Gajanan Khergamker (for Info only, not official)

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Gajanan Khergamker

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    ...He seemed like a middle-class traveller, lettered, was single and surely not planning on staying so! Or so, it seemed. Anyone doling out a line like that at the Gateway of India, in Mumbai would seem like an innocuous pick-up line just that it was targeted to me – a single male and on the way to Elephanta Island. The times are changing but my sexual references aren’t, I thought to myself as I smiled a polite dissent before moving on. Soon after, another fellow arrived, in full bloom, complete with psychedelic travel gear, fluorescent cap, multi-layered haversack, checks-woven Bermudas and a careless stubble to boot. “Hi…Coming from? Will you come with me?” he struggled to sprout evidently not too familiar with the English language. “Sorry…but no!” I said politely and trudged off to the entry gates of the Gateway of India to await a group of media students I was taking with me to the Island for a workshop. ...

    TOI on Nov. 7, 2017, 12:52 p.m.

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    ...And, it will, once the people are ready for it,” I explained to her and told her that the extent of criminality should and would, in time, be addressed, but moving beyond that and legislating on cultural norms was bordering on addressing personal laws which were held sacrosanct till date. “It’s an Elephant in the Room that someone will have to address,” I said. “Just give it time.” A Common Civil Code that puts all on par where civil rights are concerned is one thing but Marital Rape is a tricky issue. Sex in a marriage and with the consent of a female below the age of 18 amounts to Rape. Now, in order to accommodate acts perpetrated by members of communities and groups wherein marriage was permitted as a Civil Act even when the female was below 18, the Rape Section provided a window. ...

    TOI on Oct. 11, 2017, 8:24 p.m.

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    ...After a long tiring day, when Laxmibai had put to sleep her nine-year-old daughter Pooja in a huddle atop a makeshift tattered mattress at a street corner, near the famed Gateway of India in Mumbai, little did she know what was in store for her. When she returned a little while later after wading through the sea of tourists in the zone selling her Chinese wares, Pooja was gone. Her bedding lay bare. Hawkers told her about how the Bhikari Gaadi – Beggar Van –arrived as soon as she left and whisked a sleepy Pooja off with them: And, all of a sudden, Laxmibai found herself all alone, even amidst the brimming crowd of tourists. She crumpled to the ground holding her head and wailed aloud, till others of her ilk converged to comfort her. Before Pooja, she lost her six-year-old son Akash, followed by five-year-old Sunny in the same manner. ...

    TOI on July 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

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    ...After a long tiring day, when Laxmibai had put to sleep her nine-year-old daughter Pooja in a huddle atop a makeshift tattered mattress at a street corner, near the famed Gateway of India in Mumbai, little did she know what was in store for her. When she returned a little while later after wading through the sea of tourists in the zone selling her Chinese wares, Pooja was gone. Her bedding lay bare. Hawkers told her about how the Bhikari Gaadi – Beggar Van –arrived as soon as she left and whisked a sleepy Pooja off with them: And, all of a sudden, Laxmibai found herself all alone, even amidst the brimming crowd of tourists. She crumpled to the ground holding her head and wailed aloud, till others of her ilk converged to comfort her. Before Pooja, she lost her six-year-old son Akash, followed by five-year-old Sunny in the same manner. ...

    TOI on July 21, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

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    ...“But, Freedom comes with riders. Your freedom should not hurt another’s,” I said, “In our quest for freedom, we must ensure not to break the law.” Also, the issue of curbs being ‘unequally distributed,” across media and hence violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution that guarantees Equality is of topical importance. Actor-filmmaker Amol Palekar’s Public Interest Litigation challenged the ‘pre-censorship’ of films and, in particular, the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952 and the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 1983 which, in turn, impose pre-censorship on the freedom of speech and expression of the artistes as well as the audience. The issue isn’t a new one. In the petition, that earned populist accolades from across the nation, Palekar touches upon a brand new area and one that needs urgent attention. The petitioner contended,in the age of internet and social media, the existing set of rules providing for pre-censorship of films have to undergo change. ...

    TOI on May 29, 2017, 8:32 p.m.

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    ...I tried telling her that the facts of both matters were different and each of the judgements had equally far-reaching repercussions, particularly where justice for women is concerned. Nirbhaya’s case led to the legendary Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, while Bilkis Bano’s historically challenged the traditional pockmarked roadmap for a rape survivor seeking justice. But, as is the case with retribution, nothing less than death and a painful one to boot, is a punishment dramatic enough. “All I wanted was justice, not revenge,” said Bilkis Bano on the landmark Bombay High Court judgement upholding the life imprisonment of 12 accused involved in raping her and setting aside the acquittal of seven persons who included police officers and doctors. Bilkis, who was pregnant at the time and also lost her three-and-half-year-old daughter in the riots, is hoping that the judgement will help her lead, “a good life”. ...

    TOI on May 28, 2017, 9:57 p.m.

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    ...“He seems to have done it on purpose,” he said. I argued that the crux of the matter was a legal one and ought not be construed as a communal view because anyone, irrespective of a religious identity, could be seriously bothered with noise. However, soon my reasoning was quashed by the barrage of abuses by friends, unanimous in their disdain towards Nigam’s tweet. That Indian Playback Singer Sonu Nigam’s public tweet deploring the use of loudspeakers for azaan by mosques, loud aartis in temples and gurudwaras was met with incensed rage by irate Muslims was a given. Much on the same lines were expected the overwhelming responses of the liberal ‘fence-sitter’ even from the Hindi film industry who refuses to ‘judge’ despite overwhelming evidence yet openly flays and castigate statements as the one made by, this time around, Sonu Nigam! ...

    TOI on April 19, 2017, 11:10 p.m.