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The buck stops here

Sunday, 6 January 2013 - 2:10pm IST | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: dna

A study has found that India is the most dangerous country for a woman to be alive in today. Why are we not hanging our heads in shame? Can any country, where women live in constant fear lay claims to any civility, asks Mallika Sarabhai

Two and half months ago, I wrote the following article in this column. The one concrete step it has led to is that a reader has slapped a case against Honey Singh and his disgusting lyrics in the courts. But the events of last month and the continuing rapes and gut-wrenching statements by public figures, forces me to repeat it here. Will someone take heed?

"They say the whole village has had your as*
My d**k is prepared today
If I don’t have you today then I am not a Jatt
You love sex but you scream when I thrust
Your panties will be drenched in blood as you scream Badshah"
These are the sickening lyrics of a song of Honey Singh’s called Ch**th, which went viral on YouTube with over five lakh hits in the first few days.

The words are not clever. They are not sexy. They are crude and show misogyny that is becoming the accepted code of attitudes towards women in the new shining India. This and its following actualisation in terms of rape, abduction, murder and mayhem against women are the new way for the real Indian man and the real Indian male establishments view the world –  their to conquer through subjugating through their penis.

Honey Singh commands a price of Rs70 lakh per appearance, I gather. Paid by men and danced to by women thrusting their pubis into our faces on TV a la Rani Mukherjee in Aiyaa. And his popularity soars as he jets from an NRI party in Sydney, to one in New Jersey.

India is facing an epidemic, whose impact we don’t seem to understand yet. Or at least to which we are not reacting. It is an epidemic of destroying the lives of women. Every day, newspapers report more and more crimes of a heinous nature, against younger and younger children, against groups of women; single women being attacked and raped by groups of men, police heads, politicians  and judges making frightful comments that show their own sick and gendered attitudes.

But for the rest, life goes on as usual. Yes the occasional politician goes and pats the head of a raped girl or woman, and clucks appropriately. But where are the fast-track courts? Where are the stinging judgments? Where are the shelters to protect the women? Where are the sensitive judges? Where are the concerned doctors? And where are the pronouncements made by top political leaders to denounce these crimes? Has the prime minister called a national press conference? Has the female leader of the opposition or the female Speaker? In fact, from all reports Mamata Banerjee doesn’t even give credence to the agony of the rape victims.

What is it about us that we see this as a non-issue, episodic at best? The United Nations has said that a study has found that India is the most dangerous country for a woman to be alive in today. Why are we not hanging our heads in shame? Can any country, where half the population lives in constant fear lay claims to any civility or civilisation let alone greatness?

Be a man. Three hateful dangerous words. Told repeatedly to a male child. License to hit, beat, mistreat women. License to take which ever woman you want, use and discard. How do we change this mindset?

I have personally worked in this field for over 20 years and I’m convinced that the only way to change and save the world from a womanless state is to start younger and younger sensitising both sexes. Mothers must do it. Teachers must do it. We are going to launch a project with college kids, to tell them that partnerships mean equality, marriages mean partnerships, and violence and dominance and beatings are not sexy. They are vile and symptoms of sick minds in a sick society. The responsibility of stemming this epidemic is ours and that of the government. The buck stops here. 


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