Wake up, India.
Patriarchy is myopic. As simple as that.
And Indians love embracing Patriarchy – whether in its mythological stories or in its daily living.
The very Ram that is being worshipped in this country today by myriads, was a doubting Thomas: a man who questioned the chastity of his wife when she was kidnapped to Lanka by Ravan. ‘If she didn’t willingly sleep with him, she must have at least been raped.’ And here’s the funny part: Ravan, the deca-headed monster that is still being perceived as the mondo-villain, did not so much as even touch Sita.
Cut to today.
A man in Rajasthan bit his wife so brutally that she lost her face, literally, for her refusal to get more money from her parents for dowry. In Udaipur, a woman’s head was shaved, and she was stripped and beaten for having had an extramarital affair. A man in Indore kept his wife's genitals “locked”. He drilled holes on her body and before going to work each day, would insert a small lock, tucking the keys under his socks. A woman was sexually abused for years, and then had acid thrown on her face and absolutely no one seems to be listening to her case. A few children near Bhopal were found playing with a female foetus they had mistaken for a doll in a bin. A dentist in Karnataka made his wife to drink his urine because she refused to meet dowry demands. A father beheaded his daughter in Rajasthan and paraded her bloody head as a caveat to other young women lest they fall in love with a boy from a lower caste. A 23 year old was brutally gang raped and beaten in a moving bus, and thrown out on the side of the road in the National Capital. A thirteen year old was found lying dead after being raped in rural Tamil Nadu.
Today, the 23 year old passed away. Not because of the Gang Rape, not because of the multiple organ failure, not because of medical failure, but because of the failure of the legal system, the mindset, the cultural ethos of the country. The mindset of the masses failed to give her the protection she deserved. This disgusting mentality of Patriarchy, this filthy notion that a woman is but a tool in the hands of men, is but a piece of entertainment in movies where she is made to dance wearing nothing, and but a servant to cook, to clean and to bear children.
And all this, right in a place that gave the world the Scion of Peace: Gandhi, whose words (circa 1921), could never be more appropriate in today’s case: Of all the evils for which man has made himself responsible, none is so degrading, so shocking or so brutal as his abuse of the better half of humanity; the female sex.
What is it that makes men revel in malevolent impertinence when it comes to handling women? What makes it this easy for the treatment of a woman as “chattel”? What makes men so brutish, so animal-like, in their compunctionless use of a tool for reproduction and procreation as a filthy weapon?
Patriarchy. That’s what.
Patriarchy teaches you to believe in this disgusting notion that a woman out on the streets at night is valueless, this filthy understanding that even a five year old girl is a sex tool, this cheap rule that a woman cannot do something or should not do something because she is a woman. And it isn’t just the men that believe this, but some of the women too. Because Patriarchy makes women afraid for themselves, for their daughters, for their sisters, for their nieces, for their mothers and for their grandmothers. So they inadvertently reinforce Patriarchy – teaching their girls not to get raped, rather than teaching their sons not to rape. This Patriarchy is a sword that hangs on women’s heads, because anything that assaults their virginity – which, mind you, is saddled with a burden of representative symbolism of "honour" – assaults the honour of the whole family. This Patriarchy enforces a brutish mentality that if she is raped, if that honour is violated, she has nothing left to live for.
Wake up, India. Abject, blind Patriarchy is detrimental to the very fabric of any society – especially when it colours your every action.
Wake up, India. You are supposed to be the civilized country. You are supposed to be the country that waits for Lakshmi and Saraswati to shine on your homes so money and knowledge thrive within.
Wake up, India.