Indian Cultural Dichotomy and Rape-Politics
Present tumultuous scenario after a series of gangrapes says it all about the victim blaming and West -lambasting culture. Delhi incident was gruesome but it was neither the last nor the first. Even after that barbaric and savage atrocity on the young girl, various ordeals continue to rip apart the news readers' psyche, while politicians and various religious organizations are busy in dissecting women's bodies and pondering how much flesh needs to be covered to save women from being raped. Their zealous scrutiny of women's 'immoral' behaviour (which according to them is inciting and persuading men for increasing violence) will not die down until the real issues of rape, harassment, molestation are diverted. For the time being they will remain preoccupied with the enthusiastic analysis of 'modernity', marriage, chastity, virginity and the effect of westernization on the people or a nation's morale which is 'significantly different from the west'.
"Marriage is successful only when wife looks after the household and husband takes care of the earning. This system ensures order in society," RSS (Hindutva organization) chief Mohan Bhagwat said at a gathering. It was further explained as, "Traditionally in this country, a woman considered her husband god. That status may have changed in modern times but what is good in our society should be kept that way. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RSS-BJP-lock-horns-over-women-m...)
And he continued "Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat, but they frequently occur in India," Bhagwat said seeming to indicate that "westernization" in Indian cities was the reason behind increasing cases of rapes. "You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values". (and it goes without saying that it is a totally false data)
Jamaat -e-Islami viewed it as "Co-education should be abolished and proper education facilities meant exclusively for women should be available at all level of education. Educational institutions should prescribe sober and dignified dress for girls". The JIH also suggested that physically intimacy should only be permitted to those who are married. "All sex outside marriage including live-in-relationship should be declared illegal and punishable," the statement issued by Nusrat Ali, secretary general of JIH. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Jamaat-e-Islami-Hind-calls-for-...)
Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi said that western culture had ruined Indian culture and led to increasing atrocities on women including rapes."Young girls and women must not roam around with any men except their parents, brothers or husband". "Having boyfriends and girlfriends has become a fashion in cities. This is why incidence of rapes is higher in urban areas compared to rural parts of the country," he added. (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/SP-leader-Abu-Azmi-endorses-RSS...)
The minister Vijayvargiya in MP said: "If a woman crosses the limits of decency, then she is captured. There is a limit for all. Whoever crosses this line will confront a Ravan who'll take her away." (http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Bhopal/Kailash-crosses-Lakshman...)
He previously commented on the Guwahati molestation case (which sparked nation-wide outrage): "Women's fashion, lifestyle and conduct should be in accordance with Indian culture...women should not wear clothes which provoke others (to misbehave with them)," "Women should dress in such a way that they invoke respect in others. However, unfortunately women are dressing provocatively, which is leading to deviation in society," he said, referring to the incident. (http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/guwahati-molestation-case-madhya-prade...)
The patriarchal mindset has no shame in continuing its vicious attack against women.
"Those who claim to be students - I can see many beautiful women among them - highly dented-painted (sic) - they're giving interviews on TV, they've brought their children to show them the scenes." - Congress MP Abhijit Mukherjee
"Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark". - Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana
"One of the reasons behind the increase in incidents of eve-teasing is short dresses and short skirts worn by women. This in turn instigates young men." - Trinamool Congress legislator Chiranjeet Chakraborty
"Ban skirts as school uniform to reduce harassment of girl students." - BJP MLA Banwari Lal Singhal
Vishwa Hindu Parishad international president Ashok Singhal described the trend of youngsters in the country imbibing western culture as "alarming". "We have lost all the values we had in cities," he said, demanding that India be renamed Bharat. "Let the real name of the country, Bharat, remain. When we call Bharat, it has the culture of thousands of years of this sacred land". On live-in relationships, Singhal said it was a western model. "Virginity was preserved (before the British era), but purity has been totally disturbed by these models."
"There is no need to give phones to women and children. It distracts them and is useless. Why do women need phones? My mother, wife and sister never had mobile phones. They survived without one". - BSP leader Rajpal Saini
Poverty and intoxication are the main reasons for rape as well as young people sitting together the wrong way. But also eating chowmein causes a hormonal imbalance which is a big reason for rapes." - Khap leader Jitender Chhataar
A khap panchayat in a Hisar village has banned mobile phones for youngsters and ordered girls not to wear jeans and T-shirts. The decision was taken by the panchayat at Khedar village. Sarpanch Shamsher Singh said, "We have decided to ban alcohol as it is the main reason behind rapes. We have also banned jeans and T-shirts for girl students as it is not a proper dress" (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Khap-bans-jeans-and-T-shirts-fo...)
'I think that girls should be married at the age of 16, so that they have their husbands for their sexual needs, and they don't need to go elsewhere. This way rapes will not occur'. - Haryana Khap Panchayat member Sube Singh
"I don't feel any hesitation in saying that 90 per cent of the girls want to have sex intentionally but they don't know that they would be gang raped further as they find some lusty and pervasive people in the way ahead." - Haryana Congress spokesperson Dharambir Goyat
But wait!! not only men but also women have joined in the chorus :
Chairperson of National Commission for Women (NCW) Mamata Sharma said that women should be careful about the way they dress because such incidents are a result of blindly aping the West. Suggesting that there should be a dress code for women to ensure their safety, Sharma said that aping the West blindly was eroding Indian culture and causing such crimes to happen. (http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/guwahati-molestation-ncw-chief-mamta-...
"Women display their bodies and indulge in various obscene activities. Women are unaware of the kind of message (their actions) generate." - Vibha Rao, the chairperson of Chhattisgarh State Women Commission
Trinamool Congress leader Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said "If you're referring to the Park Street rape, see that is a different case altogether that was not at all a rape case. It was a misunderstanding between the two parties involved between a lady and her client. This was not a rape"
West Bengal Chief Minister said that rape cases are on a rise in the country because men and women interact with each other more freely now. "Earlier if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded but now everything is so open. It's like an open market with open options," she said.
So, the onus again lies on women and male and female authorities, responsible for evaluating the gravity of the situation and checking crimes, are circulating the misogynist and biased propaganda and perpetuating the imbalance. Indian patriarchy does not necessarily point finger at men but also women who have internalized the unequal and hypocritical messages and are best at moral-policing to sustain the uneven structure.
Sexism and racism both are venomous. In this crucial juncture all sane public should strive to dissolve the wrongfully generated myth based on the binary between east and west and work together to bridge the gap by dissipating falsified notions and breaking the cycle of social apathy. Now or Never.