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Shared Culture: Indian festival in South Africa

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By Megha Sharma

Though located in different continents, India and South Africa have a shared culture and common message for the world.

Looking at the time line, it has been 69 years to the independence of India and 55 years to the sovereign state of South Africa. The stories of their independence come across as an exemplar of survival, hope and determination to the world. The “white man’s burden” of the savior of these lands speaks of a hidden self-fulfilling motif. However, even being geographically different, these states define a cultural synchronicity. Years ago, before the independence of India, a huge amount of passengers settled in and around the coastal areas of the place. These people went not as slaves but to work there as meager labors and with meager or no salaries. However, it turned out to be a boon for them and in the present time and age, Durban, one of the most important commercial spaces in the sub-continent, with the maximum number of Indians as land owners. Durban is the second India, so to say, outnumbering the African population. Furthermore, the entire country is inhabited by approximately 1.5 million (15 Lakh) people of Indian origins. Mahatma Gandhi too earned his “Mahatma” epithet from here, in his 21 year long and crucial stay there. This throws lights on the significant heart-rending connect and shared culture of these territories.

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Mahatma Gandhi’s influence

Shared History: Experience India in South Africa

In September-October of last year (2015),  a 6 weeks long event was held in Johannesburg where South Africa explored the bounties of the Indian sub-continent in the annually celebrated festival of “Shared History”. The festival explores the contemporary art of the land and it not only includes various art forms like dance, singing etc. but it has given Yoga, a prominent place in the picture of Indian subcontinent. It was initiated in 2007 with the ideology to contribute to both the states’ cultural commonality. It runs for a month and though initiated with an interest towards the internal dynamics of traditional superstructures, it has now paved ways into fields of literature, yoga, handicrafts and all other contemporary flourishing wonders of the Indian sub-continent.  This following introductory video is a brochure to the festival.

 

It gives an insight into the rich and diverse culture of India and becomes a treat to watch the beautiful dancers performing on the folk traditional songs. Moreover, it observes the multifarious Indian cuisines exhibition which brings one closer to the land by uttering its essence to the world. With all these enriching episodes one is given the idea of past as a tool to perceive these boundaries as similar. It seems to be a crucial step by the Indian high commission and an arts society named “teamwork.” It is hosted in the month of October with a worldwide audience and gives sheer knowledge adding to the socio-economic relations with India.

Thus, hopefully the legacy of shared culture continues between India and South Africa.

Megha Sharma is a student at the University of Delhi. She is pursuing her masters in English and has also done her studies in German language.) Email ID: loveme2010.ms@gmail.com

 

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Star ICC Asks Anonymous Accuser Of Sexual Assault Charges To Step Forward

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were "clear instructions" given to make the sales team fulfil the targets.

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Star ICC
#MeToo: Star India internal panel writes to anonymous accuser to come forward

The Internal Complaints Committee of Star India on Sexual Harassment (Star ICC) has written to the anonymous accuser — who had alleged “sexual exploitation” of women employees — asking her to reach out to the committee or its external member on allegations made by her in tweets.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Star ICC, formed under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 said it had reached out to the accuser through two emails on the ID provided by her through her tweets. The committee’s external member is Veena Gowda, a Mumbai-based woman rights lawyer.

The accuser, who tweeted through handle @ApurvaS17 — saying she would remain anonymous — had made sexual harassment allegations against the company’s officials in an open letter.

Star ICC
Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt.

Asked to comment on the allegations, a Star India spokesperson said in a statement that despite no response by the anonymous accuser to the messages sent, the Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy” in respect of the allegations.

“We strongly urge any genuine complainant to approach the Star ICC. At Star, we stand with women in drawing the line on any behaviour that violates human dignity or the ability for women to pursue their dreams with respect and freedom. We have a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment,” read the statement in response to an email query by IANS.

It also said that the anonymous tweet shared on October 13 raised an allegation that “runs completely counter to everything we believe in and the norms and values that we deeply embrace.”

The statement further said: “Star believes that the allegations made in the tweet without the complainant coming forward and giving any further detail, is a malicious attempt to malign and defame the reputation of the company and the CEO.” It said that Star reserves its right to initiate appropriate legal proceedings in this regard.

Star ICC
The Star ICC had “suo moto conducted a preliminary inquiry and found no basis or factual accuracy.

The accuser in her tweets had said that the #MeToo movement had encouraged her to come forward and that she had quit her job at Star India in the Airtime Sales section after 26 months and nine days and was now a homemaker, “taking care of my baby and hubby in a beautiful country, far away from Mumbai.”

The accuser said that while she was at the company, there were “clear instructions” given to make the sales team fulfil the targets in case they want to continue with their employment contract, “for which even if you have to take the clients to a hotel room and sleep with them for days.”

She said there were many instances when she and three of her female colleagues (interns) had clear instructions to reach a hotel after office hours for a private party hosted for influential friends.

Also Read: India’s Junior Foreign Minister M.J. Akbar Quits Following #MeToo Harassment Allegation By Women

She says the influential friends were “mostly bureaucrats and sometimes politicians and foreign nationals” who were “all ready to violate you, force you to dance against your wishes, drink with them, make drink(s) for them, exchange your numbers and even quietly accompany them to their respective rooms if they want you to”.

Veteran writer-director Vinta Nanda, who earlier this month accused actor Alok Nath of sexually violating her 19 years ago, wrote on Twitter: “I’m neither shocked nor surprised. I salute your courage to have come out and spoken out. The rot runs deep.” (IANS)