Men in powerful positions resort to blatant sexual harassment, secure in the knowledge that their positions of power and privilege will protect and sanctify their crimes. This is not new. However, what beggars belief is this instance from Tamil Nadu – where even after a chorus of allegations of sexual harassment against a leading cinema lyricist and poet by 17 different women, a prestigious award was sought to be conferred on him.

Prominent personalities, including leading political and cinema legends, sought to justify the award on the basis that it was conferred on the poet based on his “merit” and not his “character”. Grantees The News Minute amplified this aspect, and Barkha Dutt’s Mojo Story added to the impact. The lyricist was eventually forced to decline the award.

Such inherent and blatant gender inequities, as Think Pragati discusses, are entrenched at home, in workplaces and manifest themselves even in rituals performed at death!

The emergence of the SARS-CoV02 has been shrouded in mystery. ThePrint reports that the debate over the pandemic’s origins have recently been rekindled with fresh research suggesting that there are tell-tale signs that it may have leaked from a lab in the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, and did not originate through natural zoonotic transmission.

In Lakshadweep, a series of extraordinary decisions by the political administrator of the archipelago has set off protests. The Wire examines the seemingly puzzling decrees and analyses the impulses and implications.

For a selection of this week’s stories from the Foundation’s grantees, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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WCC members Parvathy, Anjali, Geetu and Rima question ONV award to Vairamuthu

The decision to honour the Tamil lyricist and poet by the ONV Cultural Academy, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, was met with shock and revulsion by many voices from the Malayalam film industry - members of the ‘Women in Cinema Collective’. These voices include actor Parvathy Thiruvothu, director Anjali Menon and filmmaker Geetu Mohandas who expressed their outrage at the literary award being conferred on a person alleged to have sexually harassed a number of women. The News Minute reports.

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Sexual Harassment Accused Poet Vairamuthu Returns ONV Award After Uproar | Mojo Impact | Barkha Dutt

Mojo Story discusses the issues around the conferment of a literary award by the ONV Cultural Academy Award to a leading poet and cinema lyricist who is accused of gross sexual misconduct by several women. Barkha Dutt talks to one of the victims of harassment by the luminary; and to people who have been at the forefront of the protests, including members of the 'Women in Cinema Collective' – an umbrella body of filmmakers and actors. The outrage led to the Academy reconsidering their decision, forcing the lyricist to decline the accolade.

Watch Here


आधा आसमां. Women Hold Up More than Half the Sky.

Think Pragati discusses the inherent discrimination that women face in India, citing real-life experiences and how even rituals performed at the time of death are biased against the participation of women. It notes that women, even from privileged backgrounds, are unaware of the biological changes they undergo, for instance, at the onset of menopause.

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Wondering how a killer virus can possibly leak out of a secure lab? This is how

Fresh evidence suggests that the Coronavirus most likely emerged and escaped from a lab in China’s Wuhan. ThePrint takes a peek at some historic biosecurity accidents and why scientists are keen to get to the bottom of the origins of the current pandemic that has wreaked global havoc.

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In Lakshadweep, a Political Administrator Courts Ecological Mayhem

The administrator in Lakshadweep, a political appointee, has issued a series of extraordinary orders, which has raised disquiet and angst amongst the population. These include restricting people with more than two children from contesting the panchayat polls, non-vegetarian items struck off the school menus, hundreds of workers in the tourism industry laid off and mandatory quarantine requirement revoked. The Wire investigates the reasons for these decrees and analyses the implications for the islands.

Read Here

More from the grantees
Over 2,237 children below 18 years test COVID-19 positive in two months in Manipur
Imphal Free Press reports that Manipur is witnessing a sharp increase in Covid cases among children. But not a single Covid care centre for children has been set up until now. An urgent need before a potential third wave strikes.
Overcoming Vaccine Hesitancy Amongst Women in the Informal Economy
The Bastion reports on the vaccination hesitancy amongst the informal workers, particularly women, which could pose a challenge to the country’s universal immunisation programme. India needs to functionalise traditional methods of information dissemination than just relying on online media.
Post COVID complication among children worries pediatricians
Down To Earth finds that the lower number of Covid-19 tests conducted on children is the reason for the late detection of post-Covid complications among them. Complications like the Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) and the Kawasaki disease are on the rise. Doctors insist that a safe and effective vaccine for children is essential and urgent.
महोबा: आशा कार्यकर्ताओ का आरोप, गाँव वालों ने टीकाकरण करने पर किया गाली गलौज
Vaccine hesitancy continues to be rampant in rural India. ASHA workers in Mahoba, Uttar Pradesh, speak to Khabar Lahariya about the opposition and push back that they are dealing with during vaccination drives in villages.
Ground Report : सड़कों-चौराहों के बाद मंदिरों से भी छूटा आसरा, दूसरी लहर में रोटी को मोहताज भिखारी
Janjwar reports on the plight of beggars during the lockdown in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. With limited people and vehicular movement on the roads - the community is struggling, and there is no help from the government to tide over the crisis.
Did BBC report that black fungal infections are caused because of drinking cow’s urine?
Recently, a screenshot had gone viral across India, claiming that the BBC published an article titled, “Indian scientists have discovered that black fungus is caused by cow dung.” You Turn fact-checked this and found that the news was fake and an edited version was being circulated.
R. Chandrashekhar on Building an Industry Through Partnerships | The Making of Indian IT
Live History India speaks to R Chandrashekhar, the former president of NASSCOM, on how the Indian IT industry became the force it is today.
WhatsApp hoax claims Nobel laureate said all vaccinated people will die within 2 years
Alt News demystifies the hoax posts claiming Nobel laureate and Virologist Luc Montagnier insists that vaccinated people will die within two years. The virologist did not say what was attributed to him and the posts were completely fake.

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