Sunday, June 23, 2013

Freedom, comfort or money

If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.


-- W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tagore to Gandhi on non-corporation movement in India, 1919

“I have always felt, and said accordingly that the great gift of freedom can never come to a people through charity. We must win it before we can own it. And India's opportunity for winning it will come to her when she can prove that she is morally superior to the people who rule her by their right of conquest. She must willingly accept her penance of suffering, the suffering which is the crown of the great. Armed with her utter faith in goodness, she must stand unabashed before the arrogance that scoffs at the power of spirit.

And you have come to your motherhood in the time of her need to remind her of her mission, to lead her in the true path of conquest, to purge her present-day politics of its feebleness which imagines that it has gained it purpose when it struts in the borrowed feathers of diplomatic dishonesty.

This is why I pray most fervently that nothing that tends to weaken our spiritual freedom may intrude into your marching line, that martyrdom for the cause of truth may never degenerate into fanaticism for mere verbal forms, descending into self-deception that hides itself behind sacred names. "

--Tagore to Gandhi, on non-corporation movement, 13th April 1919

I am a strong supporter of non-corporation movement, as well as a seeker for truth. Tagore tells the ultimate truth through the above lines, it wet my eyes. India was lucky. Hope the superiority of spirituality marches on.




-- 摘选自泰戈尔给甘地的信 1919年4月13日 



对于这些分歧点两人虽然始终各执己见,一度处于辩论的模式,但并没有影响到之间的友谊,两人对对方依然报有最大程度的崇敬之情。虽然有很多甘地的追随者质疑“一个诗人凭什么对领引印度走向独立的伟大运动有这么多意见?” 甘地从没有轻视过泰戈尔的意见和想法,在泰戈尔去世前四年的1937年,两人再次见面,认为他们的想法其实是大异中的大同。

在看这本叫《圣雄甘地与诗人泰戈尔的历史信札 》(The Mahatma and the Poet: Letters and debates between Gandhi and Tagore, 1915-1941)的书信录,我常常看湿了眼睛。我想印度有甘地这样带领全国以非暴力的方式走向独立与民主的政治家,还有泰戈尔这样执着于追求真理与自由精神的思想家,思想家还能与政治家平等对话,并牵制住政治家,印度是无比幸运的,这种幸运甚至超乎了我的想像。

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

India's prostitution/sex slave industry

India has more sex slaves than any other country in the world. India's caste system is divided into many subcastes, many of which are tied to a particular job, including prostitution. These women are fated to be prostitues. A girl born to a woman who comes from that part of society where prostitution is traditionally-accepted way of life, she doesn't know how to think anything else, she just accepts it as part of her fate. A lot of things go on in the name of tradition.

The caste system is totally a watertight compartment, you are just born into it, you can't make any movement, generation after generation, all the women in that subcaste become prostitues, and nobody thinks that it's anything unusual or horrendous, or it has to be stopped and challenged. The Indian society has always chosen to look away, nobody wants to see it, nobody wants to do anything about it...

One of the global paradoxes is that countries with the most conservative sexual mores tend to have the most prostitution, these are also countries where women have very little value...

Indian brothels are among the most brutal in the world, one of the things that Indian brothels periodically do that brothels in the other parts of the world don't is they will kill girls there who are uncooperative. As long as the victims are poor, rural, female, illiterate village kids, they are disposable, they don't matter in the system, they don't have a voice.

According to the Central Bureau of Investigation's statistics in India, about 3 million women are trapped in prostitution, of this 1.2 million are children. The average age of entering into prostitution is 9 to 13 years old, and the National Human Right Commission in India is saying that the ages are coming down.

In India trans-generational prostitution is very normal, women prostitues often force their 14-year-old daughters into taking clients because women who are in prostitution have very little ability to make their daughters aspire to be something different, and it's not that the trans-generational prostitution happen because they want to make it happen, but because they have no option, they have no escape...

-- From "Half the Sky" documentary