Wednesday, June 20, 2007

postheadericon Faces of India..Part 1

My father has a new pastime, he takes his camera with him on his evening walk through the market and captures the local people as they eat, work and play. Thought you might like to see some of his pictures. Feel free to click on the picture for better clarity.

Bhelpuri Vendor with a happy customer!

An equally happy cement store worker

Shy coconut-seller

Casket makers...I kinda fancy the mustard-yellow one! ;)

A dirt poor cobbler or Mochi as they are known as in India

A Mango and Banana seller. Can anyone identify those mangoes?

Who will buy these wonderful shirts and trousers?

An urban beggar man

I have no idea what these lads are smiling about. I'd be so glum if the ice cream store was closed as it seems to be.

Clusters of bananas, not my favorite fruit!
Saturday, June 02, 2007

postheadericon Born -Again Virgins

Hymenoplasty: I first heard of this procedure when I lived in the Middle East, but since it was always spoken of in whispers, I thought it was an urban legend. Fast forward to now...several leading newspapers last week reported that hymenoplasty, or restoring a woman's virginity by surgically reattaching the hymen, is fast becoming a phenomenon of sorts among women of Muslim origin in Europe, especially France, Germany, Sweden and indeed other parts of the world, too.

But now the chair of the French College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians is calling for an end to this practice in France. Dr. Jacques Lansac believes there is no place for this kind of surgery in secular French society...he believes that giving in to a procedure like this goes against all that France stands for...equality of women, human rights, religious extremism etc.

But how do we turn our backs on these women who in all likelihood could be killed by their fathers, brothers or husbands (Honor killings) if it is found out that they are not virgins? Aren't doctors morally bound to help these women who could face certain death if they are discovered to be non-virgins?

But I could also make the argument that if we give in to the fundamentalists in this matter, what's to stop them from making more demands as the years go by? What if they want to stop sending their girl children to school, are we to stand by and watch that happen as well?

Apparently, this (having to be a virgin when you get married) has given rise to a very creative alternative...many immigrant Muslim women in Europe are now very keen to marry non-Muslim men who do not care if they are virgins or not. Is fundamentalism pushing young women away from Islam?

Hymenoplasty is not uncommon in the North America, however here women do it for the thrill of appearing virginal again or as a treat for that special someone in their lives. Is that just plain weird? Ok, I do understand vaginal rejuvenation (surgery to tighten one's vagina) because that has certain benefits for the woman as well...but hymenoplasty or even labiaplasty (which surgically reshapes or reduces the external appearance of the vagina, but in doing so one gets rid of skin rich in nerve endings) for that matter escapes my understanding.

Anyway, if you want to weigh in on any of this I'd be pleased to see your comment.