Sunday, December 30, 2012

Looking Out To See Within : 2013

First published:

The News Tribe
Harlem World NYC 
News Trust Baltimore
Help Others.Org

There are simple ways to bring positive into our world, a world strife with negativity. Such things do not cost you money and barely any time. You can accomplish any of these actions face to face, using technology, in your community and most importantly, with your family, your children and yourself.  


"A sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
 together with a desire to alleviate it."

Every human being experiences distress.  Some in extreme states, others, a lesser extent. Distress can range from a change in daily routine to an immense, irreplaceable loss. Regardless of the state of distress, every human being is created with the tools to alleviate distress. When helping another individual, one's own stress diminishes. Joy is produced from choosing to give. When we choose to give, we practice compassion.


"Recognition of the existence or truth of something. An expression of appreciation. A thing done or given in gratitude." 

When asked for help, if able to contribute, then do so.  Help can range from listening intently to another then acknowledging that you are there and you understand.  If you are unable to help according to what is asked of you, explain why. Offer alternatives that suit the situation. No one enjoys being ignored. 

A simple response indicates to another that you care.
  • Thank you 
  • Please
  • Be well
  • Take care
  • I understand
  • I am here
  • You are not alone 


"Something done or performed. An act that one consciously wills. Habitual or usual acts. Energetic activity."  

If you are able to take action, then do so. Think of every single person that took time to listen, respond, do a kind deed for you, send you a card, made a phone call or simply said, "Thanks."  Ask yourself:  Do you take some sort of positive action daily? If not, why?


"The state or quality of being kind. A kind act and behavior. A friendly feeling, liking."  

When did we, the human race, start vehemently attacking and hating one another for being human? Sure, history teaches us that dissent among humans has always occurred, yet today, I view a complete lack of morals, ethics and manners. How do we stop this cycle of negativity? Actions of every single individual is the responsibility and choice of that individual. Placing blame on anyone but yourself for your own actions is simply a form of denial. Think of how you are able to be kind. Right now, to you reading, I thank you for doing so. That is a form of kindness. It took 3 seconds to type that. I mean it too.


"A union or fellowship arising from common interests or responsibilities. A community of feelings and purpose."  

Why is it that we, people, show solidarity only during holidays and tragedy? Why don't we come together as people more often to support one another in the face of adversity? One need not fully agree with one's choice of politics, faith, or lifestyle. Solidarity is taking responsibility for your fellow human being, as well as yourself,  in a quest to better a situation. Every single one of us has seen the face of darkness. Every single one of us has seen the face of light. How nice it is to have at least one hand reach out in support.

As we leave 2012 behind, along with a dramatic decrease of people in all societies caring for the well being of another, attempt looking outward in order to see within. All of us together, regardless of what our governments are doing, regardless of what our faith demands or does not demand, regardless of the way you were brought up, instructed to think or not think, regardless of any external factors that have molded you, this adult reading this right now; practice compassion : the sympathetic consciousness of others' distress with a desire to alleviate it.

We are not perfect. We are not supposed to be. Why then are we trying to be? 



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Definitions cited:  Merriam-Webster and 
All photos are linked to original source. 

For Anonymous

Written by Nilanjana Roy 

That girl, the one without the name. The one just like us. The one whose battered body stood for all the anonymous women in this country whose rapes and deaths are a footnote in the left-hand column of the newspaper.

Sometimes, when we talk about the history of women in India, we speak in shorthand. The Mathura rape case. The Vishaka guidelines. The Bhanwari Devi case, the Suryanelli affair, the Soni Sori allegations, the business at Kunan Pushpora. Each of these, the names of women and places, mapping a geography of pain; unspeakable damage inflicted on women’s bodies, on the map of India, where you can, if you want, create a constantly updating map of violence against women.

For some, amnesia becomes a way of self-defence: there is only so much darkness you can swallow. They turn away from all the places that have become shorthand for violence beyond measure, preferring not to know about Kashmir or the outrages in Chattisgarh, choosing to forget the Bombay New Year assault, trying not to remember the deaths of a Pallavi Purkayastha, a Thangjam Manorama, Surekha and Priyanka Bhotmange, the mass rapes that marked the riots in Gujarat. 

Even for those who stay in touch, it isn’t possible for your empathy to keep abreast with the scale of male violence against women in India: who can follow all of the one-paragraph, three-line cases? The three-year-old raped before she can speak, the teenager assaulted by an uncle, the 65-year-old raped as closure to a property dispute, the slum householder raped and violently assaulted on her way to the bathroom. After a while, even memory hardens.

And then you reach a tipping point, and there’s that girl. For some reason, and I don’t really know why, she got through to us. Our words shrivelled in the face of what she’d been subjected to by the six men travelling on that bus, who spent an hour torturing and raping her, savagely beating up her male friend. Horrific, brutal, savage—these tired words point to a loss of language, and none of them express how deeply we identified with her.

She had not asked to become a symbol or a martyr, or a cause; she had intended to lead a normal life, practicing medicine, watching movies, going out with friends. She had not asked to be brave, to be the girl who was so courageous, the woman whose injuries symbolised the violence so many women across the country know so intimately. She had asked for one thing, after she was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital: “I want to live,” she had said to her mother.

We may have not noticed the reports that came in from Calcutta in February, of a woman abandoned on Howrah Bridge, so badly injured after a rape that involved, once again, the use of iron rods, that the police thought she had been run over by a car. 

We may have skimmed the story of the  16-year-old Dalit girl in Dabra, assaulted for three hours by eight men, who spoke up after her father committed suicide from the shame he had been made to feel by the village. Or some may have done something concrete about these things, changed laws, worked on gender violence, keeping their feelings out of it, trying to be objective. But there is always one that gets through the armour that we build around ourselves. 

In 1972, the first year in which the NCRB recorded rape cases, there were 2,487 rapes reported across India. One of them involved a teenager called Mathura, raped by policemen; we remember her, we remember the history and the laws she changed. (She would be 56 now.)

Some cases stop being cases. Sometimes, an atrocity bites so deep that we have no armour against it, and that was what happened with the 23-year-old physiotherapy student, the one who left a cinema hall and boarded the wrong bus, whose intestines were so badly damaged that the injuries listed on the FIR report made hardened doctors, and then the capital city, cry for her pain.

She died early this morning, in a Singapore hospital where she and her family had been dispatched by the government for what the papers called political, not compassionate, reasons.

The grief hit harder than I’d expected. And I had two thoughts, as across Delhi, I heard some of the finest and toughest men I know break down in their grief, as some of the calmest and strongest women I know called and SMSed to say that she—one of us, this girl who had once had a future and a life of her own to lead—was gone, that it was over.

The first was: enough. Let there be an end to this epidemic of violence, this culture where if we can’t kill off our girls before they are born, we ensure that they live these lives of constant fear. Like many women in India, I rely on a layer of privilege, a network of friends, paranoid security measures and a huge dose of amnesia just to get around the city, just to travel in this country. So many more women have neither the privilege, nor the luxury of amnesia, and this week, perhaps we all stood up to say, “Enough”, no matter how incoherently or angrily we said it.

The second was even simpler. I did not know the name of the girl in the bus, through these last few days. She had a name of her own–it was not Amanat, Damini or Nirbhaya, names the media gratuitously gave her, as though after the rape, she had been issued a new identity. I don’t need to know her name now, especially if her family doesn’t want to share their lives and their grief with us. I think of all the other anonymous women whose stories don’t make it to the front pages, when I think of this woman; I think of the courage that is forced on them, the way their lives are warped in a different direction from the one they had meant to take. 

Don’t tell me her name; I don’t need to know it, to cry for her.

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