Tag: the junction petz

Swapna-Sucheta Suicide Case

15Mar

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Sappho one of the great Greek lyricist and poets

From Sappho (Support Group for Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women) this was reported in the Telegraph (Eastern Indian English newspaper) the two women were in a lesbian relationship, sadly they both committed, because they felt this was the only way they could be together. Sappho went to their town to learn more about the two young women and their families.

Swapna-Sucheta Suicide Case
Nandigram, Sonachura, 20th February.2011
A Report by the Fact Finding Team of Sappho for Equality

The incident was reported in the Telegraph, a leading English daily of
eastern India on 22nd February 2011, along with smaller insertions on
the same day in Times of India, Kolkata, Ganashakti (Bengali daily
from Kolkata), Mumbai Mirror and Ahmedabad Mirror.

Two young girls from a village named Sonachura, under Nandigram police
station, in East Midnapur District, had committed suicide together by
consuming pesticide. They were neighbours, distant cousins; the elder
used to give tuition to the younger and were in a lesbian
relationship. The younger was married off some months ago after the
villagers became suspicious about their relationship.

Apart from the above mentioned basic facts media reports were
contradictory about the names of the girls, their ages, and other
details related to this incident. One of the news papers with
expressed political allegiance went to the extent of calling it a
murder (it should be remembered that Nandigram and Sonachura have been
in the news for State Government’s land acquisition policy and counter
movement, and is still in a situation of political unrest with state
elections knocking at the door).

We at Sappho for Equality decided that given the contradictory nature
of the media reports, and the political positioning of Nandigram with
a general pre-poll unrest prevailing in the state, we should carry out
a fact finding process on our own. It also is considered as a step
towards our advocacy and lobbying campaign with the state machinery,
the police to be precise.

As step one we formed an internal fact finding team of experienced
members. The team first met Ms. Damayanti Sen IPS, Joint Commissioner
of Police, Crime Branch, Kolkata, for back up police support for the
fact finding mission and also for involving her in the advocacy and
lobbying campaign. We got extremely positive response from her for the
immediate venture and the long term project. She gave us contacts of
very senior police personnel of the West Bengal Police, the Additional
director of Police, Law and Order, who in turn connected us with the
East Midnapore Police Superintendent, OC of Nandigram Police Station
and Sub Inspector of Tekhali, Sonachura Police Outpost. The last
referred person had actually handled this case and we got maximum
information from him through our fact finding process on 26th
February.

On 26th February our five-member team, ready with audio-visual
documenting    equipments, went to Sonachura for finding out real
facts and scopes for further intervention regarding the couple suicide
case of Swapna-Sucheta. We met and interviewed Swapna’s parents, one
of her coaching class students who used to study with Sucheta also,
Sucheta’s mother, one of their male neighbours, few neighbourhood
women, Sucheta’s husband Bikash Mondal, Panchayet Pradhan Kalikrishna
Pradhan (chief functionary of the rural local governance system) and
Sub Inspector Animesh Chakraborty of Tekhali Police Outpost and also
had a talk with Second Officer Sambhunath Das of Nandigram Police
Station. Copy of a note book with Swapna’s description of their
relationship and the final act along with the copy of case diary were
collected as testimony.

The incident and its background as found by the fact finding committee
is – Swapna, 21/22 has always been a quite and integrated person. She
is one of the rare girls who had passed Madhyamik (school leaving
examination) and instead of marriage opted for a career as a teacher.
Her parents already burdened with the debts accumulated after her two
elder sisters’ marriage decided not to press too hard. She had opened
a coaching centre at her home and was giving tuition to the
neighbourhood students and earning a modest amount of money. Sucheta,
17/18, a neighbourhood girl, a second/third cousin used to come to her
coaching centre and they had developed very deep and intimate
relationship. The villagers started suspecting about the nature of
their relationship to be homosexual and about year ago a huge ruckus
was created by some of the village elders and both the families were
threatened. Sucheta’s parents decided to marry their daughter off and
they
got hold of a young neighbourhood boy, Bikash, 20/21, who works as a
masonry help in Orissa, was once in a relationship with Sucheta before
she got involved with Swapna. Sucheta refused to marry but was forced
into it, a very common practice everywhere in India, and was married
off about six months ago. But the relationship continued and Bikash,
tried to commit suicide, unsuccessfully, after two months of his
marriage to Sucheta. On 20th February 2011, Sucheta had come to visit
her natal family and went missing along with Swapna. The families and
villagers looked for them the whole night and in the morning they were
found dead at a spot about 2 km from their home tied together by a
gamchha (handloom towel) embracing each other. Police report says that
they had committed suicide by consuming pesticide. A note book was
found at Swapna’s home where she has clearly described the nature of
their relationship and her decision of committing suicide as they
thought that to be the only way of staying together because the
society would not let be with each other. Her last request was to be
cremated together, which was not observed because none of the families
including Sucheta’s marital family were willing to accept the dead
bodies back from police morgue to give them an honourable funeral.

From interactions with both of the families, Sucheta’s husband, and
neighbourhood persons, the single striking fact, clear to all of us,
was that no one is actually sad for those two deceased human beings.
Swapna’s parents are bewildered because she was a major bread winner
for her family, Sucheta’s mother (we could not meet her father) was
too cautious to talk. Bikash was busy clearing his name, trying to
prove that all was well between them as a married couple. Never did he
gave any information regarding his failed suicide attempt.

The neighbourhood guy agreed that it is bad that the girls have
committed suicide, it is not right to marry someone off forcibly. When
asked that what would be his/their plan of action if something like
this happens again, he said they would involve women next time
something like this happens and try to make the girls understand the
immorality and impossibility of such a situation rather than forcing
them into marriage. The Panchayet Pradhan also was unhappy about the
deaths and subsequent turn of events when the families refused to
cremate the deadbodies. He said that he was willing to organize funds
needed for their last rites but the families were not ready to do so,
though they cited poverty as their reason, he felt that immorality of
the act had actually forced the families to disown the girls. He also
said that he believes homosexuality is wrong because some group
involved in HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in that area had declared so.
Police
personnel in the area, the sub-inspector of Tekhali police outpost,
in particular, seemed to be quite sensitive about the issue. Police
was willing to help the families in obtaining the bodies from morgue
but as the Pradhan, the S I also commented upon the families’
reluctance in arranging funeral rites due to the dead as non
acceptance of their lesbian relationship.

At this juncture, Sappho for Equality has already designed a targeted
intervention programme for eradicating violence against LBT persons
with long and short term work plans keeping this incident and other
similar incidents in focus.

Short term work plans

awareness camp in the Nandigram/Sonachura area after Assembly election
leafleting and campaigning with university and college students
keeping this incident at the centre
collaborating with Maitree (a forum of women’s rights groups and
individual activists in West Bengal) to present this case in the 8th
march programme (It had already been taken place)
Creating a violence dossier with similar reported incidents as ready reckoner.
Raising the issue of violence against LBT persons in every possible
fora and sharing this report with all interested organizations and
individuals working on similar or allied issues.

Long term work plan

advocacy and lobbying with the State Administrative System
police sensitization programme

Sappho for Equality is an Activist Platform Working for the Rights of
Sexually Marginalized (Les/Bi/Trans) Women in Kolkata

Stocking stuffers from Rukus Avenue

16Dec

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One of our favorite labels here on the West Coast, Rukus Avenue, has some awesome stocking stuffers for our listeners! Check out Rasika’s Mathur Sari (W)rap a complication of poetry, outrageous humor and spoken word. Rasika was a part of Nick Cannon’s Wild n Out team on MTV, I know it’s been a long road for Rasika, I’ve been waiting for this album for a couple years and I wasn’t disappointed. Most of the lyrics are explicit – but f**king hilarious!

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Sammy Chand, the founder and CEO of Rukus Avenue put out his own album of world beats that will take your ears into a musical orgasm. Over the years Rukus Avenue brought us one of the first South Asian Hip Hop groups Karmacy and solo artist Sandeep. The world beats take me on a wild ride of eastern fusion meets Sammy’s musical talent. Check out Tale of a Crown for those of you who love instrumentals that tells a story.

Jeevay Pakistan Music Video

4Dec

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The voices behind one of my favorite albums “Life Through Melody” Maz and Ziggy from Bonafide put together this emotional heartfelt song – Jeevay Pakistan. Ziggy got to go to Pakistan  to see the horrendous damage the floods caused this past summer. Bonafide also had a car wash fundraiser to raise funds for the folks in Pakistan, it was a huge success. After a story fades from the media spotlight, we tend to forget and assume every thing is back to normal – which couldn’t be further from the truth. Buy this track and help support the people in Pakistan.

Homophobia is gross, not the picture

4Dec

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Whether this picture was altered, a film still or a causal friendly kiss; I should take a stance and say there’s nothing wrong with it. But the way it was posted on facebook sends a clear message of homophobia. This year alone, several teens/young adults have committed suicide due to being outed/teased for their sexuality. Look at Karan Johar, about 80% of the time, interviewers have to ask him about his sexuality. It’s amazing he hasn’t cracked under pressure. I love it when he mocks the interviewer right back. Good for you Karan! Frankly it doesn’t bother me if he is gay or not, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s the most sought out producer/director in Bollywood. The irony is the people who do the gay bashing, you are still spending your money to go see his films – hypocrites. In case you don’t know what a hypocrite is, here’s the definition. (UPDATE BELOW WHERE THIS ORIGINATED FROM)

Comments for the pic to far…but for the folks who didn’t post the homophobic remarks. Thank you.

Genious Zain che cheeee ce babay yyyyyyyyy haha

Nazish Suroor babby pagloooooooooooooooooooo ye kya lagaaa diyaaaaaaaaaaaa oye

Babby Zoozoo SHARUKH KHAN KI KARTUTE… DEKH SALA BAHAR JAKE MU KALA KAR RAHA HAI TV SHOWS ME …. HUH …!!! HUMNE TO AJ TAK KJO AUR MM KO ___ SAMJHA THA BUT SHARUKH BHI NOOOOOOOOO :(( =((

Nazish Suroor ahahahaha

Ayesha Khan baby :O ol hein

Ayesha Khan mm kon he 😕 kjo toh thik he par who is mm

Babby Zoozoo MANISH MALHOTRA

Ayesha Khan BABY :))

Genious Zain abe baby tm itna khaf ho rahi ho srk pe shadi tu nahi karni na oss sa goli mar s r k ..mje jese bache pe be kabi taras kha liya karo :)):)) kitna akela hu :)):)):)) hah

Armaan Got Sumone oh no shahrukh bhi john abhishe ki tarah…. yaakkkk…

Fajar Ali hahahaaa…. so funny …. :)

Arhaan Khan  Thnks frds i m happy ull enjoyed.!!!!

Prince Aabir sala gay. salman is the man

Armaan Got Sumone yah salman is the man baki to salay homo sexualhote ja rahe hn… chee

**Update**

So this picture is actually unreleased footage from My Name is Khan, but what even with Section 377 outlawed in India, these host have no idea the type of homophobic undertone they are sending to the audience. I’m curious to see if there is more to this kiss or was it just SRK’s character in the film being spontaneous.

“Today’s Special” has something good cooking…

22Nov

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I’m really excited about this new movie Today’s Special starring Aasif Mandvi, about ten years ago, he published a monologue book called Sakina’s Restaurant my HS drama teacher gave to me as a graduation gift. After reading the book, I fell in love with his cheeky sense of humor, he had a wide array of characters from an uptight boss to a struggling bus boy, each had their stories perfectly crafted by Mandvi. If you live in the San Francisco, the Bridge Theater is showing this movie, I would highly recommend going there because its a single screen (HUGE) and doesn’t have that sterile metreon feel to it.

In Today’s Special Samir (Aasif Mandvi) instead of following his dream of cooking up tantalizing tidbits at a French culinary school, he ends up at his father’s flailing Indian restaurant in Jackson Heights, New York. If you never been to Jackson Heights, it’s dubbed as the “Little India” of New York, but also has a very strong Bangladeshi & Pakistani community too. Samir’s father suffers a heart attack, leaving Samir, whose clueless about Indian cooking to run the restaurant. To keep himself from cracking up, Samir comes up with his own unique dishes with a little help from a least likely suspect, Akbar (Naseeruddin Shah) a taxi driver. The slicing and dicing antics between Shah, Mandvi and the rest of the cast is guaranteed to bring you comedy substance we ALL crave during the stressful holiday season.


Special Thanksgiving treat… HDhami and Raje Shwari at SOBs

11Nov

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Basement Bhangra hosted by DJ Rekha is “New York’s best kept secret” for the underground party scene. On Thanksgiving Eve (November 24th) H Dhami and Raje Shwari will be performing live at SOBs. For the last couple of months, it seems like DJ Rekha has been supporting Raje Shwari, she dropped her new single – “Keep a Secret” at a Basement Bhangra night. Could this be a new comeback for Raje Shwari? Raje has been living under the radar after leaving Timbaland’s camp. Her “Indian Flute” had moderate success, but the thing about some Desi artists, especially females, they tend to get caught up with shady management and we never hear from them. H Dhami was featured on Raghav’s new single “So Much” (The Neo Desi mix) but his fans are waiting for his second album. Between 2008 – 2010, we’ve heard H Dhami on Punjabi By Nature’s “Crowd Pleaser” album and Mumzy’s single “One More Dance”

Is there an under current collaboration between H Dhami and Raje Shwari? How can the two of them benefit from each other? H could probably open doors for Raje in the UK Asian scene and Raje could kick open a mainstream door for H. It would be interesting to see H recite Magoo and Sebastian’s lyrics from Indian Flute.

Check out Parichay Tum Habibi ft. Joe Louis

8Nov

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This song, after playing it on The Junction, it was literally stuck in my head. I had it on repeat for an hour straight. Parichay and Joe Louis BRILLIANT job, it got to the point where I was humming the tune, while writing articles. In previous blog articles, there’s been a lot of hits and misses this year for the Urban Desi scene… this is a hit. Check it out and get it off Itunes!

TEAM SID College Jeopardy

8Nov

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Sid Chandrasekhar breezed  through the questions, leaving his opponents in the dust. He’s from University of Pennsylvania, on the Garba Team (who won 1st place in the annual Garba competition last year) and recently landed a job. If he wins college jeopardy, he’s planning to take a cross country trip. While going on job interviews, he already put jeopardy on his resume, which caught the eye of several employers. He seems pretty cautious when it comes to bidding on the final jeopardy question, while his two other opponents got it right, Sid was already trailing ahead by 23,000 dollars and he put down roughly $3400. It had to with the Heinz Company address, which is based in PA. Can you imagine if he got it wrong? He wouldn’t be able to show his face at Penn. Congratulations Sid on passing the quarter finals!

DSB Music presents… Bhangra Dub Step vol. 1

8Nov

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I got a soft spot for Dubstep, when you combined it with one of my favorite genres (Bhangra) it’s always a hit or miss with me because I tend to be tune and not too impressed 90% of the time.  But DSB comprised this cool mix tape, we are currently playing Miss Pooja, Dr. Zeus (listeners really feeling this one) and Bikram Singh on UDR’s Junction show.

Imran Khan – Bewafa DSB REMIX

Miss Pooja – Boli DSB REMIX

Miss Pooja – Nachdi De Pairan Vich DSB REMIX

PropheC – Sohni DSB REMIX

Bikram Singh – Tere Nain Nashiley DSB REMIX

Dr. Zeus – Kangna DSB REMIX

Surinder Shinda – Mirza DSB REMIX

Late Kaka Bhaniawala – Kise Hor Banereh DSB REMIX