This refers to “#MeToo and defamation: How the criminal justice system is being used to silence women”. We worship women as deities and the harassment they undergo is an unacknowledged open secret. Heavyweights in the music business, politics, corporate and the media world have been abusing their power for far too long and one hopes the silencing of this sordid fact is going to change with the #MeToo movement. Like Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby, one hopes the face of sexual transgressions in the workplace in India will be punished.
Things are going in the right direction and the #MeToo movement should receive our full support. These women who broke their silence have started a revolution that is gathering strength by the day. The women who took the lead in the US were named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year 2017. Similarly women in India too deserve to be honoured. Lawsuits and intimidation should not deter or distract the #MeToo movement. – HN Ramakrishna
The Music Academy’s action is commendable (“#MeToo impact: Chennai’s Music Academy drops seven musicians from December cultural season”). Yet, organisations and support groups should be aware that without the survivors identifying themselves and giving sworn testimonies, they could be risking libel. The risk of someone being accused out of spite for other reasons is slim but it does exist. The litmus test is the availability of those who will corroborate the allegations.
My recommendation to organisations I have been involved with is call out only those against whom such evidence exists, while keeping the identity of the accuser under wraps. Going forward, organisations should get the law enforcement involved as soon as abuse comes to light, especially when minors are involved. – V Ramaswami
The jury members of the Music Academy may also have some guilty members in their midst. It is posturing. So many Sangeetha Kalanidhi [awardees] from the past and present would be guilty of amorous dalliances with their rasikas and disciples, so what is the point of expressing solidarity with the #MeToo movement now?
It is difficult to take a stand on whether to support the highbrow jury members or the egotistical and allegedly guilty artists. For every one guilty jury member or artist, there will be at least more than one innocent member/artist. In the mayhem, along with some guilty folks, a few innocent will also get affected. Let the show begin. – Vijay Krishnamurthy
I appreciate the decision taken by the Music Academy. I have heard for years about abuse of women in the Carnatic music world and have known of people leaving the field in fear of such incidents. Such actions will help younger female artists feel safer. – Muthulakshmi Venugopalan
I am very happy to hear the Music Academy’s decision to drop some artists from the festival. But what about musicians exploiting dancers? If the Academy is truly concerned about #MeToo, they should look into this as well. – Jayanthi M Eshwarputhi
Simply boycotting the seven musicians from the music festival will not absolve them of such serious allegations of sexual harassment. Some of them may initiate legal actions against the academy. This type of harassment is nothing new in the field of arts and science. Many have to meekly surrender to the wolves in order to achieve excellence in their chosen field. The only difference is that it has come to light now. We need to wait and watch for further reactions to this explosion. Will other organisations also follow suit by boycotting those who have been named and will be named in the near future? What impact will such boycotts on the alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment? – CP Chikkanna
This is in response to the article on the need for institutional mechanisms to take #MeToo forward (“The Daily Fix: Authorities need to ensure institutional mechanisms to take #MeToo forward”). But first, I would like to point out that no campaign will be successful without the individual participation. The reason why sexual harassment is so prevalent is not only because of the presence of sexual predators, but also because there is a self-fulfilling prophecy at play – that women will remain silent no matter what is done to them because they are mere victims in a male dominated society. No, they are not. Acceptance needs to come, not only from women, but also men. It is sad that even men are suppressed by the prejudices of society and fail to voice the injustice done to them. It should not be a surprise that men are victims of sexual harassment too, but is society giving them the opportunity to speak? The victims need to be given a friendly and non-judgmental environment to speak. Their protection needs to be ensured. Only then will the campaign fulfill its purpose. – Upasana Sarangi
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was not elected directly, so what do elections have to do with it (“Ajit Doval speech: A bureaucrat laying out political policy is bad news for Indian democracy”)? There are hundreds of law makers who never graduated from college or even high school, some who could not even write their name properly, and yet they set policy for their state and government. It seems that you just do not like Ajit Doval, who has served the country valiantly and has put his life on the line. He is more than qualified as National Security Advisor to make recommendations and seek information from whatever the agency of the government. Please do not try to hoodwink people by writing such meaningless articles. – Rajendra Chouhan
Dying for a cause
One more way to respect rivers is by not using sand for construction, thereby destroying river banks (“Death of Ganga activist GD Agrawal is just another sacrifice at the altar of development”). Sand particles act as a filtration mechanism in rivers. Organic matter brought from the upper river area is treated in the lower flood plains. If we take sand away, this entire purification system is destroyed. This has been happening the world over for centuries. River front projects have sped up the destruction not just of rivers but also of the climate. Natural reserves are running out. Our children will have nothing left if this situation cotninues – Upendra Raval