Musings From The Empire

So this Link Fest is two weeks late. In my defense, I was super busy, away on weekends and lazy the days I wasn’t away. But this means there are more links while I try to drag my lazyarse into writing more regularly. I’d like to remind you nice People from the Olde Interwebes that we have an open guest-posting policy here if that sort of thing interests you. Also, this time around in the link fest, why don’t you drop in a few links from your own blog or anyone else’s writing that you enjoyed reading? This way sharing becomes truly sexay!


1. Kuzhali Manickavel in oh little flower. see you lover. see your chittu kannil pattu pattu sikki konda lover (which has got to be the best title for a post yet)  talks about povertyporn, Previlege Denying Dudes among other things:


I think we can all agree that orphans with AIDS have enough issues to deal with without having to also deal with multiple abandonment issues from wealthy temp caregivers from other countries who are hoping to do something exotic and charitable for their summer holidays. And so I nobly offer this alternative. Voluntourists, come take care of me. I live in third world country, hence the third world name of this third world blog. I don’t have any major diseases but almost all my acquaintances have had diseases like typhoid, malaria, dengue fever, jaundice, chikungunya, cholera and one person even has TB! So you can come down here and wash my clothes and cook for me and buy me stuff  (you can’t touch me though) and I won’t talk in English at all, we can communicate using sign language to make your experience more authentic. Then you can give me lots of money and you can go back home and tell everyone you were a caregiver for a third world ghetto vampire in India. That’s way haut, trust me because it’s like poverty porn and Twilight mixed together. Massive street cred.

2. The Indian Homemaker discusses how patriarchy percolates in women’s friendships and makes dichotomies between then in A Woman is Not A Woman’s Worst Enemy. Patriarchy is :

Traditionally women’s partners are discouraged from seeing their marriages and their wives as important parts of their lives. It’s common for men to be shamed and taunted for showing they care for their wives or marriages.Jokes like ‘Shadi ke laddu, jo khaye wo pachtaye‘, or taunts like Joru ka gulaam are common. And this when women must move in among near strangers and depend on the spouse’s support to feel at home in a new environment.

Traditionally men’s partners are brought up to believe that finding a partner and ‘keeping him’ is their only goal in life. The education they receive, how they talk (softly), walk, look , respond to questions (always respectfully), the careers they choose (no jobs that require traveling) – everything is permitted keeping the comfort and approval of a future husband and his family in mind. Women are brought up to seek approval.

3. Desi Girl talks poignantly and beautifully about the plight of Desi Parents when their children abandon them and how they are stuck between two lands effectively in Desi Mothers: Lost In Translation :

In two years the couple had a baby; MIL immediately took off from work to take care of the baby and the new mother. Once the new mother was out of childbed things started to change, MIL’s work load increased, she was the one responsible for the baby and gradually two more children followed along with new dramas. Once bahu had a baby she became edgy, she started having problems with everything MIL did and she would not let her husband be alone with his parents even for a minute. Their son started acting up, yelling and screaming at the mother and often times not talking to the parents at all for days. After second child bahu asked MIL to give up her job for good as she wanted to work. MIL took it as a retirement bonus to be with the grand kids. Managing two homes across the border and three children under five became a full time job for MIL. Gradually the quarrels became so frequent that MIL felt she was a prisoner in her own home. It is then she asked her husband to move out.

4. Sharanya Manivannan’s poem Parampara among others in Softblow :

I willed my bleeding to
coincide with full moons.
It’s easier for them to
attribute my lunacy that way.
Rumour has it that I do my
sprinkling at the stroke of
midnight. I do it in the late
afternoon, after the radio
switches to news. I don’t
care for news.

5. KJB rebuts an article by Rita Banerjee in Locating Gandhi where she smooths out more than a few factual mistakes :

One of the best quotes I ever read about Gandhiji and women came from his great grandson Tushar Gandhi –

“I would say that Bapu was a champion of gender equality. But the moral strength that he imputes to women has an almost inborn, genetic complexion to it, which bears little or no relation to the exploitation, humiliation and hardship that has been women’s lot, historically speaking. Bapu remained fixed on the symbolism of the Mother. His was a passive picture of womanhood, of a person who undoubtedly possessed freedom but functioned within narrow parametres [sic] and defined boundaries.”

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