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Cheating can help a marriage – experts

how to keep affair discreet

Having an affair can help a marriage – that’s a view echoed in media every time a celebrity’s affair is exposed either by the mistress or media.

The latest turmoil is being faced by Auckland mayor, Len Brown, whose mistress exposed their two-year affair within a week after he won the second term in the office of New Zealand’s most populous city.

Among the many reactions expressed in media, a central theme was to leave the mayor alone, so that he could deal with his personal crisis.

Similar views were shared after the Tiger Woods affair, and the most recent  Weiner affair.

Cheating can help a marriage and relationship, says Dr. Drew Pinsky. In his CNN interview after the Weiner affair became public, Drew said: “I’m not saying that what Weiner did was OK. But let’s allow him to get his personal life in order. That’s what the priority is now.

how to keep affair discreet

“His marriage can be saved. With treatment, he and his wife can end up in a relationship that is stronger, and better, than ever. ”

The Browns of New Zealand have shown similar faith in their relationship.  While Len Brown’s wife did not make a public statement, one of his daughters, Sam Brown, expressed solidarity with her father. “We stand by our father today more than ever before.”

While having an affair with married women, or married men, create ripples in social circles, these extra-marital affairs are very common.

Some dating websites like Ashley Madison even provide a safe environment for having an affair discreetly.

The website with 20 million users around the world, goes with the advertising line: “Life Is Too Short. Have An Affair”.

The site promises to help married men and also women who have lost the spark in their marriage.

“Before you knew it you were on the Internet with a wandering eye, looking for cheating partners and women to have an affair with to bring that happiness and excitement back into your life,” says the website.

The site shows some interesting insights into the modern world of cheating.

“You might believe that affairs are typically engaged in by middle to upper class individuals who have good jobs, a family life, and are financially stable, but the truth of the matter is that cheating does not discriminate.

“Typically, people who are seeking cheating partners have found their lives to be stuck in a rut or found their personal happiness buried somewhere along the way of their home life.

And internet is playing a critical role in this. “Long gone are the days of working late and having an affair with the office secretary.

“With today’s technology the ability to have a discreet emotional or sexual affair is at your fingertips.”

But why do people have an affair?

“The image that I have is like someone who has been wandering around with a couple of empty wine glasses who suddenly meets someone with a bottle of wine,” says Mira Kirshenbaum, who has counseled couples for 30 years, and has shared her experience in her book, When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts & Minds of People in Two Relationships.

“It starts very innocently. And it feels wonderful because it was a line they were hungry to cross. But it also feels terrible because they know it’s cheating.”

“If you don’t want to divorce, this is a way people cope. They have the illusion that no one will know.”

Should you confess if you are cheating?

Mira has a strange advice for cheating spouses with a strong feeling of guilt and an urge to confess. Don’t!

“Because how does it make a person less guilty to inflict terrible pain on someone? Which is exactly what the confession does.”

Mira goes a step ahead and claims that an extra-marital affair is actually good for a marriage.

“I really thought that affairs were fatal for relationships, but they’re not. If the person who has been cheated on has a talent for forgiveness and the cheater is truly sorry — this is one of the surprising findings — many, many people are able to use the affair as a wake-up call and end up so much happier with a relationship that gives them what they need, instead of just being on automatic and pretending that everything’s O.K.”

Who is having affairs?

  • Over 50 million married men in the United States are currently cheating on their wives. (Source: Ashley Madison)
  • About 50 percent of cheating husbands have multiple affairs.
  • About 10 percent of cheating husbands say their marriages have absolutely nothing to do with their cheating.
  • More than 50 percent of cheating husbands never admit to cheating.
  • About one-third of husbands say they never feel guilty about cheating on their wives.

How to know if your husband is cheating?

  • The number one signal that a husband is cheating or on the road to cheating is him spending more time away from home.

Why do husbands cheat?

  • Not even 10 percent of unfaithful husbands say they cheat because they’re predominantly unhappy with their sex lives.
  • Just as surprisingly only about 10 percent of cheating husbands say their wives’ appearance is the number one cause of sexual dissatisfaction in the relationship.
  • Again, about ten percent of men say their mistresses are better looking or have better bodies than their wives.
Health Relationships

Causes and cure of menstrual irregularity

Women can experience irregularities in menstrual cycle if they are suffering from Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, the most common women’s hormonal disorder.

Here I will discuss ayurvedic treatment for PCOS – a disorder involving Tridoshas, fat metabolism and water retention. Treatment involves -detox or Panchakarma.  Most important factor to remember here is body metabolism.

Symptoms of PCOS

Lack of regular ovulatory cycles (i.e. no ovulation), menstrual irregularity, infertility, obesity, acne, excessive hair growth, and even hair loss.

It causes increased weight, diabetic tendencies, coldness, slow metabolism, depression, mood swings.  Sometimes it has nothing to do with weight and patient still has all above signs in PCOS.

Premonitory signs

Slight irregularities in menstrual cycle or no cycles at all.

Mild pain on ovulation or severe pain

Weight gain

Irregular appetite


Mild acne

Facial hair

What causes PCOS

Eating excessive sweet and fatty food.

Low digestive fire-leads to toxins accumulation which blocks the channels

Stress, lack of love,  lack of contact with inner self, low self esteem

Simple remedies

Fenugreek : Good for detoxifications

Karela or bitter melon: reduces sugar levels

Guduchi: Helps to balance Tridosha

Organic Ashwagandha

Exercise: Enhances tissue sensitivity and increase body metabolism.

Trikatu is one good mixture to try. (Long pepper-black pepper and ginger mix.)

Black pepper is good to increase digestive fires. Breathing exercise (kapalbhati) doing daily for 20 minutes is the most important remedy.

(Dr Priya Punjabi (B.A.M.S.) is an Ayurvedic consultant based in Auckland, New Zealand. This article is for information only. Please consult your doctor.)

Lifestyle Relationships

How to save a marriage

how to save marriage

It used to be that marriage was considered a cherished institution by the majority of people. But something has happened in recent years, and the idea of marriage isn’t held in the same high regard by nearly as many people. That would certainly be one explanation for the higher divorce rate. Is saving marriage even worth it in the modern world, and if so, what are some ways to make it happen?

Saving Marriage – A Cherished Institution Of The Past

Let’s be blunt about the state of marriage as it used to exist. While it was a lifelong commitment and it was incredibly difficult to get a divorce, this wasn’t always a good thing. For example, a wife that was being abused rarely had no other choice than to bear it. That clearly isn’t a good thing and is one of the reasons divorce laws have been loosened over time.

how to save marriage

We can see that marriage isn’t always a good thing, and even the purists out there will freely admit there are some cases where a marriage can and should be dissolved (even the Bible says adultery can be grounds for divorce). On the other hand, it doesn’t make sense to let people marry and divorce as though they are going through a revolving door. So, on to saving marriage.

If you are married, then your marriage is probably the most important one to you; and rightfully so. You may think of saving marriage in more personal terms, especially if you are in a rocky relationship and have a hard time getting along. You want to know what you can do to save your marriage, and may not be all that concerned about it as a whole.


Saving marriage can only be achieved by keeping couples together (again, except in extreme cases). The couple who is facing tough times doesn’t need to worry about the whole institution. They should do what they can to fix their marriage, because every marriage counts. In fact, if you are happily married and there is anything you can do to help a couple going through a rough spot, then by all means do so.

The more difficult part of saving marriage is to shift the collective attitude to one of respect for being married. How? There are no easy answers, but we have to start somewhere. A very simple first step is to treat marriage with deep respect. No more dirty jokes about cheating spouses, no more talk of the “old man” or “old lady”, no more making light of it. Now, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a good sense of humor; not at all. After all, being able to laugh is a great way to get along with others, including your spouse.

Saving marriage may seem quaint to a lot of people today, but it has a lot of benefits. For example, studies have shown that married people tend to live longer. Also, divorce not only hurts emotionally, it hurts financially, too. But, if more of us can be committed to making marriage work, then it will be better for everybody.

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How to win back your boyfriend

Seema tried Roy’s number three times since morning, but there was no response. As she tried to ring him again, she saw a text message. “It’s over!” The fight they had the night before was about Seema’s night out with her male friends.

Wouldn’t it be great if all relationships were happy all of the time? Maybe, but we all live in the real world, and that means we often face real problems.

Sure, they may start off really well, and the two of you are so in love that it’s amazing, but then things start to change. The novelty starts to wear off, and before you know it you’re looking for relationship rescue methods in the hopes of staying together. If any of this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do, as you will see.

save your relationship

How to save a relationship

The most important thing for you to realize is that your relationship is worth rescuing. If you disagree with this, then you need to find out why. What other things are going on? Why aren’t you so sure about making things better? If there is something holding you back, you will need to fix that first before you move on to working things out. From here on out we will talk as though you truly want to improve as a couple.

Taking each other for granted is one of the biggest threats to having a strong relationship. However, this pattern can be hard to detect because, well, you’re taking things for granted. The way to combat this is to take a step back and look at things objectively.

Then try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and ask yourself how you would react to your behavior if you were them. Also, do your best to stop taking them for granted. Don’t assume anything about their motives or feelings, but at the same appreciate the things they do.

You will need to reopen the lines of communication. If they were never really open, then you will have to learn how to talk to each other in a healthy way. This can be difficult, but you can learn how to do it with practice. The small investment you make in learning how to talk to each other will pay off in a big way in the long run; besides, it sure beats arguing all the time.

A really good relationship rescue technique is to live as though each day could be the last one you will ever spend with your partner. When you do this, all of those little things that annoy you won’t really matter. You will have a new appreciation for what you have, and you will focus much less on the negative things. Doing this will put the two of you on the right track to being a healthy couple.

Remember, you do not have to accept a bad relationship. You can use relationship rescue techniques to make things better. It may not always be easy, especially if you have had a lot of time to develop bad habits as a couple, but it will be more than worth it when the two of you are happy again.

How to win back boyfriend

Health Lifestyle Relationships Sex

Virginity cream draws criticism in India

vagina tightening cream 18 Again

A vaginal tightening cream is serving an unintended purpose in India – rekindling debate about sexuality in a society of contradiction.

The oxymoron? The second-most populated country in the world puts social taboos on public discussion or display of sexual activities. So when a television commercial (watch video) openly talked about regaining virginity, it raised more than eyebrows.

The advertisement for 18 Again, a virginity cream that claims to tighten vagina, shows a daughter-in-law in an orthodox Indian house dancing to a tune declaring “I feel like a virgin again”. Her husband joins her, putting his arm around her waist, as the shocked in-laws look on. If this wasn’t enough, read on. The advertisement ends with the shocked mother-in-law logging on the website for 18 Again to order the cream, while her husband stands behind in a supportive posture.

vagina tightening cream 18 Again

The makers of 18 Again are marketing the vaginal cream as a product that empowers Indian women. Says Rishi Bhatia, the owner of Ultratech that’s making and selling the vagina ‘rejuvenation and tightening’ product: “It’s a unique and revolutionary product which also works towards building inner confidence in a woman and boosting her self esteem.”

Hear him further: he says the goal of the product is to “empower women”.

Defending Rishi Bhatia is Curry Nation, the advertising agency behind the controversial ad, which expected the ad to generate viral publicity. In an interview to Tehelka, the agency’s account manager, Nagessh Pannaswami, insists that a tighter vagina is empowering, because “it’s not just about sexual pleasure, but also about preventing infection, discharge, urinary incontinence, and making older women feel good”.

Ultratech says the cream, selling for US$44, will take about three months of use before showing any results and contains gold dust, aloe vera, almond and pomegranate.

Launched by Bollywood actor Celina Jaitley, the product follows on the back of another product, which recently generated similar debate – a cream to lighten the vaginal skin, and was targeted at a market that still holds the view that fairer skin is better skin. Indian matrimonial ads still seek “fairer” brides.

So what’s the debate? First, the ad is ridiculous – a daughter-in-law dancing in front of her in-laws and announcing that she feels like a virgin again. The scene is far from common even in India’s modern cities.

Second, the use of the word ‘vagina’ is rare in mainstream television advertisements even in ultra-modern western countries.

But these are minor issues. Here’s a more serious objection – the objectification of women, disguised as their empowerment. Sure enough, there are numerous advertisements that objectify women, and I am not even discussing intercourse-related products.

There are ads that use women as an object to sell everything from soft drinks to cars. That’s indirect objectification.

Then there are ads for products, from fairness creams to weight loss tablets, that are sold to help women look more attractive. For who? Keep guessing.

However, this vagina tightening cream takes that exploitation to another level. It aims to create an inferiority complex among women who have, err, loose vagina.

Ask any woman who has lost virginity and you will know that it is a painful experience. To “feel like a virgin” is rarely going to be a pleasurable memory, at least for women. Then, for whose benefit is this cream really? Keep guessing.

For now, the land of Kama Sutra is witnessing a savvy businessman’s attempt to make a quick buck out of a deep-rooted mindset that does little to empower Indian women.

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Asian charity gets mayoral funding

Auckland Mayoress Shan Inglis Len Brown

The youth wing of Shakti Legal Advocacy and Family Social Services has secured a funding of $32,000 from the Auckland Mayoress’ Fund for Youth. The fund makes grants from money raised from the annual Westpac Mayoress’ Charity Gala Ball.

The inaugural ball in November 2011 raised $170,000, and in its first grant today, the fund announced grants of $150,000. The remaining money is retained to grow the fund further.

Auckland Mayoress Shan Inglis Len Brown

With the new funding, Shakti will be able to support 16 – 21-year-old migrant women affected by family violence. This project aims to build self-esteem and help these young women reach their potential through a 12-week programme with the option of on-going mentor support if needed.

Shakti Legal Advocacy & Family Social Services (formerly the Shakti Migrant Resource Centre) has its origins in the Shakti Asian Women’s Support Group founded in 1995 by migrant women. The group set up the Shakti Migrant Resource Centre in the year 2000 with the objective of providing advocacy and settlement service for all migrants. The centre was reconstituted as Shakti Family Settlement & Social Services Inc. under the Shakti Community Council Inc. and has been recently renamed as Shakti Legal Advocacy & Family Social Services to include legal and counseling services. New Services include a Youth Unit.

Mayoress Shan Inglis says she is delighted that the inaugural grants from the independent charitable fund have been made.

“Money is tight for families, businesses and non-for-profit organisations, and it is important we support those out there in the community working so hard to improve the lives and futures of our young people.

An independent research and grants committee, reviewed 94 applications (requesting $2.6 million) to choose the four charities that received the funding. The other recipients of the inaugural grants are:

South Auckland Health Foundation: Kidz First Centre for Youth Health: $42,925 towards equipping the new purpose-designed Youth and Community Development Centre in Papatoetoe with facilities needed to deliver holistic youth healthcare and development services. It will benefit young people aged 12-20.

Te Waipuna Puawai Mercy Oasis: Young Dads’ Support: $30,000 towards connecting 18-24 year-old predominantly Maori and Pacific Island fathers to other dads, and supporting positive life-skills and decision-making for their wellbeing and for their children’s welfare. This ncludes parenting, training and employment skills.

McLaren Park Henderson South Community Initiative: Computer Clubhouse hub West: $37,230 towards supporting West Auckland’s first computer clubhouse. Computer Clubhouse is an international concept of a high-tech hub for young people to develop digital technology skills including ICT, music, digital design, robotics and videography. The project encourages young people to work together and focus on skills that can support future employment or enterprise.

As a mother and grandmother, Mayoress Shan Inglis believes in an Auckland where every child has the best possible start in life and a future to look forward too. New Zealand still has one of the highest rates of preventable illness and death for children in the OECD. More than 2000 young Aucklanders leave school each year without qualifications, and 15-19 year olds are the most over-represented group in unemployment statistics.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown says the recipients are examples of the important and innovate work being done in the community for Auckland’s young people.

Global Indians Lifestyle Relationships

Rotorua to host first meet of Maori Indians

Maoris – the indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand, and Indians (not to be confused with Red Indians or American Indians) have a common thread – they both have lived in a country during the British colonisation period. As migration of Indians to New Zealand dates back to the 18th century, the two communities have shared cordial relationships over the years, and a small but prominent population of Maori-Indians, that is, people with lineage to Maori and Indian communities is a testimony of that.

Hindu Council of New Zealand is organising the first gathering (hui) of such Maori Indians at the Tangatarua Marae, Waiariki Institute of Technology campus, Rotorua from Friday, 5 October to Sunday, 7 October 2012.

It is appropriate that this unique hui takes place at Tangatarua marae. Tangatarua translates to “two peoples” and strongly symbolises the bicultural nature of the people who will participate in this first hui of Maori Indians.

The Hindu Council has been working with Maori community in New Zealand for more than 15 years, says a statement issued by the council.

“The respect and relations we have built with Maori Elders over the years have brought us close to the Maori culture and community,” says Dr Guna Magesan, general secretary of the council and also the coordinator of this first hui/gathering.

“We have come across a number of Maori community members who have Bharatiya (Indian) lineage and who are interested in knowing more about their Indian side. Most of the Maori Indians (Indo-Maori people) have been brought up culturally by the Maori side.

“We would like Indo-Maori people to feel proud of their heritage – both Indian and Maori,” says Guna.

“We plan to provide a platform to these people who could help develop our inter-cultural understanding to a still higher level.”

This gathering is one more step forward in Hindu-Maori whakawhanaungatanga (relations).

“Maori Indians have a big role to play in Hindu Maori relations and also India-New Zealand relations,” Dr Magesan added.

The official programme starts at 4.00 pm on Friday, with a powhiri. The two-day gathering will provide the participants to learn more about Hindu culture. There will be workshops on vegetarian cooking, Rangoli (traditional Hindu decorative art), “Mehndi-Moko” (temporary tattoo) where both Maori and Hindu designs will be taught, yoga, and ladies will have an opportunity to learn saree tying.

During the deliberations, participants will share their stories and experiences. Sessions dealing with the issues specific to Maori Indians for example, identity crisis and acceptance that may exist in certain individuals, will be of special interest.

“This is a challenging task we have taken but we believe it will have a positive outcome for all the participants”.

Hindu Council has been organising regular Marae stay for Hindu community to learn, understand and experience Maori culture and customs. Over the years, it has become a popular programme.

“Now, we are keen to bring the Maori Indian community together, stay in the Marae together, and have a vegetarian kai (food) together and know each other better.

This gathering will be a smoke-free, alcohol-free and meat-free event in accordance with Hindu cultural practice.

“We encourage all Indo-Maori people to write an essay about their family which we are happy to publish as part of conference proceedings/ souvenir, and possible further media publication. We are planning a spot prize for the best essay.”

Those who are interested in attending this first gathering of Maori Indians need to register their names with There will be a registration fee (koha) of $20 to cover food, accommodation, and knowledge sharing.

Also read: Maoris used non-violence before Mahatma Gandhi

Event: First gathering of Maori Indians

Location: Tangatarua Marae, Waiariki Institute of Technology campus, Rotorua

Date: Friday, 5 October to Sunday, 7 October 2012

Contact to register interest: Dr Guna Magesan (021 034 5621) or email

Opinion Relationships Study Abroad

OPINION: What if my child succeeds?

Educationalist Shalini Nambiar enquires into how we are making ‘bricks in the wall’ with our next generation:

I still get tears in my eyes when I recall what I went through when I was in school for almost 6 years. I, as a child was extremely shy and a feeling of insecurity was there since I was always a plump child. I was nicknamed ‘fatty’ by all and how it use to hurt!

But my mom gave me the courage and supported me throughout, taught me how important it is to face the world and listen to one’s heart.As an educationist I want to write about my dream about that little child who walks in with hopes and dreams in his eyes, my dream to make him a happy human being and successful in whatever he ventures in life.

Movies like "Three Idiots" have attempted to expose the limitations of the current education system.

There are hundreds of examples of people in this world who have believed what others have said about them and failed and there are just as many people who have refused to be influenced by the opinion of others and have been successful.

One of the first rules in life is to trust yourself. Kids get too much advice from everyone else of what they should do in life. No one allows them to discover themselves. Speaking from personal example I discovered very late in life what I really wanted to do in my life. Everyone else decided till then what I should do.

If I were to ask each one of you to think of one person in your life who you consider successful and why? I am sure most of you will talk about hard work, dedication, commitment which led him or her to excel. How come then we do not have school advertisements saying that so and so scored 99% in hard work, 98% in commitment. Aren’t theses the qualities our education should prepare us for?

Education’s final measurable impact is not in the exam result or the sports result not in the earning process but in the quality of the lives it inspires its students to lead.

Let’s teach the children the beauty of being imperfect. That it’s all right to make mistakes. We have to be prepared for tomorrow when it would be more important to learn how to rapidly adapt to a different job tasks and to constantly think out of the box, what we need is to develop a system that encourages students to gain multiple abilities to help them combat the rapid changes in today’s world. This is the kind of education schools should give.

Life is not reserved only for those who score 96% in exams, life is not all about money, it’s about loving what you are doing.

Change our programming as parents and teachers from, ‘what if my child fails?’ to ‘what if my child succeeds?’

To dare something new we must move out of our comfort zone. Yesterday when a prospective parent walked in my room and asked me about my philosophy, I said, “We teach them to dream, have faith in their dreams and follow them wholeheartedly so that they achieve it.”

In our effort to do a good job raising our children we tend to nit pick our kids to death over their flaws and failures.

Let the child be, let him follow his heart. Let’s remember that each child is unique. Khalil Gibran has aptly said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.


What should schools teach?

Firstly teach them that failure is not a negative term as there has never been a single successful person who hasn’t failed numerous times on their journey to success. In fact, the most successful people in life are those who have failed the most.

Secondly teach them goal setting.

Only three percent of people commit their goals to paper.

These are the same people who find the greatest success in life.

Lastly teach them how to figure out what you really want in life. Unfortunately, far too many people never take the time to do this. At the workplace we meet these types of people. They are the ones who spend the whole week just looking forward to the weekend. Let’s not get stuck waiting for the weekend. Let’s teach the children to find what we truly love to do in life and make it our vocation.

I firmly believe that it is very hard to succeed at something you hate. On the other hand, it’s hard not to succeed when working at something you love.

Shalini Nambiar is director of Excelsior American School. Views expressed are her own. (Reproduced with permission.)

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India continues to kill her daughters

On Monday morning, India woke up to the shocking news of a three-month old baby fighting for her life in the government hospital in Bangalore. On Wednesday, India hung its head in shame as doctors lost the battle to save baby Afreen who was beaten up, burnt and tortured by her own father. Her crime? She was a girl.

Umar Farooq, the father, told police that he beat the baby because he wanted a son.

His wife is asking for death penalty for him. He hated her, says Afreen’s mother Reshma Banu. “He wanted me to get rid of the child or abandon her as he wanted a son. Reshma Banu’s pain was shared by many Indians who appealed for capital punishment for the accused.

“Death for baby Afreen’s father! No mercy at all,” says television anchor Mini Mathur.  “Yes, capital punishment is not the norm. But who can put bites and cigarette burns on a 3-month-old baby?? And fracture her tiny arms? Who?”

Agrees Nandita Iyer, “I get a renewed faith in the harshest possible death penalty when I hear of people like Baby Afreen’s father.”

It was only last month that country followed the story of a two-year-old abandoned girl, named Falak by the media, who was hospitalized with multiple injuries in India’s capital New Delhi. She succumbed to her injuries – fractured skull, broken limbs and human bite marks. Falak was brought to hospital by a teenager who allegedly burnt her with a hot iron, bit her, and smashed her head against a wall, NDTV reported. “Falak had been separated from her mother, and passed around among a ring of adults in Delhi who ran a prostitution racket.”

Earlier this month, a newborn girl child in Jodhpur was rejected by her parents “after the hospital handed them a baby boy by mistake”, Voice of America reported. The child was accepted by the parents after 14 days, once a DNA test confirmed their parentage.

India’s sex ratio, at 914 women to every 1000 men, is the worst since the country’s independence from the British in 1947, according to the 2011 census – the global benchmark is 952. Indian law prohibits sex-determination tests prior to birth, so as to prevent abortions of girl fetus. Despite this, foetal sex determination and sex selective abortion has today grown into a Rs.1,000 crore industry ($244 million), according to a Unicef report.

India is heavily legislated with numerous statues trying to prevent crime against women, including the Sati Act (prevention of burning the widow alive on deceased husband’s pyre), Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act and the Dowry Prevention Act.

The prejudice against women partly stems from an age-hold practice of dowry – financial payment by bride’s parents to the groom. There are 5,000 women in India who suffer female infanticide each year (bride burning) due to insufficient dowry payment, say Nake Kamrany, Professor of Economics at the University of Southern California and Catherine Robinson, a Research Assistant in economics at USC and a member of Global Income Convergence Group in Los Angeles.

The issue is not India specific alone; many states worldwide are struggling to reduce crime against women by encouraging gender equality. “Only four out of over 135 nations have achieved gender equality including Costa Rica, Cuba, Sweden, and Norway,” say Kamrany and Robinson. Yemen was scored the lowest. “Measures of gender equality include access to basic education, health and life expectancy, equality of economic opportunity, and political empowerment.

However, legislation alone hasn’t been very successful as is clear from international evidence. Similar to India, China has outlawed the use of gender detection methods. Yet, China has 32 million more boys than girls under the age of 20, and there are 126 boys to 100 girls among the 1-4 age group, mostly caused by the infamous one-child policy. “They have granted parents who have a female child another chance at birthing a son in the hopes that families will not abandon, abort, or murder their female infant,” say Kamrany and Robinson.

In addition to social costs, there are economic costs to gender inequality. “Japan’s GDP will gain by 15% if employment gender discrimination is adjusted,” say Kamrany and Robinson.

The gender inequality is both the cause and effect of under-representation of women in decision-making roles. Only 14 of 200 governments in the world have women as the head of the state. Numerous studies have shown that women are paid less, get promoted less often and are required to retire sooner than men – both in the western world and in eastern societies. India got its first female prime minister as early as in 1966 – Indira Gandhi was also the world’s second female head of the state, the first being neighbouring state – Sri Lanka’s prime minister – Sirimavo Bandaranaike. This was much earlier than Europe – the region had to wait until 1979 when Margaret Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom – the first elected woman ruler in Europe.

As many social reformers during the British era in India had rightly identified, gender equality can only be achieved by encouraging literacy as well as financial independence among the fairer sex. They need to be educated, given equal-pay jobs, promoted by merit and encouraged to play a prominent role in policy-making.

Hopefully we can look back and say that Falak and Afreen have not died in vein.

Vaibhav Gangan is the managing editor of The Global Indian magazine.

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Plans for cultural resthome for Indians

Indian community is showing strong interest for a cultural care centre for elderly in Auckland.

Many Indian business owners, community leaders and politicians attended a recent meeting to discuss plans for a resthome for South Asians. There are an estimated 100,000 south Asians in New Zealand, of which, 5295 are of 65 years of age or older. And the idea of a resthome for this demographic is catching momentum.

“It’s particularly for those who need some kind of residential care,” says Labour MP Rajen Prasad who supports to concept.

“It’s appropriate for who they are, their age, their culture. I think in a modern, complex society like Auckland where families are busy, (if) they are going to be close to the elderly people, and (if) elderly people want to be close to the activities with other elderly people, then I think these kinds of centres become important, and I hope that before too long, that will be possible.”

Others present echoed the feeling. “We have done a lot of research,” says Vinod Kumar, President of Hindu Council of New Zealand. “We need that (centre) desperately. Who does that, how we do it, doesn’t matter.”

Says Wensceleaus Anthony, chair of India New Zealand Business Council, “Lest we forget, because it is very important, (for) people of our community (that) are in the evening of their life, it is our duty to take care of their needs.”

The initial thinking seems to make the facility open to all ethnic groups. “It will benefit not one particular ethnic community, but all ethnic communities in Auckland,” says Amail Habib, acting chair of Auckland Council’s Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel.

Responding to The Global Indian magazine’s enquiry, the project co-ordinator for the concept, Vikas Yadav, says that the rest home is specifically aiming at South Asians i.e. people from India, Pakistan, SriLanka, Bangladesh, Nepal etc.

Sharing his experience, Dr Prakash Grover says, “We are a second generation of Indian community here. Soon we will be old and I don’t think our sons or daughters will be able to (attend) to our needs in the way it would have been done in India.

“In India, the social and financial structure, the type of life allows a person to be nurtured by the society at large. Here, things are quite different. We might be an ‘unhandlable’ pressure for our children.

“But if I imagine myself going to a conventional old age home, it might be a challenge – the type of food, the type of gear, the type of culture – the whole dynamics of the place may not suit my emotional and cultural needs.

“So in that regard, the idea of (cultural old-age home) is good. I can imagine myself, at 80 years old, going to that old-age home, with mutter-paneer in my plate (and) watching NDTV (which is) unimaginable at this stage.”

The Auckland meeting was convened by Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust and led by Jeet Suchdev. The project is estimated to cost $3 million and likely to host 43 elderly people initially. It is estimated that the project may receive a Ministry of Health funding of $830 per week per resident.

The meeting formed a core working committee to undertake a feasibility study. The committee will include: Hemant Prashar, Ilango Krishnamurthy, Kritika Satija, Dr. Mohammed Rashid, Dr. Nitin Raj Sheth, Dr. Prakash Grover, Pushparajan, Sandeep Agarwal, Santanu Roy, Sharmista Roy, Shefali Mehta, Shivani Arora, Surjeet Singh, Vinod Kumar, Wensceleaus Anthony and Yusuf Khan

Any person who would like to volunteer for this project and be a part of this cause, may contact Mr.Jeet Suchdev on 021-222-1020 or 09 443 0579.

RESEARCH PAPER (PDF FILE): Families, Ageing and Migration: Indian Communities in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch

Money News Relationships

Campaign to lure Asians to gambling criticised

A community group is protesting as a government organisation tries to lure more Asians to buy lotteries – a mild form of gambling.

New Zealand Lotteries Commission, a Crown entity, is launching a marketing initiative to attract more Asians to buy lottery tickets. But Problem Gambling Foundation is concerned.

The Foundation told the New Zealand Herald that it is “irresponsible of the commission to be targeting the Asian community as Lotto is often a “stepping stone” to more serious gambling problems.”

New Zealand Lotteries Commission was set up in 1987 to raise money for the community.

In 2010, the commission paid (through Lottery Grants) $183.3 million to various community projects including SPARC, Creative New Zealand, and the New Zealand Film Commission.

Lottery sales in the 2010 amounted to $925.9 million – roughly equivalent to the revenue of major retailers combined – Briscoes, Rebel Sports, KFC, Hallensteins and Glassons.

In its briefing paper to the incoming minister last year, the commission highlighted its strategy to increase lottery sales – by getting people to buy more often, and by increasing the number of outlets.  Currently, NZ Lotteries already has New Zealand’s largest retail network, with more than 1,000 stores located in  supermarkets and corner dairies largely run by ethnic migrants.

The commission intends to promote online gambling by launching a new website in the coming months. “The new site will be easier to use and able to be accessed by a much larger variety of devices, including iPhones,” the briefing paper says.

According to the commission’s research, 86% of New Zealand’s adult population – about 2.8 million New Zealanders – buy lottery at least once each year. Problem gambling figures for the 2010/11 year show that NZ Lotteries products were cited 202 times as a primary mode of gambling by gamblers and affected others, who received a full intervention treatment for the first time.

Problem Gambling Foundation feels that gambling leads to more serious crime. According to the Foundation’s figures, 10,000 New Zealanders engaged in illegal activities because of their gambling (2008).

While Asian community faces a growing problem of gamblers, Māori and Pacific adults are about 3.5 times more likely than adults in the total population to be problem gamblers, according to the Foundation.

Lotteries Commission has completed some discussion with Asian retail stores to explore the possibility of selling lotteries through these stores.

“One retail sector that has experienced growth in recent years is supermarkets and grocery chains featuring Asian products in Auckland … these now represent a significant portion of the Auckland retail sector, however NZ Lotteries products are not currently sold through these stores,” commission spokeswoman Karen Jones told the Herald.

Jones says Auckland underperformed in sales last year, and a key difference between Auckland and the rest of the country was its proportion of people from an Asian background.

How serious is gambling problem?

The NZ Health Survey showed that 3% of adults  had experienced problems due to someone’s gambling in the previous 12 months.

Another study found that 9% of adults had gambled to a harmful level in the last 12 months.

Over 74,000 New Zealanders suffer from inferior mental health because of gambling.

10% of the adult population are regular continuous gamblers and are the most at risk of developing a gambling problem.

One in six New Zealanders say a family member has gone without something they needed or a bill has gone unpaid because of gambling.

News Relationships Work Abroad

Pets used as pawns in domestic violence

As many as 33% women surveyed in New Zealand stayed in violent relationships because they feared their pets would be killed or tortured. Of these, one quarter said their children had witnessed violence against animals.

‘Pets as Pawns’ study underlines the strong link between animal cruelty and domestic and family violence in New Zealand. The research also showed that 50% of women interviewed had witnessed animal cruelty as part of their experience of domestic violence. The study was jointly commissioned by the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Women’s Refuge.

This research shows the urgent need for New Zealand’s SPCA and Women’s Refuge to work together to find solutions to make families safer by enabling them to leave violent situations with their animals, says RNZSPCA National Chief Executive Robyn Kippenberger.

The research included direct interviews with 30 refuge clients who had witnessed or were forced to take part in animal cruelty as part of family violence. The  research also involved surveying 203 Women’s Refuge clients. Of these 203 women, 111 (55%) stated that animal cruelty was part of their experience of family violence as, at some point, either a family member or their partner had threatened to kill one of their pets, animals and/or farm animals.

A third of the respondents also reported actual injury of death of the animal.

As a result, deciding when and how to leave a relationship that included cruelty to animals became more complex. Twenty-eight percent of women reported they would have left their abusive relationship earlier if they had not had a pet or animal. The length of time they stayed ranged from one week to 22 years with an average of two years.

The research also uncovered information about how children witnessed animal cruelty. Of the 159 research participants with children, a quarter reported that their children had witnessed someone in their family injure or kill a pet or animal. The research is available from the websites of the RNZSPCA and Women’s Refuge.

Disturbingly, many of the women reported that partners who had warnings or convictions around physical violence, would deliberately threaten or hurt pets as a way of controlling their family and make it easier to avoid reconviction, says Heather Henare, chief executive of Women’s Refuge.

“In this way, pets and other animals become part of an arsenal of tricks abusers use to instil fear and control over their family.

Some men will threaten to kill family pets if the woman leaves, and in some cases women and children have witnessed extreme torture of pets or animals as part of the horror of domestic violence.”

Are you and your pet at threat?

1. Violence towards animals is not acceptable. Even if you have pets, don’t put off getting help!

2. Please call 0800 REFUGE to be connected to an advocate who will help you with a confidential safety plan for yourself, your children and your pets

3. To find a local refuge advocate you can also look under “W” in the White Pages for the number of your nearest women’s refuge

4. Visit

Other key findings from the research:

1. Many women had the impression their pet would be euthanized if left with the SPCA while she escaped domestic violence, this is incorrect. RNZSPCA euthanasia practices should be widely circulated to remove public misconceptions.

2. Women are often locked into their relationships because they cannot find alternative accommodation (i.e. landlords who do not allow pets)

3. Research showed mechanisms need to be developed to assist women without transport or funds to surrender or place their animals in the SPCA’s care

4. The animals most likely to be hurt are dogs (45%); cats (33%); cows (8%) and birds (6%)

5. Issues of ownership need to be investigated, as if the animal is registered in the abusers name, they will have precedence over the animal in current law

Health Relationships

NZ women concerned about fertility

Two in three Kiwi women (63%) say they have friends and family who have experienced fertility issues and as many as 93% New Zealand women believe more should be done to promote ways to improve fertility.

In response to an online survey by New Zealand’s Good Health magazine, the women said there should be more promotion around alternatives to IVF (92%) and 36% said they would consider helping infertile couples through egg donation.

The key problems New Zealand women said they encountered while trying to conceive were Endometriosis/Polycystic Ovarian (32%), unexplained infertility (31%), recurrent miscarriage (20%), age (16%), and male fertility issues (16%).

Other key factors which Kiwi women believed influenced infertility, included: weight (60%), lifestyle (52%), genetics (50%), diet and food (49%), and smoking (47%).

The cost of IVF was also a concern with 82% saying IVF was too expensive, 37% said it should be free to people fitting a certain criteria and 31% that it should be partially funded.

Women of all ages shouldn’t take fertility for granted, says Good Health editor Pamela Marker.

“Our survey results, along with a comprehensive report and heartfelt real-life stories, show today’s reality of fertility in New Zealand,” she says.

Health Immigration News Relationships

Sleepy Canadian town gets relief for tortured women

When you come to Banff – a small, frozen town i the middle of 7000 sqkm Banff National Park, tourism is the first thing on your mind. It’s a sleepy town of just 7500 people in Canada’s western province of Alberta, caterig to a heavy inflow of keen skiers.

Domestic violence is not something a tourist would naturally think of here. However, a city with men is likely to be a city with some family violence. Banff is no exception to the behaviour of men. But it is certanly indfferent in that it attracts many seasonal workers from a range of nationalities; many are non-Canadians.

While government-funded shelters welcome victims of family violece, they often turn away non-Canadians, as the service tries to prioritise its limited resources resources of its citizens. It costs as much as C$250 to provide shelter to one woman for one night.

“Just imagine how humiliating it would be to arrive at the (government) shelter and … be told you have to go back to your home where you’re not safe,” says Kathryn Williams, the director of programmes and community support for YWCA Banff, in a local newspaper.

Not any more, thanks to a generous C$25000 donation by Calgary Real Estatte Board Charitable Foundation. Now, non-Canadian women will have a shelter to go to, in case they face family violence

It’s a major relief not just for non-citizens, but for most victims of home violence. The government-funded facilities ironically turn away victims if they have used the shelter earlier. The government shelters are able to accommodate women during their first visit to the facility.

As statistics show, most women return tot their abusive partners a few times before gathering courage to leave them for good. The YWCA shelter offer the much-needed shelter to such women, if they have been not accepted by the government facilities, in atrocious weather conditions. The location of this shelter is kept secret to protect the women from their abusive partners.

Such donattions are a God-send for the victims of family violence.

(Vaibhav Gangan is managing editor of The Global Indian magazine and is currently in Banff, Canada.)

About domestic violence in Canada

Domestic violence is the single largest women’s health issue in Canada with more reported cases than heart attack and stroke.

One in four Canadians will be directly affected by domestic violence in their lifetime, and Alberta has the second highest rates of domestic violence.

(Source: YWCA Canada)

Immigration Relationships

Man admits setting wife on fire

An Indo-Fijian origin man has pleaded guilty in a New Zealand court to a charge of murdering his wife last year.

Diwesh Kumar Sharma was arrested from Fiji by New Zealand Police, on charges of murdering his wife, 28-year old Ranjeeta Sharrma, by setting her on fire in an attack. She died on the side of a Huntly road in January last year. She was cremated in her hometown of Nadi in Fiji.

Just a day after Ranjeeta’s body was found, the 29-year old Sharma fled the country with his four-year old son.

Soon after being detained by Fiji police and brought back to New Zealand, he was sent to a mental health facility for a psychiatric check up, and his lawyer told reporters that Diwesh was fit to plead in the court.

Ranjeeta had come to New Zealand only five years ago and was working as a nurse at Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital.

As many as 39% of New Zealand women suffer physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to a study by Janet Fanslow and Elizabeth Robinson.

Police estimate only 18% of domestic violence incidents are reported.

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Police launch tool to predict domestic violence

A tool which predicts the likelihood of re-assault in relationships will become a key part of the New Zealand Police’s response to family violence this year.

As many as 39% of New Zealand women suffer physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to a study by Janet Fanslow and Elizabeth Robinson.

Police are called once every seven minutes,  or around 200 domestic violence situations a day, according to Women’s Refugee Group. On average 14 women, six men and 10 children are killed by a member of their family every year, in a small country like New Zealand with 4 million population.

It is little wonder that the NZ Police are working on a tool (The Ontario Domestic Assault Risk Assessment (ODARA) tool)  which takes an evidence-based approach to information-gathering.

NZ Police develop a tool to predict family violence (Photo: Senior Constable Fiona Foxall)

“We want more focus on families suffering the most serious violence and those we believe are at risk of escalating violence,” says

Commissioner Peter Marshall in at interview to Police magazine Ten One.

“Good risk assessment is vital if we are to make sound decisions that will disrupt the family violence cycle and help us better protect victims and children in their care from further harm.”

ODARA is an internationally recognised tool that was developed to predict re-assault in intimate partner relationships including dating violence, male on female violence and female on male.

“We believe it’s the best fit for New Zealand Police,” says Marshall. “The information it generates can be used in evidence and will support the prevention of family violence.”

But the tool is not just about violence against partners. In around 70% of cases where there’s abuse between adult partners, there is also child abuse and neglect.

Police have developed a risk factor form specifically for children in homes where violence is occurring; the commissioner believes New Zealand is the first country in the world to develop the Child Risk Factor form (CRF).

The CRF will help staff identify children potentially most at risk and to pass this information onto those who will work with the family to better protect them.

New Zealand police have also increased their resources:  there were just seven family violence coordinators in 2007; now there’s one in every police area.

Family violence is a growing cause for concern among Asian communities, according to a study by the Ministry of Social Development. The study found the triggers for family violence related to difficulties in adjusting to living in a new country, finding suitable employment and experiencing financial hardship.

“Men’s dominance in some Asian families was an issue, especially when men saw control over their wives as a last resort to protect their cultural values and traditions,” says the study.

“The racism and discrimination some women experienced in this study, when they attempted to find paid jobs or solve their financial dependency issues, put women at extreme risk of abuse and violence.

“The barriers to preventing or dealing with family violence related to perceptions in the Asian communities researched that family violence is a private matter, and to the women’s desire to keep the marriage/relationship intact and limited responsiveness.” Police estimate only 18% of domestic violence incidents are reported.

Concerning facts: family violence

84% of those arrested for domestic violence are men; 16% are women.

The economic cost of domestic violence was estimated at $1.2 billion to $5.8 billion per year by economist Suzanne Snively in 1996. In today’s figures, that would be up to $8 billion.

In the 2009/10 year there were 3,867 domestic violence cases in the Family Court which each involved at least one child.

(Source: Women’s Refuge)

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Leader upset at “sexploitation” of yoga

Yoga for sex

A Hindu community leader has expressed his displeasure about “books, magazines, DVDs, and other media showing yoga as some kind of potion to enhance sex life.”

Hindu statesman Rajan Zed says that yoga was a serious mental and physical discipline by means of which the human-soul (jivatman) united with universal-soul (parmatman).

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that it was simply misuse of age old and revered system of yoga.

Yoga for sexRajan Zed listed some of the popular titles selling in the market: “Better Sex Through Yoga” (Greaux, Langheld, Rich), promising “Easy Routines to Boost Your Sex Drive, Enhance Physical Pleasure, and Spice Up Your Bedroom Life”; “Sexy Yoga” (Barrett), giving “40 Poses for Mindblowing Sex and Greater Intimacy”; “Sex Yoga” (Brighton), showing “The Seven Easy Steps To A Mind-Blowing Kundalini Orgasm . . . No Partner Required!”; “Intimate Yoga for Couples” (Mishabae); etc.

Here is sampling from some well-known magazines: “Yoga Positions for Better Sex” (Prevention), “Want Better Sex? Do Yoga” (Psychology Today), “Workout: Yoga for Hotter, Better Sex” (Men’s Health), “Yoga for Better Sex” (Women’s Health Magazine), “The Great Sex Yoga Workout” (Fitness Magazine), etc. Even Harvard Health Publication of Harvard Medical School gave “Examples of yoga poses to enhance sexual function”. shows a “Playboy’s Naked Yoga” free video depicting Playmate of the Year Sara Jean Underwood doing various yoga poses on a yoga mat totally naked.

Criticizing portrayal of yoga as erotica, Zed pointed out that yoga, referred as “a living fossil”, was one of the six systems of orthodox Hindu philosophy and was highly revered in Hinduism.

Rajan Zed further says that some sages have described yoga as the silencing of all mental transformations, which leads to the total realization of the Supreme Self. Some have used yoga attempting to gain liberation by removing all sensory barriers. According to Patanjali, author of the basic text, the Yoga Sutra, yoga is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

Rajan Zed

Zed argued that just for plain mercantile greed, companies and individuals should not attempt to distort the esteemed ancient yoga tradition as it would hurt the devotees.

About 16 million Americans, including many Hollywood and other celebrities, reportedly do yoga. Hinduism, which introduced yoga, is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about billion adherents and “moksh” (liberation) is its ultimate goal.

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Muslim men awarded for work against family violence

While  they come from different countries and have varying professional background, these four migrants have one thing in common – desire to help ethnic women fight the menace of domestic violence.

These  Muslim community workers were recently acknowledged for supporting the rights of Muslim women, as part of Islam Awareness Week in New Zealand’s largest city – Auckland.

All four recipients have been involved in initiatives for early intervention family violence programmes for ethnic, Muslim and refugee communities for more than ten years. They also work in areas of health promotion, youth issues, education, employment, positive parenting and other settlement issues in the refugee sector.

Epsom resident Hashem Slaimankhel trained as a doctor in Afghanistan and works for the Auckland District Health Board as a refugee health worker. He is currently chairman of the Umma Trust and the Afghan Association of New Zealand.

Blockhouse Bay resident Mahad Warsame is from Somalia and also works as a refugee health worker for Auckland District Health Board. He is chair of the Auckland Somali Community Association.

Hassan Hosseini, who lives in Kelston, is from Iran and manages the New Zealand Ethnic Social Services organisation, based in Te Atatu.

Arif Saeid resides in Lynfield and trained as a doctor in Afghanistan. He works as the community link manager for Refugees as Survivors New Zealand.

Global Indians Health Relationships

Relationship is not a glass – it can be fixed

Sujata was suspicious of her husband. Sumit’s coming late from work, not showing up for his 3-year old daughter’s play at school, quietly speaking on the phone to a “colleague”, not leaving his mobile phone behind at dinner table, he showed all the signs. And finally Sujata’s suspicion was confirmed. She read Sumit’s text messages to his colleague,  Virali, which were more than just “official” messages.

For a month, Sujata kept planning on how to walk out of the marriage. But something kept her from taking the major step. After a lot of thinking, she decided to give Sumit a second chance. After all, he begged her to stay. He promised to mend his ways, to stop talking to that colleague. He even offered to change his job. But it was their daughter for whom Sujata decided to stay back.

But now the big question was – where to take the relationship that was at a crossroads. Should she stay in just for their child, or should she work towards fixing the relationship?

There is never an easy answer.

Many people, many ways. However, here’s some relationship help. Relationships are not like glass that can’t be fixed once broken.  Of course, it is not easy to fix a broken relationship. It is also easy to assume that the one who cheats has to take the first step, has to go out of their way to make amends, has to show extra love and care. The reality is far from that.

Advice on relationships for women

Both partners have to take special steps to heal the broken relationship. Both have to find ways of rekindling the lost love. However, the one whose trust has been betrayed finds it more difficult to contribute towards the relationship. When it is needed, it can be beneficial to talk to a marriage counselor who has an online psychology degree.

Also, if you have drifted apart subtly and gradually over a period of time, it is relatively easy to get back together, unlike in Sujata’s case.

For Sujata, it is going to take a lot of effort and patience for both partners to rebuild trust and grow fonder together.

Both partners will need to make an honest evaluation of where the relationship is leading. They need to reflect on things that brought them together in the first place. They will have to look at things at stake if this relationship did not work out. Of course, if children are part of a marriage, they are even bigger part of a break-up. However, children alone can’t be a reason to be together.

Do you really think you have a chance to happiness in the relationship? If the answer is an overwhelming ‘yes’ then you can go all out to save the relationship.

Trust your gut instincts to guide you in this difficult time.

Relationship advice for men

It takes a lot of time for women to trust men. For women, there’s a lot at stake when it comes to relationships which are always long-term. Once that trust is broken, it is going to take even longer time to gain back your woman’s trust than it did the first time. Go slow.

Take your time. Often the trust is built through small gestures and indirect signals. Show interest in your woman. Notice her clothes, her new shoes, and her new eye-liner. Flist with her. Show her how irresistible she is to you.

Sanjiv Gupta is a leading relationship consultant based in Guwahati, India