Sunday, November 20, 2011

No more slangs: it may land you in jail…….……….really?


The last page of the newspaper  The Hindu always offers some amusing news for me . Today was no exception. I was pleasantly “surprised” when I read the news “Pakistan bans 1,695 words on cellphone” ( see The news report gave a strong suggestion that activists within Pakistan have condemned it. True, in any democratic country the government can not ban the freedom of expression unless it falls within the strict criteria of constitutionally frame-worked “banned words”. Further, the government can not suomotu shut the mouth of citizens unless it has been proved that some one/group of people are really hurt and such activities will bring in huge chaos in the country. But the news report further suggested that Pakistan government has taken this decision after a series of court orders came out  “favoring reasonable restrictions on the freedom of speech” . The Pakistan telecom authority (PTA) has ordered for content filtering for all the mobile phone service providers of some words including words like “Jesus Christ”.  Well, if this act is done to prevent mobile harassment especially for women, I am for it ( off course not for curbing other words which do not carry offending or sexually harassing or obscene motives). But one needs to see that whether this act of the government resulted from huge complaints from women regarding this. In India sending offensive communications via digital media is considered as an offence under section 66A. Along with this Section 509 of the IPC is  also  used in some cases when modesty of women are targeted, i.e, they are targeted with words which actually sounds very nasty. Not to forget the power of sections 69 and 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2008, which gives enough power to the government for intercepting, monitoring and even blocking the free flowing of informations through digi-tech services; India can also probably take up such action as her neighbor to prevent individuals from using slangs targeting women.   

Now, coming to the arguments against such government acts, I will sum up my points as below:

1.      women are targeted with slang words, men are neither spared. It has become a new fashion among some people to use abusive words, including slangs while texting or even speaking with friends……forget about the heated up arguments which often carry ‘unwanted words’.

2.     How far the government can check? Checking the usage of  words with double meaning  will become a huge task. Probably for this a new academic course would be needed to study the changing trend of  words with black and white meanings. Don’t forget, we in this peninsula speak both English and vernacular language and majority have excellent ability to use “Hinglish” to express thoughts.

3.     We get to see so much ***ing words/images in popular social networking sites which are hugely shared and also enjoyed by many of us… would government go ahead with banning these social networking sites too? Well, once Pakistan did ban Facebook for insulting Islam. But in India no such act was taken except the 2006 ban on an Orkut community which triggered tension for insulting the great Maratha king Chatrapati Shivaji. But note that Orkut as a site was not banned.

It is no wonder that the concept of unprotected speech and expression, seen from the aspect of Article 19(2)(v) under Indian constitution is becoming more narrowed. This provision speaks about curbing right to speech on the ground of morality and indecency. But at the same time, it lies upon the users of the free speech guarantee to use it in a proper fashion, so that the government need not step in to curb the right. Once the individual users, irrespective of their gender, decide the level of decency for usage of language themselves, the problem of objectionable words and government’s “Big Brother” attitude towards free speech guarantee may be  set at rest to a certain extent…..if not fully.     

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “No more slangs: it may land you in jail…….……….really?”20th November,2011, published in


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pesky calls…..and some simple ways to deal with it


I had a writer’s block. Exactly when I was searching for a solution, came an idea through a phone call. It was a pesky call for others, a ‘thought provoking’ call for me. A male voice conveyed the message that he loves me. Well, I was not taken aback. I have dealt with such cases and I know how amazing it may sound like when one young individual gets such phone calls for the first time. But when it involves women who do not want to entertain such callers, the experience is definitely not good. If it is a mobile number and the owner is very cautious about the privacy, it could be presumed that there would be no such pesky calls to disturb her. But this myth is easily broken when such tightly shielded privacy is suddenly broken. One may wonder how these phone numbers are publicized especially for pranksters like the guys who called me a couple of hours ago. Well, it is not the result of data mining, neither a part of stalking; I presume it is part of festive fun. It is chosen game for many youngsters to make calls to random numbers when some plan for a get together. When a woman’s voice is heard, these pranksters immediately start showing off the ‘Romeo’ inside them. Some of their targets get scared, some take it very seriously and threaten the callers to take it to the police if again they try such tactics; some transfer the phone to the male members of the family to deal with the matter in a ‘manly’ way and some become permanent victims because they don’t want to get anyone’s help thinking that the whole blame would be put on them. The last category of ‘targets’ are always ‘chosen’ types for pranksters as they feel these recipients are reliable targets; they will not bring in any trouble for their (annoying) fun time.
            But how to deal with it? There are ways ….not one, but multiple ways to tackle them; complaining to the police with the received call records, approaching the man directly through lawyer’s help,changing number and even avoiding the number when it rings , etc. But the problem does not really end here. The woman needs to be strong enough to deal with it. I did a counter prank when these guys were ‘playing’ with my privacy and testing my patience. I gave the device to my Mr. Right and we decided to make it the biggest Diwali fun. The soft voice informed this ‘festive season lover’ that he has jumped in front of the gun; but anyway, we are willing to help him because we are THE police station. Well, we really are, as it is my job to record the patterns of approaches so that I can contribute for a better law. Did he blink? Did he go blank? Did he faint? Probably. Because there were no more phone calls and my ‘lover’ switched off his phone in between.
Hope all of you there had a wonderful Diwali.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “Pesky calls…..and some simple ways to deal with it
, 27thOctober,2011, published in

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be aware of online mischief mongers


Not all come to the net for networking, increasing business rapport or discussing some serious issues which may include academic discussions, burning social discussions or even chit-chats. Some even come for satisfying their sexual passion too. Yes, internet IS the place where one can hide under anonymity and satisfy him/herself in a manner that was unthinkable even a couple of years back. In my six long years of extensively browsing the net and networking, I have encountered many men species of this kind. I do not shy away from discussing one such incidence which made me to “grow up” as a woman in the internet. It happened before the Facebook era when Orkut won the hearts of millions of Indians. I was no exception. The concept of privacy was in its infanthood and any one could chat, send friend’s request and see personal albums of anyone. I was approached by some fellow net users who felt that I look “attractive”. There were some more  messages which could make any woman’s cheek flush with anger, deep insult and a feeling of guilt……yes you read it correctly…feeling of guilt….for why did I not choose to be a “man” in the net. May be a profile picture of one of the great Khans, could save me. I instantly deleted my profile to get rid of the problem.… I discussed the issue with my husband who is a criminologist himself. Why some men prefer to communicate in this fashion which brings out their ugly passion for sexual chats with unknown women? Why do they choose internet as a platform to do this? The simple answer is, such men love to use the net to relax in a mischievous manner. These sorts of men randomly choose women’s profile to be friends with, to chat and satisfy their own sexual pleasure in this unique way. Well, the trend has not died down still now. It remains and will remain. 
As a lawyer and a researcher, I know every one has the “rights to sexual pleasure”. But there lies THE point. One can not use such language or activities which may sound/appear  offensive, obscene or sexually explicit to others. It is not uncommon situation where such men grow very angry when they do not receive proper response from the women with whom they are communicating. Resultant, they may start hurling chosen abusive language and even threaten the women to disclose the whole chat session in the web. Where does the whole stuff land then? From mischievous sexual pranks to serious cajoling of the women to ugly name calling and then finally to angry messages which convey nothing but threat to the woman in question……all in a day’s work you say ! Our Indian laws do make such communications illegal and penal. Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) makes it illegal and penal to convey such offensive messages. Along with this, the Indian Penal Code also offers other legal provisions to teach the prankster a lesson, depending upon the nature of the conversation; not to forget  the  provisions scripted under section 67 series of the Indian information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) , compounded with each other, which  can curb the ugly part of the right to sexual pleasure.
This Durga puja season may see many women browsing the net more than browsing the puja pandals  and the Durga temples. So all the daughters of Durga, be careful when you accidentally or even casually bump on such “asuras”, for awareness is the best weapon.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “Be aware of online mischief mongers”, 6thOctober,2011, published in

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The body language counts

Recently I was working on one of my papers on sexting. When I started searching for literature and related informations , I came across many sites ……… networking sites to be precise, where men and women are depicted as ‘entertaining objects’ for sexually gratifying the site’s viewers. Many of these sites had links titled ‘amateur videos’. I did not have time to research whether these links were really ‘amateur’ or they were created by matured revenge takers. But this is for sure that many women do fall in the pit due to such video communications. Some sites like Yahoo messenger, Skype , Gtalk etc , provide this unique opportunity to see and talk to ‘friends’, relatives, colleagues etc. Now a days such video communications have become easily accessible, which was unthinkable even 15 years back. But the truth is, this ‘easy accessibility’ has made the users of the modern communication device ‘feel free’ when in front of the computer screen. No, it is not the pre teens, teenagers or young adults alone, who may expose their skin too much in video chatting sessions, but  adult male and females also may expose themselves too much .
In my earlier blogs, I had written about how women tend to fall prey to sexually pervert ‘boyfriends’. One must remember that being emotionally over powered by some one completely unknown ( and even known acquaintances too) and exposing oneself in front of the web cam may be a foolish job that one may repent for later. At the same time, users, especially women must not exhibit such body language in front of the webcam that can be (mis)construed to mean that the women is actually ‘inviting’. Such body languages may include  intentionally bending too much in front of the camera by which  cleavages or parts of the breasts can be seen, throwing flying kisses (especially when a person completely unknown to the woman is chatting),  removing of the dress or parts of the dress and cuddling up the pillow when chatting etc. I know many women feel free in front of the computer when known friends appear for chat over the blue screen. But in the Skype especially, one can capture still pictures from video chattings. One can even record the whole video chatting  without letting the other user know that she is being ‘recorded’. This indeed gives a broad chance for misuse of ‘friendship’. In India, the penal code may restrict any such video clipping, still pictures etc , published in the   net which may portray women  in  obscene and vulgar fashion, by tagging it as ‘harming the modesty of women’ under section 509; the Information Technology Act may restrict such images by tagging it as conveying obscenity under section 67A and above all, the Indecent Representation of women Act may also be pulled in to save the woman in question. But do remember, voluntary invitation of trouble by using bad  body language will inevitably land the victim in deeper trouble even if there are laws to prevent to floating of such ‘moments’ in the net. Many women do repent the ‘opening up’ later. Hence  be casual  yet formal when in front of the webcam. Do not let anyone take advantage of your feminity  and do not convey the message that ‘I am available for messy situations’.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “The body language counts”, 11th July,2011, published in

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Every Woman Should Know About Orkut

In the late 2006 when I joined Orkut on the pursuance of a very close friend of mine, I found this particular site as an open gallery to show case pictures, and friend’s comments. Nonetheless, I found out very good  “communities” to discuss about varieties of affairs too. But in 2006 /7 the security of the data fed in the social networking sites was very poor compared to today’s security measures taken by these Social networking sites. As such, I had many “visitors” who wanted to befriend me in weird types. No doubt, those who have been using Orkut since then must have experienced similar things. But the irony is, in 2011 also, women have to experience similar  bad encounters in Orkut. Nonetheless, Orkut has developed quite a few security measures for the users, but many of the users may remain oblivious of them. Hence, when in Orkut, check the followings:
  1. To protect your wall from being viewed by others including your friends, use the new version of Orkut. You may notice a “lock” sign after each post that is made by you. That is the privacy sign. Once you click “lock”, the communication would be visible to you and only the person to whom you have communicated.
  2. Recheck your privacy settings. Do not let others “find” you from the web. You can control this by reediting your privacy set up.
  3. If you wish to show your pictures to the world, make sure that you do not exhibit your private pictures. Create separate album for the public and separate album for your friends only.
  4. Use pseudo names if you need to protect your identity .
  5. Do not let others to handle your account.
  6. In your favorite community, use the words carefully. Remember, provoked men and women may see you as a perpetual ‘nuisance’.
  7. There will be men and women who may have ‘adult contents’ in their profiles. Do not try to befriend them to know why they have created such profiles unless you are seriously interested to fall in the trap. You may see requests from these profiles to befriend you. Besides saying “No”, you must also ignore and block them so that they do not disturb you in future. The profiles pages of these profiles will show you the options to ignore /block them on the left hand side.
  8. If you see your profile has been hacked or your pictures had been misused, do not try to hack the faulty profiles. Remember, it may not serve any purpose and it will anger the mischief monger more.

Happy Orkutting.

Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “What every woman should know about Orkut ”, 6th May,2011, published in

Thursday, May 5, 2011



In this digi-courtship era, the worst nightmare one may expect is to break the promises for eternal love. But this is what every digi-lover must be prepared for. There are umpteen numbers of ‘love-windows’ ; for example, the SMSs, mobile phone  calls, internet chat options like the Yahoo chat messengers, Gtalk, etc to name a few. Easy accessibility to the private contact numbers and  the usage of proper language, be what vernacular medium it may, and enchanting human voice( in cases of audio chat options) could make the trick. And the human mind………………………… easily it can be duped.. Not very long ago I read news clipping in one of the regional newspapers that one person attempted to commit suicide when he understood that he can’t really go ahead with this “platonic” relationship. True, man or woman ………both can be duped by beautiful communicative, persuasive languages. However,  not to forget, sometimes some clever ‘romeos’ and even ‘juliets’ also provide good pictures which may or may not be their own. The heavenly feeling of being in love breaks when one partner dumps another for no valid reasons.
I had once read a very good scholarly article by Monica Whitty on online romance and cheating. Ironically, we Indians used to think that this happens only in the US. But look at the reality now, almost half of my readers in India would have experienced such false cupid attacks either directly or indirectly. In India, we women especially, can’t take this sudden hollowness in the relationship as strongly as our counterparts in the western countries may do. The feeling of being in love is the most sacred and purest feeling. Our mythology tells how Meera and Andal loved Krishna. None could really enjoy his company as his consort Radha did. But these two women are worshipped because of their unconditional pure love to some one whom they believed to be the truth of their lives. I find  digi-love affairs quite the same as that of Meera’s love for Krishna. The lover feels heavenly even if she has not seen the partner or she could not enjoy his physical company ……….. but with one big difference… Lord Krishna kept his promises to make his love immortal; the digi-age lovers break their promises to make the immortal feeling very much mortal. The hard and bitter truth is, the heavenly feeling has been reduced to merely earthly feeling when communication was made much easier through digital technologies. When in a stressed office atmosphere, a good female voice could really feel like a splash of fresh cool breeze.. This is vice versa for women walking on tight ropes as well. We humans tend to fall on unknown shoulders when we need to express our anxiety, expectations etc.In these circumstances, I have noticed that men and women often feel like running away from the existing relationships , perhaps to find some one new, who had never heard about them. Problem begins here. When such communications turn to lovy dovy chats, one may obviously feel that a peculiar feeling of trust is being born every time he/she talks with this stranger. In women this feeling could be stronger. But when this trust suddenly evaporates, it hurts; for, there are so many new ways to suddenly close the windows…. The man on the opposite side may change his SIM to avoid the calls, may change his virtual identity, and may even treat the duped woman ghastly by shattering her image in front of the whole world.   Well, known devils are better than unknown ones, and this maxim stands true in the digi-age, because law can probably compensate for the broken promises, but the broken heart takes it very long to understand that promises in this digi –age are not to be kept.
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “Promises are made to be broken”, 6th May,2011, published in

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Grooming the woman for bad

Grooming the adult women had remained a much unrecognized trend of unethical cyber conduct. Often it is thought that it is the children who can be groomed for the purpose of cyber pornography. I defy such theories, for I have experienced myself how a new internet user can be groomed for  evil purposes. It is particularly very disturbing especially when the user is a woman and who needs emotional supports from outside her own family. The grooming sessions can take place in the public or even in private chat rooms, personal walls or scrapbooks of social networking sties like Orkut, Facebook etc, message boxes and even emails. The typical grooming lesson starts with warm friendly conversations between the harasser and the victim. the groomer may slowly overpower the victim to obey the ‘orders’ such as posting personal pictures, personal informations including financial informations etc; and  to restrain  her from discussing about her internet activities with her immediate family members like her husband, children and/or friends and relatives etc . The victim then becomes confident about her relationship with the groomer and may not accept any resilience as such when she is restricted from using the internet for reaching the groomer.

The grooming session may end when the victim is finally ‘exhibited’ in the internet in a very derogatory form and the perpetrator starts search for another ‘fresh prey’.

True, online grooming of the modern adult women is not an easy task……………..But I can neither accept the fact that these women who may be well educated, can not be groomed. I am using internet for several years for now and I have come across several women who come to internet with a crave to have friends , a good listener (read ‘reader’) of their every day routine of  juggling between husband, children and may be professional work. Home makers especially take internet as a real window to the outside world when their domestic chores are over and husband and children leave home for office and school college purposes. Mostly their status message in their networking profiles are construed as green signals for the groomers.
But do remember, adult female victims of online grooming may never get a favorable position when it comes to comparison between child victims of online grooming and adult victims of online grooming. The obvious reason lies with the level of maturity of the victims. Hence, it is best to be aware of the malpractices in the internet………….. ‘do not talk with strangers’ still stands good for adults especially when the stranger suddenly wants to make one more confident by his warm soothing words.

Wishing all women users a very happy women’s day
Please Note: Do not violate copyright of this blog. If you would like to use informations provided in this blog for your own assignment/writeup/project/blog/article, please cite it as “Halder D. (2011), “Grooming the woman for bad
”, 8th February,2011, published in