, women to men, as is normal for any population, to 9:10. Furthermore, India has even warped the gender ratio for 1/5 of the entire human population.

It is the intention of this website to have every one of the 50 million missing represented by a photograph. These can be of Indian women or girls, of any age, and community represented as portraits or shown as engaged in various activities — which is life. It would help very much if there is a small personal commentary with the photo about the girl or woman so we can invert the process of dehumanizing Indian women. This is India’s silent genocide — and it is time for it to stop.

I am hoping that at some point those of us who are able to will be able to collectively either put out a book or starting a touring exhibition — so bring this matter to head.

But in the meantime please contribute a poster, a photo or a comment to show your support for this campaign. If not, then JUST YOUR MEMBERSHIP is a voice against this silent genocide. SO PLEASE JOIN ANYWAY.”

There are now about 400 photos, including five of mine. I will be uploading all of mine that have Indian women. Other photos include those of my gal pal in India, sirensongs (see her blog in the links).

Those of you who have listened to me blab on incessantly about India (“will she ever shut up? she’s doing that head thing again.”) know how much I love the country and how I can’t wait to get back. But female feticide/infanticide is a grim truth — India is not all about yoga and incense and spirituality.

Please click on the above link, look into the eyes of these women, and post a comment to show your support of this effort.

may all beings have happiness, and the causes of happiness
may all beings be free from suffering, and the causes of suffering…