delhi

delhi, india

seminar - delhi based journal on indian topics

seminar attempts a departure from the usual journal. Problems, national and international, are posed and discussed. Each issue deals with a single problem. Those who hold different and at times opposing viewpoints express their thoughts.

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saket sunday building site

when I first arrived at work here in Delhi the building we are working in was still pretty much a building site. ruubble everywhere. toilets not working except for one communal toilet in the other older building about 10 minutes walk away. workmen everywhere. people staring at us all the time. later we moved to a new hotel and the room I was given is next to another building site - this time a new corporate building next to the hotel. similar to the work site, the workpeople live onsite. I took some photos of the lazy sunday afternoon in saket whilst looking out the window at the building site, so here's the video / slideshow. the music is 'mad world' (from donny darko movie) - I thought it matched the mood I was in whilst watching out the window ...

also posted at http://blip.tv/file/57782 if the video doesn't work below

saket building site on a sunday afternoon

new delhi, india 06/08/2006

huts along on the road to Agra

DSC01918, originally uploaded by AliaK.

drive from Delhi to Agra, July 16, 2006. these huts and other mud walled huts are scattered along the road on farmlands on the road to Agra. I'm not sure if they're houses/shelters, grain storage or animal houses??

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taj mahal

100_4911.JPG, originally uploaded by AliaK.

it really is clean and white. my cameras had trouble taking photos as the sky was almost the same colour. the optical illusions are interesting - the width of the columns.

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Urban Stories website - Life & Living in Mumbai

I just received an email about Urban Stories website via the Sarai Reader list

[quote]
Urban Stories: A Collection of Graphic Essays on Mumbai Posting 6 Please view updates,pics and works in progress at http://mumbai-urbanstories.blogspot.com/

THE project is taking shape.. and so far, learnt a lot about the city, good and bad. Most of the last week or so, its been either the rain or the riots in Mumbai, so just been stuck at home. With regards to graphic design, its been satisfying to actually have the time to work and experiment.. To try and break cliches, playing with colours and forms.

Currently, each graphic essay is a stand alone piece.. covering a range of topics from sexuality to urban identities to architecture.. (stil workin on them..)What needs to be done is linking them up, making them part of a cohesive whole with text and classification (temporal aspect). That should take shape once all the pieces are ready.. Looking at about 18-20 pieces right now, some are very detailed, some not so detailed.. with the post modern view especially evident in the text/ typo on each piece.. I see the final presentation also as something that one can experiment with..work creatively with..

Though for a project like this, reseach has been very specific to each piece..nevertheless have learnt a lot about the city..mainly photography and print media reserach have been key.

Hope to upload finished pieces in the near future..and get feedback to further refine each graphic essay.
[/quote]

MSF plea for new AIDS drugs to be registered and available in Asia

This article is about MSF (Medecins Sans Frontiers aka Doctors Without Borders) claim that American drug manufacturer Abbott Laboratories are allegedly denying patients in Asia access to an improved version of the AIDS drugs lopinavir and ritonavir. These are apparently "important second-line drugs for people who have been on treatement for several years. The new version of the drug has advantages over the old version, including lower pill count, storage without refrigeration, and no dietary restrictions."

[quote]
"According to MSF, high temperatures and regular power failures are making storage and use of the older drug - the only one available - unreliable. And although the UN recently identified India as the country with the highest number of people liviing with HIV/AIDS in the world, the new version of the drug is not for sale."
[/quote]

According to the article, apparently, it's not for sale as it wasn't registered in 'developing countries' and without being registered, it cannot be sold here. The old version of the drug is not even available in China (or the new version) because the drug company has not marketed to this country. Countries such as Thailand which also has high temperatures (30C most of the year) would also benefit from the new version of the drug. The old version of the drug is no longer available to the US market - MSF Thailand rep calls it a "second-best product" and I can understand his point. The drug company IS distributing the new version of the drug in Africa, but it seems that this only happened after a time consuming set of procedures were followed.

I took a look on the MSF website for more info and found a few articles here, here and here but I couldn't find specific information about it's release in India but there was an article about the drugs not being released in Thailand anytime soon so that's bad enough in itself. most of the MSF articles were about African countries. so perhaps India isn't counted as one of the 'developing countries'. still I think if the drugs were not available here and they obviously need to be, then they should be!

Over the last week there have been a couple of articles speaking about AIDS in India - one said that India has the largest population of people outside of Africa infected with HIV/AIDS. I read in one of the Sarai Readers that many people here have not even heard of AIDS so they are trying to educate more people. on the tv the other night was an ad for the Heroes Project in Delhi / India. from their media campaign page :

[quote]
Media Campaign

The Mass Media Campaign seeks to create widespread awareness on HIV/AIDS, promote positive attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS, and influence groups to change high risk behavior that make them vulnerable to the infection. It will use a series of public service announcements (PSA), online and print content, television and radio programming as well as several educational events to do this. In order to best address HIV/AIDS through the various mass media, Heroes Project has developed a strategic communications approach to address diverse groups such as sexually active men, married women and youth across all levels of society.

One of the main objectives during the course of the mass media initiative is to expand and coordinate the campaign with a range of media partners. Areas of association and activities within these partnerships include amongst others:

* Pledging airtime/space for release of PSAs, which will be available rights-free to all.
* Developing original programming formats.
* Incorporation of HIV/AIDS storylines into existing programs such as serials, reality shows and documentaries.
* Support for journalist programs and enhanced news and editorial coverage - employee sensitization.
* Orientation workshops for creative content development.

[/quote]

the UN AIDS website released a report - here's a media summary listing some numbers - http://www.unaids.org has the full report and more info.

from http://www.unaids.org/en/Regions_Countries/default.asp

[quote]
Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa has just over 10% of the world’s population, but is home to more than 60% of all people living with HIV—25.8 million.

In 2005, an estimated 3.2 million people in the region became newly infected, while 2.4 million adults and children died of AIDS.
Asia

In 2005, some 8.3 million people were living with HIV in Asia, including 1.1 million people who became newly infected in the past year. AIDS claimed some 520,000 lives in 2005
[/quote]

---
update 10/07/2006

ok, I don't feel as bad now about the decision making policy of the Times newspaper editors on what should be front page news. the front page of the Times International this morning had the article "Latest AIDS treatment is a daily pill" and spoke of the new drug being available in India shortly. I don't think it's the same as the one MSF are referring to, but hopefully it'll be of some help to the people here.

Khakranagla village - prositution is the tradition for women here

I can't find the online article for this one yet.. will search later this week and re-post if they upload it.

A Rajasthan village where prostitution is tradition
by Saira Kurup / TNN
from Sunday Times of India, New Delhi
July 9 2006
page 7

[quote]
" Bharatpur: Khakranagla village is only about 200 km from Delhi. Yet, the village is a microcosm of rural India - ramshackle houses, non-functional primary school and no health care facilities. Electricity arrived here just two years ago. But what makes it different is that it's inhabited by a number of families of the Bedia caste who have, for long, been identified with prostitution.

Traditionally, Bedias and Nats were dancers in Rajasthan and MP. Being entertainers, it was customary for the women and girls to perform for feudal lords. When the zamindari system was abolished, they lost their patrons. Over time, a number of Bedia women were compelled to take up prostitution for economic reasons and the men lived off their earnings.

Adolescent girls are initiate into the family 'tradition', while their brothers become 'agents'. They may practice locally, on highways, or in big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai as bar girls or in brothels. Marriage is rare for the girls, but once married, they aren't permitted to take clients.

According to Prof K K Mukherjee, former head of department of social work, DU, "There are 91 families in Khakranagla. Of these, 75 are of Nat, bedia and Guijjar castes - 46 of them engage in sex work." Mukkherjee heads an NGO that's trying to prevent young girls from taking up prostitution in eight villages in Bharatpur district.

In a 2004 study of sex workers in India, which he undertook on behalf of the Department of Women and Child Development, Mukherjee found that the number of Bedia sex workers in Delhi's red light area, G B Road, was increasing. He attributes this to loss of livelihood, established networks and men's interest in continuance of the system because of easy availability of money.

Classified as a Scheduled Caste, Bedias may be deemed poor. But in Khakranagla, there are signs of a consumerist lifestyle coming up - multi-storied houses, linoleum floors, young girls in capris and mobile phones.

However, more than the need for income, the community is worried about social ostracism. Villagers say they don't receive ny benefits of the reservation policy. Ravinder Kumar, an unemployed graduate, says, "The moment they (employers) see the Bedia name, they set aside our job applications." Kumar says no person from the village has been able to get a job with the Rajasthan government. Bedia children are taunted and discriminated against in schools, he adds.

Kumar's brother Om Prakash, a former panchayat samiti member, says, "Don't give us money. Give us work. Give us our own leader. We don't have any political representative to speak fo us." He asks, "Why are we being stigmatised when there are other castes doing the same work?"

They claim that mindsets are changing - some girls in the village have got married, while some 80 young girls from nearby villages study at a residential school run by Mukherjee's NGO in Roopvas village. There are parents too who want daughters sheltered from their lifestyle.

But gaining social acceptance is another battle altogether. "
[/quote]

wow. my mind was racing whilst reading this article. it's just SO FOREIGN to me. for a start I don't understand all the different castes here in India and why, in this day and age, that they are still around. when you talk to people at work they say there's no caste system any more, but they each know what caste they are from.

just the fact that these women have had to support themselves and men from prostitution and pass this on to their daughters is crazy to me. plus the fact that villagers are discriminated against for being Bedia and cannot get work. there's just so many things worng with all the things mentioned in this article! and perhaps it is naive of me to say that, after seeing how some people live here in Delhi, but it shouldn't be this way!!! and I'm surprised and disheartened that locals here don't put an end to it. it can't all be the government's fault as seems to be the case (or at least they are blamed) for other conditions.

I'd like to find out more about the NGO that is working with the women and people of the village. googling the village name returns no results as does searching for the Professor's name and NGO.. I'll try contacting the paper for the journalists name, perhaps they know the name of the NGO.

and another thing.. how ironic is it that this article in the paper lies next to the 'Check Mate' dating and matramonial advertisements, and a couple of columns next to an ad for Ganga International School where "your child is our child" and "SUNCITY Jaipur" - "A contemporary township that's ready to create history". under the article is an ad for "Canton City" - "A luxurious township"

craziness

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