Monday, October 27, 2014

Diwali Play for Kids

We performed a play at Park Hill School Croydon, UK, to explain the stories behind the five days of Diwali and the various traditions and rituals undertaken on each of the five days across various parts of India. The audience was kids from the age of 5 to 7 years. Possibly, can be used as it for still older kids (and even some adults) with minor changes :-)

The full script is here
Here is the presentation used (download and view in powerpoint for correct view) -

You are free to use with proper attribution. More importantly, do share your videos and photos of performances.

Here is a link to the Ramayana Play for Kids as well

Monday, September 08, 2014

Intolerance and Ignorance in India

Recently, a committee, headed by retired high court judge Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari published a report to outline measures to to curbattacks on women and reduce crime rate in Maharashtra. Instead of presenting findings in an objective and evidence backed manner, and putting the accountability on the responsible parties (police, government, judiciary) to provide active policing, improved crime prevention, better criminal investigations, and swifter prosecution process, it finds easy, but wrong scapegoats, and recommends curtailment of human rights and free speech. 

these relics of the past who sit in our government and such committee force their own prejudices and opinions, without actually bothering to study the evidence on the effectiveness of the measures they propose. 

They especially detest and are opposed to things that they don't understand. Facebook/Whatsapp can be very easily made scapegoats as they are popular channels which the old fogies don't understand or have used. Both are used for productive or even entertainment purposes far far more than they are used to harass people. They may be used to share pornography, but so is a lot of the internet. Does the government need to frame a policy on the internet. What point is framing is a policy, if the government has rats chance
in hell of actually implementing the policy.

The bias demonstrated here is the interpretation that pornography and morality has anything to do with sexual crimes. There is no causation or even correlation. In fact, if at all, there is inverse correlation

between the two. If at all, these ancient creatures should recommend we encourage pornography (just kidding!).

Another confirmation bias is the interpretation that dance bars led to drop in cases of crimes against women. Even if we assume there was a drop in crimes against women, just considering the insignificant number of
dance bars within the state and their concentration is parts of cities only, it is highly improbable that there was any causative association between the two.

The only way to substantively confirm the committee view is check the crime statistics in areas near to dance bars and check where the bar dancers are now (probably plying their trade underground where it is very difficult for them to report any crimes due to the nature of their trade).

Another bias - "the committee held social networking websites responsible for rising divorce cases" – where is the evidence Sir. Your report should cite studies/surveys undertaken either in India or elsewhere to justify your claims. Probably, when TV came about, the dogmatic folks probably said they were leading to infidelity and divorce.

“Vulgar activities carried out through Facebook, mobile and computer, social networking sites need to be tackled urgently, because it has been observed on a global scale that divorces are on the rise in marriages taking place through Facebook" - This statement is utterly meaningless and incoherent. Marriage taking place based on meeting/connections established to facebook have NO relation to vulgar activities. Just because you put a BECAUSE between the two doesn't make them related. If marriages happening by virtue of people meeting through facebook are failing, are you going to stop people marrying if they meet on facebook? Are you in charge of Hindu arm of Taliban?