Monday, February 7, 2011

what is wrong with (some, well, actually, a lot of) Indian men?

So another girl has been attacked in Kerala, that bastion of tradition and high morality. She was just travelling by train, and this man rapes her. She jumps out of the train to escape him, and she dies. There were other passengers aware of the evil, they kept quiet. A few years ago, another girl was attacked, a nun came to her rescue, and both the girl and the nun were pushed off the train. The nun lost an arm and a leg. In both cases, the men were from other states. Not that Mallu men are saints.
What is wrong with these men? Women and girls of any age cannot walk along Kerala's streets in daytime without being groped and pawed. Even if a male realtive is with a girl, these men feel free to molest the girl. Does this mean we have to cover ourselves up and sit at home behind locked doors? That is not going to happen.

And  in this case, we have to bear in mind that these  unfortunate girls were in the "ladies' compartment". The fact that the ladies need to be seated in a different area itself is suspicious. These same men with their uncontrollable urges behave wonderfully well when they are in other countries. So what is it that gives them the liberty to do whatever they want to, to whomever they want to, whenever they want to, in "God's own country"? Maybe these "literate" males think that www stands for that -- wherever, whenever, whoever -- not unlike many others. Kerala has become the place which looks upon its girls as just objects to toy with. A place where girls have no worth. Of what use is literacy if people cannot acknowledge the basic rights of their fellow beings? Now men from other states come to Kerala to display their perversions. Live and let live, please. It is a proven fact that If a nation's women are not recognized as human, and are not treated equally/ or better, that nation is always going to lag behind in every way. No amount of technological or scientific advances, no social networks, no internet,  nothing is going to bring these nations into the 21st century. Nor will they make these rabid persons human, unless they become human. And for that, education helps, not the textbook kind. But about man and woman. Their rights. The meaning of fairness.

Well, even in so-called civilized countries, it is hard for people to realize that a woman's body is her own. They talk and act as if her biology and her biological clock is everyone else's except her's. It is as if everyone else decides what she should do with her body, when she should have a baby, actually, they are determined that she have a baby. But these are matters which we still have  a choice in, I hope. But in India, everything goes a step further. Girl child is unwanted. She is killed off before she is even born. And what happens to her if and once she is born? Look at this young girl. She is  gone, she  lost her life, after an inhuman horrific ordeal. The distinction between revenge and justice gets blurred in my mind, even when I know that the rot in our culture goes deeper than we allow ourselves to see.
That a woman cannot go about her life without attracting unwanted attention is a violation of her space. I remember once a fellow student at the university countering my argument with "we men get mugged too!"
There was no point in convincing someone who pretended not to understand the basic tenets of civilization and refinement.

And a word to the wise -- that is, those in authority, who are at once proud of our state's culture and tradition, and privately condone the imbecilic treatment of women,-- you better clean up your act. No use parading elephants and pushing houseboats around backwaters -- there won't be any tourists to see it all, if they can't feel safe there. And the modern technology will do something -- it will put an end to secrecy, and coverup, whch is what  till now protected the offenders. We showered the victim with shame and guilt that no one dared to speak out, even when they were hurt badly. But now, it would be like shouting from the rooftops. And these are the kind of things that will blacken our faces, and make us bow our pathetic little heads in shame. We are responsible, our collective inertia, our fear, our selfishness and shame ,and our resistance to change.

I will add more to this piece, once I can breathe properly. It is with a heavy heart that I think of my homeland now. I never thought I will be this glad to be out of that place.