Tag: SAT Melbourne

PM ScoMo bats for “world order that favours freedom with liberal values” ; supports probe into the origins of COVID-19

Photo- @PerthUSAsia

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 9 June 2021: Australian Prime Minister today minced no words batting for a “world order that favors freedom with liberal values” and cautioned about world instability with a danger of conflict in the Indo-Pacific region. He called the Indo-Pacific an ‘epicenter’ of competition in the region. The Australian Prime Minister was today addressing a select gathering live-streamed and televised at the Perth USAsia Centre ahead of his departure to the G-7 Summit.

The speech without naming focussed on the obvious rising global economic power of China and its influence in the world and the Indo-Pacific region. The PM’s reference to an open liberal society many times in the speech, sniped at the authoritarian set up in China and the challenges it posed to the liberal democracies. That Australia is firmly embedded in the US-led western alliance was laced with many words in the speech.

He said the G-7 countries will emphasize vibrant liberal democracy, open societies, sovereign capacity, countering challenges, and business-led growth. “We cannot be casual about our values,” he said.

Touching the digital and tech issues, the PM said, Our technological edge is “under challenge” and that has to be overcome by us and our allies. Technology should reflect our “shared values”, he said.

The PM referred to Japan and India as being part of the ‘ reliable supply chains’ to meet the emerging global challenges. He also said the World Health Organisation (WHO) be strengthened and the origins of the COVID-19 be investigated.

Morrison added a positive note saying competition in the Indo-Pacific should not lead to conflict and we are ready for dialogue with any country including China.

- The report will be updated.

Indian matchmaking fraught with sexism, class and caste issues


Are all Indian weddings happy song-and-dance parties with friends and family? Not for most women, who need to tick a lot of boxes on the marriage checklist to qualify for the promise of eternal love.

In July this year, Netflix began streaming a documentary series called Indian Matchmaking. The show became very popular for its depiction of arranged marriages in India and among Indian expats in the US. For the uninitiated, arranged marriages are common practice in South Asian countries, where families decide who their children will marry. Indeed, as one character in the show sums it up, an Indian marriage is not just a union between two people, but “between two families.”

The documentary provides hilarious insights into all the contrivances that go into bringing a couple together, but young women like Nanki*, who spoke to DW, say the memes and jokes around the show serve as reminders of instances where women are deemed “unsuitable” for marriage in a society fraught with issues around caste, class, and gender-based discrimination.

Nanki was brought up to conform to an image of the ideal wife and daughter-in-law, a process that only diminished her self-worth. ”From a very young age, my parents told me that when I grow up, they would find a boy for me to get married to. I wasn’t allowed to have a boyfriend till the age of 23,” she said.

A deal of sorts

The traditional Indian arranged marriage is essentially transactional. The ‘boy’ and ‘girl,’ as men and women are referred to in marriage parlance, are expected to tick certain boxes on a checklist – a set of requirements that are steeped in conventional gender roles. 

For example, the man is expected to be the primary provider for the family and must be financially secure. In other words, he should either have a well-paying corporate position, a ‘secure’ government job or a large inheritance to fall back on. The woman, on her part, must have traditional values, good cooking skills, good looks and a slim figure. Education matters, of course, but she shouldn’t be ‘too’ educated or perform better than her husband professionally.

Sukanya, who has been married for around two years now, says her weight was always a concern, especially since it affected her performance in the marriage market. “All my life, I’ve fluctuated between chubbiness and mild obesity. I was repeatedly told that I had several attractive qualities like intelligence, a pleasant and caring disposition, a great education, good hobbies and good family background – all except the appeal that comes with a slimmer physique,” she told DW.

“In the words of parents and well-wishers, once I lost a little weight, I would be an excellent prospect for any respectable family.”

For Nanki, the path to being a good match has been more difficult. Not only did she have to lose weight, she was also told to abstain from alcohol, stay away from other men, not dance too much and not speak too loudly. “And god forbid, if you smoke, you’re never getting married,” her family said.

It’s all about the lineage

A family’s position in the caste system is another issue that often comes up during marriage negotiations. Earlier, marriages within one’s caste were considered important to maintain the ‘purity of the bloodline,’ but today, many families argue that the bride and groom find it easier to adjust to life together if they choose partners from the same caste.

In fact, most communities prefer to filter prospective partners for their children based on caste before even looking at the candidates themselves. In other words, a woman and a man of the same religion cannot get married unless they are from the same social group.

For example, Nanki’s mother says that her daughter can marry any man from a warrior caste, like a Rajput, but not a man from the lower mercantile or baniya caste. Marrying a Muslim is out of the question.

For others however, social status plays a more important role than caste or religion. “I am a Punjabi Hindu but I married into a Jain family,” Sukanya explained. Jains are followers of the fifth century saint Mahavira and are a separate religion, albeit with similarities to Hinduism.

“My parents laid more emphasis on finding me a partner from a traditionally ‘cultured’ family, preferably with the same (or better) socio-economic status as themselves,” she told DW.

Love conquers all

Indians often take pride in the fact that the country has a divorce rate of less than 1% and are quick to attribute the low numbers to arranged marriages, which they say foster patience and the spirit of compromise. But fewer divorces also point out to the stigma attached to separating from one’s spouse, especially for women.

In Nanki’s words, “My parents often say compromise is very important for a marriage to work. Divorce isn’t something that is looked upon kindly in Indian society. ”

For many married couples, living in an unhappy marriage and accepting physical and mental abuse is a better option than being divorced. In fact, women are, in many cases, expected to accept abuse as a part of life.

“Once my father beat my mother and she left the house,” Saloni recalled. “I asked him, ‘If I get married and my husband beats me up, would you ask me to put up with it?’ He replied, ‘Of course. You are married to that person. You have to make it work…A man is a man, and a woman is a woman.”

Somebody to lean on

As times change, many young people are looking at arranged marriage as an alternative to dating. For them, the matchmaking process – of looking for love with the intention of getting married – helps them meet new people who have similar expectations from life. 

Sometimes, the ‘courtship period,’ during which a couple meets with their parents’ approval, lasts a year or two. As a result, the partners get to know each other well before tying the knot and marriages like Sukanya’s have been successful. 

Others, like Saloni, have crossed the age considered appropriate for an arranged marriage but are financially independent and willing to look for their own partners without any interference from their families. Her parents ‘ arranged marriage has left her wary of the institution and being single for so long is, for her, a small act of rebellion against the misogyny perpetuated by society.

However, this doesn’t mean she has lost her faith in love – she wants to get married one day, but on her own terms.

*All names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Source- dw.com


Video: Gurmeet Ram Rahim gets 20 years for rape

Source: The Citizen.

SAT EXCLUSIVE: Brightness of Kaabil overcomes darkness: Hrithik Roshan



By Neeraj Nanda

Hrithik Roshan’s latest movie ‘Kaabil’ is making waves on the box office. Directed by Sanjay Gupta, it has Yami Gautam as the leading lady with music by his father Rajesh Roshan. The 150 minutes’ movie in Hindi has English subtitles.

The blind leading pair fall in love, get married and a terrible tragedy strikes. Then the fire of vengeance is unstoppable. I caught up from Melbourne with Hrithik Roshan from Mumbai on the What’s App and he answered my questions about Kaabil, which he calls his best reviewed film.

Excerpts from the interview:

Q: How was it playing a blind hero. Was it challenging?

A: Challenging, yes. It has a beautiful challenging script which leads to passion making it easy to act in the movie.

Q: Hrithik, while shooting actually the eyes can see but you posed as if they can’t. How did you manage that?

A: It was difficult. I practiced at home. I Blind folded myself and walked in the house. I did it every day.

Q: So, when you were practicing did you also fall down?

A: Yes, I did. Those who fall, learn to get up.

Q: Despite being a blind character, you gave a confident positive message, but Yami taking her own life gives a rather negative message. What do you say?

A: No, once you see the film you realise that our weakness can sometimes overcome us. We are all quite fragile. Adversity becomes tough. Yami comes from a small town and what happens is the reality. Rohan (Hrithik) then gives the message that the situation can be overcome. That is the brightness of Kaabil.

Q: How was it working with Yami?

A: The best co-star, I have worked in my life. She is simple and does not focus on herself. Instead, her focus is the entire movie.

Q: What is the message for blind couples who cannot see the movie?

A: In fact, the message is from the blind to all of us – don’t be afraid of darkness in your life. We all have some kind of darkness and the blind show us we can have the same potential as they have to fight darkness.

Q: In one scene you speak in Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. How could you manage it?

A: Practice led to that. Dubbing people say if you control your vocal cord muscle then you can utter anyone’s voice. I was able to do it.

Q: ‘Andha’ and ‘Andhi’ words used in the film. Aren’t they rude words?

A: These are labels. If I am blind and have lost my wife also blind, then I have to say I am ‘Andha’ and my wife is ‘Andhi’. There are no substitute words.

Q: Do you agree despite the love-rape-revenge theme this is a message film?

A: No, it is not. This is a beautiful entertaining movie. A unique concept film. In the cinema hall there was so much clapping after every dialogue. I enjoyed every bit of this film after my first movie ‘Kaho Na Pyaar Hi”. This is my life’s big success and the best reviewed film.

“Might take break from films”, says Gurpreet Ghughi

Media conf
Photo: Kulbir CAM

By Neeraj Nanda

Melbourne, 29 July: Popular Punjabi film star, TV actor and singer, Gurpreet Ghuggi is all set for his political role in Punjab, after recently joining the Aam Admi Party (AAP). The veteran of many Punjabi TV shows and movies is confident he will work for the ‘happiness of Punjab’ in his new role, where state elections are due next year.

“I will fulfil the urges of the Punjab people but will not leave films”, he said answering to a question at the Thornbury Theatre during a media interaction. He also disclosed he might take a break from show business but will do a few movies as and when necessary.

Accompanied by Punjabi actor Gippy Grewal, the actor turned politician is in Melbourne to do a stage show “Desi Rockstar”.

“ Sakun mil raha hai (feel mentally peaceful) after joining politics and now want to give maximum to Punjab which has given me so much,” Ghuggi said.

On a question by SAT, Ghuggi agreed that acting in cinema and being in politics is helpful and at times they are complimentary.

“My goal in politics will be to make Punjab move ahead”, he said.

Gippy Grewal talked about his forthcoming movie ‘Lock’ which he co-stars with Gurpreet Ghuggi. “This will be a new type of Punjabi film with few actors and songs”, he said.

Both the actors agreed that the social media and You Tube have made people more conscious and movies are more scrutinised and commented by viewers.

- SAT News Service.