Siddhi Goel


There have been long ongoing debates on whether there should be established laws governing the work conditions during internships. While some argue that anything and everything that an intern does is part of their learning experience and they should be prepared for it. Those against it say that while an intern works for experience, making him/her slog for 10 hours is never justified in the name of “learning”.

The crux of all labour laws is, that if you’re making someone work, then at least pay them for it. However, this is precisely the reason why laws for interns were ignored initially. In an organization, the workers need the company administration as much as the company administration needs them. Therefore, there is greater incentive on the company’s part to look into the needs of the workers. However, in case of internships, the interns need the company for a lot of things, like resume strength, connections and recommendations, while the company is not in as desperate need of interns as it is for workers.

Thereafter, the companies started using interns for the work (often clerical) that they’d otherwise hire a professional for. Mostly this work involves getting coffees, photocopies, etc. Doing these tasks is obviously futile and doesn’t serve the purpose of learning that the interns usually enrolled for.

Saheba, a first year student of Daulat Ram college says, “I interned with a marketing firm this summer. But if I look back, most of my work time was spent in getting photocopies done, buying stationery, etc. While I don’t think that any work is lowly, those tasks were not what I had enrolled for and I’d certainly liked if I could have spent more time studying about my field”

Interns in the UK are entitled to a minimum wage and the only people who are exempt from it are students working on mandatory school projects. In various other countries, similar rules apply because it is widely accepted that an intern is at the end of the day a worker, is contributing in some way, and therefore needs to be paid.

However, not all internship experiences are bad. Sudipta, of Gujarat National Law University did a law internship this summer and according to her, “she learned a lot by working with two senior lawyers and gained valuable experience”.

But the possibility of witnessing both sides of the coin is precisely the reason why there is greater need for such a law. We can’t let things hang in the loom because its sheer luck that a person lands up in a fruitful internship. There need to be mechanisms in place which an intern can turn to incase he/she is unhappy with the way things are going

The need for labour laws for interns is thus two-fold- One that covers the working conditions and second, the quality of work being given. While the first reason is fairly clear, that limits the working hours of an intern, that provides remunerations for the spending and travel cost, the second one remains a major bone of contention.

The working conditions can be clearly defined and implemented and it will make the work experience of the interns much more organized and regularized. The quality of work being given to the intern is the larger problem. It often happens that a student enrolled for a content writing internship and instead just ended up doing photocopies and bringing coffees and walking the boss’s dog. Therefore, stricter monitoring rules need to be established wherein the company is taking undue advantage of the unpaid intern’s condition, he/she can report against it.

Image credit: Free Digital Photos

Amidst the wave of liberalism that is taking feminism, LGBTQ rights, tribal rights and so on, along with it to the forefront of social issues in our lived reality, a lit of hushed up issues that were not spoken about thirty odd years ago have gained spotlight in the media and common culture. From portraying gay characters for comic timing in television serials and movies to finally accepting their existence as equal and ordinary. For every man who thinks a woman’s body is her own, there will be others who will want a virgin bride. There will still be others who will want dowry along with a wife; and many more who think a woman’s body is the absolute possession of the husband.

In the last 30 years or so, the common Indian family has become more open and accepting of the space feminists want to grant women. Literary festivals, liberal arts courses, social and political activism has opened up various possibilities to start talking about issues that need our attention and break the hush and silence woven around them. In Shabana Azmi’s words, the solution is to first at least start talking about issues of shaming and defaming. It is only now that we have initiated talks in open about menstruation.

Shame on Instagram, for removing a picture put up by Rupi Kaur of her menstrual strain, not once, but twice. Kudos to Rupi Kaur for speaking about it, for words are free, and should be so.

Shame on Aligarh muslim university for saying that women distract the men in the library , and shame on all those who called Suzette Jordan not by her name but instead labelling her as “park street rape victim”.

Shame on every parent who chose to invest in their daughter’s marriage rather than her education, and shame on all the people who think women are biologically weaker. There is no biology, it’s pure social conditioning and its power to control your mind.
Shame on all those who think women belong in the kitchen, shame on all those who think menstruating women are impure.
Shame on all those who feel a woman should be behind the veil, shame on all those who think women are sex objects.

Shame on the media for showing Aishwarya Rai’s post pregnancy weight gain as Breaking news, and shame on the frenzied cricket fans for shaming Anushka Sharma as the cause of India’s defeat in World Cup ’15.

Shame on the husbands who leave the household chores for their wives and smart up for office very day, and shame on the beauty industries who’re hell bent on making women unsatisfied with their bodies and looks. Shame on all those who think single women above 30 must have some “problem ” because they’re not getting married, because being asexual is also a choice, and so is being single.

Patriarchy has long governed us, and still is, and will continue to, if we don’t make a conscious effort to examine our ideologies and see whether we’re saying or doing in any way furthers the cause of social change, or pushes it back.
We need to stop looking at LGTBQ as “right turned wrong”, or “straight turned twisted”. We need to stop looking at women who choose to not have babies as independent and capable of making their own decision, and not as women who suffer from feminine “aberrations”. We need to stop looking at full time artists as being unproductive and respect the fact that some people have the courage to move away from the 9-5 job live for their passion, and maybe if you did the same, you’d respect them too.
Let’s open up. Let’s begin a discussion. Let’s initiate a dialogue. Let’s accept that everyone deserves a life of dignity, of respect, of integrity, and limitless passion and happiness. Of fulfillment, of prosperity, of failure and hardships, but most importantly, a life lived by one’s own principles. A life worth remembering.
Bol, ke lab azaad hai tere:
Bol, zabaan ab tak teri hai,
Tera sutwan jism hai tera
Bol, ke jaan ab tak teri hai.
Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaan mein
Tund hai shu’le, surkh hai aahan,
Khulne-lage quflon ke dahane,
Phaila hare k zanjeer ka daaman.
Bol, ye thora waqt bahut hai,
Jism o zabaan ki maut se pahle;
Bol, ke sach zinda hai ab tak –
Bol, jo kuchh kahna hai kah-le!

Why must we read poetry? Ah, poetry. We’ve all read our fair share of poetry in school, and some of us took with ourselves till later in life. In my opinion, C.B.S.E. pretty much killed literature. Beautiful stories of great aesthetic pleasure by writers of great calibre were reduced to mere two marker questions based on entirely factual premises. What mattered was not why John Keats thought of nature as a source of everlasting beauty and joy, but what did John Keats describe as the perennial source of joy. While examining the why of it would have introduced the students to the literary and historical movement of Romanticism which not only marked a significant shift in the kind of writing that was coming out during that time, but also introduces us to newer notion of imagination and perceived reality and Enlightenment.

But all this never happened. We were never exposed to the magic of Neruda and the  realism of Marquez and the assertiveness of the female suffragette movement through real literature. Neither were we taught how so badass some women in history have been . All this is very conveniently put aside in the subject matter of arts and political theory, with the apparent assumption that this is not important for students of other subjects to know.

I feel, no matter which subject we’re studying, it won’t do us any harm to learn about feminism, to learn Marxism, to learn about patriarchy, caste system, religion based dominance and violence. Rather, it will only help us being more active and engaged citizens of a seemingly dormant society. It will make us more sensitive to the problems around us, it will make us more akin to identifying loop holes in our system, and work to change it, than just being just another brick in the wall.

Film maker Leslee Udwin’s documentary titled “India’s Daughter” was recently released on YouTube and has been the subject of much controversy ever since. The high amount of attention that the documentary has seen all this while is not only because it is based on the highly sensitive and soul stirring incident of Nirbhaya’s rape case, but also because the Indian government sought to ban its release in India, saying it was a sensitive issue and does not bring about a good impression of the country.

The problem with this issue exists in multiple levels. The problem is not only with the neo politic “White man’s burden” manifesting itself in a decolonized world, but also of the over bearing stamp of censorship that curtails a particular kind of political thought to pervade into the public sphere.
Since time immemorial, patriarchy has sought to enslave women in roles of motherhood, sisterhood, and daughterhood as ways of legitimising the restrictions put upon them.
The very first problem that catches my eye is the title of the documentary, which mentions “daughters”.For example, “You’re a single mother of 40 years age. How can you go out partying alone at night?” By using relationships and moral codes of conduct as the sole criterion to define a woman’s identity, and by naming a woman with her father’s and subsequently husband’s stamp surname, we have very gradually and efficiently developed what the defence lawyer of Nirbhaya rapists M.L. Sharma called “the best culture in the world”, where we have “no place for women”
The women of India, are not India’s daughters, they’re people, they’re human beings without any burdens of imposed relationships upon them. One of the most vehement protests by Feminists across the world have been against the use of statements like ,”she is somebody’s mother/daughter/sister, think before harassing her”. Point being, she doesn’t deserve respect because she is someone’s mother/daughter/sister, but because she is someone, and that is enough to give her the dignity she deserves in a civil society.
When M.L. Sharma says that women are precious diamonds that need to be protected, he’s doing nothing but projecting the rather perverse mentality of patriarchy that reduces women to objects that need protection and care because through social conditioning you’ve made them realise they can’t take care of themselves alone and will be always dependent on a man for financial, emotional and physical support. This highly hypo critic stance is disguised in the form of chivalry that romanticises the figure of Knight in shining armour because women influenced by patriarchy are ready to become the Damsels in distress.
Yes, statistics point towards the increasing cases of rape and a large female population of the country faces exploitation in various modes and disguises, but that does’t take away the individuality of the woman and neither does that make her a daughter of the country.
This according to me is the primary problem of patriarchy-it affects women as much as men, and in such a way that they don’t realise the point when they themselves become the spokespersons for the ideology out there to bring civilised society to its ruins.Speaking of civilised society, another issue that irked me was the launch of the global campaign of India’s Daughters with the core issue being this documentary.
Why is a global campaign being launched in India’s name?
While we may argue that women in India are far better off than women in Islamic States, or the cases of wife beating in USA are more than in Europe, it is not the way to go. We’re not competing for tragedy. The solution is not to focus upon one country. Patriarchy is a universal plague. Models campaigning for size zero in Paris is as obscene as a family demanding dowry in India.
The white countries have assumed a burden upon themselves to civilise this exotic Eastern land of India. Udwin called the nirbhaya uprising as India’s Arab Spring. No, this is not India’s Arab Spring, this is India’s own coming of age movement. Cultural appropriation that transcends geographical boundaries to the extent that it ignores the subjectivities of different subaltern cultures and seeks to define one always in relation with the other is problematic in a new colonial set up.
The solution is not to put blanket assumptions about the men of India being rape friendly and but rather opening up a larger debate on cross cultural parameters that determine the growth of patriarchal mentalities and how in every country and culture there should be different ways to curb these anti social elements, rather than putting India in the limelight as the country symbolising exploitation of women

India’s classical art traditions of dance and music are widely popular not just for their soulful renditions but also because of the strong influence they’ve had in the development of Indian aesthetic traditions. Like a lot of disciplines in India, Indian classical arts also trace a divine origin and the history of their origins often sees an interesting blur between the line dividing mythological time and cosmological time. For instance, the Mahabharata was written at a time when the humans had started recording time, but according to faith, actually happened in mythological time, which doesn’t have a scientific proof but a proof validated by faith and religion. Similarly, to give another example, Indian music is said to have originated with Brahma naad or the sound of OM that was chanted by Lord Brahma, thus again blurring real time and mythological time, since you can’t place the existence of Brahma in the man-made calendar; according to religion it is even before humanity as it exists today came upon earth.


Further, the beginning of the training is always with invocations in the form of vandal or bhajan dedicated to particular Hindu gods and goddesses. Even the beginnings of most recitals are with devotional invocations. Students are taught to worship Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of music and dance. The proscenium theatre is seen not as an entertainment ground but as a temple where you’re supposed to pay your respect to the gods.


As a Kathak dancer myself, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with this super imposed characterisation. As an artist, it is important to keep the freedom of expression in mind and allow the scope for the artist’s own aesthetic theories to develop.


The election results of the Dilli Vidhan Sabha polls have turned quite a few heads. From handing a groundbreaking victory to AAP with great majority, to the dramatic dwindling of BJP to 3 seats and the reduction of Congress to zero, these elections have definitely been about the rise of the underdogs. While AAP in itself is not a perfect political party and does not seem to promise cent percent efficiency, what it does very effectively is demonstrate a political will to move away from corrupt and communal political maneuverings.

Arvind Kejriwal’s abrupt resignation in February 2014 raised many eyebrows and led an enormous number of people to lose faith in him and question his political capacities. Following this, the party was publicly defamed by the media and political colleagues alike and Kejriwal’s public image was slandered. The party retreated in its cocoon but kept working from the margins, slowly regaining the lost faith of the public.

The sweeping victory of Narendra Modi in the General Elections last year attracted many eyeballs to Modi’s model of development. Offering a fresh outlook on governance, Modi promised a way out of the mess of corruption and scandals that Congress had enmeshed the country in. However, as BJP settled in, it also led to a rise of pro Hindutva groups such as VHP and RSS that doled out xenophobic, sexist and fascist comments on a frequent basis. The attacks on pubs and moral policing of Valentine’s Day and the change in education syllabi to suit the ulterior political motives of Hindutva did not go down well with the intellectually motivated sections of society. In such a scenario, AAP offered a new perspective, an opportunity to create a level playing field, to move away from capital dominated politics, and construct an arena that promises optimum representation of maximum groups.

However, what remains to be seen is how AAP achieves its near impossible promises of full statehood to Delhi or passing the Jan Lokpal Bill in contradiction to the Union’s Lokpal Bill 2013 even with majority this time. The recent elections offer a timely opportunity to BJP to introspect and fall back to the agenda of development that gave them an astounding victory in 2014 and curb the menace created by these pro Hindutva groups.

So we’re all familiar with what happened to the All India Bakchod Knockout show of Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor. A lot of us saw the show, laughed, booed, and then calmly shut down our laptops to get back to our work.

But some of us belong to a different species, some of us are the special ones.

Unlike us, instead of going back to the daily routine, they decided to push our society back to a space where freedom of expression doesn’t exist, where you don’t exercise the convenience to speak out your mind. These are the people who increasingly make us realise, that amidst a growing, largely liberal youth population, there exists a bunch of conservatives who seize every opportunity to make us believe otherwise.

Why? I feel, why do they do this? What do they get from it? A sense of power, maybe. A rather obscene form of self glorification that stems from a subconscious satisfaction of making India a better place. By tracing a divine origin of Indian culture and values, they’ve enslaved India in a fixed time and space that treats everything modern and new as opposed to the mythical Indian culture they seek to preserve.

What is obscene? And what is so annoying about the entry of “obscene” language into the public domain? How hard is it to accept that what was hushed up earlier is now slowly finding vents in the public? And what is so bad about it?

Sex. Sex. There, I’ll say it again, sex.

For the love of logic, what is obscene about it? Whether I say it or I don’t, it doesn’t disprove/approve its existence, it merely makes a statement- that my ideologies, and my lifestyle are not to be governed by how you choose it to be. And it really is as simple as that.

The day we get this simple logic right, our society will not be messed up by baseless arguments like these, and then maybe, just maybe, artists can imagine artistic endeavours not tainted with fear. Fear of the illogical Indian, who, in his own stuck up value system, seeks to imprison others in a mythical Utopia that will take us nowhere except back in time and development.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is not only Asia’s largest literary festival but also one of the most favoured destinations for college excursions, especially among students of Humanities. Apart from boasting of a fantastic entourage of scholars and writers from across the world, the festival also has in its store musical nights that see performances by artists from Coke Studio drawing huge student fan base.

Here is a list of pocket friendly essentials that will make the festival more accessible to students:

 1. Getting to Jaipur

  • Alternative One – By Bus

The Bikaner House at India Gate and the ISBT have buses at regular intervals commuting between Delhi and Jaipur. While the AC buses will charge around INR 600, the non AC bus will charge approximately INR 300-400. The most preferred journey is overnight bus travel.

  • Alternative Two – By Road

The Delhi-Jaipur National Highway 8 is a well maintained route and a very favored route among routine travelers. The journey takes about 5-6 hours.

The ‘by road’ map of Delhi – Jaipur travel, estimated time, alternative routes and toll barriers. Courtesy: Google Maps

  • Alternative Three- By Train

The easiest and cheapest mode of commutation is the double-decker train, charging INR 500. The train leaves Delhi in the evening and takes about 5-6 hours to reach, and leaves Jaipur early morning to reach Delhi by 9 usually. Apart from that, numerous long route trains to mumbai have Jaipur as their halt station.


2. Weather in Jaipur

The weather of Jaipur is largely like that of New Delhi’s. However, following is the forecast by Weather Channel for the 4 days the Literature Festival is going on.




3. Staying at Jaipur

Jaipur is a city where you can find hotel rooms ranging from INR 600-2000.

  •  Alternative One -Hotel Aditya

Slightly on the expensive side, this hotel is a well reputed and safe place to stay and offers good accommodation. An average room costs about INR 3000 for 2 persons

  • Alternative Two – Government guest houses

There are several guesthouses in Jaipur that are well within the pocket and offer comfortable stays. They are quite popular with students as they are easy on the budget and are reliable too.


To everyone visiting/planning to visit Jaipur Literature Festival 2015, all the best, enjoy, hope the essentials come handy for you!



Language is seen as the most basic function of human existence. Whether it is verbal language, sign language, body language, we can’t seem to survive without this system of communication. Going one step further, several schools of feminism have argued that the very conception and evolution of language is patriarchal in its construction and reflects the sexist and misogynist attitudes of the society at large. They argue that the creation of language structures, which seem value neutral on a superficial level, have hidden patriarchal meanings which can be found once one delves deeper.

Words like ‘hysteria’ are thrown as abuses on women. Hysteria, which the Victorian Age mannerism defined as a trait typical to women, perceives the ‘eccentricities’ of women as madness and labels them as mental disorders that need to be ‘cured’. Some Psychoanalysts have interpreted these behavior traits as outcomes of female anxiety in a male dominant set up, however the patriarchal structure by labeling them as hysteria classifies these traits as stereotypical and insulting. The word hysteria comes from the latin word ‘hyster’ which means womb; something very specific to women.

Take the the word ‘seminal’, it means something of high relevance and importance. For example, a seminal article, a seminal work of research; we prefix the word seminal to something to significance. The word comes from the term ‘semen’, which is an essentially male fluid, thereby reiterating the gendered meaning of words.
Even in our general usage of language, we don’t realize how we begin to reflect faulty socio-cultural realities. For example, ‘katori’ is a smaller utensil, whereas ‘katora’ becomes the bigger size of the same kind of utensil. Similarly, ‘chamchi’ and ‘chamcha’- how the stronger, tough, big in size objects immediately become masculine in nature whereas smaller, petite items are the coy, feminine aspects.

What is the need of the hour is to think about these subtle hints of sexism and make sure they don’t affect our thinking, and make a conscious attempt to not perpetuate gender stereotyping.

In the past, Kaun Banega Crorepati has emerged as a hallmark and representative of middle class aspirations and sensibilities. Its tagline “Koi bhi insaan chhota nahi hota” appropriately marks the class consciousness.

Several Right Wing politicians emphasize upon a Hindu consciousness that has developed in India through the ages. While I accept that there is an overwhelming majority of Hindus in India, a conscious seclusion of the marginalized communities from the larger collective ‘Indian’ consciousness can never be justified.

Coming directly to KBC, I have watched KBC over the past many seasons and have a noticed a pattern in the kind of questions that come up.

Some examples are as follows-

1)    Season 8, Episode 1

Q. Which of the following Gods is known as Gauri Nandan?

a) Agni, b)Ganesh, c)Indra, d)Hanuman

2) Season 8, Episode 4

Q. Which queen did Draupadi, the wife of five pandavas, serve in the guise of Sairandhri for one year?

a. Sanjana b. Satyavati c. Satyabhama d. Sudeshna

All of these above questions and several others across various seasons are drawn from Hindu mythology. KBC is supposed to test your general knowledge; being adept at mythological stories is not a sign of your intelligence or awareness.

It is assumed that an “Indian” will obviously know that which God is known as Gauri Nandan, because the Hindu mythology automatically coincides with the Indian set of history. Why is a Parsi supposed to know who was the uncle of Ghatotkach? The common line that everyone is a Hindu by virtue of being an Indian needs to be done away with. Is it too much to ask to have a relatively neutral set of quiz questions that do not involve religion?

And the most ridiculous question according to me-

Q. Which of the following actors has Alia Bhatt not kissed on screen?

And the question was for Rs.80,000. You know there is something wrong with the nation when a soldier dies at the border and his family is given Rs.50,000 compensation and the common person gets Rs.80,000 for observing the intimate scenes of Alia Bhatt.

Need I say more?