How wrong were you, Nehru?
India is experiencing deterioration; it is ram shackled, rundown, literally on the path to utter ruin.
Those are vague terms. The more specific, concrete ones are rape, gang-rape and murder. The reasons can be many, but the truth is, people have been desensitised to violence against women. Literal weeks after the Nirbhaya rage subsided, a little girl, under the age of ten was raped in a similar way, and whole candles were extracted from her stomach by doctors. Unavoidably, and perhaps even mercifully, she died. What changed?
Women are under oppression, an oppression so carefully formed that we still call it’s men “men”, we give it’s masterful, animalistic causers a label and move on, and assume indifference to the suffering of the victims. This oppression is found in all the women forced into marriage by their families, by all the women who are attacked on the streets at night, as if their spilt blood and pieces of their shattered mind left forever there, marks the sick male territory in some way. It rears its ugly head sometimes in the domestic life, sometimes echoed in whistles and comments, seen in hands moving in strange ways. It is so much worse than not letting us vote, not letting us remarry, because this oppression is internal, psychological. This is masterfully embedded in our psyche, until its a part of us, our way of thinking, until it is a dormant gene that has found the exact moment to become active. This starts so small, but becomes bigger and bigger, fed by our fear and desperation, till it determines the most basic life choices; what we wear on the street and when we come and go from our homes.
When we say it comes from a history of degrading and dominating women, of patriarchy, we don’t really understand what were saying. Literally every human culture had this shameful history. American women were denied voting till the feminism waves. Japanese womens feet were bound. I believe African tribes came up with colourful and painful ways to suppress women, yet they have mostly put that behind them. Every single lasting human culture and society is patriarchal in society, and they all came out of it and learn to accept women.
Yes, rape does happen everywhere, but its a matter of gigantic, enormous degrees. Please, we’d be happy if rude comments and derogatory comments which are a big deal elsewhere were our biggest problem when it comes to the way we treat women. We cannot compare to America or Britain or Africa or China in the simple way that we are not human, if women in this country are treated this way. We Are Not Human. We are savage, barbaric, bestial, creatures, and we have found a way to utterly destroy other creatures and then make them believe they were at fault.
If you women think that you can avoid this by taking certain precautions- wrong.
There are no precautions against something that is happening anyway, anywhere and everywhere. Men say its caused by short skirts? Roaming around at night? Frequenting night clubs? if jyothi, or priya, or sari, or whoever, was out of the house at an odd hour, in a night club, in a sexy short skirt, it still should be okay. She should still know that she is safe, and will not be harmed.
Men in India seem to have this strange perception about women. They think about humans, then women. They seem to think “women” is a whole new species. One that can be grouped, touched, literally “manhandled” at will. To all those men: “no” really means “no”.
The cause for this problem are men and women. Because when we say the problem is psychological it’s in their mindset, we forget that it isn’t the way (most of them, the ones who aren’t confirmed psychopaths) were wired. People learn by example and conditioning, and, somewhere along the way, humans forget that they are humans and become merely men and women. So, yes the problem is with the man and the woman, not just in this sense, but in the sense of their upbringing. Because somewhere, somehow, boys assume that raping, beating up women or passing lewd or decisive comments is allowed. Boys and girls, men and women, nowhere, utterly nowhere else in the world would you be allowed to tell a girl how to dress, or what is “appropriate” to wear, unless you could claim them as your child. You would be stoned for perversion and interference.
A MCDonalds or a Starbucks or ten or twenty or fifty five is not growth for india. It’s breakfast. Everyone has one. if we really want to outsource something from America, that will monopolise our lives, cost us less than what we have here and is in better quality and better managed than indigenous options, pick the way they treat women, not burgers and fries. Thats the main reason for growing obesity in their country so It’s a healthier option if nothing else.
Letter to Bollywood- you ain’t helping. If you think you create beautiful, strong assertive women who can take care of themselves and protect those who they love…a little off the mark. Way, way off the mark. You create people who consistently objectify themselves and who are constantly giving out the same message-through fairness creams, through wrinkle ads, through bizarre dresses and showing skin-to young girls like I was, who look to you for role models of beauty, that they are not good enough, that they lack, and that they will always lack. This insecurity which has trickled all the way into our cosmetic industry and markets till it is no big deal to think you aren’t good enough. And that will be only magnified by harassment.
In addition, every time you agree to let the male character tease or rag your female character, knowing that she will eventually get together with him, you are telling everyone that it is okay to rag or tease a girl if you’ll marry her or make her fall in love with you. An even worse role model than the scantily dressed object for mens lewd admiration, is the docile creature known as the Yash Chopra Heroine. I don’t know what to say to her, except…how does she, an invertebrate, so cleverly pass for human?
The beautiful actor who plays Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games said that they had a chance to create a heroine who is healthy and beautiful and strong…so why not let her be?
She pulled it off. I honestly thank her for being so truly amazing for everyone who won’t.
I don’t really know how to address families who try to keep it in the dark once they know that their daughter was raped…but i know that this is merely one step towards your beautiful strong daughter losing her faith in you, someone who she has taken the huge effort to tell, and, if you refuse her help or choose to not believe or ignore her at this moment of utter despair, she will (and she doesn’t) have no it may, as it often has, result in worse, even suicide. As for those people who marry their daughters to the men who rape them, you may say some them are “illiterate” but you are insulting illiteracy, because they are just idiots. You may say they’re scared, but their actually cowards. And they clearly fail to understand the severe magnitude of their child’s position, because even the most cowardly, idiotic person would not do this if they understood.
Where other traditions from other various countries and cultures of trying to make women submit have become subsumed by new thinking, modernity and advancement, India, still steeped in it’s basic problems of poverty, corruption, unemployment and illiteracy, has decided to look back instead of forward, and sought to redeem itself in neurotic pride in past and traditions, which, though kept our country stable, has ended it up almost in cryo-sleep, and somehow been twisted by certain people to justify crime and decimation of it’s women.
Even the terms “rapist” or “sex offender” have stopped being much more than a label. The word seems to mute the horror and terror it should imply. That is because no longer do people treat the rapist or the sex offender with the appropriate reaction. Which isn’t horror or shock, it’s life imprisonment or the death sentence. Instead, none of these four are picked, and he walks free. Not only does the woman spend forever knowing that the man who raped her could easily be out there looking for revenge against her attempt to imprison him, she also has to know that the violence committed against her is left unpunished. If you want more women to come forward and report sex crimes, you should meet them half way and make sure that you believe the ones reported and that something is done about it.
India, entirely due to uncontrollable reasons, was not able to experience a wave of feminism. This is because, if truth be told, for the longest of times, we had deem-ably bigger problems. Caste, social evils, untouchability, the British raj leaving us destitute and poor. To be honest it would almost seem as though we were grappling with bigger issues. But now, I think we have finally reached the point where we must try and work out this issue too. The reason barely anyone cares is because when you walk ten miles to get water, barely earn enough for the straw thatched hut you live in and own one outfit, high minded ideals like feminism are far from your mind, and if that isn’t bad enough, you couldn’t care about your rights unless it would somehow earn you food.
Yes, there are other cultures where women are treated worse. But, is that the kind of culture you want to become like? Is that the culture we are trying to be? is that culture the one you want you use as an excuse- “they’re raping and humiliating women so we can too?”. or do you want to look at cultures where women are deemed equal to men, cultures who have managed to accept the fact that all humans were created equal, and say, “yes we made a mistake. But we are capable of change. And we do not believe that changing the unjust way we treat women will do anything but further enrich our great traditions”, “yes we had a great past. Now we can have a great future. All of us.”