toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

Today one of my juniors messaged me on Facebook  “What are we going to do?” And that is how I found out that a female student in EFLU, while intoxicated—and therefore unable to meaningfully consent—had been allegedly molested by her male friends, who gave her weed prior to the attack. The molestation allegedly amounted to attempted rape; I add this because any number of sexual violations are trivialised in this country and on this campus.

Hearteningly, the administration appears to be taking all the correct steps. The student has lodged an F.I.R. and routing investigation is underway. Two students have been charged and two others interrogated in this connection. These are the facts as we have discovered them from local, regional-language news-media. The administration might have—and probably has—issued a statement to the media. The media reports—one cannot be sure of the absolute truth of this statement—that the police are emphasising the presence of intoxicants and narcotics; it is certainly true that a plainclothes raid was performed by the police on the boys’ hostel in search of narcotics. Given the usual she-was-asking-for-it trend regarding the sexual abuse of intoxicated women, this is slightly terrifying news, though to be fair nothing of the sort has been said yet.

It is important that this case be handled with immediacy and transparency, not only by the legal authorities but also by the university administration in the figure of a reconstituted GSCASH partially staffed by elected student members. It is equally important that it not be regarded as an isolated, unique event, the likes of which have never happened on this campus before, nor will happen since. EFLU is a good place, as far as gender equality goes: women smoke, booze, walk around campus late at night, have active sex-lives. It is also a place where sexual harassment is rife both within romantic relationships—yes, yes, that can happen, my children, and often does—and in encounters with strangers, acquaintances, and friends. Occasionally faculty members. Often seniors. Female students are subjected to moral-policing; their feminine performativity is strictly scrutinised; their dietary, smoking, and drinking habits are investigated and treated as symptomatic of their moral character; promiscuity is treated as license, of not to rape then to sexual harassment. Good girls are expected to toe ever-shrinking lines; bad girls—defined loosely as anyone who smokes, drinks, has sex, shouts, protests, has male friends—are construed as “asking for it”.

In the past—I can speak of the past four years and change—the university administration has dealt with cases of gendered violence—be it stone-pelting or catcalling—by advising female students to restrict their activities and movement. When students have been reluctant to do so, the administration has often taken the decision into their own hands and passed edicts making these restrictions obligatory. That it has not yet done so in this case is a good sign, though it is still early days.

Rules limiting female—and indeed male—students to increasingly restricted spaces and timings are not the answer. Barring entry into hostels, or closing the academic buildings after the end of class hours, are not measures that will decrease or end sexual and gendered violence—let us also remember that same-sex violence, not all of it sexual, also occurs and cannot be talked about in our hetero-patriarchal normativity. These measures will only restrict camaraderie between students and, by suspecting all cross-gender interactions to be sexual in nature, increase the possibility of gendered violence. Rather than enforcing rules that limit female students—and also male students, though rules limiting them are few and far-between in EFLU—to classrooms, hostels, and heavily-policed spaces, the administration should embark upon and encourage gender-sensitization campaigns across campus, among students of all genders as well as among teaching and non-teaching staff.

In India, we live by default in a rape-culture, where the rape-survivor is supposed to be a living corpse and is indeed often killed by her family if she survives the assault, where the verbal harassment of women in public is seen as normal behaviour and only to be expected if one ventures out-of-doors, where domestic violence is a domestic matter and incestuous assaults on children—as well as assaults by friends and strangers—are universally treated as the fault of the attacked individual. Girls, we are told, “must have done something” to have been raped, and boys “can’t control themselves”. We prize honour and honour-killings and corrective rape above love affairs that are inter-religious, inter-caste, inter-community, or intra-sexual. Promiscuous women, prostitutes and sex-workers of various stamps are held impossible to rape since they were asking for it by having a sex-life. Marital rape is impossible; non-consensual incest is invisible and indeed legal. Respect for women increasingly involves limiting their choices, restricting them—often by force—and victim-blaming if they are assaulted while trying to live full lives, professionally and personally: including but not limited to freedom of movement, the liberty to choose their professions, go on vacations alone, go to a pub or late-night show, take walks at four in the morning if they so choose. The students in EFLU come from, and continue to inhabit this society, this hetero-normative rape-culture. Outside, and even inside, the campus this is what the students experience and what female students—not exclusively, but in far greater numbers—are subjected to.

What happened on the 31st is not an isolated incident and should not be treated as such. Nor should the response be to create an environment where female students are scared to take long walks at night, or visit their male friends, or indeed are forbidden from doing so. Today a number of students—quite a few of them male—rallied in support of the harassed complainant, and asked for non-restrictive measures to be taken by the administration and the GSCASH (among them the reconstitution of the latter statutory body, which has been defunct in EFLU for several months). This is an excellent step—and as a cynical veteran of EFLU protests and on-campus attempts at gender-equality and gender-justice, extremely reassuring to witness—but we ought not, must not, stop here.


[reproduced from a note on Facebook.]

toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
I got into a Ph.D programme. \o/ It isn't linguistics, but I'm actually glad about that because it's become rather clear that I'm not really good at linguistics, and I *am* good at Cultural Studies, so let's see.

Oh, also, news on the housing front. [ profile] bee_muse and I have moved out of the hostel, into an off-campus flat. It's great to be able to spread out some after four years of cramping bedroom/study/kitchen into one tiny room. And not having to share a bathroom with forty-odd people is doing wonders for my mood.
toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

Mudasir Kamran was taken to the police-station on Friday. He died on Saturday. There was a candle-light march on Sunday. Classes were stopped on Monday. On Tuesday. On Wednesday. On Thursday we had an open forum; in the evening the V.C finally deigned to speak to protesting students, and then ran away mid-negotiation left escorted by security through the back-door. On Friday she announced that there would be a null semester from Monday, should classes not begin. We have never heard of this option before, though classes have been suspended earlier for longer periods and for other reasons; but it does neatly make the issue academic. To disrupt classes has never been the goal of this protest, and prior to the V.C's Great Escape we had hoped to be in class ourselves from Friday; instead we find ourselves villainised.


On Monday we might have class. There will be police on campus. Some students have petitioned for class, so I hope they will be happy. We have been told that we are making it a Muslim issue, a Kashmiri issue. Mudasir was a Kashmiri Muslim, but apparently to bring out these things is an act of indiscipline and indecency. (We will not go into the homosexuality issue, and one hopes that the mental disorder issue does not need to be discussed.)


The member of faculty implicated in these things is to be investigated by a committee yet to be constituted; he has not been suspended, but since he is on leave our V.C opines that that need not happen. Proctorial duties have been (unofficially) handed on to another faculty member.


On Monday there will be class. Libraries will be open. The 'net lab. will be accessible. Everything will return to normal. Oh, and a boy is dead by his own hand, who the administration handed over to the police as their first reaction upon hearing that he was physically violent towards a friend, without investigating the matter, without reprimanding the student, or offering him counselling.


But on Monday there will be classes.

There's a fair bit of literature being produced about this by the protestors, but most of it is on FB. So, here's one that isn't:

toujours_nigel: (cake)
I wrote entrance exams for the two universities I want to go to, and I thought they both were kinda... meh.

But! But I already had an interview for the first (which I also thought was meh, but we've established I suck at awareness) and now it seems I also have an interview at the second (for which I knew about a third of the stuff that was asked in the written exam).

So I'm just very very confused right now. I mean, happy! But also confused.
toujours_nigel: Greek, red-figure Rhea (Rhea)
An ancient Roman woman, when she married, retained the name of her (father's) clan, rather than taking up her husband's. Gaius Julius Caesar Imperator's daughter, in wedding Pompeius Magnus, still remained Julia, as did Caesar's aunt when she wed Gaius Marius. Similarly, Caesar's mother stayed Aurelia her entire life. The only instance of the woman taking her husband's name in the late Republic that I can think of, is of Livia being named Livia Augusta by Augustus Caesar.

I don't know much about the ancient Greeks in this regard. I do know that under Solon's laws, if the father died without leaving other direct heirs, the daughter (married or not) would be given in marriage to a distant relative on her father's side, and the property would go to any sons of this union. And there's something to do with only daughters, as well, who have to carry on their father's line--there's a bit of it in Antigone's lament in Antigone that refers back to this. And Clytemnestra in Euripides' Electra says something to the effect that her father's had not lent her to her husband to bear him children he would kill, all of which indicates that the girl belongs to her father more than her husband. hoom.

In the later Western traditions, of course, you have queens being known by the places they came from, Catharine of Aragon, for instance, or Eleanor of Aquitaine. Or again you might have Anna Boleyn, or, to talk of a non-aristocratic example, you have Joan of Arc. But since she never married, I don't suppose that's relevant. (Then again, you have women so awesome that their sons choose to be remembered by them rather than by their fathers: e.g. Henry II, who called himself Henry Fitzempress, to honour his mother.)

Modern Hindu women usually take their husband's last name, of course, though many such are now choosing not to. But in the essentials, they never shed their own identity, as far as the religious rites of Hinduism are concerned. My mother, who was a Mitra before she married, and usually either calls herself a Biswas or hyphenates her name now, is still of the Viswamitra gotra and the kshatriya varna. My father is a different gotra and a lower varna, as, consequently, I am as well, but even had that not been the case, my mother could not have switched over. It can't be done, any more than a Julia could become a Cornelia. And that's... really fascinating, in its own way. For all the talk of submitting to your husband and taking up his name, the Hindu woman keeps her own clan and caste. Of course, people tend not to refer to either clan or caste very much or very openly these days; I wonder how many people remember.


The above brought to you by my impending Sociolinguistics mid-term.
toujours_nigel: Dali (i'mlatei'mlatei'mlate)
Hallo intarwebs! I've missed you. <3

I've got 'net back, on my laptop, and since classes are sparse this week, I'm fairly sure I'm going to stay firmly settled in front of the computer.

The campus is tiny and pretty and green, mygods, so very green. I mean, J.U. was fairly green, too, but this is almost violently verdant.

People are... well, I'm not exactly gregarious, so I'm sure I know a lot less people than I should, but I've been introduced to what I think is the aantel Bengali group on campus (lots of Bengalis around, some of whom I think I might avoid), so that works out. Roommate is... a trifle on the shiny side, but that's entirely subjective--I'm sure she thinks I'm terribly grouchy.

For classes I'm taking basic courses in phonology, syntax, and sociolinguistics. Planning on getting a M.A. English (Linguistics), so three of my five courses are in linguistics. The other two are Contemporary American Drama, and something from Literary and Cultural Studies, the name of which I cannot be arsed to look up.


Jun. 26th, 2010 12:09 am
toujours_nigel: (beginning)
I got in here.

This is where I wanted to go, cannot believe I got in.

*bounces hard enough to wake her grand-parents*

toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)
So, watching Maqbool might just be the nicest way to ease oneself into studying Macbeth at breakneck speed. Quite apart from all else, Pankaj Kapur is the kick-assest King Duncan EVAH. (now if only his son would display the genes he got from Daddy, okay, must not go off-topic)

ADG does in fact ramble a lot. I have the notes to prove it.

Why doesn't Lady Macbeth have a naaaame? I'm terribly miffed about this. I also am sad I didn't spot this earlier, because, good lord, what fun could have been had. Too late now.

Wikipedia tells me the wife of the historical Macbeth was called Gruoch ingen Boite.

[ profile] applegnat suggests Jane, which is not without merit. Mostly because it makes me think of Jane Fairfax, the good twin. (or Jane Murdstone, the eviller one. triplets?)

Does anyone think Jane Fairfax might have been related to Edward Fairfax? He of Rochester Manor?

Just think of good Aunt Jane paying a visit, ahahaha.

So clearly I am manic (not high, oh I wish I were high, *sigh*. yes, i rhymed very badly, shutup), and should be getting back to my notes.

on that note, i leave you with Lord and Lady Macbeth, Bollywood-ishtyle.

ETA: omg! a seeequellll
toujours_nigel: Dali (procrastination)
So I'm reading Clare McManus' Women on the Renaissance Stage: Anna of Denmark and Female Masquing in the Stuart Court (1590-1619) and it is indisputably freaking awesome.

It is, however, fucking ever so subtly with my brain. See, I have a Ren Drama (excluding Shakespeare) course, and a Macbeth course, and as obvious, one of the main themes (in Macbeth, The Maid's Tragedy, The Duchhess of Malfi, The Changeling) is the depiction of aristocratic women, their honour, and how it is entangled with family status, marriage, sexual policies, etc, etc, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Women must not be seen in less than yards of brocade and perfect hair, woman as fortress, blahblahblah.

And then there's this. And slightly-naked (as in, yards of brocade/silk/velvet/taffeta/what-have-you, but nearly-bare breasts) depictions, even of Anna of Denmark herself, who was pregnant at the time of the Masque of Blackness (costume for which is the link above), in which she performed.

So, yes, slightly mind-fucked, in the entirely good way. Because even these depictions don't actually hand agency over to the women, except, y'know, when they do, seeing as Anna planned and instigated at least some of these masques (she performed in six) herself.

toujours_nigel: Dali (procrastination)
"In the play MacBeth and Lady MacBeth had a desire to be king and queen of Scotland. At the time they didn't consider the tool it would take on their lives because their heads were full of greed."

alrighty, then


toujours_nigel: BFT (Default)

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