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its been a while since i have written… but i have been so busy… with so many things… currently i am not working anymore for MMB, i mainly conduct interviews for my research on the internet within the queer/lgbt community in delhi… this has been going great. i have gotten so many different and unique perspectives and insights on various issues and people have been so warm and welcoming.

last tuesday i went out with a gay friend of mine, and we went to pnp for dancing. pnp is queer every tuesday night. the crowd differs from time to time but mostly men go there… it is again a very male dominated public space. this time (it was not my first time 😉 there were surprisingly a lot of women there as well… i really like the space because as a woman you get generally left alone and you are not constantly hit on or felt up. but sadly that is not always the case… that differs from time to time too. it was so much fun to hang out with so many (mostly) gay men, especially the small group of people that were acquainted with my friend. this time though i got hit on quite much myself… as i later found out there were really many bi men at the club… well anyway, that took away a little bit of my space and comfortableness cuz i really did not go there to hook up with anyone… i mean otherwise that would or could have been fine but as such i was not interested… i just wanted to dance, dance, dance… but i had not to worry too much about telling certain people to back off since a lot of the gay men got very protective of my well being and made sure i felt welcome and good. it was so much fun to dance with a lot of them too without the constant issue of misunderstanding (of sexual attraction)… but anyway… it was a great night… i met up with lots of people i knew and went to bed really late… after pnp we went to the nizamuddin railway station… it´s really ridiculous that i have never been there although i live so close from it. we had awesome food…:)

recently i have to do a lot of commuting through the city cuz i go to meet people for the interviews… it´s really interesting on one side to see some areas where i haven´t been yet and just to look out from the auto (riksha) and watch daily life pass you by. people are preparing for the winter, i mean the winter is already there… it´s so damn cold and foggy… i know that in comparison to europe that is probably nothing… i mean right  now its 4 degrees Celsius but it feel so damn cold cuz for one in the apartments or houses or shacks you don´t have any heater… and i also don´t have one. than to drive in the auto all the time… the chilly wind really gets to your bones…
in my daily rides i very often see people (who live on the street) search for wood in the public areas… after 6 pm you will see many fires on the road where people try to warm themselves up and the air is filled with the smell of smoke. all the autowallahs wear mostly shawls wrapped around their head and warm sweaters… women who wear sandals are no longer barefooted… they use socks… everyone is dressing and layering up… the markets are decorated with lights… last weekend there was a german xmas market with german products (cheese, beer, gingerbread cookies (lebkuchen), glĂźhwein (milled wine) so that was nice and i bought great things (even though they were ridiculously overpriced) although i really dont get into xmas spirit here that much. we don´t have snow here… just the fog… i mean the fog is very charismatic in its own way.
today i drove pass lodhi gardens and one of the old muslim tombs that are inside of it and is always lit up at night looked completely transformed and enchanted by the surrounding fog. it definitely creates quite some atmosphere. i have one more week in delhi and it´s already getting very hard to say goodbye…. i have met so many people here (and also so many recently) that i like very much. it´s a weird thought of leaving the coldness to travel to the south now again and spend most of my remaining time on the beach or traveling as a tourist again… from my perspective i will obviously have a different approach while traveling since i have been living here for so long but others might just categorize me differently… since i still very much look like a foreigner due to my appearance… 😉 it will be different to leave this ordinary every day life at one fixed place and move on… i had a great time here in delhi… it really has won my heart (rather late) but luckly not to late… there are many things that bother me here, for instance that it is so unsafe for women to be in the public space but i think we really should fight against that and make delhi a safer space for women. i will miss so many things at the same time too… being surrounded by hindi speaking people and to be constantly in dialog with a different language and its concepts. all the queer events and the queer groups that are so delightful and fun. the huge network of people who think differently and try to challenge hetero-normative patriarchal society and its concepts. the art, the movies, the singing… singing is so important here… people just love to sing… at parties or in public and they are so good at it too.
i know delhi will be a place for me where i feel i can always come back to… and want to anyway 😉

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i am actually very excited today because i am meeting up with Sangini Trust tomorrow… Sangini Trust is an lesbian organisation in Delhi that provides several projects to the community…

as some of you may know i am currently doing research for my master thesis in delhi on queer spaces on the internet and the use of internet as a tool to connect to various other groups (e.g. queer community in usa or europe) also interesting to see how much queer people being in the diaspora have an effect and influence on the scene here in india and vice versa. i am using the term queer in parenthesis here… since it´s not always fitting and doesn´t mean to everyone the same thing. for my research i will mainly talk to “gays” and “lesbians”, again in parenthesis, because those labels don´t fit in general either about their experiences in delhi, their use of the internet, their lives etc. in how far create the various cities in india spaces for queer people that can live in a way which is not possible in rural areas… in how far are the communities (if you can speak of a community in the first place) confined to specific cities, regions, groups… or are different groups fragmented… ?

it will be very interesting to get in touch with various people on that matter… i will be supporting Sangini as a volunteer from october onwards. for my master i will try to conduct interviews and speak informally to “queer indians”… it will be also very cool going to some bars and nightclubs on certain queer nights…

on orkut… the online-community by google that is used very widely in india… it was already very interesting to note various communities like: lesbians in delhi, indian lesbians, queer india, queer indian liberation front, gays, queer india, gays in bangalore… etc. what i have noticed however so far is that most communities receive a huge amount of spam mails regarding sexual topics and the discussion between members of the groups is often (sadly) non-existent… so far i haven´t contacted anyone directly… but i was thinking on maybe sending some mails to certain people and tell them what i am trying to do for my master thesis…

anyway so far… so good… i will keep you updated…

sleeping dogs, originally uploaded by javeja.

 

i wanted to write something about the current situation in bangalore with the stray dogs. Initiated by an incident 3 weeks ago when a young 3 year old boy died due to a stray dog attack, things have been getting tough for stray dogs in bangalore. first the responsible administration said that no dogs should be harmed and in cooperation with some animal rights NGOs over a period of 1 week dogs were captured and brought to animal shelters. of course things got rough… citiziens complained that only the well-off areas were “cleaned” of the dogs and the areas where the problem was the worst, there nothing changed. the catcher caught dogs that were no strays dogs after all. an animal rights ngos has a video where thousands of dogs were culled although nothing should have happened to them. the animal shelters were soon full so some caught dogs that were brought there and left in cages died from the heat and dehydration. there were protest demos against the dog catching and culling. today i read that this issue has taken a spiritual turn when a guru went on a indefinite hungerstrike to protest against the current situation. i am not saying that the stray dog problem isn´t a massive problem after all. but i think it is far better to sterilize them and immunalize them against rabies then to kill them all. this will cause an unbalance and is just cruel behaviour. not all stray dogs are mean and attack. most of them are nice dogs. the ones that do attack have to get captured. but sadly most of the caught ones that have died didn´t belong to this category. and i think it is outrageous for the responsible administration to promise not to harm the harmless stray dogs and then after capturing a great deal to decide to kill them. This is not right and very cruel. Is not the fault of all the stray dogs if a few of them (the minority) attacks and bites. those should be taken care of cuz there are dangerous but the others: leave them alone, don´t harm them.

for more information on this topic:

BBC News South Asia- Stray dogs killed

Indian Express- Bangalore goes to the dogs

The Hindu- Media has created a scare about stray dogs

The Hindu- Drive launched against stray dogs, 200 killed

 

i just found out something outrageous. at my university at home in Munich, (the LMU Munich) they sent emails to alarm the personnel to be in altertness about potential islamic fundamentalist students. If people behaved “strangely” or read the accordingly literature the staff should report this to the university administration. it is fucking unbelievable. You can not report someone just out of mere suspicion. I quote the original german email from the post “Hohe Wachsamkeit” from ethno::log: for original post click here

“Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

der islamistische Terrorismus stellt weiterhin die größte Bedrohung der Inneren Sicherheit der westlichen Staaten und damit auch Deutschlands dar. Aus Sicht der Sicherheitsbehörden besteht eine erhöhte abstrakte Gefährdung.

Wie Sie Presseverlautbarungen vom Wochenende entnehmen können, wurden Anschläge von Islamisten auch für die Bundesrepublik und in Österreich angekündigt. Auch die gescheiterten Kofferbombenanschläge auf Regionalzüge am 31. Juli 2006 in Dortmund und Koblenz sind ein Beleg dafür, dass auch Deutschland nicht nur Rückzugs- und Ruheraum, sondern Anschlagsziel für islamistische Terroristen ist.

Es ist also hohe Wachsamkeit geboten.

In diesem Zusammenhang sollte auf Hinweise auf Studierende, Mitarbeiter oder sonstige Gebäudenutzer geachtet werden, die sich durch besondere Verhaltensweisen, wie z. B. einen Bruch im Lebenswandel, Gewaltbereitschaft, radikal-verbale Äußerungen oder Beschäftigung mit einschlägiger Literatur auffällig in Richtung islamischer Fundamentalismus verändern.

Ich darf Sie bitten, verdächtig erscheinende Wahrnehmungen, die Rßckschlßsse auf eine islamisch-fundamentalistische Haltung zulassen, unverzßglich hierher mitzuteilen.

Bitte informieren Sie Ihre Mitarbeiter entsprechend.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Mßnchen
Mit freundlichen Grüßen
[Name entfernt]
Ltd. Regierungsdirektor”

also there are several news report on this (in german). justbe. made a very good overview about the media coverage (so far): Please click here

To create an atmosphere of suspicion where people are differentiated because of their religious beliefs or interest in muslimic culture and literature will only create more hate and violence and not solve a damn thing. i am convinced “fighting terrorism” can not be achieved that way. intercultural dialogue, tolerance and respect of eachothers difference in an non-violent context seem to me far better choices (sounds similar to the Gandhian philsophy) but it will be quite useless to try to convince the conservative bavarian CSU from this point of view because they don´t get it.

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