Wednesday, August 27, 2008

India - Sexual Life and culture - Part I

You'd expect the land of the Kama Sutra to be as sexy as the temple art but Bollywood hasn't yet cracked Hindu morality.
Are there any people quite so beautiful as the Indians?

Possibly not, however male-female relations in India are heavily defined by the religion and culture. In theory sex should only take place in marriage and a woman's virtue and reputation are carefully guarded. If one girl should commit an indiscretion the shame spreads to all her sisters too.

In a country where just about everything is watered down or polluted, Indians are obsessed with ideas of purity. Naturally, this only applies to women who are good for one use and then are defiled for life.

Of course there are many Indias and in the wealthier circles in cities with a cooler social scene like Mumbai, Pune or Bangalore, then you might find yourself in a circle where casual sex and romance is accepted.

For the most part though, the average male traveller isn't going to meet any Indian girls as he's just not part of the culture, religion or society.

And if he does somehow find his way in then the 'love' will often come with plenty of strings attached. You see the occasional Westerner that gets married but they marry a village at the same time.

Likewise, the only cool Indian guys that a woman might want to meet will be from a wealthier background who have had the opportunity perhaps to travel and get a little more hip. Their perspectives on the gender roles are still likely to be a little outdated though – could suit old-fashioned girls.

The rest of the Indian guys in the street are always at the ready but most are hopelessly immature and only have a vague, Bollywood notion of what sex is about. Sex education is pitiful through most of India and you can be sure that any notions of foreplay, female orgasm and sex lasting more than a couple of minutes are few and far between.
Indians are beautiful but rarely sexy Not easy to get laid in the land of the kama sutra
So how did India come to be so repressed, a country that produced the karma sutra and the erotic carvings to be fond on temples up and down the land. Well, things change and the culture became radically more conservative in the last few centuries. Marriage in India is seen as a duty. Following the example of a god like Rama, Hindus should marry and procreate not for their own good but out of religious obligation. Their happiness is supposed to always come second to that.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Czech Republic: Photographer of Soviet-led invasion remembers events 40 years on

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It was 40 years ago this Thursday that Warsaw-Pact troops invaded the former Czechoslovakia, putting an end to the hope and reform of the so-called 'Prague Spring'. All this week, Radio Prague will be commemorating the invasion by broadcasting the testimonies of those who were there. For today's programme, Rosie Johnston spoke to Libor Hajský, a junior photographer at the Czech Press Agency on August 21, 1968 – the day that Soviet tanks rolled into Prague.
Libor Hajský was 20 years old when the Warsaw-Pact troops invaded the Czechoslovak capital in the early hours of August 21:
"It was a shock for every Czech, because up until the last minute, we just had no idea. Though it is true that in the Czech Press Agency we had an inkling of what might happen, because we knew that Russian soldiers had been doing drill in the Czech forests since June. Some West German photographers had shown us images of the troops. But mere mortals had no clue that these soldiers had come to train and never left afterwards. But even then, for us, for everyone, August 21 was an absurd shock."
As a press photographer, what was his job like that day?
"I started work at 5 in the morning. I lived five minutes away from the Central Committee of the Communist Party where overnight they had arrested Dubček, and so I took my camera and ran over there as soon as it was light. Around 8 in the morning it started to get a bit dangerous, soldiers started shooting at civilians, and I think two people died. The action moved towards Wenceslas Square, and the Czech Radio building, as tradition dictates. So by late morning, I was taking photos outside the radio building."
And what did he see, not necessarily through his camera lens?
"Well personally, I was just lucky to stay alive, because perhaps two metres away from me stood a couple of people. I stepped away and a truck crashed into them, someone at the top of the hill had released the truck's brakes. I took a photo of an overturned tram which was being used as a barricade, and the troops were shooting from behind this tram and right beside me, three people were shot dead. It was like a war zone, it really was."
In Britain and America at least, some of the best known images of the invasion were taken by fellow photographer Josef Koudelka. In Libor Hajský's view, do these famous images really reflect what happened that day?
"Josef Koudelka was ten years older than me, and was already a very established professional photographer. I was just a novice, while he was a mature professional – which shows in his photos. He had a really good camera at that time and the other thing was that he had no fear. I saw him sticking his head into tanks to take photos, he had no sense of self preservation."
There are several different photo exhibitions running in Prague at the moment to commemorate the Soviet-led invasion. Libor Hajský's photos have been on display at the J. Sudek gallery until recently, while Josef Koudelka's photos of the occupation are currently being exhibited at Prague's Old Town Hall until September 10.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Georgian conflict and the confounding of cross-border information

"Georgian authorities have blocked most access to Russian news broadcasters and websites since the outbreak of the conflict with Moscow. Georgia's Interior Ministry said the action was not anti-democratic, but Russian broadcasts could not be allowed to 'scare our population'. ... Georgian media, private and state-owned, are generally under the sway of President Mikheil Saakashvili, who promotes his country as a Western-style democracy. However, the country's main opposition television station was shut by the Interior Ministry at gunpoint in November and some of its equipment was smashed up." PC Magazine, 19 August 2008.
     "Within hours after fighting erupted, Russian hackers had established a site,, that showed a list of Georgian Web sites targeted and which sites had been brought down, and allowed visitors to download a simple program to enable their own computers to join the attack."
UPI, 19 August 2008.
     "NATO calls it iWar... 'It's very easy to cause a lot of trouble using three guys and a laptop.'"
Canadian Press, 19 August 2008.
     "What frustrates computer-security experts is that the features that make the Internet such an invaluable resource -- its openness and interconnectedness -- also make it easier for hackers to do harm. As a staple of 21st-century warfare, cyberattacks will become increasingly sophisticated, forcing governments and private industry to build ever-stronger firewalls and other defenses, experts said."
CNN, 18 August 2008.
     "Internet access, in one form or another, is being driven into developing nations at an astonishing rate, thanks to a combination of philanthropy and profit-making. ... PC manufacturers, meanwhile, already rely on developing markets in China, Russia, India, and Brazil to drive both growth and profits. Any effective security policy will have to take such growth into account, and plan accordingly. At present, technological dominance and superior infrastructure may give the United States a decisive edge, but history teaches that this edge will inevitably degrade as other countries either catch up or as the threats themselves evolve." Joel Hruska,
ars technica, 18 August 2008.
     "From a domestic perspective, the most frightening thing about this whole Georgian cyber-attack situation isn't that we're vulnerable to a similar onslaught of legions of cyber-warriors, government-sponsored or not, it's that Washington doesn't really know what it's doing." Cyrus Farivar,
Salon Machinist blog, 18 August 2008. Posted: 20 Aug 2008

Voice of Russia expands broadcasts "for Georgia." "Voice of Russia radio station will increase its broadcasting from Moscow for Georgia by using additional transmitters and increasing airtime. 'Voice of Russia will increase its broadcasting for Georgia by increasing the number of short- and medium-wave transmitters. The broadcasting facilities of the seven transmission units in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar and Samara have now been connected,' the Voice of Russia said in a press statement. Moreover, Voice of Russia's Russian programs will be re- broadcast in the Abkhaz capital on the FM frequency at 107.9 MHz. ... On August 9, a decree by Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and the decision by Georgia's National Security Council banned all Russian television and radio channels and barred access to the Russian part of the Internet. Voice of Russia stopped its broadcasting from Tbilisi for Georgia from the early hours of August 8. The radio station started broadcasting for Georgia from Moscow." Interfax, 17 August 2008. See also website of Voice of Russia, successor to Radio Moscow. Sergei tells me these VOR broadcasts are not in Georgian, but Russian: "Most educated Georgians speak fluent Russian so it's not the problem. The poor quality of those programs is another issue." Posted: 20 Aug 2008

RFE/RL interviews France 24 re Georgia. "RFE/RL correspondent Charles Recknagel speaks with Robert Parsons, international affairs editor at France 24 and former head of RFE/RL's Georgian Service, who is in Georgia." Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 17 August 2008. See also RFE/RL News, 18 August 2008. Posted: 19 Aug 2008

Former BBCWS MD, and I, remember the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. "The radio came on a minute or two before 8am on the morning of August 21, 1968. It always did. That was the start of family routine in our north London home. This morning, however, was shocking and unforgettable. The BBC bulletin led on the news that 165,000 Warsaw Pact forces had invaded Czechoslovakia from all points of the compass. ... I was born in Czechoslovakia in 1936, moving to England with my family when I was three. My first thought that morning was for my relatives, living mainly in Moravia. Ann and I, newly married, had visited them in 1961. We had experienced the dragooning of small-town life, the public loudspeakers barking out instructions to the farmers." John Tusa (managing director of BBC World Service 1986 to 1993), The Telegraph, 19 August 2008.

Even before the Prague Spring, Radio Prague's English service had a relaxed tone, refreshing for stations from communist eastern Europe. One could sense that Czechoslovakia was the Warsaw Pact country most likely to reform. During the Prague Spring, Radio Prague was one of the best international radio stations on the air.
     It may have been the evening of August 20, U.S. time, that U.S. newscasts were reporting the invasion. As a teenager in northern Indiana, I tuned to Radio Prague's English broadcast at 0100 GMT on its 7345 kHz frequency. Instead of the usual "Forward Left" interval signal before the transmission, I heard stern march music. Then a routine broadcast of Radio Prague, making no mention of the invasion. It must have been recorded before the invasion began.
     The next night, Radio Prague did not appear. It did return weeks later, with the Radio Prague staff thanking listeners for their messages of support, and stating that the Soviet troops were not invited. After a few more days, the familiar voices disappeared from Radio Prague's English service, and the station took on a very pro-Soviet line.
     Meanwhile, the North American Service of Radio Moscow, having heard many references to Soviet invasion forces from Western news sources, started referring to U.S. troops in South Vietnam as U.S. invasion forces.
     "It was just at this time, literally days after the invasion, that a 24-year-old Englishwoman started working here at Radio Prague. Her name was Liz Skelton, and a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to record an interview with her as she revisited the building where she had worked 40 years before." David Vaughan,
Radio Prague, 17 Augut 2008. Posted: 19 Aug 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chuti- A Holiday

14th August, Mama, me coming home - Aj onek din por, Sudhu Chuti katate bari ashlam, only holidays, 15,16 august chuti, na kono kaj noi, no work. I have packed my bag with a pair of books, puja sankha Anandamela ar Digit. And of course my Sony Icf-SW7600GR receiver, and i-mate JAQ to get connected with the world. At night 9.30pm reached my home in the dark, through the half known paths, at the corner of my village.

My home, I love it very much, and although I come once a month or less, it loves me a lot. As I reached, there was a welcome dinner ready, and my mom know what I like in this season, OL BATA NARKEL DIYE, SATHE NARLE VAJA, AR OLER DALNA, AHA PRAN JURIYE KHAELAM. BANGAL RANNA, ER SADH ATULONIYO, TAR UPOR MA REDHECHE, ER POR KOTHA HOI NA. AFTER being overloaded with a heavy dinner, I was failingly tried to read books at my bed, falen asleep soon. And in the sleep, the best sleep was waiting for me, as it started raining heavily, on the corrogetted tin roof, the best sleeping music I could ever heard have started. From the child hood I Like this sound, and it works like heavy dose of diazepam or alzolum (which I never requir) to me. Oh it was a heavenly sleep... Till nextday morning at 6 o'clock...