Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why Indian Females Prefer Men without Moustaches

Why Indian Females Prefer Men without Moustaches
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Remember, if you like to kiss your girlfriend then first thing you got to do is to shave your moustaches. The hairs above your lips may epitomize a macho persona but it does not appeal the Indian females. Most Indian females like their men clean-shaven.

The mustaches may no way come in way of lip locking, but then females have their own preferences to mooch. A survey found though 36% of men nationwide sport moustaches, but 27% of women find that style of facial hair old-fashioned.

A survey conducted by AC Nielsen with more than 1,000 men and women in eight Indian cities revealed while Indian men love their mustache, women in urban India prefer clean shaven men.

Women in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore and Patna have spoken on how they prefer their men. A whopping 72% women respondent in Mumbai and an even greater 83% of female respondents in Chennai are more likely to kiss a shaved man. The majority of respondents in Delhi and Kolkata concur with this idea.

However, women don’t seem to mind stubble. In Mumbai, 64% of women say stubble increases the sex appeal of a man, revealed the survey.

As far as shaving is concerned though 90% men prefer to be clean-shaven, only 55% actually shave. A greater number of men in Mumbai (72%), Delhi (82%) and Ahmedabad (79%) shave than in other cities.

The most quoted reason for shaving in urban India is that the face looks clean. However in Chennai, as many as 56% men have a moustache. Men in Chennai and Bangalore say moustaches looks well on them. South Indian customs makes it mandatory to sport moustaches till the persons father is alive and can be shaven only once he is no more.

Indians’ shaving frequency is less than thrice a week. While the average shaving time is between six and 15 minutes, men in Chennai and Bangalore are the slowest shavers, taking at least 30 minutes while those in Lucknow finish the same job in 25 minutes.

The frequent shaver also has his reasons. In Delhi, Chennai and Ahmedabad, men shave to look younger; in Lucknow and Patna men do so for good hygiene. Gujaratis and Tamils do it to fit in with their peers.

More men in Ahmedabad and Bangalore cut themselves each time they shave, majority of men in Mumbai and Kolkata do not hurt them while shaving.

Across Asia, men and women frown on the full-bearded look. Indian and men favor moustaches and stubble, but the most desired style in India is the clean-shaven look or a goatee.

Historically the handlebar moustache has been part of Indian culture. Before the 18th century, when the caste system was prevalent in India, only high caste men were allowed to keep moustaches. Lower caste men were either clean shaven sported a beard.

During the period from 1850 to 1950, men kept moustaches as a symbol of power and to display of their robust personality. During the 1930s, Mahatma Gandhi's Swadeshi Movement against British rulers advised Indians to have beards so that imported shavers and blades could be stopped.

As a college student at AMU, Aligarh I have seen its Chancellor Nawab of Chattrari, the first Indian to be Governor of the United Provinces and the Prime Minister of erstwhile Hyderabad princely state, with his majestic grey mustaches that covered half his face. His grand mustaches provided an aura to his personality and remained unparallel in those times.

A book "Hair India - A Guide to the Bizarre Beards and Magnificent Moustaches of Hindustan" says that India's extravagant beards and moustaches - proudly sported by generations of Indian men - are being trimmed as the country becomes more clean-shaven and urban.

Its author Richard McCallum says that clean chins are becoming more commonplace among younger people who no longer have role models sporting beards or moustaches.

He points out most well-known Indian cricket players no longer have facial hair, while many in Bollywood have opted instead for token designer stubble.

The book categorizes beards according to bristle-design. There is the "the chin strap", "the soup strainer", "the wing commander" and "the walrus".
'Out of favour'

What is claimed to be the world's longest beard, measuring 1.6 meters (five ft) and the world's longest moustache also feature in the book.

But the emphasis is on ordinary stall-owners and rickshaw drivers displaying moustaches and beards that are cut, dyed, waxed and preened in various shapes and sizes. One of the few professions where it remains a mandatory requirement is among doormen of five-star hotels.

The book says beards and moustaches tell the story of modern India - how it is becoming a more westernized, homogenised place, but also how the great traditions and the love of display still exist.

In spite the fact that that clean-shaven men stand to score more then who sport a mustache, eighty percent of south Indian men prefer to sport moustaches while their counter parts in north India refer to be clean shaven.

There is no doubt that trend of keeping moustaches is on decline in India but its more to do with hygiene and cleanliness than to pander to the preferences of the women folk. Majority of those in teen and twenties prefer to sport moustaches but as they add on to years may like to shave it off. Its individual choice and that’s hard to generalize.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

An Old Man and Sleaze Tape - ND Tiwari Saga

An Old Man and Sleaze Tape - ND Tiwari Saga
Syed Ali Mujtaba

The conduct of Andhra Pradesh Governor Narayan Dutt Tiwari on a video grab seen on a bed with young women has shocked the Indian nation. The footages aired by a TV channel if true, has disgraced this veteran Congress leader who is on the twilight years of his life has indulged in such an immoral and unethical act.

The video grab shows three women aged between 17 and 25 and an elderly man - which ABN Andhra Jyothi, the Telugu TV channel that aired the story claimed to be was Tiwari who is without pajamas and the his ladies accomplices without a shred of clothing - engaging in sexual acts.

The tape also shows the old man doing all kind of nasty things right from massages to ‘BJ’s and there was no hint of awkwardness and it seems the man was clearly enjoying himself on a king size bed.

With the editor of ABN Andhra Jyothi claiming that there is little truth in the allegation of pictures being doctored as they were taken from spy camera and are genuine leaves little for imagination.

The expose brought the Andhra Governor on dock who under pressure from political parties and women’s organizations resigned from his post bringing to an end to his 26-month long gubernatorial tenure. A press communiqué issued by the Raj Bhavan said, ‘Mr. Tiwari submitted his resignation to President Pratibha Patil citing health reasons’.

After submitting his resignation Tiwari apologized to the nation but maintained have done no wrong. He called it a political conspiracy and said have been framed. ‘It is baseless, fake... Anyone can make an allegation. It is 100 percent wrong allegation… 'I am not disturbed. I have participated in the freedom struggle and will fight it out,' he said.

He linked the allegations against him to the ongoing campaign for a separate Telangana state. 'The Telangana fight is going on ... The president was to come there… I have been framed because of the Telangana issue,' he said.

Earlier a press release from Raj Bhavan asserted that the “alleged story against the Governor of Andhra Ptadesh is nothing but a tissue of lies. Mr. Tiwari is 86-years-old and in the evening of his life. The office of Governor is constantly under public scrutiny and entirely above board. It’s sad and unfortunate that constitutional functionaries are dragged into needless controversy with utter disregard to propriety. ”

The statement leaves one guessing as there are few basic postulates that remain unanswered in this story. First the timing of the sting operation when Telenhana and united Andhra agitation are on peak and second if we view this in relation to similar allegation made against Sankracharya of Kamkotti Sri Sri Gayanender Swarsati, that later turned out to be untrue an iota of doubt emerges accepting the peddled story.

In Sankracharya case too a video tape had emerged from somewhere and a woman appeared alleging that the revered Swamy had sexual liaison with her. At that point of time I had interviewed the counsel of the Sankracharya who was seething with anger and said much malicious charge is more serious than that of Shankeraman murder case.

He explained that at certain age man’s reproductive organ becomes defunct and serves only urinary purposes, this totally rubbishes the story and without going into such veracity the allegation is being lapped up tarnishing the image of his client.

This hypothesis could even be applied on Narayan Dutt Tiwari who has held high profile political posts in his long and illustrations career. Born in 1925 in Nanital, Tiwari has taken activity part in the freedom struggle. He got elected as M.L.A. in 1952. Later he went on to become thrice the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. He has held the position of Minister several times in the union cabinet. Tiwari was the main contender for the post of Prime Minister with Narasimha Rao. He became the Chief Minister of e Uttarakhand in 2002. He expressed desire to retire from politics but Congress party in 2007 assigned him the post of Governorship of Andhra Pradesh.

When allegation of such nature against a politician of such caliber is made it’s hard to believe and some analysis can be attempted to present the other side of this story. This could be done only in the background of the rift between Telegana and Andra regions that seems to be on boil over the issue of creation of separate state and both sides are in no mood to reconcile.

The united Andhra supporters were unhappy when the ruling Congress party announced its decision to create Telengana state caring out from the Andhra Pradesh. This evoked widespread agitation in the entire Andhra region against this decision.

This compelled the Congress party to flip flop on the issue and tried to put its decision to create a separate state on hold for some time. It took refuge on the pretext that a resolution to this effect should be passed in the state assembly first, knowing fully well that the supporters of Telengana are in a minority and no such resolution can ever be passed.

The Congress leadership also absolved its responsibility of using its residual powers that it had used earlier to create six new states in the north eastern region of India and the state of Goa in the west.

This attitude of the Congress party triggered a wide spread agitation in Telegana region that assumed the proportion of civil unrest and seemingly unstoppable.

The union government again did a flip flop and announced that it’s not going back on its promise to create the separate state of Telangana.

This had made the supporters of united Andhra to eat a humble pie and they seem to evolve a new tactics to divert the attention from the Telengana agitation.

The sting operation against N.D Tiwari by ABN Andhra Jyothi, if seen in this backdrop make some sense it has the potential to divert the attention from the widespread agitation for separate Telanga agitation and tarnish the image of the Congress party.

However, these arguments fall flat if we see the video grab of the old man indulging in such an immoral and indecent act. If that’s Mr. Tiwari then it’s really a shameful act. The man in the sleaze tape is definitely indulging in unethical and immoral act and seems enjoying itself.

To put an end to the controversy of such nature it would be prudent to constitute an impartial inquiry to establish the veracity of such allegation and place the facts before the public.

If found guilty, Mr. Tiwari be given exemplary punishment for brining disrepute to the office of the Governor. The punishment should set an example that none can dare to repeat.

What ever is the fact some one must answer. We talk about security. Where was the Security when the whole drama was taking place in the private chambers of the Raj Bhavan? If the girls were smuggled in through some contacts, where was the security? Also the sting operation would have involved some planning and all in the High Security Zone of the Governor's residence? Where was the security? All this could be walk in the park if we replace the sting operators with militants and if that had happened then the rant of Lasker –e- Taiba and Jaish-e- Mohammad may have been making rounds and not the story of an old man and his sleaze tape.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Miss India Contest with a Difference

A Miss India Contest with a Difference
Syed Ali Mujtaba

Kareena Shaline of Mumbai, Romi of Manipur and Padmini of Coimbatore, Tamilnadu were declared first, second and third at MISS INDIA contest for the Transgender Community held in Chennai on December 19, 2009.

In a well attended function, the Miss India title was awarded to the successful contestants by Ms. G. Jayalakshmi, Deputy Director, Women Welfare, Directorate of Social Welfare.

Around 800 Transgender community members and representatives working for transgender community across the country participated in the program. The event created an opportunity to discuss about stigma, discrimination, violence, marginalization, ill treatment, denial of treatment, privacy, quality of life, access to the medical facilitates for the Transgender Community.

Around 120 Transgender took part in the Miss India Contest. They represented different states like Tamil Nadu, Pondicherry, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Manipur.

Competitions were organized for Miss Beautiful Hair, Miss Beautiful Walk, Miss Beautiful Eyes, and Miss Best Skin. The Miss Beautiful Eyes Title was awarded by Ms. Yogini and Ms. Sanya, Cine Artists. Miss Beautiful Hair Title was awarded by Ms.Malaika, Miss Chennai Transgender and Ms. Jeyalakshmi, Cine Artist. Miss Beautiful Skin Title was awarded by Ms. Kavithalakshmi and Ms. Lavanya, Cine Artists. The Miss Beautiful Walk Title was awarded by Mr. Kolangal Sreedhar and Mr. Kovai Babu, Cine Artists.

The contest was inaugurated by Mr. M. Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Police, Chennai, Mr. Alex Parimalam, Joint Director – IEC, Tamilnadu State AIDS Control society – TNSACS, Mr.A.Sathiyanaaraayanan, Consultant, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Retd) and Ms. Esther Mariaselvam, Program Manager, Actionaid India, Chennai Region.

Mr. M.Ravi, Additional Commissioner of Police, Chennai said he has no qualms in saying that the police department treats Transgenders badly and there is a need to change such attitude. He however cautioned that Trangenders should not create problems for the police.

Mr. Alex Parimalavan, Joint Director – IEC, Tamilnadu State AIDS Control society – TNSACS said that he do not approve the idea of beauty contest because it focuses on color and stature and secondly, they are conducted for commercial reasons. However beauty contest of transgender makes sense because they have beauty within and outside and such competition is not for commercial purposes. It’s more relevant as many things could be achieved for them through such means.

“This program is happening today to create a National platform for discussing the issues and rights of the Transgnders. Transgenders have their rights for their housing, shelter provision of voter ID card, ration card and many other such rights. She pleaded that the rights of Transgenders should not be deprived and civic society need to work towards it,” said Esther Mariaselvam, Program Manager, Actionaid India,Chennai Region in her speech.

Mr.Sathiyanarayan, Consultant, Deputy Commissioner of Police ( Retd) said he felt very proud of participating in this program as he attended one such beauty contest in Villupuram in 1998 where Transgenders were abused. Now what we see here is an acceptance of Transgender community by the civic society. He called for the formation of Transgender Self help groups and seek financial help from the government for their welfare.

Mr.A.J.Hariharan, Founder Secretary, ICWO, told that Awareness has been created with regards to attitudes concerning people with gender-atypical appearance or behavior also assumptions about transgender people’s sexual orientation, desire for surgical or hormonal treatment, or other aspects of their identity or transition plans awareness has been created. The lines of communication have been open with the transgender person among the general public. Information to the general public has been reached about the living status of Transgender and Educated on transgender issues.

The event was organized by Indian Community Welfare Organization (ICWO) a non profit, Non Governmental Organization and supported by TANSACS, UNAIDS and ACTIONAID. This event has also gained support groups from family, friends, and significant others of transgender people. There was Release of Poster which was an important feature of the program.

Syed Ali Mujtaba is a working journalist based in Chennai. He can be contacted at