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Posts Tagged ‘Secular Lifestyle’

A Political Love Letter to My Son


This is post done on March 4th, 2016 on my Facebook page (Here) . Kind of emotional !
Dear Rimil Peter, my son..
Thanks for watching Kanhaiya speech in JNU ..with me for 45 minutes. I have explained how a colonial law ..which was used on Bhagat Singh ..is being used to define our patriotism and allegiance to our country.
You enjoyed the style of his speech delivery (and also of Ravish).. how we need to argue out our differences of opinion ..with ABVP, the saffron brigade ..who are not ‘enemies’ but the opposition group / ideology.
My son, though you are yet to witness ..what a university is like ..my narratives of my days in Jamia Millia Islamia ..and cultural youth activism with friends like Kapil Sharma whom you have met ..and will do more.. will surely help you to understand and visualise or dream of spaces ..which allow free discussion on democracy, diverse perspectives on autonomy, culture, sexuality etc.
What you saw as a movie in Rang De Basanti ..is happening with a different script ..in present JNU times. The young voices are being crushed ..forced to suicide (Rohit in Hyderabad University), or being put in jail. Kashmir and Bastar (Chhatisgarh) cannot be discussed publicly by citizens.. as these are issues of national security !
My son (and all young ones).. Do not allow your questions / enquiry to end. Keep the child in you alive ..and question your teachers the most absurd questions you have. As change comes when you are unsatisfied.. A radical change brought by a collective effort is what a Revolution or Inquilab is about. इंकलाब ज़िंदाबाद means Long live the Revolution.

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Get Offline, Kids !

January 9, 2014 Leave a comment

Is there a life beyond or should I say in the absence of online / digital world ? This is a question I feel is very pertinent to be asked to you young kids – boys or girls. Each one of them are now engaged with some digital communication tool or the other for something like 3-4 to 7-8 hours.

When I say digital communication, I am talking about satellite television channels, mobiles, touchpads, laptops , computers, camera etc. They are consuming thousand kilobytes of information every day, with their contribution in the production of information being very little or nil.

With the new range of touchpads and 3G enabled devices they are regularly sms-ing, tweeting, liking on facebook, watching videos on YouTube, sharing, chatting on WhatsApp chat application … Is this a healthy habit ? Well, anything in excess of a certain limit is bad for health ..

In the past 1-2 years I have come across children who have a strong addiction to these, to an extent that it has hampered their communication with the family members. Such children show an inclination to keep off human beings around them and to maintain minimal verbal communication, with full attention to a relative or acquaintance.

This kind of digitalization of human relationships and communications is very dangerous. Today’s parents have a great challenge in front of them to enhance their own verbal personal communication with the kids near them, so that the kids find the adults more interesting. Gone are the days when the parents could get away with just giving their children’s fees and expecting the teachers to fulfill the role of preparing the children for the forthcoming future. Now the parents need to be more creative and aware to guide their children to make the best use of these digital equipments.

The crisis can be huge, and it is the moment we need to take charge of the situation, to make the best children for our future – children who value the relationships, who maintain equity in gender relations, who are non-violent and who support the aged. This is required with the change, now very much evident, in Indian society.

Allah Ke Bande

October 13, 2012 Leave a comment

This is the song that I want to talk about today. Sung by Kailash Kher, the latest hit amongst the Sufi music experience.

One of the song I had wanted to sing for a long time. But was not able to practice because of the low to high tone that it demanded. A couple of weeks ago, finally I was able to practice it. This was during my favourite practice session sites of mobike driving.

Maybe I forgot to tell you that I drive the roads of Ranchi, singing Khalbali hai Khalbali and Ru-Ba-Ru Roshni Hai, because of the heights of voice that these songs require. Rimil sings along, and the crowd on the road does not gets much disturbed as it is at least better than the horns of cars and mobikes.

So it was during my mobike travels in the roads of Pakur, in drizzling rains of Aug-Sept, driving 100 to 150kms a day, that I practiced the song with the MP3 player connecting to my ears, under my helmet.

In Ranchi when I come for weekend stay with my family, Rimil checks the songs in my Mobile chip, and starts playing his favorites. And what by chance ? He has also started liking the song, and he practiced with me for 2 days last weekend.

Zohra also says Allah Ke Bande ! She has been hearing a lot of Allah with the twin kids (girls of 4 yrs age) of our House Owner, saying ‘Hai Allah!’ at every small thing while playing. She has also learnt some other things which I am trying hard to help her de-learn, like carrying a dupatta and a small purse, and always using her hands to put them in place. I tell her, ‘No dupatta and purse in front of me’. At times he cries, but that’s how the hard learning is during childhood, and she forgets the issue in a very short moment.

Girl’s body movements have been restricted by their clothes, given to them through traditions. We need to break away such gendered way of upbringing and help our children to grow up as equals… with equal opportunity to boys and girls to play (all kinds of games), dance (all kinds of dance), and spread their wings.

Readers please read Kamla Bhasin’s ‘Ladka kya hai, Ladki kya hai ?’ for more information on gendered upbringing of our children, the role our cultures play and the need to bring about a change.

Reminds me, that few days back Rimil was learning ‘Paryayvachi’ words in Hindi (words with same meaning), and he was learning Naari (woman) has another word ‘Abla’ (Incapable and Dependent) with the same meaning. But that is what the women’s movement in India has challenged by bringing out a magazine ‘Sabla’ (Capable), which focuses on women’s capacities which have been utilsed in a very limited manner by society. I did not poked him at that stage, but will have to after an year, to tell what ‘Abla’ and ‘Sabla’ means.

My Experience on Facebook so Far

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Was intending to write for a long time,but was not able to open this site. Supposedly Facebook, YouTube and Piratebay is taking a lot of my time on the computer and I am always engaged reading ‘social networking friends’ on it. Many of my ‘serious’ kinda friends keep away from Facebooking or when those into it, are able to break away for sometime, then they feel that they have done a ‘great’ job to have taken a vacation. Even, I think that at times I am too much ‘virtual than real’ .. but I find a similarity with the kind of ..ideology to practice based, humane efforts that I am engaged in.

The sharing of ideas, in the form of ‘what’s on your mind’ status and responding to someone’s posting /commenting is something that if taken seriously can help a lot in networking / sharing of personal opinions .. and matter of fact is that I have taken it seriously. It has helped me connect with a range of people from different age groups and cultures and acquaintance.

I remember that once one of my Facebook friend chatted to understand my sexual choice ..as I my information said about interest in both boys and girls. He is a gay who had sent his invite and I had accepted it, and now he was trying to understand how and why I was interested in boys… Well ..I told him about my work on gender and sexuality.. (There might be more chatting / discussions which I have the liberty to reveal or conceal !).

On another instant I virtually was on a war.. towards breaking an existing ‘real’ friendship. A real friend gave a film analysis and I commented on it. Then he responded, then I.. then he, then I.. and finally the dangerous words started coming – You know you have such an analysis because you .. are an outsider, culturally confused, do not have the courage or the will to take positions.. somewhat like the middle class, etc etc..Well, I told him.. I do not have the patience and the energy to carry on the discussion any further.. and best would be to sit across table on a cup of tea ..to further discuss.  And, tell you,  haven’t sat on it for 2-3 months .. cause I wanted the ‘time’ to heal the mis-understandings.  Further I believe, difference of opinions (attitudes/ behaviour) is what makes us all unique, in this world. And there need not be ‘common understanding’ on all themes, at all times !!

Recently, I have started a Group on Facebook – Men, Masculinity and Feminism.. a space with 150 members, male and female.. sharing mostly public thoughts on sexuality.. but some very personal experience sharing is also there. Wanna check the group, and its approx 15 postings ? And …Facebooking has helped me to share some romantic moods.. from songs, to how we vision the world.. with some of my friends. Are you one of them ???

Christmas and Biryani

January 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The Christmas festivity is the way through which most of my friends understand my following of religious lines, besides my surname. Actually the festivity across any religious festival helps us in cultural expression of coming together and interacting. Beyond that whether that religious festival helps us to connect to individual Gods is something I do not believe in.

In my childhood days in Lucknow, it was a Muslim lady ‘Badi Bibi’ who used to work at our home and prepare food etc while my parents were in their office jobs. Thus even during Christmas it was the famous Shami Kabab and Biryani that was cooked at home besides cake from the bakery (made on order). Hence Mughlai dishes (typically made by Muslims) was the ‘in thing’ during Christian festival.

Let me tell you that the Christian’s Bible comprises of two books – an old testament, which details the evolution of life on earth, and the second ..new testament which is about the life and preachings of Jesus. And the first book is something which is also a part of the Muslim scriptures. The similarity (maybe) has strengthened bond between the two communities which I witnessed during my days at Lucknow, Jamia Millia Islamia (Delhi), Sahibganj and Ranchi. It is easier as a person carrying a Christian surname to get rented space for living in Muslim houses, though I really do not know whether it will be similar in a reverse situation. The adivasis also get the space in Muslim houses a little easier, but on the other I have a feeling with some bit of observation that this will not be similar for Hindus in Muslim houses or in reverse situation. Major reason are those related to food habits.. but there might be some other difference related to cultural sensitivity / acceptance !

In the winters of two previous years (2008 and 2009) I felt like my immunity system had really gone down.. I got nauseating cold ..something like ‘sinus’ (sinusitus) .. which one of my dear friend Lallan (Bhagalpur) suffers from. My makan malkin aunty, somewhat of my mother’s age, suggested that I take bone soup with garam masala.. she brought buffalo leg bone ( in Beef shops it is buffalo meat, and not cow meat ..that one usually gets !)  and prepared the soup in our home kitchen. The soup lasted for 2 days and then I repeated it once again after a week. Tell you, reader.. it was highly effective for the cold..  try it whenever you can.. bone marrow soup of any damn eatable animal  ! Further, I searched for the soup .. found it in Delhi INA Market area .. a glass for Rs 15 only (though you won’t find it as wonderful as the home one, with some lumps of meat and bone marrow).

This year in Ranchi, we have prepared 4 kgs of cake.. that means all materials like maida, egg, oil / butter ..of 4 kg each and this resulted in 40 bricks of cake, with ‘kaju’ and ‘kishmish’ for flavour. Went to the bakery and got the things mixed and baked in front of us .. Rimil’s second lesson (he had one lesson last year).

Why this (Another) Blog ?

November 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Hi Everybody !

I celebrated my 37th birthday on 27th october. Have been residing in Ranchi now for 5 years and have done some amount of blogging on blogspot – check www.openspace-ranchi.blogspot.com …been into development work for almost 15 years now.

The things that I enjoy in life is the  cultural taste of different individuals and communities, and the wide diversity that exists in life around us. My personal experiences have helped me in cherishing this diversity…

Born in Lucknow, with Urdu / Muslim culture, nor regular goer  to Church, studied in Christian college, then college in Muslim University Jamia Millia Islamia, parentage half UP -ite half Bengali (mother a Bengali Christian), both working, etc

And later during / after college venturing at my to search own self, trying new possibilities .. venturing with left and ‘pro-people, anti-development’  groups, exploring tribal life and becoming a part of it with my marriage to Deepti. Now we have two child – Rimil is my 6.5 years son (name means Clouds in Santhali / Mundari tribal langauge) while Zohra is my 7 months daughter (name after Zohra Sehgal, famous theatrist now in her 90s, the name is not in Urdu dictionary which I searched on the net, later my Professor in Jamia told emailed that it is an Arabic word meaning blooming.. and she was born on the Sarhul, the day the Chota Nagpur adivasis were celebrating nature festival and prayig with flowers). With Rimil’s B’day on 30th march and Zohra’s B’day on 18th march, we plan to celebrate it only once .. best would be in April as the March rush of activities will be over !

Thus in a way I have started what I intend to do .. share personal experiences and get to hear responses on the same. The women’s movement has taught many that ‘personal is political’ and maybe this personal expression will help me/us in carving my/our politics of engaging with life / society around me / our selves.

In the past one year my engagement with online life has increased and I would really like to understand whether this engagement will really help in bringing about some change or not .. whether social networking / blogging change the way the life has been for all of us …in India or world.  I am on Facebook www.facebook.com/praveer.peter

I want to write this blog at least once every week. Let me see how quick and non-filtering can be in expressing what I feel about .. would not like this to be another of those impersonal accounts of events which does not ‘moves’ the reader… Bye !

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