When history reaches out and touches the present, our lives are enriched by it. We are reminded that civilisation is a forward march of ideas and progress — a testimony of man’s journey from the Stone Age to his 21st century discovery of the God particle. Yet, the past and the present also inform us that modernisation has little to do with modernity. Technology alone cannot enlighten minds when ignorance is a black hole, sucking up the few rays of wisdom that dare cross its path. If today, some of us, some of the more ‘distinguished’ among us, still want to believe that a woman is bound by a social contract to serve her husband, they should be transported to Pluto.
Far from Earth, they can recreate their own Dark Ages without bothering the rest of humanity.
That such people enjoy a certain control over some sections of society also spells trouble for those who want to establish gender equality and fight crimes against women. They will use their clout, unleash supporters, make noises in the media to thwart every attempt at what they view as ‘creating a gender imbalance’.
So, are we still proud to be Indians, or Bharatiya? Do we subscribe to a culture (if at all we can call it that) that says burning brides is acceptable, hiding women behind purdahs is fine, mini-skirts invite rapists, and women who are raped are to be blamed for not resisting, or for not attempting to tie rakhis on their rapists while being raped? If we don’t, then how do these people manage a following? Why are their views accorded importance, and why do they get away with such incendiary remarks?
If we are to defeat them, we have to defeat their ideas. These ideas, drawn from antiquity, are being used as weapons to take us backwards, to an age which we have long left behind. So, the battle begins at home, at school, on the playground, in colleges, at workplaces and on the streets. There is no turning back, and there is not a moment of relief we can enjoy.