Rape,dowry,foeticide-Modern times holocaust of the Indian women:part 1

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Every 22 minutes a woman is raped in India, every 90 minutes a bride is burnt alive! out of every 10 women 7 have been sexually harassed, female foeticide status at a all time best ,945 females per 1000 males and honor killings reported at least a 1000 every year. and the icing on the cake, India is on the number 4 Th position in the list for most dangerous countries for women giving tough competition to Afghanistan and  Congo. WOW!!! Not convinced watch this- NIRBHAYA

Many of us must have come across these famous lines,”water water everywhere,not a drop to drink” Yes that’s the state of rapes in India, every where whether you are rich or poor doesn’t matter ,whether you are young or old doesn’t matter, maybe the policies of government for population control or illiteracy eradication may not have access to the cross section of people in the country but the objectification of woman is a common theme for all. Right from the daily wage labor class to the factory workers to employees of MN C’s ,the first thing men notice about an individual is her gender and then the vicious circle of teasing ,harassment and rape starts.In India being a woman is a curse! You think I am overreacting then please watch this.

Mostly  they will kill you in the womb itself or if you are successful in taking birth,then you had it.Right from the discrimination at home where you will be competing for food ,clothing and education with your brothers or fathers or uncles,to the widespread unreported sexual abuse by the same men folk, you would also be taught by the women folk what you are not suppose to do since you are a female, yes you got it right a list of d  o’s and dont’s is handed to every little girl in India and yes her ears are pierced even before she starts speaking because she is a girl and it is her duty to become beautiful even when she is still running around in her diapers!

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INDIAN WOMEN BANDS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES 10

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INDIAN WOMEN BANDS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES 10

Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the tenth piece on Indian Women Bands.

Below are Indian women bands who have been defying the stereotypical thought process and building faith in women empowerment with their music and team spirit.

  1. Tetseo Sisters (Nagaland)

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Mütsevelü, Mercy, Alune and Kuvelu, the Tetseo Sisters began their journey in 1994 and haven’t looked back since! Keeping their love for music and the flames of their Chakhesang tribe burning, the Tetseo Sisters are loved by all. Their genres include folk, fusion and western along with ‘Li’, the Naga folk genre. What stands out for them along with their barrier breaking music is their love for traditional attire. Upholding the values of their tribe comes naturally to them The Tetseo Sisters are the true cultural ambassadors of the North East performing the traditional folk music of Nagaland vocally as a band in many popular live shows across the country and abroad. They have been featured in numerous cultural events and are regulars at Music Festivals around the country including Hornbill Music Festival, Storm Festival, North East Festival, Kalakshetra Foundation, Cultures of Peace series, Folk Nations and more recently at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 2014.

  1. Afflatus (Meghalaya)

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Hailing from Shillong, Afflatu (Uh-flay-tus) is a four-member rock band that let’s the music do the talking for them. With Grace Miller at the vocals, Karen Donoghue strumming some amazing tunes with the guitar, Sharon Zadeng going bassy and Mercy Millers keeping the beats going with drums, the Afflatus have been rocking the musical stage all around India with spunk and quirkiness.There is an enigmatic spirit within their rock and reggae mix music that’s highlighted by a more than strange female bravado. According to the band members, their journey was “inspirational” that never lost sight of the one thread, one passion, one love that binds them together; the love of creating music. Afflatus is said to be the emergence of a truly international sound, having the record label with India. Although the band is influenced simply by life itself, but the band can’t deny the fact that they are also influenced by the sounds of the Beatles, RHCP, Flux Pavillion and Bruno Mars. Their debut performance as Afflatus in 2004 won them an award and that too at the national level. Since then, Afflatus, have come a long way with a debut album in the making, numerous high profile concerts under their belt and the emergence of a truly international sound.

  1. The Vinyl Records (Arunachal Pradesh)

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Taking inspiration from The Runaways, The Strokes and B-52’s among others, The Vinyl Records are not a band to mess with! This four member band consists of Cheryyrian Bark, who is the lead vocalist, Banu Jini on the guitars, Minam on the bass and Mithy on the drums. Their genre reflects much of their inspirations – indie rock, post punk and new wave. They are the poster children of new waves from the 70s and 80s with a touch of glam and oozing of rock star confidence! Formed in February 2010, The Vinyl Records is considered as one of the most happening bands in the Indian rock music circuit, the band got featured on MTV F1 Rocks 2011, and since then they have regularly appeared in many countless top journals including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and Tehelka. They have performed in well known festivals and events like the Ziro Festival of Music, Puma Loves Vinyl, The LOUDEST Gig in Delhi, etc. The band members are Banu Jini, Minam Tekseng, Mithy Tatak and Cheyyrian Bark.

  1. Apples (Mizoram)

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Apples is a three piece Rock ‘N’ Roll all girl band from Aizawl. The three girls began their music journey in october, 2007. The Apples is fronted by Zodingliani with her retro rock style and smirking off high energy guitar wizardy. The band includes of Jojo(Vocalist), ZoZoi(Drummer), Afaki (Bassist) and DingDingi(Guitarist). They have also covered the Mizo version of the 50’s hit “Stupid Cupid” which helped them increase their popularity and fan base. The band’s main principle is to produce commercial and semi-commercial music taste of their community.

  1. Minute of Decay (Manipur)

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Worshon Muivah is the lead vocalist and guitarist, Singchon Muivah is going the bass route and Thotyaphy Muivah is beating those drums. Coming from a family that loves music, it’s no surprise their influences (Janis Joplin, CCR, Led Zeppelin) reflect in their genre. Funk rock, indie pop and indie folk are backdrop of their music. The three sisters wish to continue their love for music for generations to come through their music.The band mainly plays classic rock punctuated by a stylized pinch of contemporary vocals and alternative riffs – an obsession with sweet medleys.Minute of Decay’s preparatory is laced with a fine example of foresight and discipline from their parents. Their own love affair with music, they ensured, would survive into the next generation through their children, even if it means an all-girls situation.

  1. The Chosen (Mizoram)

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This girl band can teach you a thing or two about praising god musically. Originating from Aizawl, The Chosen are a Christian band that believe music is the gateway to the soul and to find god in your heart. The outfit consists of Moitei and Fiona on the vocals, Seni on guitars, Xoey with her bass, Malsomi on keys, Afeli on drums and Parema, who is the song-writer and manager. They praise the Lord in pop, pop-rock and indie, and man, are they good. Although most of their songs are in their native language,Mizo, a sense of serenity is felt regardless!The band had risen up to the Mizo music scene with their first single “Broken Wings”, later followed by “Kan fak a che (We praise you)”. The lead vocalist Fiona Lalmalsawmi Pachuau won Special Award at MoonLight Awards 2011. Essentially a Pop, Pop-rock, Indie band, the band, started jamming out in the first half of 2009 and got together as a Gospel band (All-Girl band) by the end of that year.

 

7.Genesis of Pink (Sikkim)

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Genesis of Pink is a new generation band from Sikkim. They draw inspiration from groups like Led Zeppelin, John Mayer, Norah Jones and The Doors, and believe in versatility. Beginning their journey in 2013, the girls have taken the nation by storm with their music, good looks and confidence. They convey the message of everyday struggles of societal living and delicate issues like rape and violence.Formed in April 2013, Genesis of Pink is a Gangtok based four member punk-rock band comprises of Mahima Apchunna Rai (Vocalist/Rhythm Guitarist), Dechen Gyurmi Zangmu (Lead Guitarist), Annies Pamo Lucksom (Bassist) and Shrishti Rai (Keyboardist). The band released two music videos “Who are you” and “Ka Bata” in 2016.

  1. Blue Corn (Mizoram)

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Blue Corn is a pop trio and one of the most popular girl groups of Mizoram. The group consists of Felicia Singson, Kim Kimi and Tlingi. In 2006, they released their music video “Lung Lawm A kim” from their debut album – Lunglawn Akim. The album enjoyed a lime-light success in Mizoram, Manipur and other parts of Northeast states. They popularity hits not only in Mizoram but neighbouring states of Manipur and Nagaland as well.

 

  1. Hurricane Girls (Assam)

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In 2011, Assam’s first all-girl band was formed in a small village of Nahira, about 30 km off Guwahati. The lead vocalist, composer and director Mamani Kalita along with her drummer friend Arju Begum took the initiative. Apart from headlining various festivals in their home state, this fusion-folk rock band has played an array of gigs hitting Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad. The band’s musical journey began in 2011 performing at a cultural function organised by a coaching institute at Rabindra Bhawan in Guwahati. The band uses some traditional Assamese musical instruments like dhol, nagara, dotara with keyboard, guitar, drums and modern percussion instruments to create a musical illusion. Band members as on 2016 – Mamani, Mumpy, Maina kaberi, Jenny, Luku and Pragya.

  1. Vivance – Naga Girls (Nagaland)

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This four member Naga group is fairly new, but they are already creating waves in the indie circuit. They’re a coming-of-age pop band, and the amalgamation of the serenity of their voices and orchestrated musical talent make them a standout group!This four piece pop band from Dimapur is an offspring of collective efforts punched by Mhonyamo Kikon and Meyi to introduce a catchy flavor of girl power into the Nagaland music scene. Formed on November 25, 2013, the band’s style of playing is considered to have a blend of pop rock, and Indie, so they call themselves an experimental Pop/Indie rock band, the joy and to uplift and empower women in the state. In 2014, the band has released their Debut EP Dream Out Loud.

  1. Pais and The PetticoatsThis Mumbai based group is a powerhouse of talent! With Alisha Pais leading the way with her husky voice, Naama killing it at the drums, Snehala strumming away her love for music, Pia sharing Alisha’s interest in breaking into a song and Samay joining them now and then, this band sure knows how to transport their life experiences and dreams in the most musical way possible. Their genres are folk, alternative and soul-pop and boy, do they know how to keep a crowd swooning to their orchestrated love for music!
  1. Colour Chaos

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With love, fusion acoustics and the virtuous display of freedom, the Colour Chaos’s music echoes all the way from Chennai. With Shalini on guitars and Shema on the djembe and a paired effort of vocals, they relate to the crowd with music as a form of expression! Their style of music is a fusion of Indian and western acoustics. With strings to pluck on, voices to raise and beats to thump to on the djembe, the Colour Chaos can fill your soul with music!

  1. Tritha Sinha and Ritika Singh – SPACE

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Two extremely talented and acknowledged women of our time, they bring women empowerment to the fore with a bang! While Tritha is more rooted to her Bengali musical lineage, Ritika brings the contemporary side to music. Their collaboration SPACE talks about women expressing their rights and emotions through performance and music. Bengali, English, Hindi, Sanskrit, their electro-fusion feat has all the languages and elements of power house trip with a little help from Paul Schnieter!

  1. The Void

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Kickstarting with the name ‘Maiden Raga’ in early 2014, these girls know how to rock and roll! Ritika, Vinaya and Anagha were basektball buddies who came up with the idea of forming a band and Suvarna came thumpthumping with her drumming skills in August 2014. They draw their inspiration from bands such as Switchfoot, Nirvana and Aerosmith among other and it reflects perfectly well in their genres too – soft rock, punk rock and classic rock.

15    Stree Shakti-World’s First All-Female Indian Classical Band

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Formed in 1996 by Anuradha Pal, Stree Shakti band has been enthralling audiences with its flawless presentation of engaging combinations from both, Hindustani & Carnatic systems of music. A unique combination of melody, poetry & rhythm fusing the traditional with the contemporary, with power packed World Percussion, is what gives Anuradha Pal’s Stree Shakti band, a discernible edge & explains its popularity for over 20 years. Anuradha Pal’s Stree Shakti performed at the world famous WOMAD Festival (U.K-1999) for 150,000 fans. This performance won great appreciation from the Rock star Sting, who ‘was blown away by their show’ & even hailed them as the ‘Indian Spice Girls’. The band also collaborated with the Pan African Orchestra for a concert tour of England, Ireland & Scotland in 2002. The bands performances at Prestigious International Music Festivals include the Rhythm Sticks Festival, Oldham Mela, BBC Music Live, Common Wealth Games Festival, City of London Festival, Cardiff Jazz Festival, Asian Music Festival, Bangkok International Music Festival and in India for ICCR, SAARC & CHOGM Summit, SRA – ITC Sangeet Sammelan, Spirit of Unity Concerts, Nehru Centre, NCPA, Malleshwaram Sangeetha Sabha, Hyderabad Hydourite Festival, Pracheen Kala Kendra, Bangalore Percussive Arts, World Music festival, Bharat Bhawan, M.P. Kala Parishad, Lilavati Hospital amongst numerous others.

These innovative & path-breaking bands challenges gender stereotypes & biases, celebrating the emergence of woman power in the ‘male-bastion of Indian Bands, thus promoting female empowerment, inclusion, opportunity, equality & dignity.

INDIAN WOMEN DETECTIVES-SMASHING STEREOTYPES 9

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Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the ninth piece on Indian Women Detectives.

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The job of  detectives and the world of spies, fascinates anyone who has ever read Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Byomkesh Bakshi, or Feluda or seen movies like James Bond. But real-life private detectives are a little hard to find in India, as the profession is not really a recognized one, and there aren’t that many ways to get the required training to be one. But these women are the real-life Sherlock Homes of the India. They are swift, smart and these daredevils  know how to get the work done.

 

TARALIKA LAHIRI, DETECTIVE SINCE 1989

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TARALIKA Lahiri’s journey as a detective has been a sweet transition, from a school teacher who taught English to a detective who solved cases. Born and brought up in Allahabad, Lahiri hails from a very simple family that believes in the strong foundation of education. Having done her masters in English literature, she moved to Delhi in 1986 after marriage.She taught English in a school as a substitute teacher for a while but later found a job of an executive in a detective agency that dealt in security related gadgets, in 1989. The first case that came to her was related to embezzlement in one of the banks in Allahabad. She adds, “Since I was from Allahabad, my company thought I would be the right person for the assignment. I went there and worked on the case for about 10 days. When I submitted my report, my boss said he would appoint me as a full-time detective. And that was it. From a school teacher, I became a full time detective.””When I came back home, I told my husband about the offer”. My husband was very receptive to the whole idea. He asked me to weigh pros and cons before making a decision. It is because of him that today I can travel overseas for assignments. My mother initially had a lot of problems. She did not like me coming home late. However, with time that changed too.”

The 53-year-old detective has solved a variety of cases, ranging from busting a racket of making minors work in sports factory to murder investigations. She has also been abroad for her assignments, and says that it is very important to know the law of the land before you take such assignments. “A country like UAE is very tough on the snooping business. You are in a lot of trouble if you are caught,” she adds.Talking from the safety point of view, she says, “To solve one particular case, I had to change my car three times and walk for 5-6 km to ensure that my path could not be traced.”One particularly harrowing case, which was also covered in the news, came into her hands in 2014. An auto driver was reported to have killed his American wife before self-immolating, in Agra. She was intrinsically connected to the case, having being assigned to trace the same woman by her boyfriend in the US.She adds, “I was contacted by her boyfriend who wanted to me trace her location. Using social media I started speaking to the woman and became friends with her. I went to meet her in Agra where I found that her husband was a young auto driver was not happy with her lifestyle. He told me that she used to go out at night with strange men and behaved unlike an Indian bride. After I came back, her boyfriend told me that he would be coming to India to meet the woman. A day before he was going to land, I read the news of her death. I was very shocked, and had to break this news to him at the airport.”

Keeping all the intrigues of her profession aside, she only has once concern – that the profession be recognized by the government. “Like other countries,” she says, “detectives in India should also be assigned a valid identity. Youngsters take a lot of interest and come to us with many queries but most of them do not join as their parents are against such a job.”

 

RAJANI PANDIT, DETECTIVE SINCE 1991

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The first known female private detective in India. Born in a middle class family in Thane, Maharashtra, it would seem that she was almost destined for detective work. Her father was a CID inspector who had worked on the Mahatma Gandhi murder case. However, he was not very supporting of her career choice.“My father said that this is not a suitable field for women. But my mom knew I had been very stubborn since I was young. She just said that I should be allowed to do whatever I want to do.” Rajani wanted to be a lawyer or a teacher, but her first case showed that she was tailor-made to be a detective, because it wasn’t something she was paid for, but an investigation borne out of her curiosity.

In college, she noticed one of her friends acting strangely, and then began to investigate the matter using her own money. She found out that her friend was getting herself involved in some questionable activities, and informed her parents. It was when her friend’s father asked her, “aap jasoos ho?” (Are you a detective?) that the seed of the idea was sown into her head.“I realized that if you look around carefully, you will find many problems and mysteries in many houses. Problems that people can’t solve themselves and need external help with. But they don’t have any evidence and don’t know where to go. That’s when an investigator comes into the picture.”It was not easy for her to establish a career. Not only did she have to fight people’s ideas of whether or not her choice of career was appropriate for a woman, but she also started her career in a time when things like cell phones, computers, and other sophisticated gadgets did not exist.“Back then, there were no fancy gadgets like spy cameras and recorders that we have today and there were certainly no training schools for detective work. I was not allowed to run ads in paper regarding my agency, so everything was word of mouth.”Despite all this, she managed to start her own company, Rajani Pandit Detective Services, in 1991. Today, she has 20 people working under her. They have solved over 75,000 cases, including murders. Her job requires her to adopt many disguises from time to time. “I have played a mentally challenged woman, a blind woman, deaf and mute and once even a one-legged woman. The key is to never let anybody realize that you are acting, always think on your feet and never ever let your guard down.”

In one of her cases, she was undercover for six months, pretending to be domestic help in the house of a woman who had allegedly murdered her son. She was almost caught when the woman found a tape recorder in her room, but managed to allay suspicion by not returning home for the next three months, lest the woman followed her. When she finally solved the case, she had to drop a knife on her foot in order to get an excuse to go out of the house and complain to the police.“I was never scared of anything. I knew from the start that the one thing we are all afraid of is death. And that can come in any way. You can die while sitting in the living room if the ceiling falls…so there is actually nothing to be scared of.” Detective work may have gotten easier over the years because of the advancement in technology and the availability of things like spy cameras, bugs, and digital recorders. But her clientele also evolved to include businessmen, politicians, and film stars, and her work has taken her to Dubai, London, and Sweden.“I have had many of the stars, both male and female, as my clients, wherein they want me to find out if their partners are cheating on them. The modus operandi is that the actresses come wearing burkhas alone to me in a five-star hotel, which they pay for, to tell me their problems. In almost all cases, the result is always found to be true. But I have never seen them separating from their husbands even when they find it out to be true.”

 

 

BHAVNA PALIWAL, DETECTIVE SINCE 2000

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BHAVNA Paliwal started out as an intern in a newspaper but soon realized that it was not what she wanted from her life. She,  hails from Agra, moved to Delhi with her elder brother for better prospects. She was deeply inspired by Kiran Bedi and her father, who was a social worker. From the beginning, she had the desire within her to make an impact in society.This desire took her to a newspaper office, where she started out as an intern. Unfortunately, she did not find any satisfaction in her work. One day she chanced upon a newspaper ad seeking young female and male candidates for a detective agency. Having worked as a reporting intern, she knew the basics – how to source facts and talk to the right people – so she decided to give it a try.Now, having spent quite a few years as a detective, she says that having a presence of mind is the key. One’s talent lies in the ability to escape a particularly harrowing situation.

Sharing her very first assignment, where she was asked to find out the whereabouts of a girl, she says, “We were asked to meet her family and trace her location. My colleague and I disguised ourselves as salesgirls and reached the given address. The mother of the girl was talking to us about her daughter, and we were quite close to the information we wanted, when the girl’s father – a retired IB officer – came into the picture.”He confronted the two of them, scaring them death. “He told us that he would let us go if he told him the truth,” she adds, “I was almost caught. The confidence and the presence of mind came to our rescue. We did not reveal our true selves even though we felt that we were being interrogated. After escaping the situation, I never looked back.”To get information out of people, she says one has to get into the character and be ready to experience all sorts of circumstances. Sharing an anecdote she says, “For one particular case, I had to disguise myself as a maid. I rented a small space near the target and lived there with other women who worked as domestic helps. On other occasions, I had to dress as an NGO worker, a teacher an Anganwadi official.”

While her life as a detective was full of such interesting interludes, for a long time she did not disclose her job profile to her family, fearing resistance from them. Her brother was the first one to figure out her profession when he saw her photo in a newspaper article.Talking about the variety of cases she gets, she says, “Men are the most tortured ones. There was a time when women were actually the victims but now it is the reverse. We get a lot of cases where men are being conned by women or being cheated on by their partner. There has been a rise in cases of extramarital affairs. Apart from marital and post marital cases, parents also approach to snoop on their children whom they suspect of substance abuse.”In most cases, she adds, things end in settlements. The parties prefer to sort things out instead of dragging them to the court. In the end, there is a sense of satisfaction to her job – the fact that she was able to help someone to get to the truth.

 

TANYA PURI, DETECTIVE SINCE 2014

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TANYA Puri’s inspiration is none other than her own father, Baldev Puri, who is a veteran detective himself. As a child, she observed her father working on various cases. “The way he used to crack cases, and then tell me about them is something that I will cherish all my life,” she says, adding, “My father used to give me imaginary situations and ask me to connect the dots. I considered that to be the best the way to spend my playtime.”she got her first real exposure into the world of spying when her father roped her in for a case while she was still in college. She was asked to snoop on a girl whose parents suspected her to be dating someone. That was just the beginning for the 24-year-old. she, who has a degree in mass communication, soon floated her own agency and hired several young female investigators.

Hired for their mental capabilities, these investigators are properly trained to handle all sorts of situations. she says, ” I believe that safety comes first. Some investigators already know martial arts, and all of them are provided with bikes. It is all about the skill of not getting caught by those we are spying on. In any case, the investigators are trained well to handle any situation.”Two and a half years into the profession, she says that the profession is promising not just from a satisfaction point of view but monetary as well. “In this profession,” she adds, “experience is money. With experience you make more money and less mistakes. This profession is all about making zero mistakes. You have to be sly in a way that people around you do not understand.”

Coming to the extent to which a detective should get involved in a case, she says “We collect the evidence and provide it to our clients. What is shown in TV shows and movies, where a private detective is closely involved in a case and working in tandem with the police, is all myth. People have stereotyped the profession. We do not wear hats and long overcoats. The profession is all about blending in the environment around you.”Her father, who is the vice-president of Association of Private Detectives and Investigators, believes that the times have changed for the better. “Gone are the days,” he says, “when people believed that women were not meant for jobs that required a lot of field work. We get several queries from young girls who want to become detectives. I tell them to first finish their graduation and then join us. Women sleuths have an edge over males, since they can have access to different places with more ease. The snooping business has a lot of scope for women, and over the years the demand for women detectives has also increased.”

All these women detectives achievements in their field are admirable, even more so because they has done so well in a male-dominated field. They has challenged the set gender roles that society enforces, and has proven that women can do as well as men in such fields of work.Their mantra is “If you want to do something, you should do it. There should be no shame in doing any work you are passionate about. Self-confidence, courage, and stubbornness – these are the things that take you a long way. With these, women can do anything that they set their minds to.”

 

INDIAN WOMEN GYMNASTS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES 8

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INDIAN WOMEN GYMNASTS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES 8

Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the eight piece on Indian Women Gymnasts.

Since India gained independence, it has struggled to keep up with gymnastics in the Olympic games. There have been a total of 11 Indian male gymnasts–two in 1952, three in 1956, and six in 1964–but never before have female gymnasts made it this far.

Females in India are discouraged from playing sports and many are forced into early marriages that cut them off from opportunity.However, there has been a recent rise female athletes that’s challenging the role of gender in sports and redefining what is and isn’t possible for women.

Dipa Karmakar

Dipa’s road to Rio involved long years of training in a ramshackle gymnasium using makeshift equipment fashioned out of discarded scooter parts and crash mats. What’s more, she and her coach Bisweshwar Nandi also had to contend with India’s conservative social norms that frown upon a young girl spending so much time with a man, even if he is her trainer.

Dipa (born 9 August 1993)is an Indian artistic gymnast.She gained attention when she won a bronze medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, becoming the first Indian female gymnast to do so in the history of the Games. She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Gymnastics Championships and finished fifth at the 2015 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, both firsts for her country.

She represented India at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, becoming the first Indian female gymnast ever to compete in the Olympics, and the first Indian gymnast to do so in 52 years.She attained fourth position in Women’s Vault Gymnastics event at Rio, with an overall score of 15.066. In July 2018, she became the first Indian gymnast to win a gold medal at a global event, when she finished first in the vault event of the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey. She is one of the only five women who have successfully landed the Produnova, which is regarded as the most difficult vault currently performed in women’s gymnastics. She is a recipient of the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. For her performance in Rio Olympics 2016, the Government of India conferred upon her the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in August 2016. Hailing from Agartala in Tripura, she started her school life in Abhoynagar Nazrul Smriti Vidyalaya; she started practicing gymnastics when she was 6 years old and has been coached by Soma Nandi & Bisweshwar Nandi since. When she began gymnastics, she had flat feet, an undesirable physical trait in a gymnast because it affects their performance. Through extensive training, she was able to develop an arch in her foot. In 2008, she won the Junior Nationals in Jalpaiguri. Since 2007, she has won 77 medals, including 67 gold, in state, national and international championships. She was part of the Indian gymnastics contingent at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi

Aruna Reddy

Aruna (born 25 December 1995) is an Indian female artistic gymnast, representing at international competitions. She won bronze medal in 2018 World Cup Gymnastics in women’s vault event in Melbourne. She created history by becoming the first Indian to clinch a medal at Gymnastics World Cup. She competed at world championships, including the 2013 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.She is supported by GoSports Foundation thhrough the Rahul Dravid athlete mentorship programme.

Aruna participated in the World Championships in 2013, 2014 and 2017 at Antwerp, Nanning and Montreal respectively, but failed to progress beyond the qualifying rounds.

She competed at the 2018 Gymnastics World Cup and created history after becoming the first Indian to win a medal in an individual event at the Gymnastics World Cup by claiming a bronze medal in the women’s individual vault event.

Pranati Nayak

She is being hailed as the country’s second best female gymnast after Dipa Karmakar. In the last month, Pranati also missed bronze by a whisker in the senior Asian Gymnastics Championship in Bangkok. She finished fourth in the vault, dragging similar picture when Dipa Karmakar finished at the fourth position in the Rio Olympics.

The 22-year-old gymnast is the student of Kolkata’s Sports Authority of India (SAI) coach Minara Begum. Pranati is originally from West Bengal’s Midnapore district. Pranati is ecstatic after getting the opportunity of training under Dronacharya awardee coach Bishweshwar Nandi in the national camp.

However,gymnastics is an afterthought in India, a country more enamored by sports like cricket. As a result, it’s extremely difficult to raise money for expensive equipment or advanced training for budding gymnasts .Not only are these brave women tackling the hurdles of sports in a country like India but also simultaneously dismantling patriarchy and transcending cultural vices of denying women freedom and equal opportunities.

INDIAN WOMEN SAILORS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -7

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Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the seventh piece on Indian Women Sailors.

Around the world in 254 days, with 6 women sailors!

After an arduous voyage of eight months to circumnavigate the globe on a sailboat, with stop-overs at five ports, INSV Tarini with six women naval officers made history.

The “Navika Sagar Parikrama” expedition, led by Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi, is the first-ever Indian circumnavigation of the globe by an all-women crew.

Covering over 21,600 nautical miles since she left Goa on September 10 last year, the Indian-built sailing vessel INSV Tarini visited five countries and crossed the Equator twice, sailed across four continents and three oceans, and “passed south” of the three “Great Capes” – Leeuwin, Horn and Good Hope

They battled winds up to 60 knots in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. “Moderate to rough sea conditions, with sea states up to five, winds gusting up to 35-30 knots and swells as high as six meters, was a matter of routine for the gutsy crew,” said Captain Sharma.

The expedition was sailed in six legs, with stopovers at the Fremantle (Australia), Lyttleton (New Zealand), Port Stanley (Falklands), Cape Town (South Africa) and Mauritius. “The crew called on governors, high commissioners, mayors etc during their stopovers.

Rohini Rau – India’s number One woman sailor! 

Rohini Rau won a Gold Medal in Sailing for India in the Asian Sailing Championships in January 2004. She has the rare distinction of bringing home Tamilnadu’s first gold medal for India in Sailing and along with her sailing partner Pallavi Naik from Goa Yachting Association of being the first girls to win a gold medal for India in Sailing at an International Meet.

She is now the first Indian woman to win an international bronze in an Olympic class (Laser Radial) at the Izola Spring Cup, Slovenia on April 13th 2009

   Rohini has won a total of 14 National Gold medals, 5 National Silver medals  and  2 Asian Gold medals. She has also represented India in numerous International events including 8 World  Championships.

 

    During the year 2008 she became National champion in  3 categories, Laser     Radial, 420  and  J-24  Match racing.

Rohini represented India in the Zoom 8 World Championships in Netherlands in August, 2004

 She has the distinction of being the first Asian Girl Sailor to sail the Zoom 8 

Rohini was awarded the YAI Best Yachtswoman 2005 in September 2006 making her the numero uno woman sailor of India.

 Rohini won her first National Inland Laser Championship, Hyderabad in the Women’s Radial event in August 2005

She took part in many International events during 2007 including the ISAF World Sailing Championship at Cascais, Portugal. This became her passport into the ISAF World Ranking as the first Indian Woman to be ranked at 356.

During the Australian circuit in December 2007 she came a creditable 30th place overall at the Australian Nationals and made a massive jump in the rankings to 224

She participated in the Radial World Championship at Auckland, New Zealand in February 2008 which was the final qualification event for the Beijing Olympics 2008

 Rohini sailed in her home waters, in Chennai at the Laser Coastal Nationals in April 2008 and won the Women’s event and for the first time featured 3rdoverall beating the men.

 In Oct 2008, was part of the India’s first Women’s Match racing team that represented India at the World Women’s Match racing event, in Busan, Korea. The team finished 9th overall and 2nd in Asia.

She is the first Indian woman to win an international medal in an Olympic class – Laser Radial in Slovenia and in 2010 she won silver in Istanbul.

She is the only Indian sailor to be part of the Emerging Nations Programme at Perth and attended 5 camps training for Perth 2011 world championships

On May 14, 2011 she tied in points for the first position in the OPEN CLASS of the Coastal Nationals in Mumbai. This the first time in Indian Sailing History that a woman sailor has tied in first position, beating all the men from the army and the navy!

 In Dec 2011, Rohini represented India in the Laser Radial at the World Championships in Perth, Australia

In May 2012, Rohini missed qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games by one country at the World Championships in Germany

In July 2012, Rohini again bagged her 8th consecutive Gold medal in the Laser Radial Nationals at Hyderabad, India

Fourth Blogversary!!!!

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IWRM has come a long way, four years back this journey started and today it is here because of the love of all it’s readers .A very big thanks full of gratitude to all the people from the 92 nations who have given this blog a whooping 6235 views and 3788 visitors in the last four years.

Thank you all for your awesomeness.😘

P.S. 92 nations:India,USA,Canada,UK,Ireland,Saudi Arabia,Singapore,Germany,Pakistan,Slovakia,Nigeria,Mexico,Puerto Rico,Japan,South Africa,Italy,Lebanon,France,Sweden,Bangladesh,Australia,Spain,Indonesia,Netherworld,SriLanka,Qatar,Croatia,Finland,Philippines,Ukraine,Russia,Cyprus,Turkey,Vietnam,Austria,Oman,Brazil,Switzerland,Malaysia ,Poland,Norway,Rwanda,UAE,Botswana,Egypt,Kenya,SouthKorea ,Hungary,Belgium,Greece,Romania,Portugal,Kuwait,Nepal,Argentina,Malta,Thailand,Somalia,Mauritius,Bahrain,Colombia,Czech Republic,Latvia,Guyana,Tunisia,Romania,Peru,Slovakia,Kazakhstan,Solomon Island,Denmark,New Zealand,Dominican Republic ,Zimbabwe,Taiwan,Bulgaria,Maldives,Hong Ka ng,Israel,China,Albania,Morocco,Tanzania

INDIAN WOMEN SKIERS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -6

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INDIAN WOMEN SKIERS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -6

Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the sixth piece on Indian Women Skiers.

NEHA AHUJA

Neha Ahuja born 1981 is the first Indian woman in the history of India to qualify for the Winter Olympics, and the first Indian to be competing in the Giant Slalom and Slalom alpine skiing finals. Daughter of an Indian Border Security Officer, Comdt. S. P Ahuja, Principal of Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering and Director of Winter Sports, she was one of the four Indians competing at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. Her sister Shefali Ahuja represented India in the 3rd Winter Asian games held in Harbin, China.

REENA KAUSHAL

Reena Kaushal became the first Indian woman to ski to the South Pole. Reena, 38, settled in Delhi, made the historic ski-run as part of an eight-woman Commonwealth team that crossed a 900 km Antarctic ice trek to reach the South Pole to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Commonwealth. Skiing eight to 10 hours a day, she and her teammates from seven other countries covered the frozen southern continent to the pole in about 40 days. Each skier towed a sledge with food and gear weighing some 80 kg. The skiers, she said in a statement online, braved blinding blizzards, jet speed winds blowing in excess of 130 km an hour, hidden crevasses and temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius to reach their “destiny.” Besides India, the expedition comprised women from Brunei, Cyprus, Ghana, Jamaica, New Zealand, Singapore and Britain.

HANIYA ZEHRA

Syed Haniya Zehra, has been skiing the mountains of Gulmarg since she was in class 4. Having been trained by Manzoor Ahmed Ladakhi, getting selected in the Asian Games junior winter championship was a dream come true for her. It was the first time that she got an opportunity to display her talent at an international level. Recently the 13th Asian Junior Ski Championships, 2014 were held in Dizin, Iran where three participants from Kashmir were selected, including the only girl skier Syed Haniya. In 2009, Haniya had participated in alpine skiing at Pyoengchang, South Korea where she won the gold and wrote a new chapter in the history of sports in Kashmir. Haniya says that Gulmarg has the best quality of snow and slopes, but the development facilities are almost non-existent. Haniya attributes her success to her coach Manzoor Ahmad Ladakhi. “If today I am so good in the sports it is only because of my coach who has been training me for more than 10 years now. He has helped polish my skills all the way,” says the young skier.

SABIYA NABI

Sabiya Nabi, 17, had her parents support from the beginning to join this game. Sabiya was 9 years old when she first sloped down the baby slope, helped by her father. She has done all the three skiing courses through youth services and sports. Sabiya says, “The journey till now has been exciting but my dream does not stop here. I want to participate in the winter Olympics someday and win there.” Sabiya, who hails from Tangmarg, has won six medals till now at many local and national events. As a child she had gone to Gulmarg with her father and, on watching a foreign female skier, had decided that that was what she also wanted to do.

ABIDA KHAN

Another young skier from the valley, Abida Nabi from Srinagar, has been tallying medals at almost all the events she has participated in till now. Abida has so far won 11 medals in the under-19 championships at the local as well as the national level. Abida attributes her success to her father who has trained her for almost 10 years now. She feels that more and more girls should take up this sport. Abida says that a lot of things need to be improved in the valley so that more girls would come up and join this sport. “We don’t have a racing culture here, and also, we don’t have a proper knowledge of this sport. The government should come forward and make the girls aware of this. Unfortunately, we never get a word of encouragement from the government,” Abida says.

ZEHYA GULZAR

Zehva Gulzar from Srinagar won silver in the Gulmarg Cup when she was in class 9. Zehwa is also a part of the under-19 junior skiers and has so far won a silver in nationals and a bronze in the state championship. Aged 17, Zehwa says that she has a dream to participate in the winter Olympics and represent India in alpine skiing. “I have a passion for skiing, though studies always come first for me. I will continue to ski and win for my state in the future,” she says.

AANCHAL THAKUR

21-year-old Aanchal Thakur went against all odds to bag India’s first ever international medal in skiing at the Alpine Ejder 3200 Cup, organized by the Fédération Internationale de Ski (highest governing body in the world for international winter sports) in Turkey. The bronze medalist who hails from a small village called Burua in Manali, “I started well and managed to take a good lead, which helped later in getting the third-place finish.

INDIAN WOMEN SKYDIVERS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -5

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INDIAN WOMEN SKYDIVERS-SMASHING STEREOTYPES -5

Continuing the series of blogs by IWRM on Indian women who have smashed stereotypes and have entered male bastions, here is the fifth piece on Indian Women Skydivers.

Rachel Thomas

She was the first Indian woman to skydive from 7,000 ft over the North Pole on the 20th of April 2002, to commemorate 150 years of the Indian Railways. During the North Pole expedition, she stayed on the ice for 6 days in – 45-55°C temperature. A former employee of Indian Railways, she was the first female to compete for India in a skydiving competition in 1987 and has the record of being the first Indian female to skydive over the North Pole in 2002. She completed 650 jumps in 18 countries during her career, since her first jump in 1979. A winner of the National Adventure Sports Award, she was honored again by the Government of India, again in 2005, with the fourth highest Indian civilian award of Padma Shri.

Rachel Thomas was born in 1955, at Chittranjan, West Bengal, India. Her parents Alexander and Elizabeth Ittercherya were from Kerala and both worked with the Indian Railways. She has a sister Susan. She did her Senior Cambridge from St. Joseph’s Convent Chandernagar, in West Bengal. She was married at 17 to Capt. K. Thomas. Rachel’s first child, Dennis, was born a year later and her daughter, Annie, at the age of 20, who was a Femina Miss India winner in 1998. The couple divorced after 10 years. Rachel graduated from Agra University, with a Gold Medal in Literature. She later completed her Bachelor in Education from Bakunti Devi College at Agra with a First Division. She taught at St. George’s School Agra for several years before she joined the Indian Railways.

Skydiving career

On the 20th of April 1979, Rachel became the first female skydiver for India, starting her career by completing her “A” license from the Skydiving Federation of India at Agra. Rachel was just 24 years old, a mother of two kids and a civilian when she had achieved this feat. A year later she completed 15 jumps which led to her joining the Skydiving Demonstration Team. Rachel did her first demonstration jump at Jabalpur for the Army Ordnance C, Celebration using a Para Commander for the first time. Rachel was part of the Demonstration Team for Federation Aeronautical International Annual Conference, hosted by the Aero Club of India. The jump was completed at Safderjung Airport, New Delhi. This led her to meet Mr. Claude Gillard, President of the Australian Parachuting Federation, a Delegate at the Conference, who invited her to attend the Australian National Parachuting Championship in Australia the following year. Rachel received a scholarship from the Hon. Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to attend the USA for further training. She completed over 150 Jumps at Raeford, North Carolina. She also completed her first tandem jump and underwent the Basic Accelerated Freefall Course. Rachel also trained as an Accuracy Jumper.

Achievements

• Was honored by the late President of Macedonia H.E. Boris Trajkovski, in 2002 after her North Pole Jump

• Has a total of 656 freefall jumps to her credit.

• Has jumped from nearly 16 different aircraft.

• Has skydived in Australia, U.S.A, Holland, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, Austria, Chez Republic and Jordan (11 Countries in all)

The former Railway executive has over 650 jumps to her credit in 11 countries including Australia, USA, Holland, South Korea, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Russia, Austria, Czech Republic and Jordan. A number of them were demonstration jumps for important occasions.

Shital Mahajan

She is an Indian extreme sportsperson, skydiver and the holder of Six World records and 17 National records in the sport. She is known to be the first woman to have done her first ever parachute jump without any training over the Geographical North pole in minus 37 degree Celsius from 2400 ft, and first accelerated free fall jump without any trials over the Antarctica – South pole from 11,600 feet, in minus 38 degree Celsius the youngest woman to jump over both the North and South Poles, and the first woman jumper to perform it without trials. The Government of India honored Mahajan in 2011, with the fourth highest civilian award of Padma Shri. Shital Mahajan was born on September 19, 1982 at Pune in the Western Indian state of Maharashtrato mother Mamata Mahajan, a housewife, and father Kamalakar Mahajan, a machine worker at Tata Motors. She has received a BSc in Zoology from Fergusson College in Pune. Inspired by the feats of a friend’s brother Wing Cdr Kamal Singh Oberh, she developed a fascination with para jumping. Her first jump was on 18 April 2004, and she is reported to have completed 700 jumps since then.

Skydiving career

On 18th April 2004, Shital Mahajan has performed First Parachute jump of life without any practice over Geographic North Pole Arctic Circle in a freezing temperature of minus 37 Degree Celsius from a height of 2400 feet from a Russian MI – 8 Helicopter. On 18 April 2004 at 2100 h (IST) Shital set a new World record by becoming the First woman in the World to make a maiden Parachute Jump of life over the North Pole. She is the fourth Indian, and the second Indian woman, to Parachute over the North Pole. On 19 February 2006, Shital Mahajan has received ” Shiv Chatrapati Maharashtra State Sports Special Award 2004 – 2005″ by Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Vilasrao Deshmukh. On 29 August 2006, Shital Mahajan has received “Tensing Norgay National Adventure Award” by Honorable President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. 11 to 18 October 2006 Ms. Mahajan went to China as a Part of China Delegation along with Ministry of sports. Where Ms. Mahajan Represented India as Sports Person. On 15th December 2006, Shital Mahajan has performed First Accelerated Free Fall Parachute Jump of life over the White Continent of Antarctica South Pole in a freezing temperature of minus 38 Degree Celsius from a height of 11600 feet from a Twin Otter aircraft. On 19 September 2010, Shital did her comeback in skydiving sport by performing her record attempting feat of Wing Suit jump at Skydiver Empuriabrava in Spain. She did complete her 20-wingsuit jumps basic Training, with Finland based World Famous Wing Suit Inventor and Instructor Jari Kuosma. after performing her Jump with Wingsuit, she became First Indian Civilian woman to fly with a Wing Suit.

On 24 March 2011, Shital Mahajan has received India’s Fourth Highest Civilian Award “PADMA SHRI” by Honorable President of India Pratibha Tai Patil for her achievements in skydiving sport. On 23 October 2011, Shital Mahajan did skydiving from Hot Air Balloon from Highest altitude 5800 ft at Skydive Arizona. In December 2011, Ms. Mahajan completed her Coach rating in skydiving in Spain at Skydive Sevilla with Instructors academy under famous examiner Marcus Laser and became First Indian Civilian Woman Skydiving Coach.

In 2012, Shital started the first of its kind Skydiving Academy of India in Pune, Phoenix Skydiving Academy, so that this unknown sport gets recognition in our country and to further promote the sport of Parachuting. In September 2012, she participated in P3 skydiving formation camp in California. She was the only Indian who participated in that skydiving camp and Shital is the first Indian Civilian woman who made it to 100-way skydiving formation camp. She represented India in skydiving formation camp in the USA became First Indian civilian woman to represent India in 79-way skydiving formation in the air at 18000 ft.

On 19 February 2017 Shital Mahajan performed her first jump over 6th continent – Africa in Johannesburg at Skydive Pretoria. Then she went to South America – Brazil at Sau Paulo at skydive Go fly parachuting club to complete her 7th continent skydive. On 22 February she performed her first jump in Brazil and completed her skydiving over all 7 continents. She became First Woman in the World to Skydive on 7 Continents 1. Antarctica, 2. Australia, 3. Asia, 4. Africa, 5. Europe, 6. North America, 7. South America, on 22 February 2017. It took 10 Years 2 months 6 days to complete this feat.

On 20 May 2017, with help of oxygen mask and cylinder, Shital Mahajan performed High Altitude Low Opening skydiving (HALO) jump in San Francisco at Sky Dance Skydiving Center from 30,500 feet Above Ground Level (AGL). The free fall speed was around 230 km per hour. Shital did open the parachute at 5000ft then speed was 90 km per hour. Till now no Indian woman has done skydiving from this altitude. Therefore, Shital Mahajan became First Indian Woman to perform HALO jump from 30,500ft (High Altitude Low Opening skydiving jump).

Shital has made many records for herself now she wants to create more 100 Shital Mahajan’s from society to increase performance in the skydiving sport. Ms. Mahajan wishes you take Indian skydiving team in Skydiving World championships to represent our country. MS. Mahajan’s extraordinary talent of motivating people bringing out the best in youngsters and senior citizens. Lots of handicap and senior citizens have been inspired by Shital and found their limitless self-confidence and some of them have discovered their own qualities which they didn’t even know they had.

Awards and Recognitions

Shital Mahajan was awarded Kusumagraj Pratisthan’s Godavary Gaurav Puraskar in March 2005.

On 19 February 2006, Shital Mahajan has received ” Shiv Chatrapati Maharashtra State Sports Special Award” 2004 – 2005 by Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Vilasrao Deshmukh.

She was awarded “Venutai Chavan Yuva Puraskar” by Padma Bhushan Anna Hajare in 2005.

On 29 August 2006, Shital Mahajan has received “Tensing Norgay National Adventure Award” by Honorable President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

On 24 March 2011, Ms. Shital Mahajan has received India’s Fourth Highest Civilian Award “PADMA SHRI” by Honorable President of India Pratibha Tai Patil for her achievements in skydiving sport. Shital is a US certified A, B, C and D skydiver and trainer and is the first Indian civilian woman skydiving coach. She has been trained to jump from 6 different types of aircrafts and she has jumped from heights ranging from 2400 ft to 180000 ft height.