India Insight

from The Human Impact:

What stopped India’s “anti-rape” law from being a landmark?

So, three months after the outrage which sent thousands of Indians spilling out onto the streets to protest at the fatal gang rape of a woman on a bus in New Delhi, the country's parliamentarians were forced to sit up and listen and approve a tough new law to curb rising sexual violence against women.

Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde has hailed the new "anti-rape" law - which means repeat rapists or those who leave their victims in a vegetative state can be hanged - as a law which would create a "revolution" in the largely patriarchal country.

But how much of a landmark law is it really?

Yes, there are certainly some welcome and promising provisions – making human trafficking, acid attacks, stalking and voyeurism criminal offences, expanding the definition of rape and sexual harassment, and making gender-insensitive police and hospital authorities more accountable.

It recognises gang rape as an offence, gives space for prostitution to be seen as consensual as opposed to purely exploitative, and bars the use of a woman's sexual history to prove consent to intercourse.

Many of these issues are crucial, and India's women's movement had demanded such changes long before the Delhi gang rape on Dec. 16.

from The Human Impact:

India’s growing global humanitarian role: Is it enough?

India is increasingly seen as an important player when it comes to supporting nations hit by disasters or conflict, as well as for development, but given its size and influence, is it really doing enough to help resolve global crises?

Many, like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), think not, especially when it comes to addressing humanitarian issues at an international level.

"I am of the very strong opinion that India - which has an enormous influence due to its population, economic growth and history - will have to play a more assertive role in the world," Yves Daccord, ICRC director general, told AlertNet recently.

Photo gallery: Spirit of Holi in Delhi’s Sadar Bazaar

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

The festival of Holi is easy on the pocket. All one needs is a packet of gulaal (coloured powder), buckets of water, friends and family; and perhaps some music and alcohol.

Holi, the festival of colours, is celebrated to mark the beginning of spring and harvest season. In places associated with the Hindu god Krishna, Holi is traditionally played over several days with revellers flinging coloured powder and water at each other.

Telecom companies woo women with angel stores

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Walk into the Vodafone store in Mumbai’s Prabhadevi neighbourhood, and it doesn’t look any different from the others across India. It’s crowded with customers waiting to pay their bills, lodge complaints and buy new mobile phone connections.

But there is a difference many haven’t noticed. This is one of Vodafone’s 15 “angel” stores, or retail outlets managed and run solely by female employees. Security, pantry staff, customer service resources and management level personnel — all are women.

Anti-rape bill goes easy on first-time stalkers, but only if innocent

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Women have become increasingly worried about their safety in New Delhi after the gang rape and torture of a young woman aboard a moving bus last December. Not for nothing do people call the city India’s rape capital. Beyond the leers and the crass words that men often direct at women walking on the street, fresh fears have arisen over stalkers.

The Lok Sabha passed a bill to toughen penalties on rape and sexual assault on Tuesday, and among its penalties, it would make stalking punishable by jail time. But first-time offenders will be able to avoid being detained till investigation is complete, as the offence is bailable.

Making a case for tougher anti-stalking laws

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

Should any well meaning law proposed in a democratic parliament be shelved because it risks being misused in some form?

Unless we go into specifics, it is hard to generalize the question, but the eighteenth-century English scholar William Blackstone made a strong argument: “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.”

Vote Stalin? In India, you can

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily of Reuters)

History has it that Stalin and Napoleon were born a hundred years apart but in India, you will find the two working together – at least on paper.

Stalin and Napoleon (no relation to the Soviet dictator or the French emperor) are leaders in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a political party in Tamil Nadu that hogged headlines on Tuesday for withdrawing support to the ruling Congress-led coalition.

Fashion Week: The one to watch out for

#gallery-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */ A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur
Models show Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur Models showcase Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur
A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur A model shows a creation by Aneeth Arora on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur

 

Beautiful clothes aside, designer Aneeth Arora’s show was remarkable for its models — they seemed to be having fun on the runway. It almost seemed like Arora’s creations let them be their usual selves.

Fashionable comfort is perhaps what makes Arora’s designs stand out. Hers are the kind of clothes that don’t require you to tuck your tummy in, or sit in a certain posture and not slouch or worry about clothes getting dirty — all this while being fashionable. Alas! The kind of clothes you don’t find easily on the runway.

Fashion Week: The traditional, the androgynous and the ultra feminine

The phrase ‘richness of Indian culture and tradition’ is used so often that it almost loses its meaning. Unless there is a close encounter with it. Mine was a sartorial one.

Indian textiles, fabrics, weaves and embroideries have been used in clothing in India and outside for hundreds of years, and exported to numerous counties but have still not lost their charm. Designers have reinvented them over and over again to suit contemporary clothing.

There are few Indian designers who do not use at least one traditional element in their garments. On the third day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, designers took up some traditional weaves and embroideries and interpreted it for the ramp. Manish Malhotra did a spectacular job of it.

Indian startup aims for the moon – and $30 million

Rahul Narayan, who describes himself as a serial entrepreneur, is the founder of Team Indus. It is the only Indian team in a race to the moon by privately funded groups competing for the largest international incentive prize of all time – the Google Lunar X Prize.

Google is offering $30 million in prizes to the first privately funded teams to safely land a robot on the Moon, including a grand prize and other bonus prizes.

In a conversation with Reuters, Narayan talks about Team Indus’ prospects, timing, his struggle to be taken seriously by investors and why he would not be too disappointed if someone else wins.

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