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Homophobia In India Explored By Photographer Through A Series Of Powerful Photographs

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All images: Arjun Kamath

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Coming out of the closet isn’t always an easy experience. For some, societal pressures and family values instill enough fear in an individual to cause them to hide their true identity; their true sexuality. But in a day and age where, in the United States, for instance, gay marriage is legal in all 50 states, it is hard to comprehend a world where homosexuality itself is a crime.

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As opposed to a growing number of Western countries that have adopted progressive ideals on same-sex marriage, to afford equal rights to all citizens, many Eastern nations remain staunchly opposed to such acceptance. In India, for example, homosexuality is illegal.

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Accordingly, many individuals choose to stay in the closet in order to avoid persecution.

Section 377 of the Indian Penal code, which criminalizes consensual sex between people of the same gender, was previously questioned and overturned, but India’s Supreme Court hasn’t come to a final verdict on the matter just yet.

The law is as follows:

Whoever voluntary has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years, and shall also be liable to fine.

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In response to this reality that has undoubtedly plagued the well-being of many Indian residents, photographer Arjun Kamath shot 30 photographs for the series “Coming Out” to expose, through a fictional narrative of two women coming out to the world, the pain of being banned from loving who you want.

It’s the type of story that will surely open your eyes to the archaism of such laws.

“It’s a free world.”

coming out photo series

 

“Maitreyi opened the door for the first time…The unending fog hung in the air like a suffocating sheath, blanketing the land with its ghostly glow.”

coming out photo series

A cold wind blew mercilessly, chilling Alpana to the marrow, as she opened the creaky closet door. The overhead dark clouds skimmed past the orange sun from time to time, throwing the little patch of forest into blackness. Flashes of lighting in the distance made the already nervous Alpana not want to step out…

coming out photo series

“The twigs cracked under Alpana’s feet as she stumbled out of the closet; Maitreyi’s calm presence gave her the hope that the forest was a safe place. As the two girls trudged ahead, the winds of the forest roared, blowing an eerie chill past the endless line of dying trees…”

coming out photo series

“The wildlife held its breath as Alpana embraced Maitreyi; the girls had been in love for the longest time ever. And although the leafless trees stood like witches over their petite figures, they stood there undeterred. They had finally come out of the closet and now there was no looking back…”

coming out photo series

“As Maitreyi and Alpana grew comfortable in each others arms, the glowing sun started to reveal itself through the perilous clouds.”

coming out photo series

“The love between Maitreyi and Alpana overflowed and changed the mood of the forest. The mischevious sun peeped through the clouds and washed the forest with a golden glow as the girls trudged forward. The tree’s soft whispers against the wind was like a gentle lullaby, comforting them along the way…”

coming out photo series

“An atmosphere of calmness and peace pervaded, and the beauty was quietly stunning. The soft green grass under their feet stretched to the horizon and the song of the river was gentle. Alpana and Maitreyi had left the closet behind and stepped into a new world. The sky above them stretched as far as the eye could see in an arcade of turquoise-blue, punched with fluffy clouds. They walked hand in hand, observing the screeching swallows as they chased whirring dragonflies in a dance of life and death. The golden sun had evaporated the fear in their hearts and filled it with hope…”

coming out photo series

“The cute little shrubs of the forest cast their reflection on the water forming buttery silhouettes; it was still early in the morning and the music of the birds floated in the air. Tiny fishes broke the surface of the water causing the water ripples to glimmer in the Sun’s reflection. The girls smiled in their newfound comfort and decided to play a game of hide and seek…” 

coming out photo series

“Alpana whispered, ‘Now I can do whatever I want.’

Maitreyi smiled and said, ‘I’ve never stopped you.’

coming out photo series

“The forest turned to pale copper as the rays of the sun pulled itself across the horizon and slid in between the grey clouds. Alpana tightened the knot one final time. ‘Good luck, Mai’ she whispered…”

coming out photo series

“The greys began to fade, as liquid gold crept up from leaf to limb. Maitreyi and Alpana had never been happier…” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi surrendered to the beat of her feet against the rocks that littered her path. Her laughter, breathless and sporadic mingled fluently with the morning chorus of the birds. Sweat spread itself across her forehead, causing her hair to cling to it as her throat pined for more air. The delicious rush of wind skimmed past her face as she ran around the forest trying to catch Alpana. And as the canopy overhead thickened, her steps grew muffled because of the leaves that blanketed the forest floor; the ground was no longer cold beneath her soles…” 

coming out photo series

“Suddenly during the game, Maitreyi collapsed to the ground as she felt the pain as strong as a hundred daggers sinking into her feet. Squirming with anguish, she sat on the damp grass, clutching her feet. Her eyes were watery with the sheer pain and her breathing was heavy. Sweat dripped down the side of her face and covered her forehead in a thin sheen. A nasty thorn had penetrated her leg and she was in great pain…” 

coming out photo series

“Seeing Maitreyi in pain caused Alpana’s chest to swell with melancholy. However, Alpana willed herself to comfort Maitreyi and pull the thorn out of her flesh. She ignored the ringing in her ears, the heat from her cheeks as she felt the need to cry; it was her idea to play hide and seek after all. The small punctures in Alpana’s heart slowly filled with anxiety, knowing that she didn’t have long before she completely lost it. She sucked in a breath and held it there. She had to be strong. For Maitreyi. For her.” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi’s thumb caressed Alpana’s earlobe softly, her fingers supporting the back of her head as she leant in firmly, yet seductively, placing her lips over Alpana’s nose. Ragged breathing and dancing heartbeats brought a fiery heat to the cold forest air. ‘It’s not your fault…’ whispered Maitreyi.” 

coming out photo series

“Parivala, very much like Maitreyi and Alpana had found freedom in the very same forest a few days ago. So when she saw the girls embrace each other, her heart was overcome with joy. She observed them from a distance and was glad that they had come out…” 

coming out photo series

 

“Parivala blessed the girls and walked away..” 

coming out photo series

“It was a new day and the glimmer of hope strengthened with every passing minute.” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi and Alpana’s joyful laughter echoed through the forest… But somewhere in the distances, maybe miles away, maybe just a few feet, they heard something moving. Once, twice. Something heavier dropped, crashed into the rubble, echoed off the trees. Then silence again…” 

coming out photo series

“The Rakshasas of the forest had heard Maitreyi and Alpana’s laughter…”

coming out photo series

“The only love that was allowed was between man and woman…” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi and Alpana would pay for their sins..” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi and Alpana were dragged through the forest mercilessly… Their biggest sin was that they had loved each other, and not a man.” 

coming out photo series

“The love that brought them together, was the love that tore them apart…” 

coming out photo series

“Maitreyi and Alpana were shoved back into the closet…” 

coming out photo series

 

“Nobody heard them screaming, nobody wiped their tears. Maitreyi clutched Alpana’s hand tightly as the doors closed on them…” 

coming out photo series

“Silence hung in the air like a bereaved soul as Maitreyi and Alpana embraced each other one last time…” 

coming out photo series

“Plumes of black smoke filled the closet and the searing heat slowly made it difficult to breathe; Maitreyi and Alpana held onto each other, their nails almost digging into each others flesh. All the wonderful moments that they spent together flashed before their eyes as the closet erupted into flames…” 

coming out photo series

“God wept a silent rain as Parivala screamed and cried… but it was too late. She sobbed as she sank to her knees, not caring for the damp mud that dirtied her dress; she had blessed the girls a few days ago and now they were gone.”

coming out photo series

Images And Words: Arjun Kamath

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

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FBI Confirms Report of “Cylindrical” UFO “Moving Really Fast” Over New Mexico

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CE Staff Writer 4 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The FBI has now confirmed that they are aware of the American Airlines pilot's UFO report. They did not say they are officially investigating the incident any further. The incident remains a mystery.

  • Reflect On:

    The increase in UFO coverage and reporting in mainstream media is raising public awareness about how prominent and well documented the subject is. What does the reality of the UFO phenomenon mean to you? Does it change your worldview?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

On Sunday Feb. 21, 2021 a pilot on American Airlines flight 2292 from Cincinnati to Phoenix reported seeing a long cylindrical object fly very fast over New Mexico, reporting that it looked a lot like a cruise missile. Now, the FBI has confirmed that they are aware of the mysterious report but did not say whether they are investigating any further.

The pilots report, which can be heard here, went like this:

“Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us – I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing – moving really fast right over the top of us.”

Steve Douglass, an experienced radio interceptor, was the first to report on the incident and claimed he heard the pilot’s transmission while recording from his multiple scanners.

Initially, American Airlines did not confirm that they had information the incident had happened, but later on, they provided a different story to journalists at The Drive who pressed for more info.

American Airlines initial response:

“At this time, we do not have any indication the radio transmission was from the flight crew on board American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” an airline rep told the outlet initially.

American Airlines updated response:

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,”

On Feb. 25th, a FBI spokesperson Frank Connor told Fox News in an email that:

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident, […] While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local, and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public. Anyone who is aware of suspicious or criminal activity should contact their local law enforcement agency or the FBI,”

The Federal Aviation Administration did release a short statement regarding the incident as well:

A pilot reported seeing an object over New Mexico shortly after noon local time on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. FAA air traffic controllers did not see any object in the area on their radarscopes.

Up to this point this incident remains a mystery. It is unclear if further formal investigation is happening behind the scenes, but given what we’ve learned over our years of researching this subject, intelligence agencies tend to take these incidents significantly more seriously than they make the public aware of.

There has been a long term veil of secrecy surrounding the UFO phenomenon and only in recent years has the discussion turned more mainstream. It has been interesting to see further media publications pop up who are now taking this phenomenon a lot more seriously as well. This will continue to push this conversation into the mainstream over the course of time.

While it’s always intriguing to explore these new reports, there is decades of research and credible whistleblower testimony that fill in a great deal of ‘blanks’ when it comes to questions regarding the UFO and ET phenomenon. Indeed we know a lot more than what is being circulated in mainstream media at this time, and the phenomenon delves deeply into the field of consciousness research.

I recently received permission to release my full, raw, interview for the Dr. Steven Greer’s latest film ‘Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind.’ In it I cover my perspectives on discerning mainstream coverage of the UFO subject, the societal and cultural implications of the phenomenon, and what it means for humanity as a whole. You can watch the full interview exclusively on CETV.

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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Global Food & Farming Issues: Dr. Vandana Shiva Slams Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg & Monsanto

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CE Staff Writer 3 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Physicist, environmental activist and renowned author Dr. Vandana Shiva explains modern day global food and farming issues. There are links within the article to her very informative work.

  • Reflect On:

    When organic agriculture has shown to be the best way to feed the world, why do giant corporations insist on taking over and doing things their way? Why do they have so much sway over government policy?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Dr. Vandana Shiva is a renowned author, environmental activist, and physicist. Shiva founded Navdanya, an international movement started 30 years ago in India to defend seed and food sovereignty and small farmers around the world.  Navdanya pioneered the movement of seed saving and seed freedom, which began in response to the crisis of erosion of agricultural biodiversity and introduction of GMOs and patents on seeds through intellectual property rights (IPRs) and so-called ‘free trade’ agreements. It has long fought against biopiracy, the patenting of indigenous knowledge by self-interested multinational corporations and won cases related to Neem, basmati rice and wheat in India. Navdanya promotes a new agricultural and economic paradigm, a culture of food for health, where ecological responsibility and economic justice replace the present greed, consumerism and competition which have become dominant in society. It aims at regaining the common good as a foundation for a renewed sense of community, solidarity and culture of peace.

In the last 30 years, Navdanya’s research on Biodiversity based Agro-ecological farming has shown how Agroecology can increase nutrition and health, as well as farmers incomes while rejuvenating soil, water and biodiversity and enhancing climate resilience. They have a membership of more than 650,000 farmer families in 22 states of India. According to Navdanya:

The COVID public health crisis and its resulting economic devastation have accelerated calls to respond through the ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism through embracing the fourth industrial revolution. For food systems, this would mean a ‘food systems transformation’ where all areas of the food supply chain are further centralized, digitized, and mined for data in the false names of ‘public health’ and ‘economic recovery’. This push is now being supported by international organizations and world leaders who stand hand-in-hand with big corporations’ desires for further agrifood system concentration. This translated to a more aggressive push toward false solutions of farms managed through artificial intelligence and predictive algorithms, precision farming, fake foods- such as lab-grown meat, synthetically produced oils, and breastmilk- robot pollinators, biofortification, gene drives for more advanced forms of GMOs, and digital sequencing genetic information (DSI) of agro-diversity.

They recently put out a very informative report titled “Gates to A Global Empire.” Be sure to check it out. I suggest you read a recent article written by Dr. Shiva (her twitter account) titled, “Indian farmers’ 30 year struggle against corporate globalisation and 40 year struggle against the green revolution.” Her books are also a great resource documenting the takeover of seed and the immoral and unethical actions of big corporations, like Monsanto, in India and all over the world.

The clip below is from 2019 but it’s still very informative.

 

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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‘Big Short’ Investor Michael Burry Warns Central Governments Could Squash Bitcoin

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CE Staff Writer 6 minute read

In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Well known hedge fund Michael Burry feels that Bitcoin could be squashed by the "legally violent, heartless central governments" who won't allow Bitcoin to stay decentralized.

  • Reflect On:

    Our societal structures, like the economy, are certainly in question as many continue to lose faith in them. Is the path towards a better future through cryptocurrency? Could humanity dream up a world without money?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

You might remember the famed hedge fund manager Michael Burry from the film ‘Big Short,’ his character was played by Christian Bale. He is best known for forecasting the 2008 financial crisis, and he made billions from that bet. In a recent tweet, Burry has suggested that governments could “squash” Bitcoin (BTC) in a coming inflationary crisis due to further pandemic stimulus.

Burry also feels that further regulation of the decentralized currency could hamper BTC’s performance in the long term. With one of the main motivations behind cryptocurrency’s like BTC being that they are intended to operate outside of government control and regulation, you can bet that the millions who invest in crypto intend that it stays that way – out of the governments reach.

In a now deleted series of Tweets, Michael Burry stated some intriguing opinions about Bitcoin and potential government interventions:

I don’t hate BTC. However, in my view, the long term future is tenuous for decentralized crypto in a world of legally violent, heartless centralized governments with lifeblood interests in monopolies on currencies. In the short run anything is possible – why I am not short BTC.

Burry claiming he is not ‘short’ on BTC means he is not betting that its price will fall significantly anytime soon.

One of the major reasons Burry feels governments could squash BTC is due to coming inflation as a result of more pandemic stimulus. “In an inflationary crisis, governments will move to squash competitors in the currency arena. $BTC #gold,” he said.  As you can sense by Burry’s words, he feels governments will do anything in their power to maintain control over their own currencies, and protect them at all costs, regardless whether it’s what benefits people most or not.

In his recent string of tweets he discussed Germany’s path to hyperinflation in the 1920s. He currently sees America’s economic trajectory to be similar to the post-World War I climate that eventually led to a 320% monthly inflation rate in the country.

If Burry is right about the upcoming inflation and the governments potential regulatory actions on BTC, this will be the 2nd time in recent years that he predicted a seismic shift in the US economy.

“People say I didn’t warn last time, I did, but no one listened. So I warn this time. And still, no one listens. But I will have proof I warned.” – Burry said in a tweet.

Modern Structures Are Failing

This inevitably brings up the discussion of our current way of life when thinking about our societal design. Does a capitalistic economy really create a world where people can thrive? Does it inspire big business and governments to think about people’s well being first? Or does it motivate them to think of profits first? Perhaps it’s our underlying worldview of competition and separation that causes us to create society in this manner? Either way, history over the last 30 years has shown us that financial crisis’ are happening at a faster rate, each time pushing more and more people into a lower socio-economic class while the few become richer. Aside from available spending money, think of how this affects people’s basic ability to survive and enjoy life.

COVID-19 served to make billionaires even bigger billionaires, while the average person struggles to get a job, feed their family and make basic payments. Is this a world we want to live in? Does this truly feel like what we’re capable of or are we being convinced to accept something because someone said so?

Are we really to support the idea that governments should regulate cryptocurrency, a means of exchange that is outside their control? What’s the motivation behind their regulation? As faith in our institutions crumbles year after year, is the culture within governance feeling their increasing loss of power over the people?

I don’t intend to write a lengthy piece deeply exploring the ins and outs of our economic model and why it’s not serving the people, I’ll save that for another time. I sense that the questions I’ve posed will already bring up thoughts and feelings within you that tend to ‘know’ our current ways aren’t working to help people thrive, perhaps that’s enough.

Where I’m curious to push the envelope a little further is in the question of why do we believe that we need currency and exchange to begin with? Why must our economies work the way we do? Have we really chosen to ask this question? Or have we accepted the limited and dishonest historical belief that “we tried everything else and this is best?”

A radical idea to consider I know, but one I invite you to imagine for just a moment. Given all the the incredible technology we have available to us today, can we really not imagine a society where money is not required? Given the emerging information in post material science that is telling us a different story about the nature of humans, can we honestly say we are simply competitive and warring animals still?

For just a moment, set aside the judgements someone might cast upon you for considering that we could live in a world without money, things like “that’s socialism!” or  “That’s communism!” If you were tasked with the project of coming up with a way to live in our world without money, how might it look? How would we go about creating that type of community?

Aside from what we’re commonly told, human beings are incredible, with extraordinary abilities to connect, build community and solve problems. If we changed the conversation from “that’s never going to be possible” to “how might we actually go about doing this?” that innocent little shift allows us to be open, sense possibility and activate our creativity, even if it means we aren’t going to take action right away.

I’ve been doing this sort of work and asking these questions my whole life – professionally for 13 years – I don’t hold the naive position that all of this can just happen on its own or that we don’t require deep questioning of our current worldview, I recognize all of this is necessary. What I am saying though is, if we don’t begin to think and explore down this path, we can’t ever make things ‘better.’

So what are you choosing to do? Accept the world as it is today? Or are you open to imagining a world where people can truly thrive?

Dive Deeper

These days, it’s not just knowing information and facts that will create change, it’s changing ourselves, how we go about communicating, and re-assessing the underlying stories, ideas and beliefs that form our world. We have to practice these things if we truly want to change. At Collective Evolution and CETV, this is a big part of our mission.

Amongst 100's of hours of exclusive content, we have recently completed two short courses to help you become an effective changemaker, one called Profound Realization and the other called How To Do An Effective Media Detox.

Join CETV, engage with these courses and more here!

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