Posted on 30-06-2013
Filed Under (WOMAN) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Can a woman’s beauty and sexual aggression cause people to hallucinate and compel a change of paradigm of a famed, centuries-old place to become synonymous with her? That place is Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, named after semi-legendary martyr Saint Torpes who was beheaded by Roman Emperor Nero in the first century. St Tropez is now tantamount to blonde bombshell Brigitte Bardot, the 78-year-old silver screen siren turned animal rights activist who popularized the bikini swimwear in the 1950s.

Driving along the Mediterranean coast from Monaco earlier this week, the big news we heard on reaching Saint Tropez was that its most illustrious citizen, Brigitte Bardot, has threatened to quit her French Riviera home, the sprawling La Madrague property that overlooks the sea. She said she’d ask for Russian citizenship if the Lyon city zoo goes ahead with plans to put two sick elephants to sleep. Already French actor Gerard Depardieu taking up citizenship outside the country to avoid France’s high wealth tax laws has started a row. Brigitte wrote to French President Francois Hollande to rescue these elephants who were exiled from a circus for bad behaviour three years ago. Even an Internet petition has collected over 70,000 signatures to save the elephants. The Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals has offered to pay for their removal, expensive veterinary treatment, quarantine and upkeep in St Tropez.

The unpretentious fishing village of St Tropez was the first town Operation Dragoon liberated during World War II. Its agreeable, light-filled climate inspired and attracted writers and painters like Matisse, Pierre Bonnard and Albert Marquet. The painting styles of pointillism and Fauvism emerged at St Tropez. But it was the sex-kitten labeled Brigitte Bardot phenomenon that definitively changed St Tropez. Her coveted presence snatched away Monte Carlo’s glitterati image to turn St Tropez into the new jet-set destination for the world’s who’s who.

Brigitte’s family had a vacation home in St Tropez. At age 15 she was selected as cover girl of French Elle magazine. Film director Roger Vadim noticed, zeroed in to marry her. His 1956 controversial film “And God Made Woman” with Brigitte playing an immoral, small-town French Riviera teenage girl who had a sensational effect on men catapulted her into international stardom. Her luscious screen image with pouting lips, wild eyes and scantily clad flirtatious postures zapped the world. She won all-time global success, especially from the US. “I owe everything to the Americans,” she says although Hollywood never succeeded in luring her there.

Her love life of 4 marriages and famous liaisons including with artist Pablo Picasso, sculptor Miroslav Brozek, singer-composer Serge Gainsbourg was as colourful as her eventful 47-films career, many musical shows and 50 songs. She’s starred in films by renowned directors Jean Luc Godard, Louis Malle and acted with notable actors like Jacques Charrier, her second husband, Sean Connery, Kirk Douglas, Alain Delon among others. During her torrid affair with the celebrated Gainsbourg, he wrote for her the erotic, love-making song Je t’aime mois non plus. But she begged him to not release it as her third husband, German millionaire Gunter Sachs, was livid. Later when Gainsbourg recorded the song with Jane Birkin it became an international hit, and Brigitte was furious. In another Gainsbourg composition she wore tight leather pants, high boots, a flimsy top revealing her perfect body, gripped the motorcyle handlebars, threw herself onto the big machine in a riding position and sang illustratively while moving sensually, “I don’t need anyone on my Harley Davidson… I push the starter and immediately leave the earth for heaven nonstop… the vibrations of my machine make me feel desirous deep inside… I go faster than 100 and feel like fire and blood…”

Then suddenly, just before she turned 39, she abandoned her sizzling career and menagerie of men to fight the cause of animals from her secluded St. Tropez country home. When I asked Tropezians at the local creperie restaurant, there was long gossip about her wearing only black jeans and her sincere obsession with the animal rights cause. The chef described how she’s turned into a vegetarian and lives in a kind of lost paradise with her 4th husband Bernard d’Ormale and lots of dogs and cats.

To support the animal-rights campaign, Brigitte raised 3 million francs in 1977 by auctioning her dresses, souvenirs and jewelry. She’s backed efforts to end baby seals being killed in Canada, opposed the transport and slaughter of horses, bullfights, hunting, wearing of fur and industrial animal farms such as over-feeding ducks to make foie gras. In 1999 she wrote to Chinese President Jiang Zemin accusing the Chinese of “torturing bears and killing the world’s last tigers and rhinos to make aphrodisiacs.” She’s donated over $140,000 for mass sterilization and an adoption program for Bucharest’s 300,000 stray dogs. In August 2010, she wrote to Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark, to appeal against the killing of dolphins in Faroe Islands. She’s asked French foreign affairs minister to pressurize Japan against whale hunting, and French agriculture minister against the horrors of slaughterhouses. She’s thanked Russia’s Vladimir Putin for protecting wolves and banning the sealskin trade.

In 1970, sculptor Alain Gourdon used Brigitte Bardot to model for the bust of Marianne, the French national emblem. She’s been idolized by the prominent too, including Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, while singer Bob Dylan mentioned her in his song, “I shall be free.”  Existential philosopher and feminist Simone de Beauvoir paid her the ultimate compliment in The Lolita Syndrome in 1959. She described Brigitte Bardot as a “locomotive of women’s history,” and declared her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France. Indeed, a fitting tribute to a legend. By wearing a mere bikini and revealing her entertainment skills, Brigitte Bardot has transformed the economy of seaside town St Tropez, making it a playhouse for the wealthy elite and tourist haven for millions of global travelers.

To download above article in PDF Bikini Tropez

Financial Express link:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/bikini-tropez/1135558/0

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Posted on 23-06-2013
Filed Under (ART) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

After finishing a few days of work last March with Bernard Gaud, my business partner in Lyon, France, he took me to his country house in Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs. This beautiful village is about 80 kms into south-eastern France on the banks of River Isere that’s coming from the Isere glacier in the Alps and falling into Rhone river.

On my asking him, Bernard said this 3500 populated village has been a commune of farmers and merchants since the 15th century. In the 18th century Saint Etienne de Saint Greoirs was the home of a famous smuggler and highwayman, Louis Mandrin too. Born on February 11, 1725, he was the French Robin Hood who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. His home is still a part of the village.

Today, in spite of the recession and almost 15% unemployment in France, this village is quite vibrant with some industrial and agricultural activity. Being just 40 kms from Grenoble, host of the first Winter Olympics in 1968, and now famous as the technology hub of France with its hi-tech institutes, Saint-Étienne-de-Saint-Geoirs has a contribution to technology too.  This is where plastic tubing for underground cables was invented. 

It was raining when we reached the village. Bernard and I set out to the local boulangerie to buy fresh bread for dinner.  Bernard pointed out a large fresco that occupied the full facia of the adjacent building. The French Government baptised this as the memorial of a brave French woman, Madame Rose Valland who was born here on 1 November 1898.  The house facade had an illustrative realistic painting that had Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa wrapped up with paper and rope ready to be shipped, along with several other paintings of famous artists like Millet among others. There were large wooden boxes, in one of which was written “Art Degenere Supprimer” (Degenerate art for destruction).  This is how the Nazi Germans labelled and insulted art.  It was pouring so heavily that day that I put it in my agenda to spend more time here next time. Today on 19 June 2013 I’ve returned in front of this fresco again. Let me share with you the incredible activities of this valiant woman that saved the precious art treasures of France.

Art historian Rose Valland worked as overseer of the Jeu de Paume Museum in Paris, in front of Place de la Concorde, when German Nazis occupied France during World War II. The Germans then had formed the “Special Staff for Pictorial Art” to very systematically plunder French art.  The official platform adopted by the Nazi regime was to prohibit modern art and promote official art called “heroic art” that symbolized racially pure art done by “pure breed” artists. “Degenerate art” was a Nazi racist cultural theory that art declined to become corruption when created by modern artists who were not of Aryan race. Such modern art deviated from the prescribed Nazi norm of classical beauty. They first applied this theory on visual art and later the term “degenerate art” was extended to music, literature and cinema.  This is another masterpiece of “butcher” Hitler’s administrative prowess, that he never left any space or gap where the Nazi regime did not infiltrate. He even brought racism into all art forms.

Rose Valland was a member of the French Resistance. She pretended in front of the Germans that she did not understand German so she could act against the occupation. For four years she secretly recorded details of more than 20,000 paintings stolen from different museums and private Jewish owned art that passed through her museum. She risked her life and kept track of where and to whom in Germany the artworks were shipped.  She alerted the French Underground about railroad shipments of art to prevent them from mistakenly blowing up trains that were carrying France’s priceless treasures. Although the Nazi purportedly were taking the paintings for destruction, Rose Valland has recorded that she saw high-ranking Nazi officials, like Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring who came on 3 May 1941, visit the museum to personally select from the stolen French paintings for their own private collection.

If you have seen the Hollywood film The Train  by John Frankenheimer in 1964, it was loosely based on Rose Valland’s story.  On 1 August 1944 after the Liberation of Paris, Rose found out the German plan to transfer five last boxcars full of art, including many modern paintings they had earlier neglected. She immediately passed the information to the Resistance, and they made sure the train could not leave Paris. The French Army later liberated the train. After Paris was liberated by the Allied Forces, Rose Valland worked in the Commission for the Recovery of Works of Art, was appointed a conservator of the French Musées Nationaux and in 1954 was named Chair of the “Commission for the Protection of Works of Art. In 1961 she wrote about her wartime experiences in a book Le front de l’art.

After retirement she returned to St Etienne de Saint Greoirs. Her inscription in the fresco there bears testimony to her passion for her work, her country and for art. She risked her life, “For everybody who has fought in World War II and to save art to save the beauty of the world.” If Rose Valland had not been vigilant and in love with the value of art with its emotion and culture, the world today would have been bereft of treasures that were collected in French museums for centuries. Watching Rose Valland dressed in military uniform; I was left stunned staring at this graceful, fearless woman.

To download above article in PDF Brave woman saving art

Financial Express link:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/the-woman-who-saved-french-art/1132517

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Posted on 16-06-2013
Filed Under (POLITICS) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

Nostalgia took me back last year to the refugee colony outside Kolkata where I’d spent my childhood. After 40 years I was returning to enjoy Durga Puja festival with childhood friends, accompanied by my wife and parents. The re-igniting of the strong bond among us friends was overwhelming. It’s an attachment that neither time nor distance could break.

Yet amongst my friends I could sense a division that was defined by their political party leanings. Amidst the hearty rewinds, reunions, recognition and remembrances of different people and bygone events, I was hearing various kinds of whispers throughout the day of who has gone to which political party. To be recognized by one’s political affiliations, irrespective of something else like profession or family, seemed the primary acknowledgement of a person. Try as I did not to pay attention to politics, the topic kept bobbing up. Impassioned echoes reached my ears of one friend criticizing the other based on political activities. Fortunately I had a fantastic afternoon with my old friends beyond political hassles. But the disturbance that’s remained ingrained in my mind is that nobody can set aside political party allegiances in social and personal moments in today’s West Bengal.

Decade after decade, this 91 million populated Bengali state has not found political peace. For mere survival, people incline themselves to a political party, however incredible this may sound to an outsider. The result is perpetuation of too much “hate” amongst fellow humans. Bengalis proudly love to be Bengalis, yet the kind of hate they exhibit towards each other is abominable. Political influence reigns over educational institutes, SMEs, libraries, government and private sector workplaces, big or small clubs, marketplaces, you name it. As per college faculty values, professors who influence students are expected to be politically neutral in public. Unfortunately it’s quite suffocating how professors regularly come on television debates, as though performing in a TV series, to defend the political party they subscribe to. Ever since Independence this trend of politics permeating everywhere has snowballed to become the central way of living in Bengal.

It’s amazing that Bengalis have never understood how the state is sitting on a gold mine, geographically. Being India’s eastern gateway, Bengal is highly suited for trade with Southeast Asia. European colonizers understood this important position 250 years ago, as did traders from time immemorial – Armenians, Jews and Arabs before them all. The British were so aware of Bengal’s commanding power that their 200-year colonization of India started from Kolkata. They plundered Bengal and carried away a billion pounds sterling to pay for their Industrial Revolution from 1780. Bengal is a-flush with natural resources like jute, tea and several minerals. Additionally, Bengali intellectuals learnt the English ways. Large numbers of them participated in day-to-day governance of the British Raj. As the most competent clerks and accountants the colonizers ever had, Bengalis wielded power over other Indians during British rule. Post Independence, Kolkata’s Marwari businessmen were quick to draw upon this Bengali babu strength. Today most accounts departments of Marwari businesses cannot run without Bengali clerks.

After Independence, a few intellectual Kolkata babus, among both wealthy and not-so-wealthy, gained political power through different political parties. They trained the masses to take to the streets against businessmen who, in Bengali eyes, were corrupt.  So strikes and lock-outs plagued industrial houses in Bengal leading to an exodus of industry from the state.  My reading today is that Bengalis living in West Bengal barely have practical sense of industrial working discipline. There’s total absence of passion for entrepreneurial challenge and work discipline. Those Kolkata intellectuals proud of Bengal’s past glories, first compare anything new with this famous history; then criticize the new if there’s deviation from the past.

It’s a shame how a Bengali cannot seem to appreciate another’s talent. If you praise, the listener invariably raises a “but” point to illustrate how that talent is not so great. Somehow elections and by-elections take centre stage in Bengal, and television blows up issues to rake in TRP, making them into reality shows. The ballot is a talking point forever. In street and political fights, family members willy-nilly become murder victims, while policemen lose their lives in pursuance of duty. It’s normal for people to want to join a political party today. As there’s barely any industrial development in the state, the only opportunity for the masses to earn a livelihood is from the political game. If that remains the pre-eminent employer, industry, enterprise and business will always fail.

Intellectuals discuss social turbulence on TV, holding a court martial on school / college exams, rape, poverty, suicide, student unions, entertainment, all having political colors. Regular political drama in street meetings reminds me of Brazilian carnivals.  The only difference is that Brazil’s outpouring onto to the streets is joyous, once-a-year with song and dance, whereas political carnivals in Bengal are everyday happenings gripped in political trauma. All political parties talk about the poor condition of poor people. But it’s very unfortunate that political turmoil has devastated people, giving them a negative perspective. The British have left their legacy in great memoirs like Victoria Memorial and St Paul’s Cathedral where the Raj grandeur becomes evident. It demonstrates that the colonial power gun can get work done. It made Kolkata the capital of India, and became the British Empire’s second city. Bengal prospered under dictatorial British rule; today it’s in a state of political limbo.

I cry for my native Bengal where continuous political uncertainty has never allowed industry to flourish. I dream of the day when people will discard hate, agree to tolerate political differences. If Bengal can rid itself of political trauma where seeking a job involves mustering up political connections, people will understand the beauty of peaceful, happy living.

To download above article in PDF State of political trauma

Financial Express link:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/state-of-political-trauma/1129533/0

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Posted on 09-06-2013
Filed Under (WOMAN) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

My curiosity spiked when my favourite French TV channel featured a
60-year-old French woman who, on her granddaughter's advice, went to Tunisia
to iron out her wrinkles. France has long been known for aesthetic surgery,
but Tunisia? 
Credit rating companies Standard & Poor, Moody's and Fitch have all declared
a negative economic outlook for Tunisia. Unemployment at 14% is building up
pressure as 55% of the population is under age 25. But when it comes to
medical tourism, this North African country is booming. An estimated $2
billion is spent annually by about 6.5 million tourists for plastic surgery.
Price is the biggest draw. A facelift that costs between 4,000 to 6,000
pounds in UK, is less than half in Tunisia. Similarly, breast enhancement
would cost about 15,000 pounds in UK whereas together with airfare and
5-star hotel accommodation, you'd spend just 5,000 pounds in Tunis. For
liposuction in a sophisticated, out-of-the-box Mediterranean coast aesthetic
surgery holiday camp in Tunisia all you need is 2,000 pounds. 
There's risk in any surgery, cosmetic or otherwise. The French grandmother's
attempt to remove "crow's feet" at her eyes' edges with botox injections was
a failure. It deformed her facial features. She was so depressed and
disappointed that she went on to analyse how women can be so fragile and
vain. She chastised herself that she bore self-inflicted pain and spent an
enormous amount in the hope of regaining youthful skin. She bewailed how
others totally alter their looks with plastic surgery, say with a nose job
or removing bags under the eyes, to conform to some standard archetype of
how women should look, as dictated by men. 

This conforming tendency became very apparent in the Reddit website pictures
of 20 beauty queens contesting for Miss Korea 2013. Readers were hard
pressed to differentiate them; almost all had slender figures, pointy chins,
narrow noses, eyes flat below and rounded on top. Speculations are rife that
cosmetic procedures have made the contestants all look alike. When her
school pictures emerged where she's looking very different, last year's Miss
Korea Kim Yu-Mi admitted to going under the knife, "I never said I was born
beautiful." In fact according to released reports, South Koreans have more
plastic surgery done than any other nation, with one in every 77 choosing
the knife or needle. Last year, 20% women aged 19 to 49 in Seoul admitted
they wanted to look more "Western." Double eyelid surgery that makes eyes
seem bigger while reducing excess upper eyelid skin is the most popular.
Cosmetic surgery has become so common that even singer Psy, whose "Gangnam
Style" song became a global hit, had said his recording company was urging
him to undergo plastic surgery.
The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ISAPS) showed that
15 million people worldwide underwent plastic surgery to enhance their looks
in 2011. The US tops the list with over 3 million procedures, 21% of global
total, done by 5,950 licensed plastic surgeons. Brazil comes second, with
1.5 million procedures, highest number of male breast reductions, women
buttock augmentations and vaginal rejuvenations, among others. China with I
million procedures is third, mostly with nose rhinoplasty. Cosmetic surgery
is also done to increase sexual pleasure as is evident from the numerous
spam ads on the lines of "Enlarge your tool" that's viral and aggressive on
every computer. Men say they go for phalloplasty not just to appear more
macho in front of women but because a small size bothers them when they go
into the swimming pool. 

Using slang language for aesthetic surgery perhaps takes the scare out of a
serious medical procedure. "Fat removal," the most prevalent invasive
procedure, is easier to accept that lipoplasty. The second most in-demand is
"boob job," or augmenting the breasts with fat grafting, saline, or silicone
gel prosthetics. The next popular surgeries are "eyelid lifts" and "tummy
tucks" or abdominoplasty where the stomach is stitched up to take in less
food so it can reshape itself out of a paunch. "Brazillian butt lift" is
buttocks enhancement using silicone implants. Brazilians are so obsessed
with plastic surgery that it's offered free or discounted to poor people in
220 clinics. Dr Ivo Pitanguy, Brazil's celebrated plastic surgeon pioneered
the notion that like psychoanalysis, beauty treatments can act in much the
same way to help free patients from crippling neuroses. He says, "The poor
have the right to be beautiful, too." 

New kinds of problems are surfacing for cosmetic surgery. "Computer face" is
wrinkles that come from working too long in front of the screen. Peer in
longer at the computer, and you can get "turkey neck" or loose skin around
the jaw and chin, with wrinkles around the forehead and eyes. Deep creases
stretching from mouth to jaw line is "marionette lines" while "frown lines"
or "elevens" refer to between the eyebrows wrinkles and "smoker's lines" are
creases bordering the lips. "Banana roll" is the buttocks with excess fat.  

Such names may take the fear off surgery, but the fright that can grip us
all is what the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery is saying,
"The constant downward gaze caused by smartphone use may be causing some
individuals to experience more lines and creases on their neck than would
appear naturally. Even if your face maintains its youthful volume, signs of
aging on the neck can give you away." The only cure for not looking
prematurely old is giving up your smartphone. But can you afford to do that?

To download above article in PDF Cut and paste beauty
Financial Express link:http://www.financialexpress.com/news/cut-and-paste-beauty/1126741
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Posted on 02-06-2013
Filed Under (TRENDS) by Shombit

From Discomfort Zone column by Shombit Sengupta in Financial Express and Indian Express

“What? My mother is called Robert?” is a billboard in Paris showing a baby’s confused face. This trend of posters and billboards are being seen across France post the legalization of gay marriage, passed as law on 18 May13 after 136 hours of wrenching debate. Just imagine, till 1981 homosexuality was considered “malade mental” in France, that is, mental disease; today about 55-60% of the French support gay marriage.

But half the French population is revolting now to stop the GPA bill, “gestation pour autrui” meaning surrogacy. Currently French law prohibits surrogacy because it “commodifies” the human body. Bioethics law considers that a uterus cannot be lent, and an infant (feotus) cannot be bought or sold. Under French Civil Code, any donation for assisted reproduction has to be voluntary, free and anonymous. The woman who physically gives birth is considered the mother.

The proposed GPA bill that people are protesting against now is radical. It abolishes the requirement of donor anonymity. A homosexual man can give his sperm to a woman willing to lend her body for a fee, without involving herself in motherhood after the baby’s birth. The baby will be raised by two men, one pretending to be “mother.” This leads to a child having triple parentage, the father, mother and surrogate mother, and being the heir of all three parents. 

Homosexuals can choose to avoid physical contact with the woman and go through a sperm bank, but they need a living uterus. If the woman later refuses to part with the baby they’ll get cheated. Lesbians have the advantage of no risk procreation. If they choose the anonymous sperm bank, the child will have a mother and another woman as “father.”

Historically, same-sex marriage was legalized in Netherlands in 2001. However, Denmark was the first country to introduce civil partnerships for gays in 1989, but without allowing church weddings. Since then 13 other countries have legally recognized gay marriage: Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Canada (2005), South Africa (2006), Norway (2009), Sweden (2009), Portugal (2010), Iceland (2010), Argentina (2010), Denmark (2012), Uruguay (2013), New Zealand (2013), and France (2013).

That these Christian dominated countries have passed such legislation favouring homosexuality is sheer blasphemy for the Vatican. In a strongly-worded 12-page document in 2003, Pope John Paul II’s chief theological adviser, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who’s since become Pope Benedict XVI, launched a global campaign against legalizing gay marriage. The warning was that homosexual unions were immoral, unnatural and harmful. But the Catholics have not been able to stem this trend.

Choking now on the French law on gay marriage, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s newspaper, asked for a referendum, adding, “This is a divisive choice, more than something aimed at protecting every kind of relationship.” Spokesman Federico Lombardi said, “Marriage is between a man and a woman and everyone should know he/she has a father and a mother.” As per UNESCO, of the world’s 179 countries, 89 recognize homosexuality, while in 7 countries homosexuality is a criminal offence with death penalty.

France’s first gay wedding in Montpellier amid tight security was covered on live television. This southern city’s mayor, Helene Mandroux, pronounced Vincent Autin and Bruno Boileau “united in marriage." She said that as marriage was about "the same rights for everybody," this law was "a stage in the modernisation of our country." Frankly, I agree about everyone having liberty, but watching two men kissing after signing the marriage contract was shockingly spectacular in a deep-rooted Catholic society like France. It may take another 20 to 50 years for third party spectators to not feel disturbed watching deviant sexual activity in public.

Essentially how much do heterosexual people appreciate or understand the fictitious man-woman relationship among homosexuals is still a question mark. As someone remarked, is it possible for two suns to meet? Their kissing looks like two trains from opposite sides joining, an absurd idea. If the whole world becomes homosexual, there would be no world left as no babies would be born.  Perhaps it’s nothing more than procreation being ingrained in civilization. That’s what makes us comfortable to accept men-women kissing in public, but not a same gender couple exhibiting their love interest for everyone to see. Is homosexuality an expression of individual satisfaction only, with no worry about continuance of society?

There are two types of homosexuals, those who exhibit their affection to shock the world and those who don’t. The many gay friends I have are not exhibitionists, so I have never seen or felt any kind of discomfort before. In fact the 1978 French comic film La Cage aux Folles is an all time favourite story of an endearing gay couple. The manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub that features drag entertainment and his “female” star attraction there are a gay couple. The manager had a one-off experience with a woman who bore him a child. This boy was raised by the gay couple. When the boy wants to marry a girl whose parents were ultra conservative, the gay couple was in a dilemma because their lifestyle was so incredibly different. The film was much ahead of its time and actually established then what’s happening today.

Marriage confers firmer rights over inheritance in French law than civil pacts do. Same-sex partners were entitled only to civil pacts earlier. The paradox here is that heterosexual couples find marriage to be an unfashionable institution.  One out of two marriages end in divorce in France. So they prefer civil pacts because “almost inevitable” divorce is very cumbersome.

A single man or woman can adopt a child in France. But as per opinion polls, only 50% French people approve of gay adoption. Political parties are using gay marriage to return to power. The Catholic Church argues that same-sex marriage would cause psychological and social harm to children. The French just want to stop GPA now. Their protest slogans are saying, "All born of a father and mother" and "Paternity, maternity, equality."

To download above article in PDF Vatican chokes again

Financial Express link:http://www.indianexpress.com/news/vatican-chokes-again/1123836/0

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