Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 8th 2015 Contents The facts: in 2012 a young
woman was gang raped on a
moving bus in New Delhi.
Six men were accused of her
murder. They reportedly hummed
Bollywood tunes in court, lis-
tened impassively to the testimo-
ny and gave monosyllabic
answers on the stand. One of the
men on death row, Mukesh
Singh, told BBC filmmaker Leslee
Udwin during an interview that
the young woman invited the
In Udwin s film India s Daugh-
ter he said: "A decent girl won t
roam around at nine o clock at
night. A girl is far more responsi-
ble for rape than a boy. Boy and
girl are not equal. Housework
and housekeeping is for girls, not
roaming in discos and bars at
night doing wrong things, wear-
ing wrong clothes. About 20 per
cent of girls are good."
The documentary has been
banned in India. An Indian court
issued a restraining order saying
the film violated four Indian
statutes, including one against
"intent to cause alarm in the
public" and another banning acts
"intended to outrage the modesty
of a woman."
The absurdity of a ruling that
suppresses the statements of an
unrepentant rapist ostensibly in
order to protect the modesty of a
woman demonstrates the warped
hypocrisy of India s society today.
The shame was not that a young
woman was brutally raped but
that now the world knows just
how sexist the prevailing Indian
view is of women. Indian society
secretly thinks "she deserved it."
That s the chilling hypocrisy.
A diplomat recently based in
T&T e-mailed me. He was espe-
cially disgusted with a German
newspaper that reported that Mr
Singh s (the condemned rapist)
lawyer publicly defended and
shared his client s views.
"Not only that," wrote the out-
raged diplomat, "Mr Singh s
lawyer claimed that he, the
lawyer, would douse any girl in
his family with gasoline and set
her on fire if she behaved in a
manner to invite a rape and thus
dishonour herself and her family."
Like most children of India,
and more so as the daughter of
an army officer, I was indoctri-
nated into its culture which
broadly translated itself into sev-
eral things. One: education as the
golden key, the God of all things.
Two: patriotism. There was no
country better than India in
every way. I asked a cousin of
mine who never left India
whether he wanted to see the
world and he was genuinely
bewildered. "Why? We have
everything in India. Art, history,
culture, science, technology,
beauty, music philosophy and
religion. Why would I go any-
Three: respect for elders, for
family. Every Indian advert, even
today, whether it s selling money
transfers or ready-made meals
taps into the family bond.
Four: shame euphemistically
described as honour, which tied
together all the other strands.
Yes. This was the elephant in the
room. No matter what happens
in an Indian household, the fami-
ly s honour must be kept. No
shame must be brought on the
family. Thanks to my liberal, aca-
demic philosophical father, the
fourth tenet, shame, was replaced
with truth. That was the most
important thing to him and for
us. He taught us instead of
shame, Gandhi s Satyagraha,
"insistence on truth" or truth
My father believes that because
women are vulnerable they must
be armed with education, eco-
nomic independence and an abil-
ity to defend themselves, even
more so than men. There are
men like him in India but they
are the minority.
Like many immigrants I have
idealised "my" India, focusing on
the largest middle class in the
world of 300 million, on its rapid
economic and technological
But I have skimmed over the
rest---a third of the global poor
live in India. The rich and middle
class live like westerners, in rela-
tive safety, with access to a staff
(still unfortunately called ser-
vants). Millions of girls and
women wear western clothes, and
in smaller, safer circles, exclusive
clubs, in revealing clothes. There
is a general standard of modesty
that is higher than that of the
West, but India eludes generalisa-
tions it being more of a conti-
nent than a country.
Shame in India is another word
for front. India has idealised
itself so rigidly, so beyond what
it is to be human that it has
cracked. Women are split into
Goddesses (mothers, aunts, sis-
ters, wives grandmothers rela-
tives) and whores (anyone else).
Girls and boys in poorer com-
munities in particular are largely
educated separately and rarely
openly socialise together. The
irony is the greater the poverty,
the greater the level of shame at
intermingling. The female
becomes the "other," and when
you are looking at poverty in
such large numbers, dehuman-
The Indian national anthem
always moves me to tears. Today,
I want to weep with shame at
being born Indian. I am ashamed
at colluding with the idealisation
of the culture of honour that
is oppressive and hypocritical,
which attacks and dehumanises
the disposed and the poor.
It s time to crush the ideal---the
passive, cowering, immobile,
dependent goddess to release the
humanity of us all.
Women are neither goddesses
nor whores, but the wellspring of
civilisation in a country which
my heart breaks to say, is losing
The Indian establishments were
more worried about India s
image, India s fake honour than
they were at the rape of a
woman. That s true shame.
Shame on India. Shame.
Malawi leads the world,
but T&T is in the top
seven, up there among
seekers for truth. And most of
them do their searching either in
San Fernando or San Juan-
Laventille, followed by Port-of-
That s according to Google
Trends, the search engine add-
on which clocks the clicks for
popular terms. It pro-rates
results by the overall number of
Google searches in each coun-
try---so small countries get a
look-in. If it didn t do that, the
US would come top of pretty
much every list.
But what sort of truth? That s
the big question. Any thoughts?
We re not in the top ten coun-
tries doing searches for God, the
Bible, Jesus or Islam. Or for
physics, chemistry or mathemat-
ics---though Jamaica ranks a
respectable worldwide second in
And justice? That scores even
higher. T&T places second in the
world, after Jamaica. The justice-
seekers have a slightly different
local pattern---they re thickest on
the ground in Tunapuna-Piarco
and Chaguanas, followed by San
But where T&T leads the
world is in searches about crime.
That s the topic on everyone s
mind. The top five countries for
crime searches are all in the
Caribbean---T&T is followed by
Belize, the US Virgin Islands,
Jamaica and the Bahamas. Even
peaceful little Barbados comes in
at number ten.
But not, oddly, for corruption.
No Caribbean country comes in
the top ten looking out that
search term. Top of the list---
even odder---is the tiny and
peaceful Himalayan kingdom of
Bhutan, which pioneered the
concept of Gross National Hap-
Same for transparency search-
es---no Caribbean country makes
the top ten.
Nigeria leads the world in kid-
napping worries--- not surprising,
after Boko Haram s wholesale
atrocity last October. T&T fig-
ures nowhere---though that might
not have been the case ten years
This is a serious country,
though. People are making a
good living in the energy sector.
T&T tops the world in searches
for ammonia, and comes second
after Brunei on methanol. We
also run a distant second on
LNG searches---but way out in
front on that one is Papua New
Guinea, where ExxonMobil is
lead developer for a 6.9 million
tonne plant which began ship-
ping its first cargo just two
As for culture and music---the
big Caribbean player is Jamaica,
as Jamaicans are first to admit.
And yes, Jamaican music does
have worldwide impact.
Jamaica naturally comes first in
Bob Marley searches, with a
score of 100---but a string of
African, Caribbean and Pacific
countries are not far behind.
There s Cape Verde at 89, New
Caledonia at 87, Mali and Belize
each at 72 and a huge market---
Brazil, scoring up at 56.
Vybz Kartel has a huge
Caribbean following; he s more
searched-for in St Vincent than
in Jamaica. T&T meanwhile,
scores tenth in internationally in
searches for the jailed tattoo-
merchant. But Vybz does not
score big outside the region.
T&T tops the world in search-
es for Shabba Ranks.
But T&Ts own music has a
more parochial appeal, which
also shows up strongly. Searches
for Machel Montano? As top
scorer, T&T gets the usual 100.
Barbados is a distant second, at
19, then Jamaica at five. Nobody
else gets more than a zero.
The historic greats? It s the
same lack of worldwide impact.
Mighty Sparrow gets 100 locally;
a score of just one point in each
of Britain, Canada and the US;
Even pan has only a little
international splash power, at
least on Google---the 100 top-
score in T&T is followed by four
points in the US, three in Cana-
da and Britain, two in Australia,
one in India, then nothing.
For reggae by contrast,
Jamaica s 100 is followed by
scores over 70 in eight Caribbean
countries and Panama.
And talking of Marley, reggae
and stuff like that...Jamaica
comes second only to Indonesia
in ganja searches (Yes, Indonesia.
You heard right). And T&T
comes fourth, after Poland (Yes,
Switch the search term to
marijuana, and the US takes the
lead, with Jamaica ninth and
T&T nowhere. That s language
And cocaine? Canada is in the
lead, followed by the US. Then
Barbados, the Bahamas and
Britain---and T&T at sixth place.
But for heroin, methampheta-
mine and Ecstasy, nowhere in
the Caribbean even figures.
And yes, porn.
T&T comes number two in the
world for porn searches. Once
more, it s a distant second to
Papua New Guinea. Is there per-
haps a correlation with Liquefied
And where are those porn bro-
kers? Leading the field are
Siparia, Princes Town and Sangre
Grande. It looks like a more or
less rural occupation, right the
way down the list.
And as for gay porn...T&T is
third on the world s search
engines, behind Fiji and Guyana.
Jamaica does not place for
straight porn, but comes in at
eight for the gay variety. And if
you get down real mean and
meaty, with searches for men
f****** men--- Jamaica rates
fourth. You listening, Buju?
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt March 8, 2015
INDIA LOSING ITS HUMANITY
TRINIS SEEK TRUTH, CRIME...AND PORN
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