Posts Tagged ‘society’

The Rape Culture….

December 19, 2012 Leave a comment

The recent Rape of a Delhi Girl and the subsequent outrage in the sections of the society is something that we have got used to. Our general fear and subsequent apathy to the such crime has become so deep rooted into our culture, it seem routine. I have found the below article online and it is one of the best essays on the subject. I hope it will help us be more sensitive and one day we will do something more concrete about it.


New Delhi: There has been a slew of responses to the recent rape of a woman in Delhi and the brutal attack on her male friend. Derek O Brien expresses fear for his daughter’s safety, Salman Khan at a press conference to promote his latest film says that he thinks the rapists should be killed, and parliamentarians demand the death penalty for rape. However, these responses and the media coverage on the incident seem to be marked by a refusal to think about the conditions that allow for rape to happen and how we even think of ‘rape’ itself.

It is almost as though the rape legitimates increased control by the family, community and other custodians of women as it brutally enacts the fantasy of a dark and unsafe city where a woman cannot negotiate the streets without being gruesomely violated.

The continuum between the family (the place of safety for women, the home where one is taken care of) and the rape have to be stressed: both are fantasies of control, of doing whatever it takes to keep women in their place, wherever that place is. The elaborate everyday control of women’s lives by families and institutions (both will find increased legitimacy because of the rape) is as systematic, planned and violent as this rape was.

An image of an uncontrolled horde is brought forth by a gang rape – but other groups – families, religious groups, communities that police sexuality are seen as the very essence of civilisation and civility.

The rape of women is seen as aberrant, as outside of the framework of what can be thought, thus the continuous comparison of rapists with animals. However, this very construction of the rape as an event that cannot be understood shows the refusal to see, or act against, brutal everyday forms of control.

We need to stress the continuum between people who rape, people who judge those who get raped, and people who try to protect the women in their lives from getting raped by imposing structures of control. The portrayals of the rape of women allow for those men who want to understand themselves as protectors or avengers to do so, they allow for patriarchal structures of control to strengthen themselves and, crucially, they create women as the ‘legitimate’ subjects of rape.

Why is the rape of women not seen in relation to the rape of men and hijras? Even amongst the rapes of women, it is certain kinds of cases that attract attention: marital rape, date rapes and the sexual violence that takes place within the family are systematically ignored.

Sex workers and domestic workers are at the receiving end of systematic sexual violence but the violence faced by them is normalized in the structure of our society, just like certain continual forms of sexual harassment on metros, public transport, schools and universities are seen to be so routine that it is seen to be in bad form to respond to them. Everyday, routine, ‘normal’ sexual practice hardly involves the discussion of consent or what might constitute a violation.

The fantasies of heterosexual love in our popular cultures are fantasies of dominance and submission, our idea of ‘romance’ sexist to say the least. Our idea of sex is so completely dominated by the vision of a penis penetrating a vagina that other kinds of forced penetration and violation do not even get the kind of limited response that such a rape does get.

The fervent responses to those rapes which even become the subject of public/ political discussion, such as demands for violent retribution to be visited upon the rapists are actually more a sign of unconcern rather than an expression of an angry will to change the structures we live in.

They manifest the desire to witness and enact violence (what better when this enactment of violence is legitimated by public discourse). The slow, difficult thinking through, the rigorous and exhausting work required for changing the psychical, economic and social conditions which create the conditions for rape demand much greater commitment and strength than wishes for public lynchings. The danger of feeling legitimated in performing violence on someone else has to be stressed. The rapists also felt ‘outrage’ at the behaviour of woman and her companions, they felt their positions to be legitimate.

We need to move outside the frenzy around rape in order to be able to think about it. The demand for “speedy justice” that is being made can never be effectively satisfied by a police force, government or court because these entities are not outside of or separate from family and community structures that legitimise rape in the first place.

Cases of rape committed by army and police force members, or the impunity afforded by the AFSPA show how they themselves are involved in perpetrating sexual and other violence. The police and the judiciary cannot be given up as structures we turn to with our demands for justice but they will not be the bringers of the transformation we need.

To change the manner in which people occupy public space we need sustained effort and political will. Rape creates many victims – women whose lives will be policed more, public spaces that will exude more fear and threat. We have to take responsibility for being complicit in this through our refusal to question what we cherish – family, heterosexuality, marriage, romance.

In our desire to blame the violated woman who was out after dark watching a film, we forget the gay man who picked up a fuckbuddy and gets robbed by him, the sex worker simply because she or he is one, the migrant worker, the Dalit being put in her/his place, the adivasi resisting mining corporations, the Muslim. Their violation seems so routinised that we even forget to ask why let alone call for public lynchings. We are all rapists of one kind or another, complicit with the rape culture we have created, legitimised and contained through a convenient condemnation of one manifestation of it.

Source SIFYBy Akshi Singh



Satyamev Jayete

May 6, 2012 3 comments

Satyamev Jayete

Satyamev Jayete

If you ask an Indian, what is Satyamev Jayete? Prompt the answer comes back – The new Amir Khan show on TV. A few not so learned ones would tell you it is the text below the emblem of India and even fewer would answer that it is the National Motto of Republic of India.

To the few illiterate it would refer to a mantra in ancient scripture in Mundaka Upanishad, the full mantra is as follows

सत्यमेव जयते नानृतम् सत्येन पन्था विततो देवयानः ।
येनाक्रमन्त्यृषयो ह्यात्मकामो यत्र तत् सत्यस्य परमं निधानं ॥
(translation in the end)

But little does it matter to us. A nation with a motto of Satyamev Jayete should work towards it in all aspects of its governance, but dwelling into it would make us no happier than watching Amir Khans Satyamev Jayete.

The new big budget TV show by Amir Khan that is about to be aired today would dwell in to the reality…the same one that we are all well aware of, but do not have the will to do anything more about it. The episodes would dwell into the same issues that we discuss on our soft leather couches or write incoherently on blogs such as this, but do not tread any further than a being an armchair philanthropist. These are the same issues that have made unknown socialites celebrities and social pariah of people who have tilled the ground to make a change. These are same issues that made small NGOs into corporate machines and paupers of some wanted to make a difference. In short Amir Khans Show would tell you no more than what you already know …The truth as we know it and care to do little about it.

I can think of no other Indian star, who can do justice to the show. Amir Khan has the credibility and the Star power to host the show that deals with such strong issues; and he definitely has the acting skills to make us move. The drive to retain his image as perfectionist would force him to make a well researched show and it will command great TRPs and Reviews. But I just hope beside glamour of Amir the show is able to unearth the human inside us, one that has been lost for long time.

From the reviews on the net it seems to have had a good start, It is an episode that makes us relive the ugly truth of female infanticide which we have successfully brushed below the shining carpet. I have not seen the show, it airs later tonight here, I hope it is going to make us all think, and the will to act in some.

So if you are willing to take the Red pill and watch the reality emerge around you watch the show…..I leave you with the peppy theme song of the show.


satyameva jayate nānṛtaṁ
satyena panthā vitato devayānaḥ |
yenākramantyṛṣayo hyāptakāmā
yatra tat satyasya paramaṁ nidhānam ||


Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.
Through truth the divine path is spread out by which
the sages whose desires have been completely fulfilled,
reach where that supreme treasure of Truth resides.

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