Disclaimer: This article is written to initiate healthy debate
the larger global audience. Hence, a healthy debate is welcome, DOUCHE BAGS are not.
Every Indian might feel defensive on reading the title.But seconds later after they realize what this is about, they would understand its full context. For an Indian living in India, it may come across as offensive even. But for an Indian living abroad, this is a question others ask us and the conversation goes like this:
“Hey, you’re an Indian right?
Yea, indeed I am.
Wow, great…. do you think India is a nation of PERVERTS?”
Sometimes the question is subtle, other times more direct.
Is India a Nation of PERVERTS?
No, the above question is NOT racist because I am an Indian woman and it is about my own race.
When you are born in a specific country, you get a tradition or custom or some natural resource as a ‘Legacy’. If you are born as a female in India, what you get as a Legacy is: rape, sexual assault, molestation, harassment, shame (for being a woman), another person controlling your sexuality(and much more including your choice to dye your hair) and the gift of ‘man-child’ in the form of male companions.
You may detect some extremism or some form of psychological hostility in my statement about Legacy for Indian women above, but let me take this further.
Recently, Mulayam Singh Yadav, a renowned Politician (of a state where I lived) recently said and I quote “rape accused should not be hanged. Men make mistakes… Handing death sentence for rape is not fair… boys make mistakes… there will be changes in the law if we come to power. Efforts will be made to change such a law so that those misusing it are punished. Those filing false reports will also be taken to task. When their friendship ends, the girl complains she has been raped.”
(By the way, when I was at the State’s national university, University of Lucknow, this politician’s son was my junior. Every single student and staff at the university can tell you the tales of these young men(him and his supporters) harassing female teachers and coming for an exam only to place a gun on the table, get a book out and copy paste on their answer sheets)
Similar remarks were heard from various other politicians when the Delhi Gang-rape event of December 2012 brought international shame to India. From ‘women crossing her limits by going out in the night’ to being a straight prostitute if she has a male friend or wears a jeans, we have heard it all.
A recent video called NO COUNTRY FOR WOMEN
puts it best. It is so far the perfect picture of India where women are either placed on a pedestal as Goddesses, as objects of sexual desire in Bollywood or as animals, beaten up and humiliated for being women. They are treated as everything but human.
The culture in confusion
The sorry state of women in India has turned barbaric in the recent years or has it always been like this is difficult for me to say because I have lived in India during the 2000s and what was it like before, is unknown area. But what I do observe is a very ugly cultural dilemma.
The younger generation is obsessed with Westernization. Be it clothing, music, cinema or lifestyle, to be modern in India is to talk in English and consider Hindi speaking crowd as a bunch of uneducated or illiterate low lives. The problem with embracing Westernization is that it is far more complex than a pair of shorts and Bruno Mars. Westernization or Western culture has its own merits and demerits but one of the best features of Westernization is ‘open mindedness. A pair of jeans does not make you Western, but embracing the thought of choosing your own attire and letting others chose for themselves is modernity and Westernization.
The rich society of India comprises of kids of politicians, actors and high profile businessmen. A portion of this pie would wear Western clothing, enjoy pubs and night outs etc. The extremists on the other hand try to act like cultural police or moral police who hide across the country and find opportunities to attack these men and women as a defense mechanism to ‘protect the heritage and culture of India’. The middle class is divided between the two life styles and try to grab a slice of both pies. For example, while in school or college, young girls try to experience this so called modern lifestyle by hanging out with male friends, have relationships, travel a little, smoking, wearing revealing outfits etc. They do this behind their parents because until you are married, your parents have much more control over you in India as compared to the control of parents over young adults in Western countries.
This is because they are very well aware that once they get married, they will be totally under the husband’s control and have no personal freedom to live life on their own terms. And did I mention ‘arranged marriage’? The fact is and I quote again, “At 34.2 percent, India’s rate of female participation in the labor force is the lowest of any of the BRIC countries, according to U.N. statistics. Women make up 42 percent of college graduates in India, yet even those with diplomas are expected to let their careers take a back seat to caring for husband, children, and elderly parents.”
So, we are grown up and told at schools to study hard and get a degree but NOT to make a career; just to impress an educated ‘man-child’of a guy who can control our lives.
Hence, the confused culture.
The dilemma of shame
Rape is a lot to do with consent and allegedly with shame. There is no doubt that cinema impacts our lives and our culture vastly, specially as young adults, the typical age of high dopamine and testosterone. Bollywood is fantastic and I am a big fan of Yash Chopra movies, but the culture-cinema team implies a very unique picture of sexual consent in Bollywood and hence in Indian culture.
From early movies until the 90s ones, a typical hero is the turned on freak who is trying to chase the ‘shy’ heroine and convince her for sex. Watch here
The heroine is supposed to
say ‘no’. If she initiates sex or does not act ‘shy’ and chaste, she is automatically judged as a loose moral slut. This makes a very important point about the perception of consent in Indian culture.
Don’t get me wrong on the songs. I adore all these actors, singers and music but I also admit that this created a horrible perception about consent in the minds of Indians about females consenting for sex.
In this particular song
, just notice the expressions of the heroine. If it was not the 1966 but 2014, he would go in for molestation straight, (at least in non Asian countries). And the heroine is cursed because she is interested in him but notice the way she is expressing consent (by turning him down over and over again).
Another noticeable fact is the difference between the songs above and the songs from the recent past (watch NO COUNTRY FOR WOMEN for the best summary). There has been a transformation, a major one to be noted. And that is from the chaste, shy and self controlling woman to an object of sexual desire. At least in these old songs, the only consolation is that they were treated like humans and there was decency and respect.
For some reason, we put a hell lot of emphasis on “shame” or in Hindi- ‘IZZAT KA SAWAAL HAI’…
But the concept of shame is different for males and females. What is shameful for a woman to do, is a matter of pride for the male. Masculinity and femininity are so far apart that the amicable connection between a man and a woman is like a distant dream.
To sum up, either an Indian female is a sexually controlled chaste moral robot of a human or she is a tissue, an object of use and throw. She is either so full of shame that she’d kill herself if you touch her or she is shameless. I wonder who invented the word ‘shame’…
“Masculinity is so much to do with shame. Men would kill for shame and women would die for it”
The gift of a ‘man-child’
I mentioned in the opening paragraph that Indian women get a ‘man-child’ of a male life partner through the system of an arranged marriage as a Legacy of the so called Great Indian culture. The process of finding the holy, so called God chosen, destiny MAN cum OWNER of a females life (even in highly educated and wealthy families) begins with advertisements. Yes, you read it right, kind of like the ones we place on Gumtree looking for a flat or for an old couch to sell in the UK or Craigslist in the USA. See these pictures and you will know what I mean.
The reward for being a fair, slim, beautiful and educated girl in the early twenties is a ‘MAN-CHILD’.
I have a statistical proof to use this term. 70% of Indian women suffer domestic violence
which means 70%
of men are beating them up. This attitude of domestic violence begins with throwing tantrums
when they don’t get their way or feel emasculated for some silly reason. For example, I am sure you have encountered some kid at a grocery store at some point, asking his mom for a candy and when she refuses, the kid is straight on the floor banging his head, yelling and screaming as if someone has taken his kidney out???
It’s OK for this kid in the grocery store to some extent because it’s a kid after all. Another version of this kid is when he is married and has kids of his own, he asks his wife for tea and if she forgets, gets late or plainly refuses, instead of banging his own head on the floor this time, he will bang the wife’s head and yell and scream at her, the same way, ditto. This is a ‘man-child’.
Other characteristics of a ‘man-child’ are that the wife is supposed to wash, dry and fold his laundry, feed him, clean after him, place hi wallet, keys and shoes at set places when he arrives home, provide him tea every 30 minutes like a born barista assistant, not pick up phone calls when he is around because he just might need anything any second and she cannot be busy, stay away from old school and college mates because it might trigger his freakish jealousy induced mood swings etc etc etc
So, is INDIA a nation of perverts?
One might argue that I have cherry picked these examples and this is a very selective, subjective or biased way of looking at India. Actually, it is not. It is all bare disturbing truth, fortunately now recognized by various organizations, philanthropists and young Indians. The answer for the above question thus is “we are more than half way there”.
We will be titled as the nation of perverts if we do not bring an end to these orthodox ancient rules about the so called chaste woman’s consent. If we keep excusing our sons for rape and treating our daughters like objects of control and limitations. I don’t know what Sita did and why she was punished because to be honest it is doesn’t matter anymore. It is a mythical tale of Hinduism and with all respect to the faith itself; it is a tale of the past. What the present and the future need is peace and freedom. Instead of chanting of 1957 tales of India’s Independence, we rather battle for freedom that has now been castratized by own men and women.
While there are perverts and man-child of guys out there in majority, there is a very tiny, small minority who do not think that way. If they embrace Westernization, they do so with an open mind. And if they chose to keep their values traditional, they respect women and care for them as true companions. Either ways, this small group does not judge women but rather supports them. Women can be perverts too
and there are many out there. The ones that believe that men have all the right to beat their wives up; the ones that believe that their sexuality must be controlled by a man because somehow they are dumb enough to mishandle it!?!?!
Pervert Politicians make pervert nations. That is for sure. But in a country where a penny worth of aluminum mug in the public urinals (for washing up) has to be chained to the wall for fear of theft, I am sure it needs much more than an intelligent politician. If you are an Indian, please save India from being a 100% Pervert nation, one pervert at a time. Begin with yourself, right now.
Love and Light
#domesticviolence #mulayam singh #rape #india #debate #perverts #arranged marriage #consent #sexuality #control #hope #women #feminism #feminist #westernization #revolt #shame #masculine #TOI #BBC #NDTV #Yami Singh