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We don’t do enough to teach young Indian boys that they are vulnerable. Pehredaar Piya Ki is making matters worse by normalising predatory relationships.
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Pehredaar Piya Ki is a programme aired by Sony during the evening prime time slot when families can be reasonably expected to watch TV. It is a show about a pre-pubescent young boy who is obsessed with an adult woman twice his age and shows them in repeated, suggestive — and extremely inappropriate — romantic situations.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, protects children from “offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography”. Depicting a 10-year-old child as a stalker of an adult woman and as someone who has a ‘‘suhaag raat” contextually suggests that the woman has had sex with the child. At the very minimum, it presents the possibility as one that is somehow acceptable.
India’s Child Marriage Restraint Act is clear that minor marriage is illegal. Girls must be at least 18 and boys 21 years old to be legally allowed to marry in India. Despite this, about 29 lakh children in the age group of 10–14 years were reported married between 2001 and 2011, according to a report by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).
The report, released by Supreme Court judge Justice A.K. Sikri, states that despite the decline in child marriage, particularly in the age group of 10–14 years, there are 1.1 million boys and 1.8 million girls who were reported married in this age group between 2001–2011.
“Child marriage violates the dignity of the child and is a major human rights violation,” said Justice Sikri. This astonishingly regressive show glorifies child marriage, blurs the importance of consent, tries to present stalking as ‘cute’ and undermines the hard work of generations of social reformers who sought to raise the age of marriage to protect the children of our country.
It is absolutely abhorrent that an entertainment channel should promote a concept that is violative of the dignity of children and is, moreover, against the laws of this country.
Several media organisations have written, panning the show.
Here are a few examples:
Among the objectionable scenes in the show are: The boy stalking the woman in an implied romantic manner. In the first episode, the boy is shown following the woman and taking photographs of her without her consent. In the second episode, there are crass shots and sexual innuendos in the dialogue. E.g. “He is a kid, we don’t know when he will be big enough to satisfy you.”
The show not only violates the rights of children, it also actively promotes misogyny. For example, the boy is shown controlling the actions of his adult wife, telling her what clothes and jewellery to wear, and forbidding her from drinking tea in case her complexion turns dusky. He fills sindoor in the hair parting of his adult wife, and is seen sleeping together on a decorated bed on their ‘suhaag raat’. This show disseminates ideas that are ethically, socially and legally unacceptable in a civilised society.
We draw the attention of concerned authorities to this and request them to enforce the law of the land — in letter and in spirit. We do not support restricting artistic freedom in any form. We appeal to sponsors to desist from endorsing this show and request Smriti Irani, Information and Broadcasting Minister (additional charge), to look into the content and take action against the channel if it is found to violate Indian laws that safeguard minors.
Here are the undersigned:
Kiran Manral (Author and Columnist)
Sunayana Roy (Writer)
Shakthi Vadakkepat (Tech Blogger, Disability Activist)
Sandhya Menon (Writer, Journalist)
Priya Ramani (Columnist)
Harini Calamur (Founder, Vipra)
Nandita Iyer (Nutrition Counselor, Writer)
Harish Iyer (Radio Presenter, Columnist, Professor)
Namita Bhandare (Journalist)
Shaili Chopra (Journalist and Entrepreneur)
Shwetasree Majumder (Lawyer)
Rituparna Chatterjee (Journalist)
Ruchita Dar Shah (Founder, First Moms Club)
In 1925, he wrote in Mein Kampf, “Everything we admire on this earth today—science and art, technology and inventions—is only the creative product of a few peoples and originally perhaps one race [the “Aryans”]. On them depends the existence of this whole culture.”
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Among the things that intrigued me the most, amongst all that I read about her was the little-known fact that Earhart and her fiancé, George Putnam had what we might term in the modern world, a pre-nup. Putnam, a publisher, who was divorced, had proposed marriage to Earhart six times before she consented. Earhart married late. She was 33 as a bride in an era when the average age of a new bride was 21.
She was worried that marriage would clip her wings, metaphorically as well as practically. She told a friend in a letter,
She wrote a worried little note to Putnam, in which she laid down the parameters within which she would agree to be part of this marriage. These included an open marriage, and an escape clause. The letter was discovered years later in the Purdue University where, Earhart was a professor, which had a number of her papers.
She wrote, ‘I may have to keep some place where I can go to be myself, now and then, for I cannot guarantee to endure at all times the confinement of even an attractive cage.’ She would not under any circumstances give up flying and wrote, “Please let us not interfere with the others’ work or play.” A statement that was generous of the other, and demanded the same generosity of spirit back.
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The Face at the Window may be Kiran’s fifth novel, but it is her first attempt at penning horror fiction.
The former journalist is known for her romance novels like The Reluctant Detective and Once Upon a Crush. But the shift in creative direction is not as drastic as it seems, as she tells DESIblitz:
“I’ve always been a great fan of good horror writing in fiction and film. My preference has always been towards the paranormal rather than the slasher zombie variant of horror. It is only natural that someday I would write one of my own.
“I think the inexplicable is always something that has interested me. We live in a world where we experience just one of the dimensions. There are so many more levels of consciousness lying unexplored.”
When Kiran is not writing fiction, the Mumbai-based author is championing feminism in her columns and promoting creative writing.
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Should husband and wife have separate bedrooms? I weigh in on this in my column in SheThePeople.tv.
I remember reading, a long, long while ago, about an intruder entering Buckingham Palace reaching the Queen’s bedroom, and having a good chat with her for quite a few minutes before he decided to ask for a ciggie, and that’s when she coaxed him out to the pantry and had him turned over the palace guards.
What struck me, then all of 11, was the fact that the Queen and Prince Philip had separate bedrooms. Having cut my reading teeth on a steady diet of Princess stories as a child to a steady diet of tooth decay inducing mushy romances as a pre-pubertal girl, the idea of a separate bedroom was quite flummoxing to me. And this was much before carnal thoughts had even entered my head, the max I thought men and women got up to were kisses and those were what put babies into stomachs. But then, I am a Mumbai girl and multiple bedrooms were an indulgence given the abominable costs of Mumbai real estate back then and still are today.
More recently, I read that Donald and Melania Trump have separate bedrooms and that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian too slept separately when she was pregnant. Then there was Helena Bonham Carter and her partner, Tim Burton who lived in adjoining houses, fiercely protective of their personal space.
Katherine Hepburn probably got the equation between the sexes right when she famously said, “Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” But that would be an ideal world.
Read the rest of the article: http://shethepeople.tv/the-strong-case-for-the-sleep-divorce-kiran-manral-in-the-married-feminist/
for literary contribution. In some very daunting company indeed. In the shortlist are authors whose work I’ve read, loved and respected. Delighted and honoured to be shortlisted for the Femina Women Achievers 2017 with some rather intimidating writers like Twinkle Khanna, Anuja Chauhan, Ratika Kapur, Anuradha Roy and Roopa Pai.
Kiran Manral: Her first novel, The Reluctant Detective (2011), was about a bored housewife who becomes a detective. It was followed by two romance novels, Once Upon A Crush (2014) and All Aboard (2015). Her latest work, The Face At The Window, is a dark mystery set in the hills.
Here’s the link
“Forty-seven-year-old Goregaon resident and stock market professional Kirit Manral laments that his own upbringing was not similarly gender neutral.
“I grew up with three sisters, back in the 80s, and our roles were very clearly defined. Today, my 13-year-old son Krish, an only child, however does not associate any roles or careers with any genders — we make it a point to raise him in an environment where there are no barriers, no limitations,” he says.
Krish’s mother Kiran is an author and one of her books answers questions for boys aged 10 to 12, and on the cusp of puberty. The 45-year-old tells us, “I was raised to be a feminist by my own father. Krish sees how ferociously I fight my battles and I don’t think he has any doubt about the fact that women are no weak, meek creatures. He’s also a competitive swimmer who made it to Maharashtra state level and he has trained with both boys and girls — he knows exactly how tough girls can be. Of course we do not lay down male and female roles at home — Krish can even cook certain dishes way better than I can,” says Kiran with an air of pride.”
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“Being the offspring of an inter-religious marriage, to me religion –the following of, the belief in or the lack of was never something that even crossed my mind while I grew up. I realise now how lucky I was in that my parents, all those decades ago, had the kind of idealistic marriage where my mother continued to follow her religion, my father his and I was not inducted into either. Choose what you want when you get older, they said, when I was a child and immensely envious of the special treatment the Catholic students received in the convent school I attended. I was determined then to be a Catholic, the religion my mother followed. My father, a lapsed Muslim, did not impose Islam on me. His method of educating me about religion was to bring me books about every religion and their founders, and the Amar Chitra Katha versions of the lives of the founders of each. By the end of it all, for better or for worse, I was no closer to deciding what religion I wanted to follow and ended up on the fringes of them all. The fringe is a lovely place to be though, it allows you to peek in, to observe, assimilate and step out when you choose.
In this era of love jihads and anti-romeo squads, I wonder if they would have ever gotten married if they’d fallen in love today. And then I then went ahead and fell in love with a very religiously inclined man, from a religion different from both my mother and father’s religions. I married him. It wasn’t something I’d bargained on when I did fall in love. You know hormones, those insufferable chemicals, they don’t really go by logic and ticking boxes, they just swarm on your brain like a plague of locusts and eat up all reasoning.”
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