Ch. Lady Diana
Just when I thought that things couldn’t get worse after the DeMo disaster, here we are…….a bomb right in the centre of gender discourse in India. We are like the rat running on the wheel without ever reaching anywhere but we simply like to work our ass off on running on the gender discourse every year and this has brought us to an existential crisis. And, its the favourite part for the politicians and the so-called leaders of the society to corner the victims citing their dress and immorality. We really can’t expect much from the leaders guys, they are busy building universities that will basically tear the global best university charts even as they promptly tell girls that late night studies are immoral. So, as a loyal, obedient citizen to our leaders especially to the likes of Abu Azmi who has the sincerest concern for all women in his crystal clear heart, here are a few things I would like to ask for my own well-being and conduct.
1. The issue about the dress: I understand the fact that provocative ‘Western’ dresses may invite offenders, but how do you explain women in saree and salwar kameez facing sexual harassment from men dressed in western attire. Why most politicians who comment on the Indian wear are themselves clad in Western shirts and pants. Whats the whole point of the FDI when we cant wear Western dresses in which trade in India is booming, why even ask for their investments then? After all, the government regularises trade benefits. So, western wear is not a moral issue, its a business propaganda to which our politicians and businessmen collate.
2. How else do I clad myself: Its January and its freezing and so if anyone thinks that girls can walk around in the middle of the night, half-naked then the Government needs to invest in this body-warmth-generating technology that girls seem to biologically have somehow. Seriously, lets think about it!
3. Are we still minors: I understand the politicians’ concerns that women need to be escorted by their fathers or brothers or any other male member of the family. But what I am confused about is, elections are soon to come and its a dire need for me to know if I am still a minor so that if I am, and if my security needs to be looked after so much I would have to refrain from voting as an adult. Besides, on seeing women if a bunch of men have unrestrained hormonal changes and they are impelled to force, then aren’t they as dangerous as the wild animals? In that case, isn’t it necessary to identify those animals and culture them in proper confined spaces? The scenario in our present case is like a leopard attacking a human and because the leopard is supported by a bunch of political leopard-chauvanists wagons, the first thing we do is question the victim – the human that has been attacked and reason to him that because he has flesh and bones, his attributes made the leopard to attack him.
4. The facts: Most politicians in India take up the cause of patriotism and righteousness of the society as their birth-right duty, the neo white-man’s-burden. Not that its wrong, but yes,……………lets not be ignorant about facts anymore, like the BJP didnt know that 76% of Indians live without internet before implementing DeMo. In India, 40% of the students enrolled in PhD programme are women. Almost 13% out of the 21% salaried population are women. It has been predicted that if India is able to increase its women’s participation by 10% more then India’s GDP will increase by 16% by the year 2025. So, to advise women to stay at home for their sake is to say, my dear patriots, we can compromise on our country’s growth and prosperity. Hmmm…..not so patriotic. And this doesn’t serve your chest-thumping bragnomics on the country’s ideals.
5. Analogy with history: By their speeches, most politicians eulogise our country by epitomising her with the figure of a mother. They want to see in every woman, the image of Sita. I understand the Defence Minister when he analogised the surgical strikes with Hanuman burning the Lanka. Mahatma Gandhi fought the British with Gita. Stories and anecdotes from religious texts are umpteen to justify our actions and religion. But we don’t seem to take into account what Rama did to Raavan if we indeed live by the precedents of the past. How come an entire government and judicial apparatus assume the status of impotence at the question of dispensing justice to women.
6. Lets face it: I just saw the blatant video clip in which Manoj Tiwari is mocking the people in the queue during DeMo. More than the lack of sensitivity, another awareness stung me. He became a living proof that there are people who didn’t have to stand in a queue during DeMo just like me. I have my brother whom I manage to bully to do my chores……………..but who is Manoj Tiwari’s Big Brother? Politicians have recurrently established the fact that they are the alienated groups and that explains the lack of sensitivity. They choose the privileged alienation. The paradoxical alienation and its subsequent lack of sympathy may as well explain how the popular notion is defined by most men against women. What I don’t understand is that India stands at the ninth position of countries where women politicians are the strongest. Yet the indignity with which women live in India is confounding. From the reckless comments by politicians, mass molesting, gang rapes to the judiciary functions, its a pool of the phallus-privileged set-up where apathy is ingrained and nobody cares about the most so-called treasured entities of the society.
No matter how many protests and candle march we take out, nothing seems to invite the sympathy of our society we live in. Its almost like we are demanding an alternate reality in seeking justice and security. To spiral down to misogyny is not enough. You need to acknowledge and know the thing you are repelled with. What women in India need is a basic mode of acknowledgement of her existence and it will work if they are not raised in the lofty standards of the past but denigrating them do not work at all. Imagine a culture in the future where criminals ‘poach’ on women and where the only options given to us is either to become silent victims or renegade self-defenders. By beating around the bush over dress and time, our leaders only want to deflect their occasion to confess how miserably they have failed.
Ch. Lady Diana is the author of The Mirage of Love. She is a journalist and passionate about making India safe for everyone. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org