Guest post by Shilpa Chaudhary, student at University of Delhi “who seeks the answer as to why misogyny has not been subverted yet.”
The recent rise in rate of crime against women especially in the form of rape and molestation forces one to think as to where we are heading with all this? Is the 21st century India, technology savvy of which we are so proud of, an apt replacement for its hypocrisy, stagnation and retention of the so-called Indian ‘sanskriti’?
These are the questions which do not come to my mind as I walk out of my house in the crime capital of India-Delhi. Instead I join my hands in front of the divine idol my mother has placed in my room and pray dutifully that my day goes peacefully. Basically implying, I leave everything to chance.
The chance of me getting groped in public transport is as high is as the chance of me getting raped in my college. Is this what my father would have wanted for his daughter when he cradled her in his arms for the first time? I think not. What is it that forces men to make them act in the hideous manner that they do when they participate in such shameless and rash actions? Why do they fail to realise that the karma that their mothers preach of can cause their female family members to be in the very same position some day as well? And let me tell you that no amount of parsad can prevent it. Beneath the chant of ethics, values and moral duties lay the horror of corruption and tyranny. Institutionalized sexuality and institutionalized religiosity are combined.
When Kamla Bhasin in a recent debate on CNN-IBN was asked to voice her opinion on the unfortunate incident of a father being shot while trying to protect his daughter from a molester in Punjab she rightfully decided to take the issue up from a larger perspective. The writer and activist referred to the ‘epidemic’ state as a kind of ‘brutalisation and dehumanization that is taking place in the society.’ Revealing her stats of rape in India which has increased by 870% she campaigns for a ‘cultural tsunami’, whereby the hegemonistic notions which treat women as objects are to be drowned. Rape is not to be seen as a violation of personal space which A does so of B, but a man on a woman in this case. It is to be viewed as the psyche of man versus woman.
During some research studies I came to draw an analogy between the crimes which aim to deteriorate the fairer sex and Ann Garry’s ‘Sex, Lies and Pornography’. Advocating a non-sexist form of pornography Ann miserably thus concludes that at the end of the day there is nothing to prevent men who really enjoy degrading women from undermining the most well-intentioned plot from the vision of a powerful feminist movie maker. The effect would be that even though the content would be morally acceptable and the intention of showing it is morally flawless, women would still be degraded by those sections of men to mere body parts devoid of any individuality. However, the fact that good intentions and content are insufficient does not imply that the feminist’s efforts will go in vain. There is no denying that anyone who tries to change an institution from within faces serious difficulties. This is particularly evident when one is trying to change pornography and its attitudes concerning gender roles and sex. It is rather beneficial and courageous to change pornography instead of closing one’s eyes to it, in the hope that it will go away. For it is realistic to expect that pornography is here to stay.
When B.R. Ambedkar referred to caste as a notion, and not a physical barrier which prevents classes from interacting he perhaps did not realise the magnanimous importance of this statement of his.
‘Caste is a notion, a state of the mind. The destruction of caste therefore does not mean the destruction of a physical barrier. It means a notional change.’
The patriarchal mind-set needs to wake up to the threatening alarm. As Kamla Bhasin put it, ‘How we bring up our boys? How we treat our girls?’
Enough is enough is the motto of the ‘One Billion Rising’ on Valentine’s Day, 14th February, a global movement which aims to put end to violence against women and girls. Love, not war should be the ideal for which each sane mind and noble heart strives for.
If our leviathans fail to guarantee our security then we must take the cause as our responsibility and abide by it till it converts into a pure devotional belief in the most harmonious manner possible.
A country where reactions are post-facto the only solution is to learn to rise above one’s stereotypical identities. As J.S.Mill puts it, ‘a distinguishing feature of the new age is the fact that human beings are no longer born to their places in life..but are free to employ their faculties to achieve what may appear to them most desirable’.