We’re women and we’re feminists. Bunty and I have always identified as feminists and we grew up in feminist households where the men were also feminists. What is International Women’s Day about?
Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis starting the selfie craze in Thelma and Louise
What does it mean to be a celebrity feminist and do they help or hinder the cause? Can they even call themselves so?
In an article in The Guardian, a journalist forensically analyses the contribution of so-called Hollywood Feministas (my word) and whether they failed. Feminists such as Emma Watson are berated
What an amazing city London is. Not only a world capital, a fashion capital, an art and architectural capital, but can it now claim to to be the most tolerant and integrated capital city?
An indie flick from Pakistan has been wowing critics and I found myself part of a 300 strong crowd at its premier in London last week.
Manto is the kind of literary figure that my mum becomes glaze eyed about and she’ll suddenly recite passages and look at me with an air of pride at how, clearly, all artists in Urdu are superior to any other.
The truth can be elastic as it sometimes depends upon the perspective and knowledge of the person making the claim, however, Mr A S Dulat, formerly the head of India’s intelligence agency (Research & Analysis Wing) can perhaps claim to know the truth more than most of us. Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years by A S Dulat was launched in London last week at a lovely event at the Taj St James’ Court with guest of honour, Dr Farooq Abdullah (former Chief Minister of Kashmir, the Indian side).
It was a packed event with people standing at the back of the room. I had encouraged Mr Dulat to launch his book in London and as adorably humble as ever, he said ‘who would want to come to that?’ Loads of people was my reply! A couple of months later and there we were celebrating.
For a few seconds, time stopped and the audience dropped a collective jaw as Yasmin Alibhai-Brown asked if we knew that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne’s brother was a Muslim convert, Mohammed Osborne. No we didn’t! But…but… how did that happen?
In 1914, 84% of the world was under colonial rule from a European nation. Quite an achievement considering that Europe makes approximately 8% of the world’s land mass. These were some of the attention-grabbing opening lines of economic historian, Philip T Hoffman’s event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Summer is fun but you are invariably saving up for a holiday or have recently spent over your budget on one. This is how my sister and I came to find ourselves one evening in London. Water water everywhere and not a drop to sip. (Change “water” to “champagne” and you will have our general mood).
“This looks a bit shit,” one of us murmurs “but shall we watch it?”. Yah, we have nothing better to do. Enter episode one of the Honourable Woman, which I have to admit did not really impress me. Yet I found myself returning week after week to watch it. (I have not religiously watched a weekly series since Twin Peaks and I’m not exaggerating). I believe it was because of the women.
Sexual assault against women in India, particularly Uttar Pradesh, seems to be taking turn for the worst as rapists become emboldened by the lack of police investigation and political sympathy in favour of the criminal. In the last fortnight four women have been raped and hung from trees by their own dupatta (scarf) or sari.
These crimes are outrageous enough but even more so are the continuous foot-in-mouth statements from the chief minister of the state, his father and a growing chorus of male chief ministers from other states. I watched a TV discussion on NDTV (channel 511 on Sky) where a representative of the UP government repeatedly stated ‘what about men who are wrongly accused?’
‘The world’s largest democracy’ cast more than 500 million votes over five weeks to decide who would win and take India roaring into the future and Narendra Modi came out on top with a huge majority. India has spoken. Decisively.
For the first time in 30 years Indian voters helped create a majority government blasting the incumbents to an insignificant minority. Right wing and Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) had long been tipped to win the election but most Delhiites I spoke to last month were sure that they wouldn’t have an outright majority and would inevitably have to form a coalition of sorts. My goodness was everyone shocked, it was time for a new generation. Even former MPs that had held on to their safe seats for 15 years or more were ousted for the first time.
The Asia House Bagri Foundation Literature Festival is back in May and what a programme they have in store! The Chatterjis Blog will cover the event as official bloggers for the festival which includes writers from over 17 different Asian countries. In addition to a regular festival format a new series, Extra Words will introduce debut authors from Pakistan, Nepal and Thailand.
The festival officially opens on 6th May with high profile writer, Hanif Kureishi who will talk about his new book The Last Word. There are a few pre-festival events in April that sound fabulous too. On 10th April there is an event called Separations discussing what happens when a country suffers from political divisions. Featuring Korean writers Kyung-sook Shin (2011 Man Asia Prize winner) and Krys Lee and Pakistani writer Qaisra Shahraz whose work focuses on women and partition it should be a lively evening. Why Do Indians Vote? Democracy in India is another pre-festival
HRH Prince Charles, the world’s longest serving and most overpaid apprentice, has been making MPs nervous with his increasing desires to meddle in British politics. The Guardian newspaper reported over the weekend that Prince Charles has seconded two of his staff to government offices, one was even in the cabinet!
The names and places change but the sad fact is that I am war fatigued and rather disillusioned and skeptical of Western governments justification of their desire to intervene in Syria. No one listens to the general public and there is no alternative political party to vote for, only war-mongering ones. The Assad regime is no longer fashionable and Britain is on the side of the rebels. Except the British government’s mouthpiece, the BBC, casually mentions towns that are captured by the rebels and the death toll of civilians at the hands of the rebels – 67 was the number of civilian deaths in ONE town in the last news report I listened to and they are meant to be the goodies!!
The Guardian today published a lovely article written by Australian comedian Ben Pobjie addressed to Australian men about the embarrassing sexist attitudes reaching international media attention, particularly as it is directed at Australia’s female prime minister. I was only just gearing up to write about the disgusting menu presented at an Australian fund raiser for their opposition party where the Australian PM’s body parts were described when today another news story broke. This time the Australian PM was asked whether her hair stylist husband was gay.
Whilst the article makes for an interesting read and I’m glad to see Australian men upset at the behaviour of other Australian men, the most interesting part of the article for me was a tiny paragraph in the middle of the article:
But I understand the urge to deny that sexism is happening, because I’m a man and I hate talking about sexism: it makes me feel guilty and self-conscious. It is, frankly, awkward.
Only yesterday, I was declaring Sepp Blatt to be a knobhead and within minutes we have a new knobhead of the day.
Today’s coveted award goes to Osaka mayor, Toru Hashimoto, who said that there is no proof that thousands of Korean women that were the sex slaves
Queen Mother’s funeral
Former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher will receive military honour for her funeral and this has caused great concern amongst some, especially (apparently) from Buckingham Palace.
That there seems to be huffing and puffing about an extraordinary Brit receiving military honours usually reserved for Royalty is astonishing. Margaret Thatcher did far more for her country than the Queen Mother and Princess Diana
The new manager of Sunderland Football Club has caused more controversy and taken over more newspaper inches over his past political affiliations than his job and he’s not pleased about it.
As I write, the Cypriot President is in Brussels trying to negotiate a deal to rescue his financially strapped country from bankruptcy. The potential deal is thought to include a mandatory tax of 20% on those with savings over €100,000. Last week the tax that was being agreed was 10% on all savings over €10,000 which amounts to legally sanctioned daylight robbery.
I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I have to confess that if I’d known a little more about the film I watched last night, I probably would have thought nope, not for me!
A film starring and directed by Ben Affleck? And George Clooney? Urgh! About the Iranian hostage crisis in late 70s/early 80s. Double urgh, stars and stripes waving??
Four years ago, Barrack Obama won the greatest ever Presidential victory known in modern history. I never believed that I would see an African American sit in the White House as President of the USA.
Memories of euphoria, of utterly disbelief and of hope filled the world. I do wonder what emotions will fill the world after this election?
A story broke today about an Italian local government officer who slashed the tyres of a disabled man’s car as he complained that the minister was using the disabled parking spot. Yesterday news broke out from the Great Stiletto that the head of the tax collection agency had been arrested
If you are fascinated with economics, Masters of Money, is a really good series by the BBC portraying 3 of the most influential economists of the 20th century, John Maynard Keynes, Friedrich Hayek, and Karl Marx.
Set against the backdrop of today’s recession, the series examines in lamens terms, the theories of these men and how their view on the economic crisis of their time shaped policies and politics around the world.
Here is an embarrassing incident that just won’t go away.
Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell has been officially logged calling serving officers of the Metropolitan police “plebs”. It was leaked to the press on Monday and today and following two apologies from Mr Mitchell, you would think that would be the end of it.
Not in this case. Is there more to this than meets the eye? Could it be because Mr Mitchell refuses to tell what he exactly did say? Could it be that the use of the word “pleb” demonstrates just how out of touch with the British public the government are or are we all just so insulted that the people who meant to serve us, who were voted in by us think of us as lower than them. Will this story only end in the resignation of Andrew Mitchell?
Mitt Romney was filmed at a fundraiser sneering that he didn’t need to care about the 47% of Americans that don’t pay federal income tax. Subsequently, whilst it appeared that he was embarrassed by the remarks he only apologised for the tone and not the content.
Week 2, Day 2 and controversy overshadows the awesome Paralympics. First, there is the booing of George Osborne as he presented medals, secondly there was the alleged “snubbing” of Duchess Catherine, and thirdly and the most abhorrent was the attack on military guards at the Olympics.
The Olympics is supposed to be A-political. It is an event to celebrate the achievements of the greatest athletes regardless of creed or colour. Sorry for the sermon, but I feel slightly agitated.
This wonderful book on political history by acclaimed author, Alex Von Tunzelmann (interviewed last year for the Chatterjis Hall of Fame) is set at a cracking pace like a thriller except, unfortunately for a certain part of the world, these events actually took place.
Technological improvements and new product launches promising instant and global communication pour out across the world almost monthly. We are still naïve about the reach of the mass communication tools in our possession often to our detriment as recipients of fines for racist tweets are finding out.
Six Sikh worshippers were killed in the USA today by a ‘domestic terrorist’ and this is only days after the gunman broke loose on Batman fans in Aurora, Colorado.
After awful atrocities like these there often appears to be much hand-wringing and squirming amongst politicians who at once want to show sympathy whilst distancing themselves from the gun law debate.
A Norwegian friend at university once made a hilarious impression of MPs at the House of Commons with their napping and sudden jeering. It was the 90s and I confess his impression was accurate at the time although thank goodness things have changed.
The British political chamber is mild, however, compared to Indian, Pakistani and now shockingly that of GREECE. I was surprised when I saw my first televised fist fight in Indian parliament but nothing prepared me for the physical attack on live television between a Greek far-right politician and two women MPs.
After 31 years, France elects a socialist President, Francoise Hollande, who will immediately overturn right wing policies of scrapping tax breaks for the rich and taking steps to cap the public deficit. His first few quick symbolic measures will include freezing the cost of fuel for three months to ease the nation’s wallets and cutting his own presidential salary by 30%.
Perhaps Rupert Murdoch watched Godfather Part II (or his lawyers did) when preparing for his questioning as part of the Leveson enquiry into the British phone hacking scandal. As Michael Corleone was hauled before a Senate Committee investigation into his family affairs the same applied to Rupert Murdoch and his famiglia, News Corporation. Let’s play a game: Who Said What?
James Murdoch is in a long line of dinner guests who have courted Prime Minister, David Cameron, to obtain political access for commercial gain. It was recently reported that 15 donors enjoyed secret dinners and lunches at Downing Street and Chequers parting with approximately £25million in cash. These donors would have had access to information and also the ability to influence policies that would ultimately effect you and I.
The term bribery comes to mind. But to what extent and what do we really expect…..