Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
British Prime Minister Theresa May is facing a no-confidence vote Wednesday after members of parliament voted overwhelmingly against her plan to divorce Britain from the European Union.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labor Party, announced he had filed a motion of no confidence in the government immediately after the result Tuesday.
If May loses, Britain would hold a general election. But most analysts say they expect May will survive the vote, and the minority Northern Ireland party she relies on to keep her minority government in office has said it would back the government.
Tuesday’s vote was the biggest parliamentary reversal ever handed a sitting government, with lawmakers — including more than 100 rebels from her own ruling Conservative party — refusing to endorse a highly contentious Brexit deal.
The government’s defeat plunges into greater disarray Britain’s scheduled March 29 divorce from the European Union.
EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said Wednesday that after the British parliament’s rejection, the risk of reaching the deadline with no deal in place is higher than ever.
The much anticipated historic vote by the House of Commons of a draft deal, which took two years of ill-tempered haggling with European leaders to conclude, now throws up in the air the whole Brexit project, with major questions remaining unanswered about when Britain will exit the EU, how it will do so and even whether it still will.
Just 202 lawmakers backed May’s deal with 432 voting against her deal. The defeat dwarfed the previous 1924 record when then-Labor Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald lost a vote by 166, triggering the collapse of his government and a general election, which he lost.
After the vote, May complained “the vote tells us nothing” about what the Commons would agree to when it comes to Brexit.
Vote delayed in December
The defeat of May’s Brexit plan will give further momentum to a burgeoning campaign in the House of Commons, and among Remainers in the country for a second referendum, according to analysts. Remainers hope a replayed referendum would reverse the Brexit plebiscite of 2016, which Leavers narrowly won.
The vote on the deal, which was due in December but was delayed by the government when it became clear there was insufficient backing for it to pass, also leaves hanging in the balance May’s own future as prime minister. Her aides insisted at the end of a day of high political drama that she won’t resign.
“She is the person who has to deliver Brexit,” said British business minister Claire Perry, who said May doesn’t need to resign.
“There will be other attempts at this. There will be strenuous efforts to improve on the deal,” Perry said.
Earlier on Tuesday, May discussed post-defeat options and indicated she would plow on. Her officials say she will try to buy more time and return to Brussels to try to cajole EU leaders into a renegotiation.
But the sheer scale of the defeat throws into doubt whether even a reshaped Brexit Withdrawal Agreement would secure parliamentary approval in the future — that is, if the EU is prepared to reopen negotiations.
“Her Plan B, more of the same, is hopelessly optimistic,” said commentator Isabel Oakeshott.
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker canceled an event planned in Strasbourg, France, Wednesday so he can remain in Brussels for possible emergency talks with May. May’s RAF jet was put on standby, readied for her to travel to the Belgian capital.
Juncker tweeted when news of the historic vote broke: “I take note with regret of the outcome of the vote in the House of Commons this evening. I urge the UK to clarify its intentions as soon as possible. Time is almost up.”
EU president Donald Tusk reflected the frustration of many in Brussels, tweeting: “If a deal is impossible, and no one wants no deal, then who will finally have the courage to say what the only positive solution is?”
As the vote neared, May’s aides made several last-ditch efforts to minimize the scale of the crushing defeat by offering amendments to the main motion on the deal that they hoped would peel away some of the Conservative rebels. But to their fury, Commons Speaker John Bercow, blocked their moves.
Labor’s Tulip Siddiq, who is pregnant, was pushed through the voting lobbies in a wheelchair after postponing a planned Caesarean section so she could vote against the Brexit deal.
Noisy crowd awaits word
While the drama played out in the House of Commons, outside the parliament, noisy, placard-waving crowds of Brexiters and Remainers mounted protests urging the draft plan be approved or cast aside. There was a hush among the protesters in the minutes before the result was announced.
May has until next Monday to offer a new proposal to the House of Commons, but it isn’t clear what she will propose. EU leaders have flatly rejected the possibility of renegotiations several times since the deal was concluded in November. But with Tuesday’s defeat, which followed five days of intense debate, British officials hope Brussels now may offer enough concessions to secure parliamentary backing on a replayed vote on an amended deal.
In the run-up to the vote, which the government was bracing itself to lose, May offered a series of carrots and sticks, pleas and warnings, to try to persuade unenthusiastic lawmakers to back her deal. To Brexiters, she warned it could result in Britain never exiting the EU. To Remainers, she cautioned it might lead to Britain leaving without a deal.
Final plea from May
Minutes before the vote, May told a packed and feisty House of Commons that they should “honor the democratic decision of the British people.” She said a vote against her deal would be a vote for “uncertainty, division and the very real risk of no deal.”
Corbyn countered that the “government’s own economic assessment clearly tells us it is a bad deal.” To accompanying jeers and cheers, he added, “This deal is the product of two years of botched negotiations in which the government spent more time arguing with itself than it did negotiating with the EU.
“We need to keep in mind that the vast majority of people in our country don’t think of themselves as Remainers or Leavers,” Corbyn said. “Whether they voted leave or remain two and a half years ago, they are concerned about their future. So, Mr. Speaker, I hope tonight that this House votes down this deal, and then we move to a general election.”
With the draft deal, May tried to square the circle between Britons who want to remain in the EU, or closely tied to it, and Brexiters. The withdrawal agreement would have seen Britain locked in a customs union with the EU for several years, while a more permanent, but vaguely defined, free trade settlement could be negotiated with its largest trading partner.
In the temporary customs union, Britain would have been unable to influence EU laws, regulations and product standards it would have to observe. And it would not have been able to implement free trade deals with non-EU countries.
The transition deal was agreed to avoid customs checks on the border separating Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. But British lawmakers who voted against the deal feared Britain would be shackled indefinitely to the bloc, even if a final free trade deal couldn’t be agreed upon.
Both Brexiters and Remainers claimed the Brexit agreement May negotiated would turn Britain into a vassal state, a rule-taker and not a rule-maker. Brexiters maintained the deal would keep Britain too closely aligned with the EU.
A huge range of possible Brexit outcomes has been opened up by Tuesday’s defeat. These include leaving the EU with no deal; a more managed no-deal exit — a pivot to Britain adopting a Norway-style relationship with the EU that would see Britain being half-in and half-out of the bloc; a second referendum; or a second vote after a renegotiation with Europe.
But with British politics in an uproar, with normally disciplined political parties fractured, it is hard to forecast what will happen next. While there are majorities in the House of Commons against leaving the EU without any deal, there are no clear majorities for any alternatives.
The defeat also opens the way for parliament itself to take more control of any future negotiations with the EU, setting the stage for an unprecedented constitutional clash between the House of Commons and No. 10 Downing Street.
A cross-party group of senior lawmakers headed by former Conservative ministers is conspiring now to sideline the embattled May by reducing the power of the government to control legislative business in parliament and giving the responsibility of future negotiations with Brussels to a parliamentary committee.
The group also wants to force May to ask the EU to delay the scheduled departure date of March 29 to avoid Britain crashing out of the bloc without any kind of deal. Another group of powerful lawmakers is drafting legislation for a second referendum. (VOA)
"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."
Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.
Pseudo feminists state that women deserve more respect and rights, any other gender deserves no respect. They feel that women should be the ones ruling the world and at higher positions. When feminism takes a turn for extremities it becomes pseudo-feminism and people who label themselves as feminists will bash anyone who speaks against even the wrongdoings of a woman. They'll bash women who're wife and sisters for not speaking up and support any women criticizing political leaders even if it's completely irrational. This is where hypocrisy and pseudo-feminism merge with each other.
They take advantage of the rights given to women to protect themselves to threaten other genders. The rights given to women are supposed to make them feel reassured that they can reach out to the judiciary if their rights are being hampered not to threaten to make the victim sound like the culprit.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Indian Feminist Movement has made significant progress however, even in the modern world women are still unsafe and are discriminated against when it comes to getting a job, land ownership, and access to education. While filling the official papers it is still asked "Wife of /Daughter of:….."
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family. Such injustices make feminism such an important movement, gender equality is worth fighting for to create a safe environment for women. Feminists over the years have been criticized for focusing on the rights of privileged women and not giving equal representation to poorer and lower caste women, which has led to separate caste-specific feminist organizations and movements.
Some notable milestones in the Feminist Movement
- Raja Ram Mohan Roy campaigned against Sati Pratha (practice in which a widow sacrificed herself by sitting atop her deceased husband's funeral pyre) and child marriage
- Savitribai Phule started the first school for girls at Bhidewada in Pune city in 1848.
- In 1972, SEWA, the biggest trade union for women was set up by Ela Bhatt for women working in the informal sector.
- The Chipko Movement was launched and led by women in 1973.
- #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and abuse was started in 2006 and revived in the year 2015.
People in India still continue the practice of sex-selective abortion, abandoning the girl child, not letting girl child study instead they should learn household chores, they are seen as a burden to the family.Unsplash
Feminism is often misunderstood as pseudo-feminism and hence, becomes the target for public hatred and is accused of wronging other genders under the façade of feminism. It is misunderstood by Indians as female domination instead of gender equality. Indian society and Indian feminists believe that only men are perpetrators of a heinous crime like rape and they refuse to even recognize the men who say they were raped and it's the toxic masculinity in the society that believes how can a woman rape a man? Reality is different from what we believe, women can be the perpetrator too, women threaten to file a case of domestic violence, or sexual assault against innocent people just to fulfill their ego.
Thankfully feminism and pseudo feminism are two separate concepts and feminism is just about equality and not judgment. Indian society and feminists actually need to understand the difference between the two and stop tarnishing the Feminist Movement as a whole.
Keywords: Feminism, World, India, Pseudo-Feminism, Gender
Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.
The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.
Yakshi idol in Veroor, Sri Dharamashastha temple Image source: wikimedia commons
The Yakshi is believed to live in a palm tree which can appear like a palace. Victims are taken here before they are killed. Travellers on highways are often advised not to stop near heavily forested areas, or speak to anyone who closely resembles a Yakshi. Some believe she can change form, while other hold to the belief that she doesn't. after securing her victim, the only trace left behind is body parts like hair, nails, and teeth.
They say, like other ghosts, a Yakshi's feet will not touch the ground. This is something to look out for. Mysterious deaths have been reported across the rural areas in Kerala, and all these have been attributed to the legend.
Keywords: Legends, Yakshi, Urban legend, Ghost, Kerala, Myth, Vampire
The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.
But the question is, "was India always against homosexuality"? Has the concept of homosexuality being unnatural existed forever? No, in Indian history and Hinduism homosexuality has never been an offense, in fact in several instances it has been depicted how people embraced their identity, be it sexual identity or gender identity. Section 377 was brought to India by the British in 1862, while India was colonized. Even after the Independence, it was only in 2018 that the Supreme Court ruled it as irrational and illogical.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.
Homosexuality in Ancient India
When Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality in India, there was an uproar about it being a western ideology and liberalism. But in reality, homosexuality has existed since the time of the Vedas. The Gay and Lesbian Vaishnava Association (GALVA) researched and discovered that it was around 3102 B.C. (during the Vedic Age) that homosexuality or non-normative sexual identity was recognized as "Tritiya Prakriti", or the third nature. Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.
Hinduism is the most vastly followed religion in India. Hinduism does not explicitly mention homosexuality however it does contain a homosexual theme and characters in its text. There have been various instances in our scriptures and texts that have introduced us to LGBT+ characters such as the androgynous form of Shiva and Parvati Ardhanariswara meaning "the half-female lord". One of the most popular and ancient texts on sexuality, eroticism, and emotional fulfillment of life, "Kamasutra" has a complete chapter dedicated to homosexuality and homosexual sex. Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities.
Numerous Hindu sculptures and temples have statues depicting homosexual activities. Facebook
Our Mughals were Queer
Mughals are often seen under the light of cruelty, rigid ethics, nobility, and polygamy. Simultaneously, Mughals are also the ones credited for the emergence of Sufism, abolished jizya tax, love beyond religion, classes, and gender.
In the Baburnama written in memoirs of our very first Mughal ruler Muhammad Babur, several instances documented Babur's infatuation and affection towards a teenage boy named Baburi. We also have multiple Persian couplets as evidence of Babur's affection for Baburi. Mughals engaged in homosexuality and pederasty, and they believed that later was a form of "pure love".
But as time passed homosexuality was suppressed more and more though people practiced it in secret if revealed they were punished. According to the Fatwa-e-Alamgiri Sharia-based text of the Mughal Empire, there is a common set of punishments for homosexuality, which could include 50 lashes for a slave, 100 for a free infidel, or death by stoning for a Muslim.
British Raj and Independence of India
In 1862, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalized homosexual sex came into force. Even after Independence in 1947, the section remained a part of the Indian Constitution. There were protests all over the country to give people of the LGBT+ community basic human rights but it was not until 2018 that The Supreme Court of India ruled the portion of Section 377 has unconstitutional and struck it off. One judge said the landmark decision would "pave the way for a better future.". With Section 377 gone are LGBT+ people allowed to fall in love freely? No, people are still afraid to love because of the stigma in our society when it comes to homosexuality; they are seen as lesser humans.
ALSO READ: Significant Support for Rights for LGBTQ+
Although the Supreme Court has decriminalized homosexual activities, same-sex marriage remains illegal in the country. Homophobia is still prevalent in India, and homosexual children would rather commit suicide than come out to society with their true identity, that's how harsh of a world we live in. Lacking support from family, society, or police, many gay rape victims do not report the crimes. In 1977, writer and Indian mathematician Shakuntla Devi published "The World of Homosexuals". It was the first study in the Indian context; the book contains interviews with homosexual men set in the years of Emergency. She wrote, "rather than pretending that homosexuals don't exist it is time we face the facts squarely in the eye and find room for homosexual people." We've had small victories in our fight against homophobia and getting LGBT+ community the rights they deserve as humans, but we still have a long and exhausting fight ahead of us.