Indian Acid Attack Victims Come Together For An Incredibly Inspiring Photo Shoot

 

Most of us can barely fathom what many innocent Indian women have had to suffer as victims of rape in a country where it happens so frequently that it has become the second most dangerous place to live in for women.

Another issue in India, one much less commonly addressed, is the approximately 1,000 women who are attacked with acid every year. In most cases, while the victims of the attacks do not die, they are forced to live with the memories of the attack, along with the disfiguring scars, for the rest of their lives. As cruel and inhumane as the heinous crime is, however, there are unfortunately no specific laws against acid attacks within the Indian judicial system.

Twenty-two-year-old Rupa is one of these victims. In 2008, Rupa’s stepmother and four men attacked her with acid while she was sleeping. The resulting scars were so extensive it became a hindrance when she tried to apply for jobs. Of course, she was discouraged at first, but she didn’t let her scars get to her. In fact, she joined the charity campaign group Stop Acid Attacks and has been working with other survivors of acid attack the last few years.

And she didn’t just stop there. Rupa, who has always had a lifelong dream of designing clothes, recently launched her own clothing line called Rupa Designs. With the help of Indian photographer Rahul Saharan, Rupa even modeled the clothes from the line in a gorgeous photo shoot, along with four of her friends — Rita, Sonam, Laxmi and Chanchal — all of whom are also acid attack survivors.

 

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Saharan, who shot the photos of the women for free, has stated that these photos are “a tribute to all the brave women across the globe who have gone through this gruesome torture.” He is now working on a photo exhibition, the proceeds from which will go to help survivors.

I have been associated with Chhaon (meeting house for suvivors) for the last two-and-a-half years, but this is the first time I feel like I’ve put my skills to good use to help these lovely girls,” he said in an interview. “I feel blessed to have got this exclusive opportunity.”

Photos courtesy of New York Daily News.

 

Watch This Video of Indian Men Apologizing to Women For Rape

 

Just recently, a rape-themed photo shoot directed by Indian photographer Raj Shetye was brought to our attention. Like many of us here at Audrey, social media users all over the world burst into fits of rage and tweeted their disgust of Shetye and his severe lack of judgment.

Shetye claimed that he meant to send a message to women that rape can happen everywhere through his photo shoot. While we appreciate bringing the issue of rape to light, we definitely believe that is not the way to do it.

 

 

A couple of Indian men from the East India Comedy Group, however, got their message right. They issued a heartfelt apology through a video entitled “I’m Not A Woman” to Indian women, acknowledging that women are being wrongfully abused, raped and belittled in their country. We realize this is not going to fix anything overnight, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

“Why should you ever need apologize to anyone for being yourself? I am sorry,” they say in the video. We couldn’t agree more.

Watch the video below:

 

 

Indian Rape-Themed Fashion Photo Shoot Sparks Major Controversy

 

Let the record show that here at Audrey, we have no problem with creative editorial fashion shoots that showcase photographers and designers who think outside the box. We do however, have a major issue with offensive photo shoots that depict the scenes of a real-life gang rape incident that occurred in New Delhi, India, in 2012, where a 23-year-old woman was brutally raped, tortured and murdered on board a bus home.

This pretty much goes without saying, but it’s just an incredibly insensitive idea to have a rape-themed photo shoot in a country where 93 women are raped every single day. In fact, rape happens so frequently there that Indian women have created anti-rape clothing to protect themselves. Clearly, this is still very much an ongoing problem that has yet to be resolved.

Mumbai-based photographer Raj Shetye, the man responsible for the controversial photos series titled “The Wrong Turn,” claims that the photo shoot was not an act of glamorizing the “Nirbhaya” case  (Hindi word for “fearless,” a nickname given to the 23-year-old victim to protect her identity), but rather as a way to raise awareness for the safety of women in India.

“The message I would like to give is that it doesn’t matter who the girl is,” Shetye defended himself in an interview with Buzzfeed. “It doesn’t depend on which class she belonged in — it can happen to anyone.”

 

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I don’t know if you see what I see, but those photos seem to be an exact, literal representation of glamorizing a truly horrific event.

What do you think? Are you as outraged as we are?

Photos courtesy of Refinery29.

Indian Inventors Create Wearable Tech Designed to Help the Blind

 

We’ve all probably had days where we weren’t paying attention while walking and, in the blink of an eye, accidentally took a spill or dive. I can think of multiple occasions where I’ve crashed into inanimate objects like poles or doors while walking and texting. Every time this happens, I’m left resisting the urge to scream bloody murder at the creators of all technology.

Does this sound like you, too? Well, while it’s easy to blame our devices for misguiding us in our paths, we think that this new line of interactive haptic (of or relating to the sense of touch) smart shoes designed by Indian inventors Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Shram proves that technology is not always the devil, and can be used for worthwhile purposes. Perhaps they’ll change your mind as well.

Lechal (translating to “take me there” in Hindi), the brand name of the shoes, were initially designed to help the visually-impaired with navigation. The designers told Mashable, an Indian magazine, “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.” With the shoes, they can instantly find their way through a buzzing sensation on either the right foot or left foot which signifies which way to turn.

But as the video below shows us, it really is for everyone, especially those who enjoy running. The shoes keep track of how many steps it took to get to your location, as well as the number of calories burned. How does it work? The shoes contain a module that can wirelessly connect to an app you can download on your phone. Through the app, the user enters his or her destination. As soon as he or she begins walking, the sensors will then send a vibration to signal a turn for the user.

 

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Watch the ad for Lechal below:

 

 

Rise of Anti-Rape Clothing in India Receives Criticism

 

India has seen an influx of “anti-rape clothing” over recent years. Although this has created quite some controversy, people across the country are desperately trying to create anything that could hinder unwanted advances.

“The harassment of the girl in Delhi was the turning point for all to realize that we need to take a step against this menace,” 21-year-old Manisha Mohan, who co-created an anti-rape bra, told Vetunotech, referring to the infamous New Delhi gang rape in 2012, where a 23-year-old student was brutally raped, tortured and killed on a public bus. Since then, there have been a number of efforts to create strict measures against rape. New anti-rape laws have been passed by the Indian government, including the death penalty for repeat offenders.

 

 

Despite these efforts, rape continues to be a horrifying reality to many Indian women. Earlier this year, a 20-year-old woman was gang raped by 13 men in her rural village as punishment for having a relationship with a man from a different community. In another incident, 10 men were arrested for gang raping a 21-year-old woman. Even more shocking, a 7-year-old girl was raped and hanged.

But relying on politicians and government officials have often been fruitless. One police official compared rape to gambling and said if you can’t prevent it, you enjoy it. Later, a female politician claimed rape occurs when women act and dress inappropriately. Needless to say, many citizens felt like they needed to take measures into their own hands.

This is why three Indian engineering students created the anti-rape bra called SHE (Society Harnessing Equipment). According to NBC News, the bra “delivers a strong electric shock to potential rapists and attackers, and also has the ability to send an alert text message to the wearer’s friends and family.” There are also college students from the city of Varanasi who have created a line of anti-rape jeans. According to Daily Mail, the jeans “contain an electronic tracker that will send a distress signal to the nearest police station when pressed.” And this doesn’t even cover the anti-rape wrist watches and jackets.

 

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Anti-rape watch. Photo courtesy of http://ibnlive.in.com/

 

Anti-rape jeans.

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Obviously, anti-rape clothing was created with nothing but good intentions, however, many are questioning whether or not it would actually work.

“In India, most of the rapes happen within the family,” said Indian journalist Sonia Faleiro. “It happens behind the closed door. These people aren’t going to stop what they are doing because of a piece of clothing.” Furthermore, Faleiro pointed out that girls still live in fear and anti-rape clothing is just a bandaid to the big issue.

Faleiro certainly brings up good points. This issue won’t be solved with bandaid solutions alone, and women shouldn’t have to live in fear or wear outrageous clothing. Women and victims are not responsible for rape and they should not be the only ones taking measures to prevent it.

However, I still believe it is a step in creating change and most importantly, it has people talking about an issue that needs to be discussed. On certain occasions, these devices let women feel safe and give men the message that a lack of consent is not OK.

Tell us what you think.

 

How This Indian Food Delivery Business Is Giving McDonald’s A Run For Its Money

 

For those of you who are 20-something, I’m going to take a wild guess that you are probably pretty acquainted with, and perhaps even on first name basis with, the guys that run the fast food chains closest to your office. And hey, no one’s judging you — on busy work days, In-N-Out drive-through is the ideal solution to satisfy your hunger needs.

But let’s all be real here — not even the juiciest of bacon cheese hamburgers will ever match up to Mom’s homemade fried rice, with just the perfect ratio of rice, meat, eggs, green onions and spices. Oh, look at that, I’m already drooling.

Some 500,000 Indian men from Mumbai, who are nicknamed the “dabbawalas,” came up with a brilliant solution so that hard workers in the city could both save the money they would have spent on eating out and have home cooked meals made by their loving wives or mothers — delivered straight to their schools and offices.

 

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Of course, this delivery service comes with a price for the dabbawalas. Every morning, these half a million men first travel house-to-house to pick up the steaming hot tiffins (tins that store the food), which they then transport all over the city on their bikes, through the blazing heat and maddening traffic. Collectively, they pick up and deliver around 200,000 meals a day.

 

With so many different moving parts involved in this system, it can get pretty messy. So along with all the food, the families and the delivery people, there is also a code system. By now, the dabbawalas say they have it all imprinted in their minds, so they know the exact location of where each tiffin goes.

 

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According to NBC, their system is so efficient that they have a “six sigma level of efficiency,” equating to “making one mistake per every six million deliveries.” Even with odds like that though, the dabbawalas have admitted that there have been mistakes where tiffins were given to the wrong people who sometimes lack the courtesy and eat the home cooked meal given to them anyway.

Despite all the hurdles these men jump through on a day-to-day basis, Pawan Agarwal, head of the Mumbai Dabbawala, said of his colleagues, “It’s hard work, no doubt about it … But they feel that serving food is serving God so they feel happy to do this business.”

Another dabbawala worker also spoke up on how their business remains so successful. “Many people in this city prefer their lunch fresh, prepared lovingly by their wives or mothers,” he said, adding that despite the many restaurants cropping up all over the city, the business has been continuing to grow 5 to 10 percent every year.

Take that, McDonald’s.

 

This Powerful Video Will Make You Think Twice About What It Truly Means To Give

 

Sam Pepper, a YouTube personality and self-acclaimed prankster, recently conducted a social experiment that will truly change the way we think about life. In a minute and 28 seconds, he was able to capture both the harsh reality of human nature and the unexpected kindness of a homeless man.

After his video was released, Trouble Seeker Team — a group of pranksters in India — watched the footage and was so moved by the act that they too decided to conduct the same exact experiment in their hometown. The results of the experiment were the same as Pepper’s and were just as moving.

Watch Trouble Seeker Team’s video below:

 

 

And here is the original video conducted by Sam Pepper:

 

Indian Arranged Marriages Meets Online Dating

It’s no secret that, even in this day and age, arranged marriages still exist. In fact, this tradition remains to be a very big part of Indian culture.

But there’s also no denying that the whole concept of an arranged marriage receives plenty of criticism. Some argue that marriage should be about love. Others point out the domestic violence rates in arranged marriages. Even more admit to feeling uncomfortable about the idea of people being forced. Simply put, many believe that this is a thing of the past and question how such an old tradition can survive in such a new age world.

Well, four Harvard Business School graduates seems to have come up with an answer to that. They realized that, for some families, the tradition of arranged marriages was not leaving any time soon. Well, if they wouldn’t budge, then this “new age” would be brought to them.

Hence the creation of a new website called easyBIOdata.

Anyone who is familiar with online dating will recognize the structure of easyBIOdata. Similar to other online sites, the website allows you to set up a profile which includes details such as height, skin tone, academic achievements, career and details about your family. The only difference? This profile is also meant to be viewed by parents and family members to get to know prospective partners for their children.

“We call the [biodata] a résumé for marriage, essentially,” co-founder Allyson Pritchett explained to NBC News. “It’s the first impression people get to make on the person they are hopefully going to be with forever.”

Although the website successfully scored fourth place in a course-wide competition, news of this website is being met with a lot of criticism. One commenter pointed out that the whole process felt like a job application.

The site’s founders disagree. In fact, easyBIOdata is described as “a free, user-friendly platform, dedicated to creating professional-quality biodata profiles for prospective brides and grooms.” To be honest, that sounds like any other online dating site description.

Furthermore, the creators are discovering that many of the young adults are actually using the site themselves rather than their parents and relatives. These young adults admit that they struggle to find a partner that their parents would approve of while living outside of India. This site gives them access to those who also face this struggle.

“As we got into it, we realized that it’s young people that are using it. With easyBiodata, they can create their own profiles but they’ll still choose to put their parents’ contact info on the form to keep them involved,” one of the founders, Yu Kakitsubo, said. “Our service is something that’s in between the traditional and the new.”

Check out the profile examples below and tell us what you think.

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(Source)

India’s Inspiring One Legged Dancer

There are many reasons to be inspired by 27-year-old Subhreet Kaur Ghumman. Aside from her high spirits and willingness to overcome any adversary thrown her way, Subhreet has become an online sensation as well as an inspiration to many for her one legged dancing abilities.

It all started on the 21st of October 2009 when Subhreet experienced a life-changing accident. While riding on the back of a friend’s moped, the former nurse was thrown off the bike during a sharp turn. Subhreet was sent to the hospital with a fractured knee, but the local government hospital left her lying in a bed for over two weeks.

“The negligence in a basic government hospital is terrible,” Subhreet recalls. “My mum begged doctors to treat me, but they just put my leg in a brace and left me. They didn’t even attempt to treat my fracture.”

After 15 days, Subhreet eventually got surgery, but Dailymail reports “a doctor cut a vital vein and Subhreet began to bleed uncontrollably.”


Subhreet’s condition worsened and infection spread throughout her leg. The pain was so unbearable, Subhreet begged to have her leg cut off. It took the family an entire year to find a doctor who would help them.

Following the operation, Subhreet recalls having tears of joy. “When I woke after the operation tears filled my eyes out of pure happiness. That feeling of not having a lifeless leg was amazing.”

Subhreet then went on to do the amazing. Rather than allow her disability to hinder her, she decided to show strength. “I decided not to fall into darkness but show the world that I was a strong person and continue my passion for dance,” she said. “My mother was shocked but happily agreed to support me.”

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She enrolled in a dance academy and eventually found herself auditioning for India’s Got Talent. Her performances wowed the audience, gave her a standing ovation from the judges, and brought her all the way to the final round of the competition.

“Though, I lost the competition with a small margin of votes, but still I am very happy with my performance,” Subhreet told the Hindustan Times. “It is like my dream having come true, and I have proved that only self-confidence is enough to achieve any aim in life in spite of physical shortcomings.”

“My life has changed completely,” she added. “I have seen the darkest days but now everything seems beautiful. People recognise me when I go out, they ask me for photographs and autographs. It is an amazing feeling.”


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(Source 1, 2)

India’s Very First Street Art Festival Looks Amazing

Some exciting news from the streets of Dehli!

India is showcasing what is being called “India’s First Street Art Festival” in the south Delhi neighborhood of Shahpur Jat. This past spring, the neighborhood hosted a number of local and international artists to paint the walls of their city.

According to Huffington Post, the project was possible with the help of artists, professionals, art school students, and those who joined the Goethe-Institut and the Italian and Polish cultural institutes in Delhi.

“With volunteers, supplies, and a lot of community outreach, the event organizers were able to bring the artists and help get walls for them– an effort which took about a year and a half of serious planning to bring to fruition.”

The project began by asking permission from the locals and wall owners. Because the idea of street art was very new to the netizens, some were confused and even irritated with what was going on.

Thankfully, even more people were intrigued by the idea of street art.

“Once we started, there was so much noise about what was happening,” one artist commented. “People were always looking after you, and looking for you. There were people always around you. There was this kid that would come by almost everyday, just standing there, talking to you about your work.. So there was a bit of buzz around here.”

Soon, the neighborhood began embracing the art popping up on their walls. One artist pointed out that confusion turned into happiness that their neighborhood was helping to build the culture of street art.

Among the various murals set up, there is a portrait of a strong woman which aims to empower Indian woman. The artist notes that the painting represents respect, security and the message that they should be free.

Even more impressive was a piece on the Delhi Police Headquarters. This work, which is the tallest one of the 75 pieces created around Delhi, is a portrait of Gandhi that measures 150 by 38 feet.

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Images courtesy of  © Akshat Nauriyal & © BrooklynStreetArt.com
(Source)