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Driven to sheer despair.
July 6, 2007 3:28 AM   Subscribe

The conservative city of Rajkot (Gujarat, India) received something of a shock this week when Pooja Chauhan, 22, stripped to her "inner-wear" and walked through town, brandishing a baseball bat. She was protesting against the mental and physical harassment she's had to endure at the hands of her husband and in-laws for dowry, and for having borne a daughter, and also to denounce the local police's inactivity despite her repeated complaints. Controversy, video, her side, follow-up.
posted by progosk (97 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
Interesting detail: she carried a baseball bat and bangles. What for? "I wanted the police to arrest them all and smash their heads with this bat and make them wear the bangles."
posted by progosk at 3:29 AM on July 6, 2007


Amazing that her attempt to immolate herself in front of the police station earlier did not lead to any action. But walking through town in what in some countries would be considered a dowdy bathing suit did.
posted by mmahaffie at 3:33 AM on July 6, 2007


That woman's underwear isn't enough to conceal her enormous pair of balls. Way to go, Pooja!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:12 AM on July 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


23? 21? 22? How is it that in three news stories, they can't even get their shit together and give a consistent age?
posted by Meatbomb at 4:34 AM on July 6, 2007


That woman's underwear isn't enough to conceal her enormous pair of balls. Way to go, Pooja!

This needed to be said again.

Hey, hear that, patriarchy? You can? That's the sound of two brass balls clanging down the street, finally having had enough of your crap. I hope there's a dozen, a score, a thousand more Pooja Chauhans around the world.

Patriarchies--hell, any kind of authoritarian, oppressive regimes--tend not to listen to self-immolation or any other nonviolent actions. A baseball bat upside the head? Totally different story.

Good on you, lass!
posted by John of Michigan at 4:51 AM on July 6, 2007


It's too bad we have chosen to celebrate this woman's courage by granting her imaginary male anatomy. "She is so brave she is like a man!"
posted by srboisvert at 5:14 AM on July 6, 2007 [33 favorites]


If only men were like a man!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 5:17 AM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


It's inconvenient (and telling) that there are no common euphemisms for strong women that aren't derogatory.

Let's compare her to a strong woman, then. Joan of Arc?
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:22 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


She has brass ovaries.
posted by Biblio at 5:25 AM on July 6, 2007 [14 favorites]


I notice she moved out of her husband's (and inlaws'?) home too. There's a lot of American women who aren't brave enough for that. You go, girl, indeed.
posted by DU at 5:32 AM on July 6, 2007


It's too bad we have chosen to celebrate this woman's courage by granting her imaginary male anatomy. "She is so brave she is like a man!"

Demeaning and, well, kinda gross. Especially after seeing her in her (blurred out) underwear.

That whole dowry system seems pretty crazy.
posted by delmoi at 5:48 AM on July 6, 2007


First it was a half naked fakir, now it's a half naked woman.

I, for one, welcome our new scantily clad revolutionaries.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 5:49 AM on July 6, 2007


I say we ship a flotilla of heavily tattooed, toothpick chewing, big bicep biker dykes from Frisco to really show these women how it's done.
posted by The Straightener at 5:53 AM on July 6, 2007


...how it's done to man up.
posted by hermitosis at 5:56 AM on July 6, 2007


Much better to strip than to immolate oneself, methinks. Especially when Indian culture already has a history of bride burning. If you're going to fight back, hit your opponent rather than hurting yourself.
posted by orange swan at 6:03 AM on July 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have this image in my head where she's walking down the streets, tears unable to conceal her total rage, when some fuckwit walks up to her and asks, "Aw, baby, why so sad? Pretty girl like you should be smiling..." but he never gets to finish his statement because he's too busy trying to remove the baseball bat from his mouth.

People should not have to strip down to their underwear and walk around in the rain carrying a baseball bat to be heard. Because, let's be honest, once you've gotten to the point when that's a valid option for you, it's way past the let's be reasonable -stage and well into get the fuck out of my way lest you be trampled by my rage -stage.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:07 AM on July 6, 2007 [7 favorites]


That whole dowry system seems pretty crazy.

Which is why it's illegal, and has been since 1961. Clearly it's still practiced, but it's at least techinically illegal. Her husband and his family should be lined up to spend a few years in prison for pressuring her. Whether that'll happen, well. That's another story.

And good for her - I just hope she doesn't face more crap from the authorities than her horrible husband.
posted by god hates math at 6:15 AM on July 6, 2007


It's too bad we have chosen to celebrate this woman's courage by granting her imaginary male anatomy. "She is so brave she is like a man!"

I propose, "rocket knockers", as an alternative, as in the prhase, "that gal's walking around with rocket knockers ." (link mildly nsfw)
posted by humanfont at 6:15 AM on July 6, 2007


23? 21? 22? How is it that in three news stories, they can't even get their shit together and give a consistent age?

Lots of little artefacts about the reporting of this story are interesting. Another online video (from IBN) is blur-censored (also: the 100+ comments give an interesting cross-section of local reaction). An early version of the BBC article (quoted here) described her as "low caste". Many accounts leave out the bangles. Other european media concentrated the fact, reported early on, that Pooja herself would be charged.

Interestingly, she might have been inspired to make a stance by the "I Am Powerful" campaign recently held in the region.
posted by progosk at 6:15 AM on July 6, 2007


I wish there was a way to scrap the nuclear arms race and the entire history of ballistics and weaponry, and just issue every citizen in the world a baseball bat as soon as they were old enough to swing one.
posted by hermitosis at 6:24 AM on July 6, 2007


She's cute. Even with the bat.

/NPAN
posted by SansPoint at 6:27 AM on July 6, 2007


Pooja is my new hero. I wish I had been that brave at age 22. Hell, I wish I were that brave now.
posted by amyms at 6:28 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


It only takes one to make a difference....I see her making a huge difference much like Mukhtar Mai
posted by brneyedgrl at 6:35 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Here's what the authorities said: "we will examine her mental condition before taking any action"... which means that anyone who is strong-willed enough to defy the Patriarchy here must be mad.

She'll be locked up, most likely.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:39 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


progosk: Interesting detail: she carried a baseball bat and bangles. What for? "I wanted the police to arrest them all and smash their heads with this bat and make them wear the bangles."

The significance of the bangles may be that Indian women often have their dowry in the form of jewelry. It sounded like she wanted her in-laws to get what was coming to them.
posted by zennie at 6:42 AM on July 6, 2007


I like this woman, even though she doesn't cover second base very well.
posted by Mister_A at 6:47 AM on July 6, 2007


This is a good thing - at least the part about the international media attention; and the fact that she is strong and brave, and surely anything but "retarded" as her inlaws claim, can be attested by the fact that she managed to even survive to make her protest, as up to 25,000 women in India are murdered annually in "dowry deaths"/"bride burnings" (article).

This horror, in addition to the huge number of abortions and infanticides of female children, means that India has a massive problem - all because they are unable or unwilling to enforce the anti-dowry laws. (IHT: Missing: 50 million Indian girls)
posted by taz at 6:51 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where in the conservative city of Rajkot (Gujarat, India) does one find a Louisville Slugger?

Or is this definitive proof of the superiority of baseball over cricket?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:51 AM on July 6, 2007


I found an interesting quote from the comments sections of the video about the bat, this guy thinks it might be an American Christian influnence :) :

" I suspect there is more to the story than meets the eye (I'm not just talking about her physical endowment - that she has pretty much revealed it all). Carrying a baseball bat - Mmmm - which Indian woman keeps a baseball bat handy. Baseball bat is very commonly found in most American homes, because it is a national game for the Americans. If she were holding on to a cricket bat, I'd see nothing unusual in the image. But a baseball bat? She's either been given the bat and plenty of ammunition by some American christian and encouraged to make protest of this kind to attract international attention, or she herself, a US returned woman, is doing this for cheap publicity. She hardly presents a picture of some traditional woman battered by her husband and in-laws for dowry. On the contrary, one must check on the husband and the in-laws to make sure that she hasn't bumped them off with the bat for money. I'd take this for what it is - some cheap sensational story, carefully set up for publicity"
posted by stormygrey at 7:34 AM on July 6, 2007


(1) Wahoo, you go girl! Yeah!

(2) There are some funny people on this interweb message system.
posted by cavalier at 7:34 AM on July 6, 2007


We got the beat is by the Go-Gos, not the Bangles.
posted by nervousfritz at 8:06 AM on July 6, 2007


Doused herself with Kerosene, and complained in person to
the police? That's either sheer luck or wickedly smart. Kerosene
is much, much, much safer than gasoline. She was in
no danger of imminent immolation.
posted by the Real Dan at 8:27 AM on July 6, 2007


Having spent a while living in conservative north west India, I am so incredibly impressed by this. It's worth noting that in the pictures, the passerbys watching the spectacle are all men. Outside the educated elite, married women like Pooja seldom leave the house, the domestic sphere in which they act out their roll. When they do go out they tend to be shy and submissive, tucking their faces behind their saris, not meeting your eyes, giggling. They do not walk like that, or stare forward like that, with such unbreakable, angry determination-- my god, just look at her face.

And the idea of walking around semi-nude in public... Jesus. Showing too much ankle or shoulder will get you harassed on the male-dominated street. The catcalls and jostles and groping many young women put up with incessently are quaintly termed 'eve-teasing,' and they're one of the reasons women adopt such a cowed demenor in public. Eyecontact is seen as a provocation.

Pooja's demonstration broke so many rules. It's amazing it even occured to her to do something like this, let alone that she carried it out. And it's despicable but sadly typical that the police are accusing her of being 'mentally retarded.' I'm sure many local people think of her as seriously deranged; there's no other explanation in their minds for why and how someone could go that far.
posted by bookish at 8:40 AM on July 6, 2007 [5 favorites]


Here's what the authorities said: "we will examine her mental condition before taking any action"... which means that anyone who is strong-willed enough to defy the Patriarchy here must be mad.

The "action" they are referring to was pursuing indecent behavior charges against her. They immediately arrested several people based on her complaint.
posted by eddydamascene at 8:58 AM on July 6, 2007


And by immediately, I mean after months of police inaction.
posted by eddydamascene at 9:00 AM on July 6, 2007


Well, I suppose Lady Godiva might be a similar example...if it ever actually happened.

I cannot find it online, but I seem to remember the story of a woman preacher (not Anne Hutchinson) in the colonies who walked through town naked in protest at being silenced. "Naked" just brings up too many Google hits, but I could swear I read it somewhere.
posted by emjaybee at 9:26 AM on July 6, 2007


It'd hit me.
posted by hatchetjack at 9:29 AM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


srboisvert writes 'It's too bad we have chosen to celebrate this woman's courage by granting her imaginary male anatomy. "She is so brave she is like a man!"'

I said she had *big* brass balls, not tiny perishable peanuts.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:00 AM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it's interesting that the in-laws harassed her for bearing a daughter, when it is solely the male contribution that determines the sex of a child.
posted by namret at 10:07 AM on July 6, 2007


SansPoint : She's cute. Even with the bat.

I'd argue that she's even cuter because of the bat.

But as has been stated above, since they are questioning her mental health, I doubt she is going to be treated as the hero. Though hopefully her action will inspire others to stage similar protests.

1 armed chick in her underwear = crazy.

100 armed chicks in their underwear = crazy hot a wake up call. (one hopes)
posted by quin at 10:08 AM on July 6, 2007


progosk: Interesting detail: she carried a baseball bat and bangles. What for? "I wanted the police to arrest them all and smash their heads with this bat and make them wear the bangles."

The significance of the bangles may be that Indian women often have their dowry in the form of jewelry. It sounded like she wanted her in-laws to get what was coming to them.
posted by zennie at 6:42 AM on July 6 [+] [!]


putting bangles on a man or more accurately, saying that you will or telling a man that he is "wearing bangles" are euphemisms in the vernacular idiom in India for saying you have no balls, no manhood, you are a woman therefore here are your bangles.
posted by infini at 10:19 AM on July 6, 2007


yes, infini, that's what it looked to mean, an intended reversal of symbolic identity; pretty subtle, her rage. (mind you, they'd have received the bangles only after having their heads smashed in with the bat ;-)
posted by progosk at 10:24 AM on July 6, 2007


Now THAT's what I'm TALKING about! You go, Pooja!

Great post. Thank you!
posted by perilous at 10:31 AM on July 6, 2007


100 armed chicks in their underwear = crazy hot a wake up call. (one hopes)

Unfortunately, "100 armed chicks in their underwear" more likely equals the next cheapo action movie we're going to be subjected to by our Hollywood overlords.
posted by mmahaffie at 10:33 AM on July 6, 2007


Dan, I was under the impression that the majority of homes in India used kerosene for cooking. I imagine that may have swayed her choice -- can you expound on how kerosene is less flammable then gasoline?
posted by cavalier at 11:19 AM on July 6, 2007


“She appears to be mentally unsound. The police will initiate the procedure for her medical examination,’’ said Gandhigram Police Inspector Sardarsinh Jhala.

oh fuck me up a rope. how does righteously pissed off == 'mentally unsound' in ANY industrialised nation.

okay yeah, i get it. they're a conservative small town in a non-western society. but how do they NOT expect outrage at this shit from the western media scrutiny?

quote from Pooja: "Not only this, womankind has been dealt a slap in its face with the police refusing to take down my complaint. That family should be caught and taught a lesson so that no one ever does such a thing again."

sounds pretty damned sane to me.
posted by lonefrontranger at 11:28 AM on July 6, 2007


Cutest chick in her underwear with a bat since 48 Hours.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:35 AM on July 6, 2007


The whole city is conservative? I wonder what are the liberal cities in India? Would her actions be perceived differently (in both
India and Metaflter) if they were performed in a liberal Indian city?
posted by Sk4n at 12:00 PM on July 6, 2007


Sk4n i think my concept was this, albeit likely badly worded:

you can get away with things in New York City or Hollywood that you'd never dream of attempting, say, Bloomington, Indiana or Provo, Utah.

India's a big country with a pretty diverse culture. I would imagine hope more mefites with useful knowledge may chime in with informative culural commentary, e.g. bookish

kirkaracha, nice, dude. way to be a complete dick. it's shit like this that makes complacent, rational, moderately liberal females like me wanna go all diesel-dyke feminist and rip someone's nuts off with a large adjustable wrench
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is probably a smart way of dealing with her troubles, her in laws are much less likely to give her the "cooking accident" immolation death so common in dowry disputes after they have been publicly shamed like this. I hope.
posted by Iron Rat at 12:40 PM on July 6, 2007


Good going, Pooja. I hope she can wrangle a positive effect from this.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:43 PM on July 6, 2007


The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future
posted by homunculus at 1:25 PM on July 6, 2007


Sk4n & lonefrontranger:

Rajkot is what I would describe as a 'conservative' place, with the disclaimer that I have not been there myself. It's not a small town, really-- it's home to over a million people, and is an industrial center in one of the most prosperous states in India, Gujarat. However, Gujarat itself is known for being traditional. It's ruled by the BJP, the conservative Hindu nationalist party, and was home to some of the worst recent Hindu/Muslim violence, in 2002. Just this spring there was a huge controversy over the arrest, on obscenity charges, of a Gujarati art student who painted Hindu deities in the nude. Nevermind that most of India's beloved historical treasures include nude renderings of the gods. So, you can imagine that a real, live, nude woman might cause serious shockwaves.

India is generally a conservative place, compared to Western Europe or the US, but it is also an incredibly diverse place, with huge differences from one region to another. How mobile women are, how educated they are compared to their brothers, how early they are married, what kind of medical care they receive, how they dress and act in public, and how they are treated by their families and by strangers-- all of that varies dramatically. In liberal, fast-paced Mumbai, the Indian L.A., you will see beautiful, haughty young women strutting their stuff in tight jeans and tiny ts. But in my experience, you won't see that in Rajasthan or Gujarat. Likewise, the amount of outrage a nearly naked woman might generate is going to vary (although, if there's a part of India where that wouldn't be something of a Big Fucking Deal, I haven't been there). So would the treatment of women by their inlaws and their husbands, and the responsiveness of the local police to a married woman's complaints.

Sure, it varies within any given city, as you pass from pockets of Westernized wealth to slums to staid, conservative middle class areas. But generally speaking, the north-west is not a good place to be female.
posted by bookish at 2:09 PM on July 6, 2007


kirkaracha, nice, dude. way to be a complete dick. it's shit like this that makes complacent, rational, moderately liberal females like me wanna go all diesel-dyke feminist and rip someone's nuts off with a large adjustable wrench.

YES. THANK YOU.

It really steams me that a woman can make such a daring protest of a very real injustice and still all it elicits from the troglodytes is a "durrrrrr she's hawt."

Hey guys (you too, SansPoint and quin): not everything a woman does is for your sexual amusement.
posted by AV at 3:00 PM on July 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Further developments: a member of the National Commission for Women is setting up an inquiry committee; meanwhile, Pooja's keeping a low profile, and the police is downplaying the whole incident (even claiming to have arrested the husband and family before her protest march). There's something (lots of things, actually) in the tone of that last article that reek of a deliberate attempt to besmirch/discredit her... Who publishes the Indian Express?
posted by progosk at 3:05 PM on July 6, 2007


(For a little local linguistic colour: Not Mad, She's Provoked.)
posted by progosk at 3:16 PM on July 6, 2007


She also seems to be receiving a fair amount of public consensus and solidarity.
Even after all the fuss, she's quite clear about her objectives.
posted by progosk at 3:37 PM on July 6, 2007


lonefrontranger, you might want to address the comments before mine before you call only me a dick. I'm sorry if my pop culture reference to something several people had said already upset you.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:52 PM on July 6, 2007


AV : Hey guys (you too, SansPoint and quin): not everything a woman does is for your sexual amusement.

True, but that doesn't mean that I can't appreciate beauty where I find it. And the idea of someone stripping and arming themselves is sexy. It's not about her physical beauty, but the appeal of someone in a repressive culture stepping way across the lines to make a point (Nudity taboo? Bah! Women should be meek and obsequies? Where's my bat?!). I will continue to find that hot/ cute/ sexy/ awesome whether it's ok or not.

Though since I didn't make any of that clear in my earlier post, objections to my comment are taken with humility, and duly noted.

My greater point though still stands; it doesn't matter how attractive I find this protest, it appears that they are painting her has being mentally unstable, which will undercut her message. A hundred of copy-cats would make this harder to sweep under the rug.
posted by quin at 4:11 PM on July 6, 2007


The whole city is conservative? I wonder what are the liberal cities in India? Would her actions be perceived differently (in both India and Metaflter) if they were performed in a liberal Indian city?

I'll repeat bookish here, with emphasis: the amount of outrage a nearly naked woman might generate is going to vary (although, if there's a part of India where that wouldn't be something of a Big Fucking Deal, I haven't been there)

I'd add that the baseball bat would almost certainly also have been carried to warn away male spectators. Without it, she would probably have been groped to within an inch of her life before she made it five metres out of her house.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:46 PM on July 6, 2007


A bit late, but nevermind
Yay Pooja! You go girl!
posted by goo at 4:50 PM on July 6, 2007


Cavalier, the vapor pressure of gasoline at room temperature is 90
times greater than that of kerosene. Something dowsed in
gasoline is surrounded by spreading clouds of flammable vapor. Not so
with kerosene. You'd have to hold a match to her clothing to
get it hot enough to vaporize sufficient kerosene to ignite.

I wonder if she had been doused in kerosene intentionally
by her in-laws. The followup article said that she dowsed
herself, but now it sounds fishy, after Iron Rat's comment.

In my culture, gasoline is way easier to get than kerosene.
I didn't think at all about the differences in fuel availability
anywhere else.

posted by the Real Dan at 4:51 PM on July 6, 2007


The Chill of Kerosene
posted by the Real Dan at 5:15 PM on July 6, 2007


Yeh, kerosene is probably the number one kitchen fuel in India. Most bride-burnings are performed with kero, and written off as "domestic accidents".
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:22 PM on July 6, 2007


kirkaracha, i did read those comments, actually. and while they did make me roll my eyes, they at least had the benefit of some nominally respectful framing.

yours, on the other hand, came off as simply LOLNEKKIDCHIX!!11

if you feel the need to toss witty MeFi snark around today, might i advise you join the rest of the leg-humpers in the rabbit vagina thread?
posted by lonefrontranger at 5:29 PM on July 6, 2007


Choli ke peeche kya hai?
posted by Methylviolet at 6:07 PM on July 6, 2007


Sorry.
posted by Methylviolet at 6:08 PM on July 6, 2007


surely, that should be sari ke neetche kya hai? (spelling?)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:14 PM on July 6, 2007


oh, i think i missed the point. thought it had to do with bunnies. move along. nothing to see here.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:16 PM on July 6, 2007


Q: What's under the blouse?
A: (usual) My heart is under the blouse!
A: (special LOLGUJJUZ version) My rage is under the blouse, sister-fucker!
posted by Methylviolet at 6:24 PM on July 6, 2007


I see. So "armed chick in her underwear" is "nominally respectful framing," and "chick in her underwear with a bat" is crossing the line. Got it.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:35 PM on July 6, 2007


Was it a baseball bat, or a cricket bat?

I'm ashamed when things like this happen in my country. Not the women arming themselves with sports equipment (we need more of that), but that people here are so entrenched in the Dowry system that they don't even realize what effect it has on the victim--the newly married bride.
My father owns a stationery store and one evening as I was sitting there a woman came and sat down on the pavement right across from us. She was visibly distraught, and when the lady in the neighbouring shop approached her to find out if she was alright she had explained to her her difficulties adjusting with living with her husband's mother--she had just moved to Hyderabad. After a few consoling moments she was still determined to immolate herself and wasn't prepared to go back home, and was hurling abuses at her mother-in-law.
I obviously identified more with her but what surprised me was that my cousin brother who was sitting in the shop with me at the time, and who's one of the most level-headed people I know, was on the side of the mother-in-law, just because she was elder to her. (He didn't like the abuse that was coming out of her mouth and couldn't understand why a woman would feel that way.) Pity.
posted by hadjiboy at 8:04 PM on July 6, 2007


India. I never want to go there.
posted by tkchrist at 10:14 PM on July 6, 2007


“She appears to be mentally unsound. The police will initiate the procedure for her medical examination,’’ said Gandhigram Police Inspector Sardarsinh Jhala.

I actually took that to be a way for the police to avoid arresting or charging her. If the local coppers are even halfway decent human beings they must be very familiar with this problem and have a fair bit of sympathy for these young women.

Good for her, I hope she can parlay the admiration and respect she's gained from this into a much better life for her and her daughter.
posted by fshgrl at 12:01 AM on July 7, 2007


India. I never want to go there.

Coward.
posted by homunculus at 12:11 AM on July 7, 2007


India. I never want to go there.

Your loss.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:23 AM on July 7, 2007


hadjiboy: "my cousin brother" - I have not heard this one. Does this mean your male cousin? English is obviously useless in this respect. German, at least has Vetter (male cousin) & Kusine (female), as it has Freund (male friend) & Freundin (f).
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:26 AM on July 7, 2007


Just from an arming-yourself standpoint, a baseball bat seems like it makes a better weapon than a cricket bat, just because you don't have to worry about swinging it at a particular angle to get the maximum effect. A cricket bat seems like you'd have to use it almost like a bladed weapon (to avoid striking with the broad, flat side, which probably wouldn't do much damage); a baseball bat is more of a simple club.

Also, if people don't play much baseball, it might make a better symbolic choice -- it's more clearly a weapon, rather than a piece of familiar sporting equipment.

Although unfortunately, it does open her up somewhat to obviously smearing/discrediting accusations ('she's a tool of American Christians,' 'she's an American come back to create unrest,' etc.) like those quoted above by stormygrey.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:30 AM on July 7, 2007


There are a lot of people in India. They are almost all awesome. Maybe one tenth of 1% of the population have bastard tendencies, and about one hundreth of 1% are complete bastards. [generous estimate] Even so, that's more than 100,000 bastards! And every one of them will be written about in the West.
posted by Methylviolet at 1:45 AM on July 7, 2007


Ubu: Pretty common in Ind-glish. :-) Virtually all Indian languages seperate 'cousin' by gender; I suppose the Queen's English equivalent would perhaps be 'boy-cousin'.

While the baseball bat does seem a bit, culturally-off, if you will, Rajkot is a famously cricketing town, I'd presume that it was something the girl picked on the spur-of-the-moment from her house. Which, in turn, would indicate that the family might have some American connection, most likely relatives in the US or something. [1] Which, in turn, would indicate that the family might be relatively well-off by Rajkot, or even Indian, standards.

--
[1] that's how I got my first American-football-whatchamaycallit-prolate spheroid ball, from my American cousin-brother. ;) Didn't know what to do with it, though, in fact, was rather disappointed that it didnt bounce as much as I wished it did.
posted by the cydonian at 1:55 AM on July 7, 2007


about one hundreth of 1% are complete bastards [...] And every one of them will be written about in the West.

* performs quick finger calculation: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby, Coulter, Rove, Bush...
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:57 AM on July 7, 2007


India. I never want to go there

It's not all that bad tkchrist--you should really make the trip down here and see the contrasts we have to incidents like this, and thousands others where the humanity of the Indian people really shines through.
cydonian, yeah--it could be that she has relatives in the west who may have gifted the bat to one of the family members, but I would've liked it a lot better if she would've tried and hit someone with a Cricket Bat. Not trying to Un-Americanize the whole situation--just trying to make it a little bit more Indian.
posted by hadjiboy at 2:31 AM on July 7, 2007


Ubu, we use that term (cousin brother/sister) all the time here; wasn't even aware that it wasn't used over there, as the cydonian points out.

Kadin, you've got to see cricket (ala Dhoni) more often to know how effective a cricket bat can be:)

posted by hadjiboy at 2:39 AM on July 7, 2007


How to hit somebody with a cricket bat

Other than that, Dhoni? WTF? Gilchrist, madachod! (*bows to the Master Blaster*)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:06 AM on July 7, 2007


I was in Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu, when Gilly hit that hundred off 57 balls. Local Indian: "You are fucking the bloody bastards, one-hundred-percent fucking!" - good times.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:10 AM on July 7, 2007


People who act in a way that is culturally and socially abhorent could be called 'insane' understandably. Indeed, to take the step to abrogate the social norms in this way would require a mental state not unlike that of numerous mental 'conditions'.

Mental health is a continuum, rather than a set of boxes into which any person can be sorted. I hope this brave woman's protest helps her, highlights the continuing existence of the dowry system in India and results in better conditions for women.
posted by asok at 8:45 AM on July 7, 2007


I don't blame tkchrist for not wanting to go to India. While there are some things I like now, my first trip there was pretty much a month-long anxiety attack.

UbuRoivas: I'd add that the baseball bat would almost certainly also have been carried to warn away male spectators. Without it, she would probably have been groped to within an inch of her life before she made it five metres out of her house.

Wow, it didn't occur to me that this purpose of the bat wouldn't be obvious to everyone.
posted by zennie at 10:36 AM on July 7, 2007


zennie: the purpose of the bat wouldn't be obvious to everyone who hadn't been a female in India, let alone one walking the streets in her underwear.

you say you have been to Bharat-Mata at least once? do you recognise in the photos the leering of the immature idiot males on the scooters & bicycles in the background? having been there, you would know that this kind of juvenile shit is a part & parcel of having to deal with sexually repressed bhenchods, on an hourly basis.

people in the west probably don't understand just how infantile & pathetic these guys really are. i could suggest what all the guys in the photos are saying, but that would probably make everybody despair too much about human nature. don't worry too much trying to work it out. it's surely worse than you could ever imagine.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:17 AM on July 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd love to visit India.

Which, in turn, would indicate that the family might have some American connection, most likely relatives in the US or something.

Which, in turn, would indicate why she's pissed: she knows of a different style of life, and is dissatisfied with the one her relatives are trying to drag her back into.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 AM on July 7, 2007


Yeah, I recognized that in the photos straight away, UbuRoivas. Even brandishing the bat, she barely had breathing space. (Hope you didn't read my comment as criticism; I'd meant that was a good thing to point out.)
posted by zennie at 1:08 PM on July 8, 2007


Your loss.

Obviously NONE of you frigg'n way-too-serious-Indus-o-philes have read Bukowski or know a frigg'n movie reference when it reaches out and bites you in the ass.
posted by tkchrist at 6:25 PM on July 8, 2007


Bukowski, I never want to go there.

(have tried, a few times at least, to get into B, but, frankly, i completely fail to understand what others see in him, and that's even if i completely cast aside the appalling 'poetry' & concentrate on the fiction)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:32 PM on July 8, 2007


(hm, two completelys. i must be tired)
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:33 PM on July 8, 2007


Last update on Pooja's story (from me): while the courts have assigned her police protection (and ordered her landlord to back down from his threat of eviction), her husband has honed his defense strategy: "Pooja's an alcoholic and a whore."
Elsewhere, Pooja's form of satyagraha has one self-help group for husbands "victimised" by anti-dowry laws calling for a counter-march, in bra and panties, on 15th August.
posted by progosk at 6:22 AM on July 9, 2007


her husband's defense is SOP. btdt.
posted by infini at 9:59 AM on July 9, 2007


ok, just one more update: one woman's been inspired by pooja's example, one news editor reflects on how the story's been handled, and one site hosts further thinking.
posted by progosk at 3:20 PM on July 10, 2007


calling for a counter-march, in bra and panties, on 15th August.

(15th August = India's Independence Day, one of three national holidays annually)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:12 PM on July 10, 2007


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