Monday, January 7, 2013

The Indian Mindset

Did you know that you cannot clap with one hand?
Or that a rape is akin to a clap?
Don’t ask me. Ask Asaram Bapu who has said that the Delhi gang rape victim is as much to blame as the rapists for the rape. To be honest, it is beyond my capacity to apply the dynamics of a clap to a rape. But His Holiness might know more!  

If nothing else, the infamous Delhi gang rape is exposing the reality of our leaders – political, social or spiritual. For you and me, it is incredulous that someone can harbour such absurd notions about rape. You and I need not be told that a rape is not a clap. It is a punch. It is a deathly punch that kills the spirit, not just the victim. That it is a tool for an ego trip, an instrument for subjugation, a weapon of war.

And yet, day after day, we hear statements such as, “She should have surrendered,” “Women’s outfits are to blame,” and of course, “Taali ek haath se nahi bajati!” 

India is an old country. The term ‘ancient’ can also be used, but I prefer not to, because it has mystical and magical connotations. That’s good for tourism. But in truth, in the glaring, unflinching, unkind light of truth, our country is old, and hobbled, and burdened with centuries of contorted religious beliefs.
Being responsible for our poverty? Nah… that’s karma.
Sentencing convicts and giving justice to victims? The next birth will sort it all out.
Women? We are proud to be a utilitarian society where we worship our goddesses for personal gain, and then ‘utilize’ the female body for entertainment, procreation, house-keeping and … ah… maintaining the male self-esteem!

Yes, this is who we are. 

Flinch. Turn away. Discard these words are mere humbug. But this is who we are.
We procreate so that a ‘son’ may light our funeral pyre ensuring our ascendance to heaven.
We marry so that our houses are spick and span, food is on the table, and parents are looked after.
We are religious so that our coffers are never empty.

This is who we have been, we are, and God forbid, we always remain.
I know these statements do not apply to everyone. Some of us marry for love. Some of us are delighted to have daughters. Some of us treat our wives as the Master of the household. But that’s only some of us. For the majority, life is a business deal with the Gods.

Why are we like this?
In fact, why shouldn’t we be like this, when Lord Rama himself questioned his wife’s purity? Never mind the fact that nobody questioned Rama’s purity. It doesn’t matter!
Why shouldn’t we be like this when revered saint Tulsidas himself deemed women to be beaten like a drum and shooed away like an animal?
Why shouldn’t we be like this when the great Pandavas themselves divided Draupadi amongst themselves, much like a juicy watermelon, and not a word is whispered about her own wishes?
No, our women are born to serve, uphold the family honour, and to produce sons. When we have such role models, why should we be any different?  

That is why, even today, thousands of years later, the woman’s integrity is questioned.
Even when she is beaten, assaulted, stripped and thrown on the road from a moving bus on a freezing winter night, and she eventually dies. 

Even then, taali ek haath se nahi bajati!