Funding Friday – India’s Sons

Rape, whether done upon a woman or man, is a heinous crime. There is no doubt that the perpetrators of this ghastly act deserve the wrath of the legal, social, and economic systems. In the same spirit, falsely accusing another individual of a ghastly act such as rape is a crime that is as appalling, if not worse, than the act of rape itself.
Just think about the lives a false accusation destroys besides the credibility of the innocent.
The act destroys the families of the innocent, including women in the accused’s life, like his mother, wife, daughter, and sister. Even after the accused is proved innocent, his family continues to bear the ignominy of a crime that their son, brother, or father did not commit.
What makes the act of falsely accusing a man of rape sinister is that it affects the actual victims of rape when they approach the police and the judiciary. Judges and law enforcement are impartial but are (after all) humans too. When an accused is found playing truant with the law to meet with their malicious intentions, it casts doubts in genuine cases.
Therefore as a bad joke, the actual victim is subject to additional scrutiny due to the disgraceful actions of fake victims – subjecting the victimized to further victimization. This business of falsely accusing someone of settling scores or of extorting money must get highlighted, and the lawmakers get tasked with making provisions so that the false accusers get strictly punished.
I believe that any law should protect the innocent before it prosecutes the guilty; therefore I am backing eye-opening documentary by Deepika Bhardwaj, aptly named – India’s Sons. Deepika highlights the anguish of the victims of false rape accusations this ghastly act and how it is destroying the very fabric of Indian society. India’s Sons, is listed on Milaap.

I have backed Deepika in the past as she consistently highlights the anguish of the “forgotten gender” under India law with hard-hitting and compelling storytelling. Her last documentary, Martyrs of Marriage, went into gut wrenching detail on the misuse of Indian laws created to abolish dowry and prevent domestic violence by unscrupulous women. These women utilized these laws as tools of oppression against the husbands and their families. Martyrs of Marriage is available on Netflix.

Video Of The Week: Fyre- The Greatest Party that Never Happened

This week’s video was recommended by Karishma so a big thank you to her!

Fyre is the ultimate tool for entrepreneurs to learn that scaling before having a miniaturized working model is akin to gambling with the business. It should open the eyes of investors, entrepreneurs, managers and employees that scaling is the easiest part of building a venture. The billion-dollar question that needs to be answered is – can your business deliver consistently and profitability at scale?

Fyre also answers the question of how doing too many things can eventually lead to doing nothing or (in this case) land you and your business in legal hot water. I believe that Fyre’s founder, William “Billy” McFarland may not have intended to defraud his customers (unlike his investors, who he definitely did). It seemed as though he wanted to do everything that his marketing campaigns had promised but just could not control the monster that he built. Eventually, he went against the advice of his key team members and kept up a charade that transformed him from a boy genius to Mr. Evil.

This brilliant, moving and shocking documentary is available on Netflix.

21/2019

Video of the Week: The Crash

Today, exactly 10 years ago a 157-year-old institution, Lehman Brothers, went bankrupt. The reasons behind the Lehman fiasco are well known but this DW documentary focuses its lens on the ripple effects that the unbridled enthusiasm & greed of a few people on Wall Street had on 10,000+ Singaporean small investors.
This documentary is an important reminder that optimism is good but unchecked optimism is a sure-shot recipe for disaster.

There is a historic irony with the 15th September as in 1940 a severely handicapped British RAF turned the tide in the Battle for Britain halting Hitler’s plan for European domination. On that momentous occasion, British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill had famously said, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”
Unfortunately, Winston Churchill could not have imagined that just over half-a-century later so few would owe so much to so many.
90/2018

Martyrs of Marriage – Netflix

On Jan 15th, 2018 I wrote a post about a documentary, Martyrs of Marriage. It highlights the plight of men and women who have been victimised by the Dowry Act & Domestic Violence Act. These are outdated, draconic laws that have become the poster for injustice meted out under the false pretence of protecting women.
It took an immense amount of courage for Deepika (The director and producer of Martyrs in Marriage) to stand up for the victims that don’t have NGO’s backing them and organize candlelight peaceful protests for them to be able to fight for their rights. As an early backer of this effort, it gives me great pleasure and pride to announce that the Martyrs of Marriage documentary is now available on Netflix! You can watch it on this link, and I suggest you don’t miss out!
I met Deepika a couple of weeks after my post about her documentary and I could see the fire in her eyes about a new project. It didn’t really matter to me what the project was, but I knew I wanted in on it. We also brainstormed and are considering starting an NGO to stand up for the rights of men & women who are victimised by these laws and long past their trial dates. More about this initiative soon, but until then do see & share Martyrs of Marriage.
36/2018

Martyrs of Marriage

 

Any young man, who makes dowry a condition to marriage, discredits his education and his country and dishonours womanhood.

– Mahatma Gandhi

The practice of dowry is a serious blotch on the rich cultural traditions in India. With one dowry related death every hour, it is alongside practices like sati and untouchability; heinous crimes against humanity that unfortunately find their origins in India.
Growing up I remember reading horrific stories of newly married women that were ill-treated, raped, beaten and even burnt to death for not being able to pay the expected dowry. Inquisitively, I asked my mother if her parents had been asked to pay dowry when she got married. Proudly, my mother told me how strictly my paternal grandfather was opposed to this practice and refused to take anything from her parents beyond the clothes she wore when she entered her matrimonial home, a nariyal (coconut) and one rupee. I did not have the privilege of meeting my grandfather (he died a couple of months before I was born) but was very proud to hear about his noble actions.
However, the problem across India had become so terrible that the government had been forced to pass the Dowry Prohibition Act in 1961, prohibiting the giving and taking of dowry. Then in 1983 under the Indian Penal Code 498-A the government criminalised harassing, coercing or causing death and harm for dowry related issues. The government’s intent to ensure the protection of married women was evident as it gave the police autonomy to arrest and impose strict punishments on the accused. Unfortunately, 498-A became a poster boy for the often quoted axiom, “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”.
Statistically over 2.7 million people have been arrested under IPC 498-A with over 600,000 of them women. Of the 5,87,107 cases that went to trial, 81.31% ended up in acquittal i.e. 4 out of every 5 cases! To put it into perspective, the conviction rate for cases under the 498-A law was 18.69%, less than half of the 45% conviction rate for all other cases filed under the Indian Penal Code. This was due to the manifold amount of false allegations that were thoughtlessly made.
What is the reason for the low conviction rate?
The government’s intent to frame a law that would serve as a deterrent went against the basic human right provided to us in the constitution viz everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.  Under this stringent 498-A law the burden of proving innocence on the accused became so arduous that it seemed more as if “they are guilty until proven innocent!”
When the police, lawyers and wives colluded to convert a provision for protection into a tool for exploitation even the courts deemed it as “legal terrorism”. The accusers didn’t even spare two-month-old babies that are among the 7,000 minors that have been accused of dowry harassment.
Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj’s documentary Martyrs of Marriage exposes the nexus that has made 498-A one of the most abused laws in India. In her own words Martyrs of Marriage is “a documentary that documents the injustice that has been perpetrated on people because of the misuse of section 498A of Indian Penal Code.
Her passion to fix the filth created by 498-A is visible in her TEDx talks below

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I had the privilege of meeting this courageous woman due to a small contribution that I made to her Milaap campaign for raising money to promote this documentary. She reached out offering to screen this movie to exclusively for my friends and family – an offer I eagerly accepted. With my immediate & extended family in attendance, Deepika spoke about her personal experience as the motivation for making this documentary. After the screening there wasn’t a single dry eye in the room.
Here is the trailer for her documentary

The entire documentary is available for $1.99 on this link.
This powerful documentary motivated me to do something for those oppressed by the miscarriage of justice. (what did you do) You may think that it does not concern you but let me leave you with the immortal words of Martin Niemoller:
4 February 2017, West Point Cadets tour the Permanent Exhibition.
3/2018