Saturday, 19 January 2008

Another Year--but the Same Old Problems

So the New Year arises from the ashes of the old--what with Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and the appointment (or the anointing of her son Bilawal as her successor as PPP Chairman). If the Americans congratulate themselves on their comparative woman-friendliness and their democratic credentials, they should look at this analysis of Hillary Clinton’s victory by Susan Faludi--she shows how Clinton exemplifies the competent care that Hillary Clinton and women of her generation exemplify, the kind of care a mature state such as the United States requires. My dream team would be Clinton-Obama--let us hope it does come to pass and does not remain a dream.

Looking homeward, it was good to know that twelve people were convicted in the Bilquis Bano case in Gujarat. However, it was horrible to read about the schoolgirl who was raped in Unnao in UP. It is appalling that a teacher would use a position of trust in such a manner. No wonder UP figures as one of the BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) with these kinds of attitudes prevailing amongst those of its inhabitants who are fortunate enough to have an education and a job. Fortunately for the girl, even though her family hesitated to go to the police, her friends at school did not hesitate to beat up the perpetrators, which led to the police being called in. Of course, one of the accused claims that he has been arrested on false charges.

The right wing, too, does not seem to have changed its tactics--it seems to feel that might is right, witness the ransacking of NDTV offices in Ahmedabad. Evidently, the right cannot use words and logic in place of bricks and fists to make a point. And until it does learn to use words and logic sanely to make its point, the right will not be taken seriously by the middle class.

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I work as a freelance editor and writer in New Delhi. 


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