Religion cannot be thrust upon a child or a spouse?

Was glad to read,

Religion cannot be thrust upon a child: Bombay high court.

A minor girl’s father (behind bars for fatally stabbing her mother) and aunt were not granted the child’s custody.

They wanted the three year old to be raised as per their religion, with rituals performed and ideals of their religion taught to the child.

The court rejected the argument that a man’s religion must prevail upon his child, saying it was directly contrary to the freedom of religion under the Constitution and it would also be gender discriminatory.

And now glad to read that religion is not being thrust upon a spouse either.

Kareena has not converted to Islam: Sharmila Tagore

Has Kareena converted to Islam?
She hasn’t converted, but she is now the Begum of Pataudi. He is the Nawab, so Kareena is the Begum.

Wouldn’t it be good if religion became more a matter of choice and beliefs than birth and marriage?

Also, do you think the sentiments of atheists, rationalists, skeptics and agnostics deserve respect? Is ‘not being Religious’ a Right?

Comments moderation is enabled. 

Related Posts:

How do women benefit from religion?

Atheism: Taking Stock – The Wild Child

Yes, these Shaadis are legal! – The Times of India

Census will ask family members individually about their faith – The TOI


Plain-clothed police officers, warning signboards, cancellation of permits, helplines: SC directs States to take serious steps to curb Street Sexual Harassment.

And if Sexual Harassment is reported, the bus driver must immediately drive the vehicle to the nearest police station.

This is what we do when we take a crime; and safety, rights and freedoms of citizens seriously.

Realising that more and more women are now using public spaces and transport, and are finding them unsafe, and that safety of women and girls is ‘of extreme importance to a civilised and cultured society‘,

Supreme Court issues directions to curb sexual harassment of women. 

* All states and UTs are directed to depute plain-clothed female police officers in the precincts of bus-stands and stops, railway stations, metro stations, cinema theatres, shopping malls, parks, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship to monitor and supervise incidents of sexual harassment.

* States and UTs to install CCTV in strategic positions which itself would be a deterrent and if detected, the offender could be caught.

* Persons in-charge of the educational institutions, places of worship, cinema theatres, railway stations, bus stands have to take steps as they deem fit (IHM: I think it is clear that this would not be considered a serious step.) to prevent sexual harassment, within their precincts and, on a complaint being made, they must pass on the information to the nearest police station or the women’s help centre.

* Where any incident of sexual harassment is committed in a public service vehicle either by the passengers or the persons in charge of the vehicle, the crew of such vehicle shall, on a complaint made by the aggrieved person, take such vehicle to the nearest police station and give information to the police. Failure to do so should lead to cancellation of the permit to ply.

* States and UTs are directed to establish women’s helpline in various cities and towns to curb sexual harassment within three months.

* Suitable sign boards cautioning act of sexual harassment be exhibited in all public places including precincts of educational institutions, bus stands, railway stations, cinema theatres, parties, beaches, public service vehicles, places of worship etc.

* Responsibility is also on the passersby and on noticing such incident; they should also report it to the nearest police station or to the helpline to save the victims from such crimes.

* States and UTs would take adequate and effective measures by issuing suitable instructions to the authorities concerned including the District Collectors and the District Superintendent of Police in order to take effective and proper measures to curb such incidents of sexual harassment.

Another link: Curb eve-teasing with an iron hand, Supreme Court fiat to all States.

Related Posts:

Is stalking of girls and women illegal in India?

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment of women.

Can sexual harassment be compared to Terrorism against a whole community called women?

Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

Allahabad girl Aarti Yadav beats harasser, sets bike on fire

When a college principal refused to be a Taliban ally 😉

Where in India are you likely to see teenage girls doing this?

“Sometimes it seems like every single thing I do has the potential to be something ‘provocative’.”

Men in Delhi Metro women’s coaches fined Rs 32 lakh

He said, “You’re a very beautiful girl, but don’t wear such clothes…”

She started a fight between two men?

Reserved seats and coaches are not a special indulgence towards women, they are an indication of a serious social problem.

What’s the best way to fight for your rights and freedoms and to prevent Talibanization of India?

The fearlessness of the Indian ‘Eve teaser’ (sexual criminals)

An email from an American reader : “He then said… ‘ wife is very sexy.’”

Said Noodle strap to the Sari

Not just a pair of jeans

A name of your own, to keep or to change.

Now married women in Maharashtra do not need to change their names or surnames after they get married – unless they choose too. More and more  women are choosing not to.

It is now perfectly legal for a woman to retain her maiden name after marriage. The Bombay high court recently amended a crucial rule under the Family Courts Act to prevent a woman from being compelled to file any marriage-related proceedings only in her husband’s surname, thus offering relief to many seeking a divorce. It will also help a married woman file proceedings in other courts under her maiden name, say legal experts.

The radical rule says that “a wife who has not changed her name after marriage, by publishing in the official gazette, may continue to use her maiden name”. The law is clear now: a woman is not obliged to take her husband’s name after marriage. [Read more]

One good thing about women not changing their names is they continue to carry the family name like actor Kalki Koechlin said, “It’s still ‘Kalki Koechlin’… I’d never want to let go of Koechlin; that’s who I am. Besides, I’m the only child, and it’s like my family legacy, I can never give it up.” [Read more here.]

Since Indian parents’ male child preference is also based on family name being carried forward, it might help if women kept their names and pass a  part of their names  (first name, second name) to their children. It’s already  being done and I am sure our future generations will wonder how we allowed mothers’ names to be completely excluded from children’s name.

The Law On Names

After Marriage

* A wife may continue to use her maiden name if she has not changed it officially after marriage

* A wife can file for divorce in her maiden surname; married surname; any other name she may have adopted and officially gazetted

After Divorce

* A woman can continue using her former married surname, except if her intention is to defraud the ex

[Read more]

Note: I am starting a new tag in response to a comment complaining that I seem to see nothing good in India.  Now if you click here, you will be able to read all the posts tagged ‘What I love about my country’ 🙂

Related posts:

First name, Unwanted. Second name, Dad’s or Husband’s name.

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

Emotion of love and affection compelled the convict. ‘Love not a crime’, says Delhi Court.

“The act of falling in love cannot be punished in the way other criminals are punished”. With this observation, a trial court acquitted 22-year-old Sanjay of Jahangirpuri on charges of raping his 15-year-old girlfriend, although it held him guilty of kidnapping as he had not taken the consent of her parents.

“It is clear that emotion of love and affection compelled the convict to take this step wherein he failed to acknowledge the presence and sanctity of consent of the parents of the girl,” the court said. [Link]

I didn’t understand this judgement. Isn’t the girl a minor?

From what I understand, the act of an adult engaging in sex with a minor (15 or less) is considered rape, whether or not it is consensual.

While the consent age for pre-marital sex is 16, the husband has license to engage in such an act with his minor wife even if she is as young as 15.

Though the minimum marriageable age for women is 18, the marriage with an under-aged girl is not per se invalid. For, under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, marriage is “void” only if it was the result of kidnapping or elopement. In the event of sex with his wife under 15, the man is liable to be charged with rape under Section 376.”[Link]

Now this 22 year old was not married to the 15 year old. And even if they had married, the marriage to a minor as a result of elopement, would have been void!

And ‘emotion of love and affection compelled the convict‘?

It would have been understandable if the man was a minor too, but shouldn’t a 22 year adult be held accountable for his actions?

On the other hand, perhaps this could make it easier for young Indian couples to choose their partners without fearing one of them being harassed by the families and the police for ‘rape and kidnapping’.

But then is a 15 year old capable of choosing a life partner? Remember, she has no other legal rights that adults do.

And what if the elopement (or ‘consensual kidnapping’) is caused by her parents’ attempts to forcibly marry the minor off elsewhere? We know it’s common for Indian parents to arrange marriages in haste to protect their daughters from Love Marriages.

In such cases do we say, emotion of love and affection compelled the convict‘ to elope or will it be seen as an elopement caused by the need to escape a forced marriage?

Related posts:

The Powers of the Protectors.

“Bill seeks to let 12 year olds have non penetrative sex. Does it really?

It’s child abuse not an ‘affair’

Are u ok if ur daughter smokes at 24yrs to express herself? Freedom of expression is quite quite difficult to practice.

In response to a Twitter claim that M F Hussain offended all Hindu’s sentiments, I asked,

Just curious…. Are there any other Hindus who Hussain’s Paintings did not offend? Or am I the only one?

Someone argued that ‘the way people exploited it, the freedom of expression was simply not worth the freedom’. I would love some examples of what is seen as exploitation of Freedom of expression.

Maybe this tweet is the kind of things that worry some of us?

“are u ok if ur daughter smokes at 24yrs to express herself? Freedom of expression is quite quite difficult to practice.”

Such statements are suppose to stun Indian parents into realizing that the young people’s (specially daughters’) freedom must have it’s ‘limits’.

And those ‘limits’ must be set by the parents, who a vast majority seems convinced, always know better.

The Constitution makes no such assumptions, and gives no  automatic ‘Right to Control’ to parents. Parents expressing their anger and frustration can’t express it by killing or hurting their children. I was glad to read, Ten members of a family to be hanged for Honor Killing.

Is that a limit on the parents’ freedom of expression (of their anger)? Does this satisfy those who demand limits on freedom?

Who would you say exploits the Freedom of expression in India?

1. Some Indian parents?

2. Violent mobs of protestors?

3. Or 24 year old girls who smoke in smoking zones?

Some of us would like to limit other people’s  freedom. I blogged about , ‘Who defines the limits of your Freedom?’

I wonder if some people worry that they might ‘exploit’ their own freedom? (And hence would request to be denied their right to freedom of expression?)

Some of us seem to think that while we know how to use our freedom, many others need our better judgement, in place of their freedom. What do you think?

I may disapprove of what she says…

I disagree with a lot of what Arundhati Roy says here – read a rough transcript of her speech here or watch her speak here.

But I disagree even more with those who think she should be stopped from expressing her opinion.  Here’s one of the reasons why,

‘Azadi to espouse azadi
Freedom Of Expression In A Vibrant Democracy, By Madhavi Goradia Divan’

( The Statesman)

Here’s a point of view I agree with…

“That a seminar titled “Azadi ~ the only way” could be held in the capital city and that Roy and Geelani could say what they did in the full media glare is testimony to that freedom, an azadi … The Indian State is resilient and robust enough to bear a slight or two now and then. Why diminish its dignity by muzzling dissent or even disloyalty?” (click to read the entire article, might require log in, but it’s worth it)

‘Home minister P Chidambaram today said Delhi police not filing a case against noted writer Arundhati Roy for her alleged seditious speech recently was in accordance with the letter and spirit of law.

“Not taking action is also an action,” he shot back when a journalist asked him why the government was not acting against her for her “Azaadi” (independence) remarks made at a convention on Kashmir here recently.

“Section 124(A) of the IPC (related to sedition) is for deterrence and punishment. The spirit of the law and true interpretation of law is that unless there is direct incitement to violence, the state must show tolerance and forbearance.

“Delhi police is acting in accordance with the letter and spirit of the law,” he said.’ [Link]

Arundhati Roy not Guilty, says P Chidambaram

And I agree.

The Indian state is resilient and robust enough to bear a slight or two now and then.”

I would be more worried about speeches that incite violence and hatred.

How do you define Sin?

Dr Siras was filmed inside his house, participating in a homosexual act with a willing partner, for which he was suspended from the university.

Allahabad High Court issued a stay order against his suspension.

A week later he was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

And Aligarh Muslim University has an ‘intelligence unit… that spies on students and teachers‘ personal lives…

I wonder if somebody somewhere is feeling guilty about this death. 😦


Our Pink (or Saffron?) Chaddi Guys will find a like minded soul in Iran, in Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi. “Many women who dress inappropriately … cause youths to go astray, taint their chastity and incite extramarital sex in society, which increases earthquakes,” [Link]

[And a much better link ;)]


Would Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi  say these men in Afghanistan are incited by little boys?

Bacha bazi is an old Afghan tradition of taking young boys, dressing them up like girls, and making them perform for older men in tea rooms, weddings, and other private venues. The boys are “owned” by single or married men who trade or keep the boys as concubines. According to reports, the boys’ ages range from eight to 19, when they “age out” of the practice and are released.

“The bacha dancers are often abused children … one boy was sexually assaulted by a mechanic in his town. The boy’s family blamed him and turned him out. He was forced to live with the man who attacked him. ” Now I am with someone else, and he taught me how to dance,” the boy, now 16 years old, said. []

Thanks for tweeting these links Nisha.


A 15 year old in Faridabad walked to a nearby park at 2 am, to abandon her  daughter  minutes after the baby was born. Because she wasn’t married. [Link]

Khushboo, a South Indian actor was taken to court for recommending contraception for girls like her, because teenage sex bothers some of us.


A 12-year-old Yemeni bride died of internal bleeding following intercourse three days after she was married off to an older man, [Link]

“A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner.(Manusmriti, IX.94)


Can something that hurt nobody be sinful?
Is it sinful for some of us to claim to know what is best for the rest of us? Even if we bring god into it?

I don’t think Ayesha Siddiqui is a gold digger.

I read some comments and posts that seem  to imply that Ayesha Siddiqui has taken Shoaib Malik for a ride.

How did we come to this conclusion? He had married her – he denied it. In fact he claimed that a telephone Nikah was not valid. Then why did he agree to it?

Was he hoping to have a nikah that was not valid?

She has provided enough proof that they were married.

Then why is she being seen as a gold digger?

Would it have been fine if she had not accepted (if at all she has) the out of court settlement? Why does she need to prove her goodness when all the lying has been done by Shoaib?

I agree this isn’t something we see happening everyday but why not believe what is right there?

‘She also made a stunning disclosure that wife of former Pakistan skipper Muhammad Yousuf know about their relationship.

“If Shoaib does not want to live with me. I am also not interested,” she added.

I read in a post that she was ten years older than him. Supposing she was. Did Shoaib not think of this all these years? Why did he never think of divorcing her (for putting on weight!) all these years?

He has no excuse.

He didn’t, because it didn’t matter. He must have been sure that a ‘decent, honorable, good girl with strong family values‘ (etc) would not dare to complain against her husband. He took this marriage very lightly. What could she possibly do?

He realised perhaps that whatever she did, she would look bad. And that’s what’s happening.  She is being seen as a vamp who ‘snared‘ him to ‘sign on the dotted line twice‘.

I have seen women living miserable lives, fearing the husband is having an affair or planning to remarry, because they do not have the courage and opportunity to do what Ayesha has done. They are afraid the husband might throw them out or bring in another woman like Pantaloons Femina Miss India-World, Pooja Chopra’s father did,

“When Pooja was eight months in my womb, my husband brought a girl to the house and announced he would marry her. I thought of killing myself...”

I think Ayesha’s example should be seen as an eye opener for men who make a mockery of marriage and law, and  a hope for women who are in marriages where they feel unwanted but trapped.

Why Sania must register her marriage.

In an interview with Barkha Dutt, Sania Mirza said although she was marrying a Pakistani, her favorite cricketer remained Sachin Tendulkar and her favorite team Deccan Challengers.

There seemed no reason not to believe her.  She sounded happy, confident, honest and open about her decision. She said she was not giving up Indian citizenship and planned to continue playing for India.

There are some things no woman should give up – not even for love. [Click to read] Congratulations and best wishes to this smart young woman, I thought.

Then Ayesha Siddiqui came into the scene.  She said Shoaib had married her via Telephone in 2002, and it seems a marriage by Phone or over the internet is valid (According to the All India Muslim Personal Law Board). If Ayesha was a Pakistani citizen Ayesha could have stopped Shoaib Malik from marrying a second time, without her permission or without divorcing her. .. except that unlike India, Pakistan doesn’t consider a Telephone marriage valid.

Shoaib claims ‘he was emotionally forced to do a telephone Nikah with Hyderabad based girl Ayesha Siddiqui. However, Shoaib Malik said, Sania Mirza will be my first wife.

That’s a contradiction.

Also if Shoaib knew a telephone-nikah had no validity, then why did he agree to it?

The Sania I saw in that interview had seemed like a confident girl with a mind of her own. Has she seen this video?

Allegedly Shoaib claims he was disappointed when he met a ‘fat’ girl instead of a ‘beautiful’ girl he had seen in photographs. And yet in this TV interview (27th Sept 2004) he is clearly heard saying he is happily married to Ayesha.

Now instead of denying a marriage in the past, why not just divorce Ayesha? Because according to him a telephone-marriage is no marriage, and no marriage means, no divorce.

Is it possible that Sania knows everything and is fine with being Shoaib’s second wife?

Women are under social pressure to first get married and then stay married.  I wish instead they would follow some Women’s Day Gyan by Chandni Malik.

DON’T. Let marriage be the high point in your life. There’s more to life than that one event. Really.

….DON’T. Ever tolerate a bad relationship. Even if its marriage, its not worth it. Do yourself ( and your children, if applicable,  a favour) and get out. NOW. There is no excuse to stay in a bad relationship, EVER.

[Click to read all the gyan.]

Whatever else Sania does I hope she does register her marriage, and be glad there is the option of doing that.

When my political views (almost) cost me a friend.

In an international school in Pune the Chief Guest started her speech in English, and then switched to Marathi saying she would translate it to English in the end. At the end of the speech she announced that she expected the parents who had admitted their children to a school in Maharashtra to understand Marathi, so no translation was needed.

All except two of the parents were either non-Marathi NRIs or ‘outsiders’. The school had said nothing to the parents (or students) about learning Marathi while obsequiously showing them around or while accepting the hefty fees.

That year there were 27 students in class XII, and the next year – (I made an effort to find out) 12, and after some withdrawals only 9.

Did the school really think the parents from across the globe, were going to learn Marathi to admit their kids to their school?


This June while I was in Pune, an acquaintance called to ask if a small town in Maharashtra was safe for a student from Uttar Pradesh, to study Medicine in. This parent explained Maharashtra was lowest in merit this year, if the child had scored better, he said, he could have got admission somewhere ‘safer’.

The child took admission ‘somewhere safer’.


A friend who teaches in a reputed, professional private institute said they had fewer admissions. It seems many students did not want to take out the time to learn Marathi language or culture.


A close friend, originally from Nainital, UP, grew up in Maharashtra, and speaks fluent Marathi.

Just before Diwali in Oct 2008, she was shopping for saris for our maids, when groups of hefty looking activists asked all shops to shut down (MG Road, Pune) for some anti outsiders protests.

She was terrified. She spoke the local language but understood she was an outsider. She knew it was not about language or culture at all.

The same day another friend had also been shopping, she found the protesters polite.

They requested us to get out of the shops… They are doing this for our culture and language…

She is a marathi manoos.

I reminded her that she grew up in Rajasthan (without speaking Marwari), Dubai, Delhi (without adopting ‘Delhi culture‘) and Gujarat (without speaking Gujarati), her son studies in Karnataka (doesn’t speak Kannada). She supports MNS but refused to discuss her views because she said it might ruin our friendship 🙂 (We are still good friends 😆 )

Unlike Sachin Tendulakar, she believes Maharashtra belongs to her. I have a hope voices like Asha Bhonsle’s might help change her mind.