I usually steer clear of current affairs, especially on this blog. It’s comfortable to sit in this nook where a woman can say and do anything, assuming that the freedom of speech and other laws of this land apply equally to her. But the past couple of weeks have really made this an impossible notion to hold onto.
First, Jitender Chhataarthe of the Khap Panchayat declared that,
“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.”
Then, Sube Sing, another Khap Panchayat member said,
“I believe this is happening because our youth are being badly influenced by cinema and television. 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.”
And finally today, taking a break from rapes and chowmein, comes a more ‘constructive’ opinion from Rajpal Saini, BSP MLA that,
“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.”
Of course, the social media is all abuzz with these statements, angry/smart hashtags are trending and every article written on it is getting passed around like the common cold. I’m just wondering, what is this country I live in, where men in positions of power feel it permissible to say such things? A 65-year-old ‘democracy’ that believes that women are no more than numbers on the census data, to be force-slotted into the most convenient plans possible. What do you say to someone who does think of you as anything more than a vagina and a uterus (oh, and maybe a pair of breasts)?
You know what’s ironic? We’re right in the middle of a festival that celebrates womanhood. Little girls’ feet are washed, their blessings sought, married women are given auspicious tokens and gifts. And the great Goddess is brought out in procession and worshipped.
For shame, I feel deeply misfortunate to be born an Indian woman. Don’t call me a Bharatiya Nari, please. Right now, it’s an insult. And you can take your woman worship and shove it right up your chowmein-flavoured mobile phone.