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04/20/2013

About casts and inequalities in India - The pink sari gang

It is funny: I had just finished a book about poverty and inequalities in India, when my (foreign) colleagues started asking me tons of questions about untouchability and the moment I got back in India, I got stuck in many parades of untouchables...

India,castes,casts,caste,system,untouchability,intouchables,pariahs,pink sari gang,sampat pal,Ambedkar,inequalities,poverty,discrimination

A parade with cars blasting music and displaying pictures of Ambedkar and Buddha (explanation in the next post)

First, I’d like to talk about the book. It is written in French and called I, Sampat Pal, head of the pink sari gang by Sampat Pal and Anne Berthold (2008).india,castes,casts,caste,system,untouchability,intouchables,pariahs,pink sari gang,sampat pal,ambedkar,inequalities,poverty,discrimination

This is the incredible story of a small shepherdess who skipped field work without authorisation to attend school at a time when girls had no access to education. And then the little shepherdess with a very strong personality grew up and began to learn to sew. She became self-sufficient, independent and even starting sewing to other people. She discovered that one can change things – which is far from being obvious in India, since the caste system is inseparable of an unquestioned sense of the order of things.

 

She rebelled against the injustices inflicted to lower castes by higher castes or to women by men, against corruption and stealing of subsidised food, lands, jobs which the Government reserves for the poorest.

 

Most notably she realized that fighting together is the only way to be heard and she gathered thousands of women: the gang of the pink sari (their website: here).

 

An uplifting read!

 

To be continued in the next post…

04/12/2013

Dildo! Who wants my dildo??

 

Dildo market.jpg

You want specs ? Kid toys ? Watches ? Dildo??

Wait a minute!! What did you say?? Dildo??

Though it is illegal in India to sell sex toys (cf section 292 of the Indian Penal Code - sources below), I just stumbled upon the Mumbai sex toys market (or at least its 3 stalls)! I think it is just a container that fell from the truck because only one model was available…

And I also think that there is a good chance the stall keepers don’t know what it is ;)

Anyways, it is pretty incredible to see this on the street just like that!! (Veer Narman Road for those who are interested ;) ).

Press articles :http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/times-of-india-the/mi_8012/is_20070701/market-toys-ban-india/ai_n39450418/ ;http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=33798

 

03/30/2013

To avoid burning onself

I was recently asked if Indians still eat in banana leaves and with their hands. About banana leaves I am not sure, but I think they pretty much do in villages, at least in South India. As far as eating with their hands they certainly do and it won't change so soon. And I don't see why it should change anyway! It is super funny to toy with your food before gulping it, and it's a good way not to burn your tongue. And it is a good way to also avoid dish washing, water and washing liquid wasting!

There are other ways to avoid burning oneself... For instance when coffee is too hot, they pour it in the saucer. And they drink from the saucer! And why not?? ;)

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