Friday, July 12, 2019

Message of the day

“We’re going on a summer holiday!” We take two 5-day breaks a year for the sake of our sanity and that of our families. Our summer break was delayed this year much like the monsoon. We’re finally taking it next week. Broadsheet will be back on Monday, July 22. We will most certainly miss you. We hope you will miss us too!

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The biggest news story today, explained.

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A defiant daughter, a powerful politician and two viral videos

A love story out of UP gripped the attention of the nation yesterday when the daughter of a BJP MLA posted two videos alleging that her father was out to kill her.


The love story: Sakshi Mishra is the 23-year-old daughter of BJP MLA Rajesh Mishra aka Pappu Bhartaul. She fell in love with Ajitesh which enraged her family. The reason: Sakshi is a Brahmin while Ajitesh is Dalit. So they ran away and got married.


The alleged villain: Sakshi and her husband posted two videos that went instantly viral. In one of them, she and Ajitesh issue an appeal: “I have married of my free will and my father has sent out his goons for us… I am tired of running, I seek police protection… If they catch us, they will definitely kill us.” In the second video, Sakshi directly addresses her father, saying, “Please, Papa, change your mindset. Abhi and Abhi’s family are also humans, not animals. They are good people. I will live happily with them... And Papa, the dogs that you have sent to chase me, like Rajeev Rana, tell him that if the water goes above my head, his entire family will be in jail.”


Wow, so what happened then? The videos went instantly viral and drew widespread support. The Deputy Inspector General of police promised to protect them but claims he has no clue of their whereabouts. The couple has also filed a court petition seeking protection for them and Ajitesh’s family. 


What about the father? Mishra told Hindustan Times, “I am not opposed to the marriage of my daughter. My only concern is that the boy is more than nine years older than her. As a father I am also concerned about their future because the boy doesn’t earn much.” (Note: Ajitesh is six years older than Sakshi) He also put out a statement denying making any threats, saying, “She is an adult and has the right to make her decisions.”


Is this serious? Yes. ‘Honour killings’ are an ugly reality across the country. On July 8, Haresh Solanki went to visit his wife’s Brahmin family with a police escort in Gujarat. He was lynched and killed in front of the constable, and his wife has gone missing. 


The bottomline: The intersection of caste violence and patriarchy plays out in a variety of ways. ‘Honour killings’ are one example. In Badaun (also in UP), two young lower caste girls were gang-raped and hung from a tree by a group of powerful Yadav men—a gruesome crime now fictionalised by ‘Article 15’ (see the lead photo above). But most of these cases don’t make the headlines. Many are not even reported. In that sense, Sakshi is lucky that her father is a powerful politician. Her death would not go unnoticed—and she made those two videos to make sure of that.

Learn more: Indian Express has the most details. This older Firstpost story does a great job of explaining the political landscape of caste violence in UP. And this excellent BBC opinion reminds us how ‘normal’ caste rape and killings are.

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making new plans for Sunday afternoon

Your Karnataka debacle update is here: In yet another eventful day, the Supreme Court ordered Assembly Speaker K.R. Ramesh Kumar to meet with the 15 MLAs who have submitted their resignations. And he did so last evening, but did not follow the second part of the order: to decide on their validity by midnight. Kumar insists he needs more time to decide whether they are in order. Today, the Supreme Court will hear his petition asking for just that. Meanwhile, the monsoon session kicks off today. Times of India explains why the BJP may not call for a no-confidence vote.


Your World Cup dreams may be dead: but there’s still plenty of great sport to watch and applaud:

  • England was boringly good as they bulldozed Australia out of the way in the other semifinal. They won by eight wickets! The good news: we now have two teams in the Sunday final that have never won the World Cup!

  • The semifinal match that everyone will be watching today: Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal on centre court in Wimbledon! Tomorrow: the women’s final starring Serena Williams and Simona Halep. 

  • Also: This great read from Quartz on how the World Cup made a fortune for the big brands—even those who weren’t official sponsors.


CBI raids prominent rights lawyers: Indira Jaising and her husband Anand Grover are Supreme Court lawyers and head an NGO called Lawyers Collective. They are fierce critics of the government and, more recently, of the Supreme Court. They challenged its handling of the sexual harassment allegations against Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. Now, the CBI has issued an FIR claiming that their NGO has misused foreign aid, and raided their residence yesterday. (The Telegraph)


A SpiceJet shame: A young airline maintenance engineer was killed when the door flaps of the plane closed on him. His body was found hanging from its belly in the early hours of Wednesday. Rohit Pandey was apparently checking a problem with the landing gear wheel—all alone! “He was just a young trainee. Where were his supervisors?” asks his aunt. Where indeed! As expected, the airline is refusing to say a word. (Times of India


Warring women within the Democratic party: Just as the presidential campaign gets into gear, the House Democrats are in the midst of a public internal feud: Speaker Nancy Pelosi vs Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. All four are newly elected women of colour. Just what the Republican spin-doctor ordered. (Washington Post)


Angela Merkel appears to be very unwell: The German chancellor has been displaying visible signs of ill-health during her public appearances. The first time, it was a tremor in her hand. The second time, her entire body was visibly shaking. And this one appears to be more of the same. (BBC News has the video)


A reminder that bonded labour is very real: This is the photo we all need to see. This is the Times of India story on the rescue of 42 bonded labourers in Tamil Nadu.


A real-life Kabir Singh story: In this short video, a young woman recounts what happened to her as a first-year college student, when she caught the eye of a senior very much like the ‘hero’ of the film. (InUth)


Your fashion nightmare is now a thing: It was okay when people did it with twins or siblings. Still tolerable when it became a mommy/baby thing. Then celeb couples started ‘matching’ each other. But now it’s the entire family—wearing the exact same outfit! Yes, there are photos. (Washington Post)


Washing your face twice is a thing: Why do a good deed once, when you can do it all over again, like, immediately! The double-cleanse method is now a big thing with skincare gurus. (Vox)


If you think fruit juice is good for you: then brace yourself for this bit of bad news. New research shows that drinking large amounts of fruit juice can raise your risk of cancer. Yup, that includes the freshly squeezed variety. According to the lead researcher, “The main driver of the association seems to be sugar, so when we just look at the sugar content per 100ml, regular Coke or 100% orange juice, for instance, are quite the same.” Guess we’ll just have to stick with plain old water… wait, that has microplastics in it! (The Guardian)


If you think that Japanese whiskey is pricey: then you better not be ordering this $5000 drink in New York. Then again, you get to keep that seriously fancy cocktail glass. (Mashable)


Your feel-good Friday roundup includes: only a few items this week. One: this infectious dancing celebration and excellent speech by football star Megan Rapinoe. Two, this drunk but very responsible man who paid an Uber to take a baby bird to the rescue centre. Three… ok, it isn’t exactly feel-good news that the famous Volkswagen Beetle is going out of production. But this awesome photo gallery mapping the life-history of the Love Bug ought to cheer you up.

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Stuff we buy, use or love.

A List for Wardrobe Essentials
Our wardrobe is always in some kind of jeopardy. Sweaty feet make our shoes smell weird. Our most precious dresses slide right off the hanger. And then there's the great peril of mold during monsoon. Here are three products that we use to keep our clothes and shoes safe and smelling nice.
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When your shoes and sandals smell gross…

Get bamboo charcoal deodorisers. Sweaty feet plus closed shoes is a recipe for nastiness. The insides stay damp and start to smell. Do your pretty pumps (or sneakers) and your feet a favour, and stuff a pair of these in your shoes when you’re not wearing them, and ‘recharge’ their odour-busting powers by putting the deodorisers out in the sun.  (PS: They work just as well in your fridge or car)

Price: Rs 3003 | 12-pack Activated Charcoal Deodorizers |

The informer 2

When your clothes are always slip-sliding off…

Think velvet! Say goodbye to big clunky hangers that take up too much space, or the flimsy kind that buckle and sag. These velvet hangers are slim but sturdy; the non-slip material keeps your clothes in place; and your blouses won’t do that weird puffy thing around the shoulders. Best bit: you can get a set of 50 over at AmazonBasics for a very reasonable price. (PS: Scroll down to the “Customers who viewed this..” section to check out the other styles and sizes)

Price: Rs 1399 | AmazonBasics Velvet Suit Hangers |

The informer 3

When your growing mold in all the wrong places…

Banish the beast with Absorbia. There are far too many sorry tales of expensive shoes, bags and dresses ruined by humidity. Silica bags only go so far. Our solution is a little more expensive but works like a charm. Just be very sure to empty the buckets and sachets in time—you don’t want that liquid spilling onto your clothes. (We’ve linked to Absorbia’s season pack on Amazon. But they’re available in various sizes and varieties, and at other local and online stores)

Price: Rs 849 | Absorbia Moisture Absorbers |

Note: These products are personally picked by the editors. We do not receive any revenue from the brands mentioned.

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